The Three Brothers

"Three brothers, John, William and Thomas Lawrence, descended from Sir John Lawrence, emigrated to America. John Lawrence, the eldest, was born in Great St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, in 1618, came over in the ship Planter, N. Travis, Master, and landed in Plymouth, Mass., in 1635, from whence he went to Long Island, afterwards resided in NewYork, where he held many public positions, and died in 1699, leaving descendants. His will, written in 1698, is on file in the Surrogate’s office, New York.

William Lawrence, the second brother of John, was born in 1623; in 1635 he came over with John, in the ship Planter, and became the proprietor of Lawrence's Neck (so-called) which stretches into Long Island Sound, between Flushing Bay and Whitestone, about nine hundred acres, a part of which is the present site of St. Paul's College. William Lawrence held many civil and military offices, and died in 1680 leaving numerous descendants. His son Joseph, by his second wife, Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Richard Smith, the patentee of Smithtown, married Mary Townley in 1690. After the death of William Lawrence in 1680, his wife, Elizabeth Smith, married the Hon. Philip Carteret, Governor of New Jersey, in April, 1681, and removed to Elizabethtown with her family. The town was named after Elizabeth Smith. Philip Carteret died in December, 1682, his widow then returning to Long Island.

Thomas Lawrence, the youngest of the three brothers, came to this country after the brothers John and William. In 1655 Thomas and his brothers obtained possession of a tract of land in Newtown, Long Island. Thomas afterwards purchased the whole of Hell-Gate Neck, from Hell-Gate Cove to Bowery Bay. He died in Newtown, in July, 1703, leaving five sons, Thomas, William, John, Daniel and Jonathan, of whom John alone permanently remained at Newtown. A large number of descendants sprung from these brothers, John, Thomas and William. The list is to be found in Thompson's History of Long Island and Holgate's American Genealogy, published by George P. Putnam in 1851.

Henry Lawrence was a descendant from Sir John Lawrence, who flourished in 1491,and, therefore, a connection of John, William and Thomas. He was an adherent of Oliver Cromwell, and his picture is seen as President, in Clarendon's history of the Rebellion. His gravestone, not yet effaced, is in the Chapel of St. Margaret, Alias Thele, in Hertfordshire. The coat of arms can be traced on it, viz : -a cross, raguly, gules. The crest, a fish's tail or demi dolphin."

The two eldest brothers came over on the Planter, a ship that directly followed the Mayflower into Boston. Their mother, Joan Antrobus Tuttle immigrated onboard the Planter, which left London in April 1635 for Boston. There exists an actual transcription of the Planter passenger list which shows that they traveled with her widowed mother (also named Joan Antrobus), John’s widowed mother, four of Joan’s children from her first marriage to Thomas Lawrence, four more children from her second marriage, John’s brothers Richard and William with their families, and several servants. Most ships did not keep passenger lists in the 1600s, and if they did, few survived. [ see “The Founders of New England”, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 14, page 304 for the passenger list]
The family lived in  Ipswich, Massachusetts, with Joan's husband John Tuttle eventually leaving for  Ireland. It is thought that she went to Northern Ireland, where her husband died on 30 December 1656 in Carrickfergus. She wrote from there about his death to the children in Ipswich on 6 April 1657, but there is no further record of her in Ireland or New England.
Taken from

Two of the three brothers that were with her according to the passenger manifest were John Lawrence, age 17 and William Lawrence, age 12. Both brothers removed to New York, and were later joined by a third brother, Thomas. This may have been because Quakers were being persecuted at the time by the Puritans in the Boston area. Our ancestor Andrew Wilson Lawrence was born a Quaker. Even in Niew Amsterdam, where the Dutch were much more tolerant regarding religious freedom, the Quakers were forced by Pieter Stuyvesant to relocate to Queens and Long Island! People were free to practice their religion in the privacy of their own homes, but the Dutch Reformed Church remained the official religion.

1. John Lawrence b. Albans, Hertfordshire 1618
Came over on the Planter, landed in Plymouth Mass
Removed to Ipswich, then to Long Island
Patentee of Hempstead and Flushing
settled permanently at New Amsterdam in 1658
was appointed mayor of New York City in 1672

2. William b. St. Albans, Hertfordshire 1623 d. 1680
Came over on the Planter, landed in Plymouth Mass
Patentee of Flushing
Resided in Flushing for remainder of his life
He was the largest landed proprietor of Flushing
He was a magistrate at Flushing in 1655, under the Dutch, and was given a military commission when the English came into control

3. Thomas Lawrence was born in 1625 in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England, and died JUL 1703 in Newtown, L. I., NY.
He was one of the patentees of Newtown, Long Island,
and proprietor of Hellgate. In 1689 the brothers received a patent for their estates from Governor Dongan. Subsequently, Thomas purchased the whole of Hellgate Neck, extending along the East River from Hell Gate Cove to Bowery Bay, consisting of four valuable farms and several pieces of pasture and woodland.

Famous Families of New York, published 1917. Expired copyright

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