I recently started a job teaching adult education and one of the things I teach is history. The books to prepare students for the GED or post secondary education barely cover our history and some of it is a bit, well lies. So I made my own time line of some of the most important bits of pre-Revolutionary US history. Please let me know if you think I missed someone or something important and what you think.
One of the people I keep coming across in my family tree work is George Baker, sometimes referred to as George “Perilous” Baker who was on of the original settlers in what is now Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He is an ancestor on my maternal Grandmother’s side and has ties through one of his daughter-in-laws to John Hart, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He is also related to my children’s father and from looking at records, a very large portion of those in Beaver County today, close to 300 years after he was born.
I won’t go into long details about him now because a historian at Penn State Beaver did years ago, but what I will do is share Mr. Smith’s work with you.
Information for the museum can be found here: http://www.museumsusa.org/museums/info/4865
I am not Jewish, I am not even a member of an Abrahamic faith, what I am is someone who was still rocked to the core by the cowardly attack in Pittsburgh on Saturday. I spent a decade working with the special needs community, eight of those years with ACHIEVA (my father worked for them for 24 years and was still an employee on the day he died). In those eight years I spent time with David and Cecil Rosenthal, I spent time with them at public events including ones held at various synagogues in the city.
Cecil was murdered first. Others in the sanctuary tried to get David to safety but he turned and ran for his brother, losing his own life in the process. If only everyone could show such love and bravery, he was not leaving his brother behind.
I will never understand the hate that led this monster to enter a house of worship and murder the elderly, medical personnel and disabled men. May their memory be a blessing. May they be at peace with their ancestors. May their names never be forgotten.
Bishop William Barlow was born about 1498 in Essex, England to Robert Barlow and his wife, Anna. William, along with three of his four brothers, all entered the clergy at a time of religious change in England. Because there were three active Bishops by the name Barlow and William’s son were also clergy it has at times been confusing as to which “Barlow” is being referenced in historical documents from the time of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. It is also believed that he may be Friar Jerome who is considered the author of a number of satirical pieces that attacked Cardinal Thomas Wolsley. Knowing the family history with Woosley it would not be surprising (two of William’s brothers were confidants to Anne Boylen). He was the author of “On the Luthern Factions.” During the reign of Mary I he spent time in the Tower of London. Later he and his family were exiled in Germany and he met many Protestant reformers there including Martin Luther. He later went to Poland before returning to England when Elizabeth was crowned. He also contributed to The Institution of the Christian Man.
Religiously he was a staunch reformer who was behind selling church properties and breaking up the monastaries among other things. He did not believe that confession was biblical and purgatory did not exist. He also was for translating the Bible into English.
While there is little evidence that he took an active role in the court of Henry VIII he was sent to James V of Scotland at least twice on the King’s behalf. During the second visit his stay was extended on behalf of Margaret Tudor, the king’s sister. While at Holyrood Palace William presented James with the Order of the Garter.
William is considered the first English bishop to wed. He married Agatha Wellsbourne before 1544, the marriage was before the demand for clerical celibacy was lifted. Their five daughters all married bishops and their oldest son also became a bishop.
William had been Bishop of St. Asaph, St. Davids, and Chichester.
William died in 1568.
Schwartz-Leeper, Gavin, From Princes to Pages: The Literary Lives of Cardinal Wolsey, Tudor England …
Jacob Melyn, the anglicized version of Jakob Melijn, was born April 17, 1640 in Amsterdam to Cornelius Melijn and Janneken Adriaens. The family immigrated to the colonies in 1641 aboard the Den Eyckenboom, or The Oak Tree. The family moved from Staten Island to New Haven due to political upheavals that his father faced. He was an educated, successful business man who, with his wife Hannah Hubbard (they married in 1662), lived in both the Dutch and English worlds in Puritan New England. As a young man he had some run ins with the law including flirting “scandalously” with Hannah before they wed. Once married, he had no other legal problems.
Jacob, being safely ensconced in Boston, was safe when the political issues that destroyed many of his friends due to Jacob Leisler being named a traitor and he and some of his compatriots were sentenced to death due to the Glorious Revolution. Melyen himself was exempted from the pardon that other of Leisler’s supporters had received. To protect himself, Jacob maintained a book of all of his correspondence, this Letterbook, originally written in Dutch, has helped those who study Colonial America, especially the Salem Witch trials. He also held a number of elected positions in Boston and his son Samuel was a Harvard graduate and author, he also copied many of the letters in his father’s Letterbook.
His business related letters to Cotton and Increase Mathers along with others of his era discuss his unease with the use of Spectral evidence in the Salem Witch trials and how he, and others, did not see pacts with Satan as something that occurred. He saw the witch hunt as, “another punishment of God has come among us” and believed that the magistrates were gullible in their belief in the accusers.
Jacob died December 13, 1706 in Boston.
Norton, Mary Beth, In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (September 10, 2002)
Christopher Barkar (turned Barker) was born in 1529 in England to Edward Barkar and Joyce Burton. He had inherited wealth and position through his great uncle Sir Christopher Baker, a Garter Knight at Arms and a Knight of the Bath. In 1569 he began to have others print books for him, mostly Bibles and prayer books and in 1576 he obtained his own press. That year he printed copies of the Bible in two different versions. On September 27, 1577 for about $3,000 pounds he purchased a patent, or business license, which granted him the ability to use the title Queen’s Printer. “The full patent granted to Barker the office of royal printer of all statutes, books, bills, Acts of Parliament, proclamations, injunctions, Bibles, and New Testaments, in the English tongue of any translation, all service books to be used in churches, and all other volumes ordered to be printed by the Queen or Parliament.”1 He obtained the patent for his son and later his grandsons. He retired after 1588 and at that time he and his deputies had printed 70 editions of the Bible. He died November 29, 1599.
One thing that Christopher would not print were books of music and he would not provide shelves for them either.
Luckombe, Philip, A Concise History of the Origin and Progress of Printing: With Practical Instructions to the Trade in General January 1770, accessed via Google Play on April 9, 2018
Stephen, Sir Leslie, ed.; London, England: Oxford University Press; Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22; Volume: Vol 01; Page: 1115
Smith, Jeremy L., Thomas East and Music Publishing in Renaissance England Oxford University Press 2003,, accessed via Google Play on April 9, 2018
I know, I know, I’m cheating today. But really, this story has high seas adventure, tragedy and romance nothing I could write would do it justice. Thank you to all of the people on ancestry.com who posted it and the dedicated cousins who have kept the story alive for over 300 years.
Sarah Webb Price
We all know Colonial times were rough and tumble and comforts were scarce. But how many realize how many “wars” went on before the Revolution. There were a number of Indian Wars such as Powhatan Wars(1610-1646), Pequot War(1636-1637), King Phillip’s War(1675-1676), King William’s War (1689-1697), Queen Anne’s War (1702-1711), the French and Indian War (1689-1763), the War of Jenkin’s Ear (1730’s) and Pontiac’s Rebellion(1763-1768) not counting the Seven Years War going on in Europe. English colonies were at war with the French, Spanish and various native tribes. So our colonial ancestors were pretty used to war and the brutalities associated with it. Sometimes these ancestors got stuck right in the middle of a battle while tucked in their beds asleep.
Sarah Webb was born about 1646 in Hartford, Connecticut to John Webb and Anne Basset. She married Robert Price around 1677 and among their children were daughters Elizabeth Stephens, whose husband Andrew was a Native American of unknown tribe, and Mary Smead and a son, Samuel. On the night of February 29, 1704 a group of French and a mixed band of native warriors (a mix of Abenaki, Mohawk, Wyndot and Pocumtuc met at Chamby to attack the small town of Deerfield. The raid had been planned since about 1702 and was under the command of Jean-Baptiste de Rouville and Wattanummon. The raid was not entirely unexpected and Deerfield had increased the pallisaides around the community and there were soldiers being housed in the town. Unfortunately, heavy snow fall had drifted making walk ways directly over the barriers in areas.
The first home attacked was that of the Reverend John Williams who was taken captive after his attempt to shoot the intruders failed when his pistol misfired. Not all of the household was so lucky, two of his children and a female slave were slaughtered in front of him. At the end of the raid 17 homes were destroyed, 44 residents were killed, mainly small children and infants and 109 were taken captive and marched to Canada roughly 300 miles away. Andrew Stephens was one of the men killed that night Mary, her in-laws and her two small children were also killed in the village. About 20 of captives including Sarah did not survive the march through the frozen land. Samuel was later ransomed and was able to return home around 1714. Elizabeth stayed with her captures and eventually married a Frenchman named Jean Fourneau.
Some people in the community had managed to escape the raid and ran for help, however, by the time help arrived it was deemed unsafe fo chase after the raiders due to the snow and the villagers lack of snowshoes.
Today is Halloween, Samhain (Beltane for those in the southern hemisphere), All Hallows Eve (and a large number of Saint’s feast days and Reformation Day for some Protestant sects), Hop-tu-Naa, National Unity Day, World Cities Day, World Savings Day, and for those in Girl Scouting, it is Juliette Lowe’s birthday. On this day many cultures look at those that have gone before them, some in love and remembrance and others in fear. Of course, here in the U.S. today is a day of candy mayhem for children though trick or treat may have already occurred in many communities.
This year my family lost my maternal grandmother, Marjorie Schooley nee Russell in June. In August her oldest son, Ralph David Mortimer died after an accident. Later in August, my children lost their uncle, Jeffrey Caler. Both my children and husband had cousins die this year as well.
How do we remember these people, keep their memories alive? Tell stories, write their histories, share photos with far flung family. Americans tend to move on and forget their past, it seems it is in our blood. After all we are a nation formed by people leaving their old world behind to build a new one. Is this healthy though? Many faiths have ancestor veneration as part of their path, mine does. Why do some faiths feel that honoring the dead is so important. The Old Testament lists genealogies of prophets and kings, during the Middle Ages European nobility often built family trees that tied into Joseph or Joseph of Arimathea to prove their legitimacy to rule. Today with the relatively easy access to DNA testing and sites like Ancestry and 23andme, vast numbers of people are looking into their pasts. With those sites come people with questions, “Help, I was adopted”, “My father isn’t my father, what do I do”, “My great grandparents came from Sweden I don’t know their names.” This is sad to me. Personally, I have a block with one of my maternal great grandmother’s parents. I have what is supposed to be their names but all legal documents say otherwise. She is my brick wall. It is hard to honor those who have been lost to time.
If you are reading this blog you probably have an interest in genealogy, please for the sake of your grandchildren, write down your stories, the stories of your loved ones. Take photos, load them to social media, the cloud, zip drives, protect them from old age or computer failure or storm damage (many families in Japan lost their shrines after the tsunami). Don’t forget those “black sheep” they may be an embarrassment now but they are still kin and may one day be seen in a different light. My own family hid our relationship of Wyndham Mortimer, my great great grandfather’s brother (son of Rachel who I have written about) because of his communist leanings. One day we will all be someone else’s history.
Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well
Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead
Instead of only me posting, let’s make this post a sharing one. Tell us about one of your ancestors. I’ve been in a baking and canning mood, things that I learned from my paternal grandmother, Vivian Jaynes Frey, who died on Mother’s Day in 1995. She made a sweet pickle that was brined for 17 days in a sugar solution. I make a version of it every few years. I don’t know anyone else who makes them. I’m not sure if it is something she grew up with in southern West Virginia, if she picked it up while working in Baltimore during WWII or found it once she settled in southwestern Pennsylvania.
This is a similar recipe, but she used clove and cinnamon sticks instead of celery seed and never added coloring, http://www.cooks.com/…/g98…/katies-14-day-sweet-pickles.html.