Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Allen line: Nathaniel Ely, Immigrant

We know a lot abut Nathaniel Ely in New England, but not anything at all about his life in (presumably) England.  The best guess for his birth is probably 1605-1610, but that is based on his arrival in New England in 1634 as a presumably young man.  His son Samuel was born "say 1634" and his daughter Ruth born "say 1641".  There is always the possibility that he had children earlier, in England, and that he had others who were for whatever reason not recorded.  We know he married Martha, and it is presumed that she is the mother of her children, which would make it likely that the marriage took place in England, also. 

It's believed that Nathaniel and Martha came to Boston in 1634 on the ship "Elizabeth" from Ipswich.  He first settled in Newtown (now Cambridge, Ma.) where he was made a freeman in 1635.  This indicates he was over 21 years of age, possessed at least 20 pounds in property, and was properly Puritan in his religious beliefs and practice. 

We don't know what prompted the move that the family made in 1636, but they left their home and considerable property in Newtown and went with Rev. Thomas Hooker and his group to found what would become Hartford, Ct.  His name is listed on the Founder's Monument there.  While in Hartford he again accumulated considerable land.  By February 1639/1640, he had fourteen parcels of land, ten of which had been granted by the town and four which he had purchased.  We don't know for sure what his occupation was during this time period, but his lands included meadows and swamp, so it is not likely that he did a lot of cultivation of land.  He probably raised sheep or cattle and also enough food for his family.  We know he was the constable of Hartford in 1639/40, meaning he was responsible for keeping the peace, both in the settlement and in church, so he was a man who would have commanded some respect or/and fear. 

After 13 years in Hartford, Richard Ely and Roger Ludlow were the first settlers of what would become Norwalk, Ct, southwest of Hartford and on the coast line. There he again was apparently a respected man, because he was the constable in 1654 and he represented Norwalk in the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut in 1656.   His name is listed on the Founders stone of the early settlers of Norwalk, which is located in the East Norwalk Historical Cemetery.  Again, we don't know for sure his occupation but he owned at least thirteen parcels of land, as an original settler. 

The Ely family made one final move, in 1659 and moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, which was north of Hartford.  Did they stop to visit with old friends on their way to Springfield, I wonder?  Was Martha getting a little tired of moving and "starting over" by now?  At least this time they weren't "founding fathers," as the settlement had begun about 1636.  Maybe they even had a chance to buy their home instead of needing to build one.  by now, Nathaniel was respected enough to be a selectman for at least six years.  By 1663 he was assigned a seat in the second row at the meeting house (church).  Seats were assigned based on social importance and wealth, so this is another sign that he was of some importance to the town.

We don't know whether he keep his seat when he became the owner of an "ordinary" (inn-tavern) in 1665, but this ownership got him into a bit of trouble.  At one time he was fined for selling cider to the Indians and another time he was fined for not having beer in the tavern.  Both times, he admitted his guilt.  In 1670 he reportedly had unkind words for or about his pastor and was again fined, although the fine was much less than for the alcohol-related offenses.

I haven't yet been able to locate information regarding the burning of Springfield by the Indians in 1675.  Nathaniel was still alive then.  Springfield was left a mess, with 45 of the 60 homes burned and also the grist mill and the saw mill.  We are told that the town lived under siege and famine conditions.  Nathaniel died December 25, 1675, and probably the difficult conditions contributed to his death.  He must have been heart broken to leave his wife in such a situation, but there were two adult children to care for her so she was not left totally helpless.  Martha died in 1683.

Now comes the hardest part of this post...One of the "items" included in Nathaniel's inventory was a "Negro man," valued at 15 pounds.  I just read on a recent blog that early New England ancestors may well have been slave owners, and this seems to prove that statement.  If I could talk to Nathaniel today, I'd want to know more about the Indian attack and what happened to the Ely family during that time, but I'd also want to know about this apparent slave ownership.  Why did the family 'need' a slave, and how did this come about?  What was the slave's name, and his story?  Did he ever attain his freedom?  And how did this fit in with Nathaniel's religious beliefs?

The line of descent is:

Nathaniel Ely-Martha
Samuel Ely-Mary Day
Joseph Ely-Mary Riley
Mary Ely-Thomas Stebbins
Ruth Stebbins-Samuel Hitchcock
Martha Hitchcock-Samuel 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


Friday, April 24, 2015

Beeks line: William Jump 1632-1709 Immigrant

I love writing about the immigrants that have been found in the Beeks line.  They came to New England, New Netherlands, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, that I know of so far, and all of the branches are totally interesting to me.  Thomas Jump is one of the early Maryland immigrants, and of course, not much is known of him.

It appears that he was born about 1632 in England, and that his parents may have been Thomas Jumpe and Anne Drayton.  I haven't found any documentation linking William to Thomas yet, but it may be out there and I just haven't located it.  His birthplace is given as possibly Beckley, Northamptonshire, England. (It must have been a small village or parish, as it is not mentioned on the wikipedia page about Northamptonshire.)

We know almost nothing of his life until he arrived in Maryland.  It is possible that he had a first wife in England, Elizabeth Wheat, but nothing more is known of this possible marriage or of any children, as far as I can tell.  He appears in Dorchester county, Maryland in 1664 with a land grant of 100 acres.   The land was on the east side of Chesapeake Bay, on the Little Choptank River, bounded on the west side by Hudson Creek.  He is mentioned in records of Dorchester, Caroline, and Talbot County, which pretty well gives us his location, as Dorchester shares it's northern border with both Caroline and Talbot. 

If there was a wife who traveled to Maryland with William, she died early, because William married Rebecca, possibly Chesmore, probably not long after he arrived there.  Rebecca is generally given a birth date of 1636 but again, I know of no documentation for this, nor for speculation that her father's name may have been George.  William and Rebecca had at least four children, Thomas, Margaret, William and Elizabeth.  Various dates of birth are given for them but it is likely that they were born between 1665 and 1680. 

William was a carpenter by trade, which would have been a needed skill in the colony.  He also acquired additional land, so we can consider him a farmer.  We need to consider the possibility that he owned slaves, because it appears that he owned about 500 acres at one time, far too much for him to cultivate with just the aid of his family.  He is listed as a "planter," in 1701.  However, his will does not bequeath, nor even mention, slaves so he may have had tenants or some other way of farming his land.  Perhaps his inventory, if it could be found, would provide more information. 

His will was written on March 21, 1709 and it is believed that he died shortly after that.   He bequeathed 300 acres of land to Thomas, 50 acres to Elizabeth "Feay", the remaining amount of "Jump's Chance" and all his other lands to William, and included Margaret with the three above named who were to divide his (personalty?) estate.  There is no mention of Rebecca so she must have died earlier.  It is interesting that by this time he was of Queen Annes County, which is north of the previously mentioned counties but still on the east side of Chesapeake Bay.  Was he living with one of his children, or had he moved earlier? 

This isn't much information for a man who apparently lived forty-five years or more in early Maryland.  I'd love to know if he served in the military, what relations were with nearby Indians, what religion he practiced, and if he ever missed his home in England.  I'd love to know how he got that land cultivated, and whether he raised tobacco (probably).  Also, what was his diet?  Did he eat out of the abundance of Chesapeake bay, or did he eat a typical farmer's diet? 

There's always more to know.

The line of descent is:

William Jump-Rebecca possibly Chesmore
Elizabeth Jump-George Fee
George Fee-Parnell Lakin
Eizabeth Fee-Joseph Lakin
Mary Lakin-John Simpson Aldridge Sr.
John Simpson Aldridge Jr.-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Homer Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Harshbarger line: Johann Kasper Schnerr 1732-1790 Immigrant

German immigrant, Lutheran, married to widow of a man killed by Indians, veteran of the French and Indian war and the Revolutionary War-what more can I say?  This is the stuff of which heroes are made, and unfortunately, sometimes their stories are lost.  I'd like to retell a little of his story here.

Johann Casper or Kasper Schnerr was born somewhere in Germany on April 21, 1732.  It is possible he is somehow related to Peter Ulrich Schneer who was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1649 and died in Lancaster County, Pa in 1739, but the connection hasn't been found yet.  So we know nothing of his early life, except that when he was about 21 years of age, he came to America on the ship Neputne.  Pennsylvania Archives gives the date of his arrival as September 24, 1754, and Rupp gives it as September 24, 1753, so take your pick.  He is found in the Pennsylvania Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index on Ancestry in Philadelphia in 1754, but I don't know what time of year the census was taken.  We do know for sure that he was in Philadelphia sometime in 1754, though.

Again, the next five years of his life are pretty much a blank.  He was apparently in Northampton County, Pennsylvania by 1759 or 1760, when he married Maria Magdalena Kunkle Sensinger.  Her husband had been killed about the year 1756 in one of the many Indian attacks that were a regular part of frontier life of the time, and Magdalena was left with four small children to raise.  Casper married her and raised the children right along with her, along with the several children the couple had together.  We know they had daughters Catherine, Juliana Margaretha, Anna Maria, and Elizabeth, and there may have been more.  With the four step children Casper had, this would have been quite a houseful, especially for since a young man.

Stan Follis reports on his wonderful website that Casper served in the French and Indian war. I haven't found the documentation for that yet, but since this was frontier country it is highly likely that, if nothing else, he stood guard duty.  It would be interesting to know whether he actually went out on one or more expeditions.  There is a memorial at the cemetery where Casper is buried that lists his name as a Revolutionary War soldier.  We also have one document, found on Fold 3, that states that Philip Deily made an affidavit that he had enlisted in the war of the Revolution on June 5, 1775, in Heidelberg Township, Northampton County, Pa under Captain Casper Schneer.  There must be other information somewhere, for a Captain would have been a respected man.  The 1775 date indicates possibly this was an Associator's group, but that is yet to be discovered.

We know that Casper and his wife were Lutheran because they had daughter Elizabeth baptized in 1768 at the Heidelberg Union Church in Heidelberg Township, in what is now Lehigh County, and the record was clearly in the Lutheran, not the Reformed church.  The two congregations kept separate records.

The last we know of Casper is his death.  He wrote his will in 1786, and died March 30, 1790, At the time of his death, he lived in Menallen Township, York County, Pa, which later became Adams County.  He was buried at Benders Church Cemetery,  at the church he had helped found, Benders Evangelical Lutheran Church.  His name is on the original Articles of the church.  We don't know when he moved from Northampton County to York County, or why, but presumably it had something to do with land acquisition.  It would be interesting to study the land records for these counties to trace his journey.

Once again, this is just a bare summary of a fascinating man who lived in fascinating times.  He took on a ready-made family and added to it, helped found a church, fought in the wars that led to the founding of our country, and lived a good life, as far as is now known.  His family should take pride in him!

The line of descent is:

Johann Casper Schnerr-Maria Magdalena Kunkel
Juliana Margareth Schnerr-Simon Essig
George Essig-Catherine Shollenberger
Susannah Essig-Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery-Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery-William H Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarer
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Friday, April 17, 2015

Holbook line: John Field 1616-1686, Immigrant

John Field is another mystery.  He is important to our family because he was the immigrant ancestor, and because he seems to be the grand son of the famous John Field, English astronomer and mathematician.  However, little is known about his life.

It is believed that he was born in Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, England, the son of William Field and Jane Sotwell.  However,  the given year of his birth, 1616, would not permit him to be the son of William, if his birth dates are correct.  He may be the son of one of William's sons, possibly Matthew.  Since we do know John's death year of 1686, he was likely not born much before the date given as 1616.

So if 1616 is correct, then he was quite a young man when he crossed the seas and showed up in what is now Providence, Rhode Island, in 1637.  Providence, of course, was founded by Roger Williams just a couple of years earlier, when Williams was banished from Massachusetts.  The settlers who were in Providence early enough to sign a document agreeing to obey the orders or agreements of the settlement, only in civil things.  He was one of thirteen settlers to sign the first agreement, and one of 39 to sign an agreement in 1640 as to the form of civil government.  We don't know for sure what drove him to Providence but most of the early settlers were there because of their admiration for Roger Williams or/and their desire for religious freedom. 

We know that he acquired or maintained a degree of respectability in Providence, as he is referred to as the Honorable John Field.  He owned land in 1645, in 1655 was made a freeman, and by 1676 was a deputy (probably to a court or council of some kind).  His will, which was submitted on November 22, 1686, showed an inventory of 34 pounds, 19 shillings, 6 pence, but it appears that there may have been more, as the court declined to probate it since a division of property had already been made. 

We know his wife was Ruth Fairbank, possibly the daughter of Jonathan Fairbank and Grace Lee Smith, and they were married in Providence in 1638. Their known children were John, Zechariah, Hannah, Daniel and Ruth. Ruth, widow of John, apparently also died in 1686.  It is believed they are buried in the North Burial Ground, Providence, R.I.

This is as much as I currently know about John Field.  I'd love to know when he came to New England, and why he came to Rhode Island.  Surely he left a record somewhere in New England, if he was in Providence at such an early time.  He must have caught the attention of some church or court, somewhere!  And of course, I'd like to solve the mystery of who his parents really were, as 60 year old couples did not give birth.  There must be more to his story.

The line of descent is:

John Field-Ruth Fairbank
Hannah Field-James Mathewson
Thomas Mathewson-Martha Sheldon
Deborah Mathewson-Joseph Winsor
Lillis Winsor-Nathan Paine
Deborah Paine-Enos Eddy
 Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis E. Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their Descendents

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Allen line: Thomas J. Knott, builder of Nevada

It would take more than one post to write about Thomas J. Knott's life.  I've previously blogged about his response to the murder of his son, Elzy Knott, in Nevada but I haven't really given details of Thomas's life in Nevada.  This is just a brief run down, from a publication I found on line called "Knott Reminiscences  Early History of Nevada in the 1850's, edited by H. Hamlin and printed by the Mountain Democrat, The Pioneer Press of Placerville, California.  I highly urge you to search "Thomas Knott Nevada history" and you should find three or four different copies or versions of the journal so you can read it for yourself.  I'll include here items more of family than of historical interest, so there is much more to be found in the Knott Reniniscences. There is a picture of Thomas in the version I found, so that alone makes it worth going to look for, doesn't it?

As we know, Thomas Knott was born in Jefferson County, Ohio on April 13, 1808 to Joseph Scull and Mary Adams Knott.  He know nothing about his schooling, but he must have had some, because the first job he mentions in this article was as a millwright, when he was 18 years old, so about 1826.  The job must have paid well, because he married in 1828, when he was just twenty years old, to Hannah Bell,daughter of John Bell and Hannah Finch.  The years between 1828 and 1835 were spent building grist mills, saw mills, barns, and flouring mills for the newly developed area in and around Richland County, Ohio.  In 1835, had moved to Steuben County, Indiana, just south of the Michigan state line and there, along with his brother, built and operated a saw mill.  Thomas sold his share to his brother.  In 1836, Thomas also became post master of a small post office called Crooked Creek.  Five years later Thomas was restless again, and moved north to Hillsdale County, Michigan, where he continued as a builder and farmer, and also laid a mile of railroad tracks. 

He appears to have stayed in Michigan until at least 1852, at least there is no mention of an earlier move.  We know that during the first 20 years of his marriage at least 8 children were born (his statement says 9, so we are missing one).  By 1852 Thomas was looking for better opportunities for his family, and one short sentence from Thomas sums up what should probably have been an entire journal in itself.  "In 1852 I crossed the plains to California, and landed in Placerville in 1852."  The following March he crossed over the Sierra Mountains to the Carson Valley, where he built the first saw-mill, grist-mill and threshing machine (!) in the Valley, and was paid in "a large amount of property" by Reese and Co., for whom he had done this work.  He then mentions going to San Francisco for supplies in late 1854, and in in July of 1855 took ship at San Francisco to go home via the Isthmus of Panama and Puerto Rico, again, another story in and of itself, if we only knew what it was.  By now his family was in Huron, Ohio, where Hannah's parents were living. 

The family stayed in Huron County, Ohio, for three years and then moved to Tipton in Cedar County, Iowa.  The dates given in his journal don't agree, so possibly they had moved to Tipton a bit earlier than November in 1858.  At any rate, in November of 1858 Thomas and his son Thomas Jr "took the cars" (went by railroad) to New York City, took a ship to Cuba and then to the Isthmus of Panama again, and then went by ship to San Francisco, where they "took passage" to Sacramento and Placerville, and then went by horseback over the mountains to Carson Valley, where they met son Elzy, who had been left in Nevada to care for his father's interests.  The next year was one of sorrow and heartbreak beyond measure, for Elzy was murdered and a "stacked" jury allowed the killer to go free, and Thomas was cheated of at least $20,000 for work he had done for Mormon interests in Nevada.  In October of 1859 he left Genoa and Nevada for good, again crossing the mountains to San Francisco and crossing the Isthmus of Panama.  He got back to Tipton, Iowa "with just two year's absence" and there he stayed for 7 years. 

In 1877 he and Hannah moved to Egypt, Jefferson County, Illinois and stayed there until Thomas's death on February 16, 1877.  Thomas was buried there, where he at last had found a home.  Hannah died in Tipton in December of 1890, but we don't know when she moved back.  She was buried in Tipton. 

This is just the short version.  The exciting stuff, telling of Thomas's friendship with Kit Carson, his friendly relationship with the Indians, the reasons he was not a friend of the Mormon settlers, are in the publication, just waiting to be read and thought about.  One thing is clear, though.  Without Thomas Knott and other men like him, Nevada would not have been settled and grown at the time in history that it happened.  It took true pioneers, willing to sacrifice everything, and able to take care of themselves in natural catastrophes, religious wars, and Indian uprisings, to build the state. 

We can be proud of Thomas Knott, glad to have his journal and sorry to not have more.  I'm sure he was a great story teller, once you got him going. 

The line of descent:

Thomas J. Knott-Hannah Bell
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Friday, April 10, 2015

Harshbarger line: Catherine Mancer Harshbarger 1830-1914

I don't often write about women in the family, simply because they are not easy to research.  I think about them a lot, though, and when I find a bit of information about someone I rejoice. 

This is the obituary for Catherine Mentzer (Mancer), who married Lewis Harshbarger on February 26, 1852 in Summit County, Ohio. It comes from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, of Tuesday, September 1, 1914, page 2.

"Whitley County Resident Dies."

"Mrs. Catherine Mancer Harshbarger, widow of the late Lewis Harshbarger, who made her home with her daughter, Mrs. Samuel A. Smith, near the Compton church in Union township, died Monday morning from heart troubles that afflicted her for over two years. Katherine Mancer was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, on April 30, 1830 and was in her 85th year.  She moved to Summit county, Ohio with her parents and was married to her deceased husband, who passed away forty years ago.  Nine children blessed the union, five living, they being Milo, Emanuel and Henry Harshbarger, Mrs. Samuel Smith, all of this county, and Mrs. George Beatty, of Fort Wayne.  Funeral Wednesday at 2 o'clock p.m., Rev. L.A. Luckenbill officiating.  Interment in the Egolf cemetery, Thorncreek township."

I knew most of the facts in the obituary but it's always nice to have them written down so neatly, and it allows one to wonder.  First, I wondered exactly when the Mentzer family moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Summit County, Ohio.  I don't know exactly when it was, but the family was there in 1840, in Franklin township, under the name Coaured Mincer (don't ask, I don't know how the name got so mangled.)  It looks like her mother, Elizabeth Tullepen, may have been dead by then because Conrad is listed as being 40-49, but there is no one in the right age group to be Elizabeth.  Lea and Caroline, Catherine's sisters, are there, and a male aged 10-14 who may or may not be brother Joel (age is off by a couple of years. Perhaps Joel had already left home and there was another son of whom I know nothing?) 

So Catherine would have been just a young girl when the family left Lancaster County and went to Summit County.  Did they go by river, or canal, or overland?  At any rate, it must have been a very interesting trip, and I hope Catherine learned to like traveling.  A few years after her marriage to Lewis, the family moved, in about 1859, to Union Township, Whitley County, Indiana.  Again, this would not have been an easy trip, although it is possible that much of the trip was by canal.  Lewis was joining his brother John and the families lived side by side in Union Township.  They had to build their homes and farms from the ground up, as it was basically wilderness with at most, a log cabin and a few acres of cleared field when they arrived. 

The obituary mentions 5 living children for Catherine and Lewis, but doesn't mention the three children that didn't survive.  Burying three children was not unusual for a pioneer family, but it wasn't easy, either, especially for a mother.  It also wasn't easy to lose a husband, but Lewis died in 1875.  Most women with young children in the family would quickly remarry, but Catherine stayed single. The 1880 census shows her with three children still at home, ranging from 10 to 14 years old.  They were old enough to help with the farming by then, but those first five years of widowhood must have been physically very demanding.  How did she do it? She stayed on the farm as long as she could, it appears, for she is still there in 1900, by herself now and 70 years old.  Even in 1910, she is still there, although daughter Lovina, now 53, is with her.  Could she have supported herself by renting out the farm, or did she have some other means of making an income?  Did her children support her financially?  I would like to know how she survived, and how long she managed to stay in her own home before dying at her daughter's home.

Meanwhile, I'd like to honor this ancestor of my children.  She is a woman to be admired for her stamina and strength, and her determination to raise her family herself. 

The line of descent is

Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Beeks line: The Wise men of Lagro

I've learned a couple of things in the past week about David Wise and his father, Andrew.

One is that I found David's veteran enrollment card for the 1890 census in a book prepared by one of my heroes, Ron Woodward.  In my last post about David, I had wondered where he was between 1870, when he is in Dallas township, Huntington county, Indiana and 1900, when he was in Lagro, Indiana living as a widower with his son-in-law and daughter, John and Elizabeth Wise Beeks.

I now know that he was in Lagro in 1890, which helps some.  Other surprises on the enrollment card were that he was in indigent circumstances, (defined as impoverished), which is possibly explained by the answer to the question "If disease was contracted during service, give nature of disease".  It said "partial loss of sight" there, so of course now I am wondering what that means and how he acquired this disease. I'm still saving my pennies so I can send for his Civil War records.  Brother Philip also had a disease contracted during service, "disease on right leg and ankle," but the question about being indigent is not answered.  Philip was also in Lagro, Lagro Township, Wabash County, Indiana.

To go back one generation, to Andrew Wise, the father of these two men, I found a cool document in a book about early ear marks in Wabash county.  An earmark was an early form of branding, because one would mark all one's cattle (or sheep) in the same way and then register the mark with the recorder, in case of a neighborly dispute, theft, or runaway animals.  I found one for Andrew Wise, of Lagro Township, Wabash County, dated November 30, 1844.  I was excited about this because my earliest sighting of Andrew in Indiana had been in the 1850 census, so this puts him in Indiana at least 6 years earlier than that.  If he had been there long enough to acquire cattle or sheep, then he may have been there even earlier.  Also, this indicates that Andrew had at least enough "wealth" to own animals.

One other fun fact was that I found a reference to a John Surfoss in Lagro Township in 1840.  He was about the same age as Mary Serfass, wife to Andrew Wise.  I'm wondering if he was possibly a brother to Mary.  I don't have any siblings for her so it is nice to think she may have had a brother living nearby, if Mary was still alive when the Wise's arrived in Indiana. 

It's been a fun week researching! If you know anything about the Serfass/Surfoss family, or about the Wise family, I'd love to hear from you at happygenealogydancing AT gmail DOT com.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Allen line: Robert Royse 1605-1676 Immigrant

Robert Royse is another of our immigrant ancestors in the Allen line.  (Stay tuned for a fun fact at the end of this post.)  Like many ancestors, we aren't really sure where he came from but it is looking more and more likely that he was christened November 3, 1605 at Ketton CumTixover in Rutland, England, the son of William Royce and possibly Joan Casebird.  (The father I show on my Ancestry tree is Thomas, but that appears to not be as likely as I thought when I entered that information.  It's the wrong location, and Thomas is not a name that was used in any subsequent generation.) 

If William is Robert's father, then he was the fourth of at least nine children born between 1600 and 1616.  That is all that we can say about his childhood and youth, that he had a family and that the family ate well enough that Robert survived.  He married Mary Jackson (shown in the records as "Jugkson") on April 8, 1627 in Saint Michael, Stamford, Lincolnshire.  The young couple had several children, during the first 10 years of their marriage, of whom three died as infants. 

We don't know when the family arrived in New England.  Nehemiah was the last child born there, in 1637, and the next known child, Samuel was born in November of 1644 supposedly in New London, Ct.  The problem with that story is that New London wasn't founded until two years later, in 1646.  It seems unlikely that a single family would have gone to the area ahead of the colony, so more research needs to be done here. However, we do know that at least 4 children were born in the New World, starting in 1644.  That leaves a gap of 7 years in which other children may have been born, and possibly lost.

He owned several pieces of land in New London, some given to him as a recognized early settler of the town, and some that he purchased.  He sold most of this to his sons in the early 1660's.  Even so, his estate when he died in 1676 was valued at 420 pounds, 11 shillings.  This was a good estate for a man who had been a leather worker, shoemaker, and "ordinary" keeper during his life at New London.  He had also been constable of the town and deputy to the General Court during the 1660's, indicating that he was a respected member of the town. His will reportedly left property to his wife, five sons, and three daughters, although we only know of two daughters.  (Perhaps one was born during the 7 year time period mentioned above.) 

The best write up of Robert's life that I found was on Wikitree, and I have used some of the information in that article for this post.  The article lists sources that I want to follow up on, and perhaps more can be learned about the life of this ordinary ordinary keeper, who came to New England and made a better life for himself and his family.

The line of descent is:

Robert Royce-Mary probably Jackson
Jonathan Royse-Deborah Calkins
John Royse-Sarah Perrigo
Moses Royse-Hannah
John Royse-Hannah Bellamy
Elizabeth Royse-William McCoy
James McCoy-Nancy Lane
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Fun fact:  Robert is the ancestor of President Millard Fillmore, so we are distantly related to another president.  Is anyone keeping track of these connections?