Friday, February 3, 2017

Holbrook line: Alexander Chalker, Immigrant

Although I tend to think of my ancestry as being mainly in Massachusetts, of course there are a lot of immigrant ancestors who settled elsewhere, up and down the East Coast.  Alexander Chalker was one who apparently went to Connecticut directly, without stopping in Boston or Plymouth.  It's quite possible that he travelled with Reverend Henry Whitfield, who led a group of settlers there.  Alexander's signature is not included in the list of 22 men who signed as original settlers, but he is thought to have been quite young when he arrived there, perhaps not yet 21.  He may have come as a servant to one of the signers, for instance.

The Whitfield group was formed primarily from those in and around Ockley, Suffolk, England, where he was pastor of St Margaret's Church.  He was a Church of England pastor there for twenty years, but eventually was caught up in the Archbishop Laud trouble and was apparently forced to resign. He and many of his congregation came to Connecticut, purchased land from the native Americans, and settled in what became Guilford.  This would have been wilderness, but the men and women worked hard and soon it was home.

Alexander may have come from in or near Ockley but as far as I know no one has pinned down the names of his parents.  We know he became a freeman in 1644, which means he was at least 21 then, and a member of the church.  He probably owned property, too.  This explains why his birth date is given as about 1620, although it could be a couple of years later and certainly could also be earlier. 

The next we know of Alexander is that he married Katherine Post on September 29,1649 in Guildford.  She was the daughter of Stephen Post and Eleanor Panton.  At least eight children were born to the couple, although Samuel has been a bit of a mystery.  I show a birthdate of 1655 for him, although others say he was born in 1649, which would make him either an "early" baby or the son of another woman.

After some years, the family moved to Saybrook, which was not far away, and may have stayed there until Alexander died.  I don't think Alexander was way high up on the social scale because in a 1669 list of treemen several are listed as "Mr.", a term of some respect, and Alexander has no such title attached.  So he was a plain vanilla kind of man, likely the kind of hard worker who did the real work of building America. 

As far as I can tell, no one knows when Alexander died.  Many websites say 1659 but their were children born as late as 1666, so it must have been 1665 or later.  Some say it was before fall of 1673, when either his wife or his daughter married a John Hills.  If it was his daughter, as seems likely, that date is irrelevant and he could have lived on after that.  I've checked several of my "usual sources" and am unable to find a will or death records. 

This is as much as I can tell you about Alexander Chalker at the moment.  Oh, there's one more thing...He is an ancestor of Mitt Romney, so we are distant cousins to Mr. Romney.  If he ever hires a genealogist in England to try to find Alexander's roots, I hope he will share the information with his less wealthy cousins!

The line of descent is:

Alexander Chalker-Katherine Post
Katherine Chalker-John Jordan
Hannah Jordan-John Stannard
John Stannard-Hannah Hatchett
Libbeus Stannard-Eunice Pomeroy
Libbeus Stannard Jr-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants