Richard Martin Sr.

Richard MARTIN (1609 – 1694) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line.

Richard Martin - Coat of Arms

Richard Martin was born in 1563 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England. His parents were Francis Martyn and Sarah [__?__]. He married Katherine LYDE 23 Nov 1579 in Branscombe, Devon, England. Richard died 6 Aug 1633 in Ottery St Marys, Devon, England.

Richard and Katherine were married in Saint Winifred's Church, Branscombe, Devon

Saint Winifred’s Church  dedicated to Saint Winifred, a Welsh saint. It is among the oldest and most architecturally significant parish churches of Devon. It probably dates back as far as about 995, but extant records on the vicars only go back to the thirteenth century.

There is some archaeological evidence to suggest an earlier Saxon church may have occupied the site.  The building has a traditional west-east alignment. It is built on a levelled area that can not be seen from the coast. The choice of location may have been for protection of the original Saxon church from Viking raiders. Alternatively, the church may have been placed on an earlier pre-Christian holy site. Occupying such a pagan site would have allowed the Church to both challenge paganism and benefit from any positive religious feelings associated with the site.

The church building is partly Norman and partly later medieval. The tower is central and the transepts which are later stand unusually to the west of the tower. The nave is Norman, the transepts perhaps mid 13th century. The chancel is probably 14th century, though the east window was replaced in the time of Bishop Neville (1458–64). Interesting features include the font which is 15th century and the pulpit which is a three-decker pulpit and as such almost unique in Devon.

Katherine Lyde was born 1566 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England. Her parents were xx. Katherine died 16 Jan 1603 in Ottery, Devon, England.

Children of Richard and Sarah:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Robert Martin 1587 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England Joanne Upham (daughter of Richard UPHAM)
16 Nov 1618
Bicton, Devon, England
1660 in Rehoboth, Mass.
2. Abraham Martin 1589 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England Christiane Lange
15 Feb 1611/12 Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
Rehoboth, Mass
3. Isaac Martin 1591
Margaret Ford
Rehoboth, Mass.
4. Elizabeth Martin
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
5. John Martin 1605
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England
19 Jun 1660
6. Richard MARTIN 22 Nov 1609
Ottery, St Mary’s, Devon, England.
Elizabeth SALTER
9 Jun 1631
Ottery, Devon, England.
2 Mar 1693/94
Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.
7. Jane Martin 23 Feb 1611
Ottery, England
19 Jan 1622
Ottery, England
8. Agnes Martin 19 Feb 1616
Ottery, England
21 Mar 1636
Ottery St Mary, Devon, England

Richard Martin Sr. was the father of  Robert, Abraham, Isaac and Richard Martin who all settled in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.


1. Robert Martin

Robert’s wife Joanna Upham was born 1591 in Bicton, Devon, England. Her parents were Richard UPHAM and Maria [__?__].  Joanna died 8 Nov 1668 in Mass.

Robert and Joanna were part of the Hull Company which set sail on March 20, 1635, from Weymouth, Dorset, England.

Robert leaving his property to a brother, Richard, in England.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Inventory

[fol. 52] “Rehoboth the 26th february 1668 The Inventory of Johanna Martin” was taken by Thomas Cooper, Sr., Peter Hunt, Henry Smith and William Sabin. It was “exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 2oond of March 1668 on the oath of John Ormsbey;” The only mention of real estate is: “Housing and land” £120.

* See Mayflower Descendant, XI : 156.

Robert and Joanna did not have any children who survived them.     ”Joannah Martin widdow in the Towne of Rehoboth ” made her will 6 April, 1668. Bequests were as follows.

“wheras my late Dearly beloved husband Robert Martin by his last Will …. Did leave mee the use of his whole estate During my naturall life; and att my Death the Dispose of halfe the estate that is visible to my frinds according to my owne Descretion first That all my lawfull Debts be Discharged”

“my Loving Kinsman John Ormsbey [John ORMSBY]…. shall have the one halfe of my house lands Commons meddow both ffresh and salt orchyards and appurtenances belonging to mee in Rehoboth and the one halfe of my houshold goods tooles and husbandry geares within and without”

“my Cousin John Ormsbey shall have the bed wheron I lye with all the furniture therunto belonging and my brother Richard MARTIN to have equivolent out of the other goods according to the quallitie and quantity of it”

“to my sister Smith my wearing apparrell”

“To my Cosen Grace Ormsbey a silver spoone”

“It is my will That my Cousens Thomas and Jacob Ormsbey have ten shillings apeece ;”

It is my will That my Cozen Clapp his Children which hee had borne by my Kinswoman Jane Clapp (being six of them) have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my will That my brother Upham his Children att Mauldin, being 4 of them have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my Will That my Cosen Ormsbey whom I Chose to be the sole exequitor of this my last Will Doe pay or cause to be payed the aforsaid legacyes within a yeare after my Decease and that hee take the resedew of the estate belonging to mee; according to my husbands will : viz : goods within and without horned beasts and horses and swine to himselfe ;”

“Stephen Paine Junir and Richard Bowin Juni* To be the overseers of this my last Will”

The will was signed by a mark. The witnesses were Thomas Cooper, Sr., and Noah Newman.

“Mr Noah Newman tooke oath to this Will In the Court held att Plymouth June the second 1669″

Children of Robert and Joanne

i. John Martin b. 1617 in England; d. 1664 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.; m1. Rebecca [__?__] 1639 in Charlestown, Mass; m2. Sarah Larrford in 1642 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass.

After John died, Sarah married [our ancestor] Reginold FOSTER on 19 Sep 1665 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. and William White on 21 Sep 1682 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass. Sarah died 22 Feb 1682/83 in Haverhill, Mass.

2. Abraham Martin

Abraham’s wife Christiane Lange was born in 1589.

Abraham’s property went to the children of Richard and John ORMSBY,who were relatives. Elizabeth Martin, sister of Robert, Abraham and Isaac was the wife of Deacon John Upham.

3. Isaac Martin

Isaac’s wife Margaret Ford was born in 1599 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England.   Margaret died in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

Child of Isaac and Margaret

i. Mary Margaret Martin b. 1619 in Pontypool, Trevethan, Monmouthshire, Wales; d. 1684 in Taunton, Bristol, Mass.; m. 1640 Taunton, Mass to James Henry Leonard (1621 – 1691)

James’ parents were  Thomas Leonard, 1577-1638, and Lydia White. He emigrated  from Pontipool, Monmouthshire, Wales, with his brothers  Henry, and Philip.   These immigrants were the founders of the first successful iron-works in America.

“It is said that the Leonards had been in the iron industry for twelve hundred years, since the days of the “forestsmiths” of Germany, where the name Leonard is found in old German records of the sixth century. The Saxon Leonards, workmen in metals, came to England very early and settled among the iron hills of Kent and Sussex. Later, as the mines in this vicinity were less productive, some of them removed to the iron mining districts of Wales from whence James and Henry Leonard came, leaving their forges in England “plastered with mortgages,” not only at Pontipool but also at Belaton, Stafford County. In the nineteenth century the Leonards might have redeemed their title to this property, but it would have involved an expensive and lengthy suit in the Court of Chancery, which was not undertaken.

“Being well versed in the iron lore, the secrets of which had been long handed down from father to son, James and Henry Leonard, on their arrival in America, at first found employment with one John Winthrop at his bloomery near Lynn, established by Adam Hawkes in 1630. The following entry has been found in an old account book of Winthrop’s dated 1651. “James Leonard, fifteen days’ worke in ye forge oe 1.13.0.”

“After a short connection with John Winthrop’s iron effort at Braintres, the Leonard Brothers struck out for themselves, testing the streams and ponds for chalybeate evidence, little Thomas and James who had come holding onto “Uncle Henry’s finger,” probably having the time of their lives fishing with birch rods on these expeditions. Their elders found large deposits of bog iron, particularly in Quittacus Lake, Middleboro, which were extracted by means of great tongs from the lakes and swamps. They made a contract with the town of Taunton to set up a bloomery there. A stock company was formed, one of the stock holders being Elizabeth Pole, who had bought Taunton from the Indians for a peck of beans.

“The Leonards called their bloomery Raynham forge, doubtless from Raynbam in England, which is the station where one alights to visit Belhus mansion at Aveley Easex, the head quarters of the English Leonards where the beautiful portraits are of our English ancestors. The owner, Sir Thomas Barrett Leonard, is a landed proprietor of at least 10,000 acres of land inberited from the early Leonards. It may be that James and Henry Leonard lived here in their boyhoods and had childhood’s associations with Raynham, for which they named their forge. The site of this old forge which was carried on by seven generations of Leonards, was pointed out to me by my father, when as a child I rode with him through Raynham to Taunton.

“This was the parent forge for many others not only in this vicinity but all over the Atlantic sezboard of the United States, substantiating the famous saying “Wherever you find iron works you will find a Leonard.” The proudest accomplishment of these various forges was in 1775, when Eliphalet Leonard of the fifth generation made in Easton the first bar of American steel.

“James Leonard was a warm friend of the good Indian chief Massasoit who used frequently to visit him, sleeping under his roof and eating his bread. James gave him every assistance in the repair of his guns and making his weapons and tools. Massasoit, before his death, required a solemn oath of his son Philip that he would never harm a Leonard, and Philip in 1675 in an imposing meeting in Taunton Church at which James Leonard was present, affixed his mark to a document promising peace with the men of Taunton. Philip’s tribe molested the white settlers in Middleboro and New Bedford, but the inhabitants of Taunton and Bridgewater suffered little in King Philip’s war, and no harm was done to the Leonards with Philip’s consent. Thus the name of Leonard represents to Taunton not only splendid enterprise, but the hospitality and friendliness which secured safety for the town at a critical period. King Philip had a summer home near the Leonards, and Lake Nipenicket between Raynham and Bridgewater was a favorite fishing ground of his. There is a tradition that Philip’s head was secreted after his death under the old Leonard house in Raynham.

“James Leonard, the immigrant, died in 1691. His wife, Mary Martin, had died earlier and he had married a second wife named Margaret.

6. Richard MARTIN Jr. (See his page)

Richard’s will dated  6/2/1686 and probated 5/7/1695 names no wife.

At the Rhode Island Historical Society Library at Providence, in D.A.R. record books of Vital Statistics compiled by various Chapters, by years. In Vol. for year 1956. Abstracts of Wills and Probates of Pawtucket, R.I.

Probate of Will;

Name; Richard Martin of Rehoboth, Colony of New Plymouth
Date; June 2, 1686 Probated; May 7, 1695
Wife; None mentioned
Sons; Richard Martin, Jr.; John Martin; Francis Martin.
Grandsons; John Martin (Richard’s oldest son).
John ORMSBY (Grace’s eldest son).
Daughters; Grace ORMSBY, Annis Chaffee
Executor; John Martin assisted by Deacon Samuel Newman, and Wm. Carpenter.

Item: It is my will that my grandson, John Ormsby, my daughter Elanor’s son, shall posses and enjoy and improve my lands on the North of the Town of Rehoboth, divided and undivided, until my grandchildren in Old England come over to make use of them, and if, they never come over —- the said John Ormsby to have and enjoy them for ever.

*Note here that the genealogist uses the name Elanor for Richard Martin’s daughter, but at the probate proceedings the name Grace is used, as it is in other records.


Posted in 13th Generation, Historical Church, Line - Miner | 5 Comments

The Hull Company

Reverend Joseph Hull (1595–1665)  was born in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. His parents were Thomas Hull and Joane Pyssing. He graduated from St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford with a Bachelor of Arts degree on 14 Nov 1614. During the five years immediately following, he studied theology, serving meantime as a teacher and curate under his elder brother, William Hull, vicar of Colyton, Devonshire.


The Church of St. Andrew in Colyton, known for its rare octagonal lantern tower is said to have been used as a beacon for ships on the once navigable River Axe, to the eas

On April 14, 1621, having been ordained a clergyman of the Church of England, he was duly instituted rector of Northleigh, diocese of Exeter, which was the scene of his labors for eleven years.

In 1632 Rev. Joseph Hull resigned his rectorship at Northleigh and is thought to have returned to the vicinity of Crewkerne. During this rectorship he was married and three children were born of this union. Strange as it may seem, no record has been discovered of the marriage, the maiden name of his wife, or the date of her death, but it is not impossible to consider that the latter occurred at about the time of his resignation, and may have been the reason for it. Just how the next three years were spent by Rev. Joseph Hull is only a matter of conjecture, but during this period he married for a second time. Again there is no record of the marriage, but we do find that his wife bore the given name of Agnes.

At Crewkerne, he gathered a company of 106 souls, who, on March 20, 1635, set said with him from the harbor of Weymouth, bound for New England. The company consisted of 21 families – about 105 individuals – with no definite destination, preferring to leave the precise spot of their location to the direction of Providence. After a passage of 46 days, a fair one for that period, they passed the verdant islands of that beautiful bay, leaving on their left the bustling settlement of Hull, then a harbor for the inner plantations, and after a pleasant sail of about 10 miles cast anchor before Governor Winthrop’s infant village of Boston. This was on May 6, 1635, and it was not until July 2, 1635, that, with the permission of the General Court, they length settled upon Wessaguscus as their future home.

Governor Winthrop’s Official Journal, under date of July 8th of that year, contains the following entry: “At this court Wessaguscus was made a plantation and Mr. Hull, a minister of England, and twenty-one families with him allowed to sit down there.” The arrival of Hull’s Colony at Wessaguscus doubled its population, and the plantation was soon created a full-fledged town, invested with municipal rights, rechristened Weymouth and allowed representation in the General Court. Here, too, a church was gathered from the members of this company and others from Boston and Dorchester. On the 8th of July at the age of forty, Rev. Joseph Hull was installed as its first pastor and on the 2nd of the following September he took the oath as a Freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Some of the Puritans living in the neighborhood looked with disfavor on this church and it was not long before dissension arose within it.

This selection of Wessaguscus was a serious business for the new colonists, whose eyes were familiar only with the highly cultivated fields of old England, who knew little of the capacities of the soil upon which they now trod, of whose history they knew nothing, and whose outlines they could hardly discern, so thickly were they wooded. There was no lack in quantity of land, but there was a choice in quality and location, and even that was left to Providence. So they sailed down the harbor, passing the many islands that thickly dot the surface. Entering Fore River, they came to anchor in a small cove about 4 miles from its mouth, afterward known as Mill Creek, and not far from the spot where Weston’s colony landed 13 years before.

Wessaguscus, present day  Weymouth, Mass. not wholly a wilderness, for with the Weston settlement of 1622, scattered remnants of people remained upon the ground and others who had since come in, quite a population had gathered within the limits of Wessaguscus. The Gorges company settled upon the deserted plantations of Thomas Weston’s people in September 1623. This company was wholly broken up in the following spring, yet a number of its emigrants remained and became permanent settlers. These were joined from time to time by single families or small companies, until, upon the arrival of Mr. Hull’s company, the settlement had attained quite respectable proportions. When the Hull company arrived, there were not less than 50 families, and perhaps 70 or 80 already residing there. A flourishing colony already established was sufficient evidence of good soil, a good location, a favorable position for trade with the Indians, for communications with other plantations about the bay, as well as protection from the savages. More than this, many of the previous settlers were relatives or friends of the later arrivals. The land had been so generally taken up, and the plantations were so closely connected that the newcomers were obliged to make their settlement upon territory further south.

There was already religious dissension in the community when Mr. Hull and his families arrived, introducing a new element of discord into the already divided community. The newcomers, not in full sympathy with either faction, deemed themselves strong enough and of sufficient importance to have at least an equal voice in the councils of the town. And as there was no minister at their coming, and as they brought one ready-made at their hands, what better could they do than accept him for all? This at once aroused the opposition of the older settlers, and measures were immediately taken to prevent such a result. Mr. Hull eventually retired from the contest.

Joseph Hull was the political and religious opponent of Governor Winthrop, apparently siding more with the Anglicans than Puritans. If he was of a contentious nature, as some claim he was, it is undoubtedly true that he only contended for what he believed to be right; for his was a moving spirit – the spirit of the pioneer, seeking new fields to conquer, and going forth and preaching the word of God according to his interpretations and the dictates of his own conscience. In less than a year, Joseph relinquished his charge and withdrew when the church called the Rev. Thomas Jenner of Roxbury to be their pastor. He now turned his attention to civil affairs, but apparently the spirit of the pioneer was strong within him as he received on the 12th of June 1636 a grant of land in Nantasket, then a part of Hingham. Here he remained for several years and represented that town twice as a Deputy in the General Court of Massachusetts in September of 1638 and March of 1639. On the 5th of May 1639 it is recorded in Hobart’s Journal that Mr. Hull preached his farewell sermon. Whether this took place at Weymouth or Hingham is not stated.

Apparently his “liberal views” led to his dismissal from his parish, and he moved to Hingham, where he served as its representative in the General Court (Massachusetts legislature). He was the political and religious opponent of Gov. John Winthrop, with the “very contentious” Hull apparently siding more with the Anglicans than the Puritan governor. Winthrop eventually expelled Hull from the colony

As a result of the dispute, the authority of the colonial government was gradually extended over the settlement. The town was reorganized, and September 2, 1635, the name of the settlement was changed from Wessaguscus to Weymouth, the name of which, in pleasant memory of the port in Dorset they had so recently left.  It was made a plantation with a privilege of a deputy to the General Court. However, because of the three opposing elements, the little town chose 3 deputies instead of the one to which it was entitled. John Upham [son of Richard UPHAM]  was the selection of the Hull emigrants, yet eventually retired, leaving the position to William Reade.

On June 12, 1636, a meeting of the town was held to distribute lots among the settlers. It was decided to “lott unto every compleate person 6 acres, and to every half passenger under 12 yearsrs of age, to have 3 to a head. And the place to begin is at the lower end of the pond and to run 84 Rodd eitherwards to the great plantation lotts.”

The tract selected was situated southerly from Burying Hill (beyond which, to the north, were the larger portion of the older farms), with King Oak Hill for a central point, a sightly, beautiful hill overlooking Boston Bay. The temporary habitations of the Weymouth colonists of 1635 were located in the valley lying along its western base, reaching to Burying Hill. Upon the latter were the meetinghouse, watchhouse, and the burying-place, while the farms were scattered for a distance to the west, south and east. The rude shelters first erected were replaced from time to time by more substantial structures built upon the farms themselves, when the lands had become better improved, and the danger from Indians less imminent.

“Berrying Island” has a history: Wessagusset Colony (sometimes called the Weston Colony or Weymouth Colony) was the second settlement in the colony, after Plymouth. The first settlers have not been held in the highest repute. They landed upon this “burying island”, and lived upon it, and near to it, in 1622-3. They had trouble with the Indians, and Miles Standish came from Plymouth to save them – the story of his march is historical.

The following is a complete list of the Hull company, with notes of correction. Several of the emigrants came from Broadway, Somerset. It is conjectured that most if not all the first settlers of Wessaguscus were West country people, and came from that point where the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Devon join.

BOUND FOR NEW ENGLAND   [Reprinted from John Camden Hotten’s “Original Lists of Persons of Quality: Emigrants, Religious Exiles, etc. who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, from 1600 to 1700”]

WAYMOUTH ye 20th of March, 1635

Joseph Hall of Somerst a Ministr aged 40 year
Agnis Hall his Wife aged          25 yr
Joane Hall his daught aged 15 Yeare
Joseph Hall his sonne aged 13 Yeare
Tristram his son aged … 11 Yeare
Elizabeth Hall his daught aged 7 Yeare
Temperance his daught aged 9 Yeare
Grissell Hall his daught aged 5 Yeare
Dorothy Hall his daught aged 3 Yeare
Judith French his s’vamt aged 20 Yeare
John Wood his s’vaunt aged 20 Yeare
Rob Dabyn his s’vamt aged 27 Yeare (should be Robert Davys)

Musachell Bernard of batcome Clothier in the County of Somersett 24 Yeare
Mary Bernard his wife aged 28 Yeare
John Bernard his sonne aged 3 Yeare
Nathaniell his sonne aged 1 Yeare

Rich pearsons salter & his s’vant: 30: yeare

Francis Baber Chandler aged 36 yeare

Jesope Joyner aged 22 Yeare

Walter Jesop Weaver aged 21 Yeare

Timothy Tabor of Som’st of Batcombe taylor aged 35 Yeare
Jane Tabor his Wife aged 35 Yeare
Jane Tabor his Daughtr aged 10 Yeare Anne Tabor his daughtr: aged 8 yeare Sarah Tabor his daughtr aged 5 Yeare
Willm Fever his s’vaunt aged 20 Yeare

Jno Whitmarck            aged 39 yeare  (should be Whitmarsh)
Alce Whitmarke his Wife aged 35 yeare
Jmo (John) Whitmarke his sonne aged 11 yeare
Jane his daughtr aged  7 yeare
Ouseph ( or Onseph) Whitmarke his sonne aged 5 yeare
Rich Whytemark his sonne aged 2 Yeare

Willm Read of Batcombe Taylor in Som’stt aged 28 Yeare
Susan Read his Wife aged 29 Yeare
Hanna Read his daughtr aged 3 yeare
Lusan (probably Susan) Read ;his daughtr aged 1 yeare
Rich Adams his s’vante 29 Yeare
Mary his Wife   aged 26 yeare
Mary Cheame his daughr aged 1 yeare

Zachary Bickewell        aged 45 Yeare
Agnis Bickwell his Wife aged 27 yeare
Jno Bickwell his sonne aged 11 year
Jno Kitchin his servaunt 23 yeare

George Allin  aged 24 Yeare     (George ALLEN the Elder was a much older man in 1635, closer to 54. He had been preceded by two sons (by a first wife) Henry and Samuel, who came in 1629-30.)
Katherin Allyn his Wife aged 30 yeare
George Allyn his sonne aged 16 yeare
Willm Allyn his sonne aged 8 year
Mathew Allyn his sonne aged 6 yeare
Edward Poole his s’vaunt aged 26 yeare

Henry Kingman           aged 40 Yeares
Joane his wife beinge aged 39
Edward Kingman his son aged 16 year
Joane his daught aged 11: yeeare  (married fellow passenger Thomas Holbrook in 1653)
Anne his daughtr aged 9 Yeare
Thomas Kingman his sonne aged 7 Yeare
John Kingman his sonne aged 2 yeare
Jn Ford his servaunt aged 30 yeare

William Kinge  aged 40* Yeare (* or 30.            One figure is written over the other, and it is impossible to tell which is the later.)
Dorothy his wife           aged 34 yeare
Mary Kinge his daughtr aged 12 year
Katheryn his daughtr aged 10 Yeare
Willm Kinge his sonne aged 8 year
Hanna Kinge his daughtr: aged 6 year


Thomas HOLBROOKE of Broudway aged 34: yeare
Jane POWYES Holbrooke his wife aged 34 yeare
John Holbrooke his sonne aged 11 yeare.
Thomas Holbrooke his sonne aged 10 yeare (married fellow passenger Joanne Kingman in 1653)
Anne Holbrooke REYNOLDS his daught aged 5 yea[re]
Elizabeth his daught aged 1 yeare

Thomas Dible husbandm aged 22 yeare
Francis Dible soror aged          24 Yeare

Robert Lovell husbandman aged 40 year
Elizabeth Lovell his Wife aged 35 yeare
Zacheus Lovell his sonne 15 yeares
Anne Lovell his daught: aged 17 yeare
John Lovell his sonne aged 8 yeare
Ellyn his daughtr aged… 1 yeare
James his sonne aged   l yeare
Joseph Chickin his servant 16 year

Alice Kinham aged       22 yeare

Angell Hollard aged     21 yeare
Katheryn his Wife 22 yeare (Aftter Angel died, Katherine married  as his second wife, John Upham, son of Richard UPHAM)
George Land his servaunt        22 yeare
Sarah Land (originally written Lang) his kinswoman 18 yeare
Richard Joanes of Dinder…….
Robt Martin of Badcombe husbandm 44 (Brother of Richard MARTIN)
Humfrey Shepheard husbandm.. 32
John Vpham husbandman        35     son of Richard UPHAM)    (note that the letter “U” hadn’t been invented yet)
Joane Martyn   44…. daughter of Richard UPHAM and wife of Robert Martin)
Elizabeth Vpham          32…. wife of John Upham
John Vpham Jun          07…. son of John Upham
William Graue [Grave] 12….
Sarah Vpham   26…. daughter of  of Richard UPHAM and wife of Richard ORMSBY)
Nathaniell Vpham        05….  son of John Upham
Elizabeth Vpham          03….  daughter of John Upham


Richard Wade of Simstuly Cop [Cooper] aged   60….
Elizabeth Wade his Wife           6+….
Dinah his daught          22….
Henry Lush his s’vant aged      17….
Andrewe Hallett his s’vaunt     28….

John Hoble husbandm  13….     (should be Hubble)

Robt Huste husbandm  40….     (should be Harte)

John WOODCOOKE ……………      2….      (should be  John WOODCOCK)

106-Rich Porter husband………….(age should probably be 23 or 33)

{Signed by}



These emigrants were joined on this side of the water by Edward Bennett, Mr. Thomas Jenner, sen., Thomas White, William Frye, Thomas Rawling (or Rawlings), Richard Sylvester, William Smith, Mr. Wright, Thomas Appelgate, Clement Briggs, Arthur Warren, Edmond Harte, Stephen French and others.

Joseph Hull’s Life After Weymouth

Joseph and his family moved in 1639 to Plymouth Colony, and there founded the present town of Barnstable, at a place called by the Indians, Mattakeese. As a part of the July, 1939 tercentenary celebration of the founding of the town, a memorial tablet was dedicated calling attention to Hull’s role in the town’s founding and marking the site of his home there. The rock still stands in the middle of the highway, from which he preached, surrounded by his armed parishioners.

Plymouth Colony was, however, not much more congenial for a man of his political and religious sentiments than the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His name appears as one of the first two deputies for the town of Barnstable in the records of the General Court of Plymouth at the June 3rd session. Whether Mr. Hull actually attended or did not attend the Court at that time cannot be ascertained from the court records. While he and Thomas Dimmock constituted the Barnstable committee, it is very likely that neither attended, as both made their oaths at the session on the 3rd of December 1639, when Joseph Hull was admitted a Freeman. In 1640, his name appears on the Barnstable list of “Men able to bear Arms.”

Tradition credits Rev. Joseph Hull with having preached the first sermon within the town of Barnstable, in spite of the fact that [our ancestor] Rev. Stephen BATCHELDER was in the vicinity as early as 1636. On the 11th of October 1639, [another of our ancestors Rev. John LATHROP arrived in Barnstable with his church from Scituate and on the 31st of that month a “Day of Humiliation” was observed, followed on the 11th of December 1639 by the celebration of the first Day of Thanksgiving within the town. After extended religious services the company broke into three sections, one of which dined at the house of Rev. Joseph Hull. Apparently Joseph made no effort to perform any ministerial functions after the arrival of Mr. Lathrop. Undoubtedly these two men were of very different natures and temperament, Hull being aggressive and of a roaming nature, while Lathrop appears to have been extremely strong-minded. Whether any dissension arose between them or not is not a matter of record, but about a year later Joseph Hull moved into the adjoining town of Yarmouth, where, at the request of some of the residents, he served them in a ministerial capacity. In so doing he neglected to secure the approval of the Barnstable church, and for this act was excommunicated on the 1st of May 1641.

While Joseph was in the Plymouth Colony he engaged in the business of cattle raising, and not unlike some clerics who turn to business affairs, did not have his ventures crowned with financial success. He was the defendant in a number of actions for trespass, and it is interesting to note that in all but one of these actions, the constable attached two of Mr. Hull’s steers. This might lead to the conclusion that his cattle were highly desired by those who initiated the suits.

The Separatist party increased, the opening of the civil war in England checked immigration in 1639, and Joseph and his political friends were left in a hopeless minority. After serving the Yarmouth church for a little over a year he began to journey afield, preaching the Word from place to place in the Colonies. In 1642 on the 7th of March, the General Court at Plymouth issued a warrant directing his arrest should he attempt to exercise his ministerial duties within the Plymouth Colony, and described him in the warrant as an excommunicated minister. There is no evidence that this warrant was ever served, for no return appears to have been made of it, and only four days later his wife was re-admitted to the church in Barnstable. “Our Sister Hull renewed her covenant, renouncing her joining at Yarmouth and confessed her evil in so doing, with sorrow.” To cap the climax, he himself was re-admitted to the Barnstable church on the 10th of August 1643 “having acknowledged his sin.”

A few months prior to this, however, he had journeyed as far afield as the Episcopal Colony of Sir Ferdinando Gorges in Maine, where he later settled. Here at Accomemticus (now York, Maine) he was minister. A “Church-Chapel” was also erected by the inhabitants of the Isles of Shoals on Hog Island for a congregation of which the records say Rev. Joseph Hull was the minister. Here he remained until 1653, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony subjected the provinces of Maine to their jurisdiction and Joseph again felt the power of his old enemies on the Bay. A sound Puritan minister, Mr. Brock, was sent to supersede him, and shortly afterward, Joseph returned to England where he was settled at St. Buryan, Cornwall, and remained there for ten years, at which time he was ejected from the parish. In the same year he returned to the Colonies and settled at Oyster River, now Durham, New Hampshire, from which he shortly thereafter removed to the Isle of Shoals, where he continue his ministry until his death on the 19th of November 1665. His estate was valued at 52 pounds, 5 shillings and 5 pence, 10 pounds of which was put down for books, and 20 pounds as due him from the Isles of Shoals for his ministry.


Posted in History | 7 Comments

Richard Upham

Richard UPHAM (1556 – 1635) was Alex’s 11th great grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miner line.

Immigrant Ancestor

Richard Upham was born 1556 in Bicton, Devon, England. His parents were John UPHAM (1525 – 1584 in Bicton) and Joane [__?__].   He married Maria [__?__]. Richard died 1635 in Bicton, Devonshire England.


Maria [__?__] died 26 July 1634 in Bicton, Devon, England.

Children of Richard and Maria:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Joane Upham 1591
Bicton, Devon, England
Robert Martin
(Son of Richard MARTIN Sr.)
16 Nov 1618
Bicton, Devon, England
8 Nov 1668
2. Thomas Upham  c. 1600 Sarah Slade
15 Jun 1625
2 Mar 1668
Bicton, England
3. John Upham c. 1600
Bicton, Devon, England
Elizabeth Slade
1 Nov  1626
Bicton, Devonshire, England
Mrs. Katherine (Richards) Hollard
Aug 1671
25 Feb 1680/81
Malden, Mass
4. Susanna Upham
 1603  1635
5. Judith Upham  1606 Edward Martyn
14 Jun 1632
Ottery, St Mary, Devon, England.
6. Francis Upham c. 1609
Bicton, Devon, England.
7. Sarah UPHAM c. 1609 Y Wanton
Richard Webb
Richard ORMSBY
9 Aug 1640
Saco, Maine
8. Frances Upham 1609
Bicton, Devon, England
William Ebdon
1 Nov 1636
Bicton, Devon, England
1 Nov 1636
Becton, Devon, England
9. Jane Upham 1612 Thomas Eliote
1 Nov 1642
Bicton, Devonshire, England.

Richard’s grandparents were Richard UPHAM (about 1500 – 1546) and Agnus [__?__] (about 1560 – after 1546). His great grandfather was Hugo de UPHAM.

Richard’s brother Thomas, Bev., M. A., matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxon, Feb. 25, 1580-81, (as Uppam), aged 20; Fellow of Exeter College, Oxon, 1583-1592; B. A. Nov. 10, 1586; M. A. June 30, 1589, (as Upham); vicar of East Worlington, Devon, 1591-1603, and vicar of Plymouth (St. Andrews), at his death in 1603. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Andrews at Plymouth, and was the first vicar known to have been buried there.

St Andrew’s Church, Plymouth is an Anglican church in Plymouth. It is the original parish church of Sutton, one of the three towns which were later combined to form the city of Plymouth. The church is the largest parish church in the historic county of Devon and was built in the mid to late 15th century. It was designated as a Minster Church in 2009 and it continues to operate as the focus for religious civic events for the city and as a bustling evangelical church.

It is likely to be on the site of the original Saxon church and was once attached to the abbey of Plympton.

The Resurgam Door St Andrews, Plymouth, England

In March 1941, St Andrew’s Parish Church was bombed and badly damaged. Amid the smoking ruins a headmistress nailed over the door a wooden sign saying simply Resurgam (Latin for I shall rise again), indicating the wartime spirit, a gesture repeated at other devastated European churches. That entrance to St Andrew’s is still referred to as the “Resurgam” door and a carved granite plaque is now permanently fixed there.

The following is the complete copy of the will of Richard Uppum, which is in the archdeaconry court of Exeter:

“In the name of God Amen. I Richard Uppam of ye parish of Bickton in ye county of Devon, yeoman, doe make this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following. Imprimis. I give to Annie Chilper ye wife of Thomas Chilper of Otery 10*. Item. I give to Peter Morrice of Budleigh the elder 12d. Item. I give to Gastred Gutter of Budleigh, Widdy 12d. Item. I give to Thomas Upham my sonne my beste suit of wearing apparell that is to say breaches, doublett, gerkin, cloak, pockens, hatt. Item. I give to Sarah Upham my daughter in New England if she write that shee hath need of it that my executrixes may know of it under her hand within ye term of three years then my will is shee shall have 5£. Item. I give to John Upham my sonne in New England if he come for it 5*. Item. I give to John Martin my daughter Judith’s child my beste silver spoone. Item. I forgive Edward Martin and Judith his wife a debt of 3£, 10s. Item. My Will is that my executrixes shall pay and discharge ye summe of 8£ that I have agreed to pay Mr Duke* for Harriotte at my death. Item. My Will is that my executrixes shall not rip up or move any seeling

or glasse about y* house or ye bottomes of any hay loftes but to leave it to my reversioner. Item. I give to Richard Uppam and Thomas Uppam children of Thomas Uppam my sonne my two worst silver spoones to each of them one. Item. I give to Frances Uppam my daughter my greate chest that standeth in ye hall. But my will is that if shee die before shee be married that Richard Uppam my sonne Thomas’s child shall have him. Item. I give to Jane Uppam my daughter my white coffer. Item. I give to John, Joane, Mary and Sara, children of my sonne Thomas Uppam 12d. apiece. All ye rest of my goods, movable and immovable I give to Susanna Uppam, Frances Uppam and Jane Uppam my daughters whom I make joynt executrixes to my last Will and Testament and I doe ordaine my trustie friends Robert Conaut and Thomas Morris to be my overseers to see this my last Will and Testament to bee performed and to see all my goods (not above bequeathed) to bee equally Divided between them as much as lyeth in their powers.

“In witness hereof I the foresaid Richard Uppam have put my hand and seale this twelveth daye of December 1635.”

“richard Uppam” (no seal).
Witnesses: Thomas Morris.
Robert Conant.

Inventory taken by Thomas Morris, Robert Conant and Edward Martin.

The articles are numerous and of varying value, consisting of household goods: bedsteads, feather beds, feather pillows, candlesticks, table boards, table cloths, table napkins, the usual appurtenances and utensils of a farm house, jibbs and cider hogsheads, iron and brass crocks, trunks, boxes, coffers, one Bibell boke and other bokes to value of xiii.s. Total value £59-11-0.


1. Joanne Upham

Joanne’s husband Robert Martin was born 1587 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England.  His parents were Richard MARTIN Sr. and Katherine LYDE. Robert died 1660 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Inventory

[fol. 52] “Rehoboth the 26th february 1668 The Inventory of Johanna Martin” was taken by Thomas Cooper, Sr., Peter Hunt, Henry Smith and William Sabin. It was “exhibited to the Court held att Plymouth the 2oond of March 1668 on the oath of John Ormsbey;” The only mention of real estate is: “Housing and land” ^120.

* See Mayflower Descendant, XI : 156.

Widow Joanna Martin’s Will  “Joannah Martin widdow in the Towne of Rehoboth ” made her will 6 April, 1668. Bequests were as follows.

“wheras my late Dearly beloved husband Robert Martin by his last Will …. Did leave mee the use of his whole estate During my naturall life; and att my Death the Dispose of halfe the estate that is visible to my frinds according to my owne Descretion first That all my lawfull Debts be Discharged”

“my Loving Kinsman John Ormsbey [John ORMSBY]…. shall have the one halfe of my house lands Commons meddow both ffresh and salt orchyards and appurtenances belonging to mee in Rehoboth and the one halfe of my houshold goods tooles and husbandry geares within and without”

“my Cousin John Ormsbey shall have the bed wheron I lye with all the furniture therunto belonging and my brother Richard MARTIN to have equivolent out of the other goods according to the quallitie and quantity of it”

“to my sister Smith my wearing apparrell”

“To my Cosen Grace Ormsbey a silver spoone”

“It is my will That my Cousens Thomas and Jacob Ormsbey have ten shillings apeece ;”

It is my will That my Cozen Clapp his Children which hee had borne by my Kinswoman Jane Clapp (being six of them) have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my will That my brother Upham his Children att Mauldin, being 4 of them have ten shillings apeece”

“It is my Will That my Cosen Ormsbey whom I Chose to be the sole exequitor of this my last Will Doe pay or cause to be payed the aforsaid legacyes within a yeare after my Decease and that hee take the resedew of the estate belonging to mee; according to my husbands will : viz : goods within and without horned beasts and horses and swine to himselfe ;”

“Stephen Paine Junir and Richard Bowin Juni* To be the overseers of this my last Will”

The will was signed by a mark. The witnesses were Thomas Cooper, Sr., and Noah Newman.

“Mr Noah Newman tooke oath to this Will In the Court held att Plymouth June the second 1669”

3. John Upham

John’s first wife  Elizabeth Slade was born in 1603 in Bicton, Devon, England. Her parents were Roger Slade and Margerye Reede.  Elizabeth died 2 Dec 1670 in Malden, Mass.  For awhile it  was assumed Elizabeth’s maiden name was Webb, due to John being the uncle of a Joseph Webb, Richard Web’s son. Richard was either John’s brother-in-law through his wife or a sister. We now show Richard Webb was the husband of John’s sister, Sarah.

John’s second wife Kathryn Richards was the widow of Angel Hollard.   In 1671, Suffolk deeds, book 7, p. 224, has the following record:

“John Upham—Know all men whom it may concern That whereas there is a consummation of marriage intended between me John Upham, Sen. of Malden in New England and Katherine Hollard widowand Relict of Angell Hollard late deceased I the said John Uphamdo hereby wholly disclaim and utterly refuse to receive and take any goods Estate or appurtenances any way whatsoever belonging to the said Katherine and especially any money goods Estate or movables whatsoever that have been formerly or now or anyway belonging to the Estate of her former husband Angell Hollard. In witness whereof I set my hand and seal this fourteen day of August 1671.

“john Upham,” and a seal.
“Signed and sealed before Joshua Hubbart The mark H of Hannah Long and John Ballantine. This deed of disclaim was acknowledged by John Upham to be his act and deed
23-6-1671.” “R. Bellingham Governor.”
“grace Randall Clerk.”
Recorded & compared 28th, 6m, 1671 O. S.”

John  and his wife Elizabeth were among the 106 persons to set sail from Weymouth and land at Boston, May 6, 1636.    He arrived with his sister Sarah age 26, his wife Elizabeth, age 35,  sons John and Nathaniel and daughter Elizabeth.  He was made a freeman of Weymouth shortly after arrival.  He was a land owner.  In 1636 he was elected representative to the General Court in Boston; also in 1637, 1638, and 1639 at Newton.  He was a selectman in Weymouth in 1645, 45 and 46.

Rev. Hull’s Colony (21 families that came in 1635) were looked upon by Plymouth settlers as less pious, more mercantile, and Rev. Hull had problems…but apparently John Upham was respected in his towns. When Weymouth was split between the rigorous Puritans and the newly arrived Hull folk, John sided with Hull, but later apologized and was still accepted there.

John Upham memorial – Bell Rock Cemetery Malden Middlesex County Massa

About 1648 he moved to Malden, Massachusetts where he also became a selectman.  He was appointed six times as Commissioner  in Weymouth and Malden to settle “lesser legal matters” and to deal with the Indians.  In total 8 years a Selectman and 3 years a moderator of Town Meetings. He was also actively interested in the settlement of Worcester, Mass..  The church appointed him the high position of Deacon, which office he held for nearly twenty-four years.  He died 25 Feb 1681 at age 81.

Worcester was first settled by the English in 1673, along the Upper Boston Post Road. The modest settlement of six or seven houses was burned to the ground during King Philip’s War on Dec 2, 1675, when settlers were either killed or driven off. The town was subsequently resettled and was incorporated in 1684. On Sep 10 of that year, Daniel Gookin and others petitioned to have the town’s name officially changed from Quinsigamond to Worcester. However, its inhabitants were still vulnerable to attack, and some were taken hostage by natives during the 1690s. When Queen Anne’s War started in 1702, the town was again abandoned by its English inhabitants except for Diggory Sargent. Sargent was later tomahawked, as was his wife, who was too weak to make the journey on foot to Canada. Their children were taken to Canada and survived.

John Upham was involved in the initial settlement of Worcester, Worcester, Mass.

Children of John and Elizabeth:

i. John Upham  b. 1628;  d. Weymouth MA, 5 Jun 1640.  John immigrated with his parents when he was 7 years old;  m. Elizabeth, dau. of John Mousall; buried at Weymouth, New England, 5d, 4m, 1640

ii. Nathaniel Upham b. 1630; immigrated with his parents when he was 5 years old; m. at Cambridge 5 Mar 1661, Elizabeth Steadman, daughter of John Stedman {1638, Cambridge}. He died at Cambridge 20 Mar 1661/2, just 15 days after his marriage. His widow married Henry Thompson at Cambridge, 27 Apr 1669. Nathaniel was assistant pastor with Rev. Marmaduke Matthews 1650-52.

iii. Elizabeth Upham Welch b. 1632; ; immigrated with her parents when she was 3 years old; m.  by about 1653 Thomas Welch; d. at Charlestown, 12 Jan 1705/06.

iv. Lt. Phineas Upham b. 1635 in Weymouth, Mass; d. 8 Oct 1676 in Boston, Middlesex, Mass of wounds suffered in King Philip’s  War Great Swamp Fight; m. 14 Apr 1658 Malden, Mass to Ruth Wood. After the deaths of her parents [and our ancestors] Edward WOOD and Ruth LEE  in 1642, Ralph and Alice Mousall took their daughter Ruth in, and raised her.

In 1700, Phineas’ grandson Phineas Upham,  received a land grant in North Malden which is now called Melrose. In 1703, Phineas Upham married Tamzen Hill and built the house which is still standing today called the Phineas Upham House of Melrose. It has been passed down through family tradition that the house was built for Phineas Upham in 1703 and that Phineas came to this house, then new, on horseback with his new bride, Tamzen. (Elevation)

The Phineas Upham House, built in 1703, is a historic house at 255 Upham Street in Melrose, Mass.

v. Mary Upham b.1637 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Mass.; d. 27 Jun 1677 Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass; m. 12 Mar 1661 in Malden, Suffolk, Mass. to John Whittemore.

vi. Priscilla Upham b. 1642 in Weymouth, Norfolk, Mass.; d. 8 Dec 1717 Malden, Essex, Mass.; m. 1662 in Charlestown, Middlesex, Mass to Thomas Crosswell.

vii. John,t b. about 1647, adopted; d. Nov. 25, 1677.

Phineas was in command of men, and in service during the latter part of the summer; and in September, 1675, led a company of thirty-eight men out to Mendon to meet [our ancestor] Capt. John GORHAM of Plymouth Colony, and the account of their service on that occasion is explained in the following letters:

Letter of Lt. Phineas Upham to the Governer and Council.
From Mendum, ye 1st: Octobr: 1675.
Honerd Gourner & Counsill.

These are to certify your worships that Capt. Gorum with myselfe & our Souldiers of both Companys are in good health at prestt through mercy;

And to give your honer an account of our seaverell marches; first we Came to Mendum one the 25th day of the weeke at nightt being the 24th day of September and one the 25th day we marched from Mendum unto Hassanemisett hoping there to have had an Indian for our guide; butt the Indians were all gone from thence; and were thereby disapoynted of our expecttation & one the next day we marched unto Packachoug where we found a feild of good corn and well fenced: which we did think convenient not to destroy: Concluding that for ought we Knew Sum of the neeriest of our Inhabitance would be willing to save itt; butt we could not finde any Indians neither the signe of any being there of late and we marched from thence unto Manchoag and Chobanamagungamung where we found sum cornfeilds and sum wigwams, which Corn and wigwams we burnt and destroyed butt [we did not] finde any of our enimies which was a greate discouragement to us, having taken soe much paynes to finde them; then we Returned and marched to an Indian Plantation called Shockebogue where we Could not finde any Indians butt found a Considerable quantity of Good Corne which we did not destroy butt Reserved itt at the Request of Sum of Mendum who thinke to fetch itt home for there use; and from thence we Came to Mendum one the 30th of Septbr: now seeing in all our marches we finde noe Indians verily thinke thatt thay are drawne together into greate bodyes far Remote from those partes:

If your honers please to send us one any further Service I hope we shall nott be unwilling butt forwarde to doe our uttermost Indeavours with all desiring that you would be pleased to add unto our number seeing that besides the Garrison men which must be left heere in garrison we have butt 30 men besides my Selfe, Capt. Gorum being now in his march to Mounthope and If we goe further we desir thatt we may have a Surgeon and some other thatt may be acquainted with the woodes where you Sende us the want of wch hath beene a discouragement to our men: And as for the town of Mendum I am desired to Commend the desolate condition of ym unto your honers: Severall of there Inhabitance being removed from them: and those in garrison being butt poore helps in divers respects and in number but 12 men, with theire armes very defecttive.

The plantation is very Remotte & therefore soe much the more stands in neede of helpe; itt is very Likely to be a prosperous place if itt please God to putt an Ishue to thes troubles and therefore it is the more pitty to have itt deserted by there people: who think it must be If they have nott sum assistance they hope: 20: men well fitted with this one Returned might be sufishent If your honers se Causs; and further they desired to acquainte your honers that ye Indians of Hassanamisett which your honers apoynted to set down with them have desertted there one town and come nott to that at Mendum And soe nott havening any more to troublee your honers with

I Rest your Honrs
To Command
Mass. Archives, vol. 67, p. 275. Liftenantt.

Letter of Capt John Gorum to Govor & Councill

Mendum Octob : th : 1 : 1675.

Much Honrd my servis with all due Respeckts humbly presented to yourselfe and the rest of the Counsill hoping of your helths I have made bold to troble you with these few lines to give your honnors an account of our progress in your Jurisdiction: According unto your honers order and detirmination I arived at Mendum with fifty men and the next day Leftennant Upham arived with thirty-eight men and the day following wee joyned our forces together and marched in pesuite to ffind our Ennimy; but God hath bin pleased to denigh us any oppertunity tharein; though with much Labor and travill we have indeavored to find them out which Left. Upham hath given you a more particular acount: our Solders being much worne out having bin in the ffeeld this foretene weeks and little hoops of finding the Enimy, we are this day Returning towards our Genrall: but as for my one part I shall be Redy to sarve God and the Country in this just warr soe long as I have life and helth. Not Else to troble you I Rest yours to Sarve in what I am able.

From Mendon Lieut. Upham marched his company to Brookfield, towards Springfield, where he was ordered by the Court to report to Capt. Wayte, who was expected to command a company in the service under Major John Pynchon, and that arrangement failing, he was assigned to the command of Capt. Jonathan Poole, with whom he joined forces and marched to Hadley before October 12th. He was formally placed under command of Capt. Poole in the organization of the army under Major Appleton, and served thus, in the stirring events of the weeks following.

November 20th, he was credited as Lieutenant under Capt. Poole, £6. 19. 04. He returned home when the army withdrew from the west; but joined the forces at Narraganset, probably after the muster at Dedham, December 10th. He was assigned to Capt. Johnson’s company, and after that gallant officer’s fall, was himself fatally wounded, at the head of the company, inside the fort. He was among the wounded at Rhode Island, Jan 6, 1675/76. He died at Boston, Oct 1676, and Oct 12, 1676, the court issued the following order:

Order of the General Court

October 12, 1676. In answer to the peticon of Ruth Upham, widdow & relict of the late Left. Phineas Upham, the Court Judgeth it meet to order, that the bills of charges to chirurgeons, doctrs & diet, mentioned in said peticon, be paid by the Treasurer of the country; and in consideration of the long and good service hir husband did for the country, & the greate losse the widdow susteynes in his death, being left with seven small children, & not able to carry on their affaires for the support of hirself & family, doe further order the Treasurer to pay unto the said widdow tenn pounds in or as money.

Items Treasurer to pay
£ s d
Mr. Chickering bill 2 14 08
Edward Ellis, Chir 2 10 00
Mr. Addington 1 03 05
Dr. Cooke 1 05 00
Mrs. Peirc for diet 4 18 00
To ye Widdow 10 00 00
Secretary Allowance 40 00 00
Col. Records Vol. V. p. 122.

Credited under Lieut. Upham

December 20th 1675

Robert Skelton 01 01 04
Robert Bardall 02 02 00
John Shaw 00 10 02
June 24th 1676
John Hall 01 00 00
August 24th 1676
Thomas Hoppin 00 07 08

I have found that the men who served under him were mostly paid off under the vouchers of Capt Poole; and after the fight at Narraganset he was never again able to take command.

5. Judith Upham

Judith’s husband Edward Martin was born 27 Nov 1609 in Bicton, Devon, England. His parents were  Richard MARTIN Sr. and Katherine LYDE. Edward died 19 Sep 1635 in Bicton, Devon, England

Children of Judith and Edward:

i. John Martin b. 22 Feb 1635 in Ottery Saint Mary, Devon, England; d. 21 Mar 1713 in Swansea, Bristol, Mass. ;m.  26 Apr 1671 Swansea, Bristol, Mass. to Joanna Esten

A legal record states that John Martin, living in his uncle Upham’s household testified in the suit of Priscilla Upham versus Paul Nixon, June 15. 1658.

John Martin Gravestone – Tyler Point Cemetery Barrington Bristol, RI Plot: Outside NE corner of the Bowen plot

6. Frances Upham

Frances’ husband William Ebdon was born 1607 in Bicton, Devon, England. William died 1636 in England.

7. Sarah UPHAM (See Richard ORMSBY‘s page)

Sarah  first married [Y__?]  Wanton.   She second married Richard Webb.  She came in 1635 to Weymouth, Massachusetts, age 26 and single (OR widowed).   When Sarah boarded ship on 20 May 1635, she gave her surname as Upham. In her father’s will dated 12 Dec 1635, (he was buried 7 days later), he refers to his daughter as Sarah Uppam. Sarah died after 3 Oct 1665 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Sarah came to America as part of the 1635 Hull Company, a large addition to the population of Weymouth.

Partial list of the Hull Company  from Weymouth in England, but some of them were from other towns in Dorset and in counties near by.

88 Robert Martyn of Bakombe, husbandman, aged 44. (Richard MARTIN’s brother.  Sarah’s brother-in-law; Sarah’s daughter-in-law Grace was Richard’s daughter)
89 Humfrey Shepheard, husbandman, 22 years.
90 John Upham, husbandman, aged 35 years. (Sarah’s brother)
91 Joane Martyn, aged 44 years. (Sarah’s sister)
92 Elizabeth Upham, aged 32 years.  (Sarah’s sister-in-law)
93 John Upham, Junior, aged 7 years.
94 William Grane, aged 12.
95 Sarah Upham, aged 26.
96 Nathaniel Upham, aged 5 years.
97 Elizabeth Upham, aged 3 years.

8. Frances Upham

Frances’ husband William Ebdon waas born in 1607 Bicton, Devon, England. William died in 1636 in England


The record of my ancestry By Charles Lyman Newhall

Posted in 13th Generation, Historical Church, Line - Miner, Place Names | 15 Comments

Rev. Henry Whitfield

Rev. Henry Whitfield (1597 – 1657) was the father of Rev. James FITCH’s first wife Abigail. While he is not one of our direct ancestors, I thought his story would be interesting to include.

Henry was minister at St. Margaret’s Church Ockley, England for more than twenty years before he resigned and came to America.

Rev. Henry Whitfield was born 1597 in Mortlake, Surrey, England, now a district of London. His parents were Thomas Whitfield (1545 – 1629) and Mildred Fortune Manning (1560 – 1627).  He married Dorothy Sheaffe 1618 of Ockley, Surrey, England. In 1639, he resigned as Rector of St Margaret’s Church in Ockley and led a  group of 25 families to America. They sailed on the vessel St. John, which left London in June, 1639, and arrived about September 10, 1639 in Guilford CT. Henry returned to England, died there 17 Dec. 1657 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Henry is buried in Winchester Cathedral

Dorothy Sheaffe was born in 1601 Cranbrook, Kent, England or  St. Dunstan, Cranford, Kent, England. Her parents were Rev. Thomas Sheafe, D.D. and Maria (Mary) Wilson.  Dorothy died in 1669 Guilford, New Haven, CT.

Children of Henry and Dorothy:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Dorothy Whitfield 25 Mar. 1619 Ockley, Surrey, England Samuel Desborough
Thomas Jordan
Guilford, CT
Surrey, England
2. Sarah Whitfield bapt.
1 Nov. 1620 Ockley, Surrey, England
Rev. John Higginson 8 July 1675 Salem, Essex, MA
3. Abigail Whitfield 1 Sep 1622 in Ockley, Surry, England Rev. James FITCH
18 Oct 1648 Guilford, CT
9 Sep 1659 Saybrook, CT.
4. Thomas Whitfield bapt.
28 Dec. 1624 Ockley, Surrey, England
Died Young
5. John Whitfield 11 Feb 1627 Ockley, Surrey, England Elizabeth Waldish England
6. Nathaniel Whitfield 28 June 1629 Ockley, Surrey, England Aft. 1685
7. Mary Whitfield 4 Mar 1631 Ockley, Surrey, England Aft. 1657
Surrey, England
8. Henry Whitfield 9 Mar 1634 Ockley, Surrey, England 28 Feb 1634/35 Ockley, Surrey, England
9. Rebecca Whitfield 20 Dec 1635 Winchester, Litchfield, CT Died Young

Henry Whitfield was born in 1597, and was descended from an old and well-known English family which had long been distinguished in the south of England both in church and in state. He was the younger son of Thomas Whitfield Esq., an eminent lawyer in the courts of Westminster. His mother was Mildred Manning, daughter of Henry Manning, Esq. of Greenwich in the county of Kent.

With the intention of preparing him for the bar, his family furnished him with a liberal education. He attended the university of Oxford first and then attended the Inns of Court. (A prestigious finishing school for gentlemen).

According to Cotton Mather, Henry Whitfield became a Christian in early life and was ordained to be a preacher. He entered the Christian ministry in the Church of England in 1618 (1616 according to Foster’s Alumni Qxonienses.) and enjoyed “the rich living of Ockley” in the county of Surrey, in the diocese of Winchester. He married Dorothy Sheaffer, daughter of a Kentish clergyman, and settled into the quiet, gracious life of an English Vicar.

Rev. Whitfield was a conformist of the established church of England for twenty years. By the 1630’s, however, his home became a haven for pious nonconformists in their time of troubles and persecutions. John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, and John Davenport were among the prominent clergy and future leaders of The Great Migration who found refuge and concealment in his comfortable home.

Ockley is a historic village in Surrey, built on Stane Street, a Roman Road stretching from Chichester to London. Situated between Dorking and Horsham, close to the Sussex/Surrey border, Ockley nestles in the shadows of Leith Hill, the highest point in South east England.

St Margaret’s church, dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch, is believed to date from 1291.

St Margaret’s Ockley

The original construction was simply a single aisle and sanctuary, of which probably only the south wall still remains. The porch was added around the 16th Century and the tower, despite its Norman appearance was added in 1700. The peal of six bells was hung in 1701. A replica of the tenor bell was shipped to America in 1752, and is now called ‘The Liberty Bell’ because it was rung to proclaim the Declaration of Independence. The famous herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper, son of one of the Rectors was born in Ockley in 1616.

St Margaret’s used to have a gallery, but this was removed during major restoration work in 1872, together with the high box pews which were used for ‘the gentry’.

The reigning church hierarchy of Charles I, specifically Archbishop William Laud, did not look favorably on the views and activities of these clergymen. In 1637, when Henry Whitfield refused to read The Book of Sports and follow the new liturgy, he was censured by Laud and other High Churchmen of the High Commission Court.

The “Book of Sports,” reprinted under Laud’s direction, brought Henry Whitfield to the attention of the High Church Commission in 1637. Conceived as a well-intentioned guide to permissible after-church leisure activities that people could engage in without violating rules of the Sabbath, it was seen by Puritans as a blasphemy. To them, the Sabbath was a day of worship, not of frivolities.

Although the book is strange and the subject matter trivial to modern ways of thinking, the issues were considered to have serious religious and political implications in those times: The declaration listed “archery, dancing, leaping, vaulting, or any other such harmless recreation” as permissible sports, together with “May-games, Whitsun-ales and Morris-dances, and the setting up of May-poles”. Also allowed: “women shall have leave to carry rushes to the church for the decorating of it, according to their old custom.” Amongst the activities that were prohibited were bear- and bull-baiting, “interludes” and bowling.

James I had first published the “Book of Sports” in the 1620’s, and now Charles I reissued it in 1633. The point of contention was that King Charles insisted that every pastor read it aloud to his congregation. Many Puritans, like Henry Whitfield, flatly refused to do so and, like Reverend Whitfield, were called before the Archbishop Laud’s Commission and censured. Ezekiel ROGERS, founder of Rowley, Massachusetts also refused to read from the Book of Sports and was discharged from his post in Rowley Yorkshire.

It was said that Henry Whitfield’s courteous manners, attainments as a scholar, purity, gentleness, and eloquence as a preacher made him eminent in an age of great men. According to Cotton Mather, “his doctrines were enlightened and evangelical so that his labors were blessed not only to his own people, but throughout all the surrounding country where people flocked to hear him.”

Henry Whitfield Statue in the gardens of his house in Guilford, Connecticut

He continued preaching as he had before, arousing the ire of The High Churchmen one again. Rather than face another censure, in 1638 Whitfield resigned his position as Vicar of Ockley Church and became an itinerant preacher traveling to parts of southern England. Like many of the charismatic ministers of the time, he formed a “Clerical company” and gathered around him 25 families of young people, largely farmers of Surrey or Kent, to make plans to emigrate to the New World as his congregation.

Rev. John Davenport, a friend of Whitfield’s, had emigrated and founded New Haven colony in 1638. Another college friend, George Fenwick, was a grantee of the Warwick Patent and had helped found the Saybrook colony in 1635. These two colonies, forty miles from each other in Connecticut, encouraged Whitfield to consider the welcoming prospect of southern New England.

Guilford, New Haven, CT

Henry Whitfield was one of the founders of Guilford, Connecticut.  It was first settled in 1639 after being purchased from Native American leader Wequash.  The place was named for Guilford in Surrey, the native place of many of the colonists. After negotiating with the local Native Americans, who were represented by their squaw sachem (female chief) Shaumpishuh, the group purchased land halfway between New Haven and Saybrook. There they established the plantation of Menuncatuck, which would later be known as Guilford.

Like most 17th century New England towns, Guilford was organized around a common or green. The first houses were small huts with thatched roofs, wooden walls, and dirt floors. Guilford, unlike other villages, had no protective palisade fence surrounding the community; instead they build four large stone houses for the leaders of the plantation. These homes were strategically located and used for shelter during times of danger. Life in Guilford was extremely primitive and resembled a medieval village for several generations.

It was on June 1, 1639, while still at sea that the twenty-five male family heads drew up and signed an agreement known variously as the GUILFORD COMPACT or THE PLANTATION COVENANT.  This simple agreement formed the basis for the establishment of a new settlement along the shores of what is now Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

GUILFORD COVENANT – signed “on shipboard” June 1639

“We, whose names are hereunder written, intendending by God’s gracious permission to plant ourselves in New England, and, if it may be, in the southerly part, about Quinnipiack:  We do faithfully promise each to each, for ourselves and families, and those that belong to us; that we will, the Lord assisting us, sit down and join ourselves together in one intire plantation; and to be helpful each to the other in every common work, according to every man’s ability and as need shall require; and we promise not to desert or leave each other or the plantation but with the consent of the rest, or the greater part of the company who have entered into this engagement.

As for our gathering together in a church way, and the choice of officers and members to be joined together in that way, we do refer ourselves until such time as it shall please God to settle us in our plantation.  In witness whereof we subscribe our hands, the fist day of June 1639.

  • Robert Kitchell
  • John Stone
  • Thomas Norton
  • John Bishop
  • William Plane
  • Abraham Cruttenden
  • Francis Bushnell
  • Richard Gutridge
  • Francis Chatfield
  • William Chittendon
  • John Hughes
  • William Halle
  • William Lute
  • Wm. Dudley
  • Thomas Naish
  • Thomas Joanes
  • John Parmelin
  • Henry Kingsnorth
  • John Jordan
  • John Mepham
  • Henry Doude
  • William Stone
  • Henry Whitfield
  • Thomas Cooke
  • John Hoadly

Guilford is considered by some to have the third largest collection of historic homes in New England, with important buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries There are five historic house museums, including the Henry Whitfield House (1639), the oldest dwelling house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in North America.  If this house was actually begun in 1639, it would be the oldest extant New England Colonial building, but there is no original interior wood, so the tree-ring method of dating (dendrochronology) cannot be used.  According to tradition, the stone of which it is built was brought by Indians on hand-barrows across a swamp from Griswold’s lodge, about eighty rods distant. The walls are three feet thick. The house was kept in its original form till 1868, when it underwent considerable renovation.

Whitfield House

The Henry Whitfield House is a historic house located at 248 Old Whitfield Street in Guilford, Connecticut. This house dates from 1639, having been built just before the town of Guilford was settled. The house, with its massive stone walls, also served as a fort.  It was one of four stone houses that served to protect the community. Henry Whitfield was a Puritan minister who had come from England to flee religious persecution.

Whitfield House

The house was remodeled in 1868 and opened to the public in 1899 as a museum of the State of Connecticut, the Henry Whitfield State Museum. The house was restored in 1902-04 and in the 1930s and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.  It is the oldest house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house in New England. It was named a State Archeological Preserve in 2006.

Henry Whitfield House

After eleven years of service to the community he founded, Henry Whitfield returned to England. The contemporary historian Hubbard wrote, “After sundry years continuance in the country he found it too difficult for him, partly from the sharpness of air, he having a weake body, and partly from the toughness of those employments wherein his livelihood was sought…he at length took his departure about the 25th of August, 1650, in a small vessle bound for Boston, where he expected to take a ship to London. The whole town accompanied him to the shore and took their farewell of their pastor with tears and lamentations.” He left behind his wife Dorothy and some of his ten children.

It may be that Whitfield returned in what was called “The Counter-Migration” to enjoy a welcoming religious and political climate. Charles I and William Laud had been beheaded. The Cavaliers had been routed on all fronts by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army. The Puritans had the upper hand in the revolutionary government which was to engage several constitutional experiments over the next few years.

Back in England, Henry Whitfield became involved in fundraising for Indian missions and joined the corporation for the Puritan Missionary Society. There were, in parts of New England, communities of “Praying Indians” who had been converted to Christianity. Henry Whitfield reported on the progress of evangelical efforts to the Puritan Parliament and asked for government support.

In 1652, he published “Strength out of weakness, or a glorious manifestation of the further progress of the Gospell among the Indians in New England: Held forth in sundry letters from divers ministersand others to the corporation established by Parliament for promoting the Gospell among the heathen in New England and to particular members thereof, since the last treatise to that effect.”  Henry is also the author of “Helps to stir up to Christian Duties” (London, 1634); and “The Light appearing more and more toward the Perfect Day, or a Farther Discovery of the Present State of the Indians in New England ” (1651)

Whitfield took a parish in the Diocese of Winchester and appears to have resumed his former life as a quiet English Vicar. He remained there until his death on September 17, 1657. He is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Savage [with some of his abbreviations expanded]

“WHITFIELD, …(5030) HENRY, Guilford, came to New Haven in July 1639, with Col. George Fenwick and his lady, and a child of famous John Davenport, who, in a letter of 27 Sept. aft. to lady Mary Vere, tells of the ship, that she was the first “that ever cast anchor in” that place. See Geneal. Reg. IX. 149 No Doubt he was bred up for the pulpit, but of his place of education wh. are unknown. The common account of him is, that he was son of a lawyer, b. about 1597, settled as minister at Ockham, about 20 miles. from London, in Co. Surry, but others day Ockley or Okely in that shire about three miles. from the metropolis

“was one of the founders of the church at Guilford yet the establishment of the church. seems to be postponed to 1643, probably from the slow growth of the town. He had propty. eno. and disregard. the fulmination of Bishop. Laud for no read. the royal proclaimation. for sports on Sunday, resigned his place without dispute, after serving at the altar near twenty years in his native land.

“Later in the autumn of 1650, he went home, published the two following years. relattions of the spread of the gospel among our aborig. and died in the city of Winchester, it is said, in the office of minister though. of this I much doubt, if my construct. of the language of letters from his son-in-law and nephew. both named (5011ii[1]) John Higginson, as to his long life, be correct. See 3 Mass. Hist. Coll. VII. 200, 1 and 4. Commonly it is said he had ten children but I know only of (2515) Abigail, the first wife of (2514) Rev. James Fitch, and (5011ii) Sarah, wh. m. Rev. John Higginson.


1. Dorothy Whitfield

Dorothy’s first husband Samuel Desborough was born in Nov 1619 in Surrey, England. “Samuel Desborough, the first magistrate of Guilford, Connecticut, returned Aug/Nov 1650 to England and became in 1656, under Cromwell, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland. His brother John had married Cromwell’s sister Jane. He died 10 Dec 1690,in Elsworth, Cambridgeshire England.

Cromwell had a plan to ship out the Irish and repopulate Ireland with Protestants under his control.  He turned to New England people because they were Puritans of approved metal; they had been schooled in adversity and had demonstrated their ability to overcome great difficulties in the settlement and development of a country. Late in 1649 or early in 1650 he began systematic efforts to get New England people into Ireland. He wrote to New England for settlers and especially for missionaries. To whom he addressed himself can only be conjectured. There is no trace at this time of correspondence between Cromwell and anyone of Massachusetts except John Cotton, to whom Cromwell wrote early in October in answer to a letter of July, 1651. Samuel Desborough, however, who was close to Cromwell, kept in communication with Cotton. But Cromwell and Cotton were brought into communication by William Hooke, of New Haven, with whom Cromwell was frequently corresponding just at this time. Hooke in turn was intimately known to Desborough, and New Haven was the colony with which Cromwell was most closely connected.  Probably, therefore, the matter was managed by Hooke and Desborough through John Cotton, of Boston, and William Cobbet, of Lynn.

Cromwell now turned his attention toward New Haven, where the general despondency seemed to offer a good opportunity. These efforts did not cease until October, 1654. William Hooke, Samuel Desborough, and William Leete were Cromwell’s agents in the matter. Very probably the movement began while Desborough was still a resident of Guilford in 1650.  After Desborough left for England he induced Leete to write to Cromwell (some time before March, 1653-54) in behalf of New England, entreating him to relieve their afflicted and straitened condition. Cromwell made a favorable answer, which was enforced by a letter from Desborough March 5 1654. Leete took the matter up and spread the Protector’s offer through the colony. Some more or less definite arrangements were made for removal, and the city of Galway  was chosen as a place for settlement. The form which this arrangement took and why no general migration resulted can not be ascertained, because of the loss of the New Haven records from 1649 to 1653.

Dorothy’s second husband Thomas Jordan was born in 1618. Thomas died in 1650 in Guilford, Connecticut.

Children of Dorothy and Samuel

i. Sarah Desborough b. 1649; m. Christopher Milles of Herne

2. Sarah Whitfield

Sarah’s husband Rev. John Higginson was born 6 Aug. 1616 Claybrooke, Leicester, England. His parents were John Higginson and [__?__].  After Sarah died, he married Mary [__?__]  (c. 1626 – 1709) of Boston, Mass, widow of Joshua Atwater.  John Higginson was Henry Whitfield’s assistant as teacher and minister.   John died 9 Dec. 1708 Salem, Essex, Mass.


HIGGINSON, …(5031ii[1]) JOHN, Salem, disting. in the annals of that place, eldest son of [John Higginson] b. 6 Aug. 1616, at Claybrook, Co. Leicest. (wh. was dwell. of ano. fam. of the same name), came with his family. was freeman 25 May 1636, served as chaplain 1637, at Saybrook, but in 1641 went to Guilford, and was some years. colleague with (5030) Rev. Henry Whitefield, whose d. (5031ii) Sarah he married

“On a design of going to England he came in 1659 to Salem, there was prevailed on to remain, ordained Aug,. 1660, and died among the most honored of our clerg. 9 Dec. 1708. He had second wife Mary, wid. of Joshua Atwater of Boston, only three mos. survived him.”

Children of Sarah and John:

i. John Higginson b.1646 Guilford, New Haven, CT; d. 23 Mar. 1719/20 Salem, Essex, MA; m. Sarah Savage (25 June 1653 Boston, Mass – 26 June 1713)

ii. Nathaniel Higginson, b. 11 Oct. 1652, Harvard College 1670; d. Nov 1708 London, England

iii. Thomas Higginson

iv. Francis Higginson, b. 9 June 1660, went to Eng,. and was, it is said, sent to the Univeristy by his uncle Francis, [[vol. 2, p. 414]] but d. at London, of smallpox, 1684

v. Henry Higginson, 22 Dec. 1661, or 2, wh. d. 1685 at Barbados, of smallpox

vi. Sarah Higginson m. 1672, Richard Wharton

vii. Ann Higginson m. 4 Oct. 1682, William Dolliver of Gloucester.

2. Sarah Whitfield

Sarah’s husband Rev. John Higginson was born 6 Aug 1616 in Claybrook, Leicestershire, England. His parents were Francis Higginson and Anne Herbert. After Sarah died, he married 1676 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT to Mary Blakeman (b 1636 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT – d. 9 Mar 1709 in Stratford, Fairfield, CT. John died 9 Dec 1708 in Salem, Mass.

3. Abigail Whitfield (See Rev. James FITCH‘s page)

5. John Whitfield

John’s wife Elizabeth Waldish was born in Surrey, England.  Her parents were Alexander Waldish and [__?__].


Whitfield 1 – Relatives on Henry Whitfield’s mother’s side

Whitfield 2

Whitfield 3

Whitfield 4 (Virtual Tour of House)

The history of Guilford, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1639 By Ralph Dunning Smith

Historical papers relating to the Henry Whitfield House, Guilford, Connecticut reprinted by vote of the Trustees. Published 1911


Posted in Artistic Representation, College Graduate, Dissenter, Historical Church, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Miner, Pioneer, Place Names | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

John Mason’s Controversial Statue

Maj. John MASON (1600 – 1672) was the commanding officer in the Pequot War.

John Mason Portrait

At the time, he was a victorious hero who later became  Deputy Governor of Connecticut and founded Norwich, Connecticut.  Now, he is viewed by some as a war criminal due to his responsible for the Mystic Massacre.  He was Alex’s 10th great grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miner line.

A statue of Major John Mason is on the Palisado Green in  Windsor, Connecticut . The John Mason statue was originally placed at the intersection of Pequot Avenue and Clift Street in Mystic, Connecticut, near what was thought to be one of the original Pequot forts.

Major John Mason Statue now in Windsor, CT

The statue remained there for 103 years. After studying the sensitivity and appropriateness of the statue’s location near the historic massacre of Pequot people, a commission chartered by Groton, Connecticut voted to have it relocated. The State in 1993 relocated the statue to its current setting.

The work of the committee is an interesting piece of history in its own right, raising issues of history, our national identity, fairness and revisionism.   Even before his committee got to the issue at hand, Lon Thompson knew the members were in trouble.

At the outset, early in 1993, the job had not seemed too difficult. They were to take six months to recommend to the town what to do with a statue. The monument was hardly central to this tourist village at the east end of Long Island Sound. Most residents could not give you directions to it.

But quickly it became apparent that the volunteers on the committee were involved in much more than a decision about a statue. They had been pitched into a debate about what happened on a June morning 357 years ago-one of the most hotly contested events in Colonial history and one that some scholars argue is at the root of relationships between European colonizers and Native Americans.

Almost from the start, the angry unfinished business of the 17th century seeped into the committee’s meetings. Furious members soon gave up taking minutes because no one could agree on what had been said at the previous session. The audience grew increasingly hostile, jeering expert witnesses.

An invited speaker once threatened a committee member. Thompson remembers thinking: “Reality check. Hello.” Thompson was called a dictator and compared to Hitler. The statue was likened to erecting a monument to Heinrich Himmler at Auschwitz.

It was a curious turnaround for Capt. John Mason. A century earlier, Mason’s place in history seemed unassailable when the leading men of Mystic lifted his towering bronze likeness, frozen forever grasping at his sword, onto a 23-ton granite block.

A plaque on the stone declares that near the spot, Mason “overthrew the Pequot Indians and preserved the settlements from destruction.” He was a figure of reverence; mythlike. He was a defender of the colony and an instrument of God.

But history ebbs and flows. The very events Mason is credited with setting in motion have lately been kinder to the vanquished than the victor. Decades of development have relegated the statue to an out- of-the-way part of town. Its huge pedestal now sits in the middle of Pequot Avenue. Locally, Mason’s legacy is a means of slowing traffic.

Pequot fortunes, meanwhile, recently moved in a reverse direction. Two decades of historical revisionism cast the Puritan war with the Pequots in terms more sympathetic to the tribe. Coincidentally, a century after the statue went up, the tribe Mason had been credited with burning from the Earth broke ground for a gambling casino that has become the most profitable in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1992, well into this shifting historical context, there was a prayer service at the foot of Mason’s statue. It remembered not Mason’s victory, but those who suffered and died at the hands of the European invaders. Wolf Jackson, a Pequot, then circulated petitions calling for the statue’s removal. In October 1992, the Groton Town Council-the western half of Mystic is part of Groton-appointed the committee.

Thompson became chairman by virtue of his strong lack of opinion on the subject; he lives in the neat subdivision that has grown around Mason’s statue and is a beneficiary of its effect on traffic.

The committee’s work stretched past its deadline. For most of 11 months, Thompson was more referee than chairman. The committee split roughly between people who hated the statue and people who liked it; people who thought Mason was all bad and those who thought he wasn’t. Illustrative of the group’s divisions was the decision against keeping meaningful minutes.

“The reason we did that,” Thompson said, “was that the early meetings, the first few months, were almost 911 contentious. So rather than devolve into spending three hours each week trying to get every word of the minutes from last week approved, we kind of somehow came to the decision to just not say anything.”

One night, Moonface Bear, a leader of Connecticut’s Golden Hill Paugussett tribe, addressed the committee.

“I thought I was going to get hit with a chair,” Thompson said. “That was a very heated meeting. And I think the minutes say, `We had Native American speakers here.’ That kind of thing.”

In such an atmosphere, how were nine people in modern-day Connecticut — including a descendant of the Pequots and a descendant of Mason-supposed to discern the motives of an English colonist? How were they to decide what the erectors of the statue had in mind? How would they agree on whether history’s wrongs can be righted?

It was as if the battle for the colony had to be fought again.

Preludes to war

Whatever the motives of Mason and the Pequots, history suggests a clash between cultures was inevitable.

By the 1620s, a flourishing commerce existed between Europe, where beaver coats were the rage, and North America, where trappers and traders filled the void left by overhunting in the Russian forests.

Already there were territorial scrapes between the Pequots, the dominant tribe, and their neighbors, including the Narragansetts. The earliest European incursions into the Connecticut River Valley only exacerbated them.

The Dutch sailed up the Connecticut River as far as modern Hartford to trade with the Pequots. The English from Massachusetts Bay sent a band of settlers to Hartford and established relations with lesser tribes who hoped to gain a degree of protection from the Pequots.

The English also established a trading post of their own at Windsor, where the Farmington River joins the Connecticut. Their plan was to intercept furs bound from the interior for the Dutch.

Tension grew.

The Pequots killed some Indians-probably Narragansetts-who were attempting to trade with the Dutch. The Dutch reacted by kidnapping and killing a Pequot sachem. The Narragansett response was to consider war against the Pequots. And the Pequots retaliated with an attack on the Dutch post, the House of Hope.

But it took the apparently unrelated murder of John Stone, an English trader, to really begin the destabilizing slide toward general war. It is curious that Stone contributed so to hostilities, because if there was anything the Pequots and English agreed upon, it was that Stone needed killing.

He was a West Indian trader-cum- pirate who landed in Massachusetts Bay after trying to hijack a Plymouth ship. The citizens of Plymouth howled for his head, but Stone had friends in high places. For some reason, the Colonial magistrates smoothed things over, at least until Stone next surfaced, in bed with another man’s wife. Stone is said to have used “braving and threatening speeches” to bully his way out of the jam, but he was banished on pain of death.

On his way to Virginia, Stone kidnapped some Indians at the Connecticut River for ransom, but he was caught off guard and killed, probably by Western Niantics, allies of the Pequots.

About the same time, the Pequot sachem Sassacus traveled to Massachusetts, hoping to stop the violence with diplomacy.

The English insisted that the Pequots produce Stone’s killers. But before anything could be done, another Englishman, John Oldham, was killed, this time on Block Island. The English, who also were hearing rumors that the Pequots were secretly plotting war against the colonists, held them responsible for Oldham’s death, even though Block Island was Narragansett territory.

On Aug. 25, 1636, Massachusetts Bay launched a punitive expedition under the charge of John Endecottto avenge the murders of Oldham and Stone.

Endecott attacked Block Island, but probably killed only one man. He burned some wigwams and crops and headed for Connecticut. At Pequot Harbor, site of modern New London, he demanded Stone’skillers.

Again, there was no real violence. Endecott chased some Pequots into the woods, where they hid, laughing at the sight of the Englishmen, armored and sweating under the hot sun. Endecott burned some more corn and wigwams. Then he returned to Boston.

Endecott was apparently enough to dissuade Sassacus of whatever peaceful intentions he may have held.

Fed up, he ordered his warriors on a series of raids. On April 23, 1637, 200 warriors attacked Wethersfield as the colonists left their homes to tend their fields and cattle.

Nine settlers, including a woman and a child, were killed. The war party took two 15-year-old girls hostage and retreated down the Connecticut River in dugout canoes. As the Indians passed the English fort at Old Saybrook, they hoisted the settlers’ bloody clothes in mimicry of sails on English boats.

The Wethersfield attack increased colonists’ fear that the Pequots were planning general war. The raid brought the total of English dead from the hostilities to 30 — 5 percent of the English population of Connecticut.

The English became convinced that their very survival was at stake. They decided to strike first. In the spring of 1637, the General Court at Hartford declared war on the Pequots, the first such declaration north of Mexico.

Heated views of history

It is a relatively new school of historical thought that asks whether the colonization of America was inherently evil-the same thinking that created a backlash of protest during the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World.

Such revision of history is what drove the movement for a new look at Mason’s statue. The town council asked the committee for advice on “possible solutions to resolve the conflict that now exists over the statue, its language and symbolism.”

Vine Deloria Jr., a Native American activist and author, wrote to the committee that conservative historians perpetuate many of society’s problems by refusing to “revise” interpretations of events, such as the battle between Mason and the Pequots.

“The real problem today is the irresponsibility of the ruling class of white man and the propensity of people to reclassify such massacres as `battle’-to use euphemisms to cover a multitude of sins,” he wrote.

To some committee members, such as David Silk, some Colonial histories were little more than propaganda.

“The history, first of all, was written by white men,” Silk said. “Some of the stuff was just terrible. Some of it written in the ’50s was just vile. Almost making heroes out of anyone who killed redskins.”

Silk was one of two committee members from the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice, a group that formed by holding protest vigils during the Persian Gulf war and that was drawn to Wolf Jackson’s crusade.

Silk brought to the table robust ideas about what to do with John Mason’s statue.

“I’d like to see the thing destroyed,” he said. “But, well, that’s down the road someplace.”

Silk viewed opposition to the statue as an obligation of cultural solidarity.

“The newspaper constantly refers to the Pequots’ objecting to the statue,” Silk said. “Sometimes it even seems like it’s a white-against-a-Native- American type of issue. Not only is it not true, but it’s harmful.

“It’s like, `If it wasn’t my ancestors who were slaughtered, then it doesn’t matter.’ It’s a way of denial. And I think it’s part of the denial that we have about Native Americans. `They once were, they no longer are.

Yeah, we treated them bad, but that was way back then.’ ”

Patron historian to all those who would remove the statue from its present site is Francis Jennings, author of “The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism and the Cant of Conquest.”

His 1975 book broke with traditional thinking and formulated a view of Colonial New England that casts Native Americans as victims. Its provocative arguments invigorated Colonial history.

In his writings on Mason and the Pequots, Jennings argues that their battle was the first of a continuing series of duplicitous attacks against Native Americans by Europeans who coveted their land.

Such thinking at times evoked passionate responses from the committee and members of its equally disputatious audience. Thompson struggled to maintain order, and after a time, his most frequent discussion with his wife became why he put up with it.

“I can’t even remember some of the things I was, on some nights during those meetings,” Thompson said. “I was used to being Hitler all the time. Every time I would cut somebody off and try to get things moving again, I was a dictator.”

At the fourth meeting, it was a member of the audience who informed the committee that the statue on Pequot Avenue is about as appropriate as a monument at Auschwitz to Heinrich Himmler, architect of the Nazis’ Final Solution.

The following week, Melinda Plourde- Cole, the other representative of the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition, wondered aloud whether “the statue’s energy” was “racism.” At the sixth meeting, Wolf Jackson compared Mason to Josef Stalin.

For a brief time, the state Department of Environmental Protection had a member on the committee, since the state owns the statue. He excused himself early one night, whispering to a friend, “I’m late. I hope I don’t get scalped.”

He did not whisper quietly enough. The committee-which not incidentally argued over who invented scalping, Indians or Europeans-voted that it would be his last meeting.

But the meeting almost everyone on the committee seems to remember was the night Moonface Bear came to speak, shortly before the Paugussett leader became a fixture in the news because of his armed standoff with the state over the sale of tax- free cigarettes.

“After the Moonface Bear incident, I made sure I found out how to get help in there, quickly,” Thompson said.

“What happened was, we were in a very small room that night and he had a lot of people with him. Some of these guys are pretty damn big. And they dress sort of to intimidate.”

Some on the committee and in the audience clapped and nodded in approval at Moonface Bear’s plea for Native American rights. “He just got spun up and encouraged enough at one point where it was like, `We’re going to get our rights. And we’ll fight. And we’ll kill people if we have to.’ And he got up and got very close to the table and said: `I’ll bring in as many people as we need.’ ”

A deadly inferno

In 1637, rightly or wrongly, the attack was planned and the Connecticut General Court chose Mason to lead it.

He was a 37-year-old militia captain who had arrived in the colony three years earlier, a leader among the families from Dorchester, Mass., who settled Windsor.

His march against the Pequots did not begin well.

There is some disagreement about the exact size of Mason’s force when he left Hartford. He probably had 90 Englishmen, from Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, and 70 Mohegans, led by the sachem Uncas, who had split from the Pequots.

They sailed to the English fort at Old Saybrook, commanded by Lt. Lion Gardiner. Gardiner knew a little about the Pequots; his outpost had been besieged for months following Endecott’s retaliatory raid at New London.

Gardiner pronounced Mason’s mission foolhardy-he was not outfitted for the attack, lacked the requisite military training and was depending for support upon Uncas, who was unreliable.

Uncas acted immediately to dispel doubts about his reliability. He killed four Pequots who happened to be in the vicinity. But the expedition was put on hold for five or six days. Eventually, the Englishmen decided to replace Mason’s 20 frailest men with 20 of Gardiner’s lustiest.

Again, there are inconsistencies about what followed-principally in numbers of troops-but the broad outline of events leading to the battle is agreed upon.

Mason had been ordered to make a frontal attack on a principal Pequot village. But after hours of prayer, he adopted a plan provided by the Narragansetts-attack from the rear.

From Old Saybrook, he sailed down Long Island Sound. When he passed Groton Long Point, Pequots lined the shore, waving and taunting; challenging the English to stop and fight.

But Mason continued to Rhode Island, apparently causing the Pequots to believe the English had given up and were returning to Massachusetts, petrified and defeated.

Still farther east, beyond the land of the Pequots, Mason touched shore in Narragansett territory. Again, he could have hoped for a more encouraging greeting. The Narragansett sachem Miantonomo was about as impressed as Gardiner. Mason’s force, Miantonomo said, was too paltry.

Nonetheless, after some talk, Miantonomo gave Mason his blessing, as well as his permission to march westward-across Narragansett territory. He also assigned agroup of Narragansetts and Niantics to join Mason’s force, bringing the number of the combined force to 500 by some accounts.

Mason and his army struck out through the woods, and it seemed as if all the dire warnings were proving true. First, a portion of his Indian allies had a change of heart and needed a rousing speech from Uncas to keep them from going home. Then, after camping for the night, the Englishmen overslept. Mason had hoped for a dawn attack.

When they finally roused themselves, the Englishmen found they were lost.

At last, Mason’s Indian scouts found a path that led to some cornfields, a sure sign of settlement. Mason found a 2-acre Pequot compound of homes, spread along lanes. It was surrounded by a 10- to 12-foot palisade of posts. There were entrances at the southwest and northeast sides.

Mason’s luck seemed to turn. The village was quiet, the inhabitants apparently sleeping late after a celebration of the spring fish runs.

Still undetected, Mason divided his force. He planned to attack from the northeast. His second in command, Capt. John Underhill, would enter from the southwest. As Mason approached, a dog barked. A sleepy Pequot emerged from his wigwam, and walked smack into the approaching English.

“Owanux, Owanux!” the Pequot cried. “Englishmen, Englishmen!” But Mason’s surprise was complete. His force was within the compound before the village was aroused. Mason charged into a wigwam full of sleeping inhabitants. He was nearly shot by an arrow, but one of his men slashed the warrior’s bowstring before he could fire.

The attack was only minutes old when Mason made a decision that raised one of the most enduring and hotly debated questions in New England history.

The Pequots were awake and trying to mount a defense. There was a great confusion of white men and red men running about. Mason, most historians believe, may have wanted to gain the upper hand before another Pequot village 5 miles away, where the sachem Sassacus was believed encamped with a large contingent of warriors, could send in reinforcements.

Mason had dashed along the village’s main lane and was at the compound’s northeast perimeter. There was a breeze freshening from the northeast. He ducked into a wigwam and grabbed an ember. He touched it to the wigwam’s bark mat covering. It was dry and ignited in a moment, and the breeze carried the flames south over the entire village.

In minutes, it was a deadly inferno.

The English and their allies bolted outside the palisade, and Mason ordered the English to form a ring around the village. Behind them, the Narragansett and Niantic allies formed a second, concentric circle.

The English were ordered to kill Pequots fleeing the flames, and the Indians were ordered to kill any the English missed.

Years later, Underhill wrote that the Pequots, who were absolutely without hope and being cut down by the score, fought valiantly:

“Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women and children. Others forced out, and came in troops to the Indians, twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women and children; those that scaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us.

“Most courageously these Pequots behaved themselves . . . many courageous fellows were unwilling to come out and fought most desperately through the pallisadoes . . . and so perished valiantly. Mercy did they deserve for the valor, could we have had opportunity to bestow it.”

It was a slaughter.

Before the flames died, Mason and his forces fled west. Sassacus, at the adjacent Pequot village, had been alerted and was in hot pursuit. Mason ran to the Thames River, where the English ships were waiting by prearrangement.

Accounts of the battle suggest 400 Pequot men, women and children — virtually the village’s entire population-were massacred. Mason probably lost two English killed and 20 wounded. Some accounts say as many as half his Native American allies died.

And it was only the first blow in what became a campaign by the English to exterminate the Pequots. Expeditions were commissioned in Massachusetts and Connecticut to finish the tribe off.

The war ended in scattered skirmishes; warriors were killed and women and children were dispersed among settlers and their Native American allies. Some were sold into slavery.

Near the end of 1637, the few remaining Pequot sachems pleaded for an end to the war, offering their freedom for the close of hostilities. A peace convention was arranged. The Treaty of Hartford was signed on Sept. 21, 1638, and, under its terms, the Pequots ceased to exist.

Before the war, there were probably 3,000 Pequots. Possibly half the tribe,principally combatants, were killed.

The treaty forbade the surviving Pequots from calling themselves Pequots.

They were not permitted to live in their tribal lands. The Pequot River was renamed the Thames River. Pequot Village was renamed New London. The word Pequot was not to be spoken.

Sassacus fled north, seeking refuge among the Mohawks. They killed him and made a gift of his head to the English in Hartford.

The monument question

By and large, the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee did not begin its work amid a general public hand-wringing over the rightness or wrongness of John Mason’s attack on the Pequots.

“Truly, I went in with an open mind on it,” said J. Neil Spillane, who was appointed to the committee as a representative of the Mystic River Historical Society.

“I did know that most of the Mystic residents really were strongly in favor of keeping the monument in Mystic. They didn’t see that there was all that much of a problem. To say the least, I suspect they felt it was a tempest in a teapot.”

But as the committee delved into its subject, it confronted the war’s central question, and it plagued the members just as it has historians in general. It is the question of what motivated Mason and his superiors in the Colonial administration.

On the one hand, it can be argued they were despicably venal; that they launched a premeditated, genocidal attack to exterminate the Pequots and steal their lands. On the other, there is the argument that Mason and the colonists acted from desperation; the settlers were afraid of being run out of Connecticut, and Mason fired the village in a frantic attempt to cover a retreat from a superior force.

The committee searched for answers. “We collected a stupefying amount of information,” Thompson said.

What it found were more questions. Did Mason attack an encampment of women and children? Or had the village been reinforced the night before by a contingent of warriors?

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the facts and I really shouldn’t even use the word facts,” Kevin McBride, a University of Connecticut archaeologist who works with the Pequots, told the committee. “It is all interpretation.”

The bottom line is that the Pequots were nearly eliminated. Whatever cultural contributions an intact tribe might have made to modern Connecticut were lost, replaced by the legacy of the English.

Confronted by the indisputable fact, the committee wondered what, if anything, it could or should do. Nothing, some argued. There is no way to impute motive to events nearly four centuries old, they reasoned. What has happened cannot be changed.

“It’s just terribly unhistorical and unprofessional to say what happened in the past didn’t happen or shouldn’t have happened,” said Christopher Collier, the state historian of Connecticut.

Collier declined an invitation to address the committee, but shared some of his thoughts in an interview.

“Whether it should have happened or not, it did happen. We’re stuck with it.

“The statue of Mason stands in the long tradition of what we broadly call American history. . . . There’s no question but that there were terrible injustices perpetrated on the Indians. I don’t think anybody questions that. But the event occurred and as a result of that event, large numbers of English people were made safe.

“And a large area of territory was opened up to settlement by these English people, whose descendants have made the United States what it is. Their descendants wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. So the fact of this victory is terribly significant to Americans generally and to Connecticut people in particular. And it seems to me something that’s very worthy of notice.

“Just think about it,” Collier said. “What would have happened had the Pequots won?”

Events before the committee were terribly gruesome: massacre, immolation, torture. Emotions were bared. Passions were aroused. Some people were frightened.

More than a year after he addressed the committee, for example, William N.

Peterson, curator of the Mystic Seaport Museum, possibly the world’s foremost 19th-century maritime collection, remains so rattled by having received a hostile reception that he refused to discuss it or his views.

“They savaged Peterson,” Thompson said. “In writing and at the meeting.”

Peterson is a local history buff who lives in Stonington. He now politely refers any questions about the issue to a transcription of his remarks before the committee.

He told the group that if anyone today were to propose erecting a monument to Mason at the site, that person would quite properly be shown the door.

But, he said, the question before the committee-what to do with a statue erected a century ago-is not so easily answered.

He argued that events take place in the context of their times. By that standard, the battle was not calculated genocide, but “rather the unhappy consequence of bitter warfare,” Peterson said.

And the statue was not erected as an offense. The Pequots were honestly-but mistakenly-regarded as a vanished race in the 19th century. Herman Melville, in “Moby Dick,” called them “as extinct as the ancient Medes.” In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that the Pequots, Narragansetts and Mohegans “now live only in men’s memories.”

In any event, Peterson said, anyone alive today can only guess what was in the minds of Mason and the makers of his monument. And to remove a monument erected by long-dead people to someone dead even longer smacks of book burning.

“To be offended by something that was created by a past generation and base the argument for that offense by applying the values and beliefs of a later generation is, in my view, historical madness,” Peterson said. “Moreover, to take irrevocable action in response to those ancient events and attitudes is, again, in my opinion, to take a very narrow view of our collective culture.

“Carried to its logical extreme the Colosseum in Rome should be plowed under and the Alhambra in Granada dynamited to atoms. They, after all, to some, are symbols of a terrible intolerance.”

`Bloody footprints’

In 1889, 250 years after the great battle-or, if you prefer, massacre- New England was obsessed with success rather than survival. The Civil War was over and the nation was intact. America had celebrated the Centennial. Manifest Destiny was no longer abstract ambition. There was a sense that the country was destined to claim a place of greatness among nations.

It was America’s historic monument movement. Communities all over the Northeast were looking for famous sons to cast in statuary. New London honored John Winthrop. Norwich honored Uncas.

Mystic chose John Mason.

He was still regarded as a key figure in New England’s history. After the defeat of the Pequots, Mason had been made a major general and given control of the Connecticut militia. He was rewarded with hundreds of acres of land in southeastern Connecticut, including Mason’s Island, at the mouth of the Mystic River, and much of what is now Norwich.

Later in life, he was repeatedly elected deputy governor of the colony, and held the position until his health failed. He died at 72 in Norwich, the town he founded.

The Mystictown fathers and county historical society decided the scene of the great battle was the spot for their monument. They undertook a survey for the precise location. Old photographs show the land then was cleared and probably tilled; plows regularly turned up artifacts and bits of charcoal consistent with the burned palisade of long ago.

J.G.C. Hamilton, one of a community of stone carvers and sculptors from Westerly, R.I., was chosen to create the likeness. He captured a stern Mason, 9 feet tall in high- crowned Puritan hat.

Mason stands, according to modern archaeologists, just about where Underhill massed his forces for their rush through the village’s southwestern gate.

The day of the dedication, a crowd of dignitaries arrived in New London by train and met in Mystic. Among those present were Gov. Phineas C. Lounsbury, his foot guard, four companies of the 3rd Regiment of the National Guard and the regiment’s machine-gun platoon.

There were three bands. When the members of the state legislature arrived, 27 carriages were required to haul them up the slope from the river.

There was a light fog. After prayer, poetry and music came the high point of the day. A man identified in the official account of the proceedings as Isaac H. Bromley of Boston launched the principal oration.

Bromley required 42 pages just to touch lightly on the strength of Mason’s character. In his view, Mason was on a heavenly mission. He marched into darkness carrying the future of truth and goodness.

“Before him,” Bromley rumbled, “were the wilderness and a wily and courageous foe numbering more than ten times his force; and around him a large gathering of red men, whose deceitfulness was too well known to admit of trust in their assertions; behind him, a settlement in the wilderness, over whose scattered homes the shadow of sudden and cruel death lay dark and gloomy.”

At Page 44, as if pausing to inhale, Bromley made an abrupt digression. He acknowledged that, even at the height of the 19th-century American spasm of hero worship, there were some who might argue that Mason’s victory was too bloody. These, he needed only paragraphs to dismiss.

“It is well to remember, too,” Bromley said, “that from the beginning of history, all progress has been in the wake of war, and every forward step in our boasted Christian civilization has been in its bloody footprints.”

Bromley urged his audience to look beyond the hilltop, over the tilled fields to the north, beneath the fog at the busy village below, and south, toward the fisheries and sea lanes of the Atlantic.

“Does your justification still lag, my peace-preaching brother?” he asked. “Lift up your eyes to the scene spread out before you; upon these grassy hillsides sloping to the river and sea, upon field and meadow waving with ripening harvests, upon farm and cottage, the rewards of toil and thrift, upon towns and villages teeming with life and humming with industry, upon yonder waters white with a commerce that keeps the world’s remotest shores in constant touch.”

Even the dullards in Bromley’s audience could not miss his point.

“All this had not been, had John Mason been less prompt or less resolute,” he said.

“And we are here, too, amid these peaceful scenes whose peace was bought at such a price, to remember, first of all, that homely axiom of common life that `to have an omelet there must be breaking of eggs.’ ”

Sweet irony

After months of anguish, the committee experienced a moment of truth.

Many miles away and months earlier, Stephen Katz, a historian at Cornell University, had reached independently the same position about the statue.

He had been studying the Pequot War as part of a three-volume history he was writing of the Holocaust. He concluded that Mason was not genocidal, and he believes that historical events must be viewed, in part, within their own context.

“But this is not just a question of what happened and a debate among historians,” he said during an interview, after the committee had completed its work.

“This is a debate about the public space in Mystic. And that’s a different matter. That involves not the people who lived in Mystic 300 years ago only, but the people who live there today. And what they’re willing to sanction and prefer to be remembered or not remember.”

So the committee simply stopped trying to figure out what happened on the hill above the Mystic River in 1637.

“We decided, there is no way to decide,” Thompson said. “Nobody knows what John Mason was thinking. Nobody knows if he went in with the intent to have a massacre, if it turned into a massacre, if there were women and children there, if there weren’t, if there were warriors there or there weren’t.”

Instead, the question became one of sensitivity. “The defining moment of the entire debate was sort of, `It’s sensitive to Native Americans, therefore, that’s enough,’ ” Thompson said.

“The key is that plaque. That `Heroic Deed of John Mason’ inflames most anybody who is sensitive toward Native American affairs. At the very, very least, what you have is an insufficient amount of information on the monument today to tell you what the hell happened.”

Spillane, a representative of the historical society, agreed. If only one person is offended, he said, that is one too many. “After many months,” he said, “I think we got consensus because we felt there was only one issue. Everything else was scenery.”

The town’s instructions to the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee were to recommend whether the statue should be removed, and, if so, to where.

After 11 months, the committee got half the job done and quit.

For Spillane, the determining fact was that the statue was erected on a burial ground. “If I were a Texan and somebody wanted to put Santa Ana on the Alamo, I’d be up in arms, too,” he said.

“So with that as background, I actually made the motion to relocate it. And it turned out to be a unanimous vote.”

On the subject of a new home for the statue, the committee considered more than a dozen locations. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was unable to agree on one.

So the committee disbanded, leaving some wounds.

In Thompson’s opinion, the Southeastern Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice succeeded only at raising political correctness to an art form.

“Let’s face it,” Thompson said. “That’s what brought them to the table because that’s what they’re all about. Look at any of their stuff. It’s trite.”

Silk, a coalition representative, was slightly more charitable.

“There was strong debate,” Silk said. “I don’t think it was personal. But in the beginning, and still, I have a lot of respect for all the members of the committee. Well, most of them.” The man who began the drive to remove the statue, the Pequot Wolf Jackson, is pleased with how it ended.

“I’ll always inside believe that statues of this sort have no business being displayed anywhere,” Jackson said. “But I can understand also that if we have to take another 50 or 100 years to let the statue teach a lesson, then maybe someone else will stand up there and say now that this thing has taught us all about history, let’s get rid of it.

“I’m satisfied that the people who lost their lives, the women and children, can now rest in peace. They won’t have this statue looming over their spirits.”

The statue’s fate is still in question; it still slows traffic on Pequot Avenue.

The Groton Town Council has adopted and expanded upon the committee’s recommendation; in one of history’s sweetest ironies, the council resolved in late April to move the statue to a museum the Pequots have built on their rich reservation. But the final decision still lies with the state Department of Environmental Protection. “What we really accomplished-sort of a one-page thing-bears not a whit to what really happened,”Thompson said.

“It was a long, tedious, but educational and enlightening journey to come up with kind of a one-liner that says — `Yeah. Move it.’ ”

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: Correction published May 28, 1994

  • Moonface Bear, leader of the Golden Hill Paugussetts, told the John Mason Statue Advisory Committee last year that the statue in Mystic should be removed because it is a “gross misrepresentation” of what happened between Indians and English colonists. He said that if the committee did not vote to remove the statue, he would take further measures. However, he did not say he would “kill people,” as one committee member paraphrased his remarks. His remarks were reported incorrectly in a Page 1 story Thursday.


History Revisited: An Old War, A New Battle Edmund Mahony The Hartford Courant, Thursday, May 26, 1994

Allyn, James H. Major John Mason’s Great Island (Roy N. Bohlander, Mystic; 1976)

Jennings, Francis. The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism, and The Cant of Conquest (W.W. Norton & Company, New York; 1975) Katz, Steven T. “The Pequot War Reconsidered.” New England Quarterly, June 1991.

Kimball, Crol W. The Groton Story (Groton Public Library; 1991)

Mason, Louis B. The Life and Times of Major John Mason 1600-1672 (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London; 1935)

Mason, John . A Brief History of the Pequot War (Readex Microprint Corp; 1966)

McNeill, William H. Mythistory and Other Essays (University of Chicago Press;1986)

Posted in History, Line - Miner | 4 Comments

Mr. Fitch’s Mile

In 1695 at the age of 74, Rev. James FITCH (1622 – 1702) founded and settled Lebanon, Connecticut, a new town nearby Norwich where he lived.  He moved to Lebanon in 1701 when he retired from the church in Norwich. He remained in Lebanon until his death at age eighty on November 18, 1702. He is buried at the churchyard there and his stone remains in the old cemetery.

The town of Lebanon has its origins with the settlers of Norwich, who wanted to expand beyond the “nine miles square” they had bought from the Mohegan sachem Uncas. In 1663, the first grant in the area was given in to James’ father-in-law  Maj. John Mason, deputy governor of the Connecticut colony; the next year, Mason accepted 500 acres  northwest of Norwich. This area, known as “Pomakuck” or “Pomocook” by the Mohegans, is now the Goshen Hill area of Lebanon. In 1666, Connecticut granted an additional 120 acres  to the Rev. James Fitch, minister of Norwich, adjacent to Maj. Mason’s land which was now known as Cedar Swamp. The Mohegans conferred their blessing on the grants by giving an additional seven-mile strip to Maj. Mason’s son in 1675, who split the land with the Rev. Fitch, his father-in-law. This area is now known as “Fitch and Mason’s Mile,” or just “The Mile.”

Mr. Fitch's Mile

Mr. Fitch’s Mile

Lebanon, Connecticut, a mere dot on a road map of that state, is an attractive New England town noted for its mile-long Common. The town lies just to the northwest of Norwich and has its origins in the expansion of Norwich residents to land beyond the “nine miles square” they had bought from the Mohegan sachem Uncas. The first grants in the area were given in 1663 to Maj. John Mason (ca. 1600-1672), deputy governor of the Connecticut colony, and in 1668 to Rev. James Fitch (1622-1702), minister of Norwich. These two men were doubly connected by marriage. Rev. Fitch’s second wife was Mason’s daughter Priscilla, and John Mason, Jr. married Abigail Fitch, the minister’s daughter by his first wile, Abigail Whitfield (for some notable descendants of Rev. Henry Whitfield, founder of Guilford, Connecticut, and his wife Dorothy Sheafe, parents of Abigail, see NEXUS10[1993]:71, 74). Maj. Mason and Rev. Fitch were also among the founders of Norwich. The grants were in the southwestern part of what is now Lebanon, an area the Indians called Pomakuck, and lay between Deep River and Goshen Hill. Fig. 1 is a reconstructed map of the area, based on maps in G. McL. Milne, Lebanon (1986), p. 6.

The next significant grant was a strip of land a mile wide and about six miles long on the Norwich border; this land became known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile,” “the Fitch and Mason,” or just “The Mile.” Then, in 1692, four Norwich men bought a large tract from Owaneco, one of the sons of Uncas; this area was called the “Five Miles Square” or simply the “Five Mile.” The dashed line represents the Owaneco grant; the solid outer perimeter is the present Lebanon boundary. The Lebanon Historical Society has even located a 1693 corner marker known as the “Five Mile Rock” at the southwest corner of the tract.

Traditionally, it has been thought that, a few years before selling the “Five Mile,” Owaneco had given the “Mile” to Rev. Fitch. As Frances Caulkins wrote in History of Norwich, Connecticut (1873) following the description of James Fitch’s Pomakuck grant:

To this grant, Owaneco, the son and successor of Uncas, at a subsequent period, in acknowledgement of favors received from Mr. Fitch, added a tract Five miles in length and one in breadth. This munificent gift was familiarly called the Mile, or Mr. Fitch’s Mile. 

Others have repeated this story: notably, Rev. Orb D. Hine in Early Lebanon (1880) (pp. 9-10); the 1986 town history cited above; and Robert Charles Anderson, who in a master’s thesis on the settlement of Lebanon  cited a 1687 Norwich land record which seemed to support it.

All of these accounts are incorrect. The land was not given by Owaneco, but by Joshua, another of the sons of Uncas, and it was given to Capt. John Mason, Jr. (1646-1676), not to Mason’s father-in-law Rev. Fitch. The grant was made not in 1687 but eleven years earlier, in 1676. The 1687 grant by Owaneco cited in the Anderson thesis was to Capt. James Fitch, son of Rev. James Fitch, and was for land to the northeast of Norwich. The 1687 tract does include (as the first of many items) a piece “six or seven miles in length and a mile in breadth.” But that piece was “bounded east on quienabaug River” (the Quinnebaug joins the Shetucket River northeast of Norwich). The actual grant for what became Mr. Fitch’s Mile was on 8 Mar 1675/76, three months after Capt. Mason had received his” death wound” in King Philip’s War (he lived nearly a year thereafter) and two months before the death of Joshua.

Lyme this 8th of March 1675/76 Know all men by These presentsthat I Joshua Seachem of a great part of the Moheag Country doe for divers good & valluable considerations & for sufficient reasons moveing me thereunto doe freely give & bequeath unto Capt John Mason of the Towne of Norwich a certaine Tracke & parcell of land lyeing & being on the north west side of Norwich Bounds bounded as followeth one mile from Norwich Boundswestward wch is to be the breadth thereof, & in length to run from Hartford Roade to Showtuckett River….

A strip of land a mile wide along the northwest border of Norwich, from the road toward Colchester up to the Shetucket River, would be about six miles in length along its inner border and seven miles along its outer. How then did this land given to John Mason, Jr., become known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile” or the “Fitch and Mason”? We know that Mason gave half the land to Fitch, because on 26 June 1695, his son John Mason III (1672-1736), who lived at Stonington on the coast, formally acknowledged the arrangement.

Whereas Joshua sonn of unkas Sacham of mohegen did in his life time…confirm unto my honoured father Captain  John Mason deceased…a certain tract of Land on ye west of Norwich Town Bounds. ..and whereas my honoured father in his life time did Agree too and with my Honoured grandfather the Revarant Mr. James Fitch of Norwich [John III’s maternal grandfather]that my said Grand father should petition the Genrall Court…that my Honoured grandfather and his heir or Asigns should ye Moety [moiety] or half that should be by the Court Granted.. and I finding that my Grandfather hath obtained grant of y’ Court…To All Christian people to whome these presents may come know you that I John Mason unto my Honoured Grand father Grant unto the above named James Fitch…all the Above…

Three or four years later, on 9 March 1698/99, James quitclaimed half the land to the heirs of Capt. John Mason. Probably on the same day, Rev. Fitch and his 26-year old grandson John Mason III agreed on a division of the “Fitch and Mason” into six parts. Fig. 2 is an attempt to reconstruct these divisions, based on the following entry in the Lebanon records:

The first Devision of the Mile of Land west of present Norwich bounds belongs to John Mason bounded on the River Northeast Abutting east south east on Norwich bounds abuting west Northwest on Indian Land Abutting South southwest on Land of Joseph Ranalds Isral Lothrop the heirs of Jonathan Foster and Loutn Backus.

This first division evidently had its southwestern end on a 440-acre piece that James had already sold to Messrs. Backus et al.(“Foster,” incidentally, was “Fouller” in the earlier transaction).

The second Devision of Land belongs to the Revernd Mr James Fitch abutting north north east on the first Division three hundred and twenty rods abutting west north west on Indian lands from thence to Suscutonescut Brook Abutting south south east on said Brook through out ye mile abutting east south east on Norwich bounds from Suscakokomscut brook to the first Division.

The “three hundred and twenty rods” tells us that the strip was, in fact, one mile wide.

The third division belongs to John Mason Abutting north northeast Suscutomscut Brook throughout ye mile Abutting west North west on Lebanon Land two hundred Rods Abuting south southeast on Norwich bounds three hundred and twenty Rods Abuting on the highway which runs from Lebanon Towne Street South South east untill it corns to the South end of A swamp called Elderkins swamp Then it runs east south east Across the mile.

This division includes the area from the brook down to the road that now connected Norwich Town to the Lebanon area.

The fourth division of Land belongs to ye Reverflt M’ James Fitch Abuting on ye high way North norwest and North North east throughout ye mile Abuting west North west on Lebanon Land three hundred & twenty Rods Abuting east southeast on Norwich bounds two hundred Rods Abutting South south west on the farms layed out on peases Brook three hundred and twenty Rods

Below the fourth division, the land is split into two strips.

The fifth division of Land belongs to John Mason Abuting east north east on said farm eight score Rods Abutting North north west on Indian Land from the said farm to Hockunum path or wethersfield Road Abuting southward on ye abovesaid Road half the mile abutting south south east on y sixt division

The “Hockunum path or wethersfield Road” is the road west which ran through James Fitch’s Deep River property. After passing through Colchester, it turned northwest toward Hartford. Both Hockanum and Wethersfield are just south of Hartford, the former on the east side of the Connecticut, the latter on the west.

The sixt division of Land belongs to the Reverant James Fitch Abutting east north east on the farm of John Baldwen eight score Rods Abutting North north west on the fift devision from ye Above said farm to wethersfield path Abutting southward on the Above said path half the mile Abutting South south east on Norwich Line this Distribution of the Mile of Land west of Norwich Bounds made and Agreed to the 9th day of March 1699.

The surveyor for the division was John Fitch, the minister’s son. Rev. James Fitch received the even-numbered divisions, John Mason III the odd ones. Note that the property extends beyond the Five Mile at both ends (in fact it even extended a little past the present eastern boundary of Lebanon, to the river). This extension accounts for the change in the description of the outer boundaries of the divisions between Indian land and Lebanon land.

The division explains why the grant came to be called the “Fitch and Mason.” As to why it was also known as “Mr. Fitch’s Mile,” we can only speculate that it was named after residents – Rev. James Fitch and several sons actually lived on the band, while John Mason lived in Stonington.

Mary E. Perkins wrote in 1895 that the Biblical name Lebanon“was suggested to Mr. Fitch, by the height of the land, and a large cedar forest” (M.E. Perkins, Old Houses of the Ancient Town of Norwich, 1660-1800 [1895], p. 97). In the lower left corner of Fig. 1 there is a “Red Cedar Lake,” close to Rev. Fitch’s Deep River land. Rev. Fitch also owned a “Ceder Swamp” in that area, which he later gave to his children. On the other hand, an “Indian Trails” map, produced for the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Connecticut in the 1920s, clearly shows a “Lebanon Path” leading northwest from Norwich, supposedly in 1625; possibly, however, this designation and date are errors of a modern cartographer. In sum, then, a major grant in what became the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, dates to 1676, not 1687, and was given by Joshua, a son of Uncas, to Capt. John Mason, Jr., son-in-law of Rev. James Fitch. One mile wide, six miles long on one side and seven on the other, this strip of band was divided into six parts in 1698/99; three were given to the elderly Rev. James Fitch, and three to his grandson John Mason III.

Posted in History, Line - Miner, Place Names, Storied | 6 Comments

William Blair Sr.

William BLAIR Sr. ( – 1822) was Alex’s 5th Great Grandfather; one of  64 in this generation and the founder of our Blair line in North America.

Map highlighting County Armagh

We don’t know much about William Blair Sr.   His son William told people he was from Armagh – no town, no parish, no townland – there are over 500 parishes in Armagh so it’s hard to find the correct one.  He may have married Mary DOWNING. William may have died in 1822 in Richhill Parish, County Armagh, Ireland.

Mary died 1 Nov 1817 in North River, Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada

Children of  William and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Thomas Blair  Grace [__?__] 19 Nov 1841.
 Hillside Cemetery
2. William BLAIR 1781 in County Armagh, Ireland. Betsey Grimshaw c. 1803 in upper New York State
Armaugh, Ireland
31 July 1875
Franklin Center Quebec
3. Richard Blair? 1791 in Scotland (according to the 1850 census) Elizabeth Fallon in 1821 in Aughagalon, Antrim, Ireland  21 Dec 1867 and is buried at the Mooers Riverside Old Cemetery

Willliam may have lived in the Richhill/Kilmore Parish area of Armagh, Ireland. Sher Leetooze, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada wrote in 2008

I believe I have found [our Blairs in] the Richhill/Kilmore Parish area of Armagh, but can’t be sure. Is there anyone on the list who has access to Mullaghbrack BMDs? And/or the townlands in the same area? Looking for the birth of William Blair
1780-81, possibly son of William and Mary Blair. This William married late in life – Sept 1822 to Mary HUESTON. Possibly at
or near Richhill, though if they married in her family parish I haven’t a clue where that would have been – I can’t find her anywhere. Hopefully, the Banns were read in both parishes and I can find her through his parish (if it is indeed Richhill/ Kilmore).

Richhill, Ireland

Richhill, County Armagh, Ireland

Sher continues

Now, as long as the list members don’t mind – here is what I know…  William BLAIR, born 1780, Armagh, Ireland. married Mary HUESTON, Sept. 1822
William BLAIR was a Quaker, a weaver and was left handed (this bit shows  up in every other generation)

This is what I thought I knew…..
Assumed William and Mary BLAIR, died at Richhill Parish 1822 to be his parents – right place, right age….. because he was both a weaver and a Quaker it was a nice neat package to place him at Richhill where the Richardson’s had built a Quaker meeting house in about 1803 and where they owned many townlands and rented cottages to weavers, and had a linen agent who collected from them. On the 1796 Spinning Wheel Premium List, William  and Mary Sr. are listed as weavers at Mullabrack, just the right age, then  by the time the Richardson’s had built their meeting house these same two  people were a few miles away at Richhill and are buried there.

What I now know….
There was a naming pattern in those days for children:
> 1st son – named for father’s father….so, their first son was born in 1823 and named John – that puts the above information to rest, doesn’t it!!!
> 2nd son – named for mother’s father … according to records, the second son was William, born 1825
> 3rd son named for father – well, the father was William, so the second son of our records must be, in actual fact, the third son – I need to find a death in 1824 or 1825 of a child.
> 4th son is named for eldest brother of father – this fits – the next son is indeed Thomas, and William’s elder brother Thomas did indeed emigrate to Quebec as well. Thomas’s eldest son was called John, just like William’s,  so I guess I have to look for a John?!
> Also, on the Tithe Applottments for 1825, there is a William Blair at three townlands in Keady Parish – Lagan, Iskemeadow and Tullynamaloge. I knew there were BLAIRs at Keady for a long time, but could never find a weaver William among them – there was a shoemaker, William, however, and I assumed
it to be a distant relative. Unfortunately, the Tithe Applottment index does not give an occupation.
> As far as being a Quaker, the Lisburn Meeting says he never paid subscription – that he likely attended meetings in sympathy for the Friends. He and his wife were Methodists once they arrived in Quebec, Canada.
> None of the records here in Canada say what part of Armagh they came from, simply Armagh, or just Ireland.
> Also, John Hayes, on his website, has transcribed the 1848-63 Griffith’s Valuation and there is a James BLAIR at both Iskemeadow and Tullynamaloge townlands – could be a brother who never came to Canada.

Does anyone know if the 1825 has occupation, or any other information? Would it be worthwhile to spend the $6 to order the film into my local LDS FHC??

Any suggestions as to how I should proceed would be welcomed



1. Thomas Blair

Thomas was born in Ireland.  He married Grace Trainer.   A Thomas Blair witnessed the baptism of William’s son Thomas 10 Jun 1832 in the same Presbyterian Church of Hemmingford where Thomas’ son John was married the year before.

Grace Trainer was born about 1779 in Ireland.  Grace Blair was interred Hillside Cemetery, Franklin, Quebec May 18, 1854, age 75 years.

Thomas Blair worked on the fortifications at Ile Aux Noix. These fortifications were repaired sometime between 1814 and 1817.  Île aux Noix is an island on the Richelieu River in Quebec, close to Lake Champlain. The island is the site of Fort Lennox National Historic Site.  Île aux Noix is a 210 acres island in the Richelieu River. The French and Indian War caused the French to build a fort in 1759, named fort de l’Isle aux Noix, to slow the British advance on Montreal, but were forced to surrender it in 1760. In 1775, the island was taken by American forces, and used as a base by the American generals Philip Schuyler and Richard Montgomery for attacks on Montreal and Quebec. The Americans used the island again in 1776 during their retreat from Canada. Their army spent 10 days on the island: more than 900 American soldiers died and were buried in two mass graves on Isle aux Noix. The British then built a new fort in 1778 and named it the fort of Isle aux Noix. During the War of 1812, the British used the island to supply their operations against the American fleet on Lake Champlain. The present Fort Lennox was built from 1819 to 1829, when the old fortifications were completely demolished. It remained a military post until 1870 and is now a popular tourist location.

Officers Quarters Fort Lennox National Historic Site 

By 1819 Thomas had remarried and was on his land in Hinchinbrook Township, Huntingdon County, Quebec. So he came sometime between 1814 and 1817 it seems. Thomas Blair was interred  Hillside Cemetery 19 Nov 1841.

Thomas Blair 1841 Gravestone — Hillside Cemetery

They had at least three children John H., Mary Ann and William.

1.1.   John H. Blair was born 10 Oct 1811 in Co. Armagh, Ireland.  His parents were Thomas and Grace Blair.   He married Samantha Lucretia Grimshaw 8 Sep 1831 when he was just 19 at the  Presbyterian Church in the Township of Hemmingford   Witnesses were John Blair and his sister Mary Ann Blair.    John and Samantha Lucretia had ten children.  William Blair [probably his brother] was a witness to the baptism of their son Thomas on 9 May 1844.   The 1851 census has John H living with Grace, b. Ireland, widowed, age 72 (mother); and Mary, b. Canada, age 22 (in addition to his 21 yr old daughter, Mary ) John died 1 Nov 1884 of heart disease at Hemmingford, Huntingdon County, Quebec and is buried at Hillside Cemetery, Rennies, Huntingdon Co., Quebec. 11-01-1884.   A native of town and country, Armagh Ireland. John Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery 2 Nov 1884 age 75 years.

John Blair 1884

Hemmingford Presbyterian Church – 1847 folio thirteenth

A daughter of Zephaniah Grimshaw of Hinchinbrook, farmer and Jerusha his wife was born on the seventh Day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen and was married to John Blair on the eighth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one and was baptized by the name of Lucretia on the twenty-ninth Day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven in presence of the unsigned witnesses.

John Merlin, Minister

Children of  John Blair and Samantha Grimshaw:

John Blair Family Monument

i. Mary Ann Blair (30 May 1832 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 07 Feb 1893 Rockburn, PQ); m. William Trainer (Abt 1820 – 02 Jan 1884) Mary Annie Blair, wife of the late William Trainer, Interred Hillside Cemetery Feb 09, 1893 age 66 years

Gleaner 02-07-1893 Mary Ann Blair, wife of the late William Trainor, died at Rockburn PQ, aged 60 years.

ii. Melissa Blair (31 May 1842, PQ – 19 Jan 1899, Malone, NY); m. 16 Feb 1864, Hinchinbrook, Huntingdon Co., PQ. William Adams (17 Nov  1840 – 17 May 1888) Melissa Blair, widow of the late William Adams, Interred Hillside Cemetery Jan. 21, 1899 age 57 years

Gleaner  02-16-1864 William Adams, married Melissa Blair, at the residence of the bride’s father, in Hinchinbrook, by the Rev. A Wallace

iii. Jerusha Blair (08 July 1843 – 17 July 1843 Huntingdon Co., PQ) Infant child of John Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery August 18, 1843

iv. Samantha Jane Blair (25 Aug 1845, Huntingdon Co. PQ – 12 Jan 1892) Single in the 1881 Canadian Census  [See her baptism image with her cousin Daniel]

v. Elizabeth Blair (02 Jan 1847 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 21 July 1898); m. John L. Rowe

vi. John Blair (02 Sep 1848 Russeltown, Huntingdon Co. PQ – ); m. Margaret Ann Greer

vii. James H Blair b. April 03, 1850;  m. Maria Jackson August 02, 1873 in PQ. She was born September 14, 1849, and died August 23, 1881.  d. April 05, 1887.

viii. William Henry Blair (28 Jan 1852, Huntingdon Co., PQ – 28 Jan 1875); m. Ellen Thompson

ix. Lucy Blair, b. February 16, 1856, Huntingdon Co., PQ; d. Feb 16, 1856, Huntingdon Co., PQ.

x. Thomas Albert Blair (17 June 1857 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 07 Dec 1861 Huntingdon Co., PQ)

1.2  Mary Ann Blair was born in 1812 in Ireland.  Her parents were Thomas and Grace Blair.  She married William Grimshaw in 1830 in Quebec, Canada when she was just 18.

Mary Ann married William Grimshaw – who was likely related to Thomas’ brother William Blair through marriage, as William had married Betsey Grimshaw in about 1803 in upper New York State. Members of both Blair and Grimshaw families kept moving back and forth across the border between Quebec and New York all down through the years that followed. It seems our William Blair (the one I am looking for) went home to Ireland. I am wondering if he had already been on the land at an early date, then gave it to his brother when he went back to Ireland? The lot that Thomas Blair settled on with his young family was one lot over from William Blair’s father-in-law! I think William’s wife died and he went back to Ireland. He did eventually return with a new wife and five children, but not until the 1830’s.

The first Grimshaws to settle on Wolfe Island, Ontario, which is located near Kingston at the head of the St. Lawrence River at Lake Ontario were William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw, who acquired several parcels of land in the western half of the island. William and MaryAnn were the progenitors of one of the most important Grimshaw lines in North America.

Mary Ann and William had twelve children.   William’s son James married one of these twelve – Samantha Ann Grimshaw. and went to live near the Grimshaw clan on Wolfe Island, an island located at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ontario.  Mary Anne died  6 Nov 1883 in Wolfe Island, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada.

Map of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Circling Locations of Land Owned by William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw

Grave of William and Mary Ann Blair Grimshaw on Wolfe Island.

Home place of William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw on Wolfe Island

Children of William and Mary Ann:

i. THOMAS Grimshaw ( 06 May 1831, QC, (Lower Canada) – 01 Sep 1876, Wolfe Island, Frontenac Co., ON.)

ii. MELISSA Grimshaw (06 March 1835, Wolfe Island – Aft. 1907, Probably St. Joseph Twp., Algoma, Ontario)

iii. ALMIRA Grimshaw (02 April 1837, Wolfe Island – 28 April 1919, Kingston, Ontario)

iv. SAMANTHA ANN Grimshaw (29 Oct 1839, Wolfe Island – 26 Apr 1883, Pittsburg Twsp., Frontenac Co., Ontario).

v. WILLIAM W. Grimshaw (28 Feb 1842, Wolfe Island – 27 May 1918, Wolfe Island)

vi. HENRY Grimshaw (10 Jul 1844, Wolfe Island – 27 Jun 1925, Kingston, Ontario)

vii. DELOS. Grimshaw (22 June 1845, Wolfe Island – 12 Feb 1905, Kingston, Ontario)

viii. HIRAM Grimshaw (18 Feb 1850, Wolfe Island – 26 Dec 1868, Wolfe Island)

ix. SILAS ARTHUR Grimshaw (11 June 1851, Wolfe Island – 05 Jan 1929, Kingston, Ontario)

x. ROBERT Grimshaw (02 Nov 1852, Wolfe Island – 06 Sep 1853, Wolfe Island)

xi. JAMES Grimshaw (02 Nov 1852, Wolfe Island – 13 May 1932, Kingston, Ontario)

xii. MARY ANN Grimshaw (c.1858, Wolfe Island – 24 May 1898, Kingston, Ontario)

1.3. William Blair married  Elizabeth Cain 21 Feb  1842 –  at the Huntingdon (Church of Scotland and Presbyterian Church,(Church of England)     An inventory of William’s estate was made  July 12, 1849 Inventory late William Blair; his wife Elizabeth Cain; children David (age 4), Mary Jane(2) & William Isaac (3 months); his brother John Blair.

William Blair 1848 Gravestone — Hillside Cemetery

Elizabeth Cain, widow of the late William Blair, and daughter of Isaac Cain, and Mary Greenfield, his wife, died in Franklin, Quebec and was interred Hillside Cemetery Dec. 04, 1899 age 77 years

William Blair m. Elizabeth Cain – 1842 Huntingdon

Children of William and Elizabeth:

i. Thomas Blair, infant son of William Blair, and Elizabeth Cain , his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery October 11, 1844, age 08 months

ii. David Blair b. 3 Apr 1845 Hinchinbrooke David Blair, Interred  Hillside Cemetery November 05, 1871, age 26 years

iii. Mary Jane Blair b. 1847 Mary Jane Blair, wife of Joseph Wilson, Interred Hillside Cemetery Aug. 29, 1911 age 64 years  08-28-1911 Mary Jane Blair, wife of J. W. Wilson, died at Brooklet PQ, age 64 years 07 months

iv. William Isaac Blair b. 1849  d. home in Rockburn PQ, on April 12, 1924 Interred Hillside Cemetery Franklin April 16, 1924 age 75 years.

11-14-1880 The wife of William Isaac Blair, at Hinchinbrook, near Rockburn, a daughter.

01-18-1929 Isabella Rennie, wife of the late W. I. Blair, died at Rockburn PQ, age 81 years.

William Isaac Blair Headstone — Hillside Cemetery in Hinchinbrooke Township on Route 202across the road from Rennie’s United Church

William Blair of Hinchinbrooke baptized his son Daniel and the same day his brother John Blair also of Hinchinbrooke baptized his daughter Samantha Jane – 26 Sep 1845 in the Hemmingford Presbyterian Church.  His cousin  [and our ancestor

William Blair baptized Alexander, Robert, and Joseph all on the same day, 27 Sep 1845

2. William BLAIR (See his page)

3?   Richard Blair

Richard was born in 1791 in Scotland (according to the 1850 census). He married Elizabeth Fallon in 1821 in Aughagalon, Antrim, Ireland.  He immgrated in 1837.  In 1850 and 1860 he was living in Mooers, Clinton, New York just across the border from Quebec.  Richard died  21 Dec 1867 and is buried at the Mooers Riverside Old Cemetery.

3.1? Richard’s daughter Anne Jane Blair was born 6 Jun 1842 and baptized 12 Jun 1849 in  Church of England, in the circuit of Sherrington, Quebec,  Witnesses were Richard and Elizabeth Blair,  Robert McDowell, John Blair, Elizabeth Blair, and Margaret Elizabeth McDowell.

Other Blairs

Infant child of Robert Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery May 05, 1842

Margaret Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery June 13, 1842

Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery July 18, 1844, age 52 years [born 1792]

Margaret Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery Sept. 04, 1845, age 18 years [born 1827]

Infant daughter of the David Craik, and Mary Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery June 30, 1846       –      12-17-1890 William Wright, of Chateaugay Basin, married Mary Craik, fourth daughter of David Craik, Esq., St. Philmene. At the residence of the bride’s father, by Rev. James M. Boyd,M.A. B.D..

Infant child of Robert Blair, and Agnes Herry ? Interred Hillside Cemetery 1849

Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery  October 16, 1857, age 28 years.

Mary McCormick, relict of the late Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery July 04, 1858

Mary Blair, wife and David Craik, Interred Hillside Cemetery April 17, 1864, age 40 years

Annie Blair, daughter of Sarah King, Interred Hillside Cemetery , May 11, 1864, age 22 years.

Catherine Middlemiss, daughter of Robert Middlemiss, and Janette Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery  December 23, 1866 age 11 mo

Janette Adair, relict of the late Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery March 10, 1870, age 81 yr.

Hillside Cemetery.
Sarah ADAIR (bc.1752), 20 Feb. 1847 aged 95yrs.
George ADAIR, (bc.1784), 29 Oct 1861 aged 76yrs, native of Scotland.
Janette ADAIR (bc.1788), 10 Mar. 1870 aged 81yrs, wife of late Alexander BLAIR.
Alexander BLAIR (bc.1791), 18 July 1844 aged 52yrs.
Agnes ADAIR (bc.1820), 26 June 1865 aged 45yrs, dau. of George ADAIR.

Gore Cemetery, Hinchinbrook Twp.
Margaret ADAIR (bc.1826), 5 Mar 1888 aged 62yrs
(husband ) John FITZSIMMONDS (bc. 1818) 11 Mar 1891 aged 73yrs.

Would the above Janette ADAIR bc.1788, wife of Alex. BLAIR be related to the
BLAIR family of Dunskey Castle, formerly owned by the ADAIRS ? —
Blairquhan – Pronounced Blair-wan, this story-book castle is located 10 miles South Southeast of Ayr, near Straiton in Ayrshire. Four families have lived at Blairquhan. The McWhirters built the first tower house about 1346. The Kennedy’s then inherited the estate through marriage and built the remainder of the old castle about 1573. In the early 17th century the Whitefords took over, but in 1798, suffering the effects of a bank crash, they sold Blairquhan to Sir David Hunter-Blair, second son of James Hunter, who married, in 1770, Jean Blair, the daughter and heiress of John Blair of Dunskey (Castle, owned by the Adairs from prior AD1486) in Wigtonshire, Scotland. When Jean Blair (Hunter) inherited her father’s estate in 1777, the family added Blair to their name.

Annie Middlemiss, daughter of Robert Middlemiss, and Janet Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery  March 13, 1871, aged 16 mo, 13 dys

Janet Blair, wife of Robert Middlemiss, Interred Hillside Cemetery Sept. 29, 1877, age 47 years [b. 1830]

Robert Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery March 20, 1882 age 71 years

09-09-1891 William Blair, of Hemmingford Quebec, married Calista L. Rowe, daughter of Benjamin Rowe, Franklin Quebec. At the residence of the bride’s father, by the Rev. W. Watt. William A. BLAIR, 1870 – 19

Mooers Village Cemetery (New)

Mooers, Clinton County, New York

Calista L. ROWE, wife of William A. BLAIR, 1872 – 19

10-13-1899 Jane Hueston, wife of James Chambers Sr., died at Huntingdon PQ, age 70 years 03 months 15 days. (born 1829)

05-05-1918 Jane Brooks, Widow of the late John Blair, died at Hemmingford PQ, aged 80 years.

01-24-1930 William Hueston, died at Howick PQ, age 91 years. (born 1849)


Here is a search engine for Irish Townlands.  There are over 1,000 townlands in County Armagh alone.

For more about William Blair Sr. contact Sher Leetooze < She is descended from William Jr.’s son James, who left Quebec in the 1850’s and moved to Wolfe Island near Kingston.

Posted in -7th Generation, Line - Blair | 1 Comment

John Wakefield

John WAKEFIELD (c. 1598 – 1689) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Wakefield Coat of Arms

John Wakefield may have been born around 1598 in Gravesend, Kent, England. His parents were Simon WAKEFIELD (1561 – 1593) and Elizabeth De VERE (1565 – 1627) He married Mary SAWKIN.   The relationship of John and his three children: John, William and Patience is not proven. Many records of early Wells were destroyed in a 1657 fire.  I’ve tried to make these possible relationships clear by organizing the possible relationships into one post. John may have died in 1689 in Gravesend, Kent, England

Mary Sawkin was born in 1585 in Gravesend, Kent, England.

Children of John and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Wakefield 1615
Pomfret, Kingston-on-Hull and Seassey, Yorkshire, England
Elizabeth Littlefield
(John Littlefield’s sister)
Saco Settlement, Maine
15 Feb 1674 in Saco, York, Maine
2. William Wakefield 1616
Hampshire, England
Anna [__?__]  After
1660 return to England
3. Patience WAKEFIELD  1630
Titchfield, Hampshire, England.
c. 1660
Wells, York, Maine
Gloucester, Mass
13 Jan 1674/75 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass.



1. John Wakefield

John Wakefield married John Littlefield’s sister Elizabeth , some say 1637 others 1661.   He was the progenitor of the Maine family of Wakefields and was born in England.  The first American record we have of him is dated Jan 1, 1637, when at a town meeting held at Salem he was assessed fifteen shillings as an inhabitant of Marblehead, colony of Massachusetts Bay.  He probably did not come over in winter and must have come at least as long before as the summer or fall of 1636.

26 Dec 1638 – At a town meeting held at Salem   among the several portions of land laid out at Marblehead, on the 14th of the same month, John Wakefield received his first American land grant of four acres “on the Neck,” John Endicott and others signing the grant. (Original Book of Grants of Salem, Essex County Inst., vol. ii. p 74.)

Owing to the unfortunate incompleteness of the early town records of Salem, Marblehead, Wells, Scarboro, and Saco (Biddeford), we are forever deprived of any record of the date of his birth, the marriage to his wife, Elizabeth Littlefield, the place where it was solemnized, and the same of the birth of their children.  In 1657 the house of Joseph Bowles, then town clerk of Wells, Me., was destroyed by fire, and with it the first volume of the town records.  Prior to that, as will be seen, we have practically nothing, and even after that time, while the marriages are quite complete, the births and deaths are very meager.

The Dec 1661 marriage date for John Wakefield and Elizabeth Litchfield is often shown in Watertown, Litchfield, Connecticut.  Could this be someone else?

John Wakefield moved to Wells, Maine before June of 1647 when he appears on a town list there for “appraising the swine for Mrs. Cole.”

He had a grant of land with his brother-in-law John Littlefield in 1641 from John Cleaves at the mouth of the Mousam River, where he made his home.

John and his brother-in-law, John Littlefield, were granted under the authority of the Laconia Patent, (now called) “Great Hill Farm.” This hill extended much farther into the sea in 1647 then it now does and with projecting land at eastern end.

John served as commissioner and selectman 1648, 1654, 1657. He was ‘of Wells’ 2 July, 1657, when he witnessed a grant of John Barrett

In 1652, John Wakefield purchased Drake’s Island of Stephen Batson and moved there where he lived for three years. He sold it to Samuel Austin. In 1661 he removed to Scarborough where he purchased land and resided for several years.

3 Apr 1661 – Moved to Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine. Sold to Mr. John Gooch from his estate in Wells, one track of marsh land lying on the north side of the harbor and abutting upon the sea southeast, upon the Mussell Ridge west, and joining to a tract of upland on the north side— two acres.

John Wakefield Bio

Children of John and Elizabeth:

i. Mary Wakefield (1639 – ) married to William Frost.
ii. Henry Wakefield (1641 – ) died unmarried, later than March 39, 1677.
iii. John Jr. Wakefield (1643 – 1692) married Hester Harbor, who married, secondly, William Hayward  Jan 1706/07.
iv. James Wakefield (1645 – 1707) married Rebecca Gibbons; he was drowned October 25. 1707.
v. William Wakefield (1650 – 1707) married March 13, 1698, Rebecca Littlefield; he was drowned October 25, 1707.
vi. Katherine Wakefield (1656 – )  married, between 1677 and 1694, to Robert Nanny.

James Wakefield, with his brother William, Moses and Job Littlefield, and Joseph Storer, jr., on October 25, 1707, “went out in a small sloop to fish, there was a heavy sea at the bar, and as they attempted to drive the sloop over it, she was upset and all were drowned, bodies of four were recovered. These men were all valuable citizens and their aid was greatly needed.” (Bourne’s History of Wells and Kennebunk.) .

2. William Wakefield

William Wakefield, came to American on the ship, “Bevis” in 1638. William, age 22 and his wife Anne, age 20 were servants to Stephen Drummer . He was made a Freeman on 13 March, 1638/39. In 1660, he returned to England

Partial Passenger List of the “Bevis” commanded by Capt. Townes. 1638

Mrs. Anges Littlefield…38..from ?…to Wells, Maine
John-14; Elizabeth-11; Mary-8; Thomas-5; Anne-5; Francis-2
John Knight…carpenter, servant
Hugh Durdal…servant

Richard Dummer….40 of Bishopstoke, Hants..gentleman…to Newbury
Mrs. Alice Dummer…35
Thomas-19; Joan-19; Jane-10; Dorthy-6; Richard-4; Thomas-2


Stephen Dummer…of Bishopstoke, Hants, husbandman…to Newbury
and with him came:
John HUTCHINSON…30, servant; carpenter
Francis Alcock…26..servant [coincidentally, Francis and John later married and became our ancestors]
Adam Mott…19..servant, tailor
William Wakefield.(Wackerfield)..22 servant
Anne Wakefield.(Wackerfield)..20 servant
Samuel Poor…18 servant
Daniel Poor…14..servant
Alice Poor…20 servant
Nathaniel Parker..20, servant, of London, baker
Richard Bayley..15..servant

3. Patience WAKEFIELD (See John LITTLEFIELD‘s posting)


Posted in 12th Generation, Line - Shaw | Tagged | 14 Comments

Thomas Strong

Thomas STRONG (1584 – 1663) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Miller line.

George Strong Cottage before Renovation Source: Strong Family of America

Thomas Strong was born in 1584 in Chardstock, Devon, England.  His parents were George STRONG  and [__?__].  He married Joanna BAGGE 12 May 1604 in Chardstock, Devon, England.  Thomas died 12 May 1663, Chardstock, Devon, England.

George Stronge Cottage before restoration Source: Strong Family of America

Joanna Bagge  Joanna died 26 Aug. 1657 in  Chardstock, Devon, England.

Children of  Thomas and Joanna:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Maria  (Margaret) Strong 29 Jun 1604 Chardstock, Devon, England 1609 Chardstock
2. Elizabeth Stronge
3 Dec 1606
3. Lavinia Stronge 17 Mar 1608
4. Jane Stronge 20 Mar 1610 Chardstock John Hopkins
1636 Connecticut
Nathaniel Ward
Apr 1654 Hartford, Hartford, CT
Gregory Wolterton
Oct 1670
Hartford, CT
11 Nov 1679
Hartford, Hartford, CT
5. Sarah STRONGE 20 June 1613, Chardstock Lt. William CLARKE
1636 in Dorchester, Mass
6 Sep 1675 in Northampton Mass and is also buried at the Bridge Street Cemetery in Northampton.
6. Rev. James Stronge 23 Aug 1618 Chardstock Katherine Minterne
Sarah [__?__]
Aft. 1674
Ruishton, Somerset, England

A daughter bur. 10 June 1609, Chardstock, Devon, Eng., probably one of the above, since three daughters mentioned in the will of John Stronge, 1612.

Thomas lived in George Strong’s cottage which was built in the late 1500s, likely for Strongs who later moved to Chard (about 4 miles away).

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America

The Strong Cottage was built by the Chardstock Manor Estates. The current Lord of the Manor is Jonathan Milford who lives in Manor Home in Chardstock. The Strong Cottage was rehabilitated around 1993.  Jarvis Strong’s project to help the rehab provided $10,000, which was a bit less than 10% of the total. It did indicate American interest in the project, though, and provided the impetus for the owners to complete the cottage rehab. The cottage is presently rented by Joe Harrison as his home.  Check the Strong Family of America website for details on how you can visit.

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America

Like his father, Thomas was as a tailor living in Chard

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America


4. Jane Strong

Jane’s first husband John Hopkins was born in 1614 in London, England. His parents were Stephen Hopkins (1581 – 1644) and Constance Dudley (1580 – 1610). John died 14 Apr 1654 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.

Jane’s second husband Nathaniel Ward was born in 1604 in Little Wratting, Suffolk, England. His parents were Edward Ward (1560 – 1620) and Judith Lukin (1570 – 1627). Nathaniel died 1664 in Northampton, Hampshire, Mass.

Nathaniel was an original proprietor of Hartford, Connecticut in 1638. They moved to Hadley, Mass in 1659.

Jane’s third husband Gregory Wolterton was born 1593 in Heigham, Norfolk, England.  His parents were Richard Wolterton (b. 1550, d. before 8 Jan 1617/18) and Mary Bensley.  He first married Susannah Shepard (b. 1587 in Wherstead, Suffolk, England – d. 1662 in Hartford, Hartford, CT). About 1663 he married Bennet (Tritton) Stanley, widow of Thomas Stanley of Hartford and Hadley. Bennet was baptized at Ashford, Kent, 30 July 1609, and died Jan. l664/65 aged 55. He married third, perhaps in 1667, Hannah (Thurston) Lord, widow of Thomas Lord (Jr.) who had died in Wethersfield in 1662. She was a young woman with small children, the three Lord girls whom Gregory remembered in his will. Jane was his fourth and final wife. Gregory died 14 Jul 1674 in Hartford, Hartford, CT.

Gregory Wolterton, Wilterton, Walterton, Winterton, —the surname is spelled in countless ways—was an original early settler of Hartford, Conn., a tanner, and a man of good estate. He left no children, although he is known to have married at least four times. His will has been a puzzle to genealogists because it makes bequests to a large number of people. It can be shown that some of these were children of his second, third, and fourth wives; most of the others were presumably relatives of his own. Unfortunately, he fails to specify how any of his legatees were related to or connected with him, and in the past all kinds of theories have been advanced, some correct, some incorrect, to explain, to at least in part, the relationships involved. to draw proper conclusions.

Muffy Moore 1:55:47 PM, .

WOLTERTON has never been a *proven* surname for Nathaniel MERRILL’s wife. It was *guessed* when after Nathaniel’s death, young John went to Hartford to live with Gregory WOLTERTON. As Gregory was a wealthy, childless man, what young widow wouldn’t send her son, when invited, to CT – to apprentice to a rich man?… young John became the adopted son of Gregory WOLTERTON and a rich man himself when Gregory died and left him his fortune!

Gregory had 4 wives: 1) Susanna ( ) who died Hartford 1662 age 75, having had no children. Then a series of widows 2) Benet (TRITTON) STANLEY, widow of Thomas STANLEY, who d. Jan 1664/5; 3) Hannah (THURSTON) LORD, widow of Thomas LORD, who d. c. 1669, having given birth to one son Samuel WOLTERTON who died at age 7 months; and finally, 4) Jane ( ) (HOPKINS) WARD, widow of John HOPKINS and Nathaniel WARD, who survived Gregory and d. before 1679.

In Gregory’s will, (transcribed in “Emily Angell”) he remembered Jane, several nieces and nephews in England, the LORD step-children, plus many other folks around CT. He made John MERRILL his executor and primary heir of the “tanyard” and all his “howsing” and remainder of his large estate.

There is no indication now that Susannah ( ), widow of immigrant Nathaniel MERRILL was any blood relation to Gregory WOLTERTON.

Muffy Moore

Excerpt from Will of Gregory Wolterton Hartford

Invt. £585-16-00. Taken 6 August, 1674, by Thomas Bull and Thomas Bunce. Will dated 17 July, 1674.

I Gregory Wolterton of Hartford, upon the river of Conictticote, doe make this my Last will and testiment, wherein I give unto my wife Jane Wolterton the some of twenty pound to be payd in moveable goods as is prised, provided that it be in such as she desire. I doe also give unto Jane my wife her dwelling, and liberty and use of the newe rooms which was last bilt, which is next to the garden, but not for to let it away to any but for to use it for her owne use during the Terme of her life, and for to use some part of the seller and the ( ) for her Convenientcy, and liberty for her to set her fire wood in the yard. I doe also give unto her Six pound, to be payd to her by the yeare by my Executor, during the Time of her life.

5. Sarah Strong (See Lt. William CLARKE‘s page)

Some genealogies say that Sarah married [__?__] Mathews and had two children, both alive in 1694: James Matthews and Jeremy Matthews.

6. Rev. James Strong

Vicar of Chardstock (illegally in 1645, confirmed in 1654), Commonwealth era Rector of Melcombe Regis (Weymouth, Dorset) (1646), Rector of Bettiscombe, Dorset (1648), Vicar of Ilminster (1654), Vicar of Curry Rivel with Earnshill (1686)

A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland Volume 2 By Sir Bernard Burke 1871 (Google Books)

James first married [Katherine] Minterne, niece of the equestrian family of Heown of Frampton, and had by her a son, Melakcthon. By a 2nd wife he had further issue, and particularly Martin,born in 1663, thirty years vicar of Yeovil, who married a dau. of Phelips of Mont acute, and left issue.

Melancthon Stronge, the elder Bon, 6. 1650, describes himself as of N’ether-Strongc, and appears to have allowed himself to be drawn in to take part in the unfortunate rising and defeat of James, Duke of Monmouth. Immediately after the battle of Sedge moor, near Bridgewater, on the 4th July, 1685, and the disastrous defeat which followed, he fled away on foot, disguised in the garb of a working artizan, with hia tools, etc., to London, which he reached In great misery. Some time previous to this adventure and happy escape from the massacre and from the horrors of the ” Bloody Assise,” he had m., and had (with two daus., Mary, wife of Gosforth, and Elizabeth, who m. Samuel Sandeforth, Esq., and had a dau., Anne, m. 12 April, 1742, to Robert Strcatfcild, Est].) a son,

The Battle of Sedgemoor was fought on 6 July 1685  and took place at Westonzoyland near Bridgwater in Somerset, England.  It was the final battle of the Monmouth Rebellion and followed a series of skirmishes around south west England between the forces of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and the crown he was trying to take. The royalist forces prevailed and about 500 troops captured. Monmouth escaped from the battlefield but was later captured and taken to London for trial and execution.

Many of Monmouth’s supporters were tried during the Bloody Assizes. Many were transported abroad, while others were executed by drawing and quartering.

Rev. John Pitt, Vicar of Chardstock (1627-1645), Warden of Wadham College, Oxford befriended James Stronge  “a poor tailor of Chardstock who wrought for a groat a day, his pottage and bread and cheese”. Rev. Pitt sent him to New Inn College, Oxford. In 1645, James returned to Chardstock and turned his mentor out of the vicarage and carried off his books and goods to his own living.

JOHN PITT – (1627 – 1645) – Son of Robert Pitt of Isle Abbotts who leased land from Nicholas Wadham of Merrifield. – 1644 became Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, founded by Dorothy Wadham, widow of Nicholas Wadham in 1613. He also became the leader of the dissident heads of houses who denied the authority of the Parliamentary Commissioners during the Civil War. [So John and James were on opposite sides during the English Civil War. ] – 1636 sent James Strong to New Inn College Oxford who in return in 1645 turned John Pitt out of his living in Chard, who “carried off his books and goods to his own living in Bettiscombe.” – 1648 – dispossesed of the Wardenship.

Quarter Session Rolls:  The name of James Strong occurred as preaching illegal conventicles, Habridge, Broadway, Theale [Ref. QS/I/186/29 Patricia Peirce]

“Calumny Revised ” by A.G. Matthews, M.A. Printed by Clarendon Press.

James Strong, Vicar of Ilminster, Somerset, admitted July 24, 1654.

