It’s Maryland Day: March 25

The Ark and the Dove, 1934 Issue

The Ark and the Dove, 1934 Issue

Today is Maryland Day!   It is observed on the anniversary of the landing, in 1634, of the first European settlers in the Province of Maryland, the third English colony to be settled in British North America.  It is from this event that both Maryland and the city of Baltimore got their names.

On 25 Mar 1634, settlers from the Ark and the smaller Dove first stepped foot onto Maryland soil, at St. Clement’s Island in the Potomac River.  The Maryland settlement was authorized under the charter granted 20 Jun 1632, by Charles I of England to Cecilius Calvert, Baron of Baltimore.  Traveling on the Ark to the new colony, Leonard Calvert, Lord Baltimore’s brother, led the Maryland settlers.  In thanksgiving for the safe landing, Jesuit Father Andrew White celebrated the Mass for the colonists led by the younger brother of Lord Baltimore, Leonard Calvert, (1606-1647), who served as the first governor, and perhaps for the first time ever in this part of the world on the first landing at Blackistone Island, later known as St. Clement’s Island off the northern shore of the Potomac River, which was the new border between the new colony and the earlier English settlements in Virginia) and erected a large cross.  The landing coincided with the Feast of the Annunciation, a holy day honoring Mary, and the start of the new year in England’s legal calendar (prior to 1752).  Later the colonists and their two ships sailed further back down river to the southeast to settle a capital at St. Mary’s City near the point where the Potomac flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  The formal observance of Maryland Day began in 1903 when the State Board of Education chose one day in the school year to be devoted to Maryland history.  March 25th was named Maryland Day by the Board.  In 1916, the General Assembly authorized Maryland Day as a legal holiday (Chapter 633, Acts of 1916).

The Pride of Baltimore exchanges cannon fire with Fort McHenry on her way to Annapolis for Maryland Day festivities. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun / 24 Mar 2014)

The Pride of Baltimore exchanges cannon fire with Fort McHenry on her way to Annapolis for Maryland Day festivities. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun / 24 Mar 2014)

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Moses Wheeler, early settler of New Haven, “Blue Law” exile and Ferryman of Stratford, Connecticut

The Moses Wheeler Bridge has been a Connecticut icon since its construction in 1958, carrying I-95 over the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford. Due to decades of unforgiving New England weather, the bridge is currently undergoing reconstruction that is scheduled for completion in 2016, so that it can continue supporting the 135,000 cars and trucks that cross the Housatonic River on I-95 every day, making it one of the busiest bridges in the state.

The Moses Wheeler Bridge has been a Connecticut icon since its construction in 1958, carrying I-95 over the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford. Due to decades of unforgiving New England weather, the bridge is currently undergoing reconstruction that is scheduled for completion in 2016, so that it can continue supporting the 135,000 cars and trucks that cross the Housatonic River on I-95 every day, making it one of the busiest bridges in the state.

Driving on I-95 through Connecticut, you may find yourself on one of the busiest bridges in the state – the Moses Wheeler Bridge – that spans the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford.  The bridge, opened in 1958 and undergoing major reconstruction from 2011-16, was named for Moses Wheeler (1598-1698), my maternal 9th great grandfather, who operated the ferry crossing in the early days of Stratford.  For many years, Wheeler, a ship’s carpenter, operated a ferry across the Housatonic River at this location.  His son and later his grandson also ran the ferry.

Moses Wheeler was born in England, very likely in the county of Kent, in 1598.  He sailed from London in 1638 and settled in the New Haven colony, where he was among the first to receive an allotment of land in 1641.  At New Haven, Moses married Miriam Hawley, a sister of Joseph Hawley (1603-1690), one of the first settlers in the colony and my 10th great grandfather.  Evidently, Moses was cited for a violation of the community’s strict laws regarding the Sabbath.  It seems that he returned home on the Sabbath after an out-of-town absence and greeted his wife and children with kisses.  Apparently, he was (or felt) compelled to leave, and they subsequently settled in Stratford, where his sister was wife to the settlement’s minister Rev. Adam Blakeman (1598-1665), my 9th great grandfather.  At Stratford, Moses Wheeler purchased a home site from the Indians on the shore, near what is now known as Sandy Hollow.  He afterwards bought a large piece of land in the upper part of the town, extending from the river to some distance above the site of the present-day railroad line.  He operated the ferry crossing, he was a ship carpenter by trade, and, in addition to building vessels, he was engaged in farming the lands of which he was an extensive owner, and he became one of the leading and influential men of Stratford.  He lived to the age of 100 and died in 1698. (16)

Newly Released Novel: “Mary Dyer Illuminated”

The cover from Christy K Robinson's newly released novel

The cover from Christy K Robinson’s newly released novel

It escaped my notice until now, but back in September, Christy K. Robinson released a new novel, Mary Dyer Illuminated (The Dyers) (Volume 1).  It is based on the life of Mary Barrett Dyer (c. 1611-1660).  Although it is a work of fiction, it is based on detailed research of actual events.  Mary Dyer is the New England Quaker hanged by the Massachusetts Puritan leaders on the Boston Common for civil disobedience in 1660.  She is also my 9th (and 10th) great grandmother though her son Samuel, and two different grandchildren (Samuel’s daughter Ann and son Edward).  An account of my ancestry through Mary (Barrett) Dyer is posted —> HERE.  The following is the publisher’s description of the novel written for Amazon:

“Mary Barrett Dyer, 1611-1660, was comely, dignified, admired for her intellect, and known in the court of King Charles.  But how did she become infamous in England and America as a heretic who gave birth to a monster?  Was she responsible for curses falling on colonial New England in the form of great earthquakes, signs in the heavens, and plagues?  What possessed the ultra-righteous Governor John Winthrop to exhume her baby before one hundred gawkers, revile her in his books, and try to annex Rhode Island to get its exiles back under Boston’s control?  In Mary Dyer Illuminated, follow William and Mary Dyer from the plague streets and royal courts of London to the wilderness of America where they co-founded the first democracy of the New World 135 years before the Declaration of Independence.  They were only getting started.  In the second of two volumes, Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This, the Dyers return to war-torn England and lay a foundation for liberty that resonates in the 21st century.  Why did beautiful, wealthy Mary Dyer deliberately give up her six children, husband, and privileged lifestyle to suffer prison and death on the gallows?  The two novels are compelling, provocative, and brilliantly written, blending historical fact and fiction to produce a thoroughly beautiful work you won’t want to put down.  The author has reconstructed a forgotten world by researching the culture, religions, and politics of England and America, personal relationships, enemies, and even the events of nature, to discover who they were.  ***** Mary Barrett Dyer is one of very few 17th-century women who are remembered today.  She is usually described as a Quaker hanged in the cause of religious freedom, but genealogists and historians know there is much more to her.  Christy K. Robinson brings the Dyers to vivid life for the rest of us, weaving superb fiction with what is known into a penetrating novel.  Robinson’s research is flawless, and her engaging characters invite you into their brilliantly imagined world.  Brava! – Jo Ann Butler, author of Rebel Puritan (A Scandalous Life).”

I’ve posted a list of other books on the life of Mary Dyer —> HERE. (15)

Presidents’ Day Trivia: John Tyler (1790-1862)

John Tyler was the 10th President of the United States and the 23rd Governor of Virginia.

John Tyler was the 10th President of the United States and the 23rd Governor of Virginia.

Our 10th President, John Tyler, isn’t remembered for much. He was born in 1790 and died in 1862.  His term as President, from 1841-1845, was undistinguished.  Although some have praised Tyler’s political resolve, historians generally hold his presidency in low esteem.  He became president after the death of William Henry Harrison in April 1841, who died on his 32nd day in office, and for this reason he has been nicknamed “the accidental President”.  Perhaps the most remarkable thing about him is that as of today, he has two LIVING GRANDCHILDREN (not great; not great-great – their dad was President Tyler’s son).   For perspective consider this: When Tyler was born, George Washington was giving his State of the Union address.  When Tyler became president, the civil war was still 20 years away! But how is this possible? Here’s some math for you: Tyler had 15 children, and in 1853 he was 63 when his son Lyon Gardiner Tyler was born.  Lyon had six children, with two of them born when he was in his 70s: He fathered Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. in 1924, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler in 1928, and these men are still alive today and living in Tennessee and Virginia.  In 2012, Dan Amira interviewed Harrison Tyler for New York Magazine, and Lyon Tyler recently spoke to the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Snopes is also in on the fact.

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Shirley Temple Black (1928-2014)

Shirley Temple (1928-2014), child superstar

Shirley Temple (1928-2014), child superstar

Shirley Temple died yesterday. Turns out she is a distant relative on both my father’s side and on my mother’s side. On my father’s side, she is my 10th cousin, 1x removed through Edward Winn (1600-1682) and his wife Joanna. They were English immigrants to Massachusetts who arrived a few years prior to 1640. They resided first at Charlestown, and later were among the earliest settlers of Woburn. On my mother’s side, she is my 11th cousin 1x removed: a descendant of Thomas Stanley, who was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut, as was his brother Timothy Stanley (1604-1648), my maternal 10th great grandfather.

As a dimpled, precocious and determined little girl in the 1930s, Shirley sang and tap-danced her way to a height of Hollywood stardom and worldwide fame that no other child has reached.  She left the screen at the age of 22, saying she had “had enough of pretend.”  She died on Monday night at her home in Woodside, California.  She was 85.  “People in the Depression wanted something to cheer them up, and they fell in love with a dog, Rin Tin Tin, and a little girl,” Mrs. Black often said in appraising her success.  After winning an honorary Academy Award at the age of 6 and earning $3 million before puberty, Shirley Temple grew up to be a level-headed adult. After marrying Charles Alden Black in 1950, she became a prominent Republican fund-raiser.  She was appointed a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly by President Richard M. Nixon in 1969.  She went on to win wide respect as the United States ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was President Gerald R. Ford’s chief of protocol in 1976 and 1977, and became President George H. W. Bush’s ambassador to what was then Czechoslovakia in 1989, serving there during the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

At a time when operations for cancer were shrouded in secrecy, Mrs. Black held a news conference in her hospital room after her mastectomy to discuss her experience and to urge women discovering breast lumps not to “sit home and be afraid.”  She is widely credited with helping to make it acceptable to talk about breast cancer.

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Rev. Adam Blakeman, founder of Stratford, Connecticut

First Settlers Monument, Mac's Harbor, Stratford, Connecticut

First Settlers Monument, Mac’s Harbor, Stratford, Connecticut

New article posted earlier today: Rev. Adam Blakeman is my 9th great grandfather and one of the founding settlers of Stratford, Connecticut.  In 1639, Stratford was founded by Puritan leader Adam Blakeman and either 17 families – according to legend (or approximately 35 families, suggested by later research) who had recently arrived in Connecticut from England seeking religious freedom.  I am directly descended from many of them (on both my mother’s and my father’s side) including: John Beach, Rev. Adam Blakeman, William Beardsley, John Birdseye, Richard Booth,Thomas Fairchild, Joseph Hawley, Robert Seabrook, Moses Wheeler and William Wilcoxson.  Stratford is one of many towns in the American colonies founded as part of the Great Migration in the 1630s when Puritan families fled an increasingly polarized England in the decade before the civil war between Charles I and Parliament (led by Oliver Cromwell).  Like other Puritan or Pilgrim towns founded during this time, early Stratford was a place where church leadership and town leadership were united under the pastor of the church, in this case Rev. Blakeman. The goal of these communities was to create outposts of religious idealism where the wilderness would separate them from the interference of kings, parliaments or any other secular authority.  Rev. Adam Blakeman was the leader of Stratford until his death in 1665, but as the second generation of Stratford grew up, many of the children rejected what they perceived as the exceptional austerity of the town’s founders.  This and later generations sought to change the religious dictums of their elders, and the utopian nature of Stratford and similar communities was gradually replaced with more standard colonial administration.  By the late 17th century, the Connecticut government had assumed political control over Stratford.

Adam Blakeman’s daughter-in-law, my 8th great grandmother Elizabeth Wheeler, is the grandmother (through her daughter Mary by her second husband) of Gen. David Wooster (1711-1777), hero of the American Revolution at the battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut.

The Westport (Connecticut) Minuteman monument kneels atop a traffic circle at the intersection of Compo Road South and Compo Beach Road. The monument depicts a musket-wielding Continental soldier waiting with his sleeves rolled up for the returning Redcoats. A plaque on the north side of the base reads “To commemorate the heroism of the patriots who defended their country when the British invaded this state April 25th 1777. General David Wooster, Colonel Abraham Gould and more than one hundred Continentals fell in the engagements commencing at Danbury and closing on Compo Hill”.  The monument was created by sculptor Harry Daniel Webster and was cast by Tiffany Studios in 1910.

The Westport (Connecticut) Minuteman monument kneels atop a traffic circle at the intersection of Compo Road South and Compo Beach Road. The monument depicts a musket-wielding Continental soldier waiting with his sleeves rolled up for the returning Redcoats. A plaque on the north side of the base reads “To commemorate the heroism of the patriots who defended their country when the British invaded this state April 25th 1777. General David Wooster, Colonel Abraham Gould and more than one hundred Continentals fell in the engagements commencing at Danbury and closing on Compo Hill”. The monument was created by sculptor Harry Daniel Webster and was cast by Tiffany Studios in 1910.

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Boston’s Old North Church (“Paul Revere’s Church”)

Paul Revere Monument (foreground) & Boston's Old North Church (background)

Paul Revere Monument (foreground) & Boston’s Old North Church (background)

I have posted an article on Rev. John Mayo (1597-1676), my 10th great grandfather.  He lived for a time at Leyden, in the Netherlands, and may have been associated with the English Separatists (now known as the “Pilgrims”) who lived in exile there prior to their voyage to the New World on the Mayflower in 1620 and on other ships in subsequent years.  John and his wife, Thomasine, after being married at Leyden in 1618 and later returning to England for a time, arrived in Massachusetts in about 1639 and settled on Cape Cod.  On the Cape, John was an early settler and founder of churches of the towns of both Barnstable and Eastham.  He was ordained a minister by Rev. John Lathrop in 1640, and ministered on Cape Cod for many years before taking a position as the first permanent Pastor of Second Church, Boston, in 1655.  The church building itself was built and rebuilt several times before the “Old North Church” was erected on the site in 1723 (193 Salem Street, in the North End of Boston).  This is the location from which the famous “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal is said to have been sent.  This phrase is related to Paul Revere’s midnight ride, of 18 April 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.  The church is the oldest standing church building in Boston.  Rev. John Mayo served as pastor from 1655-1673, and was succeeded in the post by his protege, Increase Mather (1639–1723), who was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. (19)

The Morris Family of Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio

Benjamin Morris (1774-1861)

Benjamin Morris (1774-1861)

Whew!!  It’s taken me a long time to pull my material together on the Morris family, and my article could probably benefit from some more editing.  Can’t wait for it to be perfect; there’s time for that later.  I’ve learned you can never say that genealogical research is “done”, but at least I have something tentatively written up on this line from the first record of John Morris (died 1677) at New Haven, Connecticut to the marriage of Julia Ann Morris to William Benson Watkins in Warren County, Ohio in 1858.  One of earliest photographic images that I have of any ancestor of mine is that of Julia Ann’s grandfather (my 4th great grandfather), Benjamin Morris, which was probably taken not many years before his death in 1861.  It is intriguing how the historical record provides only glimpses into the lives of our ancestors, hinting at details we would like to know more about, but probably never will.  Such is the case of George F. Robinson’s account of Benjamin’s father, Isaac Morris (1743-1828), in his History of Greene County, Ohio (1902).  After recounting the biographical details of his life, his service in the American War of Independence and his arduous journey with son Benjamin and the rest of his family from New Jersey, through the wilderness of Pennsylvania to a frontier outpost in southern Ohio around 1800, he concludes:

“He was a man of small stature and somewhat original in his religious views.”

Really?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to know more about the “original” views he held?  Alas, the truth may be lost to us forever.

The photo below shows the home (still standing) which Benjamin Morris built in Ohio in the early 1800s:

Greentree Tavern & Inn, located near the intersection of SR741 and Greentree Road in Turtle Creek Township, Warren County, Ohio (between Otterbein and Red Lion) – According to the website of the Warren County Historical Society, it was built in about 1810. (Google Maps screenshot captured by Tor Hylbom, 1 Sep 2013; from GPS coordinates 39.4629, -84.2676 - facing southeast)

Greentree Tavern & Inn, located near the intersection of SR741 and Greentree Road in Turtle Creek Township, Warren County, Ohio (between Otterbein and Red Lion) – According to the website of the Warren County Historical Society, it was built in about 1810. (Google Maps screenshot captured by Tor Hylbom, 1 Sep 2013; from GPS coordinates 39.4629, -84.2676 – facing southeast)

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375 Years Ago: The Fundamental Orders were adopted by the Connecticut Colony

The original brownstone monument erected in 1837 was replaced by this one in 1986. It stands in the Ancient Burying Ground, which is located to the rear of the First Congregational Church at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford. This cemetery is also known as Old Center Cemetery. It lists the original Founders of Hartford.

The original brownstone monument erected in 1837 was replaced by this one in 1986. It stands in the Ancient Burying Ground, which is located to the rear of the First Congregational Church at the corner of Main and Gold Streets in Hartford. This cemetery is also known as Old Center Cemetery. It lists the original Founders of Hartford.

On this day in 1639 (14 Jan 1638/9, old style), in Hartford, Connecticut, the “Fundamental Orders” were adopted by representatives from the towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor.  This document has been described as the first written constitution in the Colonies and an important first step in the American experiment with Liberty.  This is why Connecticut has the nickname “the Constitution State”.  During the 1630s, significant numbers of English settlers from the new Massachusetts colony (some of whom, ironically, were escaping religious persecution from the same Massachusetts Puritans who had migrated to the New World to escape persecution themselves) began streaming into the area in and around the Connecticut River, which had been discovered years earlier in 1614 by the Dutch.  These settlers formed towns and communities, but soon they realized that they needed a unified government.  Representatives from three major towns came together and began to write what would become known as the “Fundamental Orders.”  This document presented a binding frame of government which put the well-being of its people above everything else.  It was the first constitution in the world to feature the revolutionary and modern idea that “the foundation of authority is in the free consent of the people”.  There is no record of the debates or proceedings of the drafting or enactment of the Orders, and it was not personally signed by the people’s representatives.  Some historians have postulated that the framers wished to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation by the English authorities.  Today, the individual rights in the Orders, with others added over the years, are still included as a “Declaration of Rights” in the first article of the current Connecticut Constitution, adopted in 1965.

“The Safe Arrival”, sculpture by Frances Laughlin Wadsworth, outside the Travelers headquarters, Hartford, Connecticut (dedicated 27 Apr 1964). The inscription, “He who brought us here sustains us still” (Qui Transtulit Sustinet), is the State motto of Connecticut.

“The Safe Arrival”, sculpture by Frances Laughlin Wadsworth, outside the Travelers headquarters, Hartford, Connecticut (dedicated 27 Apr 1964). The inscription, “He who brought us here sustains us still” (Qui Transtulit Sustinet), is the State motto of Connecticut.

There are the 163 men and women listed in the Book of Distribution of Land as being those who settled in Hartford, Connecticut before February 1640.  Their names are inscribed on a monument in Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground, and I am directly descended from many of them (on both sides of the family! but mostly my mother’s): William Andrews, George Graves, Stephen Hart, Thomas Judd, Ralph Keeler, William Kelsey, Thomas Lord (from whom I am descended on both my mother’s and my father’s side), Matthew Marvin, Thomas Root, Timothy Stanley, Thomas Stanton, George Stocking, Thomas Thompson, (Gov.) John Webster, (Gov.) Thomas Welles and possibly others.  There was also a “George Hubbard” among the founders of Hartford, but he is not “my” George Hubbard (1600-1683).  He was a different man, who settled around the same time in Wethersfield, Connecticut.  Many of the Hartford pioneers were followers of the Rev. Thomas Hooker and were among the first settlers of “New Towne” (now Cambridge), Massachusetts in 1632.  The “Hooker Company” migrated as a group to the Connecticut Valley and formed the core of the founding settlers of Hartford and other towns of the Connecticut River valley.  Follow the links above for more information on each.  The Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford has an informative website. (15)

Breaking Bad (Badass Women In History): Meet Mary Butterworth

Mary Peck Butterworth (1686-1775)

Mary Peck Butterworth (1686-1775)

Back in the early 1700s, a woman by the name of Mary Peck Butterworth dwelt at Rehoboth, a small town between the Massachusetts and Rhode Island colonies.  I am not closely related (wife of 2nd cousin 9x removed), but I think it is fun anyway to remember some of the more obscure figures in history and recount their stories.

Married with seven wee mouths to feed, Mary was a housewife.  Probably she grew sick robbing Peter to pay Paul and got tired of just plain not having money.  Mrs. Butterworth decided she had to make more money do buy things for her family!  What to do?

Being artistic, Mary began experimenting with different mediums on the down low, and began to be able to expertly produce counterfeit currency!  Her new money was made by placing fine muslin on a genuine bill, transferring the image using a very hot iron to clean paper.  The muslin was then quickly destroyed in the fireplace. She allegedly became the most successful counterfeiter in colonial New England.  Although she was accused and put on trial at Newport, Rhode Island in 1723, there is no record that she was never convicted of any crime.  It seems she used her fine needlework skills, attention to detail and organization acumen to counterfeit at least eight types of bills by an ingenious new method, without leaving behind evidence of the crime in the form of copper plates, which were difficult to conceal or discard discretely.  Ever since, however, she has had the reputation as probably the first, most successful and most clever female counterfeiter of that time or since.  Follow this link to read more about her.

This post is part of an occasional series, “Badass Women in History”.  Click —> HERE, to see another. (21)

Thomas Howes, Founder of Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Welcome to Yarmouth, Massachusetts (founded 1639)

Welcome to Yarmouth, Massachusetts (founded 1639)

Earlier today, I posted an article about Thomas Howes (1601-1665).  He was my 10th great grandfather, and migrated with his wife, Mary, and their three children to Massachusetts from England in 1637.  A couple of years later, in 1639, Thomas and two other men (Anthony Thacker and John Crow) became the original grantees and founders of the town of Yarmouth, on Cape Cod.  Their eldest son, Joseph (my 9th great grandfather), married Elizabeth Mayo, the daughter of Rev. John Mayo and his wife, Thomasine (also my 10th great grandparents).  I will write an article specifically dealing with John Mayo sometime soon.  Briefly, John Mayo was the first minister of Old North Church in Boston also known as Second Church or Paul Revere’s Church. Increase and Cotton Mather took over this church upon his retirement.  This is the Old North Church that was in North Square (across the street from what became Paul Revere’s house) until the church was dismantled and used by the British for firewood during the occupation of Boston during the Revolutionary War.  He was ordained a minister at Yarmouth in 1640, and the Governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, Thomas Prence and Captain Myles Standish were in attendance when Mr. John Mayo of Barnstable was admitted as a Freeman by the court of Plymouth in March of that year.  In 1646, Mayo moved to the newly settled town of Eastham, where he served as the minister until 1654.  While in Boston, he served as Pastor of Second Church (also known as “Old North Church” or “Paul Revere’s Church”) and overseer of Harvard College and the Boston Latin School.

After Thomas Howes died in 1665, his widow, Mary (Burr), married Gov. Thomas Prence.  Prence was prominent in Plymouth colony affairs and was colony governor for about twenty years covering three terms.  Thomas and Mary’s son, Jeremiah, married Prence’s daughter Sarah, so the families were closely connected.

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Major Revisions to my Morris article…

Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey (820 Broad Street). The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. (photo credit: Matthew D. Britt)

Old First Presbyterian Church in Newark, New Jersey (820 Broad Street). The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. (photo credit: Matthew D. Britt)

I have published significant revisions to my article on the Morris family.  I can confidently trace this maternal line only as far as John Morris, who died in about 1677.  He was born in New Haven, Connecticut and eventually relocated with his wife, Elizabeth Harrison, to Newark, New Jersey in the mid-1600s.  I am unconvinced by claims in some published sources that identify him as the son of Thomas Morris (1615-1673) who migrated from England to Connecticut in the 1630s.  There were many people with the surname Morris in New England at this time, and it’s easy to get them confused.  Thomas Morris did indeed have a son named John (1646-1711), but he is probably not the John Morris that is connected to my line of descent (my ancestor).  Although it is possible (perhaps likely) that Thomas Morris was related to my ancestor (8th great grandfather), John Morris of Newark, I don’t think he was his father.  He may be a nephew or (less likely) a cousin of some sort, since we know that Thomas Morris had brothers, and perhaps other family members, who also migrated to New England around this time.  The truth may never be known.  Check the article for more information.

Since I can no longer claim Thomas Morris (1615-1673) as an ancestor, I have eliminated previous posts that showed a purported connection to President William Howard Taft and a maternal connection to President Herbert Clark Hoover (both descendants of Thomas Morris).  However, I still have more than one paternal connection to Hoover (refer to this link for details). (24)