John Rolfe Letter to Governor Thomas Dale, 1614


marriage-of-john-rolfe-and-pocahontas

Wedding of John Rolfe and Princess Pocahontas,  April 5, 1614

Continuing to further document and understand the lives of our earliest ancestors – emigrants from England to Jamestown, Virginia, I have included below, the 1614 letter  (transcribed and updated to today’s word usage and spellings by me–I made no changes to word choices or punctuation and kept present day English spellings).  My  11th great-grandfather, John Rolfe, (English Explorer), penned this letter to Sir Thomas Dale, then Governor of the Jamestown Colony.  In this deeply moving and revealing letter, John Rolfe asks permission to marry Princess Pocahontas, daughter of Indian Chief Powhatan, who presided over the Powhatan Empire until his death in 1618. If you would like to see the online letter with 400 year-old English words and spellings, please visit  “Virtual Jamestown’s” site .

Honourable Sir, and most worthy Governor:

When your leisure shall best serve you to peruse these lines, I trust in God, the beginning will not strike you into a greater admiration, than the end will give you good content. It is a matter of no small moment, concerning my own particular, which here I impart unto you, and which toucheth me so dearly, as the tenderness of my salvation. Howbeit I freely subject myself to your grave and mature judgment, deliberation, approbation, and determination; assuring myself of your zealous admonitions, and godly comforts, either persuading me to desist, or encouraging me to persist therein, with a religious and godly care, for which (from the very instant, that this began to root itself within the secret bosom of my breast) my daily and earnest prayers have been, still are, and ever shall be produced forth with as sincere a godly zeal as I possibly may to be directed, aided and governed in all my thoughts, words, and deeds, to the glory of God, and for my eternal consolation. To persevere wherein I never had more need, nor (til now) could ever imagine to have been moved with the like occasion.

But (my case standing as it doth) what better worldly refuge can I here seek, then to shelter myself under the safety of your favourable protection? And did not my ease proceed from an unspotted conscience, I should not dare to offer to your view and approved judgement, these passions of my troubled soul, so full of fear and trembling in hypocrisy and dissimulation. But knowing my own innocence and godly fervor, in the whole prosecution hereof, I doubt not of your benign acceptance, and clement construction. As for malicious depravers, and turbulent spirits, to whom nothing is tasteful but what pleaseth their unsavory palate, I pass not for them being well assured in my persuasion (by the often trial and proving of myself, in my holiest meditations and prayers) that I am called hereunto by the spirit of God; and it shall be sufficient for me to be protected by yourself in all virtuous and pious endeavours. And for my more happy proceeding herein, my daily oblations shall ever be addressed to bring to pass so good effects, that yourself, and all the world may truly say: This is the work of God, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

But to avoid tedious preambles, and to come nearer the matter: first suffer me with your patience, to sweep and make clean the way wherein I walk, from all suspicions and doubts, which may be covered therein, and faithfully to reveal unto you, what should move me hereunto.

Let therefore this my well advised protestation, which here I make between God and my own conscience, be a sufficient witness, at the dreadful day of judgment (when the secret of all men’s hearts shall be opened) to condemn me herein, if my chief intent and purpose be not, to strive with all my power of body and mind, in the undertaking of so mighty a matter, no way led (so far forth as man’s weakness may permit) with the unbridled desire of carnal affection: but for the good of this plantation, for the honour of our country, for the glory of God, for my own salvation, and for the converting to the true knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, an unbelieving creature, namely Pocahontas. To whom my hearty and best thoughts are, and have a long time been so entangled, and enthralled in so intricate a labyrinth, that I was even wearied to unwind myself thereout. But almighty God, who never faileth his, that truly invocate his holy name hath opened the gate, and led me by the hand that I might plainly see and discern the safe paths wherein to trade.

To you therefore (most noble Sir) the patron and Father of us in this country do I utter the effects of this settled and long continued affection (which hath made a mighty war in my meditations) and here I do truly relate, to what issue this dangerous combat is come unto, wherein I have not only examined, but thoroughly tried and pared my thoughts even to the quick, before I could end and fit wholesome and apt applications to cure so dangerous an ulcer. I never failed to offer my daily and faithful prayers to God, for his sacred and holy assistance. I forgot not to set before mine eyes the frailty of mankind, his prones to evil, his indulgence of wicked thoughts, with many other imperfections wherein man is daily ensnared, and oftentimes overthrown, and them compared to my present estate. Nor was I ignorant of the heavy displeasure which almighty God conceived against the sons of Levi and Israel for marrying strange wives, nor of the inconveniences which may thereby arise, with other the like good motions which made me look about warily and with good circumspection, into the grounds and principal agitations, which thus should provoke me to be in love with one whose education hath been rude, her manners barbarous, her generation accursed, and so discrepant in all nature from myself, that oftentimes with fear and trembling, I have ended my private controversy with this: surely these are wicked instigations, hatched by him who seeketh and delighteth in man’s destruction; and so with fervent prayers to be ever preserved from such diabolical assaults (as I took those to be) I have taken some rest.

Thus, when I had thought I had obtained my peace and quietness, behold another, but more gracious temptation hath made breaches into my holiest and strongest meditations; with which I have been put to a new trial, in a straighter manner then the former: for besides the many passions and sufferings which I have daily, hourly, yea and in my sleep endured, even awaking me to astonishment, taxing me with remissness, and carelessness, refusing and neglecting to perform the duty of a good Christian, pulling me by the ear, and crying: why dost not thou endeavour to make her a Christian? And these have happened to my greater wonder, when she hath been furthest separated from me, which in common reason (were it not an undoubted work of God) might breed forgetfulness of a far more worthy creature. Besides, I say the holy spirit of God often demanded of me, why I was created?

If not for transitory pleasures and worldly vanities, but to labour in the Lord’s vineyard, there to sow and plant, to nourish and increase the fruits thereof, daily adding with the good husband in the Gospel, somewhat to the talent, that in the end the fruits may be reaped, to the comfort of the laborer in this life, and his salvation in the world to come? And if this be, as undoubtedly this is, the service Jesus Christ requireth of his best servant: who unto him that hath these instruments of piety put into his hands and wilfully despiseth to work with them. Likewise, adding hereunto her great appearance of love to me, her desire to be taught and instructed in the knowledge of God, her capableness of understanding, her aptness and willingness to receive any good impression, and also the spiritual, besides her own incitements stirring me up hereunto.

What should I do? Shall I be of so untoward a disposition, as to refuse to lead the blind into the right way? Shall I be so unnatural, as not to give bread to the hungry or uncharitable, as not to cover the naked? Shall I despise to actuate these pious duties of a Christian? Shall the base fear of displeasing the world, overpower and withhold me from revealing unto man these spiritual works of the Lord, which in my meditations and prayers, I have daily made known unto him? God forbid. I assuredly trust He hath thus dealt with me for my eternal felicity, and for his glory; and I hope so to be guided by his heavenly grace, that in the end by my faithful pains, and christian-like labour, I shall attain to that blessed promise pronounced by that holy Prophet Daniel unto the righteous that bring many unto the knowledge of God. Namely, that they shall shine like the stars forever and ever. A sweeter comfort cannot be to a true Christian, nor a greater encouragement for him to labour all the days of his life, in the performance thereof, nor a greater gain of consolation, to be desired at the hour of death, and in the day of judgment.

Again by my reading, and conference with honest and religious persons, have I received no small encouragement, besides serena meaconscientia, the clearness of my conscience, clean from the filth of impurity, quo est instar muri chennai, which is unto me, as a brasen wall. If I should set down at large, the prohibitions and godly motions, which have striven within me, I should but make a tedious and unnecessary volume. But I doubt not these shall be sufficient both to certify you of my true intents, in discharging of my duty to God, and to yourself, to whose gracious providence I humbly submit myself, for his glory, your honour, our Country’s good, the benefit of this Plantation, and for the converting of one unregenerate, to regeneration; which I beseech God to grant, for his dear Son Christ Jesus his sake.

Now if the vulgar sort, who square all men’s actions by the base rule of their own filthiness, shall tax or taunt me in this my godly labour: let them know, it is not any hungry appetite, to gorge myself with incontinency; sure (if I would, and were so sensually inclined) I might satisfy such desire, though not without a seared conscience, yet with Christians more pleasing to the eye, and less fearful in the offense unlawfully committed. Nor am I in so desperate a state, that I regard not what becometh of me; nor am I out of hope but one day to see my Country, nor so void of friends, nor mean in birth, but there to obtain a match to my great content: nor have I ignorantly passed over my hopes there, or regardlessly seek to loose the love of my friends, by taking this course: I know them all, and have not rashly overstepped any.

But shall it please God thus to dispose of me (which I earnestly desire to fulfill my ends before set down) I will heartedly accept of it as a godly tax appointed me, and I will never cease, (God assisting me) until I have accomplished, and brought to perfection so holy a work, in which I will daily pray God to bless me, to mine, and her eternal happiness. And thus desiring no longer to live, to enjoy the blessings of God, then this my resolution doth tend to such Godly ends, as are by me before declared: not doubting of your favourable acceptance, I take my leave, beseeching Almighty God to rain down upon you, such plenitude of his heavenly graces, as your heart can wish and desire, and so I rest,

At your command most willing to be disposed of,

John Rolfe


Source:

Jameson, J, Franldin. Narratives of Early Virginia. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907. (237-244)

May 13, 2017: Jamestown Colony’s 410th Anniversary


Four hundred and ten years ago today (May 13, 1607), one hundred colonists (dispatched from England by the London Company) arrived along the west bank of the James River.  The next day they founded the first permanent English settlement in what is now the Virginia, known as the”James Fort.”

As I have written in other posts on my blog, it was during the next two years that disease, starvation, and Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony.  Yet, the London Company continually sent more settlers and supplies. The colonists referred to the severe winters of 1609 to 1610, as the “starving time.” These severe winters and lack of supplies were attributed with killing most of the Jamestown colonists and the survivors to plan a return to England in the spring.

On June 10, 1610, however, Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed governor of Virginia, arrived with supplies and convinced the settlers to stay at Jamestown. In 1612,  John Thomas Rolfe, my 10th Paternal Great Grandfather cultivated the first tobacco at Jamestown, introducing a successful source of livelihood.  Unfortunately, on March 22, 1622, he killed in an indian massacre on the Jamestown colony.

Jamestown ChurchThis photo taken in  the 1900’s shows the fifth church in the settlement.  

In one of his books, Captain John Smith wrote of building the first structure at Jamestown that was used as a church. According to his account, the settlers stretched a sail among the boughs and used rails to build the sides of the structure. They sat on benches made of unhewn tree trunks. The altar was simply a log nailed to two neighboring trees. This was a purely temporary arrangement and is not counted as a church building.

First Church — In 1607, the settlers built the first real church inside the fort. Smith related that this was a barn-like structure, but he gave few details. The settlers worshipped in it until it was destroyed by fire in January 1608.

Second Church — The church which was built after the fire in 1608 was similar in appearance to the first church. When Lord De La Warr arrived as governor in 1610, he found that the church had fallen into a sad state of disrepair, so he had it restored and its furnishings improved. It is assumed that this is the church in which Ann Burras and John Laydon were married and their daughter, Virginia Laydon, was later baptized.

When Captain Samuel Argall came to Jamestown in 1617, he found “but five or six houses, the church down, the palisades broken, the bridge in pieces, the well of fresh water spoiled, the storehouse used for the church; the marketplace, the streets and all other spare places planted with tobacco; the savages as frequent in their homes as themselves, whereby they were to become their “experts in our arms”…the Colony dispersed all about planting Tobacco.”

Third Church — From 1617-1619, when Samuel Argall was governor, he had the inhabitants of Jamestown build a new church “50 foot long and twenty-foot broad.” It was a wooden church built on a one-foot-wide foundation of cobblestones capped by a wall one brick thick. When visiting Jamestown today, you can see these foundations under the glass on the floor of the present building. The First Assembly was held in the third church. This church is best remembered as the meeting place of the first Representative Legislative Assembly, which convened there on July 30, 1619. This church endured until 1639, when it was replaced by a brick structure.

Fourth Church — In January 1639 Governor John Harvey reported that he, the Council, the ablest planters, and some sea captains “had contributed to the building of a brick church” at Jamestown. This church was slightly larger than the third church and was built around it. It was still unfinished in November 1647 when efforts were made to complete it.  Ten years later a fifth church was functioning, probably using the walls and foundations of the fourth church. Sometime after it was finished a brick church tower was added. During Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676, this church was burned.

Fifth Church —  About 10 years after the 1676 burning, the fifth church was functioning, probably using the walls and foundations of the fourth church. Sometime after it was finished a brick church tower was added. The tower is the only seventeenth-century structure still standing above ground at Jamestown.

The tower is slightly over 18 feet square and the walls are three feet thick at the base. Originally the tower was about 46 feet high (ten feet higher than the ruins) and was crowned with a wooden roof and belfry. It had two upper floors as indicated by the large beam notches on the inside. Six small openings at the top permitted light to enter and the sound of the bell or bells to carry across river and town. This church was used until the 1750s when it was abandoned. Although the tower remained intact, the building fell into ruins by the 1790s when the bricks were salvaged and used to build the present graveyard wall. Throughout the nineteenth century the tower remained a silent symbol to Americans of their early heritage. It was strengthened and preserved shortly after the APVA acquired it in the 1890s.

 

The Present Church — The Memorial Church building was constructed in 1906 by the National Society, Colonial Dames of America just outside the foundations of the earlier churches. It was dedicated May 13, 1907.

 

The Lee’s–a Historically Significant Virginia and Maryland Political Family


Colonial America and Prominent Lee Family Members

Many prominent members of the Lee Family are known for their accomplishments in politics and the military.  This family first became prominent in Colonial America when Richard Henry Lee I arrived in Virginia in 1639 and went on to become possibly the richest man in Virginia by the time of his death.

“The family of Lee has more men of merit in it than any other family.”  – John Adams, 1779 (Lawyer, Statesman, President)

Among Colonial Lee’s notable descendants were: Thomas Lee (1690–1750), a co-founder of the Ohio Company in 1747 (a land speculation company organized to trade with the Native Americans), and a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses; Francis Lightfoot Lee(1734–1797) and Richard Henry Lee II (1732–1794), signers of the United States Declaration of Independence; Thomas Sim Lee (1745–1819), Governor of Maryland and, most famous, General Robert E. Lee (1807–1870) Confederate States of America commander in the American Civil War. President Zachary Taylor and Chief Justice Edward Douglass White were also descendants of Richard Lee I. Confederate President Jefferson Davis married Sarah Knox Taylor, daughter of Zachary Taylor.

My interest and connection to the Lee Family dates back to July 1892 when Catherine Irene Bolling/Bowling married James Franklin Lee.  Catherine was my second great grand aunt, sister of my paternal great grandfather, Edward Bud Vincent Bowling Sr (1872 – 1946), and daughter of my paternal second great grandfather, Larwrence T. “Larl” Boling and Elizabeth “Betsy” Tapp, (of  the Widow Tapp Farm on the Wilderness Battlefield) in Spotsylvania, Virginia.  James Franklin Lee is the sixth great grandson of Colonel Richard Henry Lee I, and third great grandson of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Richard Henry Lee arrives in Jamestown

Richard Henry LeeIn 1639,  at the age of 22, Colonel Richard Lee I, “The Immigrant” (1613–1664) was the first of England’s Lee Family to arrive in Virginia’s Tidewater Region of Jamestown (settled in 1607).  Richard had very little to his name when he arrived other than the patronage of an influential man, Sir Francis Wyatt, the 1st Governor of Virginia. Once in Jamestown, he became Attorney General of the Colony of Virginia, Colonial Secretary of State, and member of the King’s Council. He became Clerk of the Quarter Court at Jamestown, within the Secretary of State’s office. He was a loyal supporter of King Charles I of England, and his public offices ceased when Oliver Cromwell seized power in England in 1649. Additionally, Richard Henry Lee served as High Sheriff and was a Colonel in the Militia.  Richard was also a tobacco planter, trader, owner and trader of slaves, and employer and importer of indentured English servants (who paid for their passage to America with 7 years of labor). At the time of his death he was the largest landholder in the colony (13,000 acres) and perhaps the richest man in Virginia.

Marriage to Anne Owen Constable (1641)

Anne Constable LeeRecords show Richard Henry Lee and Anne Owen Constable met on their voyage from England to America in 1639. Anne Owen Constable was the sixth child of 15 born to her parents, Francis and Alice Owen Constable. Anne’s parents sent her away to the Americas as a ward of King Charles I through Sir Francis Wyatt, the 1st Governor of Virginia, so she could escape a certain death from the bubonic plague, also known as the “black death.” Both of Anne’s parents and all but two siblings died from the plaque shortly after her departure. Richard and Anne married in Jamestown in 1641 two years after Richard began courting her. Richard was 28 and Anne, 26. After their marriage, Richard sent for Anne’s only two remaining siblings who had not contracted or succumbed to the plague. It is believed that because of Anne’s family’s connections to the King that Richard Lee rapidly climbed the political ladder.  Richard and Anne had 10 children together, all of whom prospered and increased the prominence of the Lee family in the history of Maryland, Virginia, and the United States.

A Closer View at Richard’s Life In Virginia’s Tidewater Region

1The threat of Civil War hung over England for much of the 17th century. When the war officially broke out in 1642, England’s medieval and past traditions and King Charles I’s efforts to unify power, repress religious dissent, and head off what we might now call “free market reforms,” divided its people.  And the people of Maryland’s and Virginia’s Tidewater Regions remained loyal or “royalists,” to King Charles I, and later his son, King Charles II.

The then Governor of Jamestown, Sir William Berkeley, through various supporters, invited hundreds of England’s “distressed Cavaliers” to Virginia, granting them high offices and estates upon their arrival. Many who accepted his offer were the younger sons or grandsons of England’s aristocrats— and the founders of the majority of Tidewater’s leading families. Among them were Richard Lee (grandson of a Shropshire manor owner and great-great-great-grandfather to Robert E. Lee), John Washington (grandson of a Yorkshire manor owner and great-great-grandfather of George Washington), and George Mason (Royalist member of Parliament and great-great-grandfather of the namesake founding father). For these new elites in St. Mary’s City, Maryland and Jamestown, Virginia settlements along the Chesapeake. Whether highborn or self-made, the great planters had an extremely conservative vision for the future of their new country: they wished to re-create the genteel manor life of rural England in their new world and their succeeded beyond their expectations.   In the seventeenth century the English country gentlemen were, in effect, the kings of their domains. From their manor houses they directed the lives and labors of the tenant farmers and day laborers who lived in the villages associated with their manors. As justices of the peace, they presided over the local courts while their sons, nephews, and younger brothers often served as the parsons of the village churches, which belonged, of course, to the official Church of England (the “Anglican” church, rebranded “Episcopal” in America after the Revolution). It was expected of Jamestown’s gentlemen to show benevolence to their inferiors, host wedding parties for their servants, sponsor funerals for the poor, and display hospitality to their neighbors. They alone had the right to hunt, which was often one of their favorite pastimes. Their estates were largely self-sufficient, producing their own food, drink, livestock feed, leather, and handicrafts. (Surpluses were sold to England’s towns and cities.)

In England, upon the lord’s death, almost everything passed to his firstborn son, who had been groomed to rule; daughters married the best prospects; younger sons received a small sum of money and dispatched to make their own way as soldiers, priests, or merchants.

Tidewater’s successful tobacco planters copied from the world they grew up in.  They built graceful brick manors and housed their indentured tenants in cottages modeled on those in England, clustered in village-like residential areas. They bought servants who could build and run mills, breweries, smokehouses, and bakeries so that their plantations could meet all of their needs. They drove the construction of tidy Anglican churches and stately courthouses at convenient crossroads and the governor and his council appointed “commissioners,” that by 1661 were called “justices of the peace.”   Justices of the Peace presided over the courts.  In many respects, the justice of the peace was the local governing authority. In Virginia they set up an analog to the English Parliament called the House of Burgesses, which required that all members be wealthy. (Maryland’s General Assembly had similar stipulations.) They, too, were expected to assume the role of benign patriarch toward ordinary residents, and they also sent their surpluses to England’s cities. But in one key respect they deviated from English practice: they did not disinherit their younger sons, with whom Tidewater gentlemen often felt a special bond; most had come to America precisely because they were themselves the disinherited younger sons of country gentlemen.

Tidewater’s aspiring gentry created a thoroughly rural society without towns or even villages. It had no need for commercial ports and thus for cities, because the land was riven with navigable fingers of the Chesapeake, allowing the great planters to build their own docks. On clearing customs, oceangoing ships could sail directly to a plantation, unload the latest books, fashions, and furniture from London, and load barrels of tobacco. (Later, slaves would also arrive in this way.) Few local manufacturers could compete with cheaply sourced English goods, discouraging craftsmen and industry. So, they built no towns, other than the twin capitals mentioned above, until late in the 17th century.

From the 1670s on, the tidewater region gentry had an increasingly difficult time finding enough poor Englishmen servants. Those who completed their indentures often could not support themselves in an agricultural export economy increasingly dominated by great plantations, and ex-servants led or joined rebellions in 1663, 1675, and 1683. Unfortunately, this is when slave trading became the plantation owners’ solution.

1Woodard, Colin (2011-09-29). American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (Kindle Locations 814-928). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

ISO my Family’s Sociological “Big Bang!”


According to my most recent research into the Bolling-Chambers-Taylor families, I am descended from an ancient line of folks who were known to be bald, short, fat, stammerers, and some even barbarians!

At my eldest grandson’s wedding in Chicago last weekend,  my third eldest grandson approached me for genealogical help. AndyFor his college sociology class his assignment was to check his ancestry to see what if any family members’ actions could be attributed to making significant sociological changes in our world as we know it today.  To help him, when I returned home, I started reviewing my genealogical works over the years, noting a few posts from earlier blogs that might be helpful, and looking for something that struck me as a “big bang!”

I then pulled up my DNA test results to copy the mapped area of our families origins and went back to the family tree and various iterations of the family surname “Bolling.” DNA Ethnicity by Regions of WorldThis process took me from my last name Boling in Maryland, to Bowling and Bolling in Virginia and Yorkshire, England, this is where my 12th great grandfather (Sir Tristam Bolling, III [1515-1561] of Bolling Hall in Bradford in Yorkshire, England)was born.  Next, onto my 16th through 27th De Bolling great grandfathers. That’s when the English DeBolling name changed to the French iteration “DeBoulogne” for my 28th through 36th great grandfathers (back to the year 891 when A De Therouanne De Boulogne was born in Flanders, France).  And then the surnames ceased and my ancestral relatives were identified by the geographic areas in which they lived, and in many cases ruled.  For example, my 37th great grandfather was known as Baldwin Baudouin I “Baas DeFer” “Iron Arm” the first Count of Flanders.

My Big Bang!

Next our family was found in Rhineland, Germany and lo and behold my 42nd great grandfather was Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, Emperor of the Roman Empire!–my big bang!

In the course of several hours I had traced my family line back beyond the 11th century United Kingdom and into the times before surnames, back to ancient and medieval times to France, Germany, Italy and earlier geographic names for these regions.  It was here that I discovered those bald, short, fat, stammering barbarians were Kings and Emperors who belonged to the ancient Merovingian and Carolingian Dynasties.  

charlemagne

Charlemagne (Charles the Great) Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire 742-814

I had actually traced our lineage back to the year 190 and the Germanic tribes that historians describe as the “Franks.”  The Franks, united by culture and language, had settled near the Rhine River by the end of the third century.  While the Roman Empire was failing, the Franks gradually expanded their territory westward into the Roman province of Gaul and were in control of an area that we know as present-day Belgium and Northeastern France when the Roman Empire fell in the year 476.

Clovis and the Merovingian Dynasty

The first great King of the Franks was Clovis, who was their leader between 481 and 511. Clovis’s family, referred to as the Merovingian dynasty, continued to expand its territory. The Frankish expansion grew as a result of the conversion of Clovis and his followers to Christianity, because Christians living in former Roman lands sought liberation from the barbarians who had gained control of large areas. This marked the beginning of a long and mutually beneficial alliance between the Franks and the Roman Catholic Church — which was also growing in power in the Middle Ages.

Charlemagne and the Carolingian Dynasty

The Franks continued to expand their territory through Western and Central Europe until their influence reached its height under Charles the Great–also known as Charlemagne, (my 42nd paternal great grandfather).  He was King of the Franks between 768 and 814 and a member of the Carolingian dynasty. Charlemagne’s alliance with the Roman Catholic Church was formalized in the year 800, when he was crowned Emperor by the pope. By the time of his death, Charlemagne’s empire encompassed present-day France, Germany and northern Italy. However, after the empire was divided among his sons, the power and influence of the Franks gradually declined. By the year 987, the Carolingian dynasty — and the dominant position of the Franks in European affairs — had come to an end.

A Closer Look at the Carolingians

The Carolingian (kărəlĬn´jēənz), Dynasty of Frankish rulers was founded in the seventh century by Pepin of Landen, who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish kingdom of Austrasia or Dagobert I. His descendants, Pepin of Heristal (my 45th great grandfatherCharles Martel (my 44th great grandfather)Carloman and Pepin the Short (my 43rd great grandfather), continued to govern the territories under the normal kingship of the Merovingians.

King Pepin the short of Heristal

King Pepin the Short of Heristal

In 751, with the knowledge of backing up Pope Zacharias, Pepin the Short deposed the last Merovingian King, Childeric III. To emphasize the importance of the church and to legitimize his reign, Pepin was consecrated by a bishop of the Roman church. The family was at its height under Pepin’s son, Charlemagne, who was crowned Emperor in 800.

Treaty of VerdunCharlemagne’s empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun (843) after the death of his son, Emperor Louis I among Louis’s three sons.Lothair_I Lothair I inherited the imperial title in the middle part of the empire Louis the German founded a dynasty that ruled in Germany kingdom of the East Franks until 911, his successors being Charles III (Charles the Fat), Arnulf, and Louis the Child. The third son of Louis I, Charles II (Charles the Bald), founded the French Carolingian Dynasty, which ruled, with interruptions, until 987. Its rulers were Louis II (Louis the Stammerer) Louis IIICarlomanCharles III (Charles the Simple), Louis IV (Louis d’Outremer), Lothair (941-86), and Louis V. In the Carolingian period, a landed economy was firmly established. The Kings consolidated their rule by issuing capitularies and worked closely with church officials. Until the late 9th century, Charlemagne and his successors were generous patrons of the arts. He encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a return to Roman classicism and Byzantine and Greco-Roman styles. Charlemagne successfully conquered all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. He created a papal state in central Italy and 774. After his death the kingdom was divided; its authority eventually eroded was reestablished in France in 893.

Significance of the Franks

The Franks helped to bring stability to Europe in the Middle Ages. The Franks unified and Christianized most of Europe. In fact, the territories would not be united again in such an encompassing fashion until the time of Napoleon. The consolidation of authority in Europe under Charlemagne and his alliance with the Roman Catholic Church set the stage for the Holy Roman Empire.

For a complete timeline check out this one:  HistoryWorld – Charlemagne Timeline.

A Girl Jekyll and Hyde Who Embezzled $110,000


I subscribe to World Explorer Ancestry.com which gives me full access to everything Ancestry has available, including Fold3.com, the military records site and Newspapers.com, which includes unlimited access to more than 50 million pages from more than 1800 newspapers across the United States with billions of articles, obituaries, and announcements that may contain stories of my ancestors.

No this is not an advertisemnt or endorsement, but you can easily search Newspapers.com for family members, dates, events, etc., much like you search ancestry.com and that where my interests lie.  In one of my browsing moments with no specific intent in mind, I came across the following article from the Washington Post Newspaper, dated January 18, 1920.  The article’s title A Girl Jekyll and Hyde Who Embezzled $110,000 initially caught my eye, but when I started reading it, the writer’s literary and story telling style impressed me–you might say, a novellette. I apologize for the article being longer than I would usually post.  But, I found myself juxtaposing this 1920’s article and writing style to that of today’s newspapers’ writers–nearly 100 years later. The differences in style as I see them quite naturally evolved as our society grew, emphasis on proper grammar changed, and how we now choose to divvy up our time for reading and prioritizing our limited time in general.  What hasn’t changed in all these years seems to be people’s greed and their willingness to risk all they have for social influence and material possessions in spite of their God-given talents and abilities, real family and friends.


 

 The Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia): Sunday, January 18, 1920

(http://www.newspapers.com/image/28984518/)

A GIRL JEKYLL AND HYDE WHO EMBEZZLED $110,000

An Amazing But True Story of Petite and Pretty Chief Accountant Position of Trust Who Took Funds to Keep Her Private Business Going so That She Might Live in Luxury.

Girl Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde“Most extraordinary case I have ever known, ” was the comment of the court at a session of Manchester assizes held the other day in England, when Tracy Mary Brady, a petite accountant for a ship broker was arraigned, charged with larceny, falsifications of accounts and fraudulent conversion of monies, the property of her employers, and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment as a punishment for her sin and folly.
“A female Jekyll and Hyde,” they said, as the weeping girl, wearing some of the fine clothes and sparkling jewels that had been the cause of her downfall, was led away to her cell.

For Mary lived a full life. To all outward appearances, as she came and went about her daily work in the brokerage offices, where she was employed, she was an honest working girl, smart and capable, but living simply on the stipend that was paid to her in a weekly envelope. Little did her employer know that when she went home in the afternoon that it was a handsome home in Victoria Park, where she lived splendidly in affluence and riches. And not until the trial did they know that she was the proprietress of a jewelry shop that served the elite of Manchester.

All England gasped when the story of her frenzied finances came out.

“In all my long legal experience I have never met up with a case that might have paralleled this one,” remarked the girl’s lawyer as she sat bowed in humiliation before the bar of justice. The Manchester paper said that if her story had been the subject of a novel by popular author it would have been looked upon as improbable and ridiculous.

Mary Brady was a poor girl who dreamed, like Cinderella, of a life in a gorgeous palace, where she can frolic in ease and luxury against an environment: of social splendor and Royal gaiety, indulging her every wish and for fineries and frivolities out of an inexhaustible treasury provided to her by an indulgent Prince Charming.

But alas! When she woke to find no gallant prince to whisk her off to the grand ball and the Elysian fields of riches, she set off alone to satisfy her heart’s desire is honestly – and counted not the cost of the dizzy game she play until her house of cards came tumbling down upon her slender shoulders and buried her in shame.

Played for High Stakes

Instead, she wished and wished, kept on wishing, until her desires so obsessed her that she determined to have all the creature comforts and luxuries of life, regardless of how they came. Unashamed, emboldened by her first “successes” she went on and on, trampling all convention, disregarding the laws and unscrupulously playing for high stakes with loaded dice. And then came the fall!

Mary was born of humble and honest parentage in Ireland. Her father was a county inspector in the Royal Irish constabulary. He died when Mary was 14 years old, leaving a will and a large family. The widow had some means either reason of a portion of an estate left her by relative. Mary, who in early school days was known as a smart little thing with a head for business and organization, was sent to the Ursuline convent in Sligo, and later continued her education in a Francescan and convent at Nottingham where she was a novice.

By and by she went into the world to earn her own living. To Liverpool she went. My, what a big city! It was very first trip to a large city, and she loved it. The handsomely dressed men and women, the taxicabs and limousines, the theaters and operas, the elegant mansions where the rich land in full and plenty – all her life she had wanted these things. Why was she denied them? She walked in the streets of Liverpool looking in the shop windows at the lovely gowns and wraps, smelling the rich foods as the flavors drifted to her through the windows of the gilded palaces, what the gay throng of pleasure seekers and being these well-dressed women as they tripped lightly from their cars on the arms of their smiling consorts.

But all of these things were denied her. She had not a single friend in all this city throng. She had no funds except the meager pittance that was paid her every Saturday night, and most of it went to pay her board and lodging, former laundry and the few clothes she was able to buy. She had only her position as a sales girl with Lever Brothers – that in her dreams as she sat alone in her tiny hallroom apartment, on one of Liverpool’s small side streets.

How Can She Raise Herself?

And then came the thought: why should she not have all these things? She was pretty, she was smart, she could hold her own among all the other city girls, even though she was a quiet country Irish girl. But how? How is she to mount the latter, rung by rung, until she could command is pretty things for which her soul was longing? How can she raise herself so that she could mingle on an equal footing with these people of another social stratum? What she could dawdle away while waiting for her Prince Charming, or was she to hew her way to the top by her own resources?

She would do it. Ambition inflamed in her and she applied herself to her work at Lever Brothers, and so conscientiously and faithfully that presently she was rewarded with a promotion and an increase in salary. By and by came another increase, for Mary, as was mentioned before, was a woman with extraordinary business capacity. Shrewd, quick witted and courteous to her employers and their patrons, she soon became an invaluable asset to the firm. They reciprocated by elevating her to a position of trust all where she was given the handling of large sums of money. Her private life was above reproach: she was industrious, painstaking and careful of her conduct in and out of business hours. Mary was working for definite goal was leaving no stone unturned that would hinder her drive toward success.

After a time she heard about a new position in Manchester and filed an application. Her references were good, and when the Manchester firm came to look her up they found that Mary was all and more than they had hoped for. So she won: to the hustling, bustling city of Manchester from Liverpool, and resumed again her diligent search for the Golden fleece.

Now she had an important position. She was engaged in the offices of a thriving ship owners and brokerage company. The war was on, and every resource of the nation was combined in getting out every scrap of tonnage possible. Everyone was busy about his or her job in this big establishment. The contract had to be turned out, no matter what the cost. Shipbuilders were being paid good prices, with bonuses for quick delivery, and the officials distributed some of their profits in the way of increased salaries among their employees.

A Trusted Employee

Mary Brady was caught in this wave of prosperity. She had an important position. She was an expert accountant and cashier: through her pants test all the funds of the company. The company’s books were under her supervision, and she kept them in “apple pie order”. Mary was a trusted employee – capable, efficient and always on the job. She was rewarded proportionately.

And now came for temptation. Why should she not live like other people of means? Her salary had increased to such an amount that she could afford to live in better style. So the girl took apartments in the fashionable Midland hotel. There she met folks of different class from those she had ever known before. Better food, more sumptuous living quarters, style, smart people, music, dancing, service – these were the things that appealed to her.
She revealed in this new life. It was wine to her spirits. Pretty and well-dressed now, she was an attractive figure. And she had a pleasing personality that readily won over many new friends. She was in the environment where she could meet them. She was living up to the limit of her income and still she had not enough. She must develop other resources of revenue. But where? And how? She was a salaried girl with no independent means. She must have more money or give up the life she was living. And she loved it so!
There, in the office, she was handling large sums of money, the payroll and petty cash that approximated £50,000 a year. She was tempted to take some of it. Only a loan, she figured. But how could she repay it? How could she take that which did not belong to her without getting an accounting for it? Has she any right to lend herself out of the company’s funds? She wrestled with the problem.

Eventually came a time when she must do something. Her bills at Midland were greater than she could pay. She was using so much of her funds for the day expenses of her new life that when these bills were presented she was unable to meet them. How could she make more money?

And then came an inspiration. She had it! She would go into business for herself! She would “borrow” money from her employers without telling them about it and later pay it back of the profits she would make. Fourth with began her peculations. They were small at first and she deftly covered them up in the books by false entries. As time went on they grew larger and larger, but always the girl was able to hide her defalcations from the company officials through expert manipulations of her accounts. In time she had gathered a considerable sum – enough to start her own business.

Got the Goods on the Margin

Now she went out and engaged herself a little shop in the middle of the Manchester shopping district. With the funds she had appropriated she was able to establish credit and get goods on a margin. She kept right on at her position in the shipyard and employed a manager, a woman who she knew and trusted. To her intimate friends she confided the information that she was in business and directed them to her shop. They went and bought her goods. Others patronize the little jewel shop and it leaped overnight into a flourishing business

.By day Mary worked faithfully in the offices of the ship brokers.

After hours she looked over her jewelry shop with her manager for an hour or so and then gave the rest of the evening over to the life she loved – social splendor. Money! It came to her last. She had “borrowed” from her employer large amounts, but she would pay back very shortly. Her business was prospering.

After time married took a house of her own in Victoria Park, a palatial little place, where she had entertained the friends she had met at the Midland and elsewhere. Clothes, expensive clothes, furs, elegant furniture, and house decorations – all these came her way. Curious people might have wondered how Mary maintained herself so luxuriously on her shipyard salary, but her friends knew about the jewelry shop. They patted her on the back and told her she was the smartest woman in the world. They were proud of such an energetic and resourceful little woman.

There were no romances in this life of Mary’s – saved one. There was never a suggestion of immorality of any kind or shape. Mary had a sweetheart in the service and she was true to him. Perhaps she might have married one of the firm, a junior partner, if she had loved him or set her For him. But Mary loved another. Instead, she introduced one of her sisters to the junior partner of the firm and a forthwith became engaged to be married.

For two years Mary Brady lived this life of shipbuilders’ accountant and jewelry shopkeeper. Money, money, money – how she loved it! It was also fascinating – this business of a young country girl engaged in business for herself. She was still “borrowing” from the firm; but wasn’t her business growing, and wouldn’t she soon be able to repay it without anyone being any the wiser?

All the time she was going a faster pace. It cost considerable to maintain the house in Victoria Park and entertain her friends and style. The prices of everything were constantly increasing. Nor could she received from the position into which she had climbed. She must make a bold front of it and keep things going, no matter what the cost. Even though there came a time when she had to go to a money lender to temporarily bolster her business, Mary kept serenely on her way, confident that she could pull through.

She Turned to Cards

Eventually she found herself face to face with a desperate situation. The pace was faster than she could stand, the demands greater than her resources. She must go slow on the office defalcations in order that she might keep her tracks well covered up. Auditing her jewelry shop accounts, she found that she had asked and received as much credit as she reasonably could without inviting undue comment. She can go no further in either direction. But something must be done.

Then she turned to cards. She had learned to play bridge and other games of chance with the paste boards. Adroit and cool in business, she applied the same methods to her card playing. Sometimes she won and applied her earnings to her business. More often she lost – lost the money that was needed to keep up the jewelry shop. Deeper and deeper she became enmeshed. Recklessly she plunged on and on, trying to recoup her losses and thinking all the time the tide would turn and she would work her way out of the dismal mess.

And then came the crash! One day an officer of the law stepped into the office where Mary was working as a cashier at a salary of £4 a week. He tapped her on her shoulder and said you are under arrest. She was led away, white with fear, but trying to smile and telling her friends that always come out right in the end.

The scene changes to the courtroom. The newspapers have told the whole story of Mary Brady and her dual life; all about the jewelry shop and the Palace in Victoria Park. The court room is crowded as the cashier is led before the presiding justice. All is hushed silence as the prosecuting attorney recites that Mary Brady was a single woman and had been for seven or eight years employed by Messrs. Thoresen as a cashier at a salary of £4 a week. The practices of the she has accused were said to have begun in 1917 and the frauds discovered in July 1919. Mary pleads “guilty.” To the police officer who had arrested her she said, “I cannot deny having had the money, but I can get friends to help me repay it.” She gave the amount as £10,000.

“Is that correct?” asks the court. “The sum was largely in excess of that amount,” comes the reply.

The official receiver in bankruptcy, when called by Mary’s attorney, testifies, saying he is administering her estate as trustee and that the state has realized £8,400. And then follows a running fire of questions and answers.

“Has she given you every assistance?” “Yes.”

“Is she a woman of exceptional business capacity?” “I should think so.”
“Had the prisoner’s employers put in a proof, and if so, for how much?” “£22,000.”

What She Told the Police

“According to the police, the prisoner when arrested said she had lost the money by gambling and cards, except when she had spent on dress. Went to the estate consist of?” “The estate consisted of dresses, furs, jewelry, furniture, a house in Victoria Park, and a jewelry business.”
“How did she pay for the business?” “In cash. It cost £2,000.”

“Is there anything to show how she paid for these things, the furs, the jewelry and so on?” “I do not think she made any secret of the fact that she paid for them out of money referred to in the prosecution.

“Did she spent largely on dress?” “Undoubtedly.”

“On expensive furs?” “Yes, on beautiful furs.”
“Was the business successful?” “I should say it was moderately successful. She would probably make from £50 to £600 a year.”

“Was she there during the day?” “She looked after the business, but had a manageress.”

“Was the business partly paid for by a loan from a money lender of £1,500?” “It is difficult to say.”

“Was there a loan from a money lender?” “Yes.”

It was suggested further by the receiver that Mary Brady must have lost thousands of pounds at cards played at the Midland Hotel.

“With whom did she play?” “I cannot tell you. I shall have to investigate these matters very closely in bankruptcy in view of this trial. I thought it was fairer not to conduct the bankruptcy proceedings until this was over.”

Addressing the court for the defense, Mary Brady’s attorney sketched the whole story of her life, from her birth in Ireland up to the present proceedings, omitting no detail. He told of her life and the Midland Hotel, where she had met the class of people who encouraged her to spend and live high. He told how she conceived the idea of starting a business for herself and how her defalcations began in the office where she handled so much money. They were trifling at first; then larger sums were taken to cover up the small. Finally she was swamped by the drain on her and began play cards for sums which she could not afford to lose. She lost, and did not require much imagination to show where the money came from.

Fought Against Disaster

She had filed a petition in bankruptcy and had made an exhaustive return in an effort to stave off disaster. The costs in this case were being paid for by a married sister. His client was absolutely without a penny and was ruined. There was no suggestion of immorality. It was no small punishment that she had to face so much publicly in the public journals and there had been attacks on her which were without foundation, pleaded the attorney for the defense.

An officer who was engaged to marry her still desired to make her his wife notwithstanding any sentence his Lordship might pass. The prisoner came of an excellent family and one of her sisters was engaged to marry a partner in the prosecuting firm.
The justice in passing sentence said it was a most unhappy case. It caused him as a Judge deep personal grief.

“Your great charm of manner,” he went on, “and your opportunities have led to one thing only – your appearance in the criminal dock of this assize. I am sure that no judge feels more deeply than myself the promptings of pity and sympathy. On the other hand, I realize always the duty of a judge to administer the law, to inflict proper punishment and to do that which will be a warning to others. In the present case it is impossible to overlook the serious nature of your offense.

“You were trusted and you violated your trust. You stole the property that you undertook to guard. I cannot see any element of remorse. I hope this case will warn all men and women that integrity of character is the only basis for lasting happiness. Your serious and prolonged dishonesty calls for substantial punishment, and the least sentence I can pass upon your set of 12 months’ imprisonment.”

They led Mary Brady away to her cell – away to a dreary dungeon so unlike the beautiful house in Victoria Park and totally bereft of all the fine appointments and fine friends who flattered her in the days of her “prosperity.”

Irish-American Heritage Month: March 2014


DNA Test Reveals 10% Irish Ancestry

From my ancestry.com dna report–A Look Into My Irish Ancestry – Primarily in: Ireland, Wales, Scotland, but some lived in France, and England:

Emerald IsleI guess the DNA results that revealed my blood lineage as 10 percent Irish, allow me to legitimately wear green today to honor my Irish heritage.  Ireland, called the Emerald Isle for its rolling green hills, is the second largest island in the British Isles, just off the west coast of Britain. Along with Wales, Scotland and a handful of other isolated communities in the area, it is a last holdout of the ancient Celtic languages that were once spoken throughout much of western Europe. Though closely tied to England, both geographically and historically, the Irish have fiercely maintained their unique character throughout the centuries.

My family’s Irish Surnames:

Irish Ancestry 1Irish Ancestry 2

People of prehistoric Ireland and Scotland

After the Ice Age glaciers retreated from northern Europe more than 9,000 years ago, hunter gatherers and farmers spread north into what is now Great Britain and Ireland. Around 500 B.C., the Bronze Age culture spread across all of western Europe, including the British Isles. These new people originated in central Europe, near what is Austria today. Many tribes existed, but they were collectively known as the Celts.

Population expansion

From around 400 B.C. to 275 B.C., Celtic tribes expanded to the Iberian Peninsula, France, England, Scotland and Ireland—even as far east as Turkey. As the Roman Empire expanded beyond the Italian peninsula, it began to come into increasing contact with the Celts of France, whom the Romans called “Gauls.”

A Tribe of Gauls on an Expedition by Alphonse De Neuville

Roman invasions

The Romans eventually conquered the Gauls and then invaded the British Isles in 43 A.D. They conquered most of southern Britain and occupied it over the course of a few decades. Those Celts who were not assimilated into the Roman Empire and retreated to other areas that remained under Celtic control, such as Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Brittany. The Roman presence largely wiped out most traces of Celtic culture in England—even replacing the language. Since the Romans never occupied Ireland or Scotland in any real sense, they are among the few places where Celtic languages have survived to this day.

Another thing the Romans brought was Christianity. During the few hundred years that the Romans occupied Britain, they promoted Christianity with varying degrees of force. Many missionaries traveled to the area and succeeded in converting the Celts from their pagan Druidism, though pagan religions resurfaced after the Roman Empire’s collapse.

Viking invasions

Beginning in the late 8th century, Viking raiders began attacking the east coast of England and the northern islands off Scotland.  During the next few centuries, they controlled parts of the islands, exacting tribute, pillaging villages and monasteries, and occasionally setting up trade outposts. During the 9th century, the Vikings established Dublin in western Ireland as a trade port. Vikings controlled this area of Ireland for nearly 300 years, but their power diminished after heavy losses at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Norman invasions

During the 12th century, Ireland consisted of a number of small warring kingdoms. When Diarmait Mac Murchada, the petty king of Leinster, was deposed by the Irish High King, he turned to England for help. Henry II, the Norman ruler of England, sent Norman mercenaries who assisted Mac Murchada and he regained control of Leinster, though shortly thereafter he died. In 1171, Henry II landed with a large army and seized control of Ireland. With the support of Pope Adrian IV, Henry II took the title “Lord of Ireland” and the Emerald Isle became part of the English Kingdom.

Drawing of Diarmait Mac Murchada, from W.R. Wilde’s A Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities in the Museum of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 1 (Dublin & London, 1863), page 310.
King Henry II by unknown artist. Nation Portrait Gallery, London.
Pope Adrian IV

The Norman kings, ruling primarily from France, gave rise to the House of Plantagenet, a line of kings who began to merge and modernize the kingdom of England. Beginning in 1277, Edward I put down a revolt in Wales and led a full-scale invasion of the country, bringing it under control of the English crown. He then seized political control of Scotland during a succession dispute, leading to a rebellion there. Edward’s campaign against the Scots was less successful and remained unresolved at his death. By decisively defeating Edward’s son at Bannockburn in 1314, the Scots assured their independence.

The Great Plague of the 14th century devastated the Norman and English leadership in Ireland. This destruction of outside authority promoted a renewal of Irish political power, culture and language.

Early modern Ireland

Beginning in 1537 and for the next 70 years, the English monarchy reconquered Ireland. The English attempted to force acceptance of Protestantism among the Irish people, who had mostly remained Catholic. When forced conversion failed, the British Crown replaced the Irish landowners with thousands of Protestant colonists from England and Scotland. England also sold Irish prisoners and “undesirables” to Caribbean plantations as slaves.

The Irish diaspora

Two famines, one in 1740-41 and the second in 1845-52, decimated Ireland. They brought widespread death from starvation and disease and created a massive exodus of refugees. The first famine, caused by severe winter weather, led to the deaths of some 400,000 people; about 150,000 Irish left the country. The second, called the “Great Famine,” was the result of potato blight, killing 1 million people by starvation. Another million Irish fled the country, most immigrating to England, Australia, Canada and the United States, creating a worldwide Irish diaspora.

Victims of the Irish Potato Famine immigrate to North America by ship
The Irish Famine: Interior of a Peasant’s Hut by H. Werdmuller

And, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features

Percentage of U.S. Residents with Irish AncestryOriginally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick’s Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the President issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

From the U.S. Census Bureau’s Facts for Features

MARCH MADNESS/Sports Celebration of Irish Heritage

100,003

Population of South Bend, Ind., home to the Fighting Irish of the University of Notre Dame. About 10.4 percent of South Bend’s population claims Irish ancestry.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/DP02/1600000US1871000>

24.1%

Percentage of the Boston metropolitan area population that claims Irish ancestry, one of the highest percentages for the top 50 metro areas by population. Boston is home of the Celtics of the National Basketball Association.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/DP02/310M100US14460>

78,390 and 16,167

Population of New Rochelle, N.Y., and Moraga, Calif., home to the Gaels of Iona University and St. Mary’s College of California, respectively. During college basketball’s March Madness, you will typically see these universities compete on the court, no doubt rooted on by some of the 8.4 percent of the New Rochelle population and 15.5 percent of the Moraga population that claim Irish ancestry.
Sources: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/DP02/1600000US3650617>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_5YR/DP02/1600000US0649187>

Population Distribution

34.1 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2012. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million). Irish was the nation’s second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
Sources: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>
Ireland Central Statistics Office
<http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/statisticalyearbook/2013/c1population.pdf>

22.6%

Percentage of the population in Massachusetts that claims Irish ancestry, which is among the highest in the nation. New York has 2.5 million people claiming Irish ancestry, which is among the most of any state.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/DP02/0100000US.04000>

153,248

Number of people with Irish ancestry who were naturalized citizens in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

39.2 years old

Median age of those who claim Irish ancestry, which is higher than U.S. residents as a whole at 37.4 years.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

Irish-Americans Today

34.2%

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor’s degree or higher. In addition, 93.4 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 29.1 percent and 86.4 percent, respectively.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

$59,220

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the $51,371 for all households. In addition, 7.4 percent of family households of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.8 percent for all Americans.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

41.1%

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 25.9 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 15.9 percent in service occupations; 9.3 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.7 percent in natural resources, construction and maintenance occupations.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

68.9%

Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 63.9 percent.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201/0100000US/popgroup~541>

Places to Spend the Day

16

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. The most recent population for Dublin, Calif., was 47,156.
Source: 2012 Population Estimates
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2012/PEPANNRES/0400000US06.16200>

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Paddy’s Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,669 residents.
Source: 2012 Population Estimates
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2012/PEPANNRES/0400000US37.16200>

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) or one of the seven places that are named Shamrock.

The Celebration

25.9 billion

U.S. beef production in pounds in 2012. Corned beef is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day dish.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
<http://www.ers.usda.gov/news/BSECoverage.htm>

$21.5 million

Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in 2012 for operations with $100,000 or more sales. Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service
<http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/current/FlorCrop/FlorCrop-04-25-2013.pdf>

Hello Again, World – My 145th Post


My First Post – Eight Months Ago

salem-witches 1692-1693

salem-witches 1692-1693

Eight months ago on November 15, 2012, I published “Hello World“–my 341-word first blogpost ever, under the category of Witches and Witchcraft.  I wondered then if some of my family from among the 40 generations I have traced back could have been among those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut or Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  I noted that most women and men who were accused in the 15th-19th centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.  And, I wondered if I inherited my self initiative and personal drive from anyone of those accused. By the way, the jury remains out on those issues.

So, despite only six people reading my first post, I went on to write 144 others on a variety of categories over the next eight months; making today’s post number 145!  And today, I took to data mining my blog’s statistics to see just how readership and visits stand at my 100th post.

Understanding my blog’s readership demographics

On April 25, 2013, Our Heritage:  12th Century and Beyond, captured its largest number of readers in one day–totalling 74:  as you can see, many people that day were drawn to my Home page/Archives (24), and the Plymouth Pilgrims, Puritans, The Great Migration…post (10).

April 25-2013Stats

On June 19th, one of my most popular posts was about a  “dragon boat racing event” to end hunger in Calvert County.  It received 39 views, but a total of 66 views were made of the blog site that day.  This post had nothing to do with my family genealogy but did hit a home run on topic and history of a little known sport for a good cause.  And, today I have 88 blog followers and the following keeps growing, too.

The United States’ State Department recognizes 195 independent countries from around the world.  The U.S.Census Bureau posts today’s world population at 7,097,725,000 and counting.   My blog’s readership in comparison is small, but steadily growing.  To date, 3,350 people from 64 countries–one third of the world’s countries, have read at least one of my posts.  Below are the top five countries based on overall readership, with the remaining 190 countries making up 6.1 percent of the world’s remaining readers to visit my site.  The Census Bureau’s total estimated population for today (and counting) is 316 million. That means a little over one percent of the U.S. population has read a post from my blog during the past eight months.

Blog Readership

Googling for other genealogy-based blogs

I then googled “genealogy blogs,” to see just how many I might find out there.  There actually is a site Genealogy Blog Finder that tracks 1,782 blogs worldwide.  It lets you filter by:  recently updated, what’s new, and who’s blogging where in the world:Genealogy Blog FinderSo, it made sense to me when I learned that nearly 86 percent of my readership is in the United States. Pingdom.com’s study of blog readership states that there are actually over 157 million blogs on Tumblr and WordPress, alone.  Comparing the 157 million blogs number to the 1,782 genealogy blogs, I see that just 1.14 percent of all of those blogs are genealogy-based posts.  

And finally, according to Blogpulse.com; “No wonder many bloggers have a hard time getting noticed.  There are more than 144 million blogs in the world, publishing 1 million posts per day. So there is some competition.”

When I reflected on these staggering facts, I can only feel very appreciative for all readers who have taken their time to find and read my posts.  Happy blogging and reading.  Hope you will visit with me again!

 

The Tudors and Taylors: My British Connection


The TudorsThe Tudors

Two years ago, we watched on Netflix, almost incessantly, 38 streamed episodes of Showtime TV’s monumental, award winning series The Tudors.  The Tudors originally aired from
April 1, 2007 to June 10, 2010. It starred the 35-year-old Golden Globe award-winning Irish actor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers,  (2nd from left in the photo), and this year’s 30-year-old, British born actor, Man of Steel star, Henry Cavill, (bottom right in photo),  and many More.

The timeline of the historic Tudor dynasty began in 1485 with King Henry VII (Henry Tudor), the first of the Tudor monarchs.  He had a claim to the throne through his mother, Margaret Beaufort who was the great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt (son of Edward III and Philippa of Hainault). Henry’s Lancastrian forces defeated those of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and Richard III was killed. Henry seized the throne and married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, uniting the Houses of Lancaster and York, represented in the Tudor Rose.  This is also about the time that King Henry VII and my Taylor ancestors came to meet each other for the very first time.
The TV show starred Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, a charismatic and notoriously amorous figure with a lust for life, and for the beautiful women at court. His dutiful wife Catherine had served him lovingly for more than a decade, but the wife of a king in 1520 must do more than serve – she must produce an heir. As the young monarch contended with each advisor playing their own interest in the threat of war with France, fear over the security of the Tudor line grew steadily in his mind, so much so that he became involved with the bewitching and ambitious Anne Boleyn.  This scenario sets off a chain of events that would change history – igniting an onslaught of tumult and intrigue that would rage on for years, serving as the catalyst for political divide, religious war, and romantic betrayal. John Taylor’s biography that follows links and interwines his life, education, and professional accomplishments to both monarch’s (Kings Henry VII and VIII) and many of prominent “notables” of his day. Many of these fellow men and women were portrayed in The Tudor TV series.  The series was rife with notables of the day–very few of them were what I would consider honorable men.  In fact, as history has it, many of them were despicable men and women out for personal gain and power at whatever the cost to God and country.  Hmmm…

The British Connection

But, little did I know when viewing the intrigue of The Tudors  with all of its history that my ancestors would be directly in the throes of their power, politics, love, religion, and blasphemy and probably aligned with the most controversial royal line ever among England’s monarchical dynasties. You might ask; “Well, just how did this British Connection begin?”  And there’s just one answer.  The Taylor’s were connected by time, geographic proximity, and quite frankly and most importantly, the anomaly of a multiple birth that bore healthy triplets–an extraordinary event 500+ years ago.  

The Taylors
Cottage_in_Needwood_Forest_by_Joseph_Wright_1790About 1477, in Barton-under-Needwood, a large village in Staffordshire, England, triplet sons were born to Joan, wife of one William Taylor who was employed as a game warden in the Forest of Needwood.  John Taylor, the first born of the triplets, along with his brothers Rowland, Nathaniel and their sister Elizabeth lived in a cottage to the north-east of the Church Lane, where several of the village’s timber-framed cottages stood. Members of the Taylor family had lived in Barton since 1345, and William Taylor and his wife, Joan, took possession of their cottage in 1471.  To the best of my knowledge, local maps of today’s Church Lane in Staffordshire, Stafford, England appears to be about 30 or so miles from Buckingham, where today’s Queen Elizabeth resides.
It was this John Taylor (1477-1534) who was son of William Taylor (1450-1477) and Margaret De Fairsted (1457-1546) of Shadoxhurst, Kent, England that is my 13th paternal great grandfather. 
King Henry VII (1457-1509)

King Henry VII (1457-1509)

The story of the triplets’ life had a folk-tale quality to it.  Robert Plot’s History of Staffordshire 1686) tells of three babies being presented to King Henry VII because of the rarity of multiple births.  However, Henry VII  took the throne in 1485.  So,  it’s likely that the King saw the triplets as three young boys.  It is rumored that he also envisioned them as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.  It was then that King Henry VII promised to educate the three boys if they survived into manhood and he kept his word.

Additionally, the triple birth, inspired Queen Victoria’s Royal Bounty for Triplets which remained in effect until sometime during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign that began in 1952. All three boys were educated at a University ‘beyond the seas’, probably in France or Italy.

John Taylor’s Biography

About 1503 John Taylor was ordained Rector at Bishop’s Hatfield. Soon afterwards he often went abroad on official business.  He was, in fact, a  House of Tudor civil servant. In 1504, he became Rector of Sutton Coldfield. By 1509 he had become Prebendary  (similar to a non-residentiary Canon) of Eccleshall in Lichfield Cathedral and was one of the Royal Chaplains at Henry VII’s funeral.

IKing Henry VIIIn the same year, the new King Henry VIII appointed him King’s Clerk and Chaplain and two years later he was made Clerk to the Parliament and given other positions. The detailed diary of a French campaign he undertook with the King is preserved in the British Museum. He wrote Royal Speeches, met Ambassadors and was rewarded by more ecclesiastical promotions, including that of Archdeacon of Derby in 1515 and later Royal Ambassador to Burgundy and France and Prolocutor of Convocation. In 1516 he also became Archdeacon of Buckingham. He was incorporated by virtue of his degrees of Doctor of Civil Law and Doctor of Canon Law at Cambridge in 1520 on the occasion of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s visit there and shortly afterwards in 1522 at Oxford, also.

1520:  The Field of the Cloth of Gold – Meeting between France and England

Field of the Cloth of GoldThe famous meeting between Henry VIII and Francois I of France called took place in June 1520 in Northern France. It was intended to strengthen peace ties between France and England. Masterminded by the great Cardinal  Wolsey, each king and Court strove to one-up  the other. Henry was accompanied by 5,000 people and spent in excess of £13,000 on the splendor of the occasion. In attendance were ten chaplains, including John Taylor. The King ordered each priest to be clothed in damask and satin and each to be followed by his own attendants, not exceeding ten persons and four horses. The English built a palace-like pavilion of wood and canvas with expansive windows. The Flemish glazier Galyon Hone created the windows. Fine wines flowed from drinking fountains.

The first church built in 1157 was a chapel of ease in the parish of Tatenhill and was possibly situated near to the present Church in a field called Hall Orchard, the location of Church Lane. A chest from that medieval church dated from between 1100 and 1300 is all that remains. John Taylor inherited his father’s land and endowed his new church there. Work commenced in 1517, as carved on the south side of the tower, with completion in 1533 the year before John Taylor died. The register dates from 1571 in the reign of Elizabeth I. The church is a rare example of a church being completed in one lifetime. It was originally dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene but when things Catholic fell from favor in the middle of 16th century the church changed its name to St. James. The church has a three-sided apse, a rare form in this county, part of the John Taylor design. Inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s career, together with representations of his coat of arms, the head and shoulders of three children and a Tudor rose.

It was begun in 1517 which date appears on the tower. Inside, inscriptions over alternate pillars of the nave tell of John Taylor’s promotions and illustrious career, between these are representations of the coat-of-arms he adopted.

By the time the Tudor Church was finished and dedicated in 1533, John Taylor was already a sick and troubled man. In 1527 he had become Master of the Rolls, the peak of his appointments, he was travelling to and from France on Royal business and he had been appointed one of the commissioners to try the validity of the King’s marriage to Lady Catherine of Aragon. It seems possible that Cardinal Wolsey had used John Taylor in a vain attempt to find a suitable French princess for a future Queen of England should the divorce be granted. His dread of Anne Boleyn was well-known.

In 1528 he became Archdeacon of Halifax. At the peak of his career Taylor was suddenly under pressure to surrender his prebend at St. Stephen’s, Westminster, another of his appointments, and he was suffering badly with a diseased leg. Whether his health failed or he incurred Royal disfavor is not known, but he wrote his will and resigned as Master of the Rolls, and Lord Thomas Cromwell (doomed also to fall from Royal favor) was his successor.  John Taylor died in 1534. The place of John Taylor’s burial has not been traced, though there is thought to have been a monument to him in St. Anthony in London’s Threadneedle Street.

There is a touching sentence in his will (in Latin of course) “nothing in the world is more fleeting than human life and that nothing follows more certainly than death, and that nothing is more uncertain than the hour of our death and how transitory are the worldly goods provided for us by the goodness of God”.

He left various bequests to churches at Shottesbrooke in Berkshire and Bishop’s Hatfield and Lincoln Cathedral. His servants and his sister Elizabeth, his executors, nephews and cousins shared the contents of his considerable household in his home at Bethnal Green.

References:

Field of the Cloth of Gold; http://tudorhistory.org/glossaries/f/field_of_cloth_of_gold.html
Barton-under-Needwood; http://www.barton-under-needwood.org.uk/
http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/Bios/JohnTaylor.htm
http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/taylor.htm

Tobacco, Slavery, Earthworms, Honey Bees; Grains, Livestock, Disease…Oh My!


1493bookAfter reading one of my posts, a friend suggested I take a look at the book 1493… by Charles C. Mann. Only a few pages into it and I had a rude awakening.  It appeared to me that up to this point I had merely been scratching the surface when describing our family’s roots, branches, history, and stories.  And then, I started looking even further for confirmations of what I had read in the book 1493…

I always felt that our ancestors were noble people of smaller stature but hardy adventurers and spiritually strong and good people. (I believe that’s the extent of what my school teachers had taught me.)  Not being a history buff,  I also thought that in the early centuries, the world’s continents and countries were very much compartmentalized. Much to my surprise and perhaps my dismay I was uninformed, misinformed, and/or disillusioned–again, this is what I learned in school up until the eighth grade or so.

THE VIRGINIA COMPANY OF LONDON, 1606-1624

The Virginia Company

The Virginia Company

I also found that I knew little about the economic drivers behind the stories of the colonial adventurers and specifically by the London Company (a group of venture capitalists) who wanted to use a settlement in Virginia (Jamestown) in the 1600s as a trading post midway from England as a way to grab trade from China. This fact is even more interesting to me now given my knowledge of today’s backdrops of allies, enemies, world trade, and teetering economies.

There were two ways to become a member of the London Company. If you had money to buy shares in the Company but were inclined to remain safe and snug in England, you could invest as an “Adventurer.” If you really were adventurous and didn’t mind travelling to the new colony, you could become a member of the Company as a “Planter.”

Planters were required to work for the Company for a set number of years. In exchange for this work — or, more precisely, servitude — the company provided housing, clothing, and food. At the end of the servitude the planter would be granted a piece of land and be free of obligations to the company. In addition, the planter would be entitled to a share of the profits made by the company.

The planters were really servants of the company. They had no real freedom and were kept by force in the company. They had no choice but to accept any changes that the Governor or company decided to make, including an extension of their contracts. (Three-year contracts were sometimes extended to ten years.) Any letters sent to or received from England were destroyed if they contained any disparaging remarks about the company. Relatively minor offences could result in severe punishments. According to some colonists’ accounts, there were continual whippings, as well as punishments such as hanging, shooting, breaking on the wheel, and even being burnt alive.

Slavery and the Making of America

Slavery and the Making of America

The other crucial event that played a role in the development of Virginia was the arrival of Africans to Jamestown. A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar to the many poor Englishmen who traded several years of labor in exchange for passage to Virginia. (The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 1680s.)

I consider The London Company’s priorities callous and greedy–not an uncommon vein that runs through governments and politics today.  Their priorities were set  on trade and the money to be made. Thus, all too often and for too long Queen Elizabeth I and her successor, King James I’s chartered company ignored and disregarded the well being and lives of humankind. England’s interest in North America was so largely expressed through the agency of the Virginia Company that its story I’m sure fills many history books about the United States and the British Empire.

Tobacco seeds from the Caribbean, earthworms, soil, honeybees, pigs, horses, cows, and oxen from England–all of these changed the landscape and lives of the colonists.

The Columbian Exchange

The Columbian Exchange

 

“The Columbian Exchange” is the name given to the era in which livestockagricultural products, and cultural influences moved between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas in 1492 is considered the start of the era, and as a result of the interaction, societies in both hemispheres benefited from new products and suffered from new [and deadly] diseases. [Author and historian Dr. Alfred Crosby is credited with developing the term, which was the title of his 1972 book on the subject.] –wiseGEEK

Chesapeake Bay is the remains of a huge, 35-million-year-old meteor crater.  The impact-fractured rock at the mouth of the bay lets in the sea, contaminating the groundwater with salt.  Few Indian groups lived in the saltwater wedge, presumably for just that reason.  Jamestown was bordered and undergirded by bad water.  That bad water, the geographer Carville D. Earle argued, “led to typhoid, dysentery, and perhaps salt poisoning”.  By January 1608, eight months after landfall, only thirty-eight English were left alive.–Charles C. Mann,1493…

 

The Starving Time and Near Abandonment (1609–11)

George Percy, Governor of Virginia during the Starving Time

George Percy, Governor of Virginia during the Starving Time

In the autumn of 1609, after Captain John Smith left [to return to England], Chief Powhatan began a campaign to starve the English out of Virginia. The tribes under his rule stopped bartering for food and carried out attacks on English parties that came in search of trade.

