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  • The Great Migration Newsletter

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    Leslie Mahler, “The English Origin of Nathaniel1 Ward of Hartford, Connecticut, and Hadley, Massachusetts, Mary1 (Ward) Cutting of Newbury, Massachusetts, Rebecca1 (Ward) Allen of Newbury, and Their Nephew William1 Markham of Hadley: A Previously Unknown Kinship Group,” The American Genealogist 83 (2008-9):13-18. Using the 1664 will of Nathaniel Ward of Hadley as a springboard, Mahler presents records from old and New England which demonstrate that Nathaniel was son of Edward Ward of Little Wratting, Suffolk, and that he was joined in New England by two sisters, Mary (Ward) Cutting, wife of John Cutting of Newbury, and Rebecca (Ward) Allen, wife of Walter Allen of Newbury, and by a nephew, William Markham of Hadley, son of his sister Lydia (Ward) Markham.

    David Curtis Dearborn, “Mary Tilman, Wife of Thomas1 Frost of Arrowsic, Maine,” The American Genealogist 83 (2008-9):46-49. Dearborn presents a 1734 deed and two associated depositions which trace a line of descent over three generations and nearly a century, back to a Great Migration immigrant. These documents show that Mary, wife successively of Thomas Frost and Joseph Soper, was a daughter of John Tilman and his wife Magdalen, and that the latter was a daughter of Robert Gutch, who had settled in Salem by 1637 and then moved to the Kennebec.

    Jane Fletcher Fiske, “New Light on the English Background of the Osgoods of Essex County, Massachusetts,” The American Genealogist 83 (2008-9):51-58. In this first installment of a two-part article, Fiske expands our knowledge of Christopher Osgood, who sailed for New England in 1634 and settled at Ipswich [GM 2:5:318-22]. Although it had been known for some time that his last residence in England was Marlborough, Wiltshire, we now learn that he was baptized at Newton Tony, Wiltshire, on 17 April 1606. The author identifies three generations of his agnate ancestry, providing genealogical summaries of the families of each of these men.

    Martin E. Hollick, “Mary2 Lester, Wife of Thomas2 Clark(e) of Hartford, Connecticut,” The American Genealogist 83 (2008-9):69-74. Taking note of a pertinent Hartford court case of 1669, Hollick shows that the given name of the daughter of Andrew Lester who married Thomas Clark was Mary. (Thomas Clark was son of Nicholas Clark, who had settled at Cambridge in 1632 and then moved to Hartford in 1635 [GMB 1:373-75]). The author then adds a genealogical summary of Thomas Clark and his children, listing all known grandchildren.

    Jane Fletcher Fiske, “The English Background of Richard Kent Sr. and Stephen Kent of Newbury, Massachusetts, and Mary, Wife of Nicholas Easton of Newport, Rhode Island,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 162 (2008):245-54. In this first installment of a multipart article, building on a will discovered by Leslie Mahler, the author clarifies a number of connections in the Kent family, with relations to other Great Migration families. Richard Kent Sr., who came to New England in 1634 and settled soon at Newbury [GM 2:4:140-42], and his brother Stephen, who came to New England in 1638, were sons of Thomas Kent of Upper Wallop, Hampshire, who made his will in 1605. Furthermore, Fiske has identified Mary Kent, a daughter of this Thomas, as the first wife of Nicholas Easton, who sailed for New England in 1634 in the same vessel with Richard Kent Sr. [GM 2:2:396-403].

    Robert Wayne Hart, “Genealogical Material on the Willet and Saffin Families From the Notebook of John Saffin,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 162 (2008):264-68. The author has recovered the source for the birth records of the children of Thomas Willett, who had settled at Plymouth by 1630 [GMB 3:1997-2002]. The records of these vital events were preserved by John Saffin, who married one of Willett’s daughters. The notebook kept by Saffin was published in 1928 and Hart has extracted the material of genealogical significance, including material pertaining to Saffin’s own family.

    Sarah Vowell, The Wordy Shipmates (New York, 2008). The “shipmates” discussed by Vowell were John Winthrop, John Cotton, Roger Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and a number of other early immigrants to New England. In the aftermath of 9/11, Vowell felt the need to re-examine the roots of American exceptionalism, and devoted herself to an intensive exploration of Puritan literature and how it has reverberated through American history.

    Her point of entry is “God’s Promise to His Plantation,” the sermon preached by John Cotton at Southampton in 1630 as the Winthrop Fleet was preparing to depart from England. She then looks at the sermon prepared by Winthrop himself for the same occasion, “A Model of Christian Charity.” This latter document contains the enduring trope of the “city upon a hill,” later used by many others, including especially Ronald Reagan during his Presidency.

    Vowell enlivens her presentation and makes it more accessible to modern readers by explaining the seventeenth-century concepts in modern terms and by relating these Puritan ideas, both political and religious, to later and more familiar events in American history. For example, in describing the temperamental difference between John Winthrop and Roger Williams, she states that “At his city-on-a-hill best, Winthrop is Pete Seeger, gathering around the campfire to sing their shared folk songs. Williams is Bob Dylan plugging in at Newport, making his own noise.”

    Vowell has done her research very well, providing an excellent introduction to early New England Puritan thought for the non-specialist, while also connecting this thinking with current history. If you have avoided dipping into Puritan religious writings for fear that they would be too dry, try this volume. Imagine Molly Ivins channelling Perry Miller.

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