Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and love that this blog helps with that. I consider much of my research as a work in progress, so please let me know if you have conflicting information. 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 male 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, and John Howland.
Female Mayflower ancestors: Mary Norris Allerton, Eleanor Billington, Mary Brewster, Mrs. James Chilton, Sarah Eaton, and Joan Hurst Tilley.
Child Mayflower ancestors: Giles Hopkins, (possibly) Constance Hopkins, Mary Allerton, Francis Billington, Love Brewster, Mary Chilton, Samuel Eaton, and Elizabeth Tilley.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Robert Cushman and The Cry of a Stone

I recently read The Cry of a Stone, the book written by my 12th great grandfather Robert Cushman (as Robert Coachman). It is a terrific resource for anyone interested in the Pilgrims' Separatist religion. Cushman, who was not formally educated, wrote this eloquent book in the 1619; it was published posthumously in 1645. Thanks to editor Michael Paulick, translator/annotator James Baker and publisher the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the book was reprinted this year. What a gift to genealogists!

I've always been in awe of the Separatists' willingness to put themselves in harms way by practicing their beliefs in England but my knowledge of exactly what they believed was limited. Reading The Cry of the Stone filled in a lot of blanks.

What struck me the most in reading the book was how extensive Cushman's knowledge was of the Bible and also of other religions. I expected his book to be all fire and brimstone and a bit holier than thou in tone but I found instead that he rationally explained what the Separatists believed and why.

Some of the things I found most interesting:
  • Church members were expected to do whatever it took, even sell property, to support poorer brethren and do so without murmurings, complaints or outcries. The life of a Christian was more precious than anything.
  • There was a role for widows in the church as they could become Deaconesses, tending to the sick, poor and working as midwives. Widows "have age upon them as a crown of glory." In many cultures widows are treated quite shabbily, so I found this refreshing.
  • They believed the Church of England admitted sinners and saints alike and had strayed from teachings of the Bible and Christ. The Separatists were all Saints. God had already chosen who would be saved or damned on the day of judgment. Didn't believe reforming the Church of England was the answer because an evil man would still be evil.
  • Separatists only believed in two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's Supper. They believed the rest were inventions of man and had no scriptural basis. 
  • They rejected the Book of Common Prayer, instead believing prayer should be unscripted and spontaneous. Prayer or inspired preaching from the heart was the proper way to honor God.
  • They rejected Church hierarchy. Their church was based on five officers: pastor, teacher, elder, deacon, deaconess.  The actual church building was unimportant--it was kept plain and free of idols. They believed anyone with talent or gift of God may be allowed to preach. They were motivated to preach anywhere as as there were unrecognized potential converts scattered throughout the world.
  • Cushman was particularly concerned by the difficulties that selfishness or self love, laziness and lack of charity posed to the survival of the Plymouth community; this was the subject of his first published sermon given at Plymouth. 
It took me some time to read the slender volume as it isn't exactly an easy read, although Mr. Baker's descriptive notes were most appreciated. I purchased the book from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

I wrote a sketch on Robert Cushman in another blog entry which you can view here.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rowland S. Bumpus Probate Information

Rowland Sturtevant Bumpus (1804-1853) is my fourth great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis' side of the family. He was from Wareham, Plymouth Co., Mass., the son of Jonathan and Martha (Chubbuck) Bumpus. He married Lucy Nye Pierce and they had 10 children, three of whom died young. I wrote an entry about him here. I have finally gotten around to transcribing his probate file. I find reading the old handwriting to be tedious but the end result is worth it. Any errors are likely an error on my part in trying to decipher the words and numbers. It is Plymouth County probate file 3299. Thomas Savery of Wareham, Esquire and Justice of the Peace, was Executor of the estate.

Rowland had gone to California in search of gold, so I wonder if he contracted consumption/tuberculosis there. Rowland's will (his name is spelled Roland and Rowland in the papers):

On back: 3299 Will of Rowland S. Bumpus
Recorded Book 95, page 319
By GS Beal, reg’r

Be it remembered, that I Rowland S. Bumpus of the town of Wareham, in the County of Plymouth in the state of Massachusetts, yeoman, considering the uncertainty of this life, being of sound mind and memory, do make and publish and declare this my last will and testament.
First I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Lucy the use and improvement and income of my dwelling house, barn and all the outbuildings, furniture and all my real and personal property including two lot Of woodland all situated in Wareham aforesaid to have and to hold the same for and during her natural life.
Second I give and bequeath to my son Frederick Adams the sum of one dollar and I also give devise and bequeath to my daughters Adeline, Lucy, Caroline, Mary, Lucretia one dollar each to be paid to them by my executor hereinafter named from and after the decease of my beloved wife Lucy.
Third I give bequeath and devise to my son Nathan, my youngest child, the aversion(?) the remainder of my house, barn and all the outbuildings, furniture, and all my real and personal estate as named above situated in the town of Wareham aforesaid and all profits, income and advantage that may result therefrom, from and after the decease of my beloved wife Lucy to have and to hold the same to him and his executors and administrators and unsigns(?) forever.
Fourth And I do appoint Thomas Savery Esq of Wareham aforesaid to be my sole executor of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto this 16th day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty three.
Signed Roland S. Bumpus

Signed published and declared by the said Roland S. Bumpus as his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto set our names as witnesses
Signed: George Cryer
                Obed Griffith
                John F. Bourne

Rowland's signature on his will (not spelled Roland)

It's interesting that his will went against the laws of the time. I'm not sure if it was unintentional or a purposeful attempt to take care of his wife. I like to think it was intentional. He wanted to leave everything to Lucy, with no clause about widow's thirds or to be hers until she remarried. Lucy had to sign something for the probate court waiving the clause in the will pertaining to her inheritance. She wrote a letter of waiver which she signed.
Lucy Pierce Bumpus' signature

Wareham 4th July 1853
Dear Sir,
The subscriber respectfully represents that she waives the provision made her in the last will of her late husband Rowland S. Bumpus of Wareham; and instead thereof will take what the law will allow her to receive of her late husband’s estate.
Yours Respectfully, Lucy Bumpus (her signature)
Hon Aaron Hobart
Judge of Probate for the
County of Plymouth
Reverse side reads:
Rowland S. Bumpus
Widow waives provision of will
Recorded book 95, page 324
By GS Beal Regr

The following is a correct list of the estate and affects of Roland S. Bumpus, late of Wareham, deceased, as appraised by us, July 25, 1853.
Homestead $800
Lot of woodland, 7 ½ acres of woodland below Jonathan Gibbs, as ___ $37
Lot of woodland at Muddy Cove his right in common and undivided with others $10

Personal Estate
4 beds & bedding 23.00
2 clothes chests .50
7 parlor chairs 5.60
1 parlor table 3.50
1 sofa 11.00
1 bureau 7.00
1 looking glass 3.00
1 parlor carpet 3.00
Window curtain .75
4 pictures, rug, cricket__? 1.50
1 lounge .25
13 kitchen chairs 3.90
1 dining table 1.00
1 __ stand .50
1 looking glass .50
1 wooden clock 1.00
1 bureau 1.00
Second Column: Amount Bought up $67
1 table $1.00
1 cooking stove 2.50
Crockery, glass, tin 3.00
1 air tight stove 2.00
1 market basket .50
1 rag carpet 2.50
Set farm tools 2.00
1 wheelbarrow .50
Lot refuse wood 9.00
2 lamps (glass) .50
Signed Samuel Shaw Jr, George Cryer, Albert Ellis

On the back of the inventory:
Inventory of Rowland S. Bumpus
Recorded book 95, page 321
By JS Beal Reg’r

Handwritten (difficult to read):
Plymouth SS
At a court of probate holden at Middleborough on the first Tuesday of August 1853 by Thomas Savery executor of the ___ named Roland S. Bumpus deceased made oath that the foregoing inventory contains the whole the estate of the said deceased so far as is the same has come to his hands or knowledge. It is therefore ordered that the same be accepted and recorded. Aaron Hobart J. of Probate.

One thing on my to do list is to find the location of Rowland and Lucy's home. Below gives a nice clue that it was near Agawam Iron Works. 

Plymouth SS November 18th, 1853, Personally appeared the above named Lewis Kinney, Albert S. Hathaway, and Charles FA Weston and made oath that they would faithfully and impartially, according to their best skill and judgment, perform the duty assigned them by the foregoing warren. Before me Thomas Savery J. Peace.
Pursuant to the foregoing warrant, we the commissioners therein named, having been first sworn as therein directed, and given notice to all persons known to be interested, have appraised all the real estate of which the said Rowland S. Bumpus died seized, at the sum of eight hundred and forty dollars.
And we have assigned and set off to the said Lucy Bumpus the widow of said deceased, as her dower therein, the following described parcels, to wit
The whole of the main bodely(?) dwelling house, the porch excluded. Together with the following described land.
Beginning at the northeast corner of the house, thence south 45 degrees east, one rod and twenty links to the road leading from Agawam Iron Works into Agawam Neck, thence in the line of said road south forty four and a half degrees three rods and six links to a gate post, thence north forty five degrees seven rods and five links to a stake, thence north forty four and a half degrees east, one rod and twenty and a half links to a stake, thence south forty five degrees east, six rods and nine links to the dwelling house, thence running northerly and easterly by said house to bound first mentioned, together with the privilege of going to and from and drawing water from the well on the porch.
Signed Lewis Kinney, AS Hathaway, CFA Weston

On back of page:
Affidavit of Notice of Appointment
Roland S. Bumpus
Recorded book 8, page 514
JS Beal Reg’r