Friday, August 28, 2015

Holbrook line: John Kinglsey 1614-1678 Immigrant

This immigrant ancestor is interesting to me because he is another one who went from England to Massachusetts to Rhode Island.  In my mind, someone who moves to Rhode Island has at least a 50/50 chance of having moved for religious principles, although of course there are family and economic issues to consider, also.  I don't think there is enough information about John to allow us to draw a conclusion about this issue, but there is quite a bit of information available about him, more than I can use in one of these short sketches.

John Kingsley was born September 7, 1614 to John Kingsley (various spellings) and Katherine Butler. We know little about his life in England except that he had at least one brother, Stephen.  We also know that John and Stephen sailed on the "James" from Bristol, England on June 3, 1635.  Richard Mather, a Puritan "teacher", was aboard this ship so it is likely that John was already a Puritan and came to New England at least partly for religious reasons. 

This particular voyage was even less enjoyable than most.  The ship was caught in the "Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635" as it neared the coast and the ship was forced to ride out the storm near what is now Hampton, New Hamphire.  At one point their ship was stranded but refloated with the high waves of the storm.  Their sails were gone as were their anchors, but the sailors made new sails and other repairs, and the ship eventually landed at Boston on August 17, 1635.  I wonder if any passenger on that ship ever sailed again? 

John married Elizabeth Stoughton about 1636 in Dorchester, Suffolk, where he had gone to live shortly after landing in New England.  There is some question about her last name because the documentation seems to not exist, but this is the traditional name of his first wife, and she seems to be the mother of his children, who were Freedom, Enos, Edward, Eldad and Renewed, all born before 1645.  The family lived at Dorchester until about 1655, and Elizabeth died sometime during this time period.  During his life in Dorchester, John had been a bailiff, a tax collector, and an elder in the church, after having helped found the church in 1636. 

About 1656, John married Alice Thatcher, who was a widow, and they moved to Rehoboth, Bristol County, sometime shortly after.  (The time lines I have seen vary as to when the moves and the marriages took place so consider this just a general outline, not firm as to dates.)  At any rate, when the family lived in Rehoboth, they were prosperous, with a fertile farm east of the Seekonk River.  They, like other families, raised grain and had horses, cattle, sheep, swine and fowls. 

John's wife Alice died in 1673 and John married for a third time, to Mary Johnson, who was the daughter of John Johnson and Mary Heath.  (John and Mary are our ancestors through another line.) 

It wasn't enough for John to survive Puritanism in England, a hurricane on the voyage to New England, and to have buried two wives and married a third.  He was 62 years old on March 28, 1676, when, as part of King Philip's War, Indians came to Rehoboth and burned all but two houses, the barns, and outbuildings.  John survived because he was in the garrison house, which was too heavily fortified for the Indians to burn, and Mary had probably gone with the other women and children to Newport, R.I., where they were sheltered and cared for by Rev. John Clarke. 

Probably due to the turmoil of the war (aha! we may have an answer to my question in the first paragraph!), John and Mary went to Bristol, Rhode Island to live out their remaining years, which were few.  John and Mary died within a few days of each other in January of 1678 or 1679.  John had asked to be buried with his second wife, in Rehoboth, and so he was.  However, his tombstone has been removed to what is now the Newman Cemetery, in E. Providence, R.I. 

John Kingsley had a fascinating life, although I'm sure he would not have chosen to walk through it, had he seen as a young man in England what the next 42 years would bring.  He must have been a strong man, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, to have raised his family through the turmoil. If you're interested in learning more, the blog "Miner Descent" has a blog post about our ancestor that gives much additional information. 

Our line of descent is:

John Kinglsey-Elizabeth possibly Stoughton
Freedom Kingsley-John French
Elizabeth French-Jonathan Thayer
Huldah Thayer-Benjamin Wheelock
Mary Wheelock-Ebenezer Thayer
Abigail Thayer-Jesse Holbrook
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants