Friday, November 8, 2013

Allen line: Reverend Nicholas Street, immigrant and Puritan pastor

Once upon a time, long long ago...

Well, this story is not about a prince or princess, but it is a long ago story.  It is hard for us to think about what life was life in England about the year 1600, or what would have inspired someone who presumably could have had a good life in England to come to America. It's hard to imagine the possibly difficult trip over the ocean, or the work involved in building or finding a place to live, or the feelings that must have been involved when a child was born.

Nicholas Street is an ancestor of whom quite a bit is known, but quite a bit is not known.  His great grandfather, Richard Street, was a clothier in Stogumber, Somersetshire, England, who died in 1592.  His grandfather was Nicholas Street who died in 1610, who was married to Mary.His father, Nicholas Street, was married to Susanna Gilbert at Bridgewater, Somerset, on January 16, 1602. . Our Nicholas was born to this couple shortly before January 29, 1603 (date of baptism).  His mother died about a month later, and his father died when he was 13.  Nicholas was the only child of this marriage, but he had 7 half brothers and sisters by his father's second marriage.

Since Nicholas was the eldest son, his father lest him "myne antient estate of Rowberton neare Taunton, and also my lease of Hentesbell in the Marsh."  Presumably these properties were the source of the funds that allowed him to go to Oxford University beginning Nov 2, 1621.  In his matriculation papers, he is listed as "gent." which basically meant he came from a distinguished family.  He received his B.A. degree on February 21, 1624/25, and received his MA from Cambridge in 1636. (What did he do in the ensuing years?)

Nicholas was or became a Puritan, although little is known about how he came to these beliefs in a country that was strongly of the Established church (now known as the Church of England) established by the crown.  However, life must have been uncomfortable for him, as he came to Plymouth Colony about 1637 and was recongized as a freeman there in 1638.

It is probable that the "ordination" he received at Taunton, Massachusets along with Reverend William Hooke was actually an installation service.  Reverend Hooke became the head of this church and Rev. Nicholas Street was the "Teacher".  They continued there together for 7 years. When Mr Hooke moved on to New Haven, Ct, Nicholas Street continued as sole pastor of the church there for 15 years.  This was a long time for a pastor, even in those days, so he must have been much admired and loved by his congregants.  (Did he serve in military units, or were Pastors and Teachers exempt?)

In 1659, Reverend Street moved on to New Haven where he was again the "Teacher" under Reverend John Davenport.  Eight years later, Rev. Davenport was called to Boston and from 1667 until his death in 1674, Reverend Street was the sole pastor there.

Evidence seems strong that Nicholas Street was first married to Anna Poole, daughter of William Poole or Pole and Mary or Marie Periam.  Their children were Samuel, Abiah, Hannah, Sarah and Susanna, all good Puritan names. 

Reverend Nicholas is one of many Allen ancestors who were pastors. We can be proud of his faith and his dedication, even if some of his beliefs may be hard to understand.  Thanks to the hard work of this and many more ancestors, we have a chance to continue the story as "happily ever after."

Much more work remains to be done to learn more about his life, but the information I've used here was primarily from the website of Walter Gilbert and from a book called The Street Genealogy by Mary E Anderson, published in 1895.

Our line of descent is:

Nicholas Street and Ann or Anna Poole
Samuel Street and Anna Miles
Nicholas Street and Jerusha Morgan
Jerusha Street and Thomas Starr
John Starr and Mary Sharp
John Starr and Betsy Chester Havens
John Havens Starr and Clarissa Falley
Harriet Clarissa Falley and John Wilson Knott
Edith Clarissa Knott and Edward Franklin Allen
Allen children-Vernon, Edith, Richard, Corinne, Tessora