Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

John Chase born 1649, Yarmouth (now Dennis), Massachusetts and wife Elizabeth Baker


John Chase was born 6 April 1649 in an area of Yarmouth that is now Dennis, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. He was the son of William Chase.* He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. Whenever I write about my Baker and Chase families, I feel I should put an asterisk after each of their names. I never feel confident I have their information completely correct since they were so plentiful and confusing!  Please consider this sketch a work in progress.

John Chase married Elizabeth Baker (date unknown but Torrey gives as by 1668 when first child born). Elizabeth was the daughter of Francis Baker and Isabel Twining, born about 1648, and was also of Yarmouth (now Dennis which spun off from Yarmouth in 1793), Massachusetts.  I have read John was a Friend, or Quaker, but need to do more research.

John and Elizabeth lived in what is now Dennis Port where they raised their children:

William who died young

John who married Sarah Hills

Thomas who married Sarah Gowell

William who married Dorcas Baker and Patience Walker

Jonathan who married Sarah Green

Jeremiah who married Hannah Baker

Isaac who married Mary Berry and Charity O’Killia Pease

 Vernon Nickerson and others have Jeremiah O’Killia/Kelley’s wife Sarah as daughter of John Chase, but I have not found proof of this.

 Unfortunately some of the records of his children’s births are worn so all of their identities aren’t known with certainty. 

 In the way only cozy places like the Cape offer, I descend from three of John and Elizabeth Chases’ children: Thomas, Isaac, and William. If Sarah, wife of Jeremiah, is found to be a daughter of John, then that would make four.

 John Chase built a homestead on the east shore of Swan Pond in what is now Dennis Port. Nancy Thacher Reid writes its location can still be located, marked by a huge clump of lilac bushes. He was allowed by the town to have meadow along Herring River.

Source: CCGS Bulletin

 In 1676 he had taxable property worth 12 shillings, 4 pence. He received multiple land grants in Yarmouth/Dennis.

 John served in King Philip’s War and received one pound, four shillings for his service. His name was on the List of the Soldiers of Yarmouth who went to Mount Hope under Capt. John Gorham against the Indians in 1675, and took their first march upon the 24th June, 1675.  John Chase was among others in an expedition that same month to repel an expected attack on Swansey. In 1713 he received twenty-two shares in common lands.

In 1727, John Chase (or his descendants) received a land grant in what is now Maine for his service in the war.

I have not found death records or probate in Barnstable County for John and Elizabeth. Some descendants have Elizabeth Baker Chase’s death as 16 May 1706 in Swansea, Bristol County, Massachusetts, but I haven’t found that record yet. John and Elizabeth’s son John lived in Swansea, so there is a connection to the place. I have seen other researchers give John’s death as 1684 and about 1718, but again without a source.

 *Some descendants have John’s mother was Elizabeth Holder, a second wife of William Chase; others claim his mother was Mary who was a Native American. I have not found evidence for either of these claims, although the latter would be hard to prove.


George Walter Chamberlain compiled for John Carroll Chase, Some of the Descendants of William Chase of Roxbury and Yarmouth, Mass., NEHGR, January 1933

 Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884

 Nancy Thacher Reid, Dennis, Cape Cod: From Firstcomers to Newcomers, 1639-1993, Dennis Historical Society, 1996

 Vernon R. Nickerson, From Pilgrims and Indians.... manuscript

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Book Review: A Stranger Among Saints by Jonathan Mack


Book Review

I'm going off in a different direction, offering my opinion on a book, something I'll be doing as a change of pace from time to time. A Stranger Among Saints: Stephen Hopkins, the Man Who Survived Jamestown and Saved Plymouth, by Jonathan Mack, Chicago Review Press, 2020.

Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins is one of my favorite ancestors. There has been a fair amount written on him that shows him to have been adventurous, intelligent, strong in his opinions, and open-minded for the times. He even inspired Shakespeare’s Tempest! I dragged my heels about purchasing Jonathan Mack’s book because I was doubtful he could possibly offer anything new about Stephen Hopkins. A cousin suggested I read it, so I stopped procrastinating and ordered it through Amazon. I’m very glad I did! I’ve long felt Hopkins does not get credit for his important role in the founding of Plymouth (he was the only passenger who knew about the Algonquian culture and language from his time at Jamestown), and Mack does much to solidify Hopkins’ position in history. If you are not familiar with Stephen Hopkins, you can read a sketch I wrote about him here.

Jonathan Mack gives a good deal of credit to Hopkins for saving the struggling colony, decimated by loss of life during the first winter. If not for help from Native Americans, it’s possible no one would have survived. Hopkins was the only colonist who welcomed Abenaki sagamore Samoset to stay in his home, a move that may well have saved the colony. He served as a bridge between the Natives and the Colonists throughout his life.

Because he participated in an insurrection after being shipwrecked on Bermuda, the author argues Hopkins would have had significant input into the Mayflower Compact, the first written constitution in the New World,  

The author shows Hopkins that doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he didn’t play by the rules, often finding himself on the wrong side of popular (pious) opinion and sometimes the law itself. Even though he was a “stranger” and not a Separatist “Saint,” he won their favor early, serving in a variety of capacities including Assistant Governor. He eventually fell out of favor because of his penchant for not following rules and getting in trouble with the law.

Mack’s writing style is very readable and the 272 pages are a quick read. For anyone with Mayflower connections or an interest in the early history of our country, reading this book is time well spent.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Abraham Sampson/Samson 1614 to ca 1701, Bedfordshire, England to Duxbury, Massachusetts

Abraham Sampson (sometimes Abram Samson), was baptized 14 August 1614 at Campton, Bedfordshire, England, the son of Laurence Sampson and Mary Shabery. He is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.


Abraham’s emigration date is estimated to be 1629/30. His kinsman Henry Samson was a Mayflower passenger. There is a lack of records for Abraham in the new world, partly because a fire destroyed early Duxbury records, but it’s possible to patch some things together because of records referencing other people. This is very much a work in progress, so appreciate hearing from people with corrections/additions.

We know Abraham married a daughter of Lt. Samuel Nash, first name unknown, because the Samuel’s 2 June 1681 will mentions bequests to Samuel and Ichabod Samson, sons of deceased grandson Samuel Samson.

We know who Abraham’s children were by deduction— Henry Samson left a will naming his own children, therefore the other Samsons of the time period in Duxbury would belong to Abraham. Clarence Torrey and Robert Wakefield both make a case that Abraham married a second time, to a woman whose name is unknown. These unknown wives are something I find so sad when doing family history research. The role of women of this era was so incredibly important, yet they are so often now anonymous.

Abraham’s children, presumably with the former Miss Nash:

Samuel who m. Esther (probably Delano)

Elizabeth who m. Philip Delano

Abraham’s children with his second wife whose name is unknown:

Mary who m. Samuel Howland

George who m.  Elizabeth (Sprague?)

Abraham who m. Sarah or Lora Standish

Isaac who m. Lydia Standish

I descend from Samuel Sampson and wrote about him here.  Most of Abraham’s children married into important Duxbury families, many with Mayflower/Pilgrim connections.

Abraham was on the 1643 list of men able to bear arms in the Colony’s Duxbury section. He was one of the 54 original grantees of Bridgewater in 1645, all of whom resided in Duxbury, but he did not remove there. In Duxbury, he served as surveyor of highways in 1648, constable in 1653 and was admitted a freeman in 1654.

He wasn’t a stellar citizen at all times, however. On 4 December 1638, Abraham was presented at the meeting house for striking John Washburn, Jr. I’d dearly like to know what precipitated that assault! This was the first appearance of Abraham Sampson in Plymouth Colony records. Additionally he was fined for drunkenness in 1646/47 and 1662/63.

Abraham presumably died at Duxbury, likely just before 1701 at about age 87. No death record, burial location or probate found for Abraham. I have also not found death dates for either Mrs. Sampson.  


The Pilgrim Henry Samson Kindred has an extensive genealogy report of Abraham’s descendants created by Stacy Wood on its website: http://pilgrimhenrysamsonkindred.org/

Lamont “Monty” Healy, George Soule and Powder Point, 2 part series, Duxbury Clipper, March, 2013

Henry A. Fish, Duxbury Ancient & Modern, 2012, Duxbury 375th Anniversary Revised Edition, based on 1925 edition

Mrs. John E. Barclay, The American Genealogist, vol 28 (1952), The Early Sampsons, section “The Abraham Sampson Family”

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Volume 3

Abraham’s Baptism recorded Campton, Shefford, Bedford, England, FHL Film no. 908373