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.

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.


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  2. I've just discovered your blog and it's fascinating! We are most certainly related, we share many common ancestors, but I'm just beginning the research. I could spend the entire day reading through your blog (and I am sure I will eventually!). Ally

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Ally! Best of luck in your research, Chris


I'm now moderating comments on this blog. My apologies for any ensuing delays, but the large number of "spam" comments have made this necessary. ~Chris