Thomas BRATTLE was born c. 1624 in England and died 5 April 1683 at Boston. He was a merchant of good standing in Boston in 1656; and was of the Artillery Company in 1675. Savage describes his family here.

He was an enterprising land-purchaser, and bought large tracts on the Kennebec and the Merrimac, the latter of the Indians. He owned valuable iron works at Concord, and was deputy from that town from 1678-1681; also from Lancaster, 1671/2. He left, it is said, the largest estate in New England at that time.

Thomas BRATTLE's Kennebec grant is preserved in the old Court files, Book 8:
"Thomas Brattle in behalf of himself & other the Heirs of Capt. Thomas Brattle, Mr. Antipas Boyes, Mr. Edward Tyng & John Winslow claims a certain Tract of Land in America in or between & extending from the utmost Bounds of Cobbeseconte which adjoineth to the River of Kennebeck towards the Western Ocean, and a Place called the Falls at Nequamkeek & a Place of fifteen English Miles on both Sides the River called Kennebeck River & all the said River that lyeth within the said Limits & bounds Eastward, Westward, Northward & Southward as per Deed from the Governmt of Plimouth Colony dated 27 Octor 1661 & Orderly recorded.
- A true copy Examined pr THOS CLARKE Depty Sec'ty.

He was one of the founders of the Old South Church in Boston, and in 1671 one of the commissioners sent to treat with Indian chief "King Philip" at Taunton; and in nearly all the relations of public life he appears as one of the most active and influential men of the colony.

He married c. 1656 in Boston to Elizabeth TYNG who was born 6 February 1637/38 in England and died 9 November 1682 at Boston. (Her tragic death is recorded in Judge SEWALL's Diary.)

According to Soldiers in King Philip's War (Chapter 18) Thomas BRATTLE was appointed Cornet of the Suffolk troop on 30 May 1670; promoted to Lieutenant on 13 October 1675; and then to Captain on 5 May 1676. King Philip's War broke out in June 1675 with a massacre of colonists at Swansea, Plymouth, by a band of Indians. The war was started by Indian chief "King Philip" (real name Metacomet, younger son of Massasoit of the Wampanoags). Captain BRATTLE became an "immediate and important friend" of the colony. He loaned the colony 200, and in the first few months of the war he is personally credited with cash, supplies and service to the amount of 1500 upon the treasurer's accounts.

8 September 1675, the Council orders "Cornet Thomas Brattle, with a party of horsemen under his command, to take fifty soldiers who are appointed to meet him at Leftenant Thomas Henchman's, in Groton, and distribute them according to his discretion in the towns of Dunstable, Groton and Lancaster; and to arrange with the inhabitants for the support and aid of their garrisons; also to settle affairs, so far as possible, with the friendly Indians at Wamesit, Nashoba and Marlborough, to induce the chief Wannalancet to return and live quietly at Wamesit, giving his son as a hostage into the hands of the English, etc."

Captain BRATTLE was later engaged in the organization and supply of the several expeditions west and south. He was personally with the forces at Narraganset, in the reorganization of the army after the "Swamp Fight". On 15 May 1676, in the expedition to Hassanamesit under Captain HENCHMAN, Captain BRATTLE, with a party of horse, fell upon the Indians between Mendon and Hassanamesit and killed about twenty, of whom four were women. The enemy dispersed into the swamps, and the main body escaped.

On 24 May 1676, Captain BRATTLE with a troop of about 50 horse, went in pursuit of the Indians "that had newly done spoyle at Seaconcke". With a small party of foot, he arrived at the Falls of "Pocatuck River", being on the Seaconck side. The Indians appeared on the opposite side in force. Leaving the foot behind, Captain BRATTLE led the troopers up the river, where they crossed with great difficulty, and soon came down upon the Indians and put them to a disastrous flight, capturing a large store of their fish and other supplies, killing several Indians. One of the English was killed, and Cornet ELLIOT was wounded in the hand. The dead soldier was carried to Seaconck and buried. An Indian boy was captured who testified that these Indians were three or four hundred, and belonged to "Nepsachuit".
See Col. Records, vol. v. p. 96, the full letter of the General Court.

On 30 June 1676, Captain BRATTLE was sent on an expedition towards Mount Hope with instructions as follows:

You are to take twenty of your Troope with such officers as you shall see meete, together with an officer & ten Trooprs of Left. Hassey's Troope and with them to march with all expedition to Dedham where are ordered to be an officer with eighteen foote souldiers mounted from Dorchester, sixe from Roxbury and twenty from Dedham with an officer. All appointed to be at Dedham the Rendevous this day at fower of the clock this afternoone, whom you are to take under your Conduct and the officers and souldiers are Required to obey you as theire Commander for this Service of the Country. You are to march with your Troopers & Dragoons to be at John Woodcocks by midnight where you shall meete with an Indian Pylot and two files of musketeers which Pylot hath engaged to bring you upon Phillip and his Company who are not above thirty men as he saith & not ten miles from Woodcocks; be sure to secure your Pylot to prevent falsehood and escape. You are to endeavour with your utmost diligence to Come up with the enemy and Coming up with him, or any other of them, you are to subdue kill and destroy, in your marches take heed of Ambushments and see you keepe your souldiers in Comand and that they moove with as much sylence as may be, that you be not prevented. In case the ennimy should be past to Mount Hope and that you Can meete with Plymouth forces you are to Joyne with them. If upon Intelligence you may probably Come up with ennemy to fight subdue & destroy them.

ffor that you are victualled onely for sixe days, you are to order that your march out may be proportionably thereto for your Returne unless by the longer stay you shall see you have very probable advantage against the enemy & you may have Recruite of proper officers from our Confederates or cann give timely notice to us to send you supply.

In case you meete not with a Pylot at Woodcoks you are to send to Mr. Newman at Rehoboth and lett him know of your being there, and wayting to endeavour to surprise Phillip; And In case that faile, if upon Intelligence you have oppertunity to fall upon any other of the ennemy you are to attend that; Upon all occasions & opportunity you are to Advise us of your motions and of Gods dealings with you; for your so doing these are your order and warrant. Given at Boston the thirtieth day of June 1676.
- By the Gouvernour & Council of the Massachusetts

Massachusetts Archives, vol. 69, pp. 24-25.

Thomas BRATTLE and Elizabeth TYNG (her background described as wealthy) had issue:

  • 1. Thomas BRATTLE, born 5 September 1657, died same day.

  • 2. Thomas BRATTLE (mathematician, astronomer, Treasurer of Harvard, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society; author of letter attacking the Salem witch trials)
    Birth: 20 June 1658 Boston.
    Death: 18 May 1713 Boston. Buried Boston.

  • 3. Elizabeth BRATTLE
    Birth: 30 November 1660 Boston.
    She married 3 January 1676/77 in Boston to Nathaniel OLIVER who was born 8 Jan 1650/51 Boston, and died 15 April 1704
    Elizabeth died: May 1719 Boston
    Elizabeth and Nathaniel OLIVER had issue:
  • 4. (Reverend) William BRATTLE
    Birth: 22 November 1662 Boston.
    Death: 15 February 1716/17 Cambridge, Mass.

  • "Exercised the office of President of Harvard without the title: John LEVERETT/William BRATTLE 1688-1692"

  • 5. Katherine BRATTLE [our line]
    Birth: 26 September 1664
    Death: 5 August 1725 Boston
    Marriage: Firstly 20 May 1680 in Boston to John EYRE.
    John EYRE was born 19 February 1653/54 Watertown, Mass. and died 17 June 1700 Boston.
    Katherine and John had issue:

    On 13 Nov 1707, seven years after her first husband's death, Katherine remarried Waitstill WINTHROP who had once been one of the Salem witch trial judges (and was a grandson of Massachusetts's first governor, John WINTHROP).

    Note on King's Chapel Burial Ground - Boston.
    Thomas Brattle the mathematician and astronomer is buried in this cemetery.
    His inscription reads:


  • 6. Bethiah BRATTLE [or Bethia]
    Birth: 16 December 1666 Boston.
    Death: 4 July 1690 Boston. Married Joseph PARSONS (born 1662)

  • 6. Mary BRATTLE
    Birth: 10 August 1668 Boston.
    Married John MICO (born 1664 Boston, Death: October 1718 Boston)
    Death: 22 December 1733 Boston

  • 7. Edward BRATTLE
    Birth: 18 December 1670 Boston.
    Married Mary LEGG, 23 March 1692/93
    Death: 1719 Marblehead, Essex, Mass 22 December 1733 Boston

  • -----

    Massachusetts Bay justiciary nominations 1702 include:
    Justices of the Superior Court
    Isaac Addington, Chief Justice
    Samuel Sewall
    John Walley

    County of Middlesex - Justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas
    James RUSSELL
    Jonathan TYNG
    County of Middlesex - Justices of the Peace
    Major Jonathan TYNG

    County of Suffolk - Justices of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas
    Thomas BRATTLE*
    Samuel LEGG*
    County of Suffolk - Justices of the Peace
    Capt. Jeremiah DUMMER
    Edward BROMFIELD
    Major Charles HOBBY
    Thomas BRATTLE

    Nathaniel OLIVER

    *Note: The Council took exception to these nominations.
    Note: Presumably no problem with him becoming a JP, as Thomas is mentioned as "One of Her Majesteyes Justices for the County of Suffolk" by the time of his death in 1713.

    Headlam, Cecil, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series (Vol. 20), America and West Indies, Jan-Dec 1, 1702, Preserved in the Public Record Office (Vaduz: Kraus Reprint 1964) First published London: HMSO, 1912. pp.434-5.

    Names taken from Soldiers in King Philip's War by George Madison Bodge [1841-1914], Boston, 1891

    Roster of the Officers of the Army of the United Colonies, as organized for the Narraganset Campaign, and mustered at Pettisquamscot, 19 December 1675. General Josiah WINSLOW, Governor of Plymouth Colony, commander in chief

    Fifth company - Edward TYNG, Lieutenant

    Captains [no assignments or towns given] - Thomas BRATTLE

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