Sunday, December 4, 2016

Chapter 44 - Isaac Allerton, Mayflower Passenger - Autobiography

I wish to personally thank my 10th great grandson, Charles A. Baker Jr., for giving me this opportunity to post my autobiography on his family history blog. I have been writing and then waiting for this chance to tell my side of my life story for over 300 years and at last my time has come. I have tried in my writing not to bore you with too many irrelevant details especially with respect to the numerous business ventures that I engaged in over my life span. Fortunately, these business ventures left many historians having to admit that I became the wealthiest of the original "Pilgrims" who arrived in America on the Mayflower in the year 1620. But then I digress, let me begin my life story.

Early Life:
My parents died when I was very young and as a result I am not positive that I was born in the year 1586 as is often reported in your history books. We did not have birth certificates back then nor any recorded birth documents like you have today and I never saw the church records of my birth. When we were young my siblings and I after the death of our parents were moved to the greater London area where at a young age, still in my early teens, I was apprenticed as a tailor. My younger sister Sarah, who was born around 1588 and our younger brother John who was born around 1590, were also apprenticed but fortunately we all lived and worked in the same neighborhood and we were able to see each other on a regular basis. We were also fortunate as we grew up to receive a good education by the English standards of the early 1600s.

I was only 23 years old when I moved, perhaps escaped is a better word, with my sister, her new husband, John Vincent, and my brother to Leiden in the Netherlands in the year 1609. I suppose it was our youth that allowed us to get so angry about our church's absolute refusal to address our complaints that they had radically deviated from the basic teachings of the Bible. Unlike the children of your generation Charles, who are allowed to express their liberal beliefs by protesting and marching in the streets without facing arrest and imprisonment, when our group protested or even refused to attend a Church of England service, King James I and his cohorts had us arrested and thrown in jail. But we were all young and whether or not it made sense, our beliefs that the church had to change were so strong, that rather than face arrest and imprisonment, we left England for a new life in the Netherlands. It was here where we hoped we would be free to worship as we pleased. There were in the end around 100 of us that originally moved to Leiden and almost all of us were under the age of thirty at the time of our departure from England. John Carver, my friend, and who eventually became the first governor of Plymouth Colony was only 25 when he moved. Another friend, William Bradford, the second governor of Plymouth Colony was only 19 years old when he escaped to the Netherland in the year 1609. Unfortunately, in the end life in Leiden was not as wonderful as we all had hoped it would be. But we were young, optimistic, and perhaps na├»ve.

Our home in Leiden was small and very crowded with all of our small family living in only three rooms but we were fortunate in that we lived near our church known as the Pieterskert (St. Peter's Church) and near the University of Leiden, where some of our new English friends found employment. I was soon able to obtain a job working as a tailor's helper and many of my other refugee friends found employment in Leiden's extensive cloth industry. Everything was going as expected until my sister's new husband died suddenly. She was understandably devastated but sudden deaths were not uncommon in our lives. Considering that none of us could yet speak fluent Dutch and we rarely mingled with the Dutch citizens other than sometimes while working, it is fortunate that both Sarah and I were able to find someone whom we wished to wed. In my case, I feel in love with and married a young English girl named Mary Norris who like us had left England. We were married on 4 November 1611. On the same day my sister Sarah married her second husband Degory Priest, also an English emigrant, a hatter from London. Incidentally Charles, Mary Norris is your 10th great grandmother, and she was lovely and she immediately made my life better.

Early Leiden
Over the next five years Mary and I had three children who survived: Bartholomew who was born in 1612, Remember born in 1614, and your 9th great grandmother, Mary, who was born in 1616. When we arrived in Leiden most of the newly arrived English were strangers to us although some of them had immigrated as a group from Scrooby in County Nottinghamshire, England including a few important"Pilgrim" leaders such as William Brewster and William Bradford. I guess it was my hard work and my deep and active involvement in our community and in our church that by 1615, I was granted by the City of Leiden with an honorary citizenship to their city. This was quite an honor and very rare within our group. I am sure that it helped that I had quickly learned to speak the Dutch language and I was not afraid to get involved with the affairs of the local Dutch citizens as well as with our own English group. This was definitely not the case with many of our friends from England who preferred to remain aloof from their Dutch neighbors. Unfortunately for all us who had come over from England, life in this foreign country was not what we had hoped it would be. For one thing, it was next to impossible to find jobs that paid decent wages and developing and growing an independent business was impossible. These limitations meant that it was difficult to find upscale places to live outside of our own small English community.  Another major concern for all of us and in particular my wife Mary, was that our children were quickly loosing their English identities. They were speaking Dutch and unfortunately thinking of themselves as Dutch. At least half or more of our younger ones here in Leiden had never been to England and even those who had been born in England, after a decade of growing up in Holland, their memories of their birth land were completely forgotten.

There was however, another very important reason that our group of English "Separatists" believed that at some point we might have to abandon our new home in Holland. There had been for many years beginning in 1566 a war between Spain who controlled much of north-west Europe and the Dutch who were seeking independence from Spain. In 1609 a truce had been signed between Spain and the Dutch rebels which gave the Dutch control over parts of Holland which included our home city of Leiden but the truce was set to expire in 1621. We all feared probably for good reason, that if a war began again and Spain successfully invaded the area currently under Dutch control, then our somewhat radical Protestant group would likely be targets of the Spanish Catholic armies. Obviously there were many good reasons why we thought that it might be best if we found a more welcome place to call home.

Talk of leaving Leiden and Holland began seriously in 1617. By now there were around 180 of us living in Leiden many of whom were living in near poverty as good paying jobs were at this point very difficult to find. I must admit that I did not play a major role in organizing our departure from Leiden although I was a strong and active supporter of our doing so. We sent two of our community leaders, John Carver and Robert Cushman, both of whom were deacons in our church, over to England to attempt to get permission from the Crown for our group to emigrate to America. They also needed to find a way of raising the necessary funds to pay for our passage to America. Without going into a lot of details, we did by 1619, obtain permission to emigrate to the Virginia Colony, and Mr. Carver and Mr. Cushman made an arrangement with a group that called themselves the Merchant Adventurers to finance our voyage and early settlement. The terms of this deal required us to ship goods from our new colony back to them for resale in England (primarily fish I am told) wherein we hoped that they would make a profit and our debt to them for the cost of the voyage would eventually be paid back. The second condition was that we were required to allow additional paying passengers from England to accompany us on the voyage to help offset the cost..

Here again, I am not going to go into any detail about the voyage since this story is well known to most readers other than to say of the roughly 102 passengers onboard the Mayflower only around half of us were "Pilgrims" from Leiden and many of us were just children. Unfortunately many of our English friends were left behind in Holland in large part because they could not financially or physically afford to make the voyage plus of course, there was limited space onboard the ship. The hope was that many more would follow in subsequent years. Mary and I and our three children and the other passengers and crew of the Mayflower arrived in America after two miserable months at sea in early November 1620. Unfortunately we landed at what would later be called the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts well off our planned destination of landing near your present day New York City at the mouth of the Hudson River which was then considered part of the Virginia Colony. The weather when we arrived was cold and awful and there was no talk of sailing south to our original planned destination. We had to make due with where we were if there was to be any hope of survival.

I guess it is well known that the winter of 1620/21 was an absolute disaster. Almost half of our original 102 passengers died over this first winter from the cold, from the lack of shelter, and from diseases. Among the dead were my wife Mary, my brother John, as well as my sister Sarah's husband Degory Priest. I was devastated and heart broken as were most of us. We all knew that the voyage would not be easy but such a disaster was beyond our wildest dreams.  Of the 18 adult women onboard the Mayflower, many of whom like my Mary were mothers, 13 died over this first winter. Another terrible loss for our new community was the death in May of 1621 of our recently elected governor, John Carver. John had been one of the primary organizers of our trip to the new world and with his personal wealth he had helped pay in part for the voyage. Furthermore, he was the author of the Mayflower Compact that we all signed when we first arrived in America, and he was our first elected governor.

Following the death of John Carver, my friend William Bradford soon became the new governor of our new colony and quite to my surprise I was elected as the assistant governor. I was now 35 years old and after years of active involvement in our community both in Leiden and now here in Plymouth, I was finally being rewarded. It was about time. I was by far the most accomplished businessman as shown by my active and successful tailor business in Leiden. Furthermore, my understanding of finances and private investments well overshadowed the abilities of our new governor who was if anything Charles, a complete socialist by the standards of your present day. Our Governor William Bradford was not an advocate of private ownership of land plus he and many of his close associates believed that even food, clothing, and housing should all be shared in common. Fortunately in the end, they were overruled by the majority, although even Governor Bradford finally admitted by 1623 that socialism in Plymouth simply would not work. There simply would not be enough food produced under a system where hard work was not being rewarded. This failure under a socialistic system is still true today.

William Brewster
I served as the Assistant Governor until 1624 and then I was appointed to the colony's civil affairs council which also gave me authority over our colony's finances, the Treasurer in affect, which from the beginning of our settlement had been mostly out of control much to the displeasure of our financiers back in England, the Merchant Adventurers. By the year 1626 after six years in our new community, we had failed to make a single payment against our debts and it became so serious that I was selected in 1626 to sail back to London to attempt to renegotiate a new agreement with the Merchant Adventures or possibly even try to buy them out. Earlier in this same year, prior to my departure, I had the good fortunate to marry for the second time a beautiful young girl named Fear Brewster, who was the daughter of William Brewster our religious leader here in Plymouth Colony. Fear had been left behind in Leiden when her parents and two older brothers had sailed to America on the Mayflower. Fear and her sister sailed to Plymouth to be with her parents on the ship Anne in 1623.  When we married, I was 40 years old and Fear was only 20. I was probably not Fear's first choice as a husband, but I was unmarried and in a senior position in Plymouth Colony and Fear's parents gave her no choice to decide whether or not she would marry Isaac Allerton. We learned prior to my departure to England, that we would be welcoming a new child sometime in early 1627, hopefully after my return. One obvious advantage of my marrying was that my new wife would be around while I was away to watch over my three children, although when we married, Fear was only six years older than my son Bartholomew who was then only 14 years old.

Fur Trading with Indians
I should mention that prior to my departure to London, England a few of the more prominent citizens of Plymouth including myself and William Bradford, had agreed to assume all of our colony's debt to the Merchant Adventurers. In exchange for assuming the debt, it was agreed that our little group would be granted a monopoly on the fur trade in our part of America. Getting socialist leaning William Bradford and a few others to agree with this arrangement was a hard sell but I finally convinced them that the deal would in the end make it easier to pay off our debts, that is assuming that we could make a deal with the Merchant Adventurers. So I left for England. Unfortunately, settling our vast debts with the Merchant Adventurers proved to be very difficult and I ended up sailing to and from England on multiple occasions in years 1626, 1627, 1628, and 1630. We did however, begin slowly paying down the debt and the trips also allowed us to bring back to the Colony from England much needed supplies and livestock.

I was shocked when after returning from my latest trip to England in 1630 to learn from Governor William Bradford that I was to be fired as our Colony's treasurer and liaison with our lenders in London.  I was accused of dealing dishonestly with the Colony (particularly by my old friend William Bradford and less so by others) and that I had been mixing their money earned from the sale of furs with my own money on some personal trading deals. While I have to admit that they were technically correct that I had mixed some funds, my intentions had been to try and make some money for all of us and that had not some of my dealings failed, I would have more than paid them back. I suppose the fact that I failed to return from England in 1630 with the Colony's badly needed supplies, exposed my (our) losses in my investments. It did not help when it was later reported that we still owed the Merchant Adventurers a tremendous amount of money and that my efforts over the past five years had accomplished little. During my time as the Colony's financial manager, I had also on behalf of the Colony obtained a land grant and a patent from the English for land in Kennebec, Maine as well later in Pentagoet, Maine where we set up trading posts with the local Indians to enhance our fur trading business. When I went ahead and set up my own trading posts near our Colony's posts a few years later, which I assumed would be acceptable, I was strongly accused of creating a conflict of interest. It did not help that later in 1635, by treaty the control over our land in Pentagoet was returned to the French and the Colony's business was taken from us by force. In all honesty, I believe that all of my hard work and time away from my home and family was not appreciated especially by William Bradford who had no understanding or talent whatsoever in business and financing and as I said previously, he was a socialist and a man intolerant of others who do not shares his views. Sorry Charles, I realize that Bradford is another one of your 10th great grandfathers but facts are facts. It should also not be forgotten that years later in 1646 when I finally sold my land and goods that I still owned in Plymouth, I gave to Bradford and the others all of the money that they claimed I owned them back in 1630. Fortunately by this point I was one of the wealthiest individuals in New England.

Modern day Marblehead, Mass
Breaking away from my leadership responsibilities in Plymouth Colony in the long run worked to my advantage. While I retained a house in Plymouth that I called home until the death of my wife Fear in the year 1634, she died from a plague that hit the area that year, I had been away from Plymouth much of the time prior to her death.  Following her death I did not hesitate to move away from Plymouth permanently to a place called Marblehead located across the bay from a city later known as Salem. It was here that in 1632, I had started up a fishing business that soon became very profitable. The demand for fish in England was great as were the profits from their sale.  I owned eight fishing boats and had up to five full time employees. By this point my oldest son Bartholomew had moved back to England traveling with me on one of my past visits. My daughter Remember moved with me to Marblehead where she met and married her future husband. My youngest daughter Mary remained in Plymouth where she married Thomas Cushman in 1636. My son Isaac by my second wife Fear, also moved with me to Marblehead. He was at the time around 17 years old. Our fishing business was so good that in 1633 I had also opened another operation up in Machias in Maine but an attack by the French military and their Indian allies and their burning of our facilities forced us to close our operations about a year later. It was undoubtedly my aggressive personality that got me in trouble again here in Marblehead for the local religious leaders very upset with my liberal religious views, got their local civic leaders to order me to move from the area. I finally accommodated them in 1635 leaving behind my business to be run by my new son-in-law and Remember's husband, Moses Maverick.

New Amsterdam around 1640
Moving to Dutch controlled New Amsterdam was a natural thing for me to do for some obvious reasons. First of all, New Amsterdam was not under the control of the Puritans who generally frowned on my business interests. In fact, the city was well known as a mecca for international trade even back in the early 1600s as the city was originally chartered in 1621 by the Dutch West India Company, a huge trading company. Finally, while the city was under Dutch control many of their citizens were not of Dutch descent. The fact that I spoke Dutch and had lived in Holland for over a decade made me a welcome resident. I very quickly learned after relocating to New Amsterdam that one of the most profitable industries in America was in the transporting of tobacco and other items grown or caught (animal furs) in America over to England and Europe for sale or in exchange for goods that we then brought back to America for resale. Over the next decade I owned and managed a large shipping and trading business that included the ownership of many ships. The business required me to travel up and down the American coastline and eventually even to the West Indies setting up multiple trading deals. With New Amsterdam our headquarters, we owned a large two story warehouse that was located right on the East River about a mile north of the tip of Manhattan on what I understand is today known as Pearl Street.  The business prospered even after I left New Amsterdam in the year 1646 and moved full time to New Haven, Connecticut. I was familiar with New Haven as a port city since we had set up operations there only a few years earlier and as I was at this point around 60 years old, I thought that it would be ideal to get away from the rut of New Amsterdam and settle in a slower and more attractive environment. There was another and perhaps even more important reason as to why I moved to New Haven. In 1644, I met and married in New Haven a woman by the name of Joanne Swinnerton who had recently lost her husband of many years. Joanne had been living in New Haven and preferred not to move from this lovely community. She did agree however, to travel with me back to New Amsterdam until I could pass along some of my business management responsibilities to others although even after moving fulltime to New Haven, I had no intention of giving up the ownership of our operations in New Amsterdam. My son Isaac, now 19 years old, moved with me to New Haven.

Early New Haven
My trading operations continued after my move to New Haven and on numerous occasions I had to leave home both to visit our warehouse operations in New Amsterdam and to make trading deals in various settlements along the coastline including New Sweden and Virginia. As the years continued by however, I remained home more frequently and let others manage the operations. I was proud that my son Isaac began attending Harvard College in 1650 and then later helped me manage the business in New Haven after his graduation.  As an experienced and lifelong seafarer, I was very proud of the home we had built near New Haven. Our large two story home with four wide  porches sat on the side of a sloped hill that eventually dropped down to the waters of the bay below. From our house we could see below the growing town of New Haven, the large bay of water, and on a clear day we could see the shores of Long Island off in the distance. It was a wonderful setting to retire.

It is said that I died at the age of 72 in the last part of 1658 or early in the year 1659. It is also said that I died of the plaque but I have no such recollection. My will which I had prepared earlier, simply listed my debts and the names of those who owed me money. The remainder of my hard assets I had previously given to my family including our home in New Haven which I left to my wife and then following her death to my son Isaac. I am buried or so I have been informed, in the churchyard of Center Church on the Green in New Haven. My wife Joanne, outlived me by over 20 years but she currently is buried alongside my grave and we speak occasionally. Fortunately I lived a long and prosperous life and from what I knew at the time of my death all of my children were well taken care of.  I understand that years later following my death it has been written that I was the wealthiest of all of the original Mayflower passengers and I was the only one of the original adult Mayflower passengers who lived and was buried away from Plymouth Colony. One other thing that I must mention, is that while I left Plymouth Colony under the cloud that I had cheated the Colony out of money, I was never ever accused of such a thing in any of the other places that I lived and worked and in fact in all of these locations I was a very highly respected citizen. With that said, I will end this brief story of my life and thank you again grandson for allowing me to include my story in your history blog. Hopefully we will soon see each other again, although perhaps "soon" has a different meaning for you than I intended, and if so, I apologize.
Isaac Allerton


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Chapter 43 - Our Cushman Ancestors

Robert Cushman, my 10th great grandfather, was born about 1577 in County Kent , England and he died of the plague in London in the spring of 1625. One of his best known descendants besides myself of course, was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his 6th great grandson. It is believed that Robert Cushman was onboard the Mayflower when it departed from London in July of 1620 headed for America. He was also one of the most influential of the original "Pilgrims" living in Holland but because he was ultimately not onboard the Mayflower when it finally landed in America in early November of 1620, his name is mostly unknown alongside such famous Mayflower passengers as William Bradford and Myles Standish. The photo above displays two very important historical individuals. The man on the left is King James I, King of England during the period of the Pilgrims' emigration to America. The individual on the right is supposed to be our Robert Cushman who according to the description under the pictures was the man "who organized the Mayflower's voyage."  If this is accurate it would suggest that my great grandfather, Robert Cushman, might well deserve to be the subject of another chapter in this blog about the history of our family's ancestors.  So let us begin his story.

The amount of research about the family histories of each of the Mayflower passengers and their supporters like our Robert Cushman is truly amazing although not always accurate. Robert is believed to be the son of Thomas and Elinor Couchman and there is a record of their son being baptized at Rolveden, County Kent on 9 February 1577/78. Their son Robert (Couchman) is also mentioned in his father's will dated 1585/86. Whether or not our Robert is a son of these individuals is hard to verify although it is interesting that Robert named his first son Thomas, possibly after his father. In December of 1597 there is a more reliable record of my grandfather, Robert Cushman, in the Parish of St. George the Martyr in Canterbury, County Kent. Canterbury is around 30 miles from Rolveden so Robert's move to Canterbury would not have been that unusual. The record also mentions that Robert was an apprentice of a man named George Masters who operated a grocery store and was a tallow candle maker. Based on the belief that Robert Cushman as the son of Thomas Couchman was born around 1577/78, a number of biographies concluded that he was 18-years old when he started his apprenticeship with George Masters in 1596/97 and if the apprenticeship lasted seven years, he then completed his training in 1603/04 at the age of around 26. Unfortunately this is probably not accurate since most apprenticeships during this period of history started at a much younger age, usually around 14, and younger if the parents were poor. Furthermore if Robert's father died back in 1585/86, it would seem very unlikely that his son's apprenticeship would have been delayed for a decade. If Robert was not eighteen in 1596/97 then it is very unlikely that he was the son of Thomas and Elinor Couchman. I guess we may never really know.

Robert Cushman grew up in a very interesting time in England and particularly in Canterbury in the late 16th and early 17th century.  Religion during this period of history had a far greater influence than it has today and the English Crown pretty much determined how the majority of English citizens were required to worship. King Henry VIII in the year 1535 because the Roman Catholic pope had refused to condone his divorce and second marriage, removed the pope and appointed himself as the head of the Catholic Church in England. His son, Edward VI, was a Protestant and following his father's death in 1547 he basically locked up the Catholic bishops and declared all of England to be Protestant. Following Edward's death in 1553, the new Queen Mary I reversed her predecessor and demanded that all churches must once again worship as Catholics and she had many Protestants "burned at the stake." When Queen Elizabeth I assumed control of the English crown a few years later in 1558, she returned churches once again away from Catholicism. It was clearly understood at this point, that by law everyone was suppose to belong to the Church of England who in turn determined when and how everyone was expected to worship. During Elizabeth's reign however, she was fairly tolerant of the religious views of others and it was during this period in the late 1500s that the growth in the number of individuals wishing to reform the church by getting rid of many of the old Catholic rituals and superstitions rapidly increased. The many individuals wishing to change the church were called the Puritans and many of them lived in and around the Village of Canterbury, home of our Robert Cushman. It is not surprising therefore that a young and intelligent man like Robert Cushman was quickly caught up in this new movement to reform the church.

The Map of Old Canterbury: (Click to Enlarge)
Since the onset of Robert's apprenticeship with George Masters beginning around 1596 he had been living at the Masters' home located within the old walled city of Canterbury. The Masters' home and their business was located just south of the St. George the Martyr Church near the St George Gate in the central eastern part of the walled town. In 1596 the town was filthy by any standards. Just east of their home and outside the wall was the cattle market with the stench of cow shit permeating the air night and day. To their west were the slaughterhouses with dead meat hanging from poles and the blood of cattle and sheep everywhere. George Masters' tallow candles were made from the fat obtained from the nearby slaughtered cows. To offset this appalling setting were numerous parish churches where the local citizens could escape for a least for a brief period. While the Church of England and the English Crown determined how and when people worshipped, Canterbury differed slightly from other parts of England in that a fairly large portion of the population were French Protestants who had immigrated to England and Canterbury to escape persecution from the French Roman Catholics. These citizens were less inclined to follow the mandates of the church and crown and their behavior in this regard undoubtedly had an influence on some of the younger citizens of Canterbury like our Robert Cushman.

Whether Robert Cushman was closer in age to fourteen or eighteen when he started his apprenticeship, it is obvious that the George Masters' family must have treated him like a son as Robert was highly educated as he reached adulthood and his leadership ability had obviously been advanced during the period of his apprenticeship. Furthermore he had clearly developed strong opinions about the frailties of the Church of England and he was apparently not afraid to express them. In 1603, Robert along with a group of his friends got themselves into trouble with the church for posting handwritten notices (written by Robert) on numerous church doors wherein they were critical of the church. One of these friends was Peter Masters, son of George Masters, Robert's employer, who apparently innocently turned Robert into authorities by revealing his name. Robert Cushman was immediately arrested and hauled before the Diocesan Court of High Commission where he and his friends were ordered to pay fines and were warned to conform. Robert and two of his friends were sentenced to a day in prison at Westgate, which was located over one of the gates leading into Canterbury (see the painting of Westgate above).  According to historical documents the young men were sent to the prison for providing negative answers and probably arguing with their examiners.

Apparently our great grandfather Robert Cushman continued in his defiance of the church by failing to attend church services on a regular basis and on 16 January 1604 after again refusing to change his behavior, he was excommunicated. Perhaps he had second thoughts or he was strongly advised to quiet his behavior, for apparently he later acknowledged that he was wrong or at least he apologized, and he was absolved on 15 October 1604 and allowed to attend and again be a member of the church. Unfortunately Robert continued his "libels" against the church for he was once again excommunicated on 12 November 1604 but again he was granted a reprieve and his sentence was lifted on 7 July 1605. By 1605 Robert Cushman  had completed his apprenticeship and he became a "freeman." At this point he continued in the grocery business but now he was finally in a position where he was being paid for his services.

Two of Robert Cushman's old friends and compatriots who shared with Robert his desire to change or leave the church, were brothers by the names of Thomas and Hilkiah (Helkias) Reader. On 31 July 1606, Robert married Sara Reader, the sister of Thomas and Hilkiah. Despite Robert's disagreements with the church, it would seem that he had no choice but to get married in one of the local parish churches, St. Alphege Church (see sketch), and then when his son Thomas was born in 1607/1608, their son was baptized in one of the local parish churches. The record of the baptism of Robert and Sara's child in 1607/08 is the last known record of the Cushman family in Canterbury before the family moved to Holland.

Some of the biographies on the life of Robert Cushman mention that he was one of the original founding members of a Puritan Congregation in Scrooby, England along with other Pilgrim leaders such as William Bradford and William Brewster who became organized as a group prior to their move to Holland in 1608. There is no evidence to support this belief that Robert was part of this group especially as Scrooby is around 200 miles north of Canterbury. We believe that Robert and Sara Cushman and their son Thomas moved to Holland possible as late as 1611 or early 1612 and that he was never part of the group of leaders who had originally organized the move to Holland. Undoubtedly one of the reasons that there are no historical records in England of Robert Cushman after 1607 is that the intolerance of religious dissenters like the more radical Puritans was quickly increasing and as a result Robert and his fellow Puritans had to keep their activities quiet. This was particularly true after the death of Queen Elizabeth I and the rise of her successor King James I in 1603. Eventually it became obvious to Robert Cushman as it did with many of the other Puritans who would eventually leave England, that there was no hope that the Church of England and the British Crown would change or that the Puritans would be allowed to worship in the manner that they pleased. This more radical group of Puritans who eventually departed England were later to be called the Separatists.

Robert Cushman's name first appears in historical records in Leiden, Holland when he purchased a small house in October 1612 on a narrow alley street just off the Nonnensteeg that bordered the University of Leiden. The location of their home was very close to his soon-to-be Pilgrim compatriots and to the Pieterskerk (St Peter's), the church where the Pilgrim congregation worshipped and where many of them are buried including Robert's wife and my 10th great grandmother Sara Reader Cushman. We have to believe that it was no coincidence that Robert Cushman lived in close proximity to the other Pilgrims. Their escape from England in 1609 must have been a well known fact in England and the subsequent writings of the Pastor of the "Pilgrim Fathers," John Robinson, writing from Leiden wherein he justified their separation from the Church of England, would have become well known to Robert Cushman at his home in Canterbury. Whether Robert Cushman came over to Holland with the initial group of Pilgrims in 1609 or later in 1611 or 1612 is really of no consequence. What is really important is that he was quickly recognized as a leader and an organizer. He was educated and a man who could speak and write with clarity. He was also recognized as a man with a business acumen although jobs in Leiden were limited especially for English speaking immigrants and the best job that he could find was that of a "woolcomber", a cloth maker. Our great grandfather Robert Cushman was also somewhat older than many of the other Pilgrim leaders. For example, he was more than a decade older than William Bradford and Edward Winslow both of whom were only in their twenties when they arrived in Leiden. It is not surprising therefore, to learn that Robert Cushman soon became a deacon of their Leiden congregation.

Life in Leiden, Holland did not always bode well for the Cushman family. While Robert and Sara welcomed two new baby daughters to their family after moving to Leiden, both of their baby daughters died in 1616 as did their mother whose death was possibly related to the birth of their second daughter.  All three are believed to be buried under the Pieterskert Church. On a plaque on the exterior of the church it lists the names of many of the early Pilgrim residents who died before the Mayflower sailing including  "Robert Cushman's wife and children - 1616".  It does not come as a surprise that the quote on the plaque "But now we are all, in all places, strangers and pilgrims and sojourners . . ." is credited to our Robert Cushman.

It was very common during this period of history for men and women who had lost their spouse to remarry soon after the death of their spouse so in June of 1617 we find that Robert Cushman married Mary Clarke Singleton, the recent widow of Thomas Cushman's friend Thomas Singleton. It is hard to believe that the marriage could have been much more than a marriage of convenience since shortly after their marriage, Robert Cushman along with Deacon John Carver were selected by their Leiden Congregation to go to London to negotiate for a charter allowing their group to relocate to America. While the English Separatist group living in Leiden, Holland had now grown to around 200 individuals, it seems that there was much discontent among them with life in Leiden.  Not only were good paying jobs hard to find and total freedom to worship as they pleased not entirely what they had expected, but they were finding that the Dutch culture was overtaking their children. They were losing their own culture and identities.  All of these issues combined left them wanting to move to a new location and moving to America as others had done to Virginia in 1607, seemed like the ideal solution to their problems. It was quite an honor for our great grandfather Robert Cushman to be appointed one of the two men to handle the negotiations and he and John Carter departed for England not long after Robert's marriage to his new wife who was undoubtedly left behind in Leiden along with his then 10-year old son Thomas.

Robert Cushman and John Carter were in England until late November 1617 but after long and tedious negotiations with both The Virginia Company who had been appointed by the Crown to encourage and negotiate settlement terms for land on the James River in Virginia, as well as with one of the King's principal secretaries, they returned back to Leiden with an agreement but one that lacked specific language that allowed their congregation the religious freedom of worship. The terms of the agreement were quickly rejected by the Pilgrim leaders. In December of 1617, Robert Cushman and John Carter again returned to England with a letter from the Pilgrim leaders but the letter and their return visit again failed to gain acceptance by the English authorities of their specific requests relating to their freedom to worship as they chose. Unfortunately as time rolled on during the year 1618 the Leiden Congregation grew increasingly impatient with the lack of progress and with their life in Leiden, so in early 1619 they again sent our great grandfather, this time with William Brewster, back over to England. Final after many months of back and forth discussions they arrived at another agreement that was ultimately accepted by all parties.

Robert Cushman was not yet finished as there was much work yet to be done: how would they get to America and who would finance the trip. Fortunately for the Pilgrims, Robert Cushman was a skilled businessman and negotiator. He helped form a joint stock company that they called "The Merchant Adventurers" who then sold stock in the company to raise the necessary capital to pay for the trip. The incentive for buying the stock was the promise of future profits made from the sale of goods (like fur and fish) that would be shipped back to England by the new colonists for resale. In June of 1618 a vessel was obtained in Holland by the name of the "Speedwell" for the purpose of transporting the Pilgrims living in Leiden over to Southampton located on the southern coast of England.  In the meantime, our great grandfather, Thomas Cushman, hired a much larger ship than the Speedwell, by the name of the "Mayflower," that he then had sail from London over to Southampton to meet up with the Speedwell. The two ships loaded with passengers meet up in late July of 1620. On board these two ships were around 67 passengers from Leiden including Robert Cushman's wife and his son Thomas, and approximately 53 passengers from England most of whom were unrelated to the members of the Leiden Congregation.

On August 5, 1620 the two ships set sail for America. Onboard the Speedwell were Robert Cushman, his wife, and his son Thomas. Unfortunately, soon after leaving Southampton the Speedwell began leaking and the two ships were forced to sail into the port of Dartmouth on August 12th for the needed repairs. Finally by August 23rd the two ships again set out to sea but here again the Speedwell started leaking (some say it was being sabotaged by the ship's crew who did not want their ship to sail across the ocean), and the two ships once again returned to port, this time in Plymouth, England. At this point it was decided that the Speedwell should be abandoned. After a lot of confusion we suspect, it was agreed that around 100 of the original passengers on both ships would continue on to America on the Mayflower and the remainder, which included our Robert Cushman and his wife and son, a total of around twenty in all, would return to London on the Speedwell. There are some writings that suggest that Robert Cushman was sick and thus was forced to return to London and while this may be partially true, the majority opinion seems to suggest that because he was one of the major organizers of the voyage, he felt that there was more work yet to do in London with respect to the new colony's future business and thus he felt it was important that he stay in England. Finally on September 6, 1620 the Mayflower left England heading out into the open sea and to America.

Robert Cushman heard nothing about his compatriots who had sailed to America until the Mayflower returned to England on May 6, 1621. Undoubtedly he was satisfied that the settlement had been a success despite the change in its location and the death of almost half of the passengers and many of the crew members during the harsh winter of 1620-1621. Nevertheless Robert worked hard to charter another voyage to the new colony by hiring another ship, the "Fortune," and by arranging to transport another thirty-five passengers including himself and his son Thomas (now age 14) to the Plymouth Colony. Apparently, although the records seem to be missing, Robert's second wife Mary must have died sometime before the voyage of the Fortune which sailed from London in early July of 1621. Weather delays resulted in the Fortune not arriving in Cape Cod and Plymouth Colony until early November of 1621 shortly following the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving feast that they shared with some of the local Indians.

It would appear that Robert may never have intended on staying in Plymouth despite his arduous and long voyage on the Fortune. His plan it would seem was to get the colonists to sign a new agreement with the Merchant Adventures that they had refused to sign before leaving for America the previous year. He was successful in this regard particularly because the Pilgrims had greatly softened their positions after the hardships that they had suffered over the past 12 months. They were also greatly in need of supplies from England and needed the help of their original investors. On December 12, 1621, our great grandfather, Robert Cushman, boarded the Fortune headed back to England. Quite surprisingly he left his young son, Thomas Cushman, who also was my 9th great grandfather, behind in Plymouth Colony in the care of the then Governor William Bradford (who also happens to be another of my great grandfathers.) It would appear that Robert Cushman probably intended to return to Plymouth Colony once his work was completed in England but he had determined that it was in his son's best interest to grow up with the other Pilgrims. Unfortunately as it turned out, Thomas' father never returned to America.

The Fortune landed back in England in February of 1622 and Robert Cushman again worked with both the Merchant Adventurers and the Pilgrims to their mutual advantage. He helped arrange for more members of the Leiden congregation to relocate to Plymouth Colony (the "Anne" and the "Little James" in 1623 and the "Charity" in 1624) as well as making sure that supplies were sent to the colonists and that furs and fish were sent back to the Merchant Adventurers for resale. Unfortunately, Robert Cushman died in 1625 before his job was completed and before he could return to Plymouth colony and "retire" with his son and his associates who undoubtedly held him in high esteem. There is no record of exactly when Robert died or where he is buried although it is believed that he died during the great plague which is said to have killed as many as 35,000 people in the London area in the year 1625. There is no question in my mind that without the tireless and unselfish acts of our Robert Cushman there might never have been a Plymouth Colony and a great part of our American history might never have taken place.

Thomas Cushman, Richard's son, was around seventeen when his father died and he had not seen his father for four years when he finally learned of his father's death. His mother had died when he was only eight so he had very few memories of her and his young life back in Leiden. He was now as of 1625 fully integrated into the Plymouth community and into the William Bradford family. It is somewhat surprising that William Bradford had agreed to watch over young 14-year old Thomas in the absence of his father despite the fact that Robert Cushman and William Bradford were close friends.  Bradford was only thirty-two years old in 1621 and he was a widower as his wife had died only a year earlier having drowned after falling off the Mayflower into the ice cold waters of Cape Cod Bay. His only son John Bradford was only three years old in 1921. William Bradford had also recently assumed the role of governor of the New Plymouth Colony so he hardly seemed to be in a good position to assume the additional role as a guardian. Fortunately, based on what we know of Thomas' father, Robert Cushman, we have to believe that young Thomas Cushman was probably mature for his young age and already well educated. William Bradford married his second wife, a woman named Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, in August of 1623. Alice had two children by her first husband and together Alice and William Bradford had three children. Obviously our Thomas Cushman by the time he was a young adult and had become a "Freeman" in 1634 at the age of 26, he had grown up in a large family and he was undoubtedly thought of as the older brother. Thomas was obviously highly respected by his new family for when William Bradford died in 1657, Thomas Cushman was appointed the principal witness to his surrogate father's Will as well as being responsible for inventorying William Bradford's estate.

In 1635 Thomas Cushman married 20-year old Mary Allerton, daughter of Isaac and Mary Allerton all of whom had been passengers on the Mayflower. It would seem from all the historical records, that their life together was very wonderful. They were married for 56 years until Thomas' death in 1691 at the age of 83. Mary died eight years later in 1699 at the age of 83. Together they had eight children including my 8th great grandfather Isaac Cushman who was born in Plymouth in 1648. In the year 1649 Thomas Cushman was appointed to the office of Ruling Elder of the Church at Plymouth, a position that had become vacant by the death of William Brewster. Thomas held this venerable position for almost 43 years until his death. A review of Thomas Cushman's Will indicates that besides living a highly spiritual life he must have also lived a highly successful temporal life for he died a fairly wealthy man owning a considerable amount of land at the time of his death. Thomas Cushman and later his wife are both buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth in a prominent location overlooking the Plymouth Harbor. The 25 foot monument that was erected in 1858 in their honor and currently stands at their gravesites, is possibly the most conspicuous monument on Burial Hill.

Isaac Cushman was the fifth child of Thomas and Mary Allerton Cushman and while he is not as well known as an historical figure like his father and grandfather, he did largely follow the patterns set by his forbearers both politically and spiritually. Thanks probably to his parents, Isaac is credited with being highly educated. In 1675 at the age of 27 Isaac married, although somewhat surprisingly there is confusion about the maiden name of his new bride.  Most historians however, believe that his new wife was 21-year old Rebekah (Rebecca) Harlow. Together Isaac and Rebecca had six children including their oldest son and first child, Isaac Cushman, my 7th great grandfather who was born in Plymouth in 1676.

Until around 1695 Isaac and Rebecca and their children lived in Plymouth where Isaac was like most other residents a farmer. In 1685 he was honored by being elected as a Selectman in Plymouth and in June of 1690 and again in August of the same year he was elected a deputy to the general court as he was again in subsequent years until 1692 when Plymouth Colony was united politically with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1694 Isaac was honored by being nominated as a church elder in Plymouth, however, rather than accepting the position, the family moved to nearby Plympton where Isaac accepted the position as the 1st Minister of the new Church of Plympton. He remained as the church minister for a period of 37 years until his death at the age of 84 in 1732. From what we have determined he was a very successful minister and he was loved and respected by all.

Isaac Cushman (1676-1727) the son of Isaac Cushman and Rebecca Harlow lived his entire life in Plympton, Massachusetts. He was a lieutenant in the militia, a selectman, a surveyor, and for 16 years the local town clerk. He married Mercy Bradford, great granddaughter of William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony and a Mayflower passenger. (See Chapter 14)

Their daughter Priscilla Cushman married Israel Holmes, great grandson of Mayflower passenger Edward Doty.  They lived their entire lives in Plympton, Massachusetts. (See Chapter 42)

Priscilla Holmes, daughter of Israel and Priscilla Holmes married Ephraim Buell. They eventually moved to Ohio after the American Revolution but not before living in Ithaca, in central New York State.

Elizabeth Buell, daughter of Ephraim and Priscilla Buell, remained in Ithaca, New York after her parents moved to Ohio where in 1790 she married Silas Hutchinson, a Revolutionary War veteran from Connecticut.  

Mosely Hutchinson, son of Silas and Elizabeth Hutchinson, was born in Ithaca and married Elizabeth Boardman Hall in Ithaca. They moved around 1825 to the Village of Cayuga, New York located at the north end of Cayuga Lake. (See Chapters 34 and 40)

Mary Rebecca Hutchinson, daughter of Mosely and Elizabeth Hutchinson was born in Ithaca although apparently at the onset of the Civil War she moved to southeastern Pennsylvania where she met and married David Dewees Ferree in 1860. Following David's early death in 1869, Mary returned to the Village of Cayuga with her two young children.

Eugene Hutchinson Ferree, son of David and Mary Ferree and my great grandfather, married Marian Coapman in 1890. Following his wife's early death in 1895 he moved with his three children to Lockport, New York where he started up a very successful leather business. (See Chapters 6 and 19)

Florence Adaline Ferree, daughter of Eugene and Marian Ferree and my grandmother, married my grandfather, Douglas Ross Patterson in Lockport, New York.  My grandfather was born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia but at an early age had moved to Lockport. (See Chapter 5)

Marian Coapman Patterson, daughter of Douglas and Florence Patterson and my mother, married my father Charles Asbury Baker in Lockport, New York in 1939. My father was born in Elmira, New York and met my mother while they were both students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. (See Chapter 10)

So ends my story of my Cushman ancestry.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Chapter 42 - Edward Doty, Mayflower Passenger

Edward Doty, one of the 99 passengers on the Mayflower's extradinary voyage to America in 1620, was my 9th great grandfather. His portrait to the left undoubtedly represents someone's imagination at work but it probably does portray what he may have looked like shortly before his early death in 1655 around the age of 57.

Most of us have been led to believe that the Mayflower passengers were all Pilgrims seeking religious freedom from the authoritarian rule of the Church of England. They were collectively known as "Separatists" and their move to America was their way of finding a place where they could live and worship without interference. In reality, of the 99 passengers on board the Mayflower, only 49 were actually religious Separatists and even that number includes their 18 children.  The remaining passengers were a combination of common English merchants, craftsmen, skilled workers, indentured servants as well as a few orphaned children all of whom were loosely referred to as the "Outsiders." In fact, about forty percent of all of the passengers were under the age of twenty-one and unlike the wealthier Puritans who began emigrating to the Boston area a decade later in the 1630s, the majority of all of the passengers onboard the Mayflower were of a lower social and income level. For the most part other than the crew, every one of the Mayflower travelers was hoping for a better life in America than the one that they had left behind. The chance to own land, raise farm animals, grow their own food, and worship as they pleased was more than they could ever have hoped for in England or in the case of the Separatists, in Holland. One minor issue that needs to be clarified is exactly how many passengers were actually on the Mayflower. While we noted above that Edward Doty was one of the 99 passengers, most sources seem to list there being 102 passengers. From what we can determine the 102 number must include the five crew members that remained behind in America when the Mayflower returned to England so technically they should not be counted as passengers. On the other hand the number must also exclude the baby born during the voyage and a second baby born shortly after the Mayflower arrived and lay moored in the Cape Cod Harbor. The website lists there being 99 passengers excluding the crewmembers and including the two new borns.  

My 9th great grandfather, Edward Doty, was an indentured servant or perhaps more accurately stated, he was an unpaid apprentice of fellow passenger and his employer Stephen Hopkins. Unfortunately we know nothing about the family origins of our 9th great grandfather other than he was English and he may have grown up in London where his parents may have indentured him to Stephen Hopkins at an early age possibly when he was still in his mid to late teens. This was a very common practice at the time and it is recorded that upwards of 19 of the passengers onboard the Mayflower were young indentured servants.  We also know that Edward Doty was uneducated at least to the respect that he was unable to read and write nor even sign his name beyond the placing of his "mark" on paper.

While the voyage of the Mayflower originated in England the majority of the Separatists began their voyage to America in Leiden, Holland when they boarded a second ship in July of 1620 by the name of the Speedwell. The Speedwell then met up with the Mayflower in Southampton, England and on August 15th both ships containing around 120 combined passengers departed for America.  Unfortunately not long after departure the Speedwell was determined to be unseaworthy and at the last minute before heading out into the open sea both ships returned to Plymouth, England located near the southwest corner of England.  At this point many of the Separatists who had been on the Speedwell then boarded the Mayflower, thus greatly overcrowding a ship that had never been built to house passengers in the first place.  Despite the rapidly approaching winter months and an overcrowded ship, by mid-September 1620, the Mayflower, now alone, headed west across the Atlantic to America. Not unexpectedly about half way across the Atlantic, the Mayflower met with strong winds and storms with high seas leading to the death on board of one crew member and one passenger.  As it turned out later this was actually a surprisingly low number of causalities considering the miserable conditions. The original plan was to sail to the mouth of the Hudson River in what is now the New York City area (but in 1620 considered to be part of Northern Virginia and not far north from the existing colony of Jamestown) but the extreme weather and treacherous seas drove them off course. Finally on November 19, 1620 after around sixty-six days at sea the Mayflower approached Cape Cod off the coast of the future State of Massachusetts.  On November 21st the ship finally anchored in the calm waters of Cape Cod Harbor. The air temperature at the time was probably quite cool as winter was rapidly approaching. There were obviously no small homes (or hotel rooms) available where they could all retire with a thick blanket, a warm fireplace, and a well stocked pantry. This was not to be a good winter for many of these new emigrants to America. The rapidly deteriating weather plus the filthy conditions onboard the Mayflower after three months of crowded occupancy, did not bode well for the immediate future.

Signing the Mayflower Compact
Upon arrival in the New World these new immigrants realized that they were about to settle in an area that was not in accordance with the original plan of their sponsor, the London Company.  The London Company had paid the cost of the voyage and was expecting to make money from their investment through the sale of goods shipped back to England by the new settlers. The "Pilgrims" also realized that they were a group that was not entirely united with some being Separatists and some Outsiders, so as a group they decided that it was critical that they draw up an agreement that all would sign pledging their common interest.  Forty-one of the adult males including five of the crew members who planned to remain in America signed an agreement on November 21,1620 later known as The Mayflower Compact wherein they pledged to establish and accept a common form of government and to remain loyal to the English Crown. One of the interesting things about this agreement was that two of the signers were indentured servants one of whom was our 9th great grandfather Edward Doty.

As best we can determine from reviewing records of the early Plymouth colony, Edward Doty was a fairly outspoken and determined individual and it was not surprising to learn that despite is young age in 1620 and his status as a servant, he was selected to be in the first group of men to disembark the ship and walk on dryland, which in this case took place way out on the tip of Cape Cod on November 21, 1620. (Note this date is based on our modern calendar and is ten days later than dates often noted in many of the early Plymouth Colony records.  The modern calendar took affect in the British Empire in 1752.)  Edward Doty was also part of the first exploratory group that left the Mayflower in a longboat on November 25th traveling down the western shoreline of Cape Cod a few miles before landing and then on foot the group followed a stream inland.  They returned the following day but not before observing the first "savages" and coming across an Indian village where they found kernels and ears of corn. By December 7th, a "shallop" (a small sailing boat) which had been stored below deck on the Mayflower, was ready for use after extensive repairs, and Edward Doty with 33 other men including the ship's captain and some of the crew, departed for more exploration of the Cape. This trip lasted around three days wherein they explored further down the cape discovering on November 10th some abandoned Indian wigwams and graves. Edward Doty was also part of a third exploratory group that departed on December 16th and again in their shallop they followed along the coastline of Cape Cod Bay until they ultimately passed into Plymouth Bay on December 21, 1620.  During this third exploratory trip they had their first actual encounter with the local Indians including a brief exchange of gunfire and arrows. They then returned to the Mayflower. On December 25, 1620, the Mayflower pulled up anchor from its mooring spot at the tip of Cape Cod and set sail for Plymouth Bay. Unfortunately they were driven back by high winds but on the following day the Mayflower at last arrived at Plymouth Bay and their new home.  The passengers and the crew of the Mayflower had been living onboard the vessel at this point for a little over four long months and it was not over.

The weather in the winter months of eastern Massachusetts is always cold, wet, and snowy as it was in the winter of 1620/21. While I am sure that the Pilgrims tried their best to keep their below deck home on the Mayflower as warm and clean as possible, it was nevertheless crowded with people and boxes and crates and it was unavoidably unsanitary and loaded with disease-bearing bacteria. For the most part the passengers sleep on blankets on the hard wooden floor. Their lack of healthy foods was also a major problem that contributed to issues with scurvy and other diseases and obviously the lack of heat and warm clothes further added to the problem.  While the men, including our Edward Doty, spent the better part of their days, weather permitting, building homes and other shelters, the women and children for the most part remained onboard the ship.  It is not surprising therefore to learn these horrible statistics.  During the winter of 1620-1621, 75% of the women died, 50% of the men died, 36% of the young boys died, 18% of the young girls died, and while the records are not entirely clear, upwards of 50% of the ship's crew died. The total loss of life, almost 50% of the people who sailed on the Mayflower, was a disaster.  Most of the bodies were buried in shallow, unmarked graves in what today is known as Coles Hill, that rises above what is believed to be the original landing site of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. 

Construction of buildings began shortly after the "landing" at Plymouth Rock. The first structure built was a "common house" that was constructed on the relatively flat top of Coles Hill. Construction of this first building was completed within about two weeks and then over the course of the following winter months a total of seven residents were built along with four storage buildings plus a defensive fort, fences, and sheds. Fortunately for these Pilgrims the land on the top of Coles Hill had been previously cleared and then was later abandoned by the local Indians. This meant that it was not necessary for the Pilgrims to clear the land of trees before construction and before the later planting of crops could be started. Young Edward Doty undoubtedly played a major role in helping to construct the new village. As a servant of Stephen Hopkins he would have helped construct the Hopkins' family home where Doty would also have lived, plus he would have played a role in the construction of the common buildings and other structures.

Edward Doty's name appears numerous times in the early records of Plymouth Colony, although unfortunately not always favorably.  It is somewhat surprising that there are no records of his ever having served on a jury nor his ever holding a public office or serving on any governmental committees. This was very unusual for men during this period of our early history.  After reading that he appeared before a judge in at least 23 cases over an almost twenty year period wherein he was either suing someone or they were suing him over issues such as slander, trespassing, assault and battery, breaking the peace, and other miscellaneous mostly civil issues, it is no wonder that his apparent cantankerous and disagreeable personality may have made him unsuitable as a juror or public official.  My great grandfather Edward Doty is best known for his earliest transgression wherein he apparently fought a "duel" with his fellow servant Edward Leister (also a servant of Stephen Hopkins) in June of 1621. The duel with sword and dagger apparently ended up with both young men receiving serious wounds, however after an immediate punishment of their being tied up together, they were soon released for treatment of their wounds after a promise of behaving themselves in the future.  Despite his contentious personality, Edward Doty remained in the Plymouth Colony area for the remainder of his life and it appears that he ultimately achieved a certain degree of personal and financial success.

Edward Doty was undoubtedly present at the Pilgrim's "Thanksgiving" feast that took place sometime before the arrival of the ship Fortune that landed in November of 1621 bringing additional new settlers from England to the new Colony of Plymouth.  He was also a part of the "Division of Land" which occurred in 1623 wherein land was divided up among the settlers.  Since apparently Edward Doty was still under 25 at the time, and still a servant of Stephen Hopkins, and undoubtedly unmarried, he was granted only one acre. A few years later however in 1627, another distribution occurred that is referred to as the "Division of Cattle." By this time Edward Doty apparently had been freed from his indentured relationship with Stephen Hopkins and he was living on his own lot next door to fellow Mayflower passenger John Howland and his family. He had also received at this point another grant of 20 acres of land.  According to the historical writings of William Bradford, 2nd governor of Plymouth, when Edward Doty married Faith Clarke (my 9th great grandmother) on January 9, 1635 it was his second marriage. While there is no reason to question the accuracy of William Bradford's statement, there are no surviving records showing that he married anyone in Plymouth after 1620 nor does it seem likely based on his youthful age at the time, that he would have married someone in England before departing to America on the Mayflower especially if he were an indentured servant.  On the other hand, Edward Doty when he married Faith Clarke was around 37 years old which is very old for a first marriage especially in the 1600s.  My great grandmother Faith Clarke however, was only around 15 years old when she married Edward.

Faith Clarke and her father Thurston Clarke arrived in Plymouth sometime in mid-summer of 1634 after sailing to America on the ship Francis which initially brought them into the Massachusetts Bay Harbor.  Faith was the oldest child of Thurston and his wife, Faith Clarke.  Her mother and Faith's younger brothers and sisters remained behind in England in 1634, possibly because they were mostly too young to travel but more likely because Thurston may not have had enough money to afford for the entire family to travel. The fact that Thurston Clarke allowed his daughter Faith to marry so quickly and at such a young age after their arrival suggests that lack of money may have been an issue although at the time young girls marrying successful older men was not that uncommon and generally considered a good thing. The fact that Edward Doty and his father-in-law, Thurston Clarke were later suing each other in court, suggests that my great grandfathers were not best friends. In any case, by the 1635 marriage, Edward Doty had become a relatively large landowner and a reasonably successful farmer ("Planter") and a decent catch for Thurston Clarke's oldest daughter Faith. 

By 1634, Plymouth Colony was no longer the primary destination for new emigrants to New England as ships by this point were landing in more popular locations such as Maine, Salem, Boston, and even at some of the coastal settlements in Rhode Island and Connecticut. Despite the influx of almost 10,000 new immigrants to New England by the mid-1630s, the population of Plymouth Colony is estimated to have grown to no more than 350 to 400 people. Unfortunately as most of their citizens had too soon realized, Plymouth Harbor was much to shallow for many of the ships bringing new settlers to the colony and the soil in the area was of poor quality for planting of the necessary quantity of crops needed to feed the growing population of new settlers. Thurston Clarke's wife, Faith, and their two sons (several daughters had died young in England) arrived in America in early 1637. The Clarke family lived in Plymouth Colony until 1652 at which time they moved to Duxbury located a little north of Plymouth.  Unfortunately my 10th great grandfather, Thurston Clarke died in December of 1661. The unfortunate part of his death was not his young age for in 1661 he was around 71 years old.  What was unfortunate was the nature of his death for despite his older age he attempted to walk the eight miles or so from Plymouth to Duxbury on a cold and snowy day.  Traveling alone he apparently got lost. His body was later found frozen to death.  Perhaps sadden by her husband's death, Faith Clarke, my 10th great grandmother, died only two years later.

Edward and his wife Faith Clarke Doty were to have nine children beginning with Edward Doty Jr who was born in 1636/7 and ending with their last child Mary Doty who was born in 1653.  My 8th great grandmother and their 5th (or 6th) child, Desire Doty, was born in 1645. Some sources report that there was a tenth child, Faith Doty, named after her mother who died as a baby in 1639. Edward and his family apparently lived in an area about a mile north and up the coast from Plymouth Rock called High Cliffs (see map on the left).  Based on an inventory of his possessions taken following his death in 1655, the Edward Doty family must have lived a rather upscale life style.  The fact that they owned furniture that was probably imported from England and not commonly in use in the New World in the mid-1600s, is testament to Edward's success.  Edward Doty arrived in America as an indentured servant but who over a period of only 37 years following his arrival and less if you deduct the years he remained a servant in America, became a prosperous land owner, a wealthy farmer, and an owner himself of indentured servants.  Based on the numerous Plymouth Colony records that have survived, we see Edward Doty not only as an outspoken and confident individual, but also as a large land speculator owning many acres of land that he obviously had purchased for resale or trade.  In the inventory of his land holdings at the time of his death, he owned land not only at High Cliffs, but on Clark's Island out in Cape Cod Bay, Yarmouth out on Cape Cod, as well as in such remote locations (at the time) of Coaksett (now Dartmouth, Massachusetts) and Punckquesett (now Tiverton in Rhode Island).

Edward was around 57 or 58 years old at the time of his death, relatively young even in these early years.  His oldest child was only around 19, his youngest child only 2, and my great grandmother Desire Doty only 10 years old at the time of their father's death.  His wife Faith was only around 36 years old when she lost her hard working husband. Edward Doty was buried in Burial Hill Cemetery in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The exact location of his burial within this old cemetery and the original carved wood grave marker have long been lost. Today however, within the cemetery there stands a memorial stone in his honor.

Not surprisingly, Faith (Clarke) Doty, still a young woman at the time of her husband's death, married for a second time in February of 1666 to a man named John Phillips who lived in Marshfield around 10 miles north of her home in High Cliffs.  Faith like her husband died young at the age of 56 years old on 21 December in the year 1675. One of the most wonderful things that I learned about my 9th great grandmother was that before she married her second husband, she requested that he sign a prenuptial agreement that effectively protected the assets of her former husband Edward Doty from being taken by her new husband. By protecting the assets it allowed her children to inherit these assets during her lifetime and some following her death.  This was a very unusual thing to do in the 17th century. Who knows, but perhaps she had learned a great deal from her first husband, the cantankerous Edward Doty, during their 21 year marriage.  I proudly join with the thousands of Edward Doty descendants alive today in honoring my 9th great Doty grandparents.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chapter 41 - Our Cozad/Cossart Ancestors

Hannah Cozad Harpending
This portrait of my 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad Harpending, hangs prominently in the Dundee Area Historical Society in Dundee, New York.  I took this photo of her portrait almost a decade ago while we were spending our summers near Dundee and as I was just beginning to study our ancestors and write stories for this blog. Chapter 9 in this blog tells the story of Hannah's husband, Samuel Harpending and our Harpending ancestors. One thing that I did not know at the time was that Hannah and Samuel were actually distant cousins (3rd cousins, once removed) as they shared a common great grandfather, Jacques Cossart (1639-1685) who was the first Cossart to immigrate to America.  With that said, we shall begin in this chapter to tell the story of ours', and Hannah's and Samuel's ancestors, the Cossarts.

There have been many historical writings about our American Cossart family including some that trace their ancestry as far back as the 12th century. While the Cossart family name may have been recorded in ancient records it is still very presumptuous to assume that a 12th century man bearing the surname Cossart automatically must be one of our ancestors.  One of the best known books that traces the various Cossart families was The Early Generations of the DuPont and Allied Families written by Col. Henry Algernon DuPont and published in 1923.  In his extensive book Mr. DuPont uses dozens of pages to describe in detail the various early Cossart families including the wealthy "bourgeoisie" Cossart family line from Rouen, France and the various other early and unrelated Cossart families from Northern France including Picardy, Normandy, and Paris.  Despite his extensive research, Mr. DuPont readily admitted that he was unable to definitively identify any of these families as being the ancestors of our Cossart great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, who immigrated to America in 1662. It is hard not to agree with Mr. DuPont's conclusions, although in lots of subsequent writings about the ancient Cossart origins as well is in many of the Cossart family trees on, his conclusion that we simply do not know the family's origins, is being ignored. In this chapter of our Blog we are going to begin with the earliest known and documented of our Cossart ancestors, the father of emigrant Jacques Cossart, Jacques Cossart Sr.

It is generally accepted that Jacques Cossart was born around 1595 although there is no evidence to confirm that his birth location was Picardy in France. Many of the writings suggest that he was a French Huguenot, a Protestant, and that his family had left France to escape the persecution of Protestants by the predominant Roman Catholic government and population of France. This may very well be correct although around the time of Jacques' birth, there was somewhat of a lull in attacks on Protestants in France and in 1598 the French King Henry IV actually signed a document known as the Edict of Nantes which essentially restored civil rights back to the Huguenots. Another possibility is that Jacques Cossart's parents were actually French-speaking people living in either the southern or eastern part of Belgium who were Protestants known as Walloons.  The general consensus seems to be that the family lived in Liege in present day Belgium before they moved eastward  into Holland. Whether the family was living in France or in the Spanish controlled Belgium during Jacques's youth, when the French King Henry IV was murdered in 1610, attacks on Protestants in both countries dramatically increased which probably caused the Cossart family to quickly relocate to Amsterdam in Holland where there was a greater degree of religious tolerance.

Leiden around 1620
It is a total mystery as to what happened next to Jacques Cossart's parents.  The next thing that we learn is that somewhere around 1630, then 35-year old Jacques Cossart married Rachelle Gelton, who is believed to have been around 20 years old and from Liege when they married in Amsterdam, Holland. Two years later in 1632 a child was born whom they named Rachelle obviously after her mother. Sometime later the new family relocated to Leiden, then Holland's second largest city after Amsterdam, where in 1639 my 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart Jr., was born.  There is a record of his baptism on 29 May 1639.  Leiden was an obvious choice as a place to live during this time period.  Not only was it popular as a home for Protestant refugees from both France and Belgium but earlier Leiden had been home to many of the English "Pilgrims" who later immigrated to America on the Mayflower in 1620.  The city was particularly prosperous as a result of its textile industry which obviously provided jobs for its rapidly increasing population. There are some accounts that report that Jacques Cossart Sr.  prospered while in Leiden or possibly later in nearby Rotterdam and that he died a very prominent citizen. We could unfortunately find no documentation that supported these statements. We also could not find any conclusive records of the death dates of either of my 9th great grandparents, Jacques Sr and Rachelle. 

My 8th great grandfather, Jacques Cossart, married my 8th great grandmother, Lea Villeman on the 14th of August in 1656 in the Walloons Church (Dutch Reformed) in Leiden when he was only 17 and she was around 18. There are some writings, notably author J.A. Cossairt, that claim that their marriage took place in Frankenthal, Germany although one has to be skeptical that at such a young age they would have relocated such a far distance to end up getting married alone and probably without family and friends present.  The argument however, is bolstered by the records that show that their first three children were baptized in Frankenthal: three daughters born in the years 1657, 1658, and 1661.  While in the late 1500s Frankenthal was a prosperous town inhabited largely by Dutch Protestants, in 1621 the Spanish besieged the town during the Thirty Years War followed with subsequent troop occupation by both sides, which resulted in the trade and industry and the town itself pretty much destroyed.  What would have attracted the young newlyweds to relocate over 300 miles into Germany is a complete mystery especially since there were numerous jobs available in Leiden. It is possible that Jacques had gotten into some kind of trouble in Leiden or perhaps their parents were opposed to the marriage and they fled to Germany to get away, or perhaps as some believe, they never when to Frankenthal in the first place.  We do not know.  What is know however, is that the young couple and their family returned to Leiden by around 1661 assuming of course that they had left in the first place. They did not remain in Leiden for long.

New Amsterdam 1660
On the 12th of October in the year 1662, the ship "De Pumerlander Kerch" (Purmerland Church) embarked on a voyage to the new world and the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam.  Onboard the ship were around ninety passengers including my 8th great grandparents, Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossant and their two young daughters. Obviously one of their three daughters had died sometime before the voyage. The voyage to America was not free so obviously Jacques Cossart, then only 23 years old, had been given or earned enough money to pay for the passage for himself and his family as well as enough money to be able to start a new life in America. It is really fascinating to consider what would have motivated a young man with a young family to leave a highly developed and prosperous city like Leiden in Holland to travel for three months on a small and crowded ship across a cold and rough sea to start a new life in a primitive town like New Amsterdam. As far as we can determine his move was not made for religious reasons. Perhaps Jacques Cossart was motivated to move by the Dutch West India Company which controlled the trade in the Dutch lands in the New World and was very actively encouraging immigration to New Netherlands.  Possibly he believed that given the right opportunities he would gain great wealth though his efforts. Whereas Holland was crowded and controlled by wealthy older men, the New Netherlands offered him the real possibility of achieving his goals for himself and his family. 

The population of all of New Netherlands is estimated to have been around 8,000 including men, women and children at the time of the Cossart's arrival in early 1663. The population in New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island would have been somewhat smaller, estimated to be maybe 1,400 residents in total living in around 200 poorly constructed wooden homes in a contained area of less than one square mile. There was a large fort, Fort Amsterdam, on the west and front side of the village which was occupied by the Dutch governor and the Dutch soldiers. Inside the fort was a large church.  Just outside the fort on the water side were several windmills and a large hanging gallows. On the north side of the village was a wooden wall (Wall Street) and on the other sides there was water.  The village was probably not an impressive sight from their ship, especially considering the view of the large hanging gallows, as it sailed into the harbor in January of 1663.

City of New Amsterdam in the year 1660

Jacques Cossart and his fellow emigrants must have been surprised when they first entered the village of New Amsterdam for it would have been totally unlike anything that they had encountered in the past. Besides the rundown condition of the buildings and the muddy streets, the population of the city unlike say Boston during the same time period, was very diverse.  For one thing it is estimated that maybe 20% of the people in the village were black Africans who were mostly slaves. Most of them however, resided in a community just north of the wall. The rest of the population was a mixture of various cultures although most were French and Dutch with a few Germans, Swedish, and even English.  Dutch however, was the predominant language. Incredibly many of the immigration records into New Amsterdam have survived and what we learn from these records is that the population of this small colony was growing rapidly during the time period of the Cossart's arrival.  What is surprising is that they were able to absorb so many new arrivals into their small village.  In March of 1663, Jacques and the other new immigrants petitioned the local Dutch government for grants of land as well as seed grains and provisions to cover a period of six months. It seems that their grants may have been awarded since there is a record of Jacques Cossart and his family living near the south end of present day Broadway Street on a parcel of land now occupied by the Produce Exchange Building which is bordered by present day Whitehall and Marketfield Streets and Bowling Green Park. On the above map, the location of his home was just east of Fort Amsterdam near a street identified as "Het Marckveit" or as later anglicized to Marketfield.  Obviously, the public market in old New Amsterdam was a short walk from the new home of Jacques and Lea Cossart and their family.

Unfortunately from the existing historical records we are able to learn only bits and pieces about the life of Jacques Cossart.  We know that he joined along with his wife, the Reformed Dutch Church in April of 1663. In October of 1664, following the takeover of New Amsterdam by the British in the prior month, he signed an oath of allegiance to England. Shortly thereafter he and his neighbors found themselves living in the newly named community of New York.  There is another record dated the first of January in the year 1666 wherein Jacques Cossart was appointed as a "collector of revenue," or tax collector, in the village to help cover the cost of the clergy and the soldiers. He was to receive a 4% commission on everything that he collected.  It was doubtful that his new position would have enhanced his position in the community.  While still living in their home on Manhattan Island, Jacques and Lea were to have an additional four children born between the years 1665 and 1673 including TWO of my great grandfathers, David Cossart who was born in 1671 and Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673.  While we have found fairly good records about the lives of their four children born in America, what is really strange is the total absence of any records about the two children that came with Jacques and Lea on the ship to America.  They were both daughters and perhaps their early marriages combined with some lost records resulted in their both being lost in history.  

Early towns that were combined to form Brooklyn
Jacques and Lea and their children lived in the lower Manhattan area until around 1674 when they and a number of other residents of the village which by that point had doubled in population, elected to move out of Manhattan and across the East River to Long Island to a village that was known at the time as Boswyck (later anglicized to Bushwick).  Bushwick later became absorbed into the city of Brooklyn. Their move was probably motivated in part by the population growth on Manhattan and by the fact that their neighborhood was starting to deteriorate as the wealthier residents were beginning to move away from the older sections of the village. Combined with the fact that the Dutch had recaptured Manhattan Island in 1673 did not help matters, especially since once the British recaptured the area only 15 months later in 1674 and their distrust of the Dutch citizens led to serious discussions about their forcible removal, which of course would have included our Cossart family. Although they were never forcibly removed, by 1674 the Cossart family had relocated to Bushwick and were soon owners of 40 acres of farm land and a new home.

From this point forward until his death in 1685 at the relatively young age of 46 we know little about the life of Jacques Cossart. It is written that he was a miller by occupation although this fact could not be confirmed.  In 1683 it was recorded that Jacques Cossart paid taxes on his land and personal property in the amount of 114 British Pounds and besides owning 18 acres at the time he also owned 2 horses, 5 cows, and 1 hog.  He was not a wealthy man by any means but he obviously was relatively successful.  A few years after Jacques's death my 8th great grandmother remarried a Frenchman named Charles de Niseau. The exact year of her death and the location of the graves of both Jacques and Lea Cossart is not known although their remains are undoubtedly somewhere buried under the buildings or roads of modern day Brooklyn, New York.

At the beginning of this story about our Cossart/Cozad ancestors we noted that Hannah Cozad and her husband Samuel Harpending, my 4th great grandparents, were distant cousins.  David Cossart (1671-1740), son of Jacques and Lea Villeman Cossart, was the great, great grandfather of Samuel Harpending.  David's daughter, Lea Cossart, married Samuel's great grandfather John Harpending. Information about the Harpending line of our family tree can be found in Chapter 9 of this blog.

Anthony Cossart who was born in 1673 was only 12 years old when his father died and he undoubtedly went to live with his mother and her new husband after their marriage.  The first historical record of Anthony other than his baptism was his marriage in the Dutch Reform Church in Bushwick on 2 August 1696 to a young girl from Schenectady, New York named Elizabeth Tymensen Valentine, my 7th great grandmother. The church record of the marriage stated that besides her being from Schenectady that "beyde woonende alhier" meaning that both newlyweds were living here or presumably they were both living in the Brooklyn area as of 1696. Many of the writings about their marriage state that the marriage took place in Schenectady but this seems to be unlikely especially since Schenectady was pretty much destroyed in February of 1690 when the French and Indians attacked the city, killed many of its inhabitants, and burned most of their wood-constructed homes to the ground.  What is really a mystery (that we failed to resolve) is that Elizabeth's father and my 8th great grandfather, Jan (John) Tymensen Valentine is almost universally listed as having died in Schenectady in 1690 leading one to assume that he must have been killed during the "Schenectady Massacre" which occurred early in the second month of the year. Unfortunately, not only is his name not mentioned in the official listing of those killed during the attack or subsequently kidnapped and removed to Canada, his name also cannot be found in any of the old Schenectady records at least that we reviewed.  Many of the family trees on also list Jan Valentine as having been born in Schenectady in 1649 which is completely ridiculous since Schenectady was not even settled until 1661.  Here is what we suspect to be true. The Valentine family was Dutch and originally settled in New Amsterdam.  Jan Valentine was a fur trader which led him to live for a time in or near Schenectady with his wife Catherine Tamamizer.  Their daughter Elizabeth was born there around 1675. Since Jan Valentine was not a permanent settler in the Schenectady area his name was never listed as a resident, a homeowner, nor a member of the church. After his death at some unknown date and location, his wife and daughter returned to the Brooklyn area. Here Elizabeth met and married Anthony Cossart. One other interesting possibility about the parents of Elizabeth and Anthony's in-laws, is that Jan did not died and he and Catherine moved to New Jersey with their daughter and son-in-law. A baptismal record of one of the daughters of Anthony and Elizabeth dated 1708 at the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (New Jersey) listed as the witnesses of the baptism "Jan Thuenissen and Catherine Tammizer, his wife."  Sure looks like Elizabeth's parents may have been alive and well in 1708.

The next historical record that exists that mentions Anthony Cossart is the 1701 Census of Brooklyn that lists Anthony with his wife, two children, an apprentice, and 10 slaves.  The mention of the slaves and particularly the quantity of slaves came as quite a surprise.  The Dutch were well known as slave owners but the real surprise in Anthony's case was that at only 28 years old he owned 10 slaves.  This quantity would suggest that he was fairly well-off financially as slaves were expensive to both buy and maintain. He must have been quite an entrepreneur at a young age as there is no evidence to suggest that he would have inherited a lot of money from his parents especially considering that he had two older brothers.  Furthermore an earlier census taken in 1698 shows Anthony living with his wife, 1 child, 1 apprentice, and no slaves showing that he must have purchased the slaves between 1698 and 1701. Anthony was a farmer and probably a large farmer, living in a community called Cripplebush or Cripple Creek that was near Bushwick (where his parents had settled) and according to some sources near where the Brooklyn Naval Yards were eventually built. Incidentally, my great grandparents Joris Janseen Rapalje and Catalyntje Trico owned land upon which the Brooklyn Naval Yards were later built and while they died before Anthony Cossart was living in Cripple Creek, it is entirely possible that Anthony may have known the Rapalje sons.  The story of my Rapalje (Rappleye) ancestors is told in Chapter 1 of this blog.

It was a little surprising to learn that in March of 1703 Anthony and Elizabeth decided to sell their home and farm in Cripple Creek and move to New Jersey somewhere in present day Somerset County which was originally founded in 1688. The vast majority of the earliest settlers in this area were people of Dutch ancestry who were moving from the New York City and Long Island areas.  There is some confusion however, as to exactly where Anthony and Elizabeth purchased land probably in the year 1704. Some of the Cossart family historians state that they moved to Piscataway whereas others write that they "migrated to the Raritan area". To some degree these are both correct when one considers the changing boundaries and names changes over the years. The "Raritan area" might be referring to the Raritan River area which runs from west of present day Raritan, through Somerville, Bound Brook, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and on into the Raritan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. While there is a present day Township of Piscataway, the whole area was once part of the Piscataway Indian lands so to say that they moved to Piscataway may be understandable since the entire area was once referred to as Piscataway. In any case, the distance between the cities of Piscataway and Raritan is only around 12 miles. Based on where some of the Cossart children were baptized at the First Reformed Church of Raritan which is actually now in present day Somerville in north Somerset County, we have to believe that the village of Somerville was near the original location of the Cossart homestead.  Somerville was not called Somerville until around 1800 which might explain why it does not appear on the above Northern Jersey map of 1700. In a description of early Somerville it was noted that it was "originally a sparsely populated farming community." That sounds about right.

There are also two additional records that place Anthony Cossart in Piscataway during the early 1700s. In 1715 he was listed as a militia soldier in the New Jersey militia in Colonel Thomas Farmer's regiment, 4th Company of "Woodbridge and Piscataway".  A more interesting record shows the name of "Anthony Cozar" as a witness to the Will of Edward Doty of Piscataway, Middlesex County dated 18 October 1717.  Here again we see the location as Piscataway but what we do know based again on baptismal records of Edward Doty's children, was that he was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church of Raritan (later Somerville) at least in 1712 and 1714.  It would seem that he may have been a neighbor of our Cossart (Cozad, Cozar) family in an area later to be named Somerville.  Even more interesting is that Edward Doty was the grandson of Edward Doty, one of the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620 and as it turns out my 9th great grandfather on my mother's side of my family.  The Edward Doty who died in 1717 and was a friend of Anthony and Elizabeth Cossart (my father's side of my family) was my 1st cousin, 9 times removed.  Wow. What a coincidence.

Anthony and Elizabeth were to have six children together including my 6th great grandfather and their oldest son, Jacob Cossart, who was born in Cripple Creek (Brooklyn) in 1701. Three of their children were born at their home in Somerville in New Jersey, the oldest being born in 1712.  Unfortunately my 7th great grandmother died at the relatively young age of 46 in the year 1720.  Anthony still a relatively young man at that point married for a second time a woman by the name of Judith Hendricks who was 24 years younger than Anthony and had lost her husband.  Judith and Anthony had three children together. Anthony died at the age of 83 in 1756.  We could not determine where he and his two wives are buried.

Jacob Cossart's life is a little confusing particularly when it comes to where he lived in New Jersey since based on the reported different birth locations of his many children he was on the move quite a bit. It is said that he was a minister during his adult life which if true might help explain his seemly frequent relocations. Whatever the circumstances, here is what we have to offer about the life of my 6th great grandparents.  Jacob Cossart was only 21 years old when he married a young girl of English descent by the name of Hannah Cox on 19 April 1723. Hannah's father and my 7th great grandfather was a man named Phillip Cox who was born in England in 1677 and immigrated to America with his parents at the age of 13 in 1690.  They settled in what was then known as Elizabethtown (now just Elizabeth, New Jersey) which was originally founded back in 1664 by English settlers. At some point in his early life probably around 20 years old, Phillip moved southward around 25 miles to where he met his future wife Hannah Trembly in Woodbridge, New Jersey. They married on the 24th of September in the year 1698. There is some controversy as to the names of Hannah Trembley's parents although it would seem based on her surname that at least her father was of English descent.  We mention this because Hannah Cox was undoubtedly Presbyterian based on her parent's religion. On the other hand her new husband Jacob Cossart had been raised in a Dutch Protestant Church.  This may have been a problem, at least for Hannah's father (her mother had died long before Hannah's marriage) and consequently Jacob Cossart may have agreed to change his religious faith to that of a Presbyterian to appease the family.  This change was a very unusual move especially in the year 1723. What is even more unusual is that Jacob Cossart not only changed churches, but he may have became a Presbyterian minister.  We were unable to confirm this possibility.

Counties of New Jersey
Jacob and Hannah's first child, a son named Jacob was born in 1723/24 probably near Jacob's birth home in Somerset County somewhere in the area of present day Somerville in Bridgewater Township located just west of Bound Brook.  It was here that many of the earliest Dutch had settled including both of Jacob's parents who were still alive and were probably present at the birth of their grandson. We know that shortly following the birth of their son, Jacob and Hannah moved north up into Morris County into an area later know as Succasunna Plains in Roxbury Township.  In the time period of around 1725, Roxbury Township was scarcely populated by mostly white farmers and still a few Indians. While they were mostly English settlers many from Connecticut as opposed to Dutch settlers from New York, there were no churches and probably few if any commercial businesses or any structured government in place.  Land costs were inexpensive and the land was probably still forested so Jacob was undoubtedly faced with a lot of hard work to build his new home, clear his land, and plant the crops. One other interesting feature in early Roxbury and Succasunna Plains was the existence of ore mining that had started in the late 1710s. It is possible that the mining operations and the possible job opportunities may have attracted Jacob Cossart who was still in his mid-20s, although there is no evidence to support that possibility.

Most of the Cossart family trees on and many of the Cossart family histories report that of their children born between 1727 and 1742, they were all born down in Bound Brook, New Jersey or close by in Somerset County some 30 miles south of Succasunna.  We believe however, that the Anthony Cossart family never left the Succasunna area until at least 1750. We also believe that all of their children with the exception of their first child were born on their family farm in Morris County.  Unfortunately if there were any records of their children's births or baptisms other than the baptism of the last child, a daughter named Leah who was born in 1743, none of the records have survived. In Leah Cossart's case, her baptism is recorded at the First Presbyterian Church at Morristown.  As of 1743 there was no Presbyterian church located in Succasunna. Incidentally, if there were no local churches in the area including the church in Morristown that was not established until 1742, it is kind of hard to see where some family historians credit Jacob Cossart with being a minister.  He definitely was not listed as a minister or pastor at the Morristown church.  Anyway, the additional evidence that the Jacob Cossart family remained in Morris County is that their first five children were all married in Morris County between the years 1742 and 1760.  The marriage of their oldest son Jacob was recorded in Morris County in 1742, one year before his sister Leah was born. It is not clear what motivated Jacob Cossart to move his family back to Somerset County although possibly his father's death in 1756 may have been a factor.  Whether or not Jacob inherited money with his father's death is not known but it is likely and possibly a motivator to relocate. As we have outlined below it is likely that Jacob with his family moved south into what is today part of Warren Township in northeast Somerset County.

Old Presbyterian Graveyard Bound Brook, NJ
Jacob and Hannah Cox Cossart's youngest son, Anthony Cozad, my 5th great grandfather, was born on their family farm in Succasunna, Roxbury Township, Morris County, New Jersey in 1740 and he was in his early teens when his parents moved back to Somerset County.  In 1762, Anthony married my 5th great grandmother, Catherine Coon, who was at the time only 16 years old.  When his father Jacob died in 1772 ten years after their marriage, one of the witnesses on his will was a man named Thomas Coon who was probably an old friend of Jacob's, a neighbor, and the father of his daughter-in-law Catherine Coon Cozad. This would of course make Thomas Coon my 6th great grandfather.  Jacob and Hannah Cossart are buried in graveyard of the old Presbyterian Church in Bound Brook, New Jersey in what we have read was the family plot of the Coon family.  In Jacob Cossart's Last Will and Testament he leaves his modest assets to his wife and family but nothing is left to the church which if he were a minister might seem a little unusual. Another indication that the Coon and Cossart/Cozad families were friends and most likely lived near one another (as described in subsequent paragraphs), is that two of Catherine Coon's younger siblings, a brother and sister, married children of Anthony Cozad's older brother Jacob or put another way, Anthony was their uncle. We will not wonder if they called their older sister, Anthony's wife, their Aunt Catherine. Just kidding. What is also interesting is that Anthony Cozad was an executor on his father-in-law's will written just before Thomas Coon's death in 1785 and even more interesting was that Anthony as well as his father Jacob Cossart were both witnesses on Catherine's grandfather's will in 1761.  His name was also Thomas Coon and the fact that the two Cossart/Cozad were part of the will shows just how close these two families must have been.

Catherine Coon Cozad was only 17 years old when the first of her ten children was born.  She was 41 years old when her last child was born and only 44 years old when her husband Anthony prematurely died in 1790 at the relatively young age of only 50.  His will was written only two weeks before it was "proved" and the inventory of his assets compiled, which would imply that he had not anticipated his early death. He left to his wife Catherine in his will the right to use their home "to bring up my children, until they go to trades," and with four children under the age of ten when he died, Catherine was not about to move from the family home any time soon.  Strangely, Catherine Coon Cozad never remarried and when one her young daughters, 24-year old Hannah Cozad, my 4th great grandmother, married my 4th great grandfather Samuel Harpending in 1806 and then in the Spring of 1807 headed by wagon to central New York, Hannah's mother, Catherine Coon Cozad, went with them.  Catherine died in 1824 at the age of 78 having outliving her husband by 34 years.  She is buried near Dundee, New York in the oldest cemetery in Yates County located behind The Starkey Methodist Church.  Her name on her gravestone noted her as "Katherine Casad." My wife and I visited this cemetery around a decade ago with no idea that my 5th great grandmother was buried there alongside at least 216 other graves. 

There is very little historical documentation about Anthony Cozad and the few times that the name is mentioned we have to wonder if the Anthony Cozad mentioned might actually be his cousin Anthony (1739-1800) who was about the same age as our grandfather but he lived over in Middlesex County as opposed to Somerset County. The mix up may have occurred when the Sons of the American Revolution in 1954 accepted our Anthony Cozad  (1740-1790) as a Revolutionary War soldier and as a result granted membership to his descendant Charles C. Cosad.  Only problem here was that he is listed as having been a Private in the Middlesex County Militia.  One has to suspect that the Middlesex private was actually his cousin Anthony who lived in Middlesex. On the other hand our Anthony's father-in-law, Thomas Coon, was a private in Captain William Moffatt's Company, in Colonel Frederick Frelinghuysen's 1st Regiment of the Somerset County Militia, and if our Anthony Cozad was a soldier during the Revolution, this is likely the regiment in which he served.  Unfortunately we could not find any records to support this belief.  If our Anthony Cozad was in this regiment then he might have seen a lot of action during the American Revolution as there were many battles large and small fought within New Jersey including the nearby Battle of Bound Brook.

Townships in Somerset County, New Jersey
One other unfortunate circumstance is that we could not find any baptismal records for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children which would normally tell us where the parents were living at the time of the births.  It is extremely unlikely that he was not a member of any church and it is a real possibility that the baptismal records were simply lost. An issue of the Somerset County Historical Quarterly reported that Anthony was a "warm supporter of the Mt. Bethel Church" located in present day Warren Township in Somerset County. What intrigued us about this was that before 1806, Warren Township was actually part of Bernards Township which is the location most often listed for the births of Anthony's and Catherine's children. Furthermore, Bernards Township (or Bernards Town) is listed as the location where Anthony Cozad was living when he prepared his will in 1790.  This might suggest that the family was actually living in present day Warren Township and possibly near Mount Bethel Church as opposed to present day Bernards Township.

Old Mount Bethel Church and Cemetery
Mount Bethel was founded in 1767 so it is possible that the Cozarts were early members but in any case they would have been members of this church long after all of their children had been baptised. We learned after reviewing the website of the "Warren Township Historical Society" that the Coon family was one of the earliest settlers in Warren Township as was a man named David Smalley. Obviously the Coon family was close to Anthony Cozad as he married their daughter but equally important is that David Smalley was not only listed as an executor on Anthony's will but his daughter Rachel Smalley married Samuel Cozad, son of Anthony and Catherine.  Combine this information with the fact that there is a small burg located near Mount Bethel Church named Coontown, convinces us even more that there is ample evidence to show that the Anthony Cozad family lived in Warren Township in Somerset County, near the Mount Bethel Church, near Coontown, and as it turns out only around five miles north of Bound Brook where Anthony Cozad and his parents and many members of the Coon family are buried. The suggestion as some have made that Anthony Cozad died in Bound Brook or in Millstone located just south of Bound Brook appears to be without merit. Anthony's will suggested that he was not well-off when he died as his assets totaled only a little over 160 English pounds. We found this description written about early Warren Township to be quite revealing: "A sparsely-populated region of marginal farmland and rocky hills."  Does not sound like a great place to find a prosperous farm in the late 1700s. That being the case we should not be surprised to learn that a many of the children of Anthony and Catherine left the area after their father's death and after they reached adulthood.  Two of their daughters however, Mary and Catherine, married local men, brothers Reuben and Joshua Compton, and they are all buried in the Mount Bethel Cemetery in Warren Township. Our 4th great grandmother, Hannah Cozad, followed the pattern of many of her brothers and sisters by moving away, in her case with her new husband Samuel Harpending to Central New York not long after the close of the American Revolution.  And so ends our story of our Cossart/Cozad ancestors.