Friday, July 11, 2014

Holbrook line: Robert Bartlett 1612-1676

Sometimes it's hard to find anything at all about an ancestor. Other times, the ancestor has been thoroughly researched and it's hard to cut an interesting life down to something that will fit in a blog post.  This post is one of those with much information available (yay!) and on top of that, he is an interesting person.  Most of this post is taken from "The Great Migration and the Great Migration Begins", found on Ancestry.com. 

Having said that much is known, I should hasten to add much is unknown, also.  Such minor details as his place of origin, his parents, and his marriage date are still not known, or at least, not agreed upon by family origins.  We know that he arrived in Massachusetts on board the Lyon, in September of 1632. We don't know whether he was already married, whether his wife and possibly first child came with him, or whether he came as a servant or as a free man.  We're not even sure where he first lived in Massachusetts.

It is thought that he probably was or became a follower of Reverend Thomas Hooker, who first settled in Cambridge and then went to Hartford, Ct. We know Robert was in Hartford and is listed as a founder on the Founder's monument, but we don't know when he arrived in Connecticut. It is believed that he was married by this time to Ann Warriner or Warringer, and had at least two of his children, but that is so far not verified.

Before he left Massachusetts, he already had a brush with the law, as did many colonists. Puritan law was quite strict.  He was "presented" (charged with cursing and swearing, and was censured to have his tongue put in a cleft stick.  In Connecticut, he was charged on June 30, 1646,with slandering a woman, and was sentenced to stand on the pillory during the lecture, be whipped, fined five pounds, and serve a half year's imprisonment.  Apparently he was still a prisoner in August, when he was again whipped for giving ill counsel to the prisoners.  (If anyone in this family has trouble holding their tongue, perhaps we can point a finger back to this ancestor!)

In 1656, Robert had perhaps had enough of Hartford, and left with his wife and family (Abigail, Samuel, Nathaniel and Deborah) for Northampton.  As in Hartford, Robert and his family were settling a frontier town, and life was difficult.  Besides building homes and clearing land, there were Indians to deal with.  As time went on, the native Americans became more and more upset with the number of English people and their spread into Indian land.  As a result, the Indians decided it was time to act, and in 1676 Northampton became one of their many targets in what became known as King Philip's War.  Robert Bartlett was the first man killed in that battle, in front of his own home.  He was buried in the highway there, because the town was devastated and there was no time for a proper burial. 

15 days after his death, on March 29, 1676, his widow Ann was in court presenting the inventory of Robert's estate. It was valued at 658 pounds, 18 shillings and 6 pence, which was quite a nice sum for those days. Most of the value was in his land he owned.  His wife outlived him by only a few weeks, and her will was dated May 21, 1676.  It is not known whether she suffered physical injuries from the Indian attack, or whether she died of natural causes, or whether it was a broken heart that killed her. The settlement included an additional amount for the care of Nathaniel Bartlett, a son who was apparently not capable of caring for himself, or at least not capable of managing money. 

Despite his problems in holding his tongue, Robert appears to have been a successful Puritan. He was a selectman, a constable, and a chimney viewer, and was trusted to help establish two different towns. We can recognize his shortcomings and still honor the man and his life. We can remember that it was our ancestors who fought and sometimes gave their lives to protect their family and property, and we can be especially proud of Robert Bartlett.

The line of descent is:

Robert Bartlett-Ann Warriner
Abigail Bartlett-John Stebbins
Sarah Stebbins -William Southwell
Ebenezer Southwell-Elizabeth Judd
Eunice Southwell-Medad Pomeroy Jr.
Eunice Pomeroy-Libbeus Stanard
Libbeus Stanard-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Holbrook children, grand children, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren