Friday, May 25, 2018

Holbrook line: Thurston Clarke, Immigrant, abt 1590-1661

Sadly, I don't know the parentage of Thurston (aka Tristam) Clarke.  He is believed to have come from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, but even with that clue no one has found his birth or christening record yet.  There are a few trees that give his birth date as 1574 and give him parents, but those parents were also born in the 1570s and as such, are probably too young to be Thurston's parents.  So the search goes on. 

We know very little of Thurstan's life in England.  He married a woman named Faith, possibly Faith Loes, and they had six children.  Two died in England and one died when she was about twelve, so there were three children who came to America.  We can't trace the arrival of anyone other than Thurstan and Faith the daughter, who came to America on the Francis in 1634.  It appears that his wife, Faith, stayed in England until after Abigail died in 1637.  Perhaps the boys stayed behind, too, to help their mother with all that was needed during the time of Abigail's illness. 

The early death of Mary Clarke, daughter of Thurstan and Faith, who only lived about a month, resulted in a sentence of death by hanging of Anna Puse, wife of Richard Puse of Ipswich.  She was tried as a witch for having caused the death of Mary, by "inchantments, witchcraftes and charmes".   I have not been able to verify that she actually was hanged, but it's possible.  From the books I've read, it was somewhat unusual for a married woman to be accused of such a crime, and this was a little late in the witchcraft scare, but someone had to be one of the last to be hanged, I suppose. 

Thurstan had been a husbandman in England and was a husbandman again in his new home of Plymouth Colony, in what became Duxbury.  He was a neighbor of William Brewster and Miles Standish, but was not nearly as prominent in the running of the colony.  He was educated to a certain point, or at least his inventory included a Bible and a psalmbook.  His sons were admonished in 1644 for not frequenting the public assemblies on the Lord's Day.  From this, we can conclude that Thurstan and Faith did attend, and that they didn't have total control over their sons.  That second factor mught have made them feel uncomfortable in a conformist colony like Plymouth. 

The only evidence we have of participating in colony life was that he was appointed a surveyor of highways in 1655. 

His death on December 6, 1661 was sad.  The jury determined that he had died of cold and exposure, as his body was found covered in ice.  It is also possible that he had a heart attack or other life ending event, and that the body froze after his death, but we will never know for sure.  He had been traveling on foot between Duxbury and Plymouth when he died. 

His estate was quite small, only 97 pounds.  His wife died in 1663 and at that time daughter Faith was granted 1/4 of the estate, with the balance going to the sons Henry and Thurstan Jr.  Henry and Thurstan were found in 1690 to be impoverished and unable to take care of their needs, so arrangements were made that they would be cared for.  John Doty, their nephew, was directed to care for them. 

Thurstan had a difficult life.  He lost three children young, his sons didn't amount to much, as we would say today, and he didn't built much of an estate.  However, he came to America with his three children, and built a home and a life here, and for that, we can be grateful. 

I would certainly like to know what his thoughts were about the witchcraft trial for the woman accused of killing his daughter.  Did he instigate the charge, or did his wife?  What was the relationship between these families?  Why would the court have found the woman guilty?  If there was a hanging, did Thurstan and his wife attend?  This part of his life is difficult to comprehend, but it is part of his story.

The line of descent is:

Thurstan Clarke-Faith possibly Loes
Faith Clarke-Edward Doty
Samuel Doty-Jane Harman
Sarah Doty-Josiah Standish
Hannah Standish-Nathan Foster
Nathan Foster Elizabeth Lansford
Jude Foster-Lydia M
Betsy Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Holbrook post: Captain Peter Hayes, born about 1571, Immigrant

Folks, we have an adventurer in the family!  Not a farmer, at least not at first, not a pastor, not even a merchant, but a real live (at the time) adventurer.  He was called Captain for a reason, and it wasn't just to differentiate himself from his son Peter Hayes, "the Envoy".  It's always interesting to find someone with a story different from those of most of our ancestors, and Captain Peter Hayes is our man.

The frustrating thing about Peter isn't the lack of knowledge about him, because we actually know quite a bit. The frustrating thing is that I don't know who I should credit for this information. It is freely available on the web, but the closest I got to a source was page 168 and following of an unnamed journal, repeated on many web sites.

Peter was born about 1571 in Great Budworth, CHeshire, England.  I've seen his father referred to as "Sir" John Hayes, and his mother was Elizabeth Starkey Hayes.  He has a christening date of July 28, 1578 so I wonder if maybe he wasn't the second Peter Hayes in the family.  It was not usual to delay a christening for that long.  At any rate, he had six brothers and sisters.  As the third son, he was not given an inheritance but the family did give him an education, and he eventually apprenticed for his cousin, Edward Hayes, who was a ship captain and owned a ship called "The Golden Hind".  (I don't believe this was the ship of Sir Francis Drake, but the ship may have been named in honor of the famous vessel that sailed around the world).

When Peter finished the apprenticeship with his cousin, he married Margaret Davyes Howse, a widow, on September 18, 1591 in London (date supports the 1571 birthdate).  Known children are Peter, Elizabeth and Ann, all of whom outlived their father.  Shortly after James I came to the throne, he sold the nation's navy, leaving the merchant marines open to piracy from France and Spain, particularly.  Soon after that, most British seamen were either unemployed or were working for a foreign country.  Peter chose to work for the Dutch.  His route was to go from Texel Island (in the Netherlands) to Greenland, where the Dutch had established a colony.  His home base was at the town of Edam, not far from Amsterdam.

In 1630 the Dutch West India Company ordered Peter to take a group of Puritans to the Caribbean island of Tortugas.  From there he went to Delaware Bay, where again the Dutch wished to establish a colony.  Peter liked what he saw in America and when he returned the ship to the company, he terminated his employment also.

He was in Virginia by 1635 and settled on Pagan Point, now called James Creek.  He purchased land that was recorded in 1636, 350 acres, although he had likely made the purchase several years before that.  He was growing old, though, and in 1641 petitioned the Virginia Assembly to have his taxes abated due to his advanced age.  He was successful in this,  although he still had to pay the church tithe.  This is the last we hear of Peter.  His death date is generally given as 1641-1650, but there is no proof ofa specific date.

It's hard to imagine that Peter had an easy life.  350 acres was just the wrong size of land-a little too much for one man to handle, and a little too small to attract tenant workers.  It is possible, even probable, that he had native American slaves, given the time period he was living in Virginia.  One wonders whether he was glad he'd gone to America, or if he ever wished he had stayed on, sailing for the Dutch.

The line of descent is:

Peter Hayes-Margaret Davyes
Peter Hayes,-Ann possibly Hudson
John Hayes-Abigail Dixon
Jane Dixon Hayes-Thomas Stansbury
Thomas Stansbury-Hannah Gorsuch
Rachel Stansbury-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, May 18, 2018

Holbrook line: William Browne 1593-1650 Immigrant

He was just a name on our tree, until I started finding his story.  Now he is very dear to me.  Somehow and for some reason as yet unexplained, I feel connected to William Browne. 

It can't be geography.  William Browne was born in Rusper, Sussex, England in 1593, when Queen Elizabeth still had ten years to live.  Sussex is on the south east coast of England, and Rusper is on the northern edge of Sussex, now relatively close to London but not so much 425 years ago.  William was the son of Rev. Joseph and Margaret Patching, so perhaps it's the preacher's kid connection, but it seems more than that. 

William grew up in a large family of perhaps as many as eight children, so it is somewhat surprising that he was able to obtain an education.  He became a schoolmaster and apparently taught up until his departure for the new world in 1645.  (As mentioned many times, this is where I can't "connect".  The bravery of these people is beyond all of my understanding but commands my utmost respect.)

 By the time the family came over, William had been married to Jane Mills since 1611.  She was the daughter of Thomas and Margaret Mills.  Again, they had a large family of nine children, which makes one wonder how they survived on a schoolmaster's salary.  Only three of the children are known to have come to the New World-Henry, Phebe, and Mary.  The voyage over must have been horrific, because wife Jane and their eldest son John both died of smallpox on the voyage.  How frightening that must have been for all of the passengers, and how disheartening for William!

William first went to Saybrook, Connecticut but seems to have stayed there only a short time.  His daughter Mary married Robert Marvin and William made his home with them at Southampton, Long Island, New York.  This was already a whaling community, so the opportunities for trading were good and William made his living as a merchant.   

One wonders why the family went to Long Island.  Was it for more religious freedom?  Was it economics?  Was it land?  Since William's son Henry went to Rhode Island, a reasonable guess might be that religion had something to do with it, but we will probably never know for sure.

William seems to have been a respected man for he was made a freeman at Southampton in 1648 and shared in a division of lands later that year.  He signed some sort of register on July 2, 1650 but three weeks later his daughter and her husband applied for administration of his estate., so his death must have been sudden.  His inventory was taken the next day and valued at 165 pounds.  I guess what blesses me is that of this, his books were valued at 5 pounds.  He and I share a love of books.  I wish I knew what books he owned, because that would tell us much more about him. 

William may or may not have lead a fairly easy life in Rusper, but his tragic losses on the voyage here and then his efforts to begin a new life on Long Island are the stories that should be told in a movie.  I can't do it justice in a blog post. 

The line of descent is:

William Brown-Jane Mills (some say Jane Burgis)
Henry Browne-Waite Waterman
Richard Browne-Mary Pray
Deborah Browne-Othniel Brown (no apparent relationship)
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Holbrook line: George Bussey 1622-1668

George Bussey is one of our earlier Virginia immigrants.  He arrived in Virginia in 1635, at the age of about 13.  He was counted as a headright for Richard Bennett, as was at least one other Bussey on the same ship, Elizabeth.  I haven't been able to trace information about Elizabeth but I am thinking she was likely a sister, perhaps an older sister.  (Of course, it's possible she was his mother, or an aunt, or cousin.)  At any rate, we know that George would have had to serve an indentureship for Richard or for someone else who paid Richard passage money.  As a minor, George probably had to serve until he was 21 years of age.  There is a possibility that Richard was some kind of relative to both George and Elizabeth but that has not yet been pin-pointed to my satisfaction.

The mere fact that George was alive to marry Anne Keene, daughter of Henry and Anne Halle Keene, in about 1649 shows that he was a special kind of man.  He likely worked in tobacco fields for much if not all of his indentureship, but somehow he managed to avoid attacks by the native Americans, diseases carried by both humans and insects (think malaria, for one), accidents, starvation, drownings, and all of the other causes of death that killed so many of the early arrivals in Virginia.  He was, as the phrase goes, of "hardy pioneer stock." 

We don't know anything for sure about George's early life.  The strongest family history I've found about him thinks he or his ancestors came from Heydour, a small village in Lincolnshire, England.  There were undoubtedly Busseys there up until 70 years or so before George was born, but there the trail goes cold.  It would be nice to be able to connect the missing generations, because the de Busseys were an old family, possibly having come over with the Norman Conquest of our ancestor William the Conqueror.  But we don't yet have the missing proof, so whether, or how, our George connects to this family is purely speculation right now. 

We also don't know what prompted George to leave Virginia and go to Maryland to live.  The move was apparently made about 1653, and his four sons were born in short succession, soon after.  There may also have been an infant, who died within a few weeks or months.  George purchased land in Maryland and probably started tobacco farming on his own.  Whether he left Virginia because land was cheaper in Maryland, or whether he left because of religious differences, we don't know. 

We also don't know why George died in 1688, at the age of approximately 46.  Did he die of overwork, or of one of the fevers that was so common, or from some other cause?  He lived on the "frontier" of the time so it could have been wild animals, or native Americans.  We know he lived long enough to write a will, but I've only seen an abstract of that.  

George is another ancestor that I'd love to spend more time investigating, simply because I don't know that much about life in Virginia and Maryland during that time period.  Why did George come to America?  What religion was he?  Why did he go to Maryland, and did he have friends or relatives there?  What were his dreams for his children?  Did he have unfulfilled dreams for himself?  Was he glad he came to America? 

I don't know whether George was glad he came to America, but I certainly am glad he did so!  He became our ancestor, and that's a reason to celebrate his life. 

The line of descent is:

George Bussey-Anne Keene
George Bussey-Anne Williams
Edward Bussey-Martha Evans
Edward Bussey-Mary widow of Edward Pendergrass
Sarah Bussey-Benjamin Amos
Elizabeth Amos-Robert Amos  (yes, cousins)
Martha Amos-Peter Black
Elizabeth Black-Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

A personal note:  This is blog post number 500.  Almost all of them have been about ancestors in the Allen, Holbrook, Beeks, or Harshbarger lines.  I haven't run out of ancestors to write about for the Holbrooks yet, and I sure haven't run out of brick walls on any of the lines.  So I hope to be writing more posts, but as of now I can't even speculate whether it will be 20 more, or 200 more, or even more than that.  I'm just along for the ride, in a way!  Hope you're enjoying the trip, too.  


Friday, May 11, 2018

Holbrook line: Benjamin Albee, Immigrant, carpenter, Baptist!

I think that other than our Rhode Island folks, Benjamin Albee is the earliest Baptist I've found.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

Like so many of our ancestors, we have no record of when Benjamin Albee came to Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He must have been here by 1639, because he married Hannah Miller there on July 26, 1639, in Braintree.  That is what is known of the first roughly 25 years of his life.  We don't know where he was from, nor the names of his parents.  It would be interesting to know who they were, and what they believed, and whether in any way they influenced Benjamin's religious beliefs.  Apparently Hannah, whose background and origin are also not known, agreed with him enough to become his wife.

We know that he was in Braintree when ater he lived in Milfhe became a freeman in 1642.  Working back, he may have been an indentured servant when he arrived in, say, 1638, since four years was the typical length of time to earn an indentured servant his freedom.  If he was a servant, he would have needed his master's permission to marry.  Also if he was a servant, this may have been where he learned his carpentry skills.  (The only known facts in this paragraph are the date of his being made a freeman, and the fact that he was a carpenter.  All else is speculation, mine.)

The Albees were to have at least six children.  There were Hannah, who married Samuel Wight, Lydia, who married Alexander Lovell, Prudence, who married Thomas Barnes, John, who married Jane Holbrook, James, who married Hannah Cooke, and Sarah, who married John Medbury.  Jane Holbrook's ancestors were ours, and Hannah Cooke's parents were our ancestors also.  Another fun facte is that Benjamin was an ancestor to President William Howard Taft, so there's another presidential connection for us!

Another fact that causes speculation is that the Albees moved frequently.  They were in Braintree, and then in 1649 in Medfield, and then in Milford, where he built the first water powered grain mill there.  Later they lived in Swansea, where he helped establish the Baptist church, and then in Medfield and finally Mendon.  Those facts are known.  What isn't known is why he moved so frequently.  Was it purely because of the work he did as a carpenter and a land surveyor, and he moved because that's where the work was?  Or, was he a speck in the eyes of the Puritan church, and encouraged to leave because of his religious beliefs?  It must have been difficult to have beliefs that isolated him from the society of Puritans, and therefore probably left him out of the equivalent of the "Old Boys Club". 

An additional difficult part of Benjamin's life occurred during King Philip's War.  In 1675, he and his family had to flee to Swansea.  Both Mendon, where he was living at the time, and Swansea, the town he had lived in previously, were burned by the native Americans. Not only that, but Benjamin's son John died in battle in 1675.  I can't  imagine the pain of losing a home and presumably many of their household goods, but also a son at the same time.  No, life was not easy for the Albee family.

Benjamin is believed to have died in 1686.  I show Hannah with a death date of 1655, but that's not correct since the Swansea Baptist church wasn't founded until 1667 and their names are both in the church documents. We don't know anything about Benjamin's education but the fact that he could build a mill, do land surveying, and apparently build pretty much anything that was needed surely means that he was an intelligent man.  It would be interesting to know the value of his estate.  He'd only had about 10 years to build it back up after losing everything, so one would expect that it would be relatively low.  It would be nice, however, to find answers to some ofe these questions, to confirm or disprove our speculations, and especially, to learn more about his origins. 

The line of descent is:

Benjamin Albee-Hannah Miller
Hannah Albee-Samuel Wight
Hannah Wight-John Thompson
Joseph Thompson-Mary Holbrook
Alice Thompson-Joseph Rockwood

Levi Rockwood-Deborah Lazell
Susannah Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Holbrook line: Thomas French, Immigrant (following some of his children)

 There are several good sites for information about Thomas, our immigrant, but none of them are perfect and some disagree on certain parts of Thomas's life.  This is not unusual, for there were apparently several by the name of Thomas French, including the son Thomas who came several years before his father.  Some of the records of the two, both of whom settled in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts have been mixed, it seems.  Our Thomas was born in 1584 is Assington, Suffolk, England, the son of Jacob and Susan Warren French, and it appears that Susan, his wife, whom he married in 1608, was born the same year.  Susan, also seen as Susannah, was the daughter of John and Dorcas (possibly maiden name Black) Riddlesdale.  We don't know what Thomas did in England although his son Thomas was a tailor.  Our Thomas may well have followed the same trade, since Thomas Junior was his oldest son.  Traditionally, the oldest son followed in his father's footsteps. 

Thomas French came to New England after four of his children had made the voyage.  He and his wife Susan may have had as many as eleven children, although some are in dispute.  The most trustworthy lists I've found give eight names: Thomas, Alice, Dorcas, Susan, Anne, Margaret, John, and Mary.  These children were all born in Assington, Suffolk, England, and by the time John and Susan arrived in Ipswich they were both in their middle fifties, with at least some children still teenagers.  However, teenagers at that time were expected to earn their keep, so it's unclear how many of the children lived with their parents. 

It's believed that they arrived in 1638 or even earlier, because he owned land in Ipswich in 1638.  Records of their immigration have not been found.  We know that Ipswich was founded by John Winthrop the Younger, so this was a Puritan town and presumably our Thomas was also a Puritan.  The reason we know so little about his life here is that he had a short life once he arrived in Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He died shortly before November 5, 1639.  Since he was here such a short time it is tempting to speculate that one of the many contagious diseases that were prevalent took his life, but it may have been natural causes, or an accident.  The records don't tell us that.

We know he had time to write a will, asking that his land be sold to support his wife and younger children.   His wife Susan lived until 1658, and she also died in Ipswich.  

One can wonder what led two middle aged people to pack up and leave home?  True, several of their children were here and it may have been a chain migration.  They may have felt forced out so that they could worship God as they chose, rather than as they were told to do.  Maybe they wanted to be where their grandchildren would be.  Maybe they were adventurous, and had stayed behind in England only till the younger children could travel more easily, or until they completed business affairs there.  We will probably never know. 

We also may not ever know the extent of Thomas's education, or how closely the family conformed to the Puritan religion, or what his personality was like.  However, we do know that like it or not, they were willing to give up whatever they had in England in order to unite their family, and that is a trait worth honoring.

Our line of descent is:

Thomas French-Susan Riddlesdale
John French-Freedom Kingsley
Elizabeth French-Jonathan Thayer
Huldah Thayer-Benjamin Wheelock
Mary Wheelock-Ebenezer Thayer
Abigail Thayer-Jesse Holbrook
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Friday, May 4, 2018

Holbrook Line: William Shattuck, Immigrant

William Shattuck was born in England, possibly Somerset, but perhaps Dorset, about 1622.  That is as much as we can safely say about his origins.  His parents are believed to be Samuel Shattuck and Damaris Sibley, but as far as I know, no documentation has been found for this.  He did name a son Samuel, but there is no Damaris in the known family, so I think the jury is still out on his parentage. 

The first we really know of Samuel is that he is in Watertown, a few miles west of Boston, by 1642.  "The Pioneers of Massachusetts" states that he was a shoemaker.  There was a loom in his inventory when he died, and there has been speculation that he was also a weaver.  Many farmers, for that was also an occupation of his, did weaving in the winter time, but it's also possible that the output was for family needs only.  So let's consider him a shoemaker and a farmer. 

His wife's name and origins are also unknown.  She was Susanna, and may have been either a Hayden or a Barnard, but again there is no proof that I can find.  They were likely married about 1642 in England, and came almost immediately to Boston.  I have also seen speculation that his father may have been with them, but died on the voyage.  Again, I have not seen documentation. 

His children present another mystery.  I have names for 8 of them.  One son has been described as "Samuel Church".  I don't know whether this was a misreading of the will, or whether William had somehow adopted the boy, or whether there is another explanation.  He mentioned the "ten younger children that are married" as well as several sons, so he may have had more children than we know of.  The children that we have listed are Susanna, Mary, John, Philip, William, Rebecca, Abigail and Benjamin.  Perhaps Susanna had brought children into the marriage whom William considered "his".  We just don't know. 

We do know a little of his life because of what was listed in the inventory at this death.  His total appraised value was 434 pound, 2 shillings, which was not bad for a farmer, or a shoemaker.  Among the interesting items are more linens and dinnerware than would be typical for the day, but perhaps made necessary by having a large family.  He had 103 pounds and 17 shillings in money, cash on hand, which again is a larger amount than I typically see.  Unless books were included among "some small things", I didn't see books on the list but I do see two pair of "cards".  They are listed with some of the wooden and earthenware dishes, so I don't want to guess what the "cards" were.  If these were playing cards, they would have caused a scandal so the likelihood is that they were something else.  He had three guns, two "pistools", and a cutlash,  so he may have been well armed, depending on how old these arms were.  He also had crops in the ground, bushels of grain, and farm animals of every sort except goats, it seems. 

The inventory is signed by John Coolege, John Livermore, and Thomas Hastings.  William died August 14, 1672 and the will was entered into probate on August 23, when the inventory was completed.  Susannah remained a single woman for about 15 months, and then married Richard Norcross  They stayed in Watertown, where she died December 11, 1686.

We actually have two lines through William and Susanna, both through their daughter Susannah.  One line is:

William Shattuck-Susanna
Susannah Shattuck-John Fay
David Fay-Sarah Larkin
Edward Fay-Sarah Joslin
David Fay-Mary or Mercy Perrin
Euzebia (Luceba) Fay-Libbeus Stanard
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

The other line is

William Shattuck-Susanna
Susanna Shattuck-Joseph Morse
Esther Morse-Nathaniel Joslin
Israel Joslin-Sarah Cleveland
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
and as per above