Thomas Balch - Captain in the Monmouth Rebellion

Thomas Balch (about 1660-1730) was born in Deer Creek, Harford County, Maryland to John and Catherine (Clelland) Balch. Little is known of Thomas life before the age of twenty. Thomas Willing Balch, author of Balch Genealogica, described Thomas as being "…of a restive and impulsive disposition and fond of moving about and adventure [2]." It was likely because of this part of his personality that Thomas traveled back to Somerset, England in about 1680.

While in Somerset, England Thomas met and came under the influence of an influential Puritan Theologian by the name of Richard Baxter. Baxter subscribed to a form of Calvinism and believed that the Anglican church needed greater reforms. Baxter would suffer persecution and legal troubles as a result of his prolific writings and activism. Thomas apparently met this man and fell under his influence.

On February 6, 1685 Charles II, king of England, would pass away and be succeeded by his younger brother James II. This change in leadership may not, in itself, seem remarkably controversial. What made this controversial, for many, including Thomas was that James II was a Catholic. James Scott, the 1st Duke of Monmouth and the illegitimate son of Charles II, rose up in rebellion against his uncle James II. It was during this rebellion that Thomas joined with James Scott's forces to wage war for protestantism. As a Captain amongst the rebel forces he helped wage war for just a few short months. On July 6, 1685, with the rebel force hemmed in by surging royal forces near Bridgwater, the Battle of Sedgemoor would be fought and lost by James Scott's poorly equipped armies.

After the loss at Sedgemoor Thomas was obliged to leave England as rapidly as possible. Supporters of the rebel cause were being hunted by Colonel Percy Kirke and his regiment (often called "Kirke's Lambs"). Thomas soon sailed from Bristol (in disguise) to Annapolis, Maryland. Thomas would spend the remaining years of his life in Maryland. During his years, in Maryland, he would marry a woman by the name of Agnes Somerville. Finally, in 1730, Thomas would pass away.

Genealogy of Thomas:

Father: John Balch (settled in Maryland, 1658)
Mother: Catherine Clelland

Wife: Agnes Somerville
Married: Unknown


1. Hezekiah Balch

Primary Sources/Links:

The Maryland Family [1]

Balch Genealogica - By: Thomas Willing Balch [2]

Tom Balch - By: George Parker [3]

Southern Cousins - Balch Family [4]

Wikipedia - Richard Baxter [5]

Wikipedia - Monmouth Rebellion [6]

Wikipedia - Percy Kirke [7]

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