Hunting became highly dangerous, as the Powhatan Indians also killed Englishmen they found outside the fort. Long reliant on the Indians, the colony found itself with far too little food for the winter.

As the food stocks ran out, the settlers ate the colony’s animals—horses, dogs, and cats—and then turned to eating rats, mice, and shoe leather. In their desperation, some practiced cannibalism. The winter of 1609–10, commonly known as “The Starving Time,” took a heavy toll. Of the 500 colonists living in Jamestown in the autumn, fewer than one-fifth were still alive by March 1610. Sixty were still in Jamestown; another 37, more fortunate, had escaped by ship.–David A. Price, Encyclopedia Brittanica (online).

On some level the colony’s plight is baffling. Chesapeake Bay was and is one of the hemisphere’s great fisheries. Replete with pike, carp, mullet, crab, bass, flounder, turtle, and eel, this long shallow estuary was so biologically productive that John Smith joked about being able to catch dinner in the frying pan used to cook it. The Atlantic Sturgeon that swam in the James grew big enough, one colonist reported, that you could loop vines around their tails and be pulled underwater. (I didn’t believe this until an archaeologist at Jamestown told me he had uncovered bones from a sturgeon that may have been fourteen feet long.) Oysters grew in such numbers that one mound of discarded shells from native feasts covered nearly thirty acres.

How could the colonists starve in the midst of plenty? One reason was that the English feared leaving Jamestown to fish because Powhatan’s fighters were waiting outside the colony walls. A second reason was that a startlingly large proportion of the colonists were gentlemen, a status famine “ghastly and pale in every face,” some colonists stirred themselves to “dig up dead corpse[s] out of graves and to eat them.” One man murdered his pregnant wife and “salted her for his food.” By spring only about sixty people had survived what was called the “starving time.”–Charles C. Mann,1493…

In closing, I wish to thank my friend for gently exposing me to a whole new level of understanding about the histories, lives, and times of my ancestors.  And, I  promise as I write new posts that they will be more inclusive of the spices and flavors from others documented chapters in history.  To me, this simple change will be like going from a black and white small screen movie theatre to delivering crystal-clear images and stories through an Imax immersive 3D experience.

I also highly recommend to you, Charles C. Mann’s 1493.. (just one of his several best sellers out there) for his storytelling and writing style, but also for his scope of content, the inclusion of so many important people of the day, and quoted sources from across the professional sciences (archeologists, botanists, genealogists, geologists, historians, sociologists, etc.) who could quantify, confirm, or deny the findings presented from the colonists and others from earlier times.

1493:  Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.  Charles C. Mann; Vintage Books, New York City, 2011.

Africans in America:  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p264.html

Buffalo Rising Online:  http://archives.buffalorising.com/story/bill_1#sca

Encyclopedia Brittanica:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/300134/Jamestown-Colony/247838/The-Starving-Time-and-near-abandonment-1609-11

National Geographic Magazine OnLine Archives:  http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/05/jamestown

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Virginia Company Of London, 1606-1624, by
Wesley Frank Craven,  April 11, 2009 [EBook #28555]

Unearthing America’s Birthplace–Rediscovering Historic Jamestown:  http://www.apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=6

wiseGEEK–clear answers for common questions:http://www.wisegeek.org

Johannes Eustacius “John” Rolfe…My 11th Great Grandfather


Johannes Eustacius “John” Rolfe, Father of John Rolfe, Jr. Who Married Pocahontas

Birth: Oct. 17, 1562, Heachum, Norfolk, England
Death: Nov. 29, 1594, Heachum,  Norfolk, England (Age 32)
Buried:  Dec. 1, 1594 Heacham Church, Heachum, Norfolk, England

Norfolk County in which Heachum resides is known for its industry in Lavendar.NorfolkEnglandLavendar

It is thought that settlers first came to Heacham as early as 3000 BC, drawn to the region to support the daily needs of the people. The river for fresh water, the sea for fish and shellfish, deer and other creatures from the deeply wooded area around. The name of Heacham arises from its l2th century overlord Geoffrey de Hecham, and its river, the Hitch. Over the years speaking and spelling have become Heacham – meaning “The Home in the Thicket”. The settlement lay in a hollow, with the fall into it from north, south, and east. Here again, is evidence of passing historic ages, stone age, bronze age, including the romans and the normans.

The story of the Red Indian Princess, Pocahontas, and her romantic marriage to the son of the Lord of the Manor, John Rolfe, shined like a beacon in the early 1600s.

The earliest record of the Rolfe family direct line is two brothers, Robert and Eustace Rolfe, who were born at Heacham about 1539. Robert married Margaret Crowe and was ancestor of a prominent family at Lynn, and Eustace Rolfe married at Heacham, May 27, 1560, Joanna Jenner. Eustace and Joanna had a son Johannes Eustacius “John” Rolfe, of Heacham, who was born October 17, 1562, married Dorothea Mason, Sept. 24, 1582, died in 1594, and was buried at Heacham Church, December 1st of that year.

HeachamVillage

The “First Common Market”

Heacham is a little known coastal village in the County of Norfolk between King Lynn’s–a Hanseatic town (engaged in an alliance of trading cities in the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic) dating back to the 12th century and beyond when it was one of England’s most important ports–and Hunstanton.

Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk, England

Hunstanton Cliffs, Norfolk, England

Old Hunstanton village is of prehistoric origin and is situated near to the head of Peddars Way. In 1970, evidence of Neolithic settlement was found. The quiet character of Old Hunstanton remains distinct from and complements that of its busy sibling, with clifftop walks past a privately owned redundant lighthouse and the ruins of St. Edmund’s Chapel, built in 1272.  Heacham’s rich past has left a magnificent heritage of buildings and stories to be discovered. 

St. Mary's Church, Heacham, England

St. Mary’s Church, Heacham, England

The much loved church of St Mary the Virgin was built in the 13th century, making the church the oldest building in the village.  It is a true reflection of the village’s history since it stands very much at the heart of the village.  The church is surrounded by many buildings made from local chalk, carrstone and a terracotta brick once manufactured in the village. Churches designed like St Mary the Virgin of Heacham, with a central tower built on the crossing, are a rarity in Norfolk as buildings designed in this manner required a strong foundation base using good strong building stone.  Buildings of this design often collapsed because of poor quality local stone.  Others were reduced in height, but St Mary’s has survived more than 800 years. The church belfry has circular openings on each side which appear small in proportion to the massive tower.  This particular feature of the church indicates its great age as belfry openings grew in size over time.  A cupola crowns the top and contains the original 12th century bell – regarded as the oldest in East Anglia.  Glorious Byzantine style brass lanterns hang from the ceiling identical in design to those of the Basilica in  St Marks Square, Venice. Local legend has it that the Indian Princess, Pocahontas, worshiped at the church  when  she and John Rolfe returned  with their young son, Thomas from Virginia to England.  Sadly, Pocahontas became ill and died in Gravesend, Kent  aged 22. There is legend that the very ancient Mulberry tree in the gardens of Heacham Hall – always known as the Pocahontas Mulberry tree – was planted at the time of the visit which John Rolfe and his wife paid to Heacham.

Following Pocahontas death, John Rolfe returned to his land in Virginia leaving their son Thomas in England for his formative years.  Thomas returned to Virginia in 1640 when he was about 25 years old. It is significant that a village in Virginia named Heacham dates from that time. Thomas Rolfe remained in America and married Jane, daughter of Francis Pothyress, leaving issue an only daughter, Jane, from whose marriage to Colonel Robert Bolling, many eminent American families are descended. The forefathers of John Rolfe rest in Heacham Church and it is fitting that the tablet in memory of his wife Pocahontas should be placed just above those of his father John Rolfe and his mother Dorothy Rolfe. Coats of arms of  prominent members of the Rolfe family are located inside the church. A sculpture of Pocahontas in Jacobean dress by Otillea Wallace, a pupil of Rodin hangs on the wall above a plaque dedicated to Johannes Eustacius Rolfe. The following is a translation from the original Latin inscription:

John Rolfe, gentleman, of Hitcham died on the twenty-nineth day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1594, in the thirty-second year of his age. While he lived he was of much service to his fellows; his wish to enrich all his neighbors and kinsfolk by assisting the poor with his wealth; nothing could be kinder than he was; he bore the insults of many men quietly without offence; by exporting and importing such things as England abounded in or needed, he was of the greatest service, inasmuch as he spent both pains and labor upon it. Thus he seemed to die as the force of fire is quenched by excess of water. For his strength was unimpaired, nor had he completed many years when he died. His death brought grief to many, but he had done nobly upon the consciousness of a well spent life, and the record of many benefits not allowed to die utterly: John Rolfe had, no doubt, been a successful merchant at Lynn. Rolfe had, with other issue, 1. Eustace, and 2. John (twins) baptized May 6, 1585; 3. Edward, baptized Feb, 22, 1591. There was another son, Henry, afterwards a merchant in London and a member of the Virginia Company, who is included in a manuscript pedigree mentioned by Mrs. Jones in her Old Sandringham.

While there isn’t much more to write about Johannes Eustacius Rolfe, we still can see the staying power of the Rolfe name on Heacham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk County, and England, as the map below shows several of the landmarks the Rolfe’s family timesHeachamMapToday