40 Days and 40 Nights

Question? How did the animals go into the ark? This is one of my happy pictures although I did not paint it but purchased it. It is an unusal version of the Noah’s ark story. There is no water in the picture and as the animals disembark after the 40 days they have given birth. It gives me hope that after our 40 days and 40 nights (living through Covid-19) that the ark will land, new birth will occur and this trial will end! In answer to my question above if you are singing the song, “The ants went marching two by two”, I want you to rethink and test everything you know…. for the Bible says in Genesis 7:1-24 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals…. When I first discovered this I also had to go look it up and read it. 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert, 40 days it rained, 40 days from Crucifixion to Ascension. I am thinking I should use these 40 days of isolation to reset, rethink and test everything I think I know. Yesterday our leaders deemed the Easter Bunny an essential service. Really!?!? They say they want to make it as near normal for kids under Covid-19. Time for a reset?

Poughkeepsie Jaycocks and the Revolutionary War

Generations of descendents have the name Jacocks, Jaycocks, Jacox. Poughkeepsie is 85 miles from New York City. The land was purchased from the local Natives in 1686 and one of the first settlers was Barent Baltus Van Kleeck. The settlement grew quickly and the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie was established by 1720. Poughkeepsie was spared from battle during the American Revolutionary War. It was here that the United States Constitution was ratified in 1788 and the New York State entered the union as the eleventh of the Thirteen Colonies. But before this happened a war was happening between the British and the Americans. It was resolved that any person could not go within the enemy’s lines without the orders of the commander in chief and be duly convicted before a court martial. A search of the papers of the public papers of George Clinton the governor of New York records a letter written by Simon Van Kleek, Siseeley Van Kleek, Simeon Leroy, Wyntje Leroy, (my 5th great grandparents )Matthew Van Kueren Jr., Hanna Van Keuren, Peter Losing, Mary Losing, James Dearin, Gitry Dearin, Bengemen his mark x Jacocks, Isaac P Lauson, Andress Lawsen. dated April 19, 1779. The letter asks for the mercy of his Country, and that all the above women are sisters of William Jaycocks now under sentence of Death, Humbly beg leave to crave your Excellency’s pardon, for him, on account of his youth (William was 19) and on account of his Declaration when he came home, of his desire and intention to surrender himself and that the principle evidence against him is far from credible and convinced of his intention of behaving in future as a good subject, willing to be bound to the full value of our estates and that he be bound to his farm, we ask your Excellency’s most Obedient and most humble servants. Signed by the above names. page 737-738, N0 2225, public papers of George Clinton, 1st Gov of NY.

Further correspondence ensued with Isaak Rysdyk Reverend that the law might be deferred for a few days giving the wretched youth who seemed desirous to have some minister confer about his eternal concerns. Denied because the governor had no reason to believe William was affected with a due sense of his guilt or discovered any desire the short time left him in preparing for the great and important change which he is so shortly to undergo. William Jacocks was informed on the day he was convicted not to expect a Pardon and that he may not be diverted by false hopes from the necessary preparation for death.

William Jaycocks hung for treason. 1779.

The family of Simeon LeRoy b November 19, 1746 at Poughkeepsie, NY and Wyntje Jaycocks (also known as Lavonia or Winah) married May 22, 1768 and when the war was over found themselves on the wrong side of the political climate. In July 1775, Simon LeRoy was a signer of the Association Test.. On April 30, 1777 Simon and his father-in-law and brothers in-law were recorded as being at a Tory meeting in a pub. Simon was indicted and the judgement against him signed on July 14, 1783 but by then Simon Leroy, wife and 3 children over 8 years old arrived in Annapolis, Nova Scotia from New York on the British Ship-of War Amphitrite in the book The King’s Loyal American he is listed as the head of the family, from New York, a farmer and he disembarked at St. John. The British resettled them and they moved to Carillon, Quebec, Saint-Andre-d’Argenteuil. On March 9, 1784 Simon at Belleilse River, Kings Country and Queens County, New Brunswick was given a Loyalist Land Grant of 200 acres. The county of New Brunswick was known as Sunbury County before it became a separate province of Quebec. By March 3, 1795 his residence was Pointe Claire, Quebec Farnham Township. On July 22, 1796 each man petitioned being a tenant on 200 acres in Farnham Twp. and in Feb 1, 1800 he signed a declaration that he was a loyalist at Missiiquois Bay, Quebec. Simon LeRoy in 1802 was found on a list p.18 on a list of Loyalists against whom judgments were given under the Confiscation Act. They lost farms, and homes, some of the family were burned out. At the time the LeRoys left Genesee County, New York, haste prevented their making any effort to sell their property, hence they left all, glad to escape only with their lives. In 1812-1815 at Saint Andre Argenteuil, Quebec he again fought as Captain of the Argenteuil Sedentary Militia, Lower Canada at age 66. Wyntje made her will on April 17, 1827 and listed the following children To Gelty Leryo wife of Anthony Turrell, Rachel Leroy married to George Saxe and Cecily Leroy married to John Docksteader. Wyntje died on September 12, 1830, St. Andrews, Argenteuil, Quebec and he on July 10, 1832 and they are buried in Christ Church Anglican Cemetary, there.

In the book Memories of Old St. Andrews is recorded Simeon Leroy who was the first United Empire Loyalist of whom we have record to settle in the North River valley. After the Revolution they left their property in New York.

They say history is written by the victors, but these Loyalists claims records may prove otherwise if your ancestors supported the British in the Revolutionary War.

(Wendy, John Waddell, Olive Gibbs, George Arthur Gibbs, Hiram Garner Gibbs, Anna Saxe, Rachel LeRoy, Simon and Wyntje Jaycocks Leroy). DNA matches with Rachel LeRoy and her sister Cecilia Leroy.

The Blind Men and the Elephant

Just a fun little sketch from 2011 by Wendy Harty called The Elephant. I found a poem called The Blind Men and the Elephant about the six blind men that went to see the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe. The first approached the elephant from the side and said “What a wall!” The second the tusk and said, “Round and smooth and sharp – a spear!” The third approached and felt the squirming trunk and said, “Its like a snake!” The fourth found the elephant’s knee and said, “Its very like a tree!” The fifth chanced to touch the ear and said, “it’s very like a fan!” The sixth seized the swinging tail and said, “A rope!”. The moral of the story though disputed long and loud, each in his own opinion was very strong, though each was partly right, and all were in the wrong! I love the lesson here.

Philipsburg was NE of Lake Champlain on the banks of Missiisquoi Bay. It was one of the first settlements in the Eastern Township of Quebec. It was home of the 1837 Lower Canadian Rebellion , where the battle of Moore’s Corner happened. The result was the Province of Canada made up of Lower and Upper Canada. During the American Revolution travelers used Champlain waterway to establish these settlements. In the 1860’s slave refugees found haven there with the Underground Railroad.

If you are following along with the previous blog called That’s a Bad Thing, Right? Abraham Gibbs married Annie Saxe on November 25, 1833. Annie was the daughter of George Sax and Rachel LeRoy. George’s father was John Christian Saxe 1732-1808 born in Germany; son of Godfrey Sax. John Christian was born in 1732 at Langensaltza, in the Kingdom of Hanover. It is enclosed in walls, defended by a castle. John was the youngest of a large family of children. His father was a man of influence and the owner of eight acres of land. John remembered his father as a stern man of great strength and courage. John was ten years of age when his father died. He left school at the age of 13 and when he was 18 went to Amsterdam to seek his fortune. A friend suggested going to the colonies. He set sail in 1750 with passage on credit and landed in Philadelphia. He immediately took his allegiance to the King and found work as a miller’s assistant. It took three years to pay his debt and in he learned the trade, learned to read and write English and at the age of 21 was a miller at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania 19 miles from Philidelphia. He moved to the Rhinebeck area of New York where he met his wife, Catherine Weaver described as a beautiful woman, fair complexion, black eyes and dark curling hair. Here they lived for nineteen years and had eight sons. Over the next decade John became dismayed that many of his neighbors were no longer loyal to the King. John Saxe is credited with the retort I have taken an oath to the King and the King has done me no wrong. However, loyalty to the King brought an arrest, and time in jail at Esopus, New York. He escaped from jail with the destination of Missiisquoi Bay in 1783. His youngest and only daughter, Hannah, was born here.

John Saxe started over again at Highgate, Vermont building a new house, a mill, and a general store at Rock Port which was known as Saxe Mills. The first settlers were Dutch, principally refugees who supposed they had settled in Canada, until after the establishment of the boundry line. He learned French and was a highly respected person for his wisdom and knowledge. He cleared a large farm and made this home until his death. When Hannah was only four Catherine died January 10, 1781. He never remarried. The following years were times of testing with the harsh unfriendly influences of pioneer life, harrassed by Indians and wild beasts. John was a member of the Lutheran Church and a careful reader of scriptures. He had a German Bible, from which his youngest children were accustomed to read to him in his old age. He gave his children the best education circumstances permitted and endeavored to imbue them with a noble ambition. John died at Highgate at the age of seventy-six years. He and his wife are buried in the town cemetery of Philipsburg, Canada.

John, the oldest son, died 1793 at age 21. George was a hunter and drover. William was a surveyor. Matthew was a wheelwright, later a merchant and Town Clerk. Godfrey died at age 28. Peter remained on the homestead, a farmer, merchant and man of business. He represented the town in the Legislature. Jacob was a merchant, Conrad a farmer.

John Godfrey Saxe, Poet of Vermont, was the son of Judge Peter Saxe and Grandson of my John Saxe 5th great grandfather, George Saxe and Rachel LeRoy, 4th great grandparents were the parents of my Annie Saxe who married Abraham Gibbs my 3rd great grandparents.

Wendy (John Waddell, Olive Gibbs, George Arthur Gibbs, Hiram Garner Gibbs, George and Annie Sax, John and Catherine Saxe).

That’s A Bad Thing, Right?

And the Battle of Bennington, New Hampshire

On December 17, 2019 I fell down 6 steps accidentally and broke my clavicle. That’s a bad thing right? No it was a good thing. In the process of spending 9 days in the hospital over Christmas the doctors discovered a rare atypical canceroid tumor in my left lung that was only discovered in the X-rays from the break. The cancer, that’s a bad thing, right? No it was a good thing, With my arm in a sling for 5 weeks, I needed to rest and checked into Meadowlands Respite. That’s a bad thing, right? No it was actually a blessing to me to have the rest as my MS had flared and the care there was phenomenal as were the new friends I made as I watched them cope with grace in their elderly years. They brightened my days and cheered me in my recovery. I stubbed my toe and broke my little pinkie on my foot. That’s a bad thing right? Yes, it hurt however, after a trip to ER and an X-ray just as Coronovirus-19 was hitting Medicine Hat I self-isolated from a cold influenza and that’s a good thing if I don’t catch anything in my lungs before surgery. Covid-19 that’s a very bad thing, right? Yes it is as my surgery may be postponed but in the grand scheme of things it is a good thing as I’m learning to put more trust in my Lord and God and in all things give thanks! 1 Peter 1:7

And the good news is that after a PET Scan, a brain CT and a biopsy the cancer has not spread and I have no symptoms.

To my 5th great grandmother Keziah: sorry my blogging got interrupted.


To the memory of Mr. Elisha Higgins and Mrs. Hannah Higgins his wife, who finished lives of exemplary pioty on the 22nd of Jan 1977 in the 77 year of his age. And on the 22nd of Sep. 1776 in the 74 year of her age.

Why were Elisha and Hannah Doane Atwood Higgins, the parent of Keziah Atwood at Bennington, Vermont. About 1742 Hannah and her second husband Elisha moved from Eastham to Hardwick, Massachusetts. Here they were members of the church and remained until 1764. “Elisha Higgins was seated in the 2nd seat in y meeting house and his wife on y opposite side”. (From records of the First Parish Church in Palmer.) On February 20, 1764 he bought of Elisha Hedge of Hardwick 170 acres of land in Palmer on which they lived. They remained here until June 6, 1769, when they sold to Elisha Swan on the road from Hardwick to Springfield, 170 acres of buildings and land. One of their sons, a brother to Keziah, Samuel Atwood had returned home from the French and Indian War and had marched through Bennington and was impressed with the country there. He came back to see his parents who by this time were elderly and convinced them to move with him. They removed to Fort Ann, New York near Skenesborough, then claimed by Vermont. (The land was just being surveyed and the lines were fought over.) The region was most disturbed before War broke out and Elisha and Hannah took refuge in Bennington, Vermont, where he and Hannah both died. Samuel, my 6th Grandmother Hannah’s oldest son married Peace Stewart on August 30, 1752 in Hardwick, Massachusetts. They settled in Bennington, Vermont in 1761 and had the following children: Jerusha, Samuel, David, Jonathan, Hannah, Paul , Prudence, and Moses. Samuel Atwood’s name is found on a list of a military company that was formed in the town of Bennington by October, 1764. The list embraced all the able-bodied men then in town between the ages of eighteen and sixty that were on the muster roll of the first Company of Militia. He served in the Revolution in Capt. Joseph Safford’s company of militia in Col. Ebenezer Walbridge’s regiment Aug 2 to Aug 8, 1781 and in Capt. Ebenezer Woods’ company, commencing Oct 13, 1781. Just after his step father Elisha and mother Hannah died,the Battle of Bennington, the American Revolutionary War battle was fought there. The war was brutal. On July 23, 1777 Colonel Stark was in command and the Committee of Safety State of New Hampshire wrote: Orders given to march from New Hampshire immediately to the assistance of our Friends in the new State of Vermont, to put a speedy stop to the further ravages of our merciless enemies. They then wrote that they were fearful that the troops will suffer for want of kettles. They sent 44 bushels of salt and 1000 lbs of balls. Colonel John Stark wrote: I expect to march tomorrow, we are detained for want of bullet molds as there is but one pair in town. I am afraid we shall meet with difficulty in procuring kettles to cook our vituals as the troops has not brought any. I am informed by a man from Otter Creek that the enemy has left with an intent to march to Bennington.

The Vermont Gazette, Bennington, VT Thursday, December 29, 1796 page 2 wrote this about Samuel Atwood: DIED. On Friday last, after a distressing illness of ten days, Mr. Samuel Atwood, aged 72. He was one of the early settlers in Bennington, an industrious farmer, a peaceable neighbor, and kind parent. His date of death was December 23, 1796 and was buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery. (This Samuel was the 12 year old son of Samuel Atwood Sr. that in my fictional story ran to fetch the men to write his father’s will). He was the oldest brother to my Keziah Atwood Gibbs and Jerusha.

I enjoy following the trails of this family and this brother Samuel that had a daughter named Jerusha had a daughter named Polly Smith who married John Seward. Their son Orange Seward served in Co C., 5th Vermont Infantry, Civil War. He was captured wounded in the battle of Wilderness, taken prisoner and carried to Richmond and he died with typhoid fever at Andersonville.

Other children that Hannah had after she married Elisha Higgins: Joseph b 1734 married Anna Hooker; Abigail b 1737 married Simon Griffin of Hardwick; Abial b 1740 married Ebeenezer Safford; and Uriah b 1743 married Esther Cooley. These would be the 1/2 siblings of my Keziah Gibbs.

Azubah Gibbs (Abraham’s sister)born in 1753 married Samuel Wright. They had 5 children: Anthony, Wise, Sylvia , Horace and Orra. Sylvia married Elias Sweet and one of her daughters was named Angelia Azuba Sweet. Its interesting how the names carry through the generations.

The Revolutionary War finally ended in 1783 had lasted seven years. Abraham’s brother was called Lieutenant Jacob Gibbs 1727-1777. He was the one who married Bethiah Bacon who was Keziah’s cousin. (Little Bethiah who came to stay with Keziah when her father died in my story.) He was living in Greenwich, Massachusetts, in 1777 during the American Revolution. Jacob Gibbs had a son named Zenas that applied for his pension from the war but was refused as he did not serve six months as required. The troops won few battles in the first year of the war but successfully expelled the British from Massachusetts, who fled to Canada in March 1776. Thousands from the state bravely took up arms against the British I can find no record of the death of Abraham Gibbs my 5th great grandfather, but as previously stated Keziah died November 3, 1794 at the home of her daughter Keziah Atwood Gibbs.

Abraham and Keziah had 7 children. Thomas 1746-1828, Sarah 1748 died, Keziah Atwood 1749-1834, Abraham 1753-1807, Azuba 1753-1824, Isaac 1756-1832, and Joshua 1759-1840. Thru-Lines from Ancestry confirms my connection with matches to these grandparents through their children: Azubah, Issac and Joshua. After the War genealogy records were very spotty. Joshua Gibbs married Anna Clark (not Anna Crowell info supplied by David Gibbs). Copied from an old Bible dated 1816 Joshua and Anna Clark Gibbs had children: Orimall, Horris, Dorothy, Susannah, Jemima, Hiram, Miron, Milton, Joshiea, Maryon, David and Solomon who claimed he was born in Canada – possibly the Panet’s Seignory of D’Ailleboust, An old letter that appears to be written by him in a booklet by Blanche Gibbs Alibee reads as follows:

“I went in to Canada in year 1806 to Pennets Seignony. My family went to Pennets Seignony March 1807. In the year, 1813, in the month of January we made calculations to leave the province of Canada and the boys set out and was defeated being taken for soldiers in Montreal by the British and Horris Gibbs and Hirum Gibbs left the British army in the year of 1814. Before reaping of wheat and about the same place I left my place of abode in Canada in order to come to the States on the account of the war and I brought of Myron Gibbs and then brought the rest of the family in the year of 1814. My family come to Montpeliar State of Vermont in the year 1815 on the first of January from thence went to Williston State of Vermont in the last of March of the first of April 1816 from thence we sent out for westward on the 26th of December 1816 and come to Groveland state of New York in February 1817 from thence we come to be township on the first day of October 1819. (Paper has Johua Gibbs written on it six times and Milton Gibbs once.) The war referenced would be the War of 1812. I have no proof but I calculate that the two brothers my 4th great grandfather Isaac and his brother Joshua had both gone to Canada to Quebec and were farming there.

I found Issac, born March 14, 1756 at Greenwich, Massachusetss, my 4th great grandfather in Canada after the war. Why? There is a Isaac Gibbs born about 1767 on a US and Canada Passenger and Immigration List arrival year 1792 to Quebec, Canada age 35. Many individuals traveled to their destination on uncomfortable, rat infested cargo ships which let 5, 10 maybe 30 passengers on board to suffer through the trip together. Isaac must have found his way to Farnham Township established before 1800 and was settled by mostly Loyalists from the United States. He married Lydia (last name as yet unknown).

Farnham is a city in Brome-Missisquoi County, built on the shores of the Yamaska River, at the border of the Saint-Lawrence lowlands. Stanbridge is also a city in Brome-Missiisquoi County and was first surveyed in 1792, the same year that Issac arrived in Quebec. From this information I deduce that Isaac was one of the first settlers in the frontier along the Canadian-US border. The Pennets Seignory was a long narrow strip of land along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, which was sub-granted to peasant farmers, the habitants by the French landlords. This is referenced above in the notes by Joshua Gibbs.

While Abraham’s brother Joshua left Canada, his nephew, Issac my 4th great grandfather stayed and with his wife Lydia had children Abraham born 1806 in Missiisquoi Co, Quebec and Hiram born February 12, 1812 at Farnham, Brome-Missisquoi, Quebec. In Quebec Vital and Church Records, I found two records: Abraham Gibbs yeoman, son of Isaac Gibbs in Township of Farmham County of Stafford District, Province of Lower Canada (Quebec) and of Lydia his wife and Sax daughter of George Sax Esquire and of Rachel (LeRoy) his wife, same place, were married by banns this 25 of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight thirty three by Signature ? Marriage place: Stanbridge, Quebec Anglican Church. Witnesses Peter Sax, George Sax and Mathew Sax (signatures).

Abraham’s brother married on the same as on the next page I found another marriage recorded for Hiram Gibbs, parents Isaac Gibbs and wife Lydia married Jane daughter of John Scott, farmer and wife Mary dated November 25, 1833 in the presence of John Scott, Silvester Scott and Richard Scott.

The boys, Abraham and Hiram, named above would have been Abraham and Keziah Gibb’s grandsons. They married into Loyalist families that had been “relocated” to Canada after the Revolutionary War and that is a story for another day of the LeRoy’s and Sax’s.

The Letter

Call Out the Angels! This piece is called “The Sad Angel” glass mosaic art by Wendy Harty. The three of us sisters call out the angels often for each other, whether for an illness, a storm, or in support of our families. I made each sister a glass angel with wings outspread so the angel could fly quickly. For myself I created this sad angel. She sits on my dresser and feels the weight of the world, the sin, the problems I can not solve. My angel weeps for the world. She has come to be a comfort for me and reminds me that I have a refuge and a fortress…”For God will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up so that you will not strike your foot against a stone”. Luke 4:11. My glass angel sits on glass plate so I can see myself behind her. The message there is that I can go on my way safely and my foot will not stumble. She is a good reminder that I should try to make her joyful throughout my day with each thought, word, and action. “And someday God will wipe every tear from our eyes.”

275 years ago, today, on December 16, 1744,Keziah Atwood married Abraham Gibbs. I found your stone today, the weeds are overgrown; The stone conveyed your name, your birth and the date you reached the Throne; I write this story on this site, legacy to what you’ve sown; To living and to babes unknown, your history will be known. To my 5th great grandmother, your wedding anniversary remembered.

A recap of Keziah’s life: she was 6 when her father Stephen Atwood died leaving her mother Hannah Doane, a young widow with 4 children to raise while being lame and disabled. Hannah within months married another widower Elisha Higgins with 4 children. They left Eastham when the population became unsustainable there and moved to Hardwick, Massachusetts. Elisha and Hannah had 4 more children: Joseph 1734, Abigail 1737, Abial 1740 and Uriah 1742. Hannah was 39 when this last child was born having born 13 children in 20 years. While Keziah was growing up in this household with 11 other siblings all children worked hard, the most minor sickness was potentially life threatening and pleasures were few. It’s amazing all reached adulthood with the high infant mortality, where bodies wore out and women aged fast. Colonials wore their hair long, women keeping theirs covered with hats, hoods, and kerchiefs. They made their own clothes from linen, flax and wool; every home had a spinning wheel and knitted constantly. Dyes made from birch bark and pokeberries made colorful shirts, pants, dresses, socks and caps. The farm grew its own food, a main staple being corn which could be roasted, boiled and cooked into pancakes and cornmeal bread. Squash and beans were added to apples and hunting supplied rabbit, squirrel, bear and deer. Bible reading was always acceptable.

This information is found in Part 3, Ye Alde Wode Annuals. Keziah Atwood was published to Abraham Gibbs at Hardwick, March 18, 1744, but the banns were forbidden. She married him at Brookfield December 16, 1744 as had likely become of age. Keziah your birthday was in December so you would have been 18. How did you know you wanted to be with Abraham forever? Your parents did not like him! You made your own decisions and were strong enough and brave enough and you alone know the reasons. I hope you were truly happy. You followed Abraham back to his home town of Quabbin which was later changed to Greenwich which is listed as the birthplace of all your children. This town known for its lakes and ponds, bordered the town of Hardwick where your mother and step father Hannah and Elisha Higgins lived. Together you and Abraham raised six living children; Thomas, Keziah, Abraham Jr. Azubah, Isaac, and Joshua. These five sons you watched march off to the Revolutionary War. You buried a daughter named Sarah who was born April 15, 1748. You named one daughter after yourself Keziah Atwood Gibbs, and also gave her your maiden name. Her first husband Samuel McClure died in 1778 in the Revolutionary War. Keziah then married Gershom Hall who also served as a private in the Berkshire county, Mass., militia under Captain David Wheeler and Colonel John Brown. Keziah you lived long enough to see your daughter Keziah’s seven children born: Jabez, Luther, Jabish, Azubah, Loammi, Hannah and Esther. Keziah, your next son you named after your husband Abraham and the Massachusetts records are becoming sketchy; your name is spelled Kiza Gibbs. Your other daughter Azuba married Captain Samuel Wright who was a Captain, a Revolutionary soldier. My connection to you is through your son Isaac born March 14, 1756 at Greenwich and duly recorded in Massachusetts Birth records. Your youngest son, Joshua, joined the Continental Army for a term of 6 months, age 20 years, 5’6″, complexion light, engaged for town of Greenwich; marched to camp July 20, 1780, under command of Capt. Benjamin Warren. I sense your joy when he was discharged Jan 26, 1781.

The colonists rose up against no taxation without representation imposed on them by the Boston merchant oligarchy. The Contentental Congress raised an army around Boston and selected George Washington to command it. But that first morning when the alarm went out with Paul Revere riding to warn the people were your sons among those who picked up their assorted caliber muskets and shared in the spirit and courage, with a rage and enthusiasm that marched together as a ragged militia against the Red coated British. This army of amateurs held their fire till they could see the whites of the eyes of the enemies. Did your sons find themselves on a smoke filled black powder battlefield on a still and oppressively hot day. The war dragged on. All five of your sons survived though 7000 died of battle wounds, 10000 died of camp diseases, and 8500 were captured and died in captivity.

Elisha Higgins did not like Abraham Gibbs; but the Gibbs and Atwood families got along well enough to marry each other. Mary Mercy Gibbs was Abraham’s aunt. She married James Darroch Aikens Jr. They named their daughter Mercy 1712-1823 and when she was about 12 years old and her father was building at Hardwick, she rode through the pathless forest to Hardwick guided by marked trees to deliver her father his weekly rations of food. This cousin of Abraham’s lived to be 102 and was a member of the church for 86 years. The Aiken’s family history led me down the research path to the Jacobite uprising in England. The Jacobites were a group of mostly Scottish people who believed that the Catholic James VII of Scotland and his Stuart descendants should be restored to the throne of Scotland and England. Jame’s father fled the Highlands after the Battle of Culloden in 1745. The British aggressively sought out the survivors and executed them. James Sr. escaped where he took shelter with a family of Aikens. Jame’s surname was Darroch, changed his name to Aiken, to help conceal his identity. His son’s name reflects the family name and story. James Darroch Aikens Jr. died in 1775, the same year a smallpox epidemic raged through Hardwick. Whether this is what he died from is unknown, but the red spots on the tongue, fever and a body rash plagued the people and if did not kill left many scarred.

Mary Mercy Gibbs and James Aiken’s son, a cousin of Abraham Gibbs, Ensign John Aiken married Keziah’s sister Jerusha Atwood. Keziah’s cousin Bethia Bacon (whose mother Keziah Doane sister to Hannah Doane had lost her husband before Bethia was born) married Abraham’s younger brother Lieutenant Jacob Gibbs. They all lived at Hardwick, Massachusetts. Jacob died Nov 13, 1777 aged 50 during the Revolutionary War and is buried in the Quabbin Park Cemetery. There are 60 other memorials found in this cemetery bearing the name Gibbs.

Jerusha and John Aiken had a son named Solomon. He graduated at Dartmouth in 1784, was pastor in Dracut from 1788-1812 when he was given leave to enter the army as a chaplain. He had served two years in the Revolution. Another of Jerusha’s sons Israel Aiken served as Captain in Page’s Company during the American Revolution. The Gibbs family certainly participated on the American side of the Revolutionary War so its interesting how they ended up being married to the Loyalists who took the side of the British but that’s another story for another day.

Abraham and Keziah had 7 children:

Thomas Gibbs born January 27, 1746, at Greenwich, Massachusetts. He had one son named Joseph. Thomas died in Russell, New York, having lived 82 years.

Sarah was born Apr 15, 1748, at Greenwich, Massachusetts, no other records found. That same year Keziah’s grandfather Doc David Doane died November 18, 1748 back in Eastham where she had been born. Keziah was named in his will and inherited 20 pounds. In his will he had many books, silver, 1/2 a whaling boat, and farming tools. He was buried in the Old Town Cove burial ground, near the fence by the public road; the inscription reading: Here Lies Y Body of Doc David Doane who Died Nov y 18th 1748 in the 74th Year of His Age. The probate lists 56 pounds, 10 shillings and 6 pence due by notes of hand from several Poor men, doubtful of being recovered. Doc probably did a lot of doctoring for vegetables or unpaid notes.

Keziah Atwood Gibbs born December 6, 1749 in Greenwich, Massachusetts. She died May 23, 1834 at Spafford, New York having lived a long life of 84 years.

Abraham Jr. was born March 22, 1753 at Greenwich.

Azubah was born on March 22, 1753. She died in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania at the age of 71.

Isaac (4th great grandfather) was born March 14, 1756 in Greenwich. Children: Abraham (3rd great grandfather) 1806, Hiram 1812-1859, Philanda, Joshua, Isaac Jr., David and Sarah.

Joshua was born in 1759 in Greenwich married Anna Clark ( info from David Gibbs. There were 2 different Joshua Gibbs both married women named Anna!

The Letter written at Hardwick November 24, 1744 found on page 77/1167 Mass Town and Vital Records 1620-1988

The reasons why Kezia Atwood doth not proceed in marriage with Abraham Gibbs are these as follows: 1. Because that he told her that he maintains two children, one by Hannah Marks and other by Ernoch (sp?)Hinesis, daughter which he said he paid twenty pounds to each of them for the maintenance of the children; and likewise he told the same words to me, Elisha Higgins, which the above said Gibbs said they were his children; furthermore by his carriage and abuse to his sister and his carriage to Kezia so that the people in the house were afraid to sleep, for fear that he would do her a mischief. These are the reasons that we forbid their proceeding in marriage. Signed Elisha Higgins Hannah Higgins her X mark

And Along Came Abraham

The owl hooted three times in the pre-dawn twilight. Keziah knew that was the signal that Abraham was waiting for her. Abraham was at home in the wood having grown up at Brookfield and then moved with his family to Quabbin. He hadn’t given up on their courtship and offered his friendship which she had never had before. The Great Awakening was happening and as they viewed each new sunrise, Abraham convinced her that God was giving them a new day and a new slate to write their lives, on which God’s promises would be renewed each day. It was a lovely new thought for Keziah. Hannah Gibbs, his sister, had helped Keziah secretively remove her belongings in the preceeding days, depositing them in the hollow tree in the forest at the edge of the farm. The couple had tried to make the union official with the ways of the Puritans. Their marriage banns were read in the Hardwick Church on March 10, 1744; Keziah Atwood intention to marry Abraham Gibbs of Quabbin (Greenwich). Their request was forbidden. Keziah’s stepfather Elisha Higgins had written a letter stopping the underage marriage of his stepdaughter.

Keziah was 17, Abraham 24. Elisha had disapproved of Abraham from the minute of meeting him. He had been escorting his sister Hannah through the forests and over the rivers from Quabbin to Hardwick when they took shelter at the Higgins homestead. Abraham stooped to enter the door frame of Keziah’s home. The brother and sister were soaked to the bone and sought relief from the cold rain they’d been caught out in. As Abraham’s eyes adjusted to the light, he’d spotted the young and beautiful Keziah and winked at her. Elisha saw and immediately disapproved. But Abraham was smitten.

Who was this Abraham? His roots were Puritan and English. Matthew Gibbs was born in 1615 at Lendam, Kent, England. He and his parent William (Jane Turney his mother had died) came to Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1650. The next year Matthew married Mary Bradish, daughter of Robert and Mary Bradish, who also came from England to America seeking land. The Gibbs had eleven children, all born in Charlestown, Middlesex County, which was the first capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Boston was across the river. Children: Mary 1652-1691; Hannah 1654-1695; Thomas 1656-1657; Matthew Jr. 1656-1732; Elizabeth 1658-1672; Thomas 1660-1687; John Apr 10, 1662-1718; Samuel 1665-1718; Joseph 1667; Jonathan 1669; Josiah 1671.

Massasoit was the peaceful Wampanoag Native Chief who helped the first Pilgrims providing corn and helping them build their homes as they came to the American Colonies. As more and more white men came, his son Metacomet, who took the name King Philip, waged war as their hunting lands were encroached upon. Tensions spilled over as 3 of his men were put on trial and executed. Aggressive expansion of colonist territories resulted in the warriors raiding and massacring 1000 during King Philip’s War June 20, 1675- Apr 12, 1678.

The lives of the colonists were threatened. Thriving villages were in ashes; fathers, husbands, brothers were slain or taken captives; farms and homes were laid waste and whole communities lived in block houses while the “reign of terror swept over them”. John Gibbs was 13 years old when his brother Matthew, aged 19 was listed with 75 men with Captain. Davenport with the Narraganset Expedition, December 1675, 5th Co. MA Regiment. On December 19th at the great Fort Fight, Indians shot 3 bullets through the Captain from which he bled to death. Edward Tyng took command. Matthew Gibbs Jr. was with William Gleason and this is the account given. A tedious march on a bitter cold night, in a severe snowstorm, they had marched all night and finally laid down in an open field. At 5 AM on the Lord’s Day they marched again and came upon the enemy. After a three hour fight, they recovered their wounded, 18 men and returned to quarters. There were 210 dead, 8 left dead at the fort and another 12 men died in the swamp. The troops burnt all the wigwarms and all the corn they found in baskets. The men had been promised if they took the fort and drove the enemy out they should have gratuity in land beside their wages. The Indians fled into a cedar swamp on an island and were pursued by companies of MA, Plymouth and Connecticut. The two survived and marched from dawn till noon, then engaged in a life and death struggle from noon until sunset, then plodded steadily back through the deepening snows and over unbroken roads, still fearing ambush. Another 22 died on this march back from their wounds and exposure. Their limbs were frozen and swollen.

Our John Gibbs married Anne Gleason. Thomas Gleason her father, probably born in Sulgrave, Northampton County, England in 1607, died in Cambridge, Mass. in 1686. He married in England to Susanna Page who died in Boston, 1691. His children: Thomas, Joseph, John, Philip, Nathaniel b 1651 died April 21, 1676, was killed that night in the Sudbury Fight with King Phillip’s warriors, where Col. Wadsworth and 50-60 troops were ambushed and slaughtered; Isaac, William, Mary and Anne b Charlestown, MA, 1659. In 1658 Anne’s father Thomas had moved the family here to Charlestown and on Dec 3, 1658 leased from Captain Scarlett, a portion of the Squa Sachem lands on the west side of Mysticke Pond. Soon after the lease was made a question arose about the ownership of the lands. The town of Charlestown sued Thomas Gleason and all his resources were swallowed up in the litigation and the case was unsettled when he died the spring of 1686. The oldest son, Thomas, settled near Sudbury and Framingham, in 1665 and bought 80 acres from the Rice family and Gleason’s Pond and Gleason’s Hill named thereafter. Four generations of Gleason’s lived here. His will was proved Sept 10, 1705 and states: to my son-in-law John Gibbs, who married my daughter Ann Gleason, I give and bequeath five shillings in money and gave to grandson John Gibbs 1 cow and his bringing up if he shall remain with my son John Gleason until 21 years of age. His assets included books, arms, beds with linens, pewter, brass and iron household, tables and chairs, loom, tools, corn, horse, cattle and swine, land and buildings. Thomas Gleason Jr. had children: Sarah born Feb 6, 1665 married Jeremiah Morse. He contested the will and lost; Anne b Apr 27, 1667 married John Gibbs; Thomas 1669; Isaac 1674; Patience 1677; Mary 1680; John 1682. (The John aged 14, raised by his Uncle John Gleason when his mother died ).

John and Anne Gleason Gibbs were married Apr 27, 1688 and children were born at Sudbury/Framingham: Thomas Apr 19, 1689; John Aug 3, 1691;Mercy Aug 3, 1691 (twins). Anne died in 1694 and John remarried Sarah Cutler and had 6 more children.

Thomas Gibbs moved to Brookfield, MA and had 80 acres there August 13, 1714 which he increased to 225 acres. Thomas married Hannah who died Dec 19, 1717 after childbirth when infant daughter, Abigail, also died December 5, 1717. Thomas then married Sarah Woolcott on April 13, 1719 at Brookfield., Massachusetts.

There were 5 generations of Woolcutt’s named John. John I born in England; John II b 1632 at Newbury and married there on Nov 20, 1653 Mary Thurlow 1636-1661 and owned 100 acres in a grant of land. He sold 600 acres on the Merrimack River October 1661 and built the bridge between Newbury and Rowley, and a windmill at Marbelhead in 1679, named as millwright and carpenter. Children born: Sarah 1657-1717; John III 1660-1747; Hannah 1679-1745. Brookfield in 1673 was attacked and of the 17 homesteaders 5 were killed in the ambush and siege of the town. The entire town but 1 house was burned out. Two women who survived each gave birth to twins and walked to Boston. The settlers were gloomy, discouragement felt in the stoutest hearts. The crops were out and when they joined together to convey grain from Deerfield to Hatfield they were ambushed by 500 and all slain. John Woolcott II was in Captain Appleton’s Troopers, who were sent in September 1675, on an expedition to protect the settlements along the Connecticut River, then being menaced by the Indians. John Woolcott marched through Brookfield and he liked what he saw and went back and settled there. His was one of the first homes rebuilt at Woolcott’s Corner. Major Pyschon put Mr. Woolcott in charge of the garrison at Brookfield and he died at Brookfield September 1690.

John III Woolcott b Oct 25, 1660 married Jan 4, 1684 Joanna Emerson 1663- Jul 4, 1751. John was one of the first to resettle Brookfield in 1686. He and his brother Joseph were the first squatters and awaiting land titles. Here he received several grants of land, one for building a grist-mill and a sawmill. Children: Joanna 1686-1751; Ruth 1690-1723; John Woolcott IV 1695-1728; Sarah M 1698-1777; Capt. Nathaniel 1700-1771; Hannah 1704; Lydia 1710-1750; Hannah 1712-1794.

Hostilities again broke out with the French and Indian War. Woolcott Village was unprotected. 40 savages came from the North, lying in ambush, watched and surprised Woolcott, Mason and Lawrence who were out haying in a meadow. On July 31, 1693 eight men, women and children were killed, Joseph Mason and son and wife and 2 small children of Joseph Woolcott carried away. Soldiers tracked and returned Dan Lawrence and wife and infant of Joseph Mason. The people of Brookfield desired a garrison and 6-10 men were sent and billeted in their homes which drew on their scanty supply of provisions. By 1698 John Woolcott’s signature was on a petition of 12 families to ask the court for a preacher, and the township was surveyed and given 8 square miles. In 1702, peace was short lived as England declared War on France. There were ten more years of savage warfare during the Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713. The French of Canada stirred up the Indians there who claimed ownership of the Brookfield old fields and meadows. An alarm of Indians being spotted sent the homesteaders driven from their houses into the fort. They couldn’t go out and plant or manage the fields. In nearby Deerfield 1704 where the snow had drifted the Indians climbed over the drifts into the fort and killed. They took captives and marched 111 away the 300 miles to Canada in the snow. The men were employed in scouting, marching, garrison duty and the outlying fields left unplowed and thus harvests were wanting. On October 13, 1708, John Woolcott’s son, John IV aged about 12 was out riding searching for cows, when the Indians shot his horse out from underneath him and took him prisoner. This was Sarah Woolcott’s brother; he was not returned until 1718. He became a trapper and while trying to avoid the Natives again in March 1728 steered for the far shore on the Connecticut River and was shot and killed. John Woolcott III was in service to raise a force and on the boat to help England attack Canada but the English fleet never arrived! He was given another 22 acres.

I can only imagine the life of Sarah Woolcott my 6th great grandmother, living this frontier life. She married my 6th great grandfather Thomas Gibbs and their first child born at Brookfield Jan 16, 1720 was…. Abraham Gibbs.

Forsaking His Father’s Church

Grandbaby #6, by Wendy Harty, pencil sketch 2009

The worst of the storm was to the west, the land was buried under four feet of snow. The winds increased. Major damage was done to the felled trees, but a high tide on a new moon produced fourteen feet high waves. The tides pounded the Great Beach and swept over the Nauset Spit. The wind built dunes were lowered to low mounds. The marsh was protected as the sand turned over as it was being washed. It was on this night that Joseph Higgins made his appearance into the world howling his anguish above the wind. The birth was March 1, 1734, duly recorded in the Bible of parents Elisha Higgins and his second wife, Hannah Doane Atwood Higgins. Keziah Atwood, had a new half-brother.

The trees felled were harvested for their wood to keep the home fires burning. The farmers of Eastham cleared more and more of the land. From the advent of the Seven Men of Eastham, who came in 1644 nearly one hundred years had passed. The population had continued to grow and grow as was again evidenced by the birth of twin girls, Abigail and Abial December 29, 1740, into the combined family of Higgins and Atwoods. There had also been sadness in the Doane family as their matriarch Dorothy Horton, aged 58, wife of Doc David Doane, mother of Jonathan, Hannah, Keziah and John, died in 1738. Hannah had lost her mother and Keziah her grandmother.

Elisha and Hannah Higgins had some decisions to make. The spit of land that four generations of their family had settled upon would no longer support the population. The trees they relied upon for heating were forested replaced by sea grass on the sandy dunes. Elisha aged 40, Hannah 37 with her children: Stephen Atwood Jr. 18, Keziah 15, Enoch 12, Jerusha 11, his children: Jane 20, Elisha Jr. 17, Enoch 12 and their children: Edward 8, Joseph 7, the twins Abigail and Abial still babies needed to relocate.

They couldn’t go east into the sea so they went west. Hardwick, Massachusetts would become their new home, in the center of the state. They found breathtaking scenery and amazing wildlife and crystal clear waters of the Swift and Ware Rivers. For thousands of years this valley was territory of the Nipmuc Indians who called the area Quabbin or the meeting of many waters. The Nipmuc were decimated by war and disease, and the valley rapidly became settled by the Europeans drawn by the abundance of water and rich farmland. Towns of Hardwich, Greenwich and Quabbin, sprang up about 70 miles from Boston, where soapstone quarrying, ice-harvesting, textile manufacturing and palm leaf hat braiding helped the people prosper.

Overland 180 miles the Higgins family moved to Hardwick which had first been settled just 4 years earlier in 1737. It was here that the family was completed with the birth of Uriah Higgins, May 28, 1742.

For over 100 years since the Pilgrims/Puritans landed at Plymouth they had tied their social and legal systems to their religious beliefs, as well as their English customs. At Plymouth they established their “City on a Hill”. A strong work ethic and moral sensibility was established. Were they truly miserable and wanting everyone else to be miserable? They attached a high value to marriage and strongly condemned sexual relations outside of marriage. These proud Englishmen wanted to set up an English state ran by God. They had annual elections, freemen had the right to hold office and vote. So what happened? People started looking to satisfy their spiritual and emotional needs. There was a growing formality and dampening of religious fervor. There began a splintering of American Protestantism.

Keziah’s mother, Hannah Doane had a brother, Daniel. Hannah and Daniel were both children of Doc David Doane and Dorothy Horton Doane. Daniel Doane was the first to leave Cape Cod and Eastham and forsake the church of his father. Daniel was characterized as self-reliant, independent, with an inquiring mind. He was led to study with Friends (Quakers) who were creating a sensation with a new doctrine. Charmed with their teachings, he united with their meeting house, the oldest or first Quaker meeting house in America, at Sandwich, 40 miles away from his father’s house. In 1696 he and his wife and four young children, the youngest being two, journeyed 700 miles overland to a Friends Colony at Middletown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They were accepted as members and settled near Newtown, he as carpenter and farmer. In 1709 he paid 70 pounds sterling for 78 acres and acquired another 22 acres in 1713. His investigative spirit led him to study the stars and explore the influence of planets upon one another. Daniel started predicting with astrology and was disowned in 1711 by the Quaker Church and they stated “his wickedness lies upon his own head.” In his father’s will he was mentioned but only left one pound.

Daniel Doane’s death is recorded in a Middlestown meeting: Daniel Doane Senior deceased ye first day of ye ninth month 1743 on ye third day of the week. His will was dated Oct 4, 1731 and probated Dec 31, 1743. To child Daniel Jr. 1687, Ellezer 1691, Elijah 1694, Joseph 1697, Israel 1699, Lydia Stradley 1690, Rebecca Randall, George Randall (son-in-law), Elizabeth deceased 1701. left 5 shillings each. To dear and loving wife Mary Yates (2nd wife) his estate to maintain and educate and bring up her children: Samuel, Mary, Thomas, Sarah and Ebenezer Doane.

Hagiography, Vows Broken and Fleeing For His Life

Sketch of John Bale 1495-1563 by Wendy Harty 2019. When I sketch faces I start with the eyes. With every stroke of John Bale’s whiskers, which were numerous, I wondered what those eyes were trying to tell me. “Don’t judge me, only God can judge; be loving and kind there is so much evil and power wielding Kings and Queens directed my path; and chose your battles wisely. I was called controversial, argumentative and bilious. Yes, I was!”

Dear Keziah and Wendy and those who descend from me;

I am privileged and very bright as a lad. At age 12, I was sent off to join the Carmelite friars at Norwich, England. Oh the words, the ideas, the books. Just like you Wendy, I read and read. I believe the words of the controversial author, with a connection to Samuel Atwood and Edward Bangs, Margaret Atwood, “I chose and having chosen had less choices to make.” I fled not once but twice with the choices I made.

By age 34 I had my Bachelor of Divinity from Jesus College at Cambridge. How different my life might have been if King Henry VIII hadn’t wanted a divorce. At first King Henry sided with the Catholic Church against the Protestent Reformation and Martin Luther. A decade later, King Henry’s choice changed history forever. The Pope’s refusal to grant Henry a divorce led to the King abolishing papal rule over the Church in England. Henry VIII declared himself Head of the Church of England (Anglican) and took over the courts. He dissolved the monasteries, absorbing and redistributing their massive wealth as he saw fit. Thomas Cromwell was the King’s influential adviser.

I had become the Prior or Dean of the Ipswich Carmelite house in 1533, the same order I had joined at age 12. I broke my vows and married my “faithful Dorothy”, 1536. I wrote coarse writings against my former religion but dealt gently with my order of Carmelites because I esteemed the learning I had learned there. My world was not a kind and loving place. I wrote two hagiographies – writing of the lives of the saints with a political agenda. Was Sir John Oldcastle a traitor and an outlaw or as I wrote about him, a revered Protestant martyr. The second, Mistress Ann Askew was fifteen when her sister died who was betrothed. Her father replaced her as the bride. They hated each other. For twenty years, the Lollard’s had flourished with the teachings of John Wycliff and the translation of the Bible to English. Ann read and memorized Bible passages and began to preach. She asked King Henry VIII for a divorce. Ann got caught in a palace intrigue and was racked! The details are gruesome and they transported Ann on a chair because she could not walk to her burning at the stake.

I worked tirelessly to collect and personally examined the valuable libraries of the Augustinian and Carmelite monasteries before their dissolution. My notebook is preserved in the Oxford Library, 14 centuries of alphabetically arranged authors and their writing, that would otherwise have become lost. I developed and published an extensive list of the works of British authors just before the books in the monasteries were destroyed and dispersed.

I was summoned before the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of London, for my preaching. I was charged with heresy. I escaped and fled with the help of Thomas Cromwell, whose attention I had attracted with my miracle plays. He used my anti-Catholic pamphlets as invaluable propaganda tools. Cromwell used my writings against the church. In 1538, I wrote the oldest known historical verse drama on the subject of King John. These were historical plays, medieval religious drama full of abusive, insulting and mocking vocabulary – profane parodies. I was a zealous advocate of Protestant reform, expressing my views in my writings. When Cromwell well from favor in 1540, I fled with my wife and children to Antwerp, Belgium.

With King Edward VI ascending the throne we returned to England and made a living being Rector of Bishopstoke at Hampshire and then promoted to Anglican Bishop of Ossory 1552-1553 in Ireland: appointed Oct 22, installed Feb 2, 1553 and ended September 15, 1553. I clashed bitterly with Judge Thomas St. Lawrence of the Irish Court who opposed the Reformation.

Mary, Queen of Scots, ascended the throne and England became Catholic again. I, John Bale, fled again. I tried to escape to Scotland, but our ship was captured by a Dutch man-of-war, which a storm forced into St. Ives, Cornwall. I was arrested on suspicion of treason, but released. I narrowly escaped at Dover again and escaped to the Netherlands and Frankfurt and Basel. I spent my eight years in exile writing. My autobiographical prose was written about my experience as Bishop of Ossory, my conflicts with the Irish church and my exiles, called “The Vocacyon of John Bale”.

When Queen Elizabeth I took the throne we returned and I received in 1560 a prebendal stall as Canon of Canterbury, where I lived out my life for three more years before being buried in the cathedral there in 1563, aged 68. I lived through 6 reigning monarchies: King Henry VII 1485-1509; King Henry VIII 1509-1547; King Edward VI 1547-1553; Queen Mary I 1553-54; Philip and Mary 1554-1558; and Queen Elizabeth I 1558-1603. With each my fortunes ebbed and waned.

The writings that survived: “The Chief Promises of God”, “The Three Laws of Nature”, “The Temptation of our Lord”, “A Brief Comedy of John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness”, and 2 editions 1548 and 1559 of the English authors and their writings.

John Bale 1495-1563 married Dorothy Watts 1495

Henry Bale 1548-1593 married Margaret Senner 1554-1612

Lady Susan Bale 1574-1650 married William James III Cole Earl of Enniskillen (see my previous blog Enniskillen Castle).

In support of the facts of Daniel Cole 1614-1694. Death Dec 21, 1694 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts Note: “We, John Cole, Timothy Cole, Isreal Cole, James Cole, William Cole, Daniel Cole and Thomas Cole, Daniel Doane and his wife Hipsibath, John Young and his wife Ruth, Joshua Hopkins and his wife Mary, and Medad Atwood and his wife Hester (Esther) have mutually agreed to be contented and satisfied with ye divition and settlement of ye Estate”.

Medad and Esther Cole Atwood were parents to Samuel Atwood married to Hannah Doane parents of Keziah Atwood the subject of my novel.

A Mix of Politics and Religion and Castles

Pen and ink sketch of Ennisskillen Castle, Ireland by Wendy Harty November 2019.

Dear Keziah: I have not forgotten thee. Just took a little detour researching your fascinating relatives and the places they trod in history! Love Wendy

Back in 1468 Sir Thomas Cole was born in Devon, England. His son Thomas Cole 1494-1571 also of Devon, was an English Protestant, a Marian Exile, who graduated M.A at Oxford. When Catholic Queen Mary ascended the throne he fled to Frankfurt where he met John Knox and moved to Geneva with more of the radical protestants. As a political fraction, this group of disaffected country gentlemen, for the most part related, returned to England, under Elizabeth I. Thomas was made Archdeacon of Essex and was present at the convocation of 1563 and subscribed the original Thirty-nine Articles, the defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth I attempted to reconcile Reformed and Catholic practices to appeal to all the peoples and made a Book of Common Prayer which included the 39 articles. The Marian Exiles would accept nothing less than the pure Calvinist ideal and the Puritan dissenters called for further purification of the Church of England. Thomas Cole had a reputation for eloquence and for nonconformity and he preached before the queen at Windsor in 1564. (He should not be confused with William Cole d 1600 president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, one of the authors of the Genevan translation of the Bible.

William Cole 1521-1601 married Ann 1520-1598

Sir William J Cole II 1546-1623 married Elizabeth Deards 1550-1622

Sir William James Cole III, of Ennisskillen, Ireland July 28, 1574-Nov 19, 1630. The County of Fermanagh is famous for its 17th-century castle ruins, one being Enniskillen Castle, the town’s oldest building, built by Hugh (Maguire) the Hospitable who died in 1428.

The strategic position of the castle made its capture important for the English in 1593, to support their plans for the control of Ulster. The castle was besieged three times in 1594–95. The English captured it in February 1594. Maguire then laid siege to it, and defeated the occupants who were massacred after they surrendered. Maguire (Irish) gained possession of the castle from 1595 to 1598 and it was not finally captured by the English until 1607. (William Cole had married Susan Bale whose grandfather John Bale who was also a Marian exile and came back to join Bishop Thomas Cole to form Parliament.)

This was part of a wider campaign to bring the province of Ulster under English control; the final capture of Enniskillen Castle in 1607 was followed by the Plantation of Ulster, during which the lands of the native Irish were seized and handed over to planters loyal to the English Crown. The Maguires were supplanted by William Cole, originally from Devon, who was appointed by King James I to build an English settlement there.

Captain Cole was installed as Constable and strengthened the castle wall and built a “fair house” on the old foundation as the centre point of the county town. He remodelled and refurbished the castle adding the riverside tower at the south known as Watergate. This features two corbelled circular turrets. The medieval architecture technique placed successive flat stones, each one extending a little further inward than the layer beneath. The first Protestant parish church was erected on the hilltop in 1627. 

Excerpt from “Mayflower Planters, Cape Cod Series Vol. II, Merchant Adventurers of England. The Cole Family had a strong “dissenting” history. Three brothers Job, John and Daniel Cole, came to Plymouth in 1633 ,sailing on the ship “Mary and James. Daniel Cole was born December 12, 1614 at Weedon Bec, Northamptonshire, England and died Dec 21, 1694 at Eastham, Massachusetts, buried in Cove Burying Ground at age 80. (In 1648, Daniel was one of the jury that tried Alice Bishop for infanticide.) His daughter Esther/Hester 1661-1705 married Medad Atwood 1658-1704. Their son Stephen Atwood 1695-1732 married Hannah Doane 1704-1776. And their daughter Keziah is my 5th great grandmother.

My Way or the Highway

Watercolor sketch titled The Road Less Traveled by Wendy Harty 2019. The Puritans tried to take the less traveled road but ended up saying, “My way or the highway!”

Forbidden – Keziah a novel cont’d below

The Puritans had escaped from the persecutions they encountered from the King’s in England and landed in the New World. Their progress was slow but the trees were felled and homes and families established. They believed they were doing God’s service and were sincere and honest in their cores. Guards with muskets stood by their meeting place doors for their Sabbath services to guard from Indian attacks. They forgot human rights as they tried to maintain their separation from the world. Children were to be seen and not heard; never to speak unless spoken to; always to break the bread not to bite into a slice; take a clean knife for salt. By the time Keziah was born the people had striped and branded heretics and bigotry had sat at their tables for over one hundred years. Sin existed in the eyes of the beholder and eyes were everywhere. In 1692 they lived through the witch trials. Keziah’s great grandfather Edward Bangