Thomas Lemaster - Jane Bessom Family Group

Parents   Parents
        Richard Le Gros Bisson Immigrant Ancestor Sarah Gale
        b. 1731 in Jersey Islands b. 30 Mar 1735 in Marblehead
        d. 4 Feb 1812 in Marblehead d. 22 Jul 1812 in Marblehead
Thomas LemasterImmigrant Ancestor Jane Bessom
b. 1754 Jersey Islands, Great Britain bp. 6 May 1756 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Probate 28 Mar 1803 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts d. 10 Feb 1828 in Marblehead, Essex, Massachusetts
Relationship Events
Marriage 2 Jun 1778 Jane Bessom married Peter Sawins in Marblehead
Marriage 11 Dec 1781 Jane Bessom married Thomas Lemaster
Thomas bp. 6 Oct 1782 and d. bef. July 1784 in Marblehead
Thomas bp. 25 Jul 1784 m. 25 Dec 1821 Lydia Giles (bp. 5 Oct 1794 in Marblehead, d. 25 Apr 1881 in Salem); five children: 2 infants died young, Lydia G. Lemaster, Sarah E. Lemaster, and Unknown 3-yr-old; d. 6 Jan 1822 in Marblehead
Jane "Jenny " Lemaster b. 15 Jan 1786 m. in Marblehead 17 Oct 1819 in Marblehead William Hawkes (b. 17 Jul 1796 and d. 8 Nov 1860 in Marblehead); five children: Mary Jane, Elizabeth Sarah, Sarah Elizabeth, William, and Franklin Hawkes; d. 16 Nov 1856 in Marblehead
Mary Lemaster b. 11 Nov 1787 and died 1844-1845 in Marblehead
Polly Lemaster b. 13 Sep 1789 and died 25 Dec 1864 in Marblehead
Sarah Lemaster b. 4 Sep 1791 and died 3 Dec 1892 in Marblehead
George Lemaster b. 7 Jul 1793 in Marblehead; m. 1) 25 May 1823 in Marblehead Remember Bean (b. 20 Jan 1793 and d. 2 Oct 1823 in Marblehead), 2) 24 Aug 1825 in Marblehead Mary Oliver Martin (bp. 15 Dec 1799 and d. 17 Sep 1844 in Marblehead); six children: Unknown, Thomas, George, Mary Oliver, Sarah Jane, and Unknown Lemaster; d. 2 Nov 1878
Tabitha Lemaster b. 16 Feb 1800 and died 24 Oct 1827 in Marblehead; one child: Unknown Lemaster

What We Know About This Family


Thomas LeMaistre immigrated from the Jersey Isles and anglicized his name to "Lemaster."

An Overview of Their Lives

Thomas LeMaster was an immigrant from Jersey. According to, "This surname is first recorded in Jersey in the Extentes of 1331 with the spelling Le Maestre, but the most widespread spelling is in recent times is Le Maistre. A large branch of this family is recorded in the mid-19th century in the parish of St Ouen, but other branches settled in other parishes including Grouville." One source places him as the son of George and Madeleine Hamon LeMaistre and born in St, Ouen in 1754. The same record shows he came to Marblehead and married Jane. A check of a list of LeMaistre baptisms in Jersey for George LeMaster and Madeleine Hamon yielded the following children:

  • 28 Mar 1730 Jeanne daughter of George and Madeleine Hamon
  • 18 Nov 1733 George son of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 10 Oct 1735 Marie daughter of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 01 Oct 1738 Esther daughter of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 01 Oct 1738 Thomas son of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 31 May 1741 Philippe son of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 24 Jul 1743 Edouard son of George and Magdeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 09 Mar 1745 Pierre son of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)
  • 10 Jun 1750 Nicolas son of George and Madeleine Hamon (St Ouen)

Unfortunately, the dates do not match. The source above has him baptized 16 years before he was born according to the other source (shown in the Documents section) So either our Thomas' baptism is not listed or the date in the first record is incorrect.

As a further mystery, there is a marriage record for a Thomas LeMastyn (which is given as an alternate name for Lemaster, LeMastin, and Marston) to Tabitha Homan in Marblehead dated 19 Dec 1765. Her father was William Homan, and the administrators of his estate were Philip Ashton, son of the Philip kidnapped by Ed Lowe and great grandson of our direct ancestors John Ashton and his wife Susannah Foxwell, and Thomas Lemaster, spelled that way to begin with, then later as "Master." Our Thomas and Jane's youngest child was Tabitha. Is our Thomas related to the one who married Tabitha Homan or is that name a coincidence?

Jane Bessom, anglicized from Legros Bisson when her father Richard immigrated from Jersey, was married first to Peter Sawins. I can find no records for him other than their marriage. Peter Sawins died soon after their marriage because she married Thomas about 18 months later. Jane's mother was Sarah Gale, a member of the Gale and Dennis families who were established very early in Marblehead.

Thomas Lemaster was a shoreman as stated in his probate administration. If the date of his birth is correct, he was a young man of 21 probably having recently arrived in Marblehead when he signed on to Capt. Francis Felton's company in 1775. Marbleheaders involved themselves early in the war, and its skilled mariners are recognized by military scholars as being the forerunners of the U.S. Navy. The schooner Hannah was the first armed vessel in the war, and is considered by many to be the vessel that made Marblehead the birthplace of the U.S. Navy. John Glover owned the little ship. He was, at the time, a long-time prominent Marblehead merchant and a colonel in Washington's army, garrisoned in Cambridge. He was also married to Hannah Gale, Jane's great aunt (her mother Sarah Gale Bessom's sister). Glover acted on direct orders from George Washington, who instructed the crew to seize "such Vessels as may be found on the High seas or elsewhere, bound inward and outward to or from Boston in the Service of the ministerial Army." Marblehead men ferried George Washington across the Delaware River for his attack on Trenton. Many who set out for war, however, did not return, leaving the town with 459 widows and 865 orphaned children in a population of less than 5,000.

Thomas Lemaster was released from service 31 Jul 1777, and he and Jane were married eleven months later. They started their married life in a somewhat changed Marblehead. Its economy had peaked just before the war as locally funded privateering vessels sought bounty from large European ships. After the war, a significant part of the economy and the population dwindled. Fishing was still the largest Marblehead industry, but Marblehead saw many new shops and ways of making a living increase as the community rebuilt. Over the next fourteen years,Thomas and Jane Bessom Lemaster had eight children. Their first son, Thomas, died as an infant, but the others grew to adulthood and were very much a part of this post-war Marblehead. Their two surviving sons, Thomas and George and their oldest sister, Jane "Jenny," all married and had children, But their four youngest daughters broke tradition and remained single. This may have been due to the short supply of eligible men after the war, or it may be a sign of an independent streak within the family. Thomas was short of 50 when he died only three years after his daughter Tabitha was born. At the age of 72, Jane Bessom Lemaster died when she fell down the steps and broke her neck.

About the Children

  • Thomas was a mariner in the Marblehead tradition. He and his wife Lydia had at least six children, only two of whom, Lydia and Sarah, survived to adulthood. Thomas himself died at the age of 36. At the 1850 census. his widow was living in Danvers with their two single daughters, a 13-year-old Alice Giles (probably her niece) and a 30-year old Irish immigrant named Keith (or possibly Reith, her mother's maiden name). Lydia, the daughter, died in Wenham in 1856. In 1860, Lydia, the mother, and Sarah were living in Salem, and on the census was listed a boy 8 named Edward Lee. In 1870, she was in Salem again with her daughter, Sarah. Sarah died in 1877 and left a will leaving two Salem properties known as the Brookhouse Estate and the Pickman Estate to her mother. Interestingly, a notice in the Boston paper earlier reported that the Pickman estate had been purchased by "Mrs. Lemaster." Did the paper err in titling the daughter "Mrs." or did the mother buy the property then gift it to her daughter? At the 1880 census, Edward Lee, his wife, and three daughters were living with Lydia in Salem. (This was a different Edward Lee than the New Jersey State Senator in Atlantic City who married on the very early 20th century Mary Oliver Harris, the granddaughter of her husband's brother, George. The Marblehead Edward Lee listed "clothing store" under profession and was 28 years old. His first two daughters were named Lydia G. and Sarah E. Lydia Lemaster died 25 Apr 1881 in Salem. Her will provided for legacies to several of her nieces and nephews on the Giles side of the family with the most significant legacy going to Edward Lee, primarily to the benefit of his children. He was described in her will as someone who had lived within their family for a long time and who had been of assistance to her daughter, Sarah, before her death.

  • Jane "Jenny" married William Hawkes and had five children including a pair of twin girls. Their son William was their only child who had children. Three of their children remained single and their oldest, a daughter, married widower, Captain Knott Pedrick, when she was 38. He was a widower with children, and they had none together. Jenny's husband was a Representative at the General Court for four years. She died of heart disease at 56, four years before her husband. He died of black jaundice (leptospirosis) at the age of 62 in 1680. At the time of his death, he was listed as a grocer. Descendants of Jenny published photos of portraits for Jenny, her husband, and one of their daughters on Ancestry, and copies of these appear in the Documents section

  • Mary lived and died in Marblehead with no records other than her birth and death.

  • Polly owned her own millinery and threads shop in Marblehead. She and her brother, George (our direct ancestor) were arrested for accepting goods stolen from shoe manufacturing factories in Marblehead and selling the merchandise in their stores. I was able to find the newspaper article about the arrest, but not the disposition. At the 1860 census, Polly was living with her sister Sarah next door to their brother-in-law, William Hawkes, and some of his children. She died in 1864, and she left all her real and personal property to her sister, Sarah, who was associated with her in the millinery business by that time.

  • Sarah like most of her sisters remained single. At the 1850 census, she resided with "Martha" Lemaster (probably her sister, Polly), next door to their brother, George and his family. At the 1860 census, Polly and Sarah were living next to their sister Jenny's family. Sarah associated herself with Polly's millinery business, and in 1870, after Polly died, she was retired. She died in 1872.

  • George our direct ancestor, married first Remember Bean, who died of "fever" only five months after their wedding. A year and three months after her death, George married Mary Oliver Martin, daughter of Captain Arnold Martin and the widow of his fellow 1814 militiaman, Benjamin Valentine, who had died five years earlier in South Carolina only two months after his wedding. George was a shop proprietor. Later in life, he dealt in glass, china, and earthenware, a business his son partnered with him and inherited. George and Mary had six children, but like his brother, Thomas, most of them died young. A son died at 13 months in 1828. Their daughter Sarah Jane died in 1837 before she reached one month of age. Another son died at 6 months in 1840. Their first son Thomas died suddenly at 9 years of age in 1841. Mary herself died of tuberculosis in 1844. In 1857, George and his sister, Polly, were arrested for selling stolen goods. George's two surviving children both married and had surviving issue. His daughter, Mary Oliver, twice married only months or weeks before the birth of a child. Mary and her surviving daughter from her first marriage lived with her father until her second marriage, and he lived with his son George and his family at the end of his life until his death. After losing so many loved ones in a relatively long life, George died at the age of 82 of pneumonia.

  • Tabitha, the youngest child of Thomas and Jane, lost her father at about four years of age. She herself gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, who died of "quinsy" as a toddler. Tabitha died the following year at 27 years of age.

Proof of Relationship

The proof of relationship in this family is solidly circumstantial. The surname is unique, so the records found, the dates being logical, can be used to prove relationship. Various probate materials and the closeness of the siblings also adds proof. George's will specifically names his two surviving children (and even his daughter's husband).

What Else We Need to Learn

The goal of this project is to trace every line of ancestry to the arrival of its first immigrant to America. The basic information of each couple is considered complete when we know the dates of birth, marriage, and death for both spouses. their parents' names (or whether they were the immigrant), and the child or children in our ancestry line.

The research on this family is complete. One question that remains is whether the other LeMaster Variations were related to our Thomas. The name "Tabitha" seems to be a clue.


Questions, Comments, or New Information -Email