A rose by any other name…

I was recently looking through my family tree, trying to suss out surnames I haven’t spent any or much time with in my research, in an attempt to populate my blog with interesting stories about my ancestors.

Eventually one name popped out and screamed “Me, me!”

Philbrick.

Thomas Philbrick to be exact.

Why was his name doing all this screaming? Well, in performing a bit of an online background check on the gentleman, (one should always do a background check before meeting up with a new guy), I find that Philbrick can be found under many guises:

Felebruge
Fylbrigg
Felbrigge
Felbridge
Fellbridge
Felbrigge
Felbridg
Fellbrygge
Filbrick
Philbrok
Philbrucke
Philbrook
Filbrook
Filbrucke
Philbriek
Philbrock
Philbrooth

I believe that these variations only scratch the surface! (I thought the Shepard surname was bad.)

Stolen off the internets; photo from British Express of the front of Bures St. Mary’ church.

Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth, are believed to have hailed from the small village of Bures St. Mary’s in Suffolk, England. Bures St. Mary’s is located on the Stour River which borders Suffolk and Essex Counties. He arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts with his family, wife Elizabeth (Knop/Knapp) Philbrick  and a couple of children, around 1635. This line’s descendants eventually married into the Hatch family.

Oh, by the way, the family in America spelled the name Philbrook or Philbrick. I guess it depended on their mood that day.

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Those long New England winters…

It is amusing, to me anyway, how when we die we suddenly become saints who led exemplary lives, were the epitome of upright citizenry, god fearing moral examples for all, yadda, yadda, yadda (by the way If anyone ever says that about me, it’s all lies!). The same type of thing happens when genealogist write up family histories about their ancestors.  It’s rare to find a family history that says anything bad about their fore bearers.


That’s why I love to find records like what I am posting today, records that show even our ancestors were only human. I have had this information for a while, but sometimes there is a long wait before I can post anything new, so I like to go through all my old research to find entries of interest that I might have forgotten about.


Jonathan and Lydia Hatch of Barnstable, Barnstable County, Massachusetts are our focus today both of them are ancestors of ours. Read this little tidbit: 

Jonathan Hatch, who eventually married Ann Rowley, was described by the historian Otis as:     … a man of indomitable energy of character – no difficulties discouraged him – no misfortune swayed him from his onward and determined course of life. He was a pioneer in the march of civilization, and the history of his life, if faithfully written, would present many points of romantic interest. (Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families v1:p463).

Well some of that may indeed be true (he certainly focused a lot on the romantic aspect, but not in the way we think), but those New England winters must have gotten quite boring because Jonathan and his sister Lydia seem to have spent a bit of time in court, and not in a good way, as can seen in the following court record entries that I have entered below.

(1) p.152 – …In 1642 Lydia Hatch appeared before the court not only “for suffering Edward Michell to attempt to abuse her body by uncleanness” and not letting it be known, but for “lying in the same bed with her brother Jonathan.” Her brother was not directly accused of incest, although he was in court on other charges. Lydia was publicly whipped for both offenses, no option of a fine being given, and Jonathan was also whipped for vagrancy and “for his misdemeanors.

(2) March 1, 1641/1642 Bradford, G. (PCR 2:35):
Edward Michell, for his lude [and] sodomitacall practives tending to sodomye with Edward Preston, and other lude carryages with Lydia Hatch, is centured to be presently whipt at Plymouth, at the publike place, and once more at Barnestable, kin convenyent tyme, in the presence of Mr. Freeman and the committees of the said towne.

March 1, 1641/1642 Bradford, G. (PCR 2:35):
Lydia Hatch, for suffering Edward Michell to attempt to abuse her body by vncleanesse, [and] did not discouer it, [and] lying the same bed with her brother Jonathan, is censured to be publickly whipt; was accordingly donn.

March 6, 1665/1666 (GC, PCR 4:117):
Wheras Jonathan Hatch hath bine convicted of vnnesesarie frequenting the house of Thomas Crippin, and therby hath giuen occation of suspision of dishonest behauior towards Francis, the wife of the said Crippin, the Court hath admonished him and warned him for the future not to giue such occation of suspision as aforsaid by his soe frequently resorting to the said house or by coming in the companie of the said woman, as hee will anware it att his peril.

———————————-
(1)The entries above were found in James and Patricia Scott Deetz, The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in the Plymouth Colony, (New York: W.H. Freeman and Co., 2000), 151-152. With other sources listed, Other information found at the website related to book: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/users/deetz/Plymouth/Lauria2.html

(2) Appendix II: The Court Records  The following descriptions of Court Records provide the date of the record, the Plymouth Colony Record (PCR0 cite, and an indication of the Court at which the action occurred, including the General Court 9GC0, the Court of Assistant (CA), Court of Magistrates (CM) (typically conducted by individual Assistants), and Governor Bradford hearing disputes and claims as an Assistant or Magistrate (Bradford).

References for above court records Bradford, William Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York:Knopf (1952). PCR. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Ed., by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York:AMS Press. 12v. in 6.

Hanged till thou be Dead..

It is again my favorite month of the year, and not just because I was born on All Hallows Eve. This month I have decided to focus on the more macabre of our family stories. Today’s is all about murder and ‘justice’.

The first major war to occur in the New World involving the European’s was King Philip’s War of 1675-1678. It was named after the American Indian Metacomet, who was also known as King Philip. I won’t go into the details of the war, those can be read in any history book. Let’s just say relations between the New Englanders and the local tribes had gotten bad and war was the result.

The war had a devastating effect on New England colonies many towns were completely destroyed, the  economy was in ruin, a large percentage of the population had been killed. Over half of the towns that had been established had been affected in some way by the attacking American Indian warriors. No doubt all of this contributed to the actions described below:

About the 9th of August [1676] there happened a very sad accident, relating to the poor christian indians, viz. a horrid murder committed by some Englishmen upon two squaws, wives to two of our Indian soldiers…and one young woman, and three children, whereof one was a nursing infant…
These two squaws and their company aforementioned, being allowed (in this time of their straits for food) by the English authority, went forth to gather hurtleberries, as a place called Hurtleberry Hill, about four miles from Watertown Mill, within the bounds of that town; were the English, who were about eleven or twelve in number, and were on horseback, first met those indians. There was one Indian man with them called John Stoolemester, one that had been bred with the English; they disarmed him of a carbine belonging to the county, for he was newly come in from the army, and had not been delivered his arms. After they had disarmed this fellow, they threatened to kill him; but he, speaking english interceded strongly for his life, and so they dismissed him, and he came home; but the squaws being among the bushes not far off, he left them there; the english came to them and sat down, and smok’d[sp] it where they were, and exchanged with them bread and cheese for some hurtleberries; and then the English left the squaws and children, but being not gone a mile, four of the English left their company and went back to the squaws, and drove them before them unto the north end of the hill, into a secret place, and there murdered them all, and stript[sp] such as had coats on. Having committed the murder, these men went to their habitations.
The next day after the squaws were missing, and came not home to their wigwams, Capt. Pitimee, being then at home, came to Major Gookin at Cambridge and acquainted him with his fears, that some evil had befallen his wife, sister and their company, and desired an order and some help of Englishmen, two or three as least, to go and search for them; which being so reasonable a request, it was granted. So he went forth and searched a day or two, but could not find them; as last, having procured about fifteen or sixteen Indians, and two english, they made a more strict search, and at last found the dead bodies, not far from one another, cruelly murdered, some shot through, others their brains beat out with hatchets; to be short, this murder was afterward discovered, and the four murders seized, tried, and condemned, and two of the four executed, and the other two pardoned by the General Court. This murder was very much decried by all good men, and it was some satisfaction that some of them were make examples. I know the murderers pretended a law to warrant the act, but the juries and judge were not of their mind in the matter. I know, also, there are some among the English that have a very ill conceit of all the Indians, and will not admit them so much charity, as to think that any of them are sober or honest.
An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians in New England, In the Years, 1675, 1676, 1677, by Daniel Gookin; page 513, 514

Wartime situations can bring out the best and worse in humans beings. In this case I believe the worst showed its face in actions of one of my ancestors as two of the four men were relatives of mine. Daniel and Stephen Goble of Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts were two of the perpetrators of this atrocity. Daniel is my 8xgreat grandfather. Stephen was his nephew.

What makes things even worse for them is the fact that the war was over. King Philip had been killed. People had no more patience for these kinds of acts and so it was decided that these men were to be made an example of. The communities reaction was most likely a political ploy for the sake of peace. An act meant to prove to the Indians that any Whites committing such acts were treated as harshly as Indians. So the four men were promptly arrested, tried, and found guilty. The Reverend Mr. Rowlandson attended them in jail, wrote and witnessed their wills. Daniel’s nephew Stephen was the first to hang on a dreary and cold day in September. From all accounts it appeared that the whole of Boston had turned out to see the show including a Samuel Sewell who wrote the following:

“Mr. Mighil prayed. Four others sat on the gallows, two men and two impudent women, one of which as least, laughed on the gallows.” She was there to be whipped for adultery. The Hangman read the record which was the same for all four men, except for their names.: Stephen Goble of Concord thou art indicted by the name of Steven Goble for not having the fear of God before thy eyes and being instigated by the Devil and thy Accomplices at or on the seventh of August at or near Hurtleberry Hill in the woods in the vicinity of Concord or near thereabouts did murder and kill three Indian women and three Indian children contrary to the grace of our sovereign Lord thy king his crown and signity the law of land and of this Jurisdiction. After the libel testimony in the Case provided wear Read Comitted to the Jury and are remaining on file w/ the records of this Court the Jury brought in their verdict & the found him Guilty, Accordingly the sentence of Death pronounced upon him that he should Goe from hence to the place from whence he Came & thence to the Gallows and there be hanged till thou be Dead.”

A week later Daniel, too ill to walk, was drawn upon a cart to the place of execution and hanged in the company of five Indians.

During the trial of the four men, two of them got off because their families had money and influence. Our ancestral relatives were not so blessed. I have to say that I can not be sorry that they were punished for their actions. They committed murder and should have been punished for it. What is unfortunate is that the other two got away.

Daniel’s son Daniel, jr inherited land his father was awarded for his service in the war. He sold it off. His mother Hannah had married again so forfeited her inheritance of the property. She moved to Lancaster Massachusetts. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Hannah and her second husband Ephraim Roper were killed by Indians about 20 years later.

Society of the Cincinnati…

I have been doing a little reading about Shay’s Rebellion. Why you ask? Well as my ancestor General William Shepard was one of the major players in this incident, I thought it might be relevant to my research.

I won’t be going into the rebellion as this time, but in my reading of the incident I ran across an interesting tidbit about William. He was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati.

The Anderson House where the Society’s archives and main branch resides.

According to Wikipedia and the Society’s own website this organization was created in 1783  at the Continental Army encampment at Newburgh, New York. The concept was started by Henry Knox and would consist of only those officers who has served 3 years and were above a certain rank. It is the nation’s oldest patriotic organization, founded by officers of the Continental Army and their French counterparts who served together in the American Revolution. Its mission was to promote knowledge and appreciation of the achievement of American independence and to foster fellowship among its members.

William joined the Massachusetts group.

There was some controversy when the organization first started as many Americans were fearful that the group was trying to create an hereditary aristocracy. The group was a bit shocked by the accusations, and decided to change a few of it’s policy’s and rules to alleviate some of the fears of the American citizens, the main one being it’s restriction of hereditary membership to the eldest son.

The group continues to this day. If you want to read more about them check out wiki or go to their web site: http://societyofthecincinnati.org/.

Shepard update…

Just a short note to let you know that I have been working very diligently this weekend sorting out all the lines on this Shepard connection. In fact in using my separately created genealogy file for this problem I created a chart you can view at my flickr site. It has been a real hoot trying to untangle all the cousins that married each other in several of the generations. [Until I feel very confident of the connection, I won’t be adding this data to my regular family file.]

In a nutshell, assuming this connection correct, the Shepard line starts with an immigrant, William, from England arriving in the 1600s, the second generation settling in Westfield, Massachusetts and pretty much staying there until Henry and Huldah Shepard moved with their respective families, along with other relations, to Ohio.

Dont ignore your cousins…

One of the cardinal rules in genealogical research, is “Don’t ignore your cousins”. Too often family history researchers, especially newbies, tend to focus too much on their direct line during their research. Doing so can greatly decrease their chances of finding useful information that might help: knock down brick walls, find those missing pictures, get details on family they might otherwise never know.

Case in point.

It is very possible that I have found our mysterious Shepard progenitor. “How is this possible?”, you ask. Well I thank modern science and good old fashioned cousin searching.

Thanks to DNA we recently had a match between another Shepherd gentleman who is not a descendant of Hartley. This means that this Dr. John Shepherd and Grandfather are related very closely, genealogically speaking. But the question is, who is their common ancestor? Dr. John had in his research one generation further back than we did, to a John Shepherd born in New Jersey about 1783. Who was he in relation to Hartley? We didn’t know and further research hadn’t really turned up anything of use.

Cut to a different line. The Deem surname married into our Shepard line in West Virginia, there is a Deem Family site that I found last year, where I also found a picture purported to be of Susannah Smith Shepard, Hartley’s wife. On this site, Hartley and Susannah’s daughter, Sevilla, is listed because she married a gentleman by the name of Hiram Deem. Sevilla’s parents are listed, Hartley and Susannah, as are all four of her grandparents Henry Shepard and Huldah, and Joseph Smith and Catherine. I was curious how this person who put the information up on the Deem site knew who Hartley’s parents were, no one in our family had ever heard the names. When I tried to ask the poster where he got the information I received no response. So I gave up for a while.

Yesterday I had some time at work and decided to do a little Shepard research, as I do every couple of months. This time I decided to try the Henry and Huldah angle. Imagine my surprise when I got a hit. I had found a whole site uploaded by a Shepard descendant whose immigrant ancestor had started in Massachusetts. But in that data was a listing for Henry and Huldah Shepard along with his ancestors all the way back to merry old England. Not a mention of good ol’ Scotland.

Two items peaked my cautious interest in this site, after all this connection could be bogus. 1. There was mention of one generation where the children were split up due to the death of their father when they were very young. One child was sent to New Jersey – [hmmm – isn’t that where Dr. John’s ancestor was born?], the other was sent to Westfield, Massachusetts [our possible relations]. 2. Henry, while being born in Massachusetts, is said to have died in Ohio. I do know he was married in Ohio, I found a marriage notice for him and Huldah that was culled from the Marietta, Washington County, Ohio paper. Washington County is just below Monroe County, where Hartley is said to have been born.

So all in all very intriguing bits of information, that makes me smile in hopeful anticipation.

Of great interest, if true, is a link to the following site on Wikipedia: Gen. William Shepard this General, if a true connection, would be Hartley Shepard’s grandfather.

I have also found archival collections for this General Shepard at the Westfield Athenaeum Library. Unfortunately, we can’t get them to sent the collection here as we can with our Wisconsin Historical Society materials.

Yesterday I also finally made contact with Nick Deem, the gentleman who had the picture of Susannah Smith on his site along with the information on Hartley’s parents. According to Nick “The information and picture was handed down in my family. I am not sure which of my Mothers sisters or brothers had the picture. They have all passed on now.” But it seems that the information could very likely be correct, because there are no records in Ohio that can confirm this data and very little on Henry and Huldah to speak of, which makes it hard to imagine someone making the connection on a guess, or a whim.

So thanks to the help of cousins, we just might have found the break we were waiting for.

Now where is another Shepard cousin I can get some DNA from? More later…