The History of Martha's Vineyard by Dr. Charles E. Banks:
Volume II Annals of Edgartown: pp. 113 - 114

Sketches of the Early Settlers:


Transcribed by Jim.
(See also The Descendants of Thomas Trapp.)

Especial interest attaches to this person, as a Trapp is one of the four legendary settlers before the coming of the Mayhews. The only Trapp positively known to have come to the Vineyard was Thomas Trapp, a late arrival (1659), who was born in 1634-5, according to his gravestone, and hence but a child at the time when alleged landing occurred. His choice of this place for a home was a natural one, probably because of the Burchards who were kinsmen of his and among the first settlers.1 The English home of Trapp is not known, although diligent search has located many of his name in various parishes of Essex, the county whence came the Brownings and Peases.2 A Thomas Trapp lived, married and had children in Great Baddow, 1639-1659, the home of John Pease,3 and our Thomas Trapp emigrated to New England in company with a husbandman of Purleigh, Essex, a parish only seven miles distant from Great Baddow.4 After his arrival in this country, in 1659, he evidently came directly to Great Harbor and established a residence in this town, for he was granted a ten-acre "lot on the line" in December of that year.5 This was north of Main street and west of Planting Field way, and he gradually increased his holdings in that vicinity northward to the pond which still bears his name. He also acquired land in the Great Swamp by purchase, and after 1670 shared in the division of the common land.6

He held numerous and important minor offices in the town and county. He was marshal, water bailiff and crier in 1667; juryman, 1679; deputy sheriff, 1694-1700; and town clerk, 1700 till his death. This event occurred Oct. 15, 1719, in his 86th year, and he lies buried in the old cemetery. The maiden name of his wife Mary is not known, but by her he had at least nine children who grew to adult life, five sons and four daughters.7 They left a numerous prosperity, who lived on the paternal acres until about 1800, when the last of the name had migrated, mostly to Norwich and other towns in Connecticut. The name is now extinct on the Vineyard, but is represented in the Norton and Pease families through marriage of his daughter.

1 Thomas Burchard and wife Katherine speak of "cusen Thomas Trapp of Matins Vineyard," on two separate occasions.

2 Trapps are to be found at this period in Ongar, Orselt, Bobbingworth, Chigwell, Greensteed, Bromfield, Great Baddow, and Good Easter, all in the county of Essex, and most of them near the home of John Pease. Doubtless a further search would definitely place Thomas Trapp in some contiguous parish. See visitation of Essex, 1612, p. 506.

3 Thomas Trapp, single man, of Great Baddow, married Jane Burre, Oct. 28, 1639. She was the daughter of the vicar of the parish.

4 Suffolk Co. Probate Records, X, 87, 88. This fellow passenger, Lewis Martin, died on the voyage and left all his property to John Andrews of Fenchurch Street, London, a linen draper who was a "cusen" to Thomas Trapp.

5 He was voted "not of this town," on Oct. 22, 1660, but on Jan. 28, 1661, he is credited as owner of one lot. (Town records, I, 20, 22.) He forfeited a "lot on the line" before 1665, and it was granted to another. (Ibid., I, 35). It is certain however, that the Trapp property was in that section. (Ibid., I, 29).

6 Edgartown Town Records, I, 20, 21. He also owned one-third of Homes Hole Neck, which he acquired by purchase, but sold same within a short time.

7 The widow Mary Trapp survived.


Are you descended from this family? Do you have additional information that should be added to this page?
Comments? Questions? Corrections? Suggestions? Let us know: C. Baer and Jim.

Return to Dukes County Genealogy.