Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beeks line: Daniel Shed 1620-1708, Immigrant

Daniel Shedd is another in a line of New Englanders of whom little is known.  I often wonder about them.  For instance, was Daniel the kind of man who would have been the life of the party?  Was he a Puritan?  If he was, then he probably wasn't the life of the party, but he may have been a very religious man, or he may have been someone who went through the motions for business reasons.  He may have been a farmer or a tradesman of some sort, but so far I've found nothing to help indicate his occupation, trade, or even education.  That's the bad news.

The good news is that there is a little bit of information about him, anyway. He was born on or before June 25, 1620 in Finchingfield, Braintree, Essex, England, and was baptized on that date as the son of Daniel Shedd and Sarah.   Daniel and Sarah had three girls, and Daniel, that we know of.  Do you think Daniel might possibly have been just a little bit spoiled?  We don't even know for sure when he came to America.  He was here by 1643, when he was an early settler of "Brantrey", but he wasn't given land in the first set of grants so either he was young or he wasn't there when the village was started. He did receive land in 1645. He's not found on any immigration lists that I've found, which means that he may (or may not) have come over as an indentured servant and had just gained his freedom in 1643, at the same time that he went to Braintree.  (This is just my conjecture, but it makes sense to me.)

He was married by 1646, to Mary Gurney, who seems to have been a daughter of John Gurney, and they had seven children together.  Mary died about the time their youngest daughter Sarah was born, in 1658, and Daniel married Elizabeth, maiden name not known, soon after, because the first of four children was born to Daniel and Elizabeth on August 13, 1660.  Daniel had the sad situation of seeing at least three of his children die before he did, as young marrieds in the prime of life.  One son, his namesake,  died of small pox and I've not seen the cause of death of his two daughters. 

In 1658, the year his youngest daughter in the first set of children was born and possibly the year his first wife died, he moved from Braintree to Billerica, where he stayed for the remaining 50 years of his life.  His family was assigned to live in the main garrison there, during King Philip's War. Billerica was on the frontier and considered a possible target of the native Americans.  I'm finding various "alternate facts" about the war, indicating that Billerica did or did not suffer attack, and indicating that the town of about 48 families evacuated to safer locations.  Maybe all of the above are true, at different times during the conflict. 

Daniel lived a long life and died in Billerica July 27, 1708.  Elizabeth survived him.  Although we know little of his life, he surely lived a long life in interesting times.  He came across the Atlantic as a young boy or young man, made a home out of the wilderness not once but twice, raised two families, likely served in the militia and possibly saw duty during King Philip's War. Even though his name does not survive in very many records, we know that he was a pioneer when that word meant something, and he is a man the family can be proud to honor. 

The line of descent is:

Daniel Shedd-Mary Gurney
Eliabeth Shedd-Daniel Pierce
Elizabeth Pierce-Samuel Smith
Shubael Smith-Prudence Fitzrandolph
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Matilda Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants