Friday, May 27, 2016

Holbrook line: Benjamin Child, 1631-1678, Immigrant

First, if you really want to know about this ancestor, don't read this post.  Read the one at stagge-parkerblogspot.com.  It is well researched and wonderful, and more than I think my relatives want to read. 

One neat thing I found in researching Benjamin is that he was the son of a minister, so add another pastor to our list.  Benjamin was born to Reverend Benjamin and Sarah Shenton Childe in 1631, about three years after his parents married.  His parents were married, and their children were born, in Cotesbach Parish, Leicestershire, England.  Cotesbach was a very small village and during the time leading up to our immigrant's birth had been the scene of troubles between the tenants and the land-owner, who disrupted the way the farm land was used and enclosed many fields.  So it was still a rather tense time when Benjamin was born. 

When he was four, his father died rather suddenly and mother Sarah was left with three small children.  She managed by herself, or perhaps went to live with a relative, until Benjamin was 16 and then remarried.  At 16, perhaps Benjamin was not ready to adjust to a step-father, or maybe he just thought a change of scene to America would be good for him.  He came to America in 1647, with help from an uncle, and made a new life for himself here. 

Benjamin apparently started out with next to nothing, and found work with Griffith Bowen, the man who would later become his father in law.  He married Mary Bowen in 1653, and then leased land from Griffith so they could start their own farm.  Eventually they were able to buy the land, and also purchased more land as time went on, all in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  Benjamin and Mary had 12 children, so it is a good thing that the family prospered. 

We know that they prospered because they were able to make a significant donation toward the building of the First Church of Roxbury.  He was admitted to the church in 1648, but his wife didn't join until 1658.  She was from Wales and perhaps not of the same Puritan beliefs as Benjamin, at least not at first.  The Childs lost three of their children in infancy or early childhood, and an adult son was killed during King Philip's War, so life was not easy even though they did well financially.

Benjamin died in October 14, 1678.  Some say he died in Roxbury, and some in Brookline but it is the same location, actually, as their land was on either side of the boundary between these two towns.  It's believed that he is buried at the Eliot Burying Ground in Roxbury.  His inventory shows a total of over 506 pounds, including three houses and land.  The inventory mentions a carbine, a fowling piece, and a rapier, so it is likely that he belonged to some sort of training band or militia.  It doesn't mention books, which surprises me because as the son of a pastor, even though his father died young, I would have expected some books to be in the household. 

His wife Mary lived another 30 years, and had the task of raising the younger children.  She never remarried and died on October 31, 1707. 

Although I would certainly like to know more about his life, I find Benjamin a truly remarkable man.  Leaving England and home at the age of 16 must have been difficult, but he made good choices and was able to establish a considerable fortune, and a good heritage for his children. 

The line of descent is:

Benjamin Child-Mary Bowen
Mehitable Child-Samuel Perrin
John Perrin-Abigail Morris
Benjamin Perrin-Mary
Mary or Mercy Perrin-David Fay
Luceba (Euzebia) Fay-Libbeus Stanard Jr.
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Fun Fact:  Samuel F.B. Morse, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Dick Van Dyke are also descended from this couple.