Sunday, November 24, 2013

Our Family Were Puritans

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

Yankee Pride

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
 From a more modern perspective, and one in which digitization of previous genealogical tomes and primary source documents makes presenting real lives of our ancestors more truthful, the 21st Century allows us to see them in a more realistic light. While ancestor worship is not our motivation or goal, it does not prevent us from respecting the difficult circumstances that contributed to their life stories. In addition to compiling stacks of family group and pedigree sheets, Grandma wrote a short document titled Ancestors of Newton Tuttle and Emily Amelia Stone Tuttle which lists famous and noteworthy ancestors. She was duly proud of their accomplishments. Look for details of those individuals listed on the next post.

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 Abernathy  
       2.  Thomas Munson – Mary Wilcoxson 
       3.  Samuel Atwater – Sarah Alling                                  
              4.    Nathan Benham – Sarah Beecher  
       5.    Isaac Turner – Mary Todd                                     
       6.     Thomas Hotchkinson – Sarah Wilmont
       7.    Samuel Todd – Mary Bradley                              
       8.      John Sherman  – Dinah Thomas  
       9.    John Pierpont – Thankful Stowe                           
      10.   Rev. Samuel Hooker – Mary Willett  
      11.   William Russell – Sarah Davis                               
      12.   Giles Hamlin – Hester Crow 
      13.   John Cooper – Mary Thompson                          
      14.   John Thomas – Lydia Parker  
      15.   John Brockett – Elizabeth Doolittle                        
      16.   John Hill – Hannah Grannis  
      17.   Samuel Todd – Mary Bradley                              
      18.   Joseph Tuttle – Hannah Munson  
      19.   Joseph Ives – Mary Yale                                        
      20.   Jonathan Atwater – Ruth Peck 
      21.   John Frost – Abigail                                               
      22.   William Payne – Mary Seymour  
      23.   Thomas Gridley – Mary Seymore                         
      24.   John Clark – Rebecca Marvin  
      25.   Thomas Smith – Sarah Dow                                
      26.   Thomas Goodsell – Sarah Hemingway 
      27.   Samuel Russell – Esther Tuttle                                 
      28.   John Hemingway – Mary Morris   
      29.   Thomas Smith – Elizabeth Patterson                        
      30.   Eleazer Morris – Anna Osborn 
      31.   Alling Ball – Sarah Thompson                                 
      32.   John Griswold – Bathsheba North

Paternal Stone lines:

      1.      William Stone – Hannah Wolfe                                   
      2.      Jonathan Hatch – Abigail Weeks  
      3.      Nathaniel White – Elizabeth Bruster                            
      4.     Hugh Mould – Martha Coit   
      5.      Joseph Dudley  – Ann Robinson                               
      6.     Emanuel Buck – Mary Kirgby  
      7.      Peter Tallman – Ann Wright                                       
      8.  Andrew Morrison – Sarah Jones   
      9.      Robert Pease – Abigail Randall                                 
     10.   Unknown Fletcher – Unknown  
     11.   Benjamin Jones – Elizabeth Willis                             
     12.   Nathaniel Gary – Anne Rice  
     13.   William Dean – Mehetable Wood                             
     14.   Israel Peck – Bethia Bosworth  
     15.   Samuel Beebe – Hannah                                            
     16.   Ephraim Culver – Martha Hibbard   
     17.   James Bishop – Elizabeth Thompkins                        
     18.   James Bennett - Mary Joy   
     19.   John Perkins – Mary                                                 
     20.   Thomas Hayward – Ruth Jones   
     21.   John Tuttle – Katherine Lane                                     
     22.   John Frost – Mercy Payne   
     23.   Joseph Mansfield – Mary Potter                                
     24.   Abraham Bradley – Hannah Thompson   
     25.   Ebenezer Blakeslie – Hannah Lupton                         
     26.   Mathew Ford – Mary Brook   
     27.   Jonathan Tuttle – Rebecca Bell                                  
     28.   William Abernathy – Sarah Doolittle  
     29.   Samuel Tuttle – Sarah Newman                               
     30.   Joseph Mansfield – Elizabeth Thomas   
     31.   John Humiston – Sarah Tuttle                                    
     32.   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.


Image Sources: 
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.

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