“Eternal Father, strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep;

Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,

For those in peril on the sea.”


("The Navy Hymn"; words by William Whiting, melody by Rev. John Bacchus Dykes)




My family has a boat.  We use it for weekend pleasure trips, exploring the waters surrounding Virginia and Maryland – the Chesapeake Bay, mostly, and the various rivers that feed into it (although every once in awhile we tentatively venture past the Cape Henry lights and cruise along the shoreline of the ocean as well, always keeping civilization firmly in view, however).  Our boat is not a particularly big boat, nor is it a particularly fancy boat.  However, it is indeed light years beyond any vessel in which any of our ancestors first came to these shores.  Our boat has GPS.  Our boat has modern plumbing and air conditioning.  Our boat is seaworthy. 


Even so, the weather and the Chesapeake Bay can be quickly changeable, and so my family and I have shared several boating experiences that are enough to make me think twice before ever pulling away from the pier again, even though these “white knuckle trips” have all fallen relatively low on the scale of things dangerous.  In fact, they are barely worth mentioning in comparison to the “adventures” on the high seas our ancestors experienced.  Yet, experience them they did.  The lure of the sea and what might lie beyond was apparently a potent force for our ancestors, and I must admire them for acting on it.  After all, it was not that long before the earliest known vessels in which my ancestors came to these shores set out on their voyages that people believed the world was flat, and that they would fall off the edge of it if they went beyond the horizon.  Either our ancestors had courage beyond measure, or the horrors they experienced in their native lands were so great that putting themselves at the mercy of whatever might be waiting for them on the journey to whatever lay beyond seemed the lesser of two evils (most likely, it was a combination of both factors that motivated them...). 


Sometimes these journeys ended in tragedy.  The sea claimed the lives of some of my seafaring ancestors, in particular those Maine sea captains and mariners found on the Noonan and Parker “twig” of my Family Tree.  Even when the journey was completed with all lives intact, however, there still was often required a particular brand of courage.  There was no Holiday Inn waiting with the bed sheets turned down (even for those later arrivals, who came in through Ellis Island). These people had to immediately find a way to make a new life for themselves.  Often the conditions in which these new arrivals found themselves were "adverse" beyond imagination.  The perils of wilderness and weather, disease and ignorance, and the general (and perhaps greatest) challenge of the unknown were each reason enough to prohibit survival.  Yet somehow, against all odds, some remnant of these hardy (perhaps foolhardy...) folks did survive.  Not only did they survive, but they ultimately flourished in their new land. 


The biggest step towards their collective success, however, was made when first they set foot on the deck of whatever vessel it was that would transport them to these shores.  As I cruise the waters of coastal Virginia with my family in our little boat, I think a lot about the words of the Navy Hymn (a favorite in my family, as well as in the city where I live, both with their high concentration of military personnel).  I also think about the choice our ancestors made to take that first step.  Their willingness to put their faith in some higher power and take a chance like they did is part of what first made this country great, and I salute and admire them for it.  I can only hope that those of us who came after these pioneers are equal to the standards their actions have set for us.


Kathy Fenton

Virginia Beach, VA






Of course, we must begin any discussion of our shared "immigrant ancestors" with those who came on the MAYFLOWER.  On 16 September 1620, the MAYFLOWER set sail from Plymouth, England, with Captain Christopher Jones in command.  Also on board the tiny wooden ship were more than one hundred men, women and children.  Several would die during the trip, never seeing land again.  The rest would endure two months at sea, barely surviving to tell the tale of their voyage to the New World.


The trip was a horror by any standard.  Historians have wondered where all the passengers found sleeping space (indeed, where they found space just to be onboard at all!).  There were no sanitary facilities, and fresh water was such a precious commodity that it could not be wasted on washing.  Seasickness plagued the passengers, adding to the overall stench.  Food (for those still with an appetite) consisted of cold, hard biscuits, cheese, and salted beef or fish.  Occasionally a hot dish could be prepared over an open charcoal fire in a box of sand on deck, but this was a wooden vessel, after all, so that didn't happen often as they journeyed through the windy, storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean.  Many of the passengers contracted scurvy, and many also suffered from exposure to the bitter winds and icy waters.  Even inside the hull of the ship, it was wet and cold.  During the course of the rough voyage, the ship's caulking worked loose, allowing the icy spray to come inside between the now-unprotected seams.


Finally, on 19 November 1620, land was sighted.  However, it was not Virginia, their originally intended destination, but the harsh, rocky coast of Massachusetts.  The ship anchored off Cape Cod and the passengers prepared to go ashore.  One of their first tasks after anchoring seems to have been to row the women ashore so that they could wash two months of accumulated dirty clothes!  The men spent about a month exploring the area, trying to find the best place for settlement.  Finally, on 21 December 1620, the process of off-loading all the passengers began and a colony was established at Plymouth.


Once land had been sighted and it was determined that land was not Virginia (where their patent called for settlement and they would have been under the jurisdiction of the London Company), it was determined that some form of government would be needed before landing.  Some of the passengers were already talking about “taking their own libertie” and this could not be allowed.  Thus, the Mayflower Compact, a type of church covenant adapted for civil purposes, was drawn up, reading:


“In ye name of God, Amen.  We, whose names are underwriten, the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by ye grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc & Ireland, king, Defender of faith, etc.  Haveing undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God, and of one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enacte, constitute, frame such just & equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the generall good of the colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.”


All men known to be of age signed it, thereby agreeing that they and their families would abide by it in the new land.


The new land was divided up and doled out to the various passengers on the MAYFLOWER, and two ships arriving later, the FORTUNE (1621) and the ANNE (1623), according to the “1623 Division of Land.”  Several years later, the “1627 Division of Cattle” not only divided up the animals that had heretofore been considered common property among all the colonists, distributing their ownership and responsibility for care to specific people, but it also provided what amounts to a complete census of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1627.




Of the 102 passengers who survived the voyage on the MAYFLOWER, twenty have so far been found to be direct ancestors of mine:


Alden and Mullins Family


John Alden was a cooper who signed on to the MAYFLOWER when it was being stocked with supplies at Southampton, England (before its September departure from Plymouth), and who accepted an offer to stay as part of the company.  There is some debate about the ancestry of John Alden, but it is most widely thought that he was part of a sea-faring Alden family from Harwich, Essex, England, who were related by marriage to the MAYFLOWER's captain, Christopher Jones. 


Priscilla Mullins made the voyage on the MAYFLOWER accompanied by her parents, William and Alice, and her brother, Joseph (two other, married, siblings remained in England).  Only Priscilla would survive that first winter in Plymouth Colony. 


John Alden and Priscilla Mullins married, ca. 1623, in Plymouth Colony.  Their marriage was the subject of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous (but fictional) poem, “The Courtship of Miles Standish.”  John and Priscilla eventually had ten children, all of whom survived to adulthood.  The descendants of this union are among the most numerous of any MAYFLOWER passengers. 


Plymouth Colony; Its History and People, 1620-1691 has this to say about John Alden and Priscilla Mullins:


“Nothing is known for certain of [Alden's] English background other than Bradford's words that Alden was "hired for a cooper, at South-Hampton, wher the ship victuled; and being a hopefull yong man, was much-desired, but left to his owne liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here."...


John Alden married Priscilla Mullins; became one of the Purchasers and the Undertakers; was for many years an Assistant; and presided as deputy governor on at least two occasions.  His progeny are among the most numerous of all MAYFLOWER descendants.  His house in Duxbury may still be visited today....John Alden died at Duxbury 12 September 1687 and left no will, having disposed of most of his estate during his lifetime.  His children were Elizabeth, John, Joseph, Rebecca, Ruth, Sarah, Jonathan, David, Mary, Priscilla, and an unnamed child who probably died young.  Daughters Mary and Priscilla were unmarried as of 13 June 1688.” 


Several branches of our family descend from the Alden and Mullins families.  Rebecca Alden (a daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins who married Thomas Delano) and Sarah Alden (another daughter of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins; she married Alexander Standish) are both ancestors of my maternal grandmother, Hazel Delano Downes Ackley.  Joseph Alden (brother to Rebecca and Sarah, and son of Priscilla Mullins and John Alden) is an ancestor of George Breed Davis, husband of Mary Eugenia Ackley, the sister of my maternal grandfather, Frederick Roberts Ackley.  Through John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, our family also shares ancestry with President John Adams, his son, President John Quincy Adams, and Vice-President Dan Quayle. 


William Brewster and his wife, Mary


Plymouth Colony; Its History and People describes William Brewster's early occupation in Scrooby, England, as master of the post station.  Once the relocation to Leiden took place, William Brewster became a publisher of books.  He also was quite influential in the church,   eventually becoming its Ruling Elder.  A learned man, the inventory of his estate when he died included 63 Latin books and 300 to 400 books in English.


Elder William Brewster traveled to the New World aboard the MAYFLOWER with his wife, Mary (who has yet to be definitely identified; Mary died in the first years after their arrival in Plymouth Colony).  The Leiden minister of the Pilgrims' church, Mr. John Robinson, died before he could come to the New World, so Elder William Brewster assumed that position for the Colony, to all intents and purposes, although he could not administer sacraments.  William Brewster held that position in the Plymouth Colony church however until a new minister could be chosen, a decision the Pilgrims did not make quickly!  In fact, it took them until 1636 to make a definite choice, after several false starts.


In a contemporary account, Governor William Bradford offers a brief biography of Elder William Brewster, excerpted here (original spelling, etc., preserved):


“Anno Dom: 1643.  I am to begine this year with that which was a mater of great saddnes and mourning unto them all.  Aboute ye 18. of Aprill dyed their Reve[ren]d Elder, and my dear & loving friend, Mr. William Brewster: a man that had done and suffered much for ye Lord Jesus and ye gospells sake, and had bore his parte in well and wor with this poore persectued church about 36. years in England, Holland and in this wildernes, and done ye Lord & them faithfull service in his place & calling.  And not withstanding ye many troubles and sorrows he passed throw, the Lord upheld him to a geat age.  He was nere fourskore years of age (if not all out) when he dyed.  He had this blesing added by ye Lord to all ye rest, to dye in his bed, in peace, amongst ye mids of his friends, who mourned & wepte over him, and ministered what help & comforte they could unto him, and he againe recomforted them whilst he could.  His sicknes was not long, and till ye last day thereof he did not wholy keepe his bed.  His speech continued till somewhat more than halfe a day, & then failed him; and about 9. or 10. a clock that ev[en]ing he dyed, without any pangs at all.  A few howers beore, he drew his breath shorte, and some few minuts before his last, he drew his breath long, as a man falen into a sound slepe, without any pangs or gaspings, and so sweetly departed this life unto a better...


I should say something of his life, if to say a litle were not worse than to be silent.  But I cannot wholy forbear, though hapily more may be done thereafter.  After he had attained some learning, viz. ye knowledg of Latine tongue, & some insight in ye Greeke, and spent some small time at Cambridge, and then being first seasoned with ye seeds of grace and vertue, he went to ye Courte, and served that religious and godly gentleman, Mr. Davison, diverce years, when he was Secretary of State; who found him so discreete and faithfull as he trusted him above all others that were aboute him, and only imployed him in all matters of greatest trust and secrecie.  He esteemed him rather as a sonne than a servante, and for his wisdom & godliness (in private) he would converse with him more like a freind & familier than a maister....”[In appreciation for his services to him, Davison gave William Brewster a gold chain.]


“Affter he came into Holland he sufferred much hardship, after he had spente ye most of his means, haveing a great charge, and many children; and, in regard of his former breeding & course of life, not so fitt for many imployments as others were, espetially such as were toylesume & laborious.  But yet he ever bore his condition with much cherfullnes and contention.  Towards ye later parte of those 12. years spente in Holland, his outward condition was mended, and he lived well & plentifully; for he fell into a way (by reason he had ye Latine tongue) to teach many students, who had a disire to lerne ye English tongue, to teach them English; and by this method they quickly attained it with great facilitie; for he drew rules to lerne it by, after ye Latine maner...He also had means to set up printing, (by ye help of some freinds,) and so had imploymente inoughg, and by reason of many books which would not be alowed to be printed in England, they might have had more then they could doe.  But now removeing into this countrie, all these things were laid aside againe, and a new course of living must be framed unto; in which he was no way unwilling to take his parte, and to bear his burthen with ye rest, living many times without bread, or corne, many months together, having many times nothing but fish, and often wanting that also; and drunke nothing but water for many years together, yea, till within 5. or 6. years of his death.  And yet he lived (by the blessing of God) in health till very old age.  And besides yt, he would labour with his hands in ye fields as long as he was able; yet when the church had no other minister, he taught twise every Saboth, and yt both powerfully and profitably, to ye great contentment of ye hearers, and their comfortable edification; yea many were bought to God by his ministrie.  He did more in this behalfe in a year, then many have their hundreds a year doe in all their lives.  For his personall abilities, he was qualified above many; he was wise and discreete and well spoken, having a grave & deliberate utterance, of a very cherfull spirite, very sociable & pleasnte amongst his freinds, of an humble and modest mind, of a peaceable disposition, under vallewing him selfe & his owne abilities, and some time over walewing others; inoffencive and inocente in his life & conversation, wh[ic]h gained him ye love of those without, as well as those within; yet he would tell them plainly of their faults & evills, both publickly & privatly, but in such a maner as usually was well taken from him.  He was tender harted, and compassionate of such as were in miserie...In teaching, he was very moving & stirring of affections, also very plaine & distincte in what he taughte; by which means he became yet more profitable to ye hearers.  He had a singular good gift in prayer, both publick & private...He always thought it were better for ministers to pray oftener, and devide their prayers, then be longe & tedious in ye same...For ye government of ye church...he was carefull to preserve good order in ye same, and to preserve puritie, both in ye doctrine & communion...and to supres any errour or contention that might begine to rise up amongst them; and accordingly God gave good success to his indeavors herein all his days, and he saw ye fruite of his labours in that behalfe.”


Patience, the daughter of William and Mary Brewster who is my direct ancestor, married Thomas Prence, who came to the New World with Philip Delano on the FORTUNE.  From Mayflower Families In Progress: William Brewster of the MAYFLOWER and His Descendants for Four Generations:


"The ninth marriage recorded in Plymouth Colony was that of Patience Brewster and Thomas Prence of All Saints, Barking, London, who came in the FORTUNE which arrived at Cape Cod 9 November 1621....


In July 1627, Thomas Prence became one of the eight partners called undertakers, who guaranteed the purchase of Plymouth Colony from the merchant adventurers.  He, with his father-in-law, William Brewster, and brother-in-law, Jonathan Brewster, signed "Articles of Agreement" to have the "whole trade consigned to us for some years" to pay the "debts [of the colony] and set them free" and to "transport as many of our brethren of Leyden over" to Plymouth.


Thomas Prence served Plymouth Colony as Governors Assistant in 1632, 1635-37, and 1639 through 1656.  He was the treasurer of Plymouth Colony from 1637 to 1640 and he served as Commissioner of the United Colonies, 1645, 1650 and 1653-1656.


On 1 January 1633/34, when he was only 34 years old, Thomas Prence was elected as the fourth governor of Plymouth Colony.  He served his second term in 1638, during which time he presided over the trial of four men who had robbed and murdered an Indian near Providence.  The evidence presented to the court resulted in them being found guilty and they were hanged, one having escaped....On 3 June 1657, Thomas Prence was again elected Governor of the jurisdiction of New Plymouth and served until his death in 1673."


Elder William Brewster is actually ancestor to both my parents, and it is through him that my family shares ancestry with President Zachary Taylor.


Edward Doty/Doten


Little is known about the pre-MAYFLOWER history of Edward Doty/Doten.  He made the journey as an apprentice (servant) to another passenger, Stephen Hopkins (also my ancestor).  His marriage to Faith Clarke (with whom he had numerous children) is referred to as his second, but nothing is known about his first wife, even her name.  The first marriage must also have been relatively short-lived, since apprentices were not allowed to marry, and Edward was not released from servitude to Stephen Hopkins until sometime between 1623 and 1627.  His marriage to Faith Clarke took place on 6 January 1634/5.  (Faith and her family arrived in Plymouth some time after the MAYFLOWER, by the way.)


Edward was undoubtedly a contentious sort, often getting himself in trouble with the law.  His crimes included dueling, breach of contract, slander, disorderly conduct, assault, theft, and destruction of property (his cows ate a neighbor's cornfield).  Usually he was fined as punishment, although the dueling (with Edward Leister) caused both parties to be tied, neck to heels.  That sentence was commuted after only an hour, though, due to the apparent discomfort of both Doty and Leister.


Plymouth Colony; Its History and People, 1620-1691 has this to say about Edward Doty:


“Edward Doty arrived at Plymouth on the 1620 MAYFLOWER as a servant to Stephen Hopkins, but he probably completed his term of service by the 1627 cattle division, in which he shared...He had earlier fought a duel with swords with another Hopkins servant, Edward Leister, for which both were sentenced to be tied neck to heels; Hopkins successfully pleaded to have the punishment end after one hour....He was on the original 1633 freeman list....On 6 January 1634/35 Doty married Faith Clarke, daughter of Thurston (or Tristram) Clarke....Doty was involved in (several) law suits concerning private individuals, but seemed seldom to get in trouble on official matters.  He also engaged in various land transactions...According to known records, Doty did not serve in public positions, which was unusual for one who was a Purchaser and early freeman.  Doty died 23 August 1655.  His will, dated 20 May 1655, inventory 21 November 1655, mentioned his wife, his son Edward, and his other unnamed sons.  Bradford stated that Doty "by a second wife hath seven children, and both he and they are living."  His first wife is unknown.  The seven children noted by Bradford would have been Edward, John, Thomas, Samuel, Desire, Elizabeth, and Isaac.  Two other children were Joseph, born 30 April 1651, and Mary.”


Edward and Ann Fuller, and their son, Samuel


Edward Fuller made the voyage on the MAYFLOWER, accompanied by his wife, whose name was probably Ann (maiden name unknown) and their son, Samuel.  Edward and Ann Fuller died during that first harsh winter in Plymouth, and not much is known about them.  Their son Samuel was brought up by Edward's brother, also named Samuel, who had made the voyage on the MAYFLOWER as well.  Matthew Fuller, an older son of Edward's, did not accompany his family on the MAYFLOWER, perhaps staying in England to finish his education.  He arrived in Plymouth ca. 1640 and later settled in Barnstable.  My mother's family shares several lines of descent with both Edward Fuller's sons, Samuel and Matthew.  A brother of Edward's father is also an ancestor of my father's family, thus making one of the ways in which it turns out my parents are distantly related by blood.


Stephen Hopkins and his daughter, Constance


Originally onboard the MAYFLOWER were Stephen Hopkins, his second wife, Elizabeth, and their three surviving children (the two oldest, Constance and Giles, from his first marriage).  However, Elizabeth was pregnant, and the Hopkins family increased by one when her baby (named Oceanus) was born while the MAYFLOWER was anchored off Plymouth, before most of the passengers were allowed to disembark. 


This was probably the second voyage across the ocean for Stephen Hopkins.  It is believed that he was the Stephen Hopkins who set sail for Virginia in 1609 onboard the SEAVENTURE, which was shipwrecked in Bermuda during a hurricane.  Stephen spent a number of months on the island, during which he was almost hanged for mutiny, before he finally made it to Virginia.  He spent several years there, learning skills that would be quite useful to the Plymouth colonists, before returning to England again.


Stephen Hopkins and his daughter Constance (who married Nicholas Snow) are ancestors of my father, Cassius Bartlett Barnes, Jr.


Howland and Tilley Family


John Howland came to the New World on the MAYFLOWER in 1620, probably traveling as a steward with the John Carver party.  John Howland purchased his freedom, using his inheritance from the estate of Gov. and Mrs. Carver (who died early in 1621).


John Howland is our ancestor who only just barely made it to these shores alive, thanks to a rather harrowing experience he had during the voyage.  In Bradford of Plymouth, by Bradford Smith, the details of this incident are related: 


[During the trip across the Atlantic on the MAYFLOWER] “in the midst of the storm while the ship tossed and rolled at the mercy of the wind, young John Howland made his way up on deck from the intolerably crowded, stinking cabin for a breath of air and was immediately swept overboard and into mountainous seas.  He had the presence of mind to grab at the topsail halyards which were hanging over the sides.  They let him fall astern and under several fathoms of water.  Half-drowned, he was hauled up to the surface and caught with a boat hook, and lived to the ripe old age of eighty – doubtless to repeat the tale to many an admiring audience. 


The storms continued, and with them the misery of the passengers who by now were unable to keep dry or warm.  John Howland's experience had taught them to stay below decks, yet here it was so crowded that a man could scarcely move without disturbing a neighbor or irritating his flesh by contact with sodden clothing.”


Some historians have tried to prove that John Howland married a daughter of the Carvers, but the Carvers did not have a daughter.  It is more likely that he married Elizabeth Tilley, daughter of John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley, whose family also came over on the MAYFLOWER.  The discrepancy in information regarding John Howland's wife probably comes from the fact that Elizabeth Tilley was the only member of her family who survived that first winter in Plymouth, MA, and the Carvers probably took her into their family after her parents died (she was only 13 when she was orphaned).


Several years after landing at Plymouth, John Howland took a party northward to establish a trading post on the Kennebec where Augusta now stands, and where Winslow had earlier traded in 1625.  The party brought "corn, coats and shirts, rugs and blankets, biscuits, peas, prunes, and the usual knives and beads" to trade with the Abenaki Indians.  The prosperous Kennebec trade became a vital necessity to the Plymouth Colony. 


John Howland was the longest Pilgrim survivor of those who came on the MAYFLOWER.  During the course of his lifetime, he was elected Assistant Governor, Deputy for Plymouth on the General Court, served on numerous special committees and was also a lay leader of the church.  He remained faithful to his Puritan beliefs throughout his life, even though those beliefs caused family tensions (he had several uncles who had adopted the Quaker way of life).  John Howland was buried on 29 June 1672, in Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA.


Through Jabez Howland, son of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, the Down(e)s/Delano branch of my family (that of my maternal grandmother, Hazel Delano Downes) shares ancestry with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President George Herbert Walker Bush, his son, President George W. Bush, and also with First Lady Edith Carow Roosevelt, wife of President Teddy Roosevelt.  The Ackley/Roberts branch of my family (that of my maternal grandfather, Frederick Roberts Ackley, Sr.) also shares a lineage with John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley, through their daughter, Temperance.  This shared ancestry of both my maternal grandparents with John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley means that they were actually 9th cousins to each other, a fact of which they were undoubtedly unaware!


Thomas Rogers and his son, Joseph


Thomas Rogers came to the New World aboard the MAYFLOWER, traveling with his oldest son, Joseph.  He left his wife, Elsgen (or Elizabeth) and his other children in Leiden, Holland.  His wife's Dutch name, and those also of their daughters (Lysbeth/Elizabeth and Grietgen/Margaret) suggest the wife was Dutch, although it is assumed that Thomas was born in England (dates and parentage currently unknown).  His other son, John, later (ca. 1630) joined Joseph in Plymouth Colony, but Thomas was long dead by then, being one of those who didn't survive that first harsh winter.  A statement by Bradford that "the rest of Thomas Rogers' <children> came over and are married and have many children" suggests that some future researcher will someday "discover" these other children, and thus open up new MAYFLOWER lines.


In our family, the Rogers line intersects with the Delano line, eventually making its way down to the present day family of my maternal grandmother, Hazel Delano Downes Ackley.


Henry Samson


MAYFLOWER passengers Henry Samson and the Tilley family were related to each other through Ann Cooper, the wife of Edward Tilley.  The maiden name of Henry Samson's mother was also "Cooper" and it is surmised that she and Ann Cooper Tilley were sisters.


Henry waited until 1635 to marry, choosing Ann Plummer for his wife.  Ann's parentage and immigration details are unknown to us, although it is surmised that she was probably a sister or cousin of Mary Plummer, wife of John Barnes, another Plymouth Colony resident.


It is through Henry Samson that our family shares ancestry with First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush.


Myles Standish


Captain Myles Standish made the journey to the New World on the MAYFLOWER accompanied by his first wife, Rose, who died during that first harsh winter in Plymouth.  It was with his second wife, Barbara (origins unknown), that he had all his children. 


Myles Standish was probably born in England on the Isle of Man.  His will mentions lands left in England.  The will of Alexander Standish (son of Myles, and our ancestor as well) also mentions these lands, in the context of some searches that were done in England to try to recover them.  In Myles' will, he requested that he be buried near his daughter, Lora(h), who predeceased him.  In 1890 the burial site of Myles Standish was exhumed and was found to contain the remains of five bodies – an older man, two young women and two boys.  It is thought that the identities of the bodies could be assumed to be Myles himself; his daughter, Lorah (as requested); his daughter-in-law, Mary; and his two sons who died young, Charles and John.  This exhumation also revealed that at the time of his death, Captain Myles Standish was an older well-built man with red and gray hair.


It is through Myles Standish that our family shares ancestry with former Vice President Dan Quayle.






Philip Delano (born Philippe de Lannoy) arrived in the New World aboard the FORTUNE, along with Thomas Prence, landing at Plymouth Colony in 1621.  Philip was a member of the Separatist Church at Leiden, born of French-speaking parents from Flanders (now Belgium) who had been members of the French (Walloon) Church. 


Once in Plymouth Colony, he quickly became a key member of the community.  He was a Purchaser, made the first recorded land sale in Plymouth after the institution of private property, and he was on the 1633 freeman list.  In 1637, he volunteered for the Pequot War.  Later that year, he was given forty acres of land at Duxbury, adjoining the lands of John Alden and Edward Bumpus.  Throughout his life, he served on various juries and commissions, especially grand juries. 


Philip had two wives.  The first wife was Hester Dewsbury, who he married 19 December 1634 (she was my ancestor).  His second wife was Mary Pontus Glass (daughter of William Pontus; widow of James Glass), who he married sometime between 3 September 1652 (the death of James Glass) and 3 December 1659 (when his name is joined by Mary's on a deed).  It is thought that Hester was mother of all but one of his nine children (Samuel).  Before his death in 1681, at 79 years old, he had moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and was one of the purchasers of both Dartmouth, Massachusetts (1652) and Middleborough, Massachusetts (1662).


The Delanos’ proximity to the land of the Alden family may have been significant.  Thomas Delano (son of Philip and my ancestor) was fined in October 1667 for "haveing carnall coppulation" with his wife before marriage.  Thomas's wife was Rebecca Alden, daughter of John and Priscilla Alden.  The firstborn child of Thomas and Rebecca (probably born on the day his father was sentenced for the crime of fathering an illegitimate child) was named Benoni, an indication that his parents obviously felt the shame of their situation.  "Benoni" is a Hebrew name, meaning "child of sorrow," but was more often used by New England colonists for a son of a mother who died in childbirth.  It somehow seems unfair that Benoni (who lived to the respectable age of about 71 years old) should have had to go through life bearing a constant reminder of the circumstances of his birth!  (By the way, the child of Thomas and Rebecca who was my ancestor was not Benoni, but his younger brother, Jonathan.)


It is through the Delano family that I share ancestry with President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (through FDR's mother; we share lineage with his father through our ancestor, John Howland, another Plymouth Colony resident).


Much of my family information regarding the Delano lineage comes from the unpublished research of my great-uncle, the noted historian Randolph Chandler Downes, 7th great-grandson of Philip Delano (born Philippe de Lannoy).






The 1600s saw a mass migration by many of those on our Family Tree.  Stephen Hopkins had actually first made the journey across the ocean eleven years before the MAYFLOWER's journey, when he was shipwrecked in Bermuda during a hurricane in 1609 while on the SEAVENTURE, bound for Virginia.  After eventually making it to Virginia, Hopkins returned to England, but I guess that 1609 voyage makes him officially the earliest of all to arrive.


Hopkins, this time traveling with his daughter Constance (our ancestor) and other members of his family, made his second trip to the New World on the MAYFLOWER in 1620, along with the eighteen other direct ancestors of mine who were passengers. 


Next to arrive were Philip Delano and Thomas Prence, both on the FORTUNE in 1623.  Also in 1623, the ANNE arrived at Plymouth Colony.  On board were two daughters of William and Mary Brewster, Patience (born ca. 1600) and Fear (born ca. 1606).  Patience Brewster would later marry Thomas Prence.  Traveling with the Brewster sisters was Edward Bangs.  Edward's daughter, Apphia (one of twins with his wife, Rebecca; see discussion below as to the marriages of the Hobart daughters), married Stephen Atwood, Jr.


Beginning in 1630, quite a few of our ancestors arrived in the New World.  Some of these early arrivals are listed below:


Thomas Sayre, probably on the JOHN AND MARY, 1630


Thomas Sayre (1597-1671) came first to Lynn, Massachusetts, probably on the JOHN AND MARY in 1630 (but before 1638).  In 1640, he was one of the eight original undertakers of Southampton, Long Island, New York.  A house he built in Southampton in 1648 was still standing well into the 20th century.  Sayre was a scout against the Indians in Southampton.  His will, dated September 6, 1669, begins:  "In the name of God, Amen.  I, Thomas Sayre, of Southampton upon Long Island, being in perfect strength of memory, blessed bee ye Lord for it, but weake in body..." and goes on to distribute his land, his money and all his earthly and valuable possessions to his children.


John and Margaret Warren, on the ARABELLA, 1630


John Warren was baptized in 1585 in Nayland, Suffolk, England, and traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, with the fleet of Sir Richard Saltonstall.  From Salem, he removed to Watertown, Massachusetts.  In Watertown, he was admitted as a freeman, and served as selectman from 1636 to 1640.  He and another man were chosen to lay out and maintain the local highways.  Sympathizing with the Quakers, he was at odds with the Puritan church, even tho he always kept his membership there (perhaps only to avoid losing privileges, however). 


The Bartlett branch of our family shares ancestry with President James Garfield via descendants of John and Margaret Warren.


Lydia Eliott and James Penniman, on the LYON, 1631


Lydia Eliott and James Penniman, arriving in Boston on the LYON in 1631 with John Winthrop, Jr., were some of the first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  James was a farmer, and also a freeman of Boston, 1631-1632.  Lydia and James Penniman moved to Braintree, Massachusetts by 1639.


Thomas Spencer, ca. 1631


Thomas Spencer (1607-1687) came first to Cambridge, Massachusetts, along with his brothers, William, Gerard and Michael, where he was made a freeman in 1634.  He removed to Hartford, Connecticut by 1636, where he was one of the original proprietors (his name also appears on the Founders Monument there).  He married, first, Anne Dorryfall, and second, Sarah Bearding (my ancestor), daughter of another early Hartford arrival, Nathaniel Bearding.


Via Isabella Lincoln and Henry Spencer (b. ca. 1420) of Badby, Northamptonshire, England (5th great-grandparents of Thomas), our family shares ancestry with President George Washington and President John Calvin Coolidge, as well as Sir Winston Churchill (former British prime minister), Lady Diana Spencer, and both her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.


Daniel and Joanna Brewer, on the LYON, 1632


Daniel Brewer took the oath of allegiance in England before coming to the New World on the LYON, bringing his family with him.  Arriving in Boston on 16 September 1632, he settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he soon joined the church there.  Daniel was a husbandman by occupation, and was sworn a freeman (1634), did jury duty (1640), and supported free schools in Roxbury (by making an annual payment of five shillings).


The descendants of Daniel and Joanna Brewer include the Downes branch of our family tree, as well as President Franklin Pierce, President George H.W. Bush, and his son, President George W. Bush.


Ozias Goodwin, also on the LYON, 1632


Ozias Goodwin came to the New World on the LYON, 1632, with Rev. Thomas Hooker.  His name appears on the Founders Monument in Hartford, Connecticut.


John Biglo/Bigelow, ca. 1632


John Bigelow was born ca. 1617 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England.  He made the journey to the New World ca. 1632, probably on one of the ships of the Winthrop fleet (although no ship manifest with his name on it has yet been found).  He settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, where he was a surveyor of highways (1652 and 1660), a constable (1663), and selectman (1665, 1670, and 1671).  He was a blacksmith by trade and also fought in the Pequot War of 1636.


One of the ways the Bartlett branch of our family shares ancestry with President James Garfield is via descendants of John Bigelow. 


Henry Cobb, 1632


Henry Cobb (ca. 1607-1679) came first to Plymouth by 1632.  By 1634 he was in Scituate, Massachusetts.  In 1639, Henry was one of the founders of Barnstable, Massachusetts.


John Winter, 1633


John Winter (ca. 1585-1645) came from Holbeton, Devonshire, England to Richmond Island, Maine.  His correspondence with merchant Robert Trelawney, acting as his agent in Maine, contributed large volumes of information on everyday life and the families of that part of Maine.


Ralph Smith/Smyth, 1633


Ralph Smith/Smyth (ca. 1616-1685) came first to Charlestown, Massachusetts by 1633.  He moved to Hingham by 1637, and Eastham by 1653.  His first wife (by whom everyone agrees he had all his children) may or may not have been a daughter of Margaret (Dewey) and Edmund Hobart.  Some sources list her name simply as "unknown," some as "Rebecca Unknown," some as "Rebecca Hobart," still others as "Elizabeth Hobart."  Rebecca Hobart is also listed as the wife of Edward Bangs in some of these sources (although some sources call the wife of Edward Bangs "Rebecca Unknown").  So, there is quite a lot of confusion as to the identity of Ralph's first wife (whoever she may have been tho, she was my ancestor).


Margaret Dewey and Edmund Hobart, on the ELIZABETH BONAVENTURE, 1633


There is some doubt as to whether or not Edmund and Margaret (Dewey) Hobart are really ancestors of mine, but I believe the tidbits of evidence presented prove they are, so they are included here.  Two daughters of theirs may or may not have been wives of definite ancestors of mine.  In some sources, Hobart daughter Rebecca is shown to be the wife of Edward Bangs (in any event, his wife's first name was Rebecca; it's her surname that's in question).  Some sources also say that Ralph Smith/Smyth's wife was Elizabeth Hobart (as discussed above), although there is also apparently some question as to whether or not Edmund and Margaret Hobart even had a daughter named Elizabeth.  When there is a daughter named Elizabeth listed for Margaret and Edmund Hobart, her birth date is often shown as being the same as their daughter, Rebecca (whose parentage is certain).  My personal opinion (unproven) is that perhaps Edmund and Margaret Dewey had twin daughters, Elizabeth and Rebecca, which would explain their birth dates being the same, when there is a daughter named Elizabeth listed for this couple.  Margaret and Edmund had at least one and perhaps two other sets of twins amongst their children as well (Reverend Peter had a twin who died, and some children listings for this couple show another set, Anthony and Edward, both of whom also died in infancy), and these things do tend to repeat in families.  I think that it was probably Elizabeth Hobart who married Ralph Smith/Smyth, and Rebecca Hobart who married Edward Bangs.  This assumption is based in part on the fact that the first daughter of Ralph Smith/Smyth was named "Elizabeth", whereas the first daughter of Edward Bangs was named "Rebecca" (at the very least, this indicates a perhaps coincidental fondness for those particular names on the part of the men!).


George Hubbard, 1633


George Hubbard (1601-1684) was an original settler of Hartford, Connecticut (his name is on the Founders Monument there), and then moved to Middletown, Connecticut by March 1650/1, where he became a freeman in 1654.  He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Middletown, along with his wife, the former Elizabeth Watts.


John Pratt, 1633


Another of Hartford's original settlers, John Pratt (ca. 1608-1655) came first to Cambridge, Massachusetts by 1633, removing to Hartford by 1636. 


George and Anna Stocking, on the GRIFFIN, 1633


George Stocking (ca. 1582-1683), another of the original proprietors of Hartford, Connecticut (his name also appears on the Founders Monument), came first to Boston in 1633 aboard the GRIFFIN, along with his wife, Anna.  In Hartford, he was a selectman, a surveyor of highways, and a chimney viewer.  Hannah, daughter of George and Anna Stocking, married Andrew Benton.


Reverend John Lothrop, on the GRIFFIN, 1634


Reverend John Lothrop (baptized in Yorkshire, England, on 20 December 1584) made the journey to the New World after the death of his first wife, Hannah Howes, traveling with at least some of his seven surviving children, a trip not undertaken entirely by choice.  He was educated at Oxford and Queens College, Cambridge, and was ordained in 1607 as a deacon of the Church of England by the Bishop of Lincoln.  By 1623 however, he had broken with the Church of England and was soon chosen as the pastor of a Separatist (Congregational) church in London.  He was persecuted for his religious beliefs and affiliations, landing in Newgate Prison by 1632.  During his imprisonment, Hannah died, so Lothrop petitioned for liberty to go into foreign exile (and thus be able to care for his children, now virtual orphans).  His petition being granted in April 1634, he was on his way to Boston on board the GRIFFIN by September.  He and a group of his followers first settled at Scituate, Massachusetts, but removed to Barnstable by 1639, where he is considered today to be one of that town’s founders.  His house there, built in 1644, still stands and is now the original part of the Sturgis Library.


Frances Hills and John Bronson/Brunson, probably on the DEFENSE, 1635


Frances (Hills) and John Bronson/Brunson (1602-1680) came to the New World, probably on the DEFENSE, in 1635, traveling with their children and John's brother and sister (Roger and Mary).  The family settled in Farmington, Connecticut.


Elizabeth Symmes and William French, on the DEFENSE, 1635


William French (1602/3-1681) came to the New World in 1635 on the DEFENSE, traveling with his wife, Elizabeth Symmes, and children (one of those children, daughter Mary, married Jonathan Hyde, another early arrival on our family tree).  William French was an officer in King Philip's War.  He and his family originally settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but moved to Billerica, Massachusetts, by 1652, where he was one of Billerica's original proprietors.


Thomas and Elizabeth Dean/Dane, on the ELIZABETH AND ANN, 1635


Thomas and Elizabeth Dean/Dane married in England in 1625, and came on the ELIZABETH AND ANN to Concord, Massachusetts in 1635.  Thomas (1603-1676) was a carpenter by trade.  Their son, Joseph, married Elizabeth Fuller, daughter of Lieutenant Thomas and Elizabeth (Tidd) Fuller.


William Adams, on the ELIZABETH AND ANN, 1635


Traveling with Thomas Dean/Dane and his family on the ELIZABETH AND ANN was William Adams.  William (1594-1661) settled first in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a freeman.  He removed afterwards to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he served on the grand jury and also was a selectman.


Thomas Hurlburt, probably on the BACHILOR, 1635


Thomas Hurlburt (1610-1671) probably came to Boston on the BACHILOR in 1635 with Lyon Gardner.  By 1637, Thomas fought in the Pequot War, again serving with Captain Gardner, for which service he was granted 160 acres in Saybrook, Connecticut.  Thomas was a blacksmith and constable in Saybrook, eventually removing to Wethersfield, Connecticut, where he died.


Frances Moody and Thomas Kilbourne, on the INCREASE, 1635


Thomas Kilbourne was born and lived most of his life in England, baptized in the parish at Wood Ditton, County Cambridge in 1578.  On 5 September 1604, he married Frances Moody at Moulton, Suffolk, England.  Frances grew up on her father's Suffolk estate, called "Fryettes," and was descended from Sir Edmund Moody, who had been knighted by King Henry VIII; the ancestry of Thomas can be traced back to Richard Kylburn (b. 1434) of Trumpington, Hawkeston, England.


In 1635, when Thomas was about fifty-five years old, he came to the New World on the ship INCREASE.  With him was Frances (age 50 at the time) and their seven children.  The ship arrived in Boston, and the family eventually settled in what would become Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Thomas died in Wethersfield sometime before 1639, when the distribution of lands was made in the name of Frances, his widow.  He was possibly one of the men killed in the early morning Indian massacre that occurred in Wethersfield in April 1637, an event that led to the Pequot War.  Early on the morning of the 23rd of April, 1637, two hundred Indians lay in ambush waiting for inhabitants to leave their homes for work in the meadow on the river.  Indians killed nine people and 20 cows, but only two victims were identified.  It's uncertain if Thomas was really one of the victims.  In any case, the absence of a will or estate papers at the time of his death suggests that his death came suddenly.  Frances (Thomas's wife), perhaps learning from her husband's sad example, left a will when she died.  Her will, dated 13 November 1650, mentions children and grandchildren by name, and leaves three shirts to her son, John.


The Kilbourne/Moody ancestry of the Ackley branch of our family is shared with President Rutherford B. Hayes.


Elizabeth Gregory and Matthew Marvin, on the INCREASE, 1635


Also on the INCREASE with the Kilbourne family was Matthew Marvin (1600-1680), his wife, Elizabeth Gregory, and children.  Matthew was one of the original proprietors of Hartford, Connecticut (his name also appears on the Founders Monument there), moving his family to Norwalk, Connecticut, by 1650.  He was a husbandman and surveyor of highways.


Anthony Morse, on the JAMES, 1635


Anthony Morse (b. 1606) arrived in Newbury, Massachusetts, on the JAMES in 1635, traveling with his brother, William.  Anthony was a shoemaker, and the Morse brothers were originally from Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.


John Gorham, perhaps on the PHILIP, 1635


John Gorham (1620-1675) was thought to have come to the New World aboard the PHILIP in 1635.  He married Desire Howland, daughter of MAYFLOWER passengers John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland.  John Howland sold his son-in-law half the lands he had purchased from Governor William Bradford in Marshfield, Massachusetts.  While living in Marshfield, John Gorham was a constable, a freeman, and a member of the Grand Inquest of Plymouth Colony.  He moved his family to Yarmouth, Massachusetts in 1652 and then to Barnstable, where he owned a gristmill and tannery.  He was also a surveyor of highways.  John Gorham served as a captain in King Philip's War, and took part in the fight against the Narragansetts in December 1675.  He was wounded and subsequently died from the resulting fever.


Nathaniel Bearding, by 1636


Nathaniel was in Hartford by 1636, and his name appears on the Founders Monument there.  His daughter, Sarah (with his first wife), married Thomas Spencer, 1645, as his second wife.


William and Annis (Bayford) Chandler, 1637


William Chandler, immigrant ancestor of the Chandler family in America, came from Bishops-Stortford, Hertfordshire, England to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1637.  Traveling with him were his wife, Annis, and their four children at the time (a fifth child, Sarah, was born in Roxbury).  William was a “pointer” by trade (a pointer being one who makes “points,” the lace tags used to fasten clothing before buttons came into use), and was descended from Thomas, a “chandler” by occupation as well as surname, who was born ca. 1475 in Bishops-Stortford, Hertfordshire, England.


The Chandler ancestry of the Downes branch of our family tree is shared with President Rutherford B. Hayes and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


Thomas Flagg, 1637


Thomas Flagg came from Norfolk, England, in 1637, setting in Watertown, Massachusetts by 1641, where he served as that town’s selectman from 1671 to 1676 and again from 1685 to 1687.  He was a lieutenant in a military company, suffering the loss of his left eye from a gunshot wound.  Like their father, at least four of the eight sons Thomas had (in addition to four daughters) served in the military, one of them dying while on guard duty during King Philip’s War (1675), and a second killed by Indians on the shores of Wheelwright’s Pond during King William’s War (1690), one of the first battles of the French and Indian Wars.


It is via descendants of Thomas Flagg that the Bartlett branch of our family shares ancestry with President James Garfield.


Reverend Robert Jordan, ca. 1637-1638


Robert Jordan was baptized in St. Swithuns Church, Worcester, England, in 1611, was educated at Baliol College, Oxford University, and became an Anglican minister in the Church of England.  He has been described as one of the "pioneers of Episcopacy in Maine."  He married Sarah Winter, daughter of John Winter, another early arrival.  The family settled on Richmond's Island, an island three miles in circumference in the Spurwink River just before it feeds into Casco Bay, near Falmouth (Cape Elizabeth), Maine.  After the death of John Winter, the Robert Jordan family moved to land inherited from him, a plantation on the mainland of Falmouth which was called "Spurwink."


John Tidd, 1637


John Tidd (ca. 1589-1657) embarked in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England, in 1637, bound for Charlestown, Massachusetts, where he was one of that town's original proprietors.  A tailor by trade, he moved to Woburn in 1640, where he was also one of that town's officers.  He married Margaret Greenleaf (1595-1651).  Their daughter, Elizabeth, married Lieutenant Thomas Fuller in 1643.


Thomas Fuller, 1638


Early New England People has this to say regarding Thomas Fuller:  "In 1638, Thomas Fuller came over from England to America, upon a tour of observation, intending, after he should have gratified his curiosity by a survey of the wilderness world, to return."  However, while in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Thomas was apparently strongly influenced by the Puritan preaching of Rev. Thomas Shepard, so much so that "the land of liturgies and religious formulas, which he had left behind, became less attractive to him than the 'forest aisles' of America where God might be freely worshipped."  Thus, he decided to stay, and became a proprietor of Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1640.  Thomas was a blacksmith by trade.  Lieutenant Thomas Fuller (as he was known) was also a selectman of Salem, which he had moved to by 1664.  During his lifetime (ca. 1618-1698), he had three wives, the first of which was Elizabeth Tidd (b. 1626), daughter of Margaret Greenleaf and John Tidd.  Their daughter, Elizabeth, married Joseph Dean, the son of Elizabeth and Thomas Dean/Dane, who had arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1635.  (Thomas Fuller also shares ancestry with MAYFLOWER passengers, Edward and Samuel Fuller, discussed above.)


Abraham Sampson, by 1638


Abraham Sampson, probable cousin of MAYFLOWER passenger Henry Samson, was in Duxbury, Massachusetts, by December 1638, when he was presented at the meeting house.


It is via descendants of Abraham Sampson that our family shares ancestry with President Gerald R. Ford.


Andrew Benton, before 1639


Andrew Benton (ca. 1620-1683) came from England first to Watertown, Massachusetts, and then was one of the first settlers of Milford, Connecticut, by 1639.  He was a fence-viewer, a juror, and a freeman, and married Hannah Stocking, daughter of George and Anna Stocking.


William Leete, 1639


William Leete (1616-1683) arrived at New Haven, Connecticut, in 1639.  His daughter, Catherine, married Samuel Roberts, son of Samuel Roberts (another early arrival, here before 1638). 


Jonathan Hyde, 1639


Jonathan Hyde (1626-1711) came to the New World in 1639, settling in Newton, Massachusetts.  He fought in King Philip's War, and married Mary French, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Symmes) French.


John Bartlett, perhaps on the JOHN and MARY, 1640


John Bartlett (1615-1670), brother of George Bartlett of Guilford, Connecticut, was in Windsor, Connecticut by 1640, perhaps arriving on the JOHN AND MARY. 


Nicholas Ackley, ca. 1655


Nicholas Ackley was born about 1635, in England or Wales.  He came to the New World ca. 1655, landing originally in Hartford, Connecticut.  He may have been one of several young men brought over to the New World by William Wadsworth.  In 1655, Nicholas Ackley was one of the shareholders of the Town Mill of Hartford.  He married Hannah Ford Mitchell in 1656 and had ten children with her.  Nicholas and Hannah lived in Hartford for about ten years, where Nicholas was a chimney viewer and served as fire marshal. 


In 1666, Nicholas agreed to relocate his family to Thirty Mile Island, Haddam, moving there in 1667.  He owned a 14-acre home lot in Haddam, as well as the "little island at the lower end of the cove" and a "6 acre lot towards Saybrook" (the cove is where the Salmon River enters the Connecticut River). 


Nicholas Ackley married Miriam Moore sometime after the death of Hannah in 1687.  He died in Haddam on 29 April 1695, leaving no will.


William Pitkin, 1659


From the book, PITKIN FAMILY OF AMERICA, by A.P. Pitkin, concerning William Pitkin (1635-1694), progenitor of the Pitkin family:


"William Pitkin, the progenitor of the family in America, who came from England in 1659, was possessed of great ability and tenacity of purpose.  Endowed with a discerning mind, coupled with an excellent English education, coming into the Colony after its early settlement, he soon gained the full confidence of the Connecticut colonists.  He was admitted a freeman, October 9, 1662, and was appointed the same year by the General Assembly, Prosecutor for the Colony.  His marked ability gave him, in 1664, the appointment of Attorney-General, by the King.  From 1675 to 1690, a period of fifteen years, he annually represented Hartford in the Colonial Assembly.  In 1676 he was chosen Treasurer of the Colony.  He was often appointed Commissioner by the Colony to the United Colonies.  In 1676 he was appointed with Major Talcott to negotiate peace with the Narragansett and other Indian tribes.  In 1690 he was elected a member of the Colonial Council, and so remained until his death.  In 1693 he was sent by the Colony to Governor Fletcher of New York, to negotiate terms respecting the militia until Governor Winthrop's return from England, whither he had gone on the same business.  In 1693 "Mr. William Pitkin, Mr. Samuel Chester, and Captain William Whiting were appointed by the General Court to run the division line between the Connecticut and Massachusetts colonies."  Aside from his profession, he was also one of the principal planters of the town, having purchased a large tract of land on the east side of the river, on which his sons all settled.  It embraced a portion of East Hartford Center.  He owned one third interest in a saw-mill and a grist mill at "Pitkin Falls," so called from the number of dams and mills erected there, by the Pitkin family.  He was also appointed with Mr. John Crow, to lay out the first Main and other streets on the east side of the river.


Although a member of the Church of England, he asked for the rights of baptism for his children in the Puritan Church of the Colony, and they were so baptized.  The church records attest that they all "owned their covenant" with and became members of the "First Church of Christ in Hartford."  He left a large manuscript volume of religious writings, still extant, which show him to have been a man of piety and of no mean knowledge in theology also.


His character, as manifested throughout his life, and as revealed in the volume of his remarkable religious compositions, show that the part he took in the Church controversy was one in which he was sincere and moved by honorable convictions.  After having filled various and important offices, distinguished for his virtues and ability, he died in 1694.  He lies buried in the burial ground adjoining the "First Church of Hartford," Main street."


William Pitkin married Hannah Goodwin, daughter of Ozias Goodwin, one of the early arrivals and a founder of Hartford.


Robert Olds, before 1667


Robert Olds was first seen in America in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1667, and moved to Suffield, Connecticut in 1673, where he was one of the first proprietors.  Robert Olds was a prominent man in Suffield, and was the first there to have the title "Doctor."  In 1694, Robert Olds successfully lobbied for tax relief for Suffield, for the town was unable to pay its colonial taxes.  By his efforts these taxes were "rebated, remitted and forgiven" by the General Court.






A few of our ancestors waited just a bit before making the leap across "the Big Pond."  Included in this group of later arrivals are the following:


James Noonan, before 1768


Captain James Noonan (ca. 1730-1787) was born in Ireland, from which he was forced to leave due to "political differences with the English."  He was one of the first settlers of Gouldsboro Point, Maine, where he married Abigail Allen, daughter of Elizabeth Muchmore and Tobias Allen, other early settlers of that area.  An educated man, James was a surveyor and farmer in Maine (a copy of one of his surveys survives today).  He served during the Revolutionary War as a clerk.


Joseph Alexander Gray, (perhaps) mid-1800s


Family tradition said that "Alexander" Gray (as he was apparently known) came from Croghan, County Roscommon, Ireland.  I surmised that he therefore arrived here sometime between his 1829 birth and his 1856 marriage in New York to Henrietta Smith Delano Gray.  However, the 1860 census for Holland, Ottawa, Michigan, gives his birthplace (presumably provided by Gray himself) as "New York" (perhaps that's why I haven't been able to find him on any passenger lists!).  Joseph was apparently an inventor of sorts, as there is a photo of him standing beside his “voteing [sic] machine” (which he called the “Honest John”).  In many photos, he appears to be quite aged, although it seems he died before his 40th birthday, perhaps of tuberculosis (another photo shows him “at the Hot Springs”...perhaps he visited them for medicinal reasons).


Elizabeth Huss Noonan and her parents, Alois and Katherine (Grimm) Huss, after 1853


Elizabeth Huss, my great-grandmother, came to America with her parents, Alois and Katherine, arriving sometime before her 1887 marriage to Henry Noonan.  Elizabeth was born in 1853 in Grunstadt, Rhineplatz, Germany.  Once here, the Huss family had a carriage business out on Long Island, New York, which is probably how Elizabeth met Henry Noonan, who was a harness-maker.  Unfortunately, Elizabeth died in 1890, not long after the birth of my grandmother, Lillian Elsie Noonan, so very little is known about her history and family.  Although my grandmother’s baptismal certificate states she was “christened over the coffin of her mother” the obituary of “Lizzie” Noonan gives her cause of death as pneumonia.


Abraham and Bertha (Melfinska) Guranowsky and family, 1870


Rabbi Abraham Guranowsky (noted Talmudic scholar, who had been educated in Berlin), traveling with as many as 23 members of his extended family (wife, parents, grandmother, siblings, etc.), sailed into New York Harbor on 27 December 1870, on board the CALEDONIA, via Glasgow, Scotland.  Their trip originated in Wloclawek, a town on the Vistula River near Warsaw, Poland (although it was then considered to be part of Russia).  Rabbi Guranowsky lived the rest of his life in New York City, where he helped to found both a synagogue and a hospital.


Isaac Litowich, before 1890


Isaac Litowich, birthplace unknown, was found in Troy, New York, by 1890 when he was listed in a city directory.  His wife, Elizabeth “Ellie” Guranowsky, was born in New York, the daughter of famed Rabbi Abraham Guranowsky.


Nellie Lindenblith and Harris (Kvalah) Wallace, ca. 1890


Originally from Vilna (then in Russia; now part of Poland), the Kvalah family came to New York ca. 1890.  At Ellis Island, their surname was changed to "Wallace."  Family folklore says Harris was in the military, where he had an altercation with an officer that did not go well.  After punching this officer, Harris reportedly fled, and didn’t stop running until he got to America!


Jacob Weinstein and siblings, SS KANSAS, 1890


Listed on the passenger manifest for the SS KANSAS (arriving in Boston from Russia, via Liverpool, on 26 May 1890, Captain Alexander Fenton at the helm) were Jacob Weinstein and four siblings, lead by his sister Esther.  In the 1940s, when Jacob’s granddaughter, Barbara Weinstein, was about to marry Alan Feigenbaum, but first wanted to change their surname, is it just a coincidence that the name she chose was “Fenton”?


Esther Feigenbaum, on the SCANDIA, 1896


Esther Feigenbaum arrived at Ellis Island aboard the Steamship SCANDIA in 1896, traveling with two of her children, Murray (listed as "Moses" on the passenger manifest) and Yetta (name given as "Jides" on the manifest).  Esther's husband, Israel, had reportedly arrived a bit earlier, ca. 1894.  The family was originally from Galicia, Austria.








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Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647. Boston: The Massachusetts Historical Society, 1912.


Cushing, Muriel Curtis, comp.  Philip Delano of the “Fortune” 1621 and His Descendants for Four Generations.  Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1999.


Deetz, James, and Patricia Scott Deetz.  The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony. NY: Anchor Books, 2001.


Hill, Peter B., comp. Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Mass. December 1620; Volume 11, Part II; Edward Doty: His Descendants Through Sons Thomas and Samuel, and Daughters Desire and Elizabeth. Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1996.


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MacGunnigle, Bruce Campbell, comp. Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Mass. December 1620; Volume Four, 2nd ed.; Family of Edward Fuller. Plymouth, MA: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1990.


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