Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Beeks line: George Allen circa 1583-1649

Lots of people "know" who George Allen is, where he came from, the names of his wives, and the names of his children.  The problem is that there is no documentation for any of these facts, and they may or may not be as believed.  So all I will say about George's early life is that he was born somewhere in England (most likely) about the year 1583 (most likely) and that he married more than once while in England.

Our first known record for him is in the records of his departure from England on an unnamed ship, from Weymouth, Dorsetshire, on March 20, 1634/35.  On that record, he is erroneously listed as being age 24, but was probably closer to 50.  His wife Katherine, who was 30, and sons George, 16, William,8, and Matthew, 6, and a servant, Edward Poole were with him.  It seems likely based on ages that George was the son of an earlier marriage, and there may have been other children (females, who would not necessarily be listed on the manifest) who were also in the party.  Daughter Rose, for instance, is generally thought to have been the child of George's first marriage, and she is not listed on the manifest.

George is sometimes referred to as an "Anabaptist", which would mean he did not believe in infant baptism.  This may explain the difficulty in finding birth/baptismal records for the above noted children, which might provide clues to the parents and their location.  Some of his children became part of the Quaker tradition, which was a difficult way to live in Puritan Massachusetts.

When George arrived in the New World, he was first at Weymouth, Massachusetts and within two  years was an early settler of Sandwich, Massachusetts. His land in Weymouth seems to have been given or sold to sons George, Ralph, and John.  We don't know how or when Ralph and John arrived in Weymouth, and again, we don't know their ages or the name of their mother. 

George, despite being an "Anabaptist", was made a free man of Plymouth Colony September 3, 1639, when Sandwich officially became a town.  That same day, he was appointed Constable, and held various other town offices during the early 1640s. He was also the deputy for Sandwich to Plymouth General Court from 1640-1644.  This would have meant traveling from Sandwich, which is on the north side of Cape Cod, up the coast of what is now Massachusetts to Plymouth.  This may have been a trip made by ship rather than horseback or walking, for by the time he was first elected, he would have been approaching age 60. 

Within a few years of his last known election as deputy, his health failed him.  His date of death isn't known, but he was buried May 2, 1648.  His will was not dated but was proved June 7, 1649. His inventory, excluding real estate, was 44 pounds 16 s, and most of his estate was given to his wife and "five least children".

There is so much I'd like to know about George, including more about his religious beliefs.  He would not have had to have been a member of the church in Plymouth Colony to be a free man, so what were his beliefs and practices?  How did the family become acquainted with Quaker beliefs, and how many practiced that faith?  Why was Sandwich more tolerant of Quakers than other towns, particularly in Massachusetts Bay Colony?  I'd love to know who George's parents were, and I'd love to know why he decided to come to America when he was probably about 54 years old. Did his sons come first, and then encourage him to come, or did George lead the way and the older sons came later?  I'd like to know who his wives were, and I'd like to know more about how he lived in Sandwich.  Did Edward Poole stay with him as a servant, or if he eventually earned his freedom, did the family have other servants?

As usual, there are more questions than answers when I think about George Allen, but I have to admire him, as I do all immigrants who came to the New World when it was nothing but a few towns on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

The line of descent is:

George Allen-first wife (possibly Katherine Davis)
Rose Allen-Joseph Holway or Holley
Mary Holley-Nathaniel FitzRandolph
Samuel Fitzrandolph-Mary Jones
Prudence Fitzrandolph-Shubael Smith
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel Goodnight Dunham-Eliza M Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Fun fact:  There is also a line of descent for the Holbrook line:

George Allen-first wife
Samuel Allen-Ann Whitmore
Sarah Allen-Josiah Standish
Josiah Standish-Sarah Doty
Hannah Standish-Nathan Foster
Nathan Foster-Elizabeth Lansford
Jude Foster-Sarah Goodenow
Betsy Foster-Josiah Whittemore
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph R Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents


Most of the information for this post came from "The Great Migration" volume 1, pages 27-35.