I want to write about Henry Woodward today, if for no other reason than to mention the name of his children. His daughters were Experience, Freedom, and Thankful. Doesn't that say a lot? The names of his daughters are actually a sermon to us, his descendants, a reminder to be grateful that we can have freedom, both politically and spiritually. Thank you, grandfather Henry!
Henry is also said to be the ancestor of at least two famous people to whom we can now claim kinship, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (again) and Princess Diana. Funny, we don't look anything like either of them!
Henry was baptized March 22, 1607, the son of Thomas Woodward and Elizabeth Tynen of Much Woolton, Lancashire, England. For some reason, he was baptized at Childwell, Lancashire, so that may have been the main church of worship for the parish. Childwell is very near or part of Liverpool, on the west coast of England and in the north.
Henry came to the New World on the ship "James" in 1635, although I am not finding him in any of the "Great Migration" publications to date. He was in Boston first, then went to Dorchester by 1639 and on to Northampton in 1659. He married Elizabeth about 1640, probably in Dorchester. It has long been thought that his wife was Elizabeth Mather, of the Puritan famous Mather family, but apparently proof is lacking because I've also seen speculation that her last name was Cundliffe. Henry became a member of the Dorchester church and a freeman of the colony shortly after his arrival in Dorchester.
He was a respected member of the community of Dorchester, serving on various committees and juries there, and in 1657, at least, he was serving as constable.
His children, named above and also a son John, were all born at Dorchester, where Henry was a physician. In 1658, Henry and two Dorchester men were sent to start the new village of Northampton, and were rewarded with large grants of land there.(One unidentified source says that part of his land is now occupied by Smith College.)
When the family moved to Northampton, he was the keeper of an ordinary (tavern) and also a miller. He would also have been a small time farmer, raising crops and animals for this family. He was 51 when he went to Northampton at Richard Mather's request. Northampton had been founded a few years earlier so we don't know why it was thought necessary to send more men. Perhaps it had to do with the occupation of the men who were sent, or perhaps it was felt that the church there needed building up.
Northampton was attacked by Indians several times during King Philip's War. This was one town n Massachusetts that was more or less prepared for attack, having built a long wooden palisade that enclosed several of the structures around the central meeting house. There were three "minor" attacks in 1675 that killed at least two people and resulted in the burning of several homes and barns, so over the winter of 1675-1676 the palisade was built and at the time of the "big" Northampton attack, there were about 300 soldiers stationed there. on March 14, 1676, a "sizable force of local warriors" attacked Northampton. They managed to set ten houses on fire, and to breach the walls of the palisade in three places, but the soldiers rallied and drove the Indians away. We don't know whether Henry was there or not. Many men had sent their families away, so it may be that Elizabeth was gone but Henry was there to fight, or to assist with illnesses and injuries over the winter.
The town regrouped after the war (there were no more attacks on this town) and Henry's life went on. He was killed in some sort of accident at the "upper corn mill" on April 9, 1683, when he was 76 years old. Elizabeth lived until August 13, 1690, when she died at Northampton. I haven't yet located a will for either Henry or Elizabeth. Perhaps one would give us an insight into Elizabeth's parentage. It would certainly help us understand what Henry accumulated, in terms of land and goods, during his lifetime.
I'd like to know whether Henry was literate, and I'd like to know more about his life in both Dorchester and Northampton, particularly why he decided or agreed to go to Northampton. Of course, I'd like to know about his life in England, too, and what prompted him to come to America.
There are always more questions, it seems.
Our line of descent is:
Henry Woodward-Elizabeth possibly Mather
Experience Woodward-Medad Pomeroy
Joseph Pomeroy-Hannah Seymour
Medad Pomeroy-Hannah Trumbull
Medad Pomeroy Jr.-Eunice Southwell
Eunice Pomeroy-Libbeus Stanard
Libbeus Stanard Jr.-Euzebia or Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen