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, December 12, 2020

William Brewster (ca 1645 to 1723) and Lydia Partridge (ca 1651-17430, Duxbury, Massachusetts

William Brewster was born about 1645 at Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the son of Love Brewster and Sarah Collier. Love was a Mayflower passenger with his parents William and Mary Brewster, and I wrote about him here. William is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family. William’s birth is not recorded, but he is mentioned in Love’s will, bequeathing him a kettle and a gun.

On 2 Jan 1672 William married Lydia Partridge at Duxbury. She was born Duxbury about 1651, the daughter of George Partridge and Sarah Tracy. I wrote about George and Sarah here.

William and Lydia had eight children, born Duxbury,

Sarah b. 1674

Nathaniel b. 1676 who m. Mary Dwelley

Lydia b. 1681, m. Job Cushman

William b. 1683, m. Hopestill Wadsworth

Mercy b. 1685, m. Edward Arnold

Benjamin, b. 1688, removed to Connecticut, m. 1st Elizabeth Witter, 2nd Sarah Caulkins

Joseph, b. 1694, m. Elizabeth Turner

Joshua, b. about 1698, m. Deborah Jackson

I descend through Joshua.

William was a church deacon and is called carpenter or planter in records. He was a freeman and served on juries. He was a large landholder in Duxbury and there are many recorded deeds of his purchases and sales. He bought most of the property east of Standish Street and north of Myles Standish’s property, which included the property owned by his grandfather Elder William Brewster. He purchased the farm that belonged to his uncle Jonathan Brewster, as well as Richard Moore’s property at Eagle Nest’s Point. He likely benefited financially from his grandfather William Collier who was the richest man in the colony.

Lydia (Partridge) Brewster was mentioned in her mother Sarah Tracy Partridge’s 1702 will, along with her seven sisters and two brothers. She was to receive her share of linen, woolen clothing, cash and remainder of the estate. Her husband was to be an overseer of the estate.

In 1669 William and his brothers Nathaniel and Wrestling sold land in Dartmouth which had been a gift from their mother Sarah (Collier) Brewster. William was the only one of the brothers to sign the deed; the others used their marks.

William died 3 November 1723, aged near 78, and is buried Old Cemetery in Duxbury. He died intestate, surprising since he was a man of means. He had already deeded land to his sons William, Joseph, Joshua and Nathaniel so perhaps he felt a will was unnecessary.

Lydia died 2 Feb 1742/43 at Duxbury, at about 93 years of age. It would seem she would be buried next to William but a stone for her has not survived.



Lamont “Monty” Healy, Elder William Brewster and the Nook, 3-part series, Duxbury Clipper, June 26, July 24 and August 28, 2013

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

Barbara Lambert Merrick, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 24, Part 1, Elder William Brewster, GSMD, 2014

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Robert Long ca 1590 to 1664, Herefordshire, England, to Charlestown, Massachusetts

Robert Long was born about 1590, probably in Herefordshire, England. I have not found his birth/baptism record, but birth is based on age at time he emigrated. Robert is my 11th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis’ side of the family. Robert had 14 children by two wives; 9 of them daughters.

On 3 Oct 1614, Robert Long married Sarah Taylor at St. Albans Abbey, St. Albans, Herefordshire. Sarah was the daughter of John and Margaret (Willmote) Taylor.

St. Albans Cathedral and Abbey

Sarah died in 1631 and was buried at Dunstable, Bedfordshire on 12 December 1631.

Robert and Sarah had 10 children:











Robert married 2nd, by 1634, Elizabeth, whose maiden name has not been found. She died at Charlestown, Massachusetts on 29 May 1687, at about 84 years of age.

Robert and Elizabeth had four children:


Hannah who married 1st Henry Cookery and 2nd Luke Perkins



I descend from Hannah and her second husband Luke Perkins, whom I wrote about here.

