- a seaman in His Majesty's Navy -
My Great x 4 Grandparents
John THOMAS was born between 1793 and 1799 in Plymouth Devon according to various
documents. John is described as being a seaman at the baptism of his children and a
mariner at the time of his son John's marriage. Later censuses record him as a Greenwich
Pensioner, indicating that he served in the Royal Navy. In his navy Allotment Declaration [see
below] John would make his mark indicating he could not write.
Mary/Mary Ann Stabb: Probably Mary Stabb baptised 17th February 1799 at Totnes,
daughter of John and Mary Stabb
Marriage: John Thomas [mariner] married Mary Stabb on 30th September 1817 at St
Andrew Plymouth. Witnesses were Joseph and Esther Holmes.
Mary Ann THOMAS baptised 25th February 1821 at St Andrew Plymouth. Buried 4th March
1822 aged 13 months, St Andrew Plymouth.
John THOMAS baptised on 14th December 1823, St Andrew Plymouth. Also known as
John Triggs Thomas - my Great x 3 Grandfather
William THOMAS born 20th June 1827, baptised 15th August 1827, St Andrew Plymouth.
Buried 26th March 1829 aged 1 year and 9 months, St Andrew Plymouth.
Mary Ann THOMAS probably born 1828, baptised 17th April 1829 - probably died before
1832 but no record found as yet.
Henry Johns THOMAS born 27th December 1829, baptised 2nd February 1830, St Andrew
Plymouth. Married Harrietta Phenetta Osborne in Plymouth Dec Q 1852. Henry joined the
Royal Navy serving in positions such as steward [Racer - 1861] ships cook  and
Mary Ann THOMAS baptised 6th May 1832. Mary Ann was a milliner. Appears to have
married George BICKEL Dec Q 1861 residing Basket Street in 1861 census. Children:
Death: Mary Ann THOMAS aged 32 of Basket Street was buried at St Andrew Plymouth on
31st August 1832. NOTE: Mary Ann's mother, Mary Stabb also of Basket Street, had died less
than 2 weeks earlier on 20th August 1832.
Naval Career: Details according to his service records on Ancestry
HMS Dwarf: John Thomas aged 22 is joined the HMS Dwarf as an ordinary seaman on 21st
November 1815. He served until 30th September 1818 and again from 1st October 1818 until
8th November 1818.
HMS Alban 9th November 1818 to 23rd January 1822 he served as ordinary seaman on the
Alban. A second term was from 25th January to 25th February 1822.
HMS Vigilant: John served multiple terms as an able seaman from 26th February 1822 until
13th December 1831. Between 20th April 1825 and 6th May 1828 he also served on the gun
HMS Leveret: Between 14th December 1831 and 19th May 1835 John served 2 terms as AB
and including time spent at Greenwich on 30th December 1833 which may refer to
Greenwich Naval Hospital.
Ashore: It appears from his service record that John spent time ashore between 30th
December 1833 and 5th September 1835. Did John use this time to make arrangements for
his children after his wife Mary had died?
British Royal Navy Allotment Declarations: on 1st October 1835 just after joining his next
ship HMS Rodney, John made arrangements to have his pay forwarded to his 'sister'
Elizabeth Skelton of 3 Basket Street Plymouth. In 1840 his pay is forwarded to Elizabeth
Skilton [sic] sister in law of Basket Street Plymouth as trustee for his 3 children aged 16
[John junior] 8 [Henry] and 6 [Mary Ann].
HMS Rodney: from 5th September 1835 until 15th September 1842 John served as AB with
time off between 12th May and 16th October 1843. NOTE: There were two men names John
Thomas serving aboard the Rodney at this time. Our John is referred to as John Thomas (1)
John Thomas (1) AB 7th Class received a Naval General Service Medal. Wikipedia: HMS
Rodney was a two-deck 90-gun second rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 18
June 1833 at Pembroke Dockyard. The majority of her commissions saw active service in the
Mediterranean Sea as part of the in the Mediterranean Fleet.
Ashore: John spent time ashore again between October 1843 and February 1845
HMS Vanguard: Johns final posting was from 11th February 1845 to 23rd March 1849 when
he was pensioned.
Greenwich Pension: John Thomas was examined on 1st March 1849 and granted a pention
for life at 18pounds and 4. It was noted he was in receipt of a medal and shorlty thereafter
his pension was increased to 19 pounds 16.
1841 Census: John THOMAS snr is absent from the 1841 census. His children are residing
with Elizabeth SKELTON nee STABB, the sister of his wife Mary Stabb.
1851 Census: John is residing in the household of Elizabeth SKELTON with daughter Mary
Ann [a milliner] He is 52 years old born Plymouth and a Greenwich Pensioner. [Basket
Street, St Andrew, Plymouth]
1861 Census: John is residing with Elizabeth SKELTON and is described as ‘brother-in-law’
He is 63 years old, a pensioner Royal Navy ‘out’ and his place of birth is shown as ‘Denmark’.
This may be a census collectors error, mistaking Devon for Denmark.
Death: John Thomas, naval pensioner aged 68, died at 4 Basket Street, Plymouth on 9th
June 1868. [Ref June Q 1868 vol 5b page 164] Cause of death was cancer of the stomach
and was certified by a doctor. Elizabeth Skelton was present at the death and made her mark
NOTE: Basket Street was destroyed during the WW2 blitz.
Update: I am pleased to announce that despite the common name of John Thomas this family has
now been confirmed through an Ancestry DNA match to a descendant of Elizabeth Skelton nee