Ole Larson's Folks

In exploring the Revolutionary war patriot Philip Myers (German immigrant, and my 4th great-grandfather), naturally I am curious about the pedigree of great-grandma, his wife Martha Bennett. The Wyoming Valley book shown earlier gives a skeletal sketch of her patrilineal ancestors back to colonial Massachusetts, not far from the Colby’s. Specifically, my 8th great-grandpa along these lines is Samuel Bennett (b. 1611) who immigrated to Weymouth, Massachusetts from Weymouth, England around 1630 with his father Edward Bennett (about the same time as Anthony Colby immigrated). For prior generations of Bennett’s I have found no clues; all the reliable multi-family tree sites are silent.

Not so, however, with Martha Bennett Myers’ paternal grandmother, Mary Stafford (1690-1782). From her father, Amos Stafford, the male line goes straight back to Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1455-1483). I haven’t got it in my data yet, but this character is approximately my 12th-15th great-grandfather.

Henry Stafford
Henry Stafford, as portrayed by an actor in Shakespeare’s “Richard III”

Henry was a member of the royal family many times over; indeed, three of his four grandparents were descended from king Edward III, albeit through daughters or youngest sons. He never became king, but was a potent behind-the-scenes player, who may well have had his sights set on the throne. He maneuvered his kinsman Richard III into power following the death of Edward IV, by engineering the disgrace, disappearance, and presumed murder of the uncrowned Edward V and his brother in the Tower of London in 1483. These two were also Henry’s kinfolk, of course. The same year, Henry Stafford changed sides,  joining forces with Henry Tudor (a more distant relative) in a rebellion against Richard III. This rebellion failed, and Henry Stafford was beheaded for treason on 2 November 1483, at the age of 28.

Henry Tudor, however, successfully overthrew (and killed) Richard two years later, seizing the throne as Henry VII. This ended the Plantagenet dynasty of English kings, the house to which Stafford was most closely related (Technically, the dynasty ended earlier, but the two succeeding dynasties, reigning until Richard III, were extensions of the Plantagenet line). In the next post, we will make a quick survey of the several Plantagenet monarchs who happen to be our direct ancestors.

Philip Myers, part 3: His Family
A New Batch of Royalty