This is the Meade family Coat of Arms, from County Cork Ireland.

The tomb of Thomas, Philip, John and Richard Mede and their wives, dated 1475, in St.Mary Redcliffe, Bristol, contains the above Coat of Arms. The tomb, about 10 ft high by 18 ft by 3 = ft,=20 contains in one compartment the effigies of Philip and his wife and in the other a brass of Richard and his two wives. This rectangular brass shows Richard kneeling with his wife, his first wife behind him. Richard's helmet is in front of him leaving his head uncovered and showing his long hair.

On the left compartment of the the tomb there is a Latin inscription, part of which is missing. The assumed begining is in brackets:

[Here lies Thomas Mede and his wife, and Philip Mede son of the] aforesaid Thomas Mede and thrice mayor of the town of Bristol, died the 20th day of December 1475, may God have mercy on their souls. Amen."

On the right there was once another Latin inscription, which was already obliterated when William Barrett wrote his 18th century history of Bristol. It said:

"Here lies John Mede, burgess of the city of Bristol, who died the 17th day of April A.D.1496, and beside him rests Alice his wife, on whose souls may God have mercy."

Philip Mede's daughter Isabel married Maurice the younger brother of William 2nd Lord Berkeley. He was disinherited for marrying her but later became the 3rd Lord Berkeley. Philip supported the Berkeley family with his men at the last private battle fought on English soil at Nibley Green in 1470. Philip Mede was Mayor of Bristol in 1459, 1462 and 1469. Thomas was once the sheriff and once bailiff of Bristol.

Some branches of the Meade family in Essex also used this Coat of Arms, indicating that they inherited it from "Thomas Mede of Somerset"  who moved from Somerset to Clavering, Essex, and died there in 1504.

Arms like these dating from before 1475 were not granted by the College of Arms but were assumed by the owner. Arms that depicted the family name, such as keys for the name Keyes, were called canting arms. The three trefoils, or clover leaves, suggest a mead or meadow.

The upper Coat of Arms also belongs to the Meades of Co. Cork, Ireland, the Earls of Clanwilliam, whose surname was originally Meagh or Miagh. A similar one belongs to a related family, the Meades of Farley Court and Tisaxon, Ireland.

It has been suggested that the Medes of Bristol came originally from Ireland to handle the family's business in Bristol and Anglicized their name. If this is so, then it would have happened at a very early date, since the Medes of Bristol had lived in the parish of Wraxall, near Bristol, since 1327, if not before. Nicholas atte Mede of Wraxall was assessed for lay subsidies in 1327, making him a contemporary of Philip Meagh, born 1315, the earliest known Meagh of Co. Cork.

It is unclear why the two families have the same Coat of Arms, since they do not seem to be related. The most likely explanation is that the Meaghs of Ireland adopted the Coat of Arms when they Anglicized their name to Meade in the late 16th century.



The Mead Family History

Michael and Elizabeth Mead


The Mead family is originally from County Cork Ireland. I have not found any reliable information on the Mead’s in Ireland. We do know that the family lived in County Cork Ireland, and that The first evidence of the Mead’s in America are on the 1880 Census. Michael and Elizabeth Mead were living in Manhattan. We can see they are originally from Ireland, and have 6 children.


1880 Census New York (Manhattan) NY

Some interesting facts gleaned from the census record – while many of us thought the first phone company men were Thomas Edward Mead Senior, and Thomas Edward Mead II, you will notice that 2 sisters, Bridget and Maggie had occupations listed as operators, (these represent telegraph operators – since the first telephone office was in Wheeling WV in 1880). Also of note is that 17-year-old Michael had spinal disease listed as a physical condition.


Thomas Joseph Mead circa 1940

I have not researched each of these children, but my direct ancestor is Thomas Joseph Mead – listed as in school and 13 years old in the 1880 census. Thomas married Mary Elizabeth Egan on Christmas day, 1890. They had 5 children – Thomas (1893), George (1896), Mabel (1898), Helen (1900), and a baby that died as an infant (1892).

Thomas Joseph was working as a plumber, and the family was living in Plattsburgh, NY in 1910. It appears that Thomas Joseph was not one to stand on the sidelines. There were several news clippings found in the time he lived in Plattsburgh. Most significantly, he sued a customer over a plumbing job that he did not get paid for. Interestingly, it went to the New York State Supreme Court for a favorable decision. He was also an avid bowler. There were several clippings about forming a league.

Wife Mary died in 1918, and by 1920, Thomas had moved back to Manhattan to live with his mother Elizabeth. By 1930, Thomas had moved to Pahokee FL, where he and son George were operating a plumbing business. Thomas lived in Pahokee till his death in 1946. Son George continued to operate the plumbing business until his retirement. My father would recall meeting his Uncle George, and that he lived in Florida and worked as a plumber, but not much else.



1930 Census - Pahokee FL

Newspaper Clippings


Obituary Helen Francis Mead

Plattsburgh Sentinel - 9/19/1902


Thomas J Mead Court Case Plattsburgh Sentinel 1911


Thomas J Mead Court Case Plattsburgh Sentinel 1912

Thomas J Mead – City Committee

Plattsburgh Sentinel


Thomas J Mead Bowling League Plattsburgh Sentinel


Thomas J Mead – Break in

Plattsburgh Sentinel


Thomas J Mead Vacation

Plattsburgh Sentinel


Thomas E Mead Sr - Mtn Telephone

Plattsburgh Sentinel 1928


Thomas E Mead Sr – Mtn Telephone

Plattsburgh Sentinel 1925


Thomas E Mead Sr - Bowling Stats

Plattsburgh Sentinel


Thomas E Mead Sr Bowling Prize Plattsburgh Sentinel


Obituary Mary Egan Mead

Plattsburgh Sentinel 1918


Obituary Mary Egan Mead

Plattsburgh Sentinel 1918

My grandfather, Thomas Edward Mead Senior was born 25 Nov 1893, in New York City, NY. By 1910, he was living with his parents in Plattsburgh NY. In 1917, at the age of 24, he was drafted into the Navy. Thomas was stationed in Gulfport MS.


Thomas Edward Mead Sr's Draft Card - 1917


Thomas Edward Mead Sr. 1918


Thomas Edward Mead Sr 1918


Thomas Edward Mead Sr

Circa 1940

Thomas married Mabel Garvey in June 1923, at St Phillip of Jesus Church, Willsboro, Essex, NY. Thomas Edward Senior worked as the Superintendent of Supplies for the Mountain Telephone Company in Plattsburgh, NY. There are several clippings about his work for the phone company at annual meetings.

Thomas and Mabel had 2 children, Jane Elizabeth (1924), and Thomas Edward II (1928). Jane Elizabeth died from Polio in 1933.


Jane Mead and Tommy Mead circa 1930


Jane Mead circa 1930

Thomas Edward II married Fern Rosecrans in 1948, and they had 10 children – Jane Alicia (1949), Thomas Edward Jr (1950), John Michael (died at 10 days 1952), James Joseph (1953), Michael George (1955), Craig David (1957), David Barry (1958), Gail Teresa (1961), Lawrence Jon (1962), and Susan Catherine (1967).