Thomas Carrier was born in Wales, England, about 1626 and died in Colchester, Conn. May 18, 1735.

Thomas Carrier - 1626

Colchester records say in his 109th year although the family claimed his age to be 113 years. Records of the town embody some remarkable traditions about him. He was 7' 4" tall, was notorious for his fleetness of foot, and his strength was his pride at one hundred years of age. He settled in Colchester soon after the turn of the century, when his age was about 76 years. He would frequently walk from Colchester to the mill in Glastonbury, a distance of eighteen miles, carrying a sack of corn on his shoulder to be ground, walking very fast and erect, stopping but once to shift his load and then walk back. The New England Journal for June 9, 1735 stated: "His head in his last years was not bald nor his hair gray. Not many days before his death he traveled on foot six miles to see a sick friend, and the day before he died he was visiting his neighbors. His mind was alert until he died, when he fell asleep in his chair and never woke up."
Tradition has it that he belonged to the bodyguard of King Charles I and that he was the regicide of the King. It could be that he was a member of the Royal Guard, Roundhead or Cavalier, as they would be selected for size and strength, or he could have been a member of the Rump Parliament which condemned the King, but these possibilities would seem to call for an older man at the time, AD 1648. However, the history of Thomas Carrier is a most colorful one even if we omit all unproven facts.
Charles I, son of James I of England (VI of Scotland) succeeded to his father's throne in 1625. His father was a firm believer in the devine rights of Kings, believing that they were only responsible to God, and he was in continual disagreement with Parliament; parliament believing that the authority of the people was above that of the King. Charles I was of the same persuasion as his father, and soon after he was crowned, conflict with his legislature began. Parliament would not grant all the money he demanded, consequently he imposed excessive taxes on people, which led to protest by Parliament. Hence in 1629 he dissolved Parliament and ruled without assistance for eleven years, proceeding to get money by illegal means. Civil War resulted in 1642. In 1646 Charles, defeated, gave himself up to the Scottish Army. In 1647 the Scots surrendered him to Parliamentary Army. He was tried before the English Parliament, and beheaded January 30, 1649. It was probably during these two years that Thomas Carrier was one of the Guards. The tradition cannot be disregarded as an impossible one but means of verification are lacking.
Charles II, the lawful prince, escaped to the continent in 1648, but in February, 1649, Scotland proclaimed him King and his coronation took place January 1, 1651. Nine months later he was vanquished by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was made Lord Protector and Governor of the Commonwealth but he refused the title of King. He died in 1658 and his son Richard proved incompetent to take over his work. In 1660 Charles II was again made King. He agreed to a pardon for all political offenders except the regicides and the judges of Charles I, and in May, 1660 the House of Commons ordered the arrest of all judges. Two of the judges, Major General William Goffe and his father-in-law Major General Edward Whalley, under assumed names set sail for America in May, 1660 on the Prudence Mary, the day before the warrant was issued. With a bounty on their heads they were forced to live in secrecy and concealment for over thirty years. Dates for the arrival of Thomas Carrier in this country vary, but he probably arrived about 1655 in Cambridge, and soon after in Billerica where he was known as Thomas Carrier alias Morgan, and vice versa. Some historians say he changed his name from Morgan to
Carrier to escape detection, however, if this is true an alias would not have protected him. He obviously was not in hiding and his alias may be due to the fact that in Wales it was customary for sons to carry on the surnames of both parents, to wit: Morgan ap Carrier, ap being a prefix signifying "son of." It is apparent that in America he followed the custom of this country and used one name only, presumably his father's.
From the book of tryals: Imprimatur: J. Backenhead 1660, published immediately after the trials, one of the signers of the sentence of Charles Stuart, King of England on January 29, 1648, was a Thomas Wogan, Esquire. Dr. Stiles of Yale in his History of the Three Judges of Charles I of England (found in the Library of American History, a reprint of standard works edited by Samuel L. Knapp) printed a list of names he copied from the Journal of Major General William Goffe who had been in hiding in Hadley, Mass. One Sunday, while the people of Hadley were at worship, Goffe discovered Indians were gathering to commit massacre of the town's people, so he came out of hiding to warn them and was thereafter known as the Good Angel of Hadley. Goffe's original diary was not disclosed until death had put everyone in it out of danger. In the diary were the names of nineteen men "condemned and in the Tower, but" said Goffe: "Morgan was not in the Tower." It seems probable that Goffe knew the men personally, so perhaps Thomas (Morgan) Carrier was one who escaped before the order for arrest was issued and owed his freedom to an indistinct signature. (Wogan-Morgan)
In November, 1667, Thomas Carrier was assigned to cutting brush in Billerica with his comrade and employee, John Levistone. He apparently was a man of means because he was next to the highest taxpayer in town. Levistone may have come with him from England, giving his services for passage and settlement, or he may have been assigned later to help him. Thomas Carrier took the oath of Fidelity, December 4, 1667, so he must have complied with the requirements of "an inhabitant." He married Martha Allen May 7, 1674 and soon after, perhaps because rumors of his political affiliations had reached Billerica, the selectmen and constables gave notice to him that the town was not willing that he abide there. They removed to North Billerica from 1684-1690 and then to Andover. Again they were unwelcome because of a smallpox epidemic in the family and authorities did not want to be responsible for them. However, they remained in Andover where Martha helped nurse the afflicted family, which did not add to her popularity.
It is difficult to explain the Furore which swept Salem Village, Mass. in 1692. For years learned men in the Christian church had been trying to control witchcraft, believing that witches were persons who received certain powers from the devil, notably to cause or cure illness, or transfer it from one person to another. Some village children, stimulated to hysteria by stories of the Barbados told by Tituba, a West Indian servant, invented a game whereby they would fall to the ground in fits. Confused parents, convinced that their children were tormented by demons, brought charges of witchcraft against more than two hundred persons and they were taken into custody. Illness, land feuds and hatred for neighbors, provided others with a chance to settle old scores. The accused could only gain their freedom by confessing to an alliance with the devil. Martha Carrier was one of those caught in this web, where guilt was established by spectral or make-believe evidence, and she was arrested May 28, 1692. She was then about thirty-three years old and confessions were extorted from them by violence. Her sons would not confess until they had been tied by their necks and heels. Eight year old Sarah, a pathetic little figure too young to realize what it was all about, was versed in a confession that her mother made her a witch when she was six years old; that she came to her like a black cat and told her that she was her mother. Eighteen year old Richard testified that he also had been "in the devil's snare." At the examination the local magistrate said to Martha: "you see they look upon you and fall down." "It is false," she replied, "it is a shameful thing that you should mind these folks that are out of their wits." When offered her freedom if she would confess, Martha proudly said: "I would rather die than confess a falsehood so filthy." No amount of persuasion could make her change her stand and with unflinching courage and dignity she went to her execution on Gallows Hill, Salem, August 1, 1692. Soon after the junta court was abolished and a new court established that would not accept spectral evidence. Suits for slander were brought against accusers, and the witchcraft delusion ended in Massachusetts. Thomas made frequent petitions for the reversal of the witchcraft convictions and in 1711 the convictions were finally reversed. A public apology was made by the General Court and reparations granted.

References: History of Billerica by Rev. Henry Hazen,
A.M.; Historical Sketches of Andover by Sarah Loring

August 28, 1957--265 years later--a resolve was made relative to the indictment, trial, conviction and execution of those found guilty, sentenced and executed in the year1692 (Chapter 143 of the Acts and Resolves of the General Court of Massachusetts) stating that "if these proceedings were lawful under the Provincial Charter and the law of Massachusetts as it then was--were and are shocking and are superseded by our more civilized laws.....that no disgrace or cause for distress attaches to the descendants by reason of said proceedings." It further stated "that the passage of this resolve does not bestow on any person the right to bring suit for redress, nor affect in any way whatsoever the title or rights in any real or personal property...."
Thomas Carrier remained in Andover as far as is known until soon after the end of the century. Taintor's Recordings of Colchester associates the Carriers with Colchester in 1701. His name is on the Andover list of 1702 with his sons. He probably returned to Andover from time to time until his business there was finished. He was the first settler in the valley of North Westchester (Colchester). Land was taken there in Richard's name in 1703 and a trifle later for Andrew. In his day he owned most of the land which comprises North Westchester where he built a house and sawmill on Jeremy's River. Thomas, Jr. did not remove from Andover with his brothers, as there are records of his family in Andover until 1712, but in 1718 he was admitted to Colchester as an inhabitant.