The Pilgrim Connection
This line of ancestors leads to my maternal grandfather, Dan Myers. Exploring for the first time the pedigree of Helen Colby Myers, Dan’s mother, it turned out that the Colby line (along with lines of several of their spouses) goes straight back to Massachusetts in the early 1600’s; that is, the first decades after the Mayflower. The Mayflower itself landed in 1620; I did not find any of these ancestors on that famous passenger list (numerous other ships soon followed), but at least eight of them were born in Massachusetts colony during the next 30 years. Several branches can be traced back to England, one of them (anecdotally, at least) to Medieval European royalty.
The most prominent of my “post-Pilgrim” ancestors is Anthony Colby.
He came from England in 1630 on a ship of the “Winthrop fleet.” He and hiswife Susanna (Haddon?) settled in Salem, Mass. in that year. Later in life, he bought a large house in Amesbury, Mass, from Thomas Macy, the town’s first clerk. Macy was run out of town by his fellow Puritans, after he gave shelter in a storm to a family of Quakers, an incident commemorated fictionally in a poem by Robert Greenleaf Whittier, titled “The Exiles.” The house is now a private museum, open only by arrangement. Click here to visit the house’s own website.
Including Colby’s son John, there were eight ancestors of Helen Colby Myers born in New England during the first 35 years of European settlement:
John Colby (Helen’s 5th great-grandfather) b. 8 Sept. 1633, Boston. Son of Anthony Colby and Susanna.
Frances Hoyt (5th great-grandmother) b. 1636 in Salisbury, Mass. Parents John Hoyt and Frances Jewell both came from England. Married John Colby.
William Eldridge, alt. Eldred (5th g. grandfather) b. 4 Sept. 1627, Yarmouth, Mass. Parents Thomas Eldred and Anne Watson both came from England.
Anne Lumpkin (5th g. grandmother) b. 1631, Yarmouth, Mass. Parents William Lumpkin and Thomasin (Constable?) both came from England. Parents apparently returned to England eventually. Married William Eldridge.
Mary Rowell (4th g. grandmother) b. 3 Jan 1649 in Salisbury, Mass. Parents Valentine Rowell and Joanna Pinder came from England and were married in Mass. Colony. After a “morals offense,” Mary Rowell married Thomas Frame, who had earlier come from England as an indentured servant.
John Folsom (4th g. grandfather) b. 3 Oct. 1641 in Hingham, Plymouth, Mass. Parents John Folsom and Mary Gilman both came from England.
Abigail Perkins (4th g. grandmother) b. 12 Apr. 1655 in Hampton, New Hampshire. Parents Abraham Perkins and Mary Wyeth both came from England. Married John Folsom. Perkins ancestry is traced (controversially) back to medieval royalty, which means there are hundreds of them, including William the Conqueror, Henry I of France, Charlemagne, even Judith Martel. And a huge cast of kings, princes, dukes, and counts of England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, with tendrils even back into Scandinavia via Russia. Mind you, these are all direct ancestors, 20-30 somethingth great grandfather/mother of Dan Myers. I’m still working on this. So far, Dan Myers’ pedigree has grown from 36 individuals to over 1,000. Some of the new ones, maybe a third, were already in my data, the rest I added in the course of this project.
All of these ancestors are in dozens of printed and online genealogies. They are listed, for example, in the following 4-Volume set:
An “internet cousin,” Nancy Hallberg (approx. 8th cousin), sent me excerpts from “Fifty Great Migration Colonists …” by John Brooks Threlfall, 1990, which gave us the “morals offense” of Thomas and Mary, among other details.
Pilgrims Galore – with scandal
My 7th great-grandparents, Thomas Frame(1649-1708) and Mary Rowell, had an affair that “… precipitated a hasty marriage on 18 Sept. 1673. For this morals offense, he was sentenced to be “whipped 15 stripes, unless he pay a fine of 4 pounds,” and she was to be “whipped 10 stripes, or pay a fine of 40 shillings.” — from Fifty Great Migration Colonists … by John Brooks Threlfall, 1990
Ouch! I am guessing the “morals offence” was merely premarital sex resulting in pregnancy, but there may have been more to it. The source, “Fifty Great Migration Colonists …” by John Brooks Threlfall, 1990, gives no further details. Oh, those Puritans!
Great Auntie, Convicted Witch
Mary Perkins (1615-1700) was born in England and came to Massachusetts in 1630 with her parents, John Perkins and Judith Gater, my 9th great-grandparents in the line of Helen Colby Myers, through Mary’s brother, Abraham Perkins. The Perkins line is traced back to King Henry III of England in several published sources, although the connection is not without controversy.
Anyway, Mary Perkins (Bradbury), when she was in her 70’s, was caught up in the Salem Witch hysteria. This quote is from the Perkins Family page of The New England Colonists Web:
On May 26, 1692, Mary [Perkins] Bradbury was named as a tormentor of Mary Walcott, Mercy Lewis, and Ann Putnam, Jr. She was arrested by Constable William Baker when she was 70 years of age [sic – she was more like 77]. Her husband, Captain Thomas Bradbury, was disliked by Suzanna Martin for his suspected tampering with her father’s will.
On August 9, 1692, Mary’s accusers depostions were taken. Suzanna Martin, enemy of her husband, was already hanged on July 19, 1692.
Mary was supposedly seen signing the Devil’s book. Other enemies were John Carr and his niece Anne Putnam, Jr. John Carr desired to marry Mary Bradbury’s daughter. Mary did not agree to his wants, since she thought her to be too young to marry. Later on, John Carr died in 1689. Mary Walcott and Ann Putnam, Jr. told the court that Uncle John appeared to them in a sheet as a spectre and told them that Mary Bradbury had killed him. John’s brother William, on the other hand, felt that John Carr had died of natural causes.
On Saturday, September 10, 1692, Mary [Perkins] Bradbury was sentenced to hang. Most of the testimony against Mary came from the Endicotts and the Carrs. The Carrs were the brothers of Mrs. Ann Putnam, Sr …
Another source, The Family of John Perkins of Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Geo. A. Perkins, M.D., Salem, 1882, quotes Mary’s answer to the indictment:
“I plead not guilty. I am wholly innocent of such wickedness through the goodness of God that hath kept me hitherto. I am the servant of Jesus Christ, and have given myself up to him as my only Lord and Saviour, and to the diligent attendance upon him in all his holy ordinances, in utter contempt and defiance of the Devil and all his works, as horrid and detestable; and have endeavored to frame my life and conversation in accordance with His holy word and in that faith and practice, resolve, by the help and assistance of God, to continue to my life’s end. For the truth of what I have to say as to the matter of practice, I humbly refer myself to my brethren and neighbors that know me, and to the searcher of all hearts, for the truth and uprightness of my heart therein, human frailties & unavoidable infirmaties excepted, of which I bitterly complain every day.”
118 friends and neighbors of the Bradbury’s signed a letter of testimony upholding Mary’s innocence and good character. But the court convicted her anyway, and sentenced her to be hanged on September 22, 1692. Back to The New England Colonists Web for the not-so-tragic outcome:
After Mary’s sentence a group of her supporters broke Mary Bradley [sic] out of jail. One of her accusers, Samuel Endicott, was said to have left home around the same time as she broke out of jail. He never returned. Seven years later he was still not found and was declared legally dead.
By Saturday, January 14, 1693 (four months later), Mary Bradbury was still in hiding, fearing that if she came back she would be charged for Samuel Endicott’s murder.
On Friday, May 12, 1693, Mary Bradbury rejoined her family and lived another seven years, until her death in 1700. By 1693, most prisoners were set free and the “Witch Hunt” was over.
Other sources state that bribes were paid to secure her release. Perkins (1882), states that Mary died of natural causes in 1693, instead of 1700.