The Great Migration
When you sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner, you are sitting in thanksgiving for hundreds of ancestors who celebrated harvest and God's blessings hundreds of years ago. Our ancestors were Puritans who immigrated to New England during the Great Migration period of settlement. According to the Great Migration Project an estimated twenty thousand English men, women, and children crossed the Atlantic to settle New England between 1620 and 1640. Most of those who came were of Puritan religious leanings although their actual reasons for joining were a combination of religious, economic and social. An attempt to identify the initial immigrants has proved so far incomplete because the passenger lists of many ships did not survive the intervening years. It is likely that most landed in the Massachusetts Bay. All but a few then undertook a second migration either inland into the colony, or to other colonies in Connecticut, Rhode Island or New York.
Not Just a Few, but Boatloads
Of Florence Tuttle Foy's 64 sets of 6x great grandparents on her paternal Tuttle and Stone lines, 62 can be traced to firmly planted roots in the New England soil of Massachusetts and Connecticut. It is likely that all 64 were from the area. By the middle 17th Century, the extended families had been established for several decades and immediate family groups were raising Godly souls, children born in the New World. Those 128 ancestors were either themselves immigrants or had parents and possibly grandparents who were part of the great influx of Puritans. Multiply the initial 128 couples by the number of parents and/or grandparents that came in the Great Migration and you get a sense of how many of our ancestors came in those ships to the New World with such great hopes for themselves, their friends and immediate family members. We, their posterity, give thanks this coming week for their sacrifices. We are cognizant of the blessings we enjoy because they came.
These Puritans sought to purify the practices of the state church of England of popish practices. They transplanted their families in order to live lives free of religious persecution, to establish economic security or to follow other family members seeking freedom and plenty. A good many of them settled in New Haven during a second settlement from Massachusetts to Connecticut in order to establish new townships which provided land to landless families. Not all were equally religious and some didn't qualify for church membership for many years. All sought a new life with new opportunities.
|The Landing on Cape Cod|
From the mid 19th century a genealogical effort grew which attempted to record what was imagined to be a golden age of values and character. In 1922 the renowned genealogist, Donald Lines Jacobus, authored Families of New Haven. In the revised edition the introduction Jacobus is described as the "founder" of the "modern American school of critical genealogists" who would not even consider falsifying the facts as the records disclose them (1)." Grandma Foy employed Mr. Jacobus on multiple occasions to trace the Tuttle and Stone lines. Aunt Eva and Aunt Lily helped to pay for the research. Mr. Jacobus as did many genealogist of the time agreed with genealogical eugenics. What had been the genealogical movement's "nostalgic appropriation of the past" was transformed by the eugenics movement into a "scientific program of social reform...It provided a genetic foundation for the ancestor-worship common during the colonial revival and a scientific rationale for the general obsession with genealogy (2)." In several letters to Grandma, Mr. Jocobus stated that the data was sufficient proof to allow membership in various associations such as Colonial Dames.
|First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by Brownscombe|
Noting just how far back our roots go in New England, we can imagine the antagonism with which later family members greeted the news that their kin had joined the Mormons. Not only with sadness, but with bitterness in many cases did parents and grandparents learn that their loved ones were leaving for Zion in the west. Ironically, this may have been a similar reaction that the original immigrants to New England during the 17th Century received when the Puritans and Pilgrims left the Old Country for the Promised Land of the New World.
The Roll Call: 6x Great Grandparents
Some of our Puritan ancestors were famous, some infamous, some well-documented and some left little record. Most led purposeful lives full of both joy and tragedy. From the records that have been found, they were an independent-minded group of individuals.
|First Sunday in New Haven|
Paternal Tuttle lines:1. William Tuttle – Mary Abernathy2. Thomas Munson – Mary Wilcoxson3. Samuel Atwater – Sarah Alling4. Nathan Benham – Sarah Beecher5. Isaac Turner – Mary Todd6. Thomas Hotchkinson – Sarah Wilmont7. Samuel Todd – Mary Bradley8. John Sherman – Dinah Thomas9. John Pierpont – Thankful Stowe10. Rev. Samuel Hooker – Mary Willett11. William Russell – Sarah Davis12. Giles Hamlin – Hester Crow13. John Cooper – Mary Thompson14. John Thomas – Lydia Parker15. John Brockett – Elizabeth Doolittle16. John Hill – Hannah Grannis17. Samuel Todd – Mary Bradley18. Joseph Tuttle – Hannah Munson19. Joseph Ives – Mary Yale20. Jonathan Atwater – Ruth Peck21. John Frost – Abigail22. William Payne – Mary Seymour23. Thomas Gridley – Mary Seymore24. John Clark – Rebecca Marvin25. Thomas Smith – Sarah Dow26. Thomas Goodsell – Sarah Hemingway27. Samuel Russell – Esther Tuttle28. John Hemingway – Mary Morris29. Thomas Smith – Elizabeth Patterson30. Eleazer Morris – Anna Osborn31. Alling Ball – Sarah Thompson32. John Griswold – Bathsheba North
Paternal Stone lines:
1. William Stone – Hannah Wolfe2. Jonathan Hatch – Abigail Weeks3. Nathaniel White – Elizabeth Bruster4. Hugh Mould – Martha Coit5. Joseph Dudley – Ann Robinson6. Emanuel Buck – Mary Kirgby7. Peter Tallman – Ann Wright8. Andrew Morrison – Sarah Jones9. Robert Pease – Abigail Randall10. Unknown Fletcher – Unknown11. Benjamin Jones – Elizabeth Willis12. Nathaniel Gary – Anne Rice13. William Dean – Mehetable Wood14. Israel Peck – Bethia Bosworth15. Samuel Beebe – Hannah16. Ephraim Culver – Martha Hibbard17. James Bishop – Elizabeth Thompkins18. James Bennett - Mary Joy19. John Perkins – Mary20. Thomas Hayward – Ruth Jones21. John Tuttle – Katherine Lane22. John Frost – Mercy Payne23. Joseph Mansfield – Mary Potter24. Abraham Bradley – Hannah Thompson25. Ebenezer Blakeslie – Hannah Lupton26. Mathew Ford – Mary Brook27. Jonathan Tuttle – Rebecca Bell28. William Abernathy – Sarah Doolittle29. Samuel Tuttle – Sarah Newman30. Joseph Mansfield – Elizabeth Thomas31. John Humiston – Sarah Tuttle32. Caleb Ray – Hannah
More than just names, these people living during the 1600s either practiced or endured strict practices and punishments meted out under government and religious leaders. Those that lived in New Haven were under the leadership of the Reverend John Davenport whose "standards were even more rigorous than those imposed in Boston" by Cotton Mather (2). Families were the basis of society and a strong biblical approach to life's challenges was the basis of their daily interaction. Purity of worship and strong personal piety were their goals. Like individuals in all groups, some were stronger than others. If they were weak, we understand them; if they were notorious, we forgive them; if they were committed and successful in their efforts, we honor them.
Drawings: Bryant, William Cullen and Sydney Howard Gay. A Popular History of the United States. New York: Charles Scribners' Sons, 1881. Public domain.
Painting: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth." Painting by Jennie A. Brownscombe, 1914. Public domain.
(1) Jacobus, Donald Lines. Genealogy as Pastime and Profession, 2nd ed., rev. Baltimore: Genealogical Publication Company, 1968. The assessment of Jacobus's standing as a genealogist comes from Milton Rubincam's introduction. Jacobus also favored the genealogical investigation of eugenics, but that is another story.
(2) Chamberlain, Ava. The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder and Madness. New York: New York University Press, 2012.