Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Allen line: Richard Church about 1610-1667

Oh, dear. This is another genealogy that has apparently been "infected" by Gustave Anjou, the fraudulent fakester of about 100 years ago. So much has been done based on his "research", yet none of it can be trusted. The man tried valiantly to find noble or royal ancestors for his clients, and this lead to some lines that can only be called fantasy.  We don't know how much, if any, of his information about Richard Church can be trusted.  I will write hear only about what can be found from American records. 

Richard Church is supposed to have been born February 6, 1610 in London, England and to have married Anne Marsh on May 18, 1627 in Braintree, Essex, England.  We can already see a problem developing.  Men didn't generally marry when they were seventeen years old.  So is the birth record wrong, and the correct records for Richard have not yet been found, or is it the marriage records that are incorrect?  A Richard Church may well have married an Anne Marsh there on that date, but is it our Richard?  This whole mess is made even messier when we realize that our Richard Church's records have been mixed up with the Richard Church who married Elizabeth Warren.  The two Richard's were of similar age and so it has been easy for family historians to confuse the two. 

So, Richard Church was born somewhere in England and married (probably) Anne Marsh, who was the daughter of either John or Edward Marsh. Let's assume the 1627 marriage date and location is correct, because it fits with the subsequent known facts.  The Churches traveled about the same time as the Hooker group, in 1635 or1636, and even though their names are not on a known passenger list, it is quite possible that they were, in fact, in that group. He is listed as on original proprietor of Hartford, Ct., which was settled almost entirely by the Puritan group of Rev. Thomas Hooker.  In 1639, he received land as one of the original proprietors, and his name is listed on the "Early Founders" monument in what is now downtown Hartford, Ct.  Four children were born to Richard and Anne. Edward was born in 1627/1628 in England, and Mary may have been born there, too, as her birth date is given as 1632.  Samuel and John were likely born in Hartford.  There may have been an earlier Samuel, born in England, also. 

Richard was not high up in the government of Hartford, but he was elected chimney-viewer in 1648 and surveyor of highways in 1655. He was relieved of military duties (watching and warding, etc.) in 1655, probably indicating that he had some sort of illness or infirmity at this time.

In 1659, there was some sort of serious disagreement within the church, and 40 men agreed to leave Hartford and go to Hadley, Massachusetts, to start a new colony there. Once again, Richard and Anne were starting over, once again on the frontier, and this time, in the middle of native American country.  They are regarded as among the first proprietors of Hadley, and received 8 acres of land there as a house lot.  Richard died December 16, 1667 at Hadley, and his widow, Anne, died March 10, 1684.  It is stated that her age was 83, which would make it unlikely that the 1610 birth date for Richard is accurate. Richard's estate was valued at 241-05-02, which was not insignificant. 

I'm very curious to find out who Richard's parents really were (perhaps they were not Richard Church and Alice Vassall, as has been repeated many times and as my tree currently shows), and what occupation Richard followed. I'd like to know how he came to his Puritan beliefs, and what exactly drove him to leave Hartford.  And wouldn't it be nice to know what Anne thought of all this, or whether she even allowed herself to think about it?

The line of descent is:

Richard Church-Anne Marsh (possibly)
John Church-Sarah Beckley
Richard Church-Elizabeth Noble
Jonathan Church-Ruth Hitchcock
Ruth Church-Stephen Noble
Ruth Noble-Martin Root Jr.
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents