First, I have to acknowledge my joy and ensuing gratitude when I realized that there is a huge amount of information on americanancestors.org about this immigrant. It certainly makes it a lot easier to write a post about this man, even though I am doing absolutely no original research.
I found it fascinating to learn that when Samuel Hinckley, who is my husband's ancestor, came to America in 1635, he was on the same ship as my ancestor, Comfort Starr, whom I have known about since I was a young girl. They went their separate ways after landing, but still, they knew each other for the time period of their voyage, anyway. How cool is that? The other fun fact about Samuel is that he is the ancestor of both Presidents Bush, and also the ancestor of Barack Obama.
Anyway, Samuel Hinckley was born or christened on May 25, 1589 in Harrietsham, Kent, England to Robert Hinckley and "widow Katherine Leese". He was one of at least 8 children born to this couple. I've not been able to determine Robert's occupation but he had small property (thirty three acres of land and a dwelling) to dispose of in his will, so it may be that he was a farmer. The family was more prosperous than some, but probably not wealthy by any means.
After his christening, we know nothing of Samuel until his marriage, on May 7, 1617, in Hawkhurst, Kent to Sarah Soole, daughter of Thomas Soole and Mary Iddenden. The couple lived in the Hawkhurst area for 18 years, before they emigrated to America. They were a Puritan couple, yet they had their certificate departures signed by Mr. Jno Gee, vicar of Tenterden, Jn Austin, mayor, and Fregift Stace, jurat, on March 15, 1634. Did they keep their faith quiet, or was someone paid off, one wonders? Or was the town just winking an eye and they were glad to be rid of them?
The record shows that only three children were listed as traveling with their parents to America on the ship Hercules. Eight children had been born to the couple in England, but at least three had died. I was unable to determine the fate of the other two children. Sarah was pregnant during the trip across the ocean, because another child, Elizabeth, was christened on September 6, 1635 in Scituate, Massachusetts, where the family first settled. A total of 8 children were born in Massachusetts, with four of them dying as infants or children. Even for these hard times, this was a lot of children to bear, and a lot of children to loose, for Samuel and Sarah.
Samuel and Sarah had first settled in Scituate but then went to Barnstaple and lived the rest of their lives there. Samuel died October 31, 1662, about six years after the death of Sarah. He had remarried in the meantime, to Bridget widow Bodfish. The inventory of his estate totaled 162 pounds 16 shillings, plus some other items including real estate and housing. So he was not a poor man when he died.
The clues we have as to his personality are scant. He was one of 8 Scituate men who were presented (charged with) "receiving strangers and foreigners into their houses and lands, without license of the Governor or Assistants, or acquainting the town of Scituate therewith." "Strangers and foreigners" basically meant non Puritans, who were regarded as being a threat to the peace of the colony. It was shortly after this that the Hinckleys moved to help settle Barnstaple, but they could not have gone there without the approval of the authorities so they must have smoothed things over somehow. Then in 1651 Samuel Hinckley and Jonathan Hatch were charged by the grand jury with hiring land of the Indians. Again, this was something the colony would have wanted to control. Samuel was a non-conformist in England and a non-conformist of the non-conformists after he had moved to America.
We owe this couple honor and respect for the sacrifices they made to raise their family, to bury so many children, and to do the hard work it took to establish a home in this country in the 17th century. Their efforts made it possible for us to raise our families here in America.
The line of descent is:
Samuel Hinkley-Sarah Soole
Susannah Hinkley-Rev. John Smith
Samuel Smith-Elizabeth Pierce
Shubael Smith-Prudence Fitzrandolph
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble (probably)
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger