Friday, February 6, 2015

Holbrook line: Richard Brackett Immigrant 1610-1680

Richard Brackett is yet another of our immigrant ancestors. Fortunately, more is known about him than about many of our immigrants, and it is well documented.  Still, motivations are missing and we will probably have to leave it at that.

Richard was born to Peter Brackett and Rachel Wheatley on or before September 16, 1610 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England.  It appears that at the time, Sudbury was a small town-not a village but not a city, either, and the town's main industry was textiles. He was one of at least five children who were left fatherless in 1616.  His mother soon remarried to Martin Saunders, so there was a father figure in the family.  

Richard migrated to the New World in 1630, with the Winthrop Fleet and settled in Boston, where he was an early member of the church.    He returned to England in 1633 and while there he married Alice Blower on January 6, 1634 in St Katherine by the Tower Church, London, England.  The newly weds soon left to make their permanent home in the New World.  Their first child, Hannah, was born in Boston and baptized January 4, 1635.  Alice signed the covenant on November 8, 1635 and thus became a member of the Boston church, also. 

In Boston, Richard became a freeman on May 25, 1636, meaning he had accumulated some property and was a member of the church, and he joined the "Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company" on November 23, 1639.  This was a volunteer militia group with the stated goal of providing officers for the various enrolled militia companies. 

He was given land on which to build on March 21, 1636, on Washington Street, but the family didn't stay there long.  On November 20, 1637, he was appointed by the General Court to keep the prison, and was granted a salary of 13 pounds, 6s.8.d, which was later increased to 20 pounds. We don't know why he was given this task but it was the sort of job of which "someone has to do it"

In 1641, Richard and Alice "removed" to Braintree, and Richard became a Deacon of the church there.  (Braintree is the home of the famous Adams family of later years.)  He was noted as "Captain Richard Brackett" when we was a deputy to General court, many times over the years. He we town clerk for about 8 years, and was appointed to many town committees. He was a husbandman and a farmer, and a father to 8 children born between 1635 and 1652.  It is also believed that he taught the school in Braintree.  As a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, he was chief military officer during King Philip's War, although he did not have command of the garrison built between Braintree and Bridgewater..  In 1679, he was appointed to take oaths in civil cases and perform marriages. 

On October 15, 1684, Richard was, at his persistent request, released from his military duties. He was 73 years old at the time, and had been connected with the company for 43 years and had been its captain for 30 of those years.  Richard died March 3, 1690 at Braintree.  He left a will but I did not find an actual inventory. However, there was a home, land in Braintree and in Billerica, and several bequests of 20 pounds apiece, so he was not a poor man by any means.  Alice died 8 months after her husband, on November 3, 1690. 

Richard and Alice donated a silver cup used at communion service to the church at Braintree, inscribed R&A.  It may be owned by a Unitarian church now. 

Oh, I love it when an ancestor line has been researched by New England Historical and Genealogical Society and published in either "The Great Migration Begins" or "The Great Migration".  This blogpost is a summary of that information, with possibly another fact or two thrown in from the website, "The Genealogical Tree of Captain Richard Brackett."  There is also a whole book online called "Brackett genealogy", which I have not consulted, but if you have interest in this man, as I do, go ahead and put it on your "to read" list, as I will.

The line of descent is:

Richard Brackett-Alice Blower
John Brackett-Hannah French
Hannah Brackett-Joseph Stannard
John Stannard-Hannah Jordan
John Stannard-Hannah Hanchett
Libbeus Stannard-Eunice Pomeroy
Libbeus Stannard-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Fun fact:  Richard must have acted as an informal recruiter for the New World.   "The Great Migration Begins" concludes that there were more than forty future immigrants to New England who were related to Richard Brackett by blood or marriage before their departure from England.