Happy Birthday Hannah Tolman



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Hannah Tolman (1642-1729)

Hannah Tolman was born on 27 Jul 1642 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts as the third child of Thomas Tolman and Sarah. She had six siblings, namely: Sarah, Thomas, John, Ruth, Rebecca, and Mary. Hannah’s mother died when Hannah was young. She had a step-mother named Katherine.

A few months before Hannah was born, the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed the first law in the new world requiring that children be taught to read and write English. Heads of households had to make sure that their own children were educated as well as anyone else in their household such as apprentices or servants. The English Puritans who founded Massachusetts thought that the success of the colony depended on having a population literate enough to read the Bible and the laws of the land. In 1647, Massachusetts passed another law requiring towns to set up public schools. They feared that the initial law was being ignored. It took many years before the schools were open to all children, but these laws laid the groundwork for public schools in America.

When she was 19, she married George Lyon on 14 Dec 1661 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts.

George Lyon and Hannah Tolman had the following children:

  1. George Lyon was born on 16 Dec 1662 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He died on 26 Oct 1694 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts. He married Thankful Badcock on 14 Feb 1687/88 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
  2. Thomas Lyon was born on 10 Mar 1665 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts, USA. He died on 09 Feb 1750 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He married Joanna Payson on 23 Oct 1690 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
  3. Henry Lyon was born on 06 Jun 1670 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts. He died on 23 Dec 1696.
  4. Hannah Lyon was born on 14 Nov 1673 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts. She married Abijah Baker on 25 Feb 1690 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
  5. Edward Lyon was born on 22 Sep 1678 in Milton, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

Boston, MA

On 18 June 1690, Hannah’s father died and remembered her in his will with a sum of money, to be paid out over several years, and with some household effects. Note that Hannah was the recipient of his best bed.

Will of Thomas Tolman - bequeath to Hannah - 2W (01)
Will of Thomas Tolman - bequeath to Hannah - 2W (02)
Will of Thomas Tolman, bequeath to Hannah.

Later that same year, on 6 October 1690, Hannah’s husband, George Lyon died. Her son, also a George, took over management of the Lyon estate at Milton, Massachusetts.

When she was 51, Hannah remarried to William Blake on 12 Nov 1693 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. The marriage lasted less than a year. He died 26 Sep 1694.

As we learned in the story about Hannah’s daughter-in-law, Thankful Badcock, son George passed away just a few years after his father. He died a month after the death of his step-father, on 26 October 1694. Thankful became the administrator of the Lyon estate, but then remarried in 1701. When Thankful remarried, her rights were taken away and she gave her children to her mother-in-law, Hannah Tolman Lyon, to raise. As part of the settlement of the George Lyon Junior estate, Thankful was required to pay Hannah for bringing up their four children. So, when she was about 59 years old, Hannah took over custody of a 13 year old grandson and three granddaughters ranging in age from about six to eleven.

Hannah Tolman Lyon Blake died on 04 Aug 1729 in Dorchester, Suffolk, Massachusetts. She had just turned 87 years old a few days before her death. She left her property to her oldest surviving son, Thomas Lyon. “Hannah Blake of Dorchester, widow, for the parental love and affection I bear to my well beloved son Thomas Lion… all my right and interest in the tenth lot on the 12 divisions in Dorchester and other parcels of land, which was the estate of my father Thomas Tolman of said Dorchester.

Where is she in the tree?


Ancestry.com, American Marriages Before 1699 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997).

Ancestry.com, Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data – Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).Original data: Town and C).

Ancestry.com, U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2012.

Dedham Historical Register, Volume 5,  (1894), pp. 70-71, Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=2IslAQAAMAAJ).

Dorchester, MA, Dorchester births, marriages, and deaths to the end of 1825 [database on-line] (1890), ancestry.com and GoogleBooks, p. 4.

Lyons, A.B., Lyon Memorial: Massachusetts families [database on-line] (Unknown, 1905), ancestry.com, p. 370.

“Massachusetts Passes First Education Law April 14, 1642,” Mass Moment, Web, 26 July 2016, http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=113.

Pickford, Anna Maria Tolman, Tolman: The Needham branch of the Tolman family [database on-line] (Dedham, Mass.: unknown, 1894), ancestry.com, p. 5.

Pope, Charles Henry. The Pioneers of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Pioneers [database on-line] (n.p., n.d.), ancestry.com.

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