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The Roads Taken: Some Founders of The New World

Updated September 6, 2003

Richard Ripley

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This is a page devoted to some stories, records, and images, of some of the founding families of America and Canada. The actual family tree associated with this site is too large to post at an FTM site, and may be viewed by clicking on the link below. It is a large family tree by necessity, due to simple math. If you go back 12 generations from yourself, and count only your direct ancestors (ie. fathers ang mothers only), you will find that there are 4096 persons from whom you are directly, equally, related. If you add siblings, then you might find that about 50,000 persons and stories would be required to describe your ancestry back that far, a time frame of about 360 years or so. Mayflower descendants are now in the 12th to 14th generation of descent. This family tree has not yet reached 50,000.

All of the pictures and details shown on this page, are included on the CD version of this family tree, with many more.

This database and these records are taken as an acceptable basis for membership in the family heritage society known as DFNW, Descendants of the Founders of the New World. This society of cousins shares bloodline links and genetic associations with those persons who took the big step, left their homes, travelled across the cruel Atlantic, and founded America and Canada. The key notion of this society is that it acknowledges the values and beliefs of these founders, and keeps them alive in the hearts and minds of their descendants.

For CD and DFNW information, click on the link below to our web site,

It is a very important matter to find and establish these connections, and to reconsider the lives of the founders. This is especially important in an age of terrorist attack and threat, which coincides also with a value system based on political correctness, and which features such reference points as ISO 9000 and financial corruption by persons in high positions, who lack any ties with founding values.

DFNW is family and cluster centred, not politically or militarily based. Descendants of Patriots and Loyalists, Baronets and Slaves, are equally welcome, and their lives and stories are needed. The lives of the founders, and the greatness of the countries which they created, cannot be fully understood without a solid understanding of their religious beliefs, but DFNW has no religious affiliation.

DFNW membership includes an embossed certificate, with reference made back to your founder/ancestor. DFNW plans to mark sites, graves, and homes, with commemorative plaques.

Membership in DFNW is available to any person who can show descent from anyone in this family tree. The quarterly newsletter welcomes stories or anecdotes for publication. There is a family CD available to anyone who is registered with DFNW, or who is a bonafide family researcher.

Not all of the branches and sectors of this family tree have been fully verified, as that is an ongoing major project. Any corrections or revisions are most welcome by email.

In a variation of the ship-launching speech, let me end, "God Bless our Family, and all who sail in Her."

Family Photos

  • Fenwick - Upper Nappan Map, 1873 (84 KB)
    This map shows land grants and holdings in the area in 1873. Names such as Ripley, Pipes, Noiles, Lowther, Shipley and others appear. From Myrtle Chappell's book, Fenwick 1778-1978.
  • The Dodd blazon, shown mantled. (117 KB)
    Created using Blazons, using a description of arms granted to my wife's ancestor.
  • Gilbert Ripley's Marriage Licence, 1870 (220 KB)
    Gilbert Pugsley Ripley marries Maria Amelia Shipley in 1870. As they were underage, they required a guarantor. That was Robert William Ripley, husband, of Amherst, Gilbert's uncle. Referred to as 'William' in the document (but not the signature), Robert William was required to post a bond of 200 pounds. As Gilbert later left Maria, we wonder what became of that bond. Gilbert was named after another uncle, Gilbert Pugsley, who donated 500 pounds for the construction of the very church which Gilbert was married in. Copied from the original in the Nova Scotia archives.
  • Robert Dickie, Father of Confederation, 1867 (159 KB)
    Robert Barry Dickie (November 10, 1811 - July 14, 1903), a member of our family, was one of the Fathers of Confederation for Nova Scotia. See his photo and read his biography here.
  • Herbert Ripley - Diary 1911 (539 KB)
    Herbert and his wife Emma travelled from their Nova Scotia home In the fall of 1911 to sightsee and to visit family members who had emigrated to Ontario and the U.S.A. Read this diary and see who was where. Transcribed from Ernest Coates manuscript, Cumberland county families. This photo shows pages 1 and 2 - see pages 3 and 4 below.
  • King George III - his role in our families (246 KB)
    While we are very proud of our British ancestry, of William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill and a thousand others, the fact remains: our ancestors in the Yorkshire area made the conscious decision to leave England. While it is true that they were going to English territories, and while it is true that they had a pioneering spirit to drive them, a spirit lacking in the average person, they still left. Did they leave because of King George III - the mad king, the king who lost the American Colonies? Read in this biography some true facts about George Hanover, King George III. Find out that the hereditary illness which struck this handsome and cultured young man weakened him, to the point where various opposing forces could create schisms which drove out his pioneering citizens, and his entire American colony.
  • Herbert Ripley - Diary 1911, pages 3 and 4. (332 KB)
    The conclusion of this segment of diary.
  • Map and photos - the Chignecto Isthmus (261 KB)
    It sounds like a term from Geography class. But the Chignecto Isthmus is the correct term to describe the home country of the people in our great family tree. Incorporating areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, it is at once fertile and hostile, beautiful and brutal, homeland and cemetery. Countless ships and lives have been lost on her rocks; countless fortunes have been made; countless lives lived. In our family tree alone, we find premiers, war heros, tragedies, famres, teachers, and more. Click to see a great 1869 map, along with a description of the Isthmus, as well as superb photos by one of our family, the famous Wallace R. MacAskill (1890-1956). Email us your best scenic or family photos, and we will post them here (if you wish).
  • Map of Kent County, Ontario, Canada (238 KB)
    Find many of the locations mentioned in the family files and records found at our website here. From the book 'Romantic Kent', Victor Lauriston, Chatham, Ontario, 1952.
  • Tragic Deaths in our Family Tree, page 1 (268 KB)
    Read of some of the tragic deaths in our family which have built our resolve to stand tall against 'the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune'.
  • Brian Tobin, Premier of Newfoundland (12 KB)
    Brian Tobin married a ninth generation descendant of Robert Ripley. His three children are thus tenth generation descendants. We welcome Mr. Tobin. Find him in the Robert Ripley tree below.
  • Phillips Origins (266 KB)
    The origins of the Phillips name and family in Wales, later migrating to Lincolnshire (England), America, and Canada. See the ancestral home, Picton Castle. Read of the Phillips who founded modern public education. Enjoy your visit with the Phillips family in its early days.
  • William Black: Pomp and Pioneering (523 KB)
    On this pictorial page, you will see some of the highlights of a very accomplished and successful family. They arrived from England very financially secure, ready for the fox hunt, with attire for the grand balls, leaving behind the upper class life of England. Read how the rich accoutrements cost the first Mrs. Black her life. Here, also, you will find the Black who founded Methodism in Canada, as well as a government minister, clergy, lawyers, and vastly successful businessmen who rubbed shoulders with the Cyrus Eaton and Timothy Eaton family. A few were even farmers. You will see a photographic copy of the Oldsmobile owned by a Black, the first automobile licenced in Nova Scotia (in 1907); no mere Fords or Chevys for the Blacks. The Blacks fully embodied the pioneering spirit of the Chignecto Isthmus, and through marriage, mixed their blood with most of the families there: the Shipleys, Ripleys, Bacons, Coates, and many more. If you are a descendant of one of these pioneering families, you probably have some of William Black's blood and genes - email me and I will show you your connection.
  • Henry Ripley and Mary (Knowlton) Ripley, abt. 1883 (271 KB)
    This early photo has been retouched from a poor photocopy supplied by Ernest Coates. Henry and Mary had moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario by this time, and the photo probably was taken in West Lorne, Ontario. We welcome your submission of old family photos.
  • Our Extended Family (253 KB)
    Come visit with us. Pull up a chair and see where we came from. Great people with some interesting tidbits. Names found here include Ripley, Naylor, Phillips, Seel, Dodd, Stephens, Locke, Taylor, Steuart, King, and more. Includes two cats and one dog. Enjoy your visit with our family!
  • Picton Castle, Phillips home in Wales (294 KB)
    Picton Castle in Wales is the ancestral home of the Phillips family which settled in Ireland, other parts of England, and later America and Canada. The castle is now operated by the Picton Castle Trust. Read about opportunities to visit the castle and its gift shop and live plant & horticultural displays (find out where your green-thumb genes came from!). Peruse the early history of the castle, and its role in the civil war which led to the decapitation of King Charles I. And read the incredible story - how the Rebels kidnapped little Erasmus Phillips to obtain the castle's surrender - the only way it could be defeated. With photos. Page copyright Richard Ripley.
  • Origin of the Dodd Name (148 KB)
    A name originating in Northumberland, here is the legendary source of the name, and the background of Eilaff, the first Dodd.
  • County Names - Nova Scotia, N.B., and P.E.I. (151 KB)
    From looking at many entries on many people's family trees, it is obvious they have a problem with county names - with spelling, and with a lack of sense of what it is they are entering. WHAT and WHERE is Cumberland County? How about Pictou, or Hants, or Sunbury, or Westmoreland? I recently located these simple, uncluttered 1851 maps, which clearly show the locations and borders for every county in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Copy it, print it, and keep it beside you as you enter data; it gives you a real feel for where your ancestors lived, in relation to the larger picture.
  • Alfred Ambrose Naylor and Chatham, Ontario (235 KB)
    Winston Churchill speeches fail to deter Nazi saboteurs. Much of historic Chatham Ontario destroyed. Read the disturbing but true story here. See photographic evidence. (Note that this headline is a rather free rendering of the actual shocking story.)
  • Some Phillips homes (283 KB)
    Forget Club Med this year. Plan to visit one or more of these Phillips family homes in Wales and America. All belong to members of this family tree.
  • The Right Honourable Sir Charles Tupper, K.C.. (200 KB)
    The greatest figure in Canadian history? You will ponder this question when your look over this pictorial synopsis of Sir Charles Tupper (1821-1915), Prime Minister of Canada, Premier of Nova Scotia, Father of Confederation, and builder of the CPR. And you may well reflect on the fact that you may share a genealogical link with this giant of men.
  • Ripleys: Warrior Family of Connecticut (275 KB)
    As seen in other pictorial pages here, the Ripleys originated as a band of Celtic tribesmen known as the Hrype tribe. In the early 1300s, they travelled north with King Edward III and King Richard II to defeat the Scots, and were rewarded with Ripley Castle in Yorkshire. When they came to America, the warlike genes persisted. Read of this Ripley clan in Connecticut, where the warlike blood mixed with the pioneer blood of the Mayflower survivors. Successful and prominent, they swung their swords for America. You will read of the Mexican War, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and of two Generals of the Civil War - on opposite sides, though they were uncle and nephew.
  • DFNW Descendants of the Founders of the New World (292 KB)
    Welcome to your genealogical family. DFNW is a genealogical association open to descendants of founders (pre-1900 only) of the USA and Canada. Anyone who is linked to 'The Roads Taken' family tree may join, or send (or email) us your verified ancestry back to a pre-1900 New World pioneer to check your eligiblity. You will be registered in the family database, receive the newsletter, gain entitlement to the DFNW Coat of Arms, and pass entitlement to your descendants. Through this association you confirm the ancestral values and beliefs of the ancestors who made you and who made the New World. The weakening of these values has led to terrorist attack, the Enron debacle, and other catastrophes. Join your cousins now. See the attached description.
  • MAP: Essex, Kent, and Lambton Counties, 1825 (180 KB)
    Many of the founding families of Nova Scota and New Brunswick were attracted to the available farmlands in the area, often called 'The Banana Belt' of Canada. Find many of the locations in the accompanying family trees on this map.
  • CP Ship Metagama, at Quebec, 1923 (48 KB)
    This ship and others like it transported many immigrants, and descendants of immigrants from one port in Canada to another, in relative comfort, in the 1910s and 1920s. This is the Canadian Pacific liner Metagama, at Quebec City. Courtesy National Archives of Canada.
  • SS Kingston in 1856 (67 KB)
    This ship, the SS Kingston, is anchored at the Hamilton Port, Kingston Ontario, in 1856. Before the railways were secure and comfortable, the waterways provided the main routes for the movement of people in pursuit of their pioneering aspirations, and some travelled on this ship. Cousins Herbert and Emma Ripley travelled on this boat on September 16, 1911, as indicated on the first page of his diary (see it here). This photo is courtesy of the National Archives of Canada.
  • Roger Stuart Bacon (137 KB)
    A photo and brief biography of our cousin, Roger Bacon, former Premier of Nova Scotia.
  • Immigrant ship from Hull nears Halifax, c. 1750 (35 KB)
    This ship is actually The Endeavour, a restored ship, but in all respects it is the same as the ships which brought our ancestors to New England, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The six to eight week journey typically began in April or May, to avoid high seas and bad weather. The Yorkshire ancestors frequently boarded in Hull, England, and disembarked in Halifax. Robert Ripley's family may have boarded in Whitby, a closer port. They then travelled overland to reach their new homes on the Chignecto Isthmus.
  • Tragic Family Stories, Part 2 (221 KB)
    Read the unbelievable, but true, tragic story of Thompson Glendenning and Sarah Ripley.
  • Obtain a CD of this family tree. (336 KB)
    Family CD Rom - obtain your own copy - instructions and details. You will be able to add part or all of the information on the CD to your own files, or vice-versa. All available photos and images, and details of all sources used, are found on the CD. The CD is in FTM, version 4.4 (1998 version), and can be readily used by all later versions of FTM.
  • T.P. Lowther, Amherst (Nova Scotia) Mayor, 1885 (110 KB)
    Thomas Parkinson Lowther (1853-1900, Fenwick, Nova Scotia), one of our cousins, was Mayor of Amherst, Nova Scotia, when this photo was taken. Find him in the Robert Ripley family tree posted here.
  • Obtain bronze plaques and family portraits (284 KB)
    Commemorative plaques for family homes, cemeteries, individual gravestones, and other sites and purposes - available here. They are professionally etched on archival quality cast bronze. Also available - 3 or 4 generational family portraits, archival quality, using acid-free papers and framing materials. With photos and plaques, a certificate is included, with an embossed seal, signed by a genealogist (after verification).
  • A Mothers Day card from Earl Ripley in 1925 (216 KB)
    This card shows what a sensitive and caring man Earl Ripley was. Already under medical treatment by the in-house doctors at the Ford plant in Dearborn, he was to die within a year (1926). But there is no mention of his own problems, only care and love for his mother.
  • Etta Luevilla Stiles, Sunday School, Fenwick, 1907 (49 KB)
    Etta Stiles (January 26, 1889-March 14, 1970) attended Sunday School in Fenwick. This photo is from a class picture taken in 1907.
  • The Phillips Coats of Arms (blazon) (169 KB)
    This is the same coat of arms sold in genealogy shops to Phillips descendants. Here it is free. Just right-click on it when it appears on your screen and save it to your own computer. By the strict rules of heraldry, in order to call this your family crest, you have to have your family tree verified by the College of Arms. So this blazon is presented for enjoyment purposes only. Motto: "in our inner mind, we know what is right"
  • Sidney Dillon Ripley, Smithsonian Institute (250 KB)
    Sidney Dillon Ripley (1913-2001), Secretary of the Smithsonian, one of the great Ripleys of the New World. Great grandson of Sidney Dillon (1812-1902), one of the builders of the Union Pacific and present for the Last Spike in 1869. Dillon Ripley is also a Mayflower Descendant, and in the direct line of William Ripley, Planter of the Commonwealth (1598-1656), Progenitor of the American Ripleys.
  • The Will of Robert Ripley, Nova Scotia pioneer. (200 KB)
    This will is freely rendered, but textually accurate, from a text-only copy which was found in one of Ernest Coates' manuscripts. It is interesting to read it while looking at the names and available information for each of the children, and while thinking about Robert's hopes regarding his wife and family as he composed this will, a couple of days before his death.
  • The Ripley Coat of Arms (141 KB)
    This is the same Coat of Arms sold in Yorkshire genealogy shops to Ripley descendants. However, to claim it is your coat of arms, according to the strict rules of the College of Arms, is tricky. It is presented here for your entertainment, as a precious family symbol. You may copy it for your personal entertainment and use only, and may not redistribute it or sell it.
  • The problem of Loyalists -were they also Patriots? (436 KB)
    Captain-Lieutenant John Phillips, Loyalist. The Revolutionary War split families, as if foreshadowing the Civil War. But for Loyalists, they were denied the opportunity to return home. Some, like my ancestor John Phillips of Linlithgo, New York, became nomadic wanderers in hinterland Canada, until finally establishing new roots there. Read this story of surrender flags, capture, and mayhem in a family. Read of his friend Chief Joseph Brant, in whose shadow John may be tracked.
  • A Ripley Reunion, Ontario, 1927 (177 KB)
    Here is the text of an article which appeared in the Chatham Daily News in 1927. My Uncle Ray attended, travelling from Detroit.
  • Hockey Champions, 1925. (158 KB)
    This photo features Clarence Ripley (1907-1962), on the Melrose, Maine, professional hockey team which won the North American Championship in 1925. This picture is courtesy of Tracey Ripley Obrien, descendant of Clarence, who has contributed much to developing our New England family line. Tracey's family today has promising young athletes. If you are interested in our Maine- New England family line, we can put you in touch with Tracey by email.
  • The Phillips Family in Massachusetts, from 1630 (214 KB)
    Our Phillips family arrived from England with John Winthrop in 1630, and helped establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They married with settlers in Plymouth Colony. They mingled with judges and witches from the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Read about it see photos and maps here.
  • The Phillips Family of Rhode Island - cursed? (325 KB)
    The Phillips Family of Rhode Island and Governor Winthrop's Curse. Read of some interesting details of this family branch, followers of Anne Marbury. Read of the first wife of Humphrey Bogart, a Phillips daughter of this line, and of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, another child of this family line, whose Poe-like writings seem to embody a cursed soul.
  • William T. Pipes, Nova Scotia Premier (1882-1880) (209 KB)
    Here you will find photos and a biography of this member of our family. William is a descendant of Robert Ripley, Thomas Coates, and Christianna Innes Shipley. He is related to Brian Tobin and Roger Bacon. He is my third cousin, and perhaps yours... All source materials provided by Premier Hamm of Nova Scotia in October 2000, via Special Assistant Derron J. Bain.
  • Cemeteries: gathering information. (217 KB)
    Horseman, Pass By. A look at the art of gathering information from final resting places. Includes tips and notes. Shows grave markers of Archibald Dickie, Amelia Cove, George Rex Phillips, Rachel (Phillips) Ripley, and Matilda Riley. Shows the present state of the Phillips Cemetery in Wabash, Ontario, and the Loyalist Cemetery in St. John, New Brunswick. If you have grave marker photos, please send copies by email attachment.
  • Origins of the Ripley name: new research (262 KB)
    The Ripley name is derived from a Celtic tribe of early Britain. Records of the evolution of the name go back as far as 715 AD. Read the story and see pictures here.
  • Ripley Castle: What's in a name? (413 KB)
    How did Ripley Castle in Yorkshire come to be owned by the Ingleby family? Read a hypothesis of the events, based on church parish records. Includes pictures. Also includes some discussion of notes found in the castle, historical reference to King Edward III and King Richard II, and to alchemist George Ripley. And more.
  • Step back in time, to September 1926 (289 KB)
    Step back in time. Return to Detroit, Michigan - to the home of Earl Ripley, as he was passing away in 1926. Earl Ripley was a descendant of Robert Ripley of Yorkshire and Nova Scotia. His wife Rachel Phillips was of the New England Phillips family, great granddaughter of a United Empire Loyalist, and eighth great granddaughter of Elder William Brewster, Mayflower passenger. Earl and Rachel were my grandparents. Read how Henry Ford may have been indirectly responsible for Earl's death by lead poisoning. Read of Rachel's heroic and drastic steps to save her family in the face of Ford's failure to provide pension or insurance. And have a look at life on the assembly line at Ford, where Earl was a car painter. See the intrepid Model T Ford.

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