Friday, October 10, 2014

Allen line: Peter Bulkeley, Puritan, pastor, and gateway immigrant

It's not often that I can "google" a known ancestor and find more information than I can use in a post.  The added bonus is that there is even a portrait of Peter on the wikipedia site.  I encourage anyone who wants to see what this ancestor looked like to go to that site. The article itself is quite interesting with a lot of good sources.  There are books written about Peter Bulkeley and his descendents to the seventh generation, and about his ancestors.  He is discussed in "The Great Migration" by the NEHGS.  In other words, if you want to know more about Peter, you don't need to ask me. You can read what the experts have to say.  Maybe you want just a brief snippet about him, though, and that I can provide.

Peter Bulkeley was born at Odell, Bedfordshire, England on January 31, 1582/1583 to Reverend Edward and Olive Irby Bulkeley.  His father was a "faithful minister of the gospel".  Peter was raised in a home that would have had regular religious education and encouragement.  Peter must have been a very bright young man, for he graduated from St John's College, Cambridge with a BA in 1605 and an M.A. in 1608.  He succeeded his father in becoming the rector of Odell, and served the church there from 1610-1635.  His father had been a non-conformist, and Peter either "became" one or had always been a non-conformist at heart.  By 1633 there were complaints about his preaching, and he was silenced by the archbishop for his unwillingness to conform with the requirements of the Anglican church.  In 1634 he refulsed to wear a surplice or use the Sign of the Cross at a visitation, and was ejected from the parish.

By this time, he had married his first wife, Jane Allen, daughter of Thomas and Mary Fairclough Allen, had nine children with her (some lists give 12 children), and had buried her on December 8, 1626.  He stayed a widower 9 years and in 1635 married Grace Chetwood, by whom he had 4 more children.  The family came to New England in 1635, aboard the Susan and Ellen.  He was ordained at Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1637 and went to Concord, Massachusetts as one of the first founders there.

He was known among Puritans for the "superlative stiffness of his Puritanism" and sat on the church trial of Anne Hutchinson. (Editorial sigh: He was what he was.  I'm not sure growing up in his household would have been much fun.)  He is also known as the author of one of the first books from New England, published in London, "The Gospel Covenant, or the Covenant of Grace Opened".

 Peter died March 9, 1659, in Concord. He seems to have done rather well for himself, financially, having five houses already by 1635/1636.  His estate left books to his oldest son, (having given him a significant gift at the time of the son's marriage), a farm, a mill, 120 acres in land, other small bequests, and 150 pounds to other of his children.   When Grace Bulkeley sold the property in 1663, it included a dwelling house, outhouses, garden, orgard, pasture, a one hundred acre great lot, one hundred forty three acres of meadow (divided), two hundred acres in the hog pens, one hundred fifty acres by the cedar swamp, one hundred twelve acres of woodland, and twenty acres of commons.

Oh, the lineage. Frederick Lewis Weis in "Ancestral Roots" traces it back to William Longespee, illegitimate son of Henry II and Ida de Toeni or Tosny.  The same book, if followed back 40 generations, takes him back to Cerdic, King of the West Saxons.

Tracing the line forward, here is our line of descent:

Peter Bulkeley-Jane Allen
Mary Bulkeley-John Williams
Mary Williams-John Gunne
Mary Gunne-Samuel Roote
Martin Root-Eunice Lamb
Martin Root Jr-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward F Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Allen descendents