American Ancestors New England Historic Genealogical Society - Founded 1845 N.E. Historic Genealogical Society Seal View Your Shopping Cart Join NEHGS

From the Experts

RSS Feed

New from Roger Thompson

(Massachusetts, Early New England) Permanent link

Charletstown_store front

Roger Thompson's newest book, From Deference to Defiance: Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1629-1692, recreates the lost world of 17th-century Charlestown and the lives and work of the first three generations of its townspeople. By using a variety of surviving records, Thompson presents a colorful history of the town’s settlement and governance, its relationship with the land and sea, the church, local crime and vio­lence, the role of women, and ultimately its involvement in the Glorious Revolution.


NEHGS staff member, Ginevra Morse, sat down with Roger Thompson to discuss his latest contribution to the study of early Boston and its environs.

GM: How would you characterize early Charlestown as compared to other early Boston suburbs?

RT: Compared to other Middlesex towns, Charlestown was directly involved in Atlantic trade—fish, furs, and timber—from its earliest days. Many inhabitants had far broader horizons than in neighboring communities. Leading citizens were often partners or agents for influential merchants in London, Bristol, and other West Country ports, as well as for Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Atlantic Wine Island traders. With many men away at sea, and foreign seamen idling in its port, Charlestown had far more social and sexual problems to control.


GM: What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing your research?

RT: Discovering that the disreputable pauper Sarah Largin had made a new life for herself in Delaware after disappearing from the Charlestown records. Her son married into the gentry. I had many other surprises, like the saviour of early Plymouth, or a neighbor of East Anglia's notorious Witch-Finder General settling in Charlestown, but I'll leave those to readers to uncover.


GM: What was your biggest challenge in compiling From Deference to Defiance?

RT: I had several major challenges. At the start: I had to familiarize myself with hundreds of names of inhabitants as I trawled through thousands of town, county, colony, and imperial records. Later, I was frustrated that all that survived of pre-Revolutionary Charlestown was the street plan and the burying ground. Everything else had been destroyed in the Battle of Bunker Hill. I also had many new areas of English sources to research: the local records and histories of London suburbs, the port of Bristol, the counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Dorset and Devon, and English Caribbean islands, especially Barbadoes. The whole project took over 7 years.



We want to hear from you! Share your feedback on this or other NEHGS publications here.

Roger Thompson is emeritus professor of American Colonial History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. His earlier works include Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in a Massachusetts County, 1649–1699 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986), Divided We Stand: Watertown 1630–80 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001), and Cambridge Cameos: Stories of Life in Seventeenth-Century New England (Boston: New England Historic Geneal­ogical Society, 2005).

Posted by Ginevra Morse at 01/17/2012 04:18:56 PM | 

the your have it is very much good for me
Posted by: essay help ( Email | Visit ) at 3/14/2012 5:42 AM

i was looking to read an excellent article for a long time
Posted by: buy research paper ( Email | Visit ) at 3/14/2012 5:44 AM

i was looking for these types of info
Posted by: Buy Essay Online ( Email | Visit ) at 3/15/2012 6:36 AM

The ideas are strongly pointed out and clearly emphasized. Please keep posting about such articles as they really spread useful information.
Posted by: Essay Writing Service UK ( Email | Visit ) at 3/31/2012 8:31 AM

Truly happy to post my comment on your blog. I'm glad that you shared this helpful info with nice theme here.
Posted by: Essay Help ( Email | Visit ) at 3/31/2012 8:37 AM

Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.
Posted by: Logo Contests ( Email | Visit ) at 3/31/2012 8:38 AM

This topic is something that I have been looking into for a while now and your insight is exceptional. Thanks for sharing this information.
Posted by: Jessica BRown ( Email | Visit ) at 5/5/2012 9:10 AM

Its really very best and useful site for all,I am using it from a long time,I really got many information from this site.
Posted by: dfc2bc1b-c6cb-4c2e-bba5-a98dcaca34f0 ( Email | Visit ) at 5/9/2012 5:19 AM

This is an excellent  post. I learned a lot about what you talking about. Not sure if I agree with you completely  though.
Posted by: 852c361d-5504-441e-b1f6-a067439d717a ( Email | Visit ) at 5/9/2012 5:25 AM

it is one of the informal reasons
Posted by: 71d3e8c8-a343-4437-942c-9b7f2e6bde96 ( Email | Visit ) at 5/16/2012 10:25 AM

This is an excellent post. I learned a lot about what you talking about. Not sure if I agree with you completely though.
Posted by: 71d3e8c8-a343-4437-942c-9b7f2e6bde96 ( Email | Visit ) at 5/16/2012 10:26 AM

Interesting interview. Thanks to you both. I will check out the book. Thanks again, Sue
Posted by: e86420e5-de0a-4437-a40a-e1b84bc6c1ba ( Email | Visit ) at 6/12/2012 6:38 PM

please visit the to see baby strollers reviews
Posted by: a452a3fc-a7a7-4cbc-ac89-fb838d9a63e8 ( Email | Visit ) at 7/19/2012 10:12 PM

This sounds really great if you try to reverse phone number that pops on your caller id
Posted by: ef120e7a-29c3-47e3-85b8-5276110c37eb ( Email | Visit ) at 8/2/2012 7:16 AM

this is great the discovery was very interesting i will love to buy it do you guys know wen it comes out thanks a lot
Posted by: eee9fbf8-795f-45ce-b2fc-065e341f0b83 ( Email | Visit ) at 8/23/2012 5:27 PM

Your explanation was certainly the least complicated to fully grasp. I usually get annoyed
Posted by: Garth Gavin ( Email | Visit ) at 9/7/2012 2:56 AM

Just finished reading and I must say that it was a very interesting interview. Thanks for sharing
Posted by: Adam Sand ( Email | Visit ) at 9/26/2012 9:56 AM

New from Roger Thompson...just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles.
Posted by: Jona Duvall ( Email | Visit ) at 10/24/2012 2:17 AM

Roger Thompson is amazing, thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Mike Frankos ( Email | Visit ) at 11/13/2012 11:45 AM

this is a very nice and helpful information is very interesting
Posted by: george karamo 1 ( Email | Visit ) at 1/30/2013 5:37 PM

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
Posted by: dennis hobson ( Email | Visit ) at 2/27/2013 2:12 PM

Just finished reading the new book by Roger and I must say that it was quite interesting
Posted by: Dan Sully ( Email | Visit ) at 6/3/2013 1:56 PM

New England Historic Genealogical Society
99 - 101 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116, USA

© 2010 - 2014 New England Historic Genealogical Society