Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beeks line: Daniel Shed 1620-1708, Immigrant

Daniel Shedd is another in a line of New Englanders of whom little is known.  I often wonder about them.  For instance, was Daniel the kind of man who would have been the life of the party?  Was he a Puritan?  If he was, then he probably wasn't the life of the party, but he may have been a very religious man, or he may have been someone who went through the motions for business reasons.  He may have been a farmer or a tradesman of some sort, but so far I've found nothing to help indicate his occupation, trade, or even education.  That's the bad news.

The good news is that there is a little bit of information about him, anyway. He was born on or before June 25, 1620 in Finchingfield, Braintree, Essex, England, and was baptized on that date as the son of Daniel Shedd and Sarah.   Daniel and Sarah had three girls, and Daniel, that we know of.  Do you think Daniel might possibly have been just a little bit spoiled?  We don't even know for sure when he came to America.  He was here by 1643, when he was an early settler of "Brantrey", but he wasn't given land in the first set of grants so either he was young or he wasn't there when the village was started. He did receive land in 1645. He's not found on any immigration lists that I've found, which means that he may (or may not) have come over as an indentured servant and had just gained his freedom in 1643, at the same time that he went to Braintree.  (This is just my conjecture, but it makes sense to me.)

He was married by 1646, to Mary Gurney, who seems to have been a daughter of John Gurney, and they had seven children together.  Mary died about the time their youngest daughter Sarah was born, in 1658, and Daniel married Elizabeth, maiden name not known, soon after, because the first of four children was born to Daniel and Elizabeth on August 13, 1660.  Daniel had the sad situation of seeing at least three of his children die before he did, as young marrieds in the prime of life.  One son, his namesake,  died of small pox and I've not seen the cause of death of his two daughters. 

In 1658, the year his youngest daughter in the first set of children was born and possibly the year his first wife died, he moved from Braintree to Billerica, where he stayed for the remaining 50 years of his life.  His family was assigned to live in the main garrison there, during King Philip's War. Billerica was on the frontier and considered a possible target of the native Americans.  I'm finding various "alternate facts" about the war, indicating that Billerica did or did not suffer attack, and indicating that the town of about 48 families evacuated to safer locations.  Maybe all of the above are true, at different times during the conflict. 

Daniel lived a long life and died in Billerica July 27, 1708.  Elizabeth survived him.  Although we know little of his life, he surely lived a long life in interesting times.  He came across the Atlantic as a young boy or young man, made a home out of the wilderness not once but twice, raised two families, likely served in the militia and possibly saw duty during King Philip's War. Even though his name does not survive in very many records, we know that he was a pioneer when that word meant something, and he is a man the family can be proud to honor. 

The line of descent is:

Daniel Shedd-Mary Gurney
Eliabeth Shedd-Daniel Pierce
Elizabeth Pierce-Samuel Smith
Shubael Smith-Prudence Fitzrandolph
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Matilda Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants



Friday, February 17, 2017

Holbrook line: "Oulde" John Mott 1570-1656, Immigrant

Most of what is known of "Oulde" John Mott comes from articles published in The American Genealogist back in 1942-43.  Nothing here is my own research, and there are certainly a lot of questions that I can't answer.  However, we have this much, and it's enough to let our imaginations soar, perhaps.

John Mott was born about 1570 in Saffron Walden, Essex, England, probably the son of John Mott and Francis Gutter.  Saffron Walden appears to have been a town larger than a mere village.  There was an old castle there at the time, and at least one house from medieval times stands there even now.  So there would have been more opportunities to make a living than just farming, although we don't know what John did for a living.  He was apparently married several times, to Elizabeth, Catherine, and possibly Mary.  We apparently descend from Elizabeth.

John was already an old man when he came to the New World.  Apparently son Adam came first, and then John came.  He was made a freeman at Aquidneck in 1638, the year of its founding, so at that time he must have been relatively healthy.  Aquidneck is the large island of the state of Rhode Island, and some of the most interesting people lived there, such as Anne and William Hutchinson and John Dyer. It would have been a collection of free-thinkers, Quakers, and others who were not welcome or comfortable in  Massachusetts.  John Mott had land in 1639, but by 1644 the town of Portsmouth was providing for his care.  He was apparently desperately ill in 1652 when the town ordered that a stone house be built for the "more comfortable being of ould John Mott in the winter".  The house was not enough so on January 23,1654/55 the town shipped him off to Barbados Island with the admonition to the ship owner to bring him back if he "cannot be received there".  He was brought back, and son Adam was to provide him with a cow and a supply of corn, in addition to what the town supplied. 

John died about 1656.  I have so many questions about him.  First, I'd like to know something of his life in England.  Second, I'd like to know why he decided, as a man in his late 60's, to come to the New World and then to settle in what was wilderness, and even then on an island.  Was he a free-thinker, or a Quaker, or someone fleeing from some kind of persecution in England?  Was he healthy when he came to America, and was there a disease such as consumption or cancer that slowly took his life?  Why was Adam not responsible for his father's well-being?  Was he poor or/and sick himself?  He died just five years after his father. 

We can identify a lot of potential answers to these questions, but quite possibly, most or all of them would be wrong.  I must say, however, that because of his neighbors, this is one ancestor I would love to meet in his time and place, on the island of Aquidneck.  I'd love to hear John's story in his own words, and his testimony, if he had one.  And I'd love to talk to his neighbors, too!

The line of descent is:

John Mott-Elizabeth
Adam Mott-Elizabeth Creel
Elizabeth Mott-Edward Thurston
Sarah Thurston-John Thornton
Benjamin Thornton-Mary possibly Gurney
Sarah Thornton-Stephen Paine
Nathan Paine-Lillis Winsor
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Allen line: Richard Miles, Immigrant 1598-1666

It's unusual to find so much information about an immigrant ancestor.  Usually I bewail the fact that I know almost nothing about the person and then work hard to stretch a post into a three paragraph biography.  With Richard Miles, it's the opposite.  I have enough information to make a rather long article, but other people have already done that.  So, here are the highlights that I'm choosing to share.

Richard Miles, variously styled yeoman, judge, and deacon in later life, was born in 1598 in Great Munden, Hertfordshire, England, the son of Richard and Alice Cherrye Miles (Myles).  I've not located siblings for him but it's possible that he had some who died young, for his father's will mentions only his wife Alice (who actually predeceased him by 5 weeks) and son Richard.  Richard Senior appears to have been a prosperous "yeoman", because he mentions a room in his "mansion" as being a "hall." 

Richard became a Puritan, as were some of his neighbors and friends.  He married Mary Chambers and they had five children together, three in England and two in Connecticut.  It appears that they emigrated to Connecticut in 1638, although some records indicate they were in Boston in 1637 and (probably due to weather) waited until 1638 to go to Milford.   He's listed as a founder of Milford, and a freeman, and owned land there until 1645, but he was in New Haven by 1643.  Perhaps this move had to do with the death of his first wife and his subsequent remarriage.  He marred Mary Katherine Elithorpe Constable, the widow of a pastor.  They must have met shortly after the death of Mary Chambers, if they didn't already know each other, or at least know of each other. 

The Constable children returned to England after their father's death, and Richard and Mary Katherine had two more children in Connecticut.  He served as magistrate, elder, and deacon, from 1656-1667, and also had various other positions such as surveyor of all roads and bridges, deputy for the plantation, and clerk of the artillery company.  He seems to have been an educated man, although I've not found a record claiming education in a particular school or college. 

Richard made his will December 26,1666 and died early in 1667.  He left a well and the inventory was valued at 288 pounds, 6 shillings and 10 pence.  I haven't found the inventory yet but I would love to see it.  Did he have books, and does it estimate how many books?  What tools or implements did he have?  The number of his animals might give us a sense of his prosperity, too. 

Still, this is a nice amount of information for a man who died 350 years ago.  He was respected by his townsmen and church members, and he did a lot to help establish and further the interests of his new home.  We can be proud of such an ancestor!

The line of descent is:

Richard Miles-Mary Katherine Elithorpe
Anna Miles-Samuel Street
Nicholas Street-Jerusha Morgan
Jerusha Street-Thomas Starr
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, February 10, 2017

Harshbarger line: Johan Niclaus Shaffer, Immigrant 1674-1758

Sometimes when I think of what our ancestors went through, it is almost more than I can bear.  I wonder if they thought they were having it really tough, or if they just took it one day and a time and trusted God for that day only.  One of these ancestors, or rather, two of them, are Johan Niclaus Shaffer and his wife, Maria Catharina Suder.  Both of those last names have many variant spellings, it seems, so don't be disturbed if what you find isn't what I wrote.  It could very well be the same person. 

Johan Niclaus was born in Relsburg, Kusel, Rheinland-Pfalz; in the western part of what is now Germany.  This was a small village, but it is also where he found his wife, and where their children, Johann Michael, Anna Barbara, Caspar, Peter Nicholas, and Johan Jacob were born.  Shortly after Johan Jacob's birth, the family emigrated to New York.  The information I looked at does not clearly state whether this was part of the group that was sent at Queen Anne's direction, but they ended up at Livingston Manor and then Schoharie, N.Y., which is the route the impoverished immigrants sent at the Queen's direction took.  Johan Niclaus traveled with his two brothers, Johann Michael and Johann Friederich and their families, so at least they had someone to rely on in their difficulties.

The Shaffer's stuck it out in Schoharie for about 10 years, and then left-basically escaped-to Tulpihocken, Berks County, in Pennsylvania. This was about 250 miles through the wilderness, with wild animals, lack of supplies, and native Americans to worry about every step of the way.  It wasn't an easy trip but it appears that all the family members survived, which means the men of the party deserve great respect.  They must have been good leaders, and the women willing followers and help-meets.  They were some of the first settlers in Tulpehocken, although more and more families from Germany eventually settled there, too. 

The next fact I've been able to learn about Johann Niclaus is his death, in July of 1758.  He lived a long life, especially considering the hardships he faced.  It appears that his wife, Maria Catharina, died two years later, so she also had a long, if hard, life. 

I'd love to know more about this couple.  Where exactly did they live in Tulpehocken?  What religion were they, and what church did they attend?  Did they ever regret their decision to come to America, or were they content, knowing that they had given their children a chance for a better life than they would have had in the old country?  Did they learn English at all?

We might be able to find the answers to some of these questions, but some will remain a mystery.  What we do know is that this was a remarkable man. 

The line of descent is:

Johan Niclaus Shaffer-Anna Catherina Suder
Johan Jacob Shaffer-Maria Barbara Kobel
Anna Maria Shaffer-Jacob Whetstone
John Whetstone-Maria Magdalena
Catherine Whetstone-Henry Cook
William Cook-Elizabeth Brown
Barbara Cook-William Withers
William Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Beeks line: George Jacob, Immigrant 1675-1731

George Jacob is another mystery, although his story begins later in time than some of the other immigrants in the Beeks line.  He was born in the Palatinate, which is the southwestern part of Germany, but an exact location still eludes researchers.  However, knowing that he came from that region tells us that he probably came to the New world with others from his village and of his religious belief. 

He settled with his wife and children in Roxborough (Roxborrow) township, which is now part of Philadelphia but at that time would have been outside of the city.  There he died, in 1731. 

Most of what we know of George comes from his will, actually.  He had married Gerdrew, maiden name unknown, in about 1699.  The will tells us he was a weaver by trade, but we don't know if that's what he did in the Old World, too.  It's believed that the children were born in the Palatinate but once again we refer to the will for information. It names his wife, Gerdrew, and lists his children as Henry, Jacob, Peter, Catherine, Sarah, Jane, and Matthias.  His sons in law were Samuel Kastner, Hans Jerk )Jorg, maybe) Trout, and Uleriah (Ulrich) Rubel.  This is from an abstract only; I don't yet have a copy of the actual will.  It was written November 28, 1731 and proved January 20, 1732, so the actual date of death is somewhere in that time period. 

That is what we know of George Jacob.  We don't know when he came to the New World, how he fared after he arrived here, what religion he was, or any of the other dozens of things we'd like to know.  I don't think it likely that he was one of those who came through England, because most of those people ended up north of Philadelphia, in Berks County.  So he likely made the trip from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, but I'd sure like to find his name on a passenger list! 

George is important to the Beeks family because he is one of the relatively few German ancestors this family has. 

The line of descent is:

George Jacob-Gerdrew
Jane Jacob-Ulrich Ruble
David Ruble-Sarah Malin
Hannah Ruble-Samuel Dunham
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Dunham-Eliza Matilda Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Actually, when you look at this list, several German lines show up.  So maybe George isn't such an anomaly and maybe more can be learned about him!


Friday, February 3, 2017

Holbrook line: Alexander Chalker, Immigrant

Although I tend to think of my ancestry as being mainly in Massachusetts, of course there are a lot of immigrant ancestors who settled elsewhere, up and down the East Coast.  Alexander Chalker was one who apparently went to Connecticut directly, without stopping in Boston or Plymouth.  It's quite possible that he travelled with Reverend Henry Whitfield, who led a group of settlers there.  Alexander's signature is not included in the list of 22 men who signed as original settlers, but he is thought to have been quite young when he arrived there, perhaps not yet 21.  He may have come as a servant to one of the signers, for instance.

The Whitfield group was formed primarily from those in and around Ockley, Suffolk, England, where he was pastor of St Margaret's Church.  He was a Church of England pastor there for twenty years, but eventually was caught up in the Archbishop Laud trouble and was apparently forced to resign. He and many of his congregation came to Connecticut, purchased land from the native Americans, and settled in what became Guilford.  This would have been wilderness, but the men and women worked hard and soon it was home.

Alexander may have come from in or near Ockley but as far as I know no one has pinned down the names of his parents.  We know he became a freeman in 1644, which means he was at least 21 then, and a member of the church.  He probably owned property, too.  This explains why his birth date is given as about 1620, although it could be a couple of years later and certainly could also be earlier. 

The next we know of Alexander is that he married Katherine Post on September 29,1649 in Guildford.  She was the daughter of Stephen Post and Eleanor Panton.  At least eight children were born to the couple, although Samuel has been a bit of a mystery.  I show a birthdate of 1655 for him, although others say he was born in 1649, which would make him either an "early" baby or the son of another woman.

After some years, the family moved to Saybrook, which was not far away, and may have stayed there until Alexander died.  I don't think Alexander was way high up on the social scale because in a 1669 list of treemen several are listed as "Mr.", a term of some respect, and Alexander has no such title attached.  So he was a plain vanilla kind of man, likely the kind of hard worker who did the real work of building America. 

As far as I can tell, no one knows when Alexander died.  Many websites say 1659 but their were children born as late as 1666, so it must have been 1665 or later.  Some say it was before fall of 1673, when either his wife or his daughter married a John Hills.  If it was his daughter, as seems likely, that date is irrelevant and he could have lived on after that.  I've checked several of my "usual sources" and am unable to find a will or death records. 

This is as much as I can tell you about Alexander Chalker at the moment.  Oh, there's one more thing...He is an ancestor of Mitt Romney, so we are distant cousins to Mr. Romney.  If he ever hires a genealogist in England to try to find Alexander's roots, I hope he will share the information with his less wealthy cousins!

The line of descent is:

Alexander Chalker-Katherine Post
Katherine Chalker-John Jordan
Hannah Jordan-John Stannard
John Stannard-Hannah Hatchett
Libbeus Stannard-Eunice Pomeroy
Libbeus Stannard Jr-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Allen line: Timothy Ford bt 1611-1684, Immigrant

We know at least a few things about Timothy Ford.  It is quite likely that he came from Devonshire, England.  He may or may not be connected to the Henry and Catherine Drake Ford from that area.  I have it on my tree as fact, but looking at it more closely, he didn't have children named Henry or Catherine so I am a bit skeptical.  Also, Henry was a Sir Henry and Catherine was from a family connected to Sir Francis Drake.  So one would think that he would at least be accorded the title of "Gentleman" and I haven't found him referred to as such.  So maybe they were distant cousins, but Timothy was probably not their child.  (I hope I'm wrong; I like the Francis Drake connection.)

Timothy is believed to have come to New England in 1637 and to have stayed in the Cambridge area for a couple of years before traveling to New Haven.  We don't know whether he went to New Haven for religious reasons or for some other purpose, but it appears that his marriage took place at about this same time.  New Haven was the most Puritan town, and the strictest, in New England so we can hope he went willingly, knowing that life would be different in New Haven than it was in Boston. 

Most sides give his wife's name as Eliza Gordy, but I haven't found any documentation as to that name.  Torrey's New England Marriages doesn't give her even a first name, so I guess the verdict is still out on the name of his wife.  The marriage, however, is supposed to have taken place before 1640, as Samuel Ford was born in that year, and at least five other children were born after that.  Timothy signed his name to the New Haven Covenant in 1639 and received land during the first and second divisions of land there.  He took the "oath of allegiance" in 1644, which basically said he would do what the government (local) said.  215 other men took the oath at the same time, probably all the residents except for perhaps the very sick and those temporarily away from home.

He is believed to have been a farmer, and seems to have been hard pressed for funds in the early years of his marriage, but gradually acquired more land.  He moved to Fairfield, where he owned land before 1650, but was back in New Haven by 1652.  He was fined there, then for a defect in his arms (there were strict rules as to what kind of guns and swords each man must have, and the type and amount of ammunition0 and he tried to excuse himself by saying the requirements were different "where he came from".  Since he was fined, apparently the judge didn't buy the excuse. 

When the meeting house was built, the Fords were assigned seats toward the back of the room, which indicates a low social status, but 25 years later they were in the center of the room, and he was in the 7th row, which may mean he was more prosperous or it may mean simply that age had its privileges. 

His wife, referred to as Goody Ford, died in 1681 and Timothy died August 28, 1684.  He had sold some of his land to one of his sons in 1679, but his estate was still valued at 166 pounds, 17 shillings, and two pence. He had come up in the world. 

Timothy didn't leave a lot or records behind, but apparently he kept out of trouble except for the one arms violation, and that was hard to do in a town like New Haven.  My respects to this gentleman, our ancestor!

The line of descent is:

Timothy Ford-possibly Elizabeth Gordy
Bethiah Ford-Matthew Bellamy
Matthew Bellamy-Mary Johnson
Hannah Bellamy-John Royse
Elizabeth Royse-William McCoy
James McCoy-Nancy Lane
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants