Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Allen line: Samuel Eldred or Eldridge1620-1697, Immigrant

Well, we know his first name and we know he was an immigrant.  The rest of the "facts" in the title are up for interpretation, to say the least.  His name was generally spelled Eldred in the records I have looked at, but sometime after his generation the name is more commonly seen as Eldridge, as well as various other spellings.  We say he was born in 1620 because that seems to be his christening record, although he, in various court documents, put his birth year at about 1612. And there are various reports as to when he died. It seems reasonable, based on the evidence, to think that he died in 1697 or shortly thereafter.  I have seen a date as late as 1710, but that would put him at either 88 or 98 at the time of his death, which seems to stretch belief just a bit.  (Yes, I know some people lived to be 90 even then, but it wasn't common.)

His parents are believed to be John and Anna Watson Eldred.  His christening was on November 27, 1620at Ipswich, Suffolk, England.  He had at least two brothers and a sister.  His father died just a few days after Samuel married Elizabeth Miller at St Mary of the Quay in Ipswich.

By this time Samuel was a cordwainer (shoemaker) so he had a trade to support a wife.  He is on record as a resident of Boston in 1641, so the couple must have come to America very shortly after their marriage.  Samuel was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery in Boston in 1641, and either when he joined or later in his life was a sergeant.  Military training was a fact of life for men of a certain age in Boston, and his training would come him handy later in his life.

Samuel and his growing family moved frequently.  It's hard to tell what the reasons were for some of the moves, but we can make guesses about some of them.  He lived in Charlestown, Medford, and Chelsea (Romney Marsh), and those moves may have been for economic reasons.  He doesn't seem to have owned land in those locations, so he wasn't a first settler in any of them, but he may have been invited because people in those villages needed a shoemaker. 

In 1660, however, the family moved to Wickford, Rhode Island.  The statement is made, without proof so far as I know, that this was a Baptist family and they followed Roger Williams, 24 years after his forced eviction from Massachusetts Bay Colony.   Other interpretations were that he was a follower of Anne Hutchinson, and left because of her banishment.  This doesn't seem likely, as that exile took place 22 years earlier.  At any rate, Samuel probably felt uncomfortable by 1660 and for whatever reason, went to Rhode Island. 

He had some role in a dispute with Connecticut and apparently took that state's side.  He tried to empanel a jury, for which he had no authority, and ended up being briefly imprisoned by Rhode Island officials, and rewarded with 18 rubles from Connecticut authorities.  (I wish I understood this better, but this is the best I can do for now.)  He and his family suffered great loss in King Phillip's War, and were given corn in the time of their distress (1676).  So it sounds like at least the crop was lost, if not everything they owned.  Samuel himself was involved in the War and assisted in capturing 18 native Americans at one time.  It was not noted what became of the prisoners.  By Samuel's calculations, he would have been about 64 years old at this time, yet he found himself in battle, and then starting over as far as crops and possibly a home go 

Samuel and Elizabeth had at least seven, and possibly eight children.  They were Elizabeth, Samuel, Mary, James, Thomas, John, Daniel, and possibly Enoch Kenyon.  They were born from 1642 to 1663, with Enoch's birthplace and birthdate not noted.  Elizabeth, Samuel's wife probably died in or shortly before 1697, and Samuel died sometime after Apil 13,1697, when he deeded land to son John.  There is a burial plot on that land and Samuel and Elizabeth are believed to be buried there, but there is no stone or marker for them. 

Samuel led an interesting life and took part in some of the events that allowed America to thrive.  We should be proud to honor such a man.

The line of descent is

Samuel Eldred-Elizabeth Miller
Daniel Eldridge-Mary Phillips
Daniel Eldridge-Abigail Fish
Sarah Eldridge-Thomas Chester
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
Betsy Havens-John Starr
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants