Happy Birthday Thankful Badcock




Thankful Badcock (1667/68 – 1718)

Today is the 348th anniversary of the birth of Thankful Badcock!

Okay. Pause. Yes, “Thankful Badcock” certainly is one of more unusual names in the family tree. Pause. Chuckle. Okay.

Now that we have had our laugh…

Thankful Badcock was born on 18 Feb 1667/68 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA as the eleventh child of Robert and Joanna Badcock. She had ten older siblings, namely: Samuel, Jonathan, James, Abigail, Nathaniel, Caleb, Hopestill, Ebenezer, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Thankful Badcock was baptized on 27 Jun 1669 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA.

Note that her birth year is shown in the form of 1667/68. That is called double-dating. The calendar kind of double-dating. Writing the date this way results from the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar, the one we use today, first came into use about 1582, but it took more than 300 years for everyone to start using it. The calendar was replaced because the Julian calendar had some flaws. And the conversion got complicated with some days being dropped to get the calendar back in sync with astronomical events. So for many years, including the early years in the American colonies, prior to 1752, we have to deal with double-dating. Under the Julian calendar, the year started March 26. Under the Gregorian calendar, the year started January 1. So for dates in January, February, and March (through the 25th), both the Julian and Gregorian years were written.

Anyway, Thankful Badcock was born into an established household in Milton, Massachusetts. Her dad had been one of the earliest settlers and land owners there. Milton was still a new community at the time of Thankful’s birth, having been broken off from Dorchester in 1662. When Thankful was a young child of about seven, King Philip’s War broke out. Her father was a Sergeant for the town of Milton and served in that war. Called the most devastating war in American history, it was fought between 1675 and 1676. It pitted displaced Native Americans against colonists who were expanding their settlements throughout New England. Though it lasted only a little more than a year, it was tragic. Many towns across Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine were destroyed, the colony’s economy was ruined, and there was great loss of life. One in ten soldiers on both sides were killed. Twelve hundred colonists’ homes were burned. Stores of much needed food were destroyed. The Pokanoket tribe was almost eliminated. Thankfully, Sergeant Robert Badcock survived.

When she was 19, Thankful married George Lyon, son of George Lyon and Hannah Tolman, on 14 Feb 1687/88 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA. He was 25 at the time of their marriage. After his father’s death in 1691, George took over management of the Lyon’s Milton, Massachusetts estate which consisted of a house, barn, 75 acres of land, and two acres of salt marsh.

George Lyon and Thankful Badcock quickly had three children:

  • Preserved Lyon was born on 10 Sep 1688 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA. He died on 14 Jul 1785. He married Joanna Vose on 12 Jun 1711.
  • Joanna Lyon was born on 26 May 1690 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA. She died on 01 Nov 1765 in Natick, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. She married John Sawin on 25 Dec 1712 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Hannah Lyon was born on 03 Oct 1691 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.

Thankful became a widow at age 26 when her husband George passed away on 26 October 1694 at Milton. He was only 31 at the time of his death. When he died, George left Thankful with three young children ranging in age from 3 to 6. She was also pregnant with their last child who was born months after his death:

  • Silence Lyon was born on 15 Jun 1695 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.

Thankful Badcock Lyon was made the administrator of her deceased husband’s estate on 1 August 1695. Back in those days, women didn’t have many rights. Since Thankful’s son was still a minor, she could serve as the administrator. As a married women she could not own property, for example, so Thankful had rights in her widowhood that she didn’t have as a married women. She also had new responsibilities. For example, she was required to pay taxes and thus was recorded in tax records.

When she was 33, Thankful married Richard Smith Sr on 06 Aug 1701 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA. By remarrying, she gave up the rights she’d had for the past six years. At the time of her marriage, her four Lyon children who then ranged in age from six to twelve, were given over to their grandmother Hannah, the widow of George Lyon Senior. As part of the settlement of the George Lyon Junior estate, Thankful was required to pay this grandmother, her former mother-in-law, for bringing up these four children. Married women did not have property rights and in this case, it seems that the Lyon children were considered property of the Lyon estate.

Thankful went on to have four more children with her second husband. Richard Smith Sr and Thankful Badcock had the following children:

  • Thankful Smith was born on 11 Jul 1702 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.
  • John Smith was born on 03 May 1704 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Richard Smith was born on 02 Nov 1706 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.
  • Benjamin Smith was born on 19 Oct 1709 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts, USA.

Thankful Badcock Lyon Smith died on 11 Jan 1718 at the age of 49.


Where is she in the tree?


Appleton, William Sumner. The Family of Badcock of Massachusetts. Google Books Edition. Boston. David Clapp & Son, 1881.

“Conflict [Irreconcilable Differences] King Philip’s War – The Most Devastating War in American History.” New Bedford Whaling Museum. 29 July 2014. Web. 17 February 2016. http://www.whalingmuseum.org/explore/exhibitions/harboring-hope-in-old-dartmouth/conflict.

“King Philip’s War: 1675-1676.” About.com. 12 August 2015. Web. 17 February 2016. http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/battleswars16011800/p/King-Philips-War-1675-1676.htm.

MacLean, Maggie. “Puritan Women’s Rights.” History of American Women. 16 October 2007. Web. 17 February 2016. http://www.womenhistoryblog.com/2007/10/puritan-women.html.

Messina, Mike. “America’s Most Devastating Conflict: King Philip’s War.” ConnecticutHistory.org. Web. 17 February 2016. http://connecticuthistory.org/americas-most-devastating-conflict-king-philips-war/

Teele, Albert Kendall. The History of Milton, Mass., 1640-1887. Google Books Edition. Milton, Mass. Press of Rockwell and Churchill, 1887.

“Understanding Julian Calendars and Gregorian Calendars in Genealogy.” GenealogyInTime Magazine. Web. 17 February 2016. http://www.genealogyintime.com/GenealogyResources/Articles/understanding_julian_calendars_and_gregorian_calendars_in_genealogy_page1.html.

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