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Joy Robbins
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:21 pm:   

Date: Sunday, 19 December 2004 4:47 AM

I have been passed on to you as an authority on the Drake's. My ancestor,
Captain Thomas Wiggin (1592-1666) made application through John Drake in
1627 (Barnstaple) for a 'letter of marque against the French'. John Drake
wrote a letter to London on his behalf (I don't have copy of this..only the
reference to it) seeking this letter of marque. I don't know if he was ever
awarded the letter or not, excepting there is some indication he may have
taken a prize ship into the Isle of Man sometime thereafter.

Do you think that John Drake was connected with The Admiralty? Or, do you
have any idea why he would have written this letter in Capt. Wiggin's

Captain Thomas Wiggin's life prior to 1630 is shrouded in mystery. We do
not know who this man was and I believe the clues are to be found in his
maritime life (c.1600-1630).

Thank you for you help.

Joy Wiggin-Robbins
Roy Andrews
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:23 pm:   

Subject: Re: Drake Letter's of Marque
Date: Wednesday, 22 December 2004 8:18 PM

Very fascinating history - never heard of the "Letter of Marque" until you
me. When I get back from holidays in mid Jan I will see if I can help you
Joy Robbins
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:24 pm:   

Date: Thursday, 23 December 2004 1:48 AM

Letter of Marque against the French
1627: Sir John Drake wrote from Barnstaple, England, 6 Jan 1627; "Captain
Thomas Wigan desires a letter of marque against the French". It was
addressed to the Secretary of State, and is noted in Index to Par. Docs.
Dom. Ser. Charles I, Vol XLVH, 7

I have no idea why this letter was written. Was Sir John connected with the
Admiralty? Or, was he just a friend trying to help a friend?

I have no idea if Captain Thomas Wiggin ever got a letter of marque against
the French or anyone else for that matter.

It does not seem to me that this letter alone would constitute an
application for a letter of marque as everything I read says he would have
had to reveal a lot of informtion about his ship and crew and put up surety.
That is why I think this letter was a suppliment to something else...perhaps
the original appliction form?

That letter of marque application may well reveal who Captain Thomas Wiggin

As a note of interest: I have been corresponding with Pat Denney, Merchant
Venturers of Bristol, and he has not found any reference to the CAptain in
the Merchant Venturer's School records for 1600-1630. I thought he may have
attended that school since he was documented with an affiliation in 1630
when he shows up in Colonial New Hampshire.

I will await your efforts in January...and have a great holiday season.
Roy Andrews
Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 1:33 pm:   

Date: Sunday, 16 January 2005 1:31 PM

Hi there Joyce,
well another year is upon us, they go too fast!!!
There is plenty of info on the WWW re "Letters of Marque" and just one
on your Drake/Wiggin.
This may be of help to you,

Thankyou Rootsweb.com

Page 232 thru 236


Captain, Thomas, gent. whose birth-place has eluded search, may be the
person of whom Sir John Drake wrote from Barnstaple, England, Jan. 6, 1627;
"Captain Thomas Wigan desires a letter of marque against the French"; this
was addressed to the secretary of state, and is noted in Index to Parl.
Dom. ser. Charles I, vol. XLVII, 7. But the Piscataqua man stands clearly
before us as one of the witnesses to the possession of land under patent to
Oldham and Vines, in Maine, 25 June, 1630. Another proof of his presence
at that time comes in the letter of John Humphrey, Esquire, one of the
Massachusetts Bay company, to his brother in law, Isaac Johnson, Esquire,
from London, Dec. 9, 1630; "For Mr. Wiggin & your thoughts concerning him &
those who set him on worke, I think you will hear little more. Yet your
letter shall be delivered,...I purpose this morning to goe to Mr. Downing to
advise about it." [Winthrop Letters, Mass. Hist. Coll. XXXVI, 3.] The
historian Hubbard says that "Bristol and Shrewsbury men" planted a colony on
the upper part of the Piscataqua in 1631, "under Captain Wiggans." The
Captain again witnessed the giving of possession of a patent, this time to
Lewis and Bonython, in Maine, Jan. 28, 1631-32. "Captain Wiggans went back
for England the next year." Hubbard continues, "and soon after returned with
more ample power and means to promote what was in hand. The Bristol men had
in the mean time sold their interest (which was two thirds) in the said
plantation to the Lord Say and the Lord Brook, one to Mr. Willis, and Mr.
Whiting, who likewise employed Captain Wiggans to act in their behalf for
space of seven years next following; the Shrewsbury men still retaining
own share. After the time was expired, the advance not being much, the whole
was prised but at 600 li. and sold to Captain Wiggans; which he paid at a
very easy rate, as some of his neighbors have used to say."
Captain Wiggin remained in charge of the "Dover and Squamscot" patent,
including Dover, Exeter and outlying lands, till about 1639, when Rev.
Burdett, (successor of Rev. William Leverich, the first minister of the
colony) worked himself into the favor of the people, and assumed control,
through with no legal authority. The coming of Rev. John Wheelwright and his
associates to settle Exeter, together with the agitation by Mass. Bay people
of the question whether that town was not within their jurisdiction, all
operated to incline the Captain toward acknowledgment of their claims; and
became the most important factor in the extension of the Mass. government
over both New Hampshire and Maine. But this was no sudden freak. As far back
as the year 1632 when in England on business connected with his own colony,
Captain Wiggin had written two memorable letters, one to Mr. Downing,
touching Sir Christopher Gardiner's fiasco and another matter of some
importance to New England; the other to Sir John Cooke, principal secretary,
testifying to the great value of New England as a profitable place for
plantation, and especially showing the high character of Gov. John Winthrop
and the people of "the Mattachussetts." [Mass. Hist. Coll. 3d S., VIII]
This testimony was given at a critical moment in the affairs of the Bay
colony. Gov. Winthrop, in his History, thus describes it: "Feb. 22,
1632-33,...We had intelligence from our friends in England that Sir
Ferdinando Gorges and Captain Mason (upon the instigation of Sir Christopher
Gardiner, Morton and Ratcliffe,) had preferred a petition to the lords of
privy council against us, charging us with many false accusations; but
through the Lord's good providence and the care of our friends in England,
(especially Mr. Emanuel Downing who had married the governor's sister) and
the good testimony given on our behalf by one Capt. Wiggin, who dwelt of
Pascataquack and had been divers times among us, their malicious practice
took not effect."
The friendly service thus voluntarily rendered by Capt. Wiggin was never
forgotten. And when Massachusetts needed a man to superintend the
pacification of the colonists about the Piscataqua and along the coast of
Maine, they naturally turned to him. He was commissioned first as an
assistant, then as a presiding judge, then as commissioner for adjustment of
all manner of problems arising in the assumption of authority in new
plantations. It is fair to say that he was the most important man in the
whole business of uniting the colonies of upper New England.
He was also a deputy to the Gen. court at Boston, and in his magisterial
capacity performed the marriage ceremony, attested documents, etc. in
Massachusetts as well as in New Hampshire and Maine. He had grants of land
from the Gen.. Court in addition to what he had recd. from the Patentees and
ha purchased. He carried on milling and farming operations. 23 May 1656,
"Captain Wiggan, having been imployed by the Gen'l Court with other gent.,
bring in the easterne plantations, as a gratuitie in respect of his service,
hath the grant of two hundred acors of land uppon the river that leads up to
Cochechawicke," etc. The committee appointed to lay out his tract reported A
pril 28, 1659, that they had laid it out "near the head of the littell river
caled the back river."
He and his son Thomas sold land April 25, 1662; he made a power of
attorney to Thomas March 21, 1662-3. With wife Katharine he gave a marriage
portion to son Andrew 4 June, 1663. The 30th of that month he attended court
for the last time; a year later he was unable even to reach the "ordinary"
without help, as a neighbor testified who had failed to reach his place in
the grand jury that day by reason of assisting "his worp." i.e. "his
worship," the tide of the magistrate.
He kept his lands apart from any town association many years, holding
aloof from participation in town meetings or in the support of the ministry
or other public affairs; probably deeming his state duties and charges heavy
enough, and owing a tract large enough to constitute a "plantation" of
itself. But at length public opinion prevailed against him, and he became a
tax-payer in Exeter.
He married Katharine __, who may have been a sister of Mr. William
Whiting of Hartford, one of the proprietors of the Squamscot patent. At all
events, Mr. Whiting made a bequest "to my sister Wiggen 5 li. and unto her
children 3 li. apiece," in his will dated March 20, 1643. Children, Thomas,
Andrew, Mary, all bapt. at Hampton Sept. 20, 1641. The latter married George
He made will 16 June 1664, which was probated in Hampton court in "1666".
He bequeathed to his wife Katherine certain articles and whatever debts were
due him and all goods not heretofore or herein given; certain bequests to
sons Andrew and Thomas who have already had their portions, and to daughter
Mary, for whom 150 pounds had been previously set apart in the deed to

Posted on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 3:47 pm:   

Date: Sunday, 16 January 2005 2:04 PM

Oh gosh...you've disappointed me. This quotation is so well known. I don't
need his life after 1630: it's the years before that we find nothing
regarding Captain Wiggin. I had so hoped you'd know something regarding
this letter John Drake wrote. Captain Wiggin was about 40 when he came to
the New England Colonies. Where was he for the first 40 years of his
life!!! When they told me you were an authority on "everything Drakie" I
got my hopes up.

That letter of marque request through John Drake could hold a key regarding
his involvement with the Drakes and the Admiralty. That's what I'm after.

I've been working on this for ten years or more and am co-authoring a book
on Capt. Wiggin with a cousin. I will be going to England soon to do some
hands -on research to that end. We are also writing the chapter regarding
Capt. Wiggin for the new Stratham, NH history book coming out in a couple of
years. So, I have my work cut out for me to find his roots.

Philip Wiggin
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 4:58 am:   

I believe that it you go to a University library and look up the proceedings of the king's Privy Council that you'll find where the request for Thomas Wiggin's letter of Marque was considered.
Posted on Thursday, March 03, 2005 - 8:51 am:   

Thanks Philip; however I don't think the Universities in the US will hold that information. I am a great distance from one so it's not a case of popping over to see!
David Wiggin
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2007 - 12:20 am:   

Regarding Thomas Wiggin pre-1630:
The connection to Shrewsbury may yield results. My family line has lived in the Newport, Shropshire area for at least 350 years. Samantha Wiggin [swiggin74@hotmail.co.uk] has traced the family line to 1663. Newport is a short distance east of Shrewsbury. Given the relative lack of mobility over the years, a connection to the line of Thomas may be quite possible.
chris sherrow
Posted on Saturday, February 23, 2008 - 6:50 am:   

I am looking 4 information on the dicus family tree any info is very helpful thanx

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