Robert was from Dunstable, Bedfordshire and migrated in 1635 on the Defence out of London.  He was age 45, an innholder, with wife Eliza(beth)  and children Michell (Michael) 20, Sarra (Sarah) 18, Robert 16, Elizabeth 12, Anne 10, Mary 9, Rebecca 8, Jon 6, Zachery 4, Joshua aged ¾, and Luce Mercer, 18, a servant. They were all enrolled at London as passengers and their first residence in the new world was Charlestown, Massachusetts, a Boston neighborhood.

On 3 Sept 1635, Robert was licensed to keep a house of entertainment at Charlestown for horse and man. (I love how this is worded!)  In 1638 he was allowed to draw wine at Charlestown on condition that he take what wines or waters are in the hands of Thomas Lynde, who formerly sold the wines, so that he be not “damnified.”

On 17 April 1636 Robert and Elizabeth Long were admitted members of the Charlestown Church. He was made a freeman at Charlestown (as Robrt Longe) on 25 May 1636. He was on a grand jury in 1638, admitted to the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1639, served as a Selectman and on the Mass Bay committee on valuing livestock in 1640. The Honorable Artillery Company is the oldest chartered military organization in North America and began as a volunteer militia company that trained officers from local militia companies across Massachusetts. Traditionally upper middle and upper class men have been members and include President John F. Kennedy.

Robert was also a land owner. A few of his transactions: sold six hay lots in 1635, in 1637 held 8 cow commons, in 1638 held parcels of 30, 65, and 5 acres Mystic Side.

In 1636 Robert started the Three Cranes Tavern at Charlestown; he had purchased the land and building for 30 pounds. It was at the foot of town hill and was previously used as the First Church of Charlestown and home to Governor Winthrop and called The Great house. It was the first structure built in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630) and has been the site of archaeological digs. It was in the Long family for more than 140 years. It burned down in 1775 when Charlestown was set afire by British troops evacuating the city. A cannon ball that had hit the building during the Battle of Bunker Hill was found during the excavation. It became a site for an open market, called Market Square, and when Charlestown became a city in 1848 it was renamed City Square. Visitors can see the original foundation stones of the tavern and the Long family house.

Rendering of Three Cranes Tavern Source: BU Today, November 9, 2014

Mr. Robert Long died 9 Jan 1663/4 at Charlestown, Massachusetts. It is not known where he is buried, but the Phipps Street Cemetery in Charlestown is the older cemetery in Boston with earliest internments dating to 1630.

Robert Long’s will is dated 10 June (or July) 1658 and proved 16 Feb 1663/4. It mentions his loving wife, sons Joshua, John, Mikaell, Zecharaiah, daughters Kempthorne a widow, Ruth, Deborah, Hannah, Rebecca Rowe, Sarah Hill, Elizabeth Parker, Anna Converse, grandson Samuel Longe.

Inventory was taken 19 Jan 1663/4, totaled over 647 pounds, of which 360 was real estate. The originals of the will and inventory are difficult to read. If anyone has come across a transcription they could share, I’d appreciate hearing from you!

On 9 May 1673 his heirs, including “Luke Perkins and Hannah my wife” sold to “our beloved brother John Long of Charlstown…all our right, title and interest in and to the estate of our honored father Mr. Robt Long former of the same town of Charlstown deceased.” John Long expanded the family business, adding a brewery and a wine cellar.

City Square, Charlestown; site of Robert Long's home and tavern


Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1992

Hallock Porter Long, A Long genealogy: a partial genealogy of the Longs of Charlestown and Nantucket, Massachusetts, 1891. Got to love a long genealogy!

Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1620-1640, Boston, 1930, Reprint c. 2006

Richard Frothingham, History of Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1845

Information on Three Cranes Tavern: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/threecranes.htm and http://www.bu.edu/articles/2014/boston-archaeology/



Monday, October 26, 2020

Seth Pope 1689-1744 Dartmouth and Sandwich, Massachusetts

Seth Pope was born 5 April 1689 at Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of Seth Pope and Deborah Perry (NEHGR 2:69, 1869). Seth the elder was quite interesting; I wrote about him here. Seth the younger is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.

Seth married Hannah Bourne on 12 January 1709/10 in Sandwich. She was born 4 May 1689, the daughter of Elisha and Patience (Skiffe) Bourne. I wrote about Elisha here.  Seth’s brother, John, married Hannah’s sister, Elizabeth Bourne.

Children of Seth and Hannah Bourne are recorded in Sandwich Vital Records or proven by baptisms:

Abigail born 2 August 1710, m. Isaac Parker

Bathsheba born 2 Dec 1713

John born 23 November 1716; m. Mercy Swift

Mary, Baptized 1720

Hannah born 25 April 1720

Elisha baptized 28 July 1723, died in August that year

Patience born 29 Nov 1725, m. J. Wooster

Elisha born 28 July 1729

I descend through John Pope and his wife Mercy Swift.

Seth’s father purchased a great deal of land in Sandwich Village and gave parcels to his sons Seth and John. Seth’s home is at what is now 10 Grove Street. The house is still standing and is on a stunning piece of land.  Seth operated (later was bequeathed ownership from his father) a grist mill, fulling mill and weaveshop.

His father Seth’s will has an unusual stipulation that in case he did not keep the works in proper repair, the executors were from time to time, as found necessary, to take charge of and repair them, and operate them until the expenditures had been repaid. In October, 1734, we are told that “a committee waited upon the miller, Mr. Pope, to know if they could not be better served in grinding their corn.” Perhaps Seth Junior didn’t inherit his father’s strong work ethic!

Seth Pope died 23 November 1744 at Sandwich. He is buried there at the Old Town Cemetery. He was 55 years old.

Hannah Pope, widow of Seth, died 18 March 1744/45, at Sandwich. She was also age 55.


 Franklin Leonard Pope, Genealogy of Thomas Pope of Plymouth, NEHGR vol 42, Jan. 1888

 A Lovell, Sandwich, A Cape Cod Town, 1984


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Book Review: Mayflower Increasings by Susan E. Roser


Mayflower Increasings from the Files of George Ernest Bowman at the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants,  by Susan E. Roser, 2nd edition, 1996, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.  

Susan Roser treats 27 Mayflower families in this book, covering the first three generations of descendants. Birth, marriage and death dates are provided when known, as well as epitaphs and obituaries. She also includes a Probate Index for each family to assist the reader in identifying fourth and fifth generation children. Sources are cited throughout and it is fully indexed.

Appendices include Gov. Bradford’s list of Increasings and Decreasings of Mayflower passengers and the 1627 Cattle Division.

Research on Mayflower passengers is never-ending, so there have been some discoveries since this book was published (such as the maiden name of Richard Warren’s wife Elizabeth), so hopefully there will be a third edition published. The only criticism I have of this book is that the type is quite small.

I have found any book by Susan E. Roser to be a valuable addition to my genealogical library and am very thankful for all of her research. Some other books she has written: Mayflower Deeds and Probate, Mayflower Births and Deaths, Mayflower Marriages, Early Descendants of Henry Cobb of Barnstable Massachusetts, Early Descendants of Daniel Cole of Eastham Massachusetts.

Genealogical Publishing Company provided me with a copy of this book to review.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Book Review: The First 24 Hours of the American Revolution, Jack Darrell Crowder

Book Review: The First 24 Hours of the American Revolution, Jack Darrell Crowder, 2018, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.

 I really enjoyed reading this book about the first hours of the Revolution. Growing up in Lexington, I watched the annual Patriots Day Parade, occasionally getting up early enough to watch the re-enactment. Of course it was something we learned about in school with all that history at our doorstep, including 18th century homes and taverns to tour. I used to imagine what it would be like to have the men folk in your home rush off in the wee hours prepared for battle, watching from your house as the Red Coats marched by praying they would not stop and enter your home, and hearing or even watching the battle. As an adult, I didn’t think very much about the Revolutionary War until I discovered multiple ancestors who served in the war, which piqued my interest.

