Friday, November 7, 2014

Allen line: Luke Hitchcock, immigrant ancestor

I just read a statement that the persons I have identified as immigrants were not immigrants, but were colonists. They came to settle a new land, so yes, they were colonists.  However, since genealogy lingo refers to them as immigrants, I will go with the prevailing language.

Luke Hitchcock was born about 1614 at St Peter's, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England, maybe.  Some sources say he was born in Fenny Compton, which is where his wife, Eizabeth Gibbons was born.  His parents are believed to be John Hitchcock and Mary Franklin, although I have not see solid documentation for this.  From the limited information I have found so far on line, I am not convinced of these facts. Certainly there were a lot of Hitchcocks in Wiltshire, but I'm not sure we've found the correct parish or village yet. 

We don't know what Luke did for the first 20 or so years of his life, nor do we know for sure when or why he came to the New World.  It seems that he came in the years just after the "great migration" ended in 1635.  However, we do know that he was settled at New Haven, in what is now Connecticut by 1638.  New Haven was a very Puritan colony and followed the Scriptures as their only law, at least at the founding of the colony. The colony did not prosper, partly because of its poor land, partly because they were politically "far out there", and partly because they didn't have a charter for their colony. They ended up merging with Connecticut rather than trying to remain independent.

Much of the colony would have been engaged in some kind of maritime trade or occupation, but Luke was a shoemaker. Perhaps he had learned the trade in England. He married Elizabeth Gibbons, daughter of Thomas Gibbons and Elizabeth Pierpont, in January, 1642 and their first son, John was born September 27, 1642.  Hannah was born in 1645 and their third child, Luke, was born in 1655. These dates may be baptismal dates rather than birth dates.  They also had a daughter, apparently unnamed, who was born and died on the same day.  This was not a large family for the time.

Sometime before 1653 the family moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut, and Luke had signed an intent to settle Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts a few months before he died. That move was never undertaken, and the implication is that Luke may have become ill or injured after he signed the intent.

Luke's will was written October 17, 1659. It is a little unusual in that he says "knowing it to be my duty to provide for my family and to settle my estate that I may leave no occassion of trouble to the when I am gone and that I may free myself before I die..." . Because his children are underage, he first gives everything to Elizabeth and then states his bequests if she remarries.  It appears that he owned several pieces of land that were to be divided between John and Luke, and he left his daughter Hannah 40 pounds. These bequests were to be given to the children when they each turned 18, or at the death of his wife, whichever is sooner. If Elizabeth remarried, she was to receive one third of the estate. Luke died November 1, 1659.

Elizabeth did go on to marryWilliam Warriner on October 2, 1661, and then, two years after his death in 1676, she married Joseph Baldwin.  She survived her third husband and died April 25, 1696.

The line of descent is:

Luke Hitchcock-Elizabeth Gibbons
John Hitchcock-Hannah Chapin
John Hitchcock-Mary Ball
Samuel Hitchcock-Ruth Stebbins
Margaret Hitchcock-Richard Falley
Samuel Falley-Ruth Root
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Fun Fact from a book called "Fullers, Sissons, and Scotts, Our Yeoman Ancestors":

"Luke was a shoemaker and owned by record fourteen pieces of land in Wethersfield. He was on friendly terms with the Indians and they gave him a deed to the town of Farmington. His wife placed it over a pie in the oven and destroyed it."

Yes, I know it's just a story and may not qualify as a fact. But it definitely is fun!