Tracing Twombly (Twombley, Twamly, Twambly) family members has been very difficult. So many of the same names were used (William, John, Ralph, Elizabeth) and records are scarce for the early years in the US. Much of the information here is cited from John Scales: Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire1; Alonzo H. Quint’s articles published in Historical Memoranda concerning Persons and Places in Old Dover, New Hampshire: Collections of the Dover, New Hampshire, Historical Society and other genealogies (Wentworth, Otis, Twombly). It is primarily through land transactions that I have been able to fairly reliably trace my direct line and propose that lineage in these pages. Nathaniel Twombly told John Scales who added to his book2 that this is John’s lineage who was a brother to our Joshua.
There is information in the text and descendant trees that I have checked and some that I have not. In 1998, I went to New Hampshire and Vermont to research in courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries to study original documents and visit sites I read about. I have used generally accepted spellings for names, although they appear differently in various texts.
Ralph appears to be the first Twombly in New England and one of Dover’s first settlers. There is some idea that he may have had a brother, Nathaniel, (or three) although I have not discovered anything about this individual(s).
Ralph Twombly (or Twamley or Twamly) apparently came from England (probably Staffordshire, although a Nathaniel Twombly later recalled a Yorkshire accent) some say about 1636 and can be documented in Dover, New Hampshire, as early as 1656 when Ralph had “land laid out[in Dover Neck] 10 April 1656, that had previously been granted to him by the town3.” He can be documented in Dover by 1658 according to a tax list. Scales’ History of Dover4 includes the following information:
In 1658, Ralph Twomly paid 9 shillings 4d for taxes on land in Dover (could be for the same land listed as being in Cochecho later). Dover is often referred to as Cocheco and is on the Cocheco River).
In 1662, Raphf Twamley paid taxes of 3 shillings 3d for land in Cochechae.
In 1663, Raphfe Twamley paid taxes of 4 shillings 6d for his Cochecho land.
In 1666, Ralf Twamlie, paid 7 shillings 1d in taxes for the Cochechae property.
Most of the information about this family comes from his will5. Ralph's will was prepared February 28, 1684/5 and proved October 7, 1686, in Strafford County. We presume he died there about that time.
His wife, Elizabeth, inherited the house and land in Dover. After her death, their son, John, was to inherit half of this land with the other half to be divided among Ralph's other children. The children identified in the will are [dates are my guesses based on other information; the birth dates in Scales’ book differ from those in other sources but all are within the same time frame.]:
Mary, born April 15, 1658, married Jeremiah Tibbetts before February 1684
John, born 1659, married (1) Mary Canney, Apr 18, 1687, (2) Rachel Allen, Oct 3, 1692
Joseph, born about 1661, married Jane
Ralph, born about 1665
Elizabeth, born about 1667
Hope, born about 1669
Sarah, born about 1671, married Mark Giles
Esther, born about 1673, married Pomfret Dam
William, born about 1675
Apparently the land he left was that identified in his son’s, John's, will in 17246 as his homestead which was on the “south side of the Road leading to the Neck”. The Map of Hilton’s Point and Dover Neck7 identifies the presumed location of Ralph’s land and homestead on Dover Neck.
His son, Ralfe, was under 21 at the time. Elizabeth, Hope, Sarah, Esther and William were under 18.
John, Joseph, and Ralph Jr.'s lineage and marriages are mentioned in Canney’s Early Marriage of Strafford County, New Hampshire8.
In July 1724, Elizabeth (at the age of 87) deeded to her son, John, all her estate except for Ralph's legacies9. On July 18, 1724, Elizabeth is mentioned in John Twombly (her son)'s will6. He gives his son, William, half of his homestead (John's wife, Rachel, gets the other half) and asks William to provide for his "honoured mother" and honor her legacies. Elizabeth’s will has not been found.
1. Scales, John: Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire, a facsimile of the 1923 edition, Heritage Books, Inc., 1977.
2. Scales, John: Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire, a facsimile of the 1923 edition, Heritage Books, Inc., 1977 page 316.
3. Scales, John: Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire, a facsimile of the 1923 edition, Heritage Books, Inc., 1977, page 481.
4. Scales, John: Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire, a facsimile of the 1923 edition, Heritage Books, Inc., 1977, pages 237, 242, 246, 249, 252.
5. New Hampshire Wills, Ralph Twombly, 1684/85, pages 286-287.
6. New Hampshire Wills, John Twombly, 1724, pages 229-231.
7. Charles W. Hayes, Civil Engineer, and John Scales Historian, Map of Hilton’s Point and Dover Neck, 1915.
8. Canney, Robert S.: Early Marriages of Strafford County, New Hampshire 1630-1850, Heritage Books, Inc, page 534.
9. Strafford County New Hampshire Deeds.