The sequestrated vicar restored. Vicar of Curry Rivel with Earnshill, June 6, 1686, son of Thomas Strong of Chardstock, Dorset, New Inn Hall, Oxford, Matriculated April 8, 1636, age 17, M.A. in July 7, 1657. Rector of Melcombe Regis (now part of Weymouth, Dorset) by committee, September 24, 1646. Rector of Bettiscombe, Dorset, March 28, 1648. Assistant to Somerset Commission December 10, 1657. Preaching illegally in Thurlbear and five other parishes. Licenced at Broadway May 8, 1672. Living at Henlade in February 1674/75. Wife Katherine.

[Note: ‘by committee’ and ‘Somerset Commission applies to the Commonwealth ruled by Oliver Cromwell who rewarded those of similar religious thought.]

1654 – “Mr. James Stronge is by his Highness Oliver Lord Protector of ye Commonwealth of England under his seale manuall nominated publique preacher before the Committee to approval of public preachers…judging him to be a person qualified as in and by the ordinary…ratify confirm and allow him the said Mr. James Stronge to be continue in ye said sequestered vicarage, as public preacher there…possession of all rents profits etc…. Whithall, 24 July 1654 (Lambeth Augmentations: p968)

I normally don’t include wills of ancestors’ children/uncles, but Rev. James will has special interest beyond the usual inheritances.

Will of Rev. James Stronge, dated 26 Feb 1694, proved 20 Jun, 1694, by James Stronge and Sarah

Buried near my former wife and children in the parish Church of Ruishton…. 50 shillings to be bestowed on a salt which I give to New Inne Hall in Oxford…. 5 pounds to be bestowed in 20 bibles of 5 shillings each to the poor people….poor children or other of Curry Rivell and Ruishton…. 40 shillings to any of Alexander Cook’s children of Chardstock…. My dear and honorable friend Mr. John Speke…. To my son Martyn, Montanns Hebrew Bible in 8 volumes…. To my son James be he living and returned….100 pound paid to him out of my estate at Henlade…. My daughter Elizabeth Stacey, 10 shillings…. My estate at Henlade, I give to my son Edward and his heirs lawfully begotten of his body to the worlds end, but my wife shall enjoy the said 18 acres of land at Hospitts during her life…. Residue to my son Edward and my now wife Sarah whom I appoint joint executors…. Household goods and…. Goods at Curry Rivel…. divided between them….. and also debt of 50 pounds…. I hold by a mortgage of 7 years for Mr. Jeringes and Mr. Thomas Jennings, Esq. which at 10 pounds a year for Ernshill amount to 70 pounds…. all the small tithes due out of parsonage of Curry. Mr. Nicholas Massall of Taunton and Mr. John Gardner of Hinton St. George Overseers. [Jeanne Waters Strong]

Reverend James Stronge Ballad  circa 1653

(Sung to Chevy Chase)
I sing the man with lofty muse
With zeal and wit inspir’d
Did western women’s valour chuse
To chant with art acquire’d

Stang is his name, though Strong he writes,
Forgetting’s father’s Houses,
Whom he neglecteth and thus slights,
Because a Poor……..

The Sacred Function he invades
Without a Lawful call,
(As now adares do men of Trade,
Though learned not at all)

And soon became a Teacher quaint,
Zealous of Reformation,
Presently falling on the point
Of dire Presdestination.

Bishops and Deans he much decr’d
As things intolerable,
The Surplice and the Cross beside
Were most abominable

The Doctor he turned out o door,
And took into possesion
His lands, his goods and what is more,
His Book by Sequestration.

The holy Font that raised was
For the Administration
Of Infant-Baptisme, he (alas)
Fed pigs, and put his wash in.

When Raw, the Sequestrator had
Himself hang’d. through despair,
Our Author (as his Chaplain) made
A sermon to repair

The Credit of this Fallen Saint,
And did much applaud,
As one impatient of Restraint
From being with his God.

This Corps which should have buried been
In some Cross-qay and stak’d,
In holy ground interr’d has been
By our author, and up rak’d.

But being at length ambitious grown,
He could not be content
With that small lot which was his own,
To Ilminster he went,

A market town in Somerset,
And though a sequestration,
Yet….throat could swallow it
Glibber than ordination.

Our author here increas’d he wealth
As well as in Renown,
Though what he got was all by stealth,
And was noe of his own.

A purchaser he then became
Of House, and eke of lands,
And rose to be a man of fame,
But he built on the sands.

For moving from the Vicarage-house
The Porch, unto his own,
The Fact, so Sacriligious,
Did throw his own house down.

And being now a widower,
He would a wooing ride,
To get a rich wife, far or near,
His Palfrie he’d bestride.

In order whereunto, on goes
The Rich Black velvet coat,
Which worn is , everybody knows,
Onely by men of note.

In this he swaggerer’d up and down
Ilminster, Taunton, Chard,
On Market Daies; scarce any town
Near him, but saw or heard

Analysis of Rev. James Strong by John R Mayer 10 Oct 1997

“STRANG is his Name, though STRONG he writes, Forgetting
Father’s Houses, …”Ballad of Rev. James Strong, circa

What kind of trouble did Katherine Minterne have, either
during her pregnancy, or after giving birth to Melancthon?

If she had septicemia, one would think she would have died
within one or two weeks of Melancthon’s birth. She would
hardly have had any time to “break her heart” and die.

What would have left her in such a condition that she
would have been “forced to go back to her parents”? It
was natural enough for a prospective mother to return to
her native home for the support and midwifery of her own
mother, especially during the first pregnancy. However,
the account seems to allude to some other circumstance or
condition, much more dire and compelling than the ordinary
course of a pregnancy.

The note set in brackets, inside the Ballad, suggests to
me that Katherine must have returned to her parents’ home
to have her baby. The note also seems to imply that
Melancthon might have been raised by his maternal
grandparents (John Minterne and Bridget Brown), after his
mother’s death, instead of his own father and stepmother.

[Nether Stronge] – The fictive place named Nether Stronge certainly sounds like a term of self-deprecation. I can imagine that Melancthon must have felt a certain degree of regret, self-pity, and resentment at having lost his mother to death, and at having been raised separately from the family of his natal father the Reverend James Stronge.

[Cunnabula gentis] – Cunnabula gentis is a distinctly feminine expression in the feminine gender, so why would it not refer to the cradle of his maternal family?

The Latin cunnus refers to the pudenda, and it survives in several English obscene expressions I shall decline to recite. Therefore, the expression carries with it connotations that may not be polite, but which certainly denote a maternal gentry, as opposed to one paternal. I would guess some modern anthropologist might equate the expression with, or translate it as, some scientific phrase, such as “uterine family.”

Cunnabula may literally mean simply ‘cradle’ but it says a lot more that that. It sounds like the type of word a man would be apt to remember from his college Latin course. There is little difference between high-brow courses, and pedestrian courseness.

Places in Somerset, Dorset, and Devon What is your impression of the far-flung locations? There was obviously some connection between Batcombe, Somerset, and Battiscombe, Dorset. These two places named Batcombe happen to lie almost directly north and south of one another, in Somerset and Dorset, are both spelled the same. The Battiscombe you mentioned here must refer to the Battiscombe, Dorset, that lies to the southeast of Chard.

The same interpersonal connections that once linked these places (Batcombe and Battiscombe), must have played some part in introducing James Stronge to Katherine Minterne. Satellite settlements were fairly common along the southern shores, for we see them in Kent and elsewhere throughout England.

I presume that the Reverend James Stronge must have been living at the vicarage of Battiscombe, Dorset, in 1650, when Melancthon was born.

However, if Katherine’s father was associated with Batcombe, Somerset, why was Melancthon born in Nether Stowey, far to the west? Was Nether Stowey the ancestral home of the Minterne family? Did John Minterne and his wife Bridget Brown relocate from Batcombe to Nether Stowey?

It is fairly interesting to see that Katherine was buried at Ruishton, Somerset, just about half way between Nether Stowey and neighborhood of Ilminster. It is likewise interesting to see that James’ youngest son Edward Stronge took up residence at Ruishton, Somerset.

Ultimogeniture was a very odd practice in England, but it had existed in Kent from very ancient times. The only times when the English ever resorted to ultimogeniture were times of wholesale migration, such as during the early colonial period in America, or the famines in Ireland.

Let us review the ways in which James’ family broke the rule of primogeniture:

(1)Melancthon was the ulterior sibling, belonging to Katherine Minterne instead of Sarah. The story certainly implies that Sarah simply declined to raise Melancthon with stepmotherly affections.

In those days, the marriageform would have depended upon the father of the bride, so he might have made it part of the marriage contract and a condition of dowry. It seems reasonable to surmise that Melancthon’s upbringing at Nether Stowey might have been motivated by the prospect he might inherit his natal mother’s portion of whatever the Minterne and Strong families deemed to grant him in his mother’s right.

Melancthon’s natal father James Stronge probably thought it was perfectly reasonable to separate his eldest son from the rest. His eldest son could simply enjoy his mother’s matrimony. It probably was more convenient for James, and more acceptable to his new bride Sarah, to start anew their younger family in the southern towns of Battiscombe, Dorset, and Iminster, Somerset.

(2) Rev. Martin Stronge was a cleric, and therefore could expect to have his livings thereafter provided by the church. Thus, it was probably reasonable to both Rev. James Stronge and his second son Martin that he should accept religious emoluments, allowing any inheritance to bypass him.

(3)James Stronge junior sounds like the Prodigal Son. Have you compared the words “be living and returned” to the text of the King James Bible?

Perhaps James junior left for America, but perhaps he was just indignant, and left his father’s house for a time. He could have eventually returned to his father, in either case. The eldest son Melancthon had his mother’s rightful matrimony, the second son Martin had tithing for his support, and the third son James was next in line. His father might have pegged plenty of hope upon his third son James,  for his words want to tell us some deeper story.

Naming the third son after his father was a custom typical of the English, Scots, and Welsh, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The custom might characterize the special fondness a father would customarily reserve for his third son, anticipating that his eldest son and second son would probably both go away for adventure, military service, or the priesthood, or even for emigration.

(4) Edward Stronge apparently succeeded to whatever patrimonial rights remained at Ruishton, Somerset, by default. If James senior buried his first wife at Ruishton, then he must have had some prior attachment to that place.

Melancthon must have felt a certain longing for his Cunnabula gentis, but his place name Nether Stronge, for Nether Stowey, would seem to speak more of his longing for the natal father he never had the chance to really know. Perhaps his maternal grandfather was too old and reclusive to play the role of his surrogate father, and he used the name Nether Stronge to allude to his alienation from his natal father.

The sacrifice of Melancthonto the Minterne family must have made sense, in view of succession. Whether James junior’s new father-in-law had any influence in the matter would be anybody’s guess. I would suppose that James senior would have agreed to alienate his eldest son from the sibship that would inherit from his new bride.

The story the Ballad tells is surely replete with interesting, but sad detail.

Best regards,
John R. Mayer

Martha Strong replies:

Date: Sat, 11 Oct 1997 01:14:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Strong, Melancthon, his Cunnabula gentis

Dear John,

Don’t ask me how Rev. James Strong married into this family but here is the ancstry of Katherine Minterne

Visitations of Dorset 1623 –

I. John Mynterne of Bettiscombe Dorset
II.John Mynterne
III. John Mynterne -m. Margaret Wolley of
Leigh, dau. of John Wolley
IV. John Mynterne m. Frances Maye
1. John Minterne -see below
2. Joan Mynterne m. Thomas Balstone
of Hawkchurch
3. Elinor Mynterne m Richard Draper
4. Dorothy Myterne
5. Henry Mynterne m. Briget Keymer, dau.
of John Keymer of London
V. John Mynterne m . Bridget Brown
1. John Minterne
2. William Minterne
3. Frances Minterne m. Fowler
4. Rachel Minterne m. Hall
5. Katherine Minterne m. Rev. James Stronge

I. John Brown of Frampton m. Thomazine Wareham, of Compton Valence, dau. of John Wareham.
1. John Brown – m. Elizabeth Trenchard, dau. of Sir George Trenchard and Elizabeth Speake, dau. of George Speake (Speke)
a. Jane Browne m 1)Walter Newburgh
2) Rev. John Stoughton
b. Grace Browne m John Stevens
c. Elizabeth Browne m Robert Hunt
d. Ann Browne m William Gould
e. Joan Browne m. Robert Coker
f. John Browne m. Elizabeth Wyes
g. Thomas Browne
h. Robert Browne
i. Susan Browne m. George Fulford
j. George Brown m. Anne Hunt

2. Robert Brown – m. Francis Martin
a. Robert Brown
b. Francesca Brown
c. Bridget Brown.

These two families were in the Visitations and had knighthoods and money. Notice the name Speake here and in the write up on Rev. James at Ilminster. It would seem that is how he met Katherine and also seem that this is where he had the influence of Katherine’s family. They were powerfull enough.

Taking your first point – the trouble Katheine had, notice the date of Ilminster 1654. At that time Cromwell was in power. 1660 Charles II was restored to the throne and Rev. James had definately been doing well under Cromwell.

We also know from his will that not all his and Katherine’s children lived and are buried with her. Patricia Pierce searched the records but, there was no mention of any of them. We also know he was at Ruishton before Curry Rivall, but that Parish doesn’t claim him and we couldn’t get the details.

I don’t think Chardstock was to happy with him either because he is not listed under the list of Vicars but in other documents.

We have no record of the birth of Melancthon anywhere. Don’t forget Rev. James liked to throw baptismal fonts and feed the live stock in them, of course, by the time Martin was born he had changed sides again.

There was a date of 1650 in Burke Landed Gentry, but we have no idea where it came from and can’t prove it. Burke also had George Stronge wrong because he only had two of the sons, Thomas and Walter.

I think you will find the ditty means that Rev. James Stronge was not a nice person and hard to live with.

Melancthon died in 1691, Rev. James died in 1694. He wouldn’t mention him in his will. He also didn’t name any of his grandchildren

I’m sure Melancthon was raised by his father, remember that he was involved with the Duke of Monmouth and Rev. James had preached a sermon for the Duke. He probably had his mother’s family help escape any consequences.

In wills of this time period “living and returned” is often used and always means the son has gone off somewhere on an adventure or even to sea where the father would not have any idea if he lived. Where Rev. James left him 100 pounds it may mean he had no need of material goods.

(Note: BoB could you foward that write up I did on Sir. Edward Phelips to John).

There is another curious thing about this family. Thomas Stronge d. 1663 not according to Church rite, but his son was a minister?

One thing is for sure Rev. James Stronge took good care of himself. Throwing his mentor out and later changing with the political tide.

Nether Stowey was not the ancestral home of the Minterne or Browne family and they never moved there.

The names of the grandchildren sure make it look like Katherine is the mother not Sarah.

Rev. Marting Stronge of Yeovil, was there 30 years and well respected. There is a coat of arms in the church that is quartered with the Martin family, although we don’t know how he got it or if it was just made up.

Rev. James Stronge and Katherine Minterne were related either by blood or marriage to Rev. John Warham, Windsor, Ct., Rev. John Stoughton, whose brother Thomas Stoughton  [son of our ancestor Thomas STOUGHTON] came over, Rev. Walter Newburgh (Newberry) related to Thomas Newberry Elder John Strong and Vincent Meigs. Those are just the obvious ones.

I love the story “they didn’t know one another”, my answer always is “Yes, I know, they were just relatives”

That Captain James Stronge need lookin into especially with the Phelips connection.



Posted in 12th Generation, Artistic Representation, College Graduate, Historical Site, Line - Miller | Tagged , | 5 Comments

George Strong

George STRONG (c. 1556 – 1635) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather; one of 4,096 in this generation of the Miller line. He didn’t immigrate, but had double descendants in our line through his sons Thomas and John Richard.

George Strong Cottage before Renovation Source: Strong Family of America

George Strong was born about 1556, but I haven’t found any direct evidence about the date. His father was John STRANG (c. 1515 in Tauton, Somerset, England – ). He lived most of his life in Chardstock, Devon, England.  Chardstock is about 4 miles equal distance from Chard in Somerset and Axminster in Devon.  His wife may have been nameed  Elizabeth WARY or BOWDIGE. George died about 1634/35, Chard, Somerset, will proved 13 Feb 1634/35.

George Stronge Cottage before restoration Source: Strong Family of America

Children of  George and Elizabeth:

Name Born Married Departed
1. John Richard STRONG 1575 in Chard, Somerset, England Eleanor [DEAN?]
1609 in Chard, Somerset, England
 14 Jun 1613 in Chard, Somerset, England.
2. George Strong 1580
Chardstock, Devon, England
3. Walter Strong 17 Apr 1581
Chard, Somerset, England
Ann Bond
Feb 1621
9 Apr 1667
Chard, Somerset, England
4. William Strong 1583
Chardstock, Devon, England
Margaret [__?__]
1603 in Chard, Somerset, England
5. Thomas STRONG  1584
Chardstock, Devon, England
Joanna BAGGE
12 May 1604
Chardstock, Devon England
12 May 1663
Chardstock, Devon, England

George Strong’s cottage was built in the late 1500s, likely for Strongs who later moved to Chard (about 4 miles away).

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America

The Strong Cottage was built by the Chardstock Manor Estates. The current Lord of the Manor is Jonathan Milford who lives in Manor Home in Chardstock. The Strong Cottage was rehabilitated around 1993.  Jarvis Strong’s project to help the rehab provided $10,000, which was a bit less than 10% of the total. It did indicate American interest in the project, though, and provided the impetus for the owners to complete the cottage rehab. The cottage is presently rented by Joe Harrison as his home.  Check the Strong Family of America website for details on how you can visit.

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America

As a tailor living in Chard, his will, dated Nov. 20, 1627 and proved Feb. 13, 1635, names sons Thomas and Walter, granddaughters Marie, Elizabeth and Joane, and grandsons William and John.

Manor Court Rolls – Chardstock

Sep 1596 – Paying homage to the manor court.

3 May  1604 – George Strang – Assessor to view commons

13 Jul 1604 – “The water in George Stronge’s ditch is not able to pass but run out in the way and he must scower the same.”

1629 – “We do present George Stronge for that he dothe sell fuell furses [Furse is a Devon surname as well as one of several names for the evergreen shrub more widely known as Gorse.  Gorse is closely related to the brooms, and like them, has green stems and very small leaves and is adapted to dry growing conditions.] in the commons and carry them into another parish and burn them contrary to the customs of the our manor, therefore he is fined ten shillings; and that George Stronge hath pulled downe a barne builded upon posts upon his cottage and carryed the tymber into another manor and hath also rooted upp certayne apple trees growing uppon his said cottage and carryed the same out of the manor”.

1631, 1632, 1633 – Fined for not cleaning his ditch.

20 May  1635 – Presentment of the death of George Stronge since the previous court and that he was tenant of TWO COTTAGES in Chardstock towne, to which Thomas Stronge was thereupon admitted as the next tenant. [Robin Bush, pub. By M&J Clearinghouse]

George Strong Cottage Source: Strong Family of America

1636 – “That George Stronge, tenant since the last court to the cottage in Chardstock town and doth happen to the lord for a death duty, and that Thomas Strong is the next tenant”.

Manor Court Rolls – Chard

1614 Manor Court Jury

1625-1628 Subsidy (DD/HT 465, Somerset Record Office)

George Stronge in Chardland

1628/29 George Stronge in Chardland.

Will of George Stronge of Chard dated, 20 Nov 1627, proved 13 Feb 1635/36, (PCC1636, Pile 15)

I George Strong of the parishe of Chard….tayler…. I give unto THOMAS STRONG MY SONNE 6 shillings 8 pence. I give unto JOHN STRONGE MY GRANDCHILD, 6 shillings 8 pence. I give unto WILLIAM STRONG MY GRANDCHILD, 20 poundes due to me from George Cookney and Nicholas Staple…. I give unto the said William Strong ffive pewter platters, two pondgers, one bason, ffower sawcers, two saltsellers, and two brasse candelsticke. I give unto MARIE STRONG MY GRANDCHILD DAUGHTER of WALTER STRONG MY SONNE, 10 poundes which Thomas Parris oweth me….and more I give her my best brasse crocke, and my lesser brasse pann. I give unto JOANE STRONG, DAUGHTER of the said WALTER STRONG, 10 poundes. I give unto ELIZABETH STRONG, DAUGHTER of the said WALTER STRONG, 10 poundes. I give and bequeath unto my said SON WALTER STRONG whome I make, and ordayne sole executor of this my last will and testement. I desire MY GOOD FRIENDS THOMAS LEGG THE YOUNGER and THOMAS BOWDITCH OF WICKCRAST to be my overseers. Witnesses – Thomas Pitte, Sir John Rives, Richard Ray, THOMAS BURRAGE. [Abstracted by J. Osborn]


1. John Richard STRONG (See his page)

3. Walter Strong

Walter’s wife Ann Bond was born in 1582 in Chard, Somerset, England. Her parents were John Bond and [__?__]. Ann died 11 Sep 1674 in Chard, Somerset, England

Walter was a butcher.  His wife, Ann Bond was daughter of John Bond.  Children: Marie; Elizabeth; Joane; and George married Margaret.

4. William Strong

William’s wife Margaret [__?__] was born about 1583 in Chard, Somerset, England. Margaret died 23 Mar 1621 in Chard, Somerset, England.

5. Thomas STRONG (See his page)


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