Crowder does a nice job in just 126 pages of summarizing what occurred in those vital first hours of the war. The illustrated 8 x 10 softcover book is divided into these chapters:

The British March and the Alarm is Given

Alarms Given to Other Towns in the Area

The Battle of Lexington

The Battle of Concord

Battle Road from Concord to Lexington

Battle Road from Lexington to Boston

Back to Boston


Propaganda of Lexington and Concord

It’s riveting to read about the bravery of men from young teens to men in their prime to elderly, eager to fight for the freedom of the country. I love the story of one man of about 78 years of age named Samuel Whittemore who, despite his age and physical infirmities, leaves his farm to join the fray. He kills one and wounds two other soldiers before he is shot in the face, beaten and bayonetted multiple times. A doctor feels he will soon die and not worth tending to, but he is encouraged to dress Samuel’s wounds. Not only did Samuel survive that day, he went on to live another 18 years!

This book is available to purchase from Genealogical Publishing Company which provided me with a copy to review. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

John Soule abt 1632 to by November 1707 and wife Rebecca Simmons of Plymouth and Duxbury, Massachusetts

John Soule was born Plymouth about 1632, son of Mayflower passenger George Soule and his wife Mary Becket. I wrote about George and Mary here.   John’s birth is not recorded but in a March 1705/6 deposition he stated he was aged “about seventy-four years.” John is my 9th great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Ellis Davis.

 John married Rebecca Simmons about 1655, probably at Duxbury, Mass. Rebecca was born about 1635, the daughter of Moses and Sarah Simmons/Simonson/Symonson. Proof that Rebecca Simmons was the wife of John Soule is found in a deed of gift dated 30 December 1674 (Plymouth Colony Deeds Volume IV, page 43). Moses Simons of Duxburrow, in consideration of a marriage between John Soule of Duxburrow and eldest daughter Rebeckah,  all his purchased lands at Namaskett (Middleborough).

Rebecca and John had nine children:










I descend from Sarah who married Adam Wright whom I wrote about here.

Rebecca died between 1675 and 1678. John married second ca 1678 Esther/Hester (maiden name unknown) Samson, widow of Samuel Samson.  She died 12 Sept 1735, at Duxbury age 95 years, 6 months, 6 days.

Esther and John had three sons:

Joseph and Josiah (twins)


John was executor of his father George Soule’s estate and received land at Duxbury. On 2 October 1660 John Soule of Duxbury along with 23 other people were fined 10 shillings each for being at Quaker meetings.

He deeded Duxbury land in 1695 to his son Aaron. In 1698 he mentions sons Benjamin and James in a deed. In 1703 he deeded land to son James of Middleborough. In 1697 he deeded land to son John Soule of Middleborough. In 1701 he deeded land to sons Joseph, Josiah and Joshua. In 1712 Moses Soule of Duxbury sold land which belonged to his father John Soule.

John died intestate at Duxbury, but the date of his death is not known. His widow Hester was appointed administratrix, on 14 November, 1707. Inventory of the estate of the estate of John Soul of Duxbourrough was taken on 3 December 1707. The inventory included one cow and heifer, 2 swine, a cow hide and mare hide that were at the tanners in Plymouth, spectacles, brass and pewter, Taken by Thomas Delano, Abraham Samson, Benjamin Delano. The record of this appointment and inventory is in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume II, page 87. On 5 December 1707 there was a separate appraisement of Mr. John Soul’s parcels of land in Middleborough. Land included a lot of cedar swamp in the Six and Twenty Men’s Purchase, land in Assawanset Neck, upland from the last division in the Sixteen, shilling purchase and the share of Cedar swamp at Assonet, undivided land in the Sixteen Shilling purchase, two lots in the south purchase. Total value 17 pounds 5 shilling.

 A 5 March 1707/8 document about the settlement of John Soule’s estate states that during his life he had settled portions of his land by deed to all of his sons and that his daughter Sarah had one cow, and daughters Rachel and Rebecka had nothing of their father. Adam Wright on behalf of his children with wife Sarah now deceased, John Cob and Rachel his wife, and Rebecka the wife of Edmond Weston mutually agreed, taking into account the value of the cow Rachel received and the value of the Middleboro land, that each of the women should receive 6 pounds 8 shilling 4 pence each. Sarah’s children, Rebecka Weston and Rachel Cobb were also to receive some of the land mentioned.  


Robert Charles Anderson, Great Migration Begins, 1995

Mayflower Families in Progress, "George Soule of the Mayflower and His Descendants for Four Generations," revised by Robert. S. Wakefield, third edition, published by the GSMD, Plymouth, Mass., 1999

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Book Review: The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1620-1640, by Charles Edward Banks

Book Review: The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1620-1640, by Charles Edward Banks, 1930, Reprint 2006, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.

I find a genealogy book that is referred to by the author’s last name rather than the book title to be a good addition to my personal library. I hear “Torrey,” and I know the reference is to Clarence Almon Torrey’s New England Marriages Prior to 1700. For me, Banks falls into this category because his work has been so well regarded for 90 years.

The Planters is a study of emigration in colonial times (1620-1640). It includes lists of passengers to Massachusetts (including Plymouth Colony), the ships which brought them across the sea, passenger place of origin when known, and the initial place settled in Massachusetts. It includes the names of 3,600 passengers on nearly 96 ships. It is the most complete and authoritative collection of passenger ships from this period ever published. The book has invaluable indices of surnames, place names and ship names.

Banks’ preface clarifies the use of the word “Planter,” which during this time was used not in an agricultural sense, but rather they were men (and often their amilies) who came to “plant” an English colony.  

This book, however, is not just passenger lists. In one section Banks breaks down the immigrants by county of origin, with Sussex having the heaviest emigration. One interesting example is the parish of Hingham in Norfolk only had a few hundred families, yet 35 families migrated to found the town of Hingham, Massachusetts.

Another aspect of this book I appreciate is that Banks includes information on ships even when the passenger list is unknown. If you have a rough idea of when your ancestor migrated, you can come up with some possibilities by perusing the book.

In my research I often see the ship and year an ancestor emigrated, but Banks often fleshes that out with other facts such as the master of the ship, where it departed from, and length of the voyage. It is also worthwhile to look at a passenger list to see other surnames that might be connected to your family. I made a great discovering reading the book…the name of a 9th great-grandmother I have long-neglected jumped off the page. She was listed with her unknown (to me) parents. Bingo!

 There is nothing fancy about my copy of The Planters from Genealogical Publishing Company which gave me the book to review. It has a basic paperback binding. I prefer genealogy books in printed format rather than reading it on my computer or phone screen. An exception is for massive works such as Torrey’s 12-volume New England Marriages Prior to 1700, which I prefer to reference online! Genealogical Publishing offers family historians a way to obtain genealogy and local history books at a reasonable price. For instance at the time I write this an online bookseller is selling a 1930 hardcover of the Planters for $90 plus shipping. Genealogical Publishing sells a paperpack copy for $31, or you can purchase an eBook version at a lower cost.

 Please comment with your go-to books for New England research!



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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

John Howland b. about 1592; died Kingston, MA 1672

I took a quick visit to the location of John Howland's homestead in Kingston, Mass., last week. Does anyone else get a quickening of their pulse when they walk where our ancestors walked? Gets me every time!

John Howland, my 10th great grandfather and a Mayflower passenger, was born about 1592. He settled first at Plymouth in 1620 and then at nearby Duxbury and finally at Kingston. John and his wife Elizabeth Tilley had 10 children, including daughter Ruth from whom I descend. I wrote a sketch about John and Elizabeth here. His son Joseph lived across the street.

How fortunate are descendants that the Pilgrim John Howland Society owns John Howland's Kingston land, called Rocky Nook, and has conducted archaeological digs on the property. It is located on Howland Lane.

There is a display board with information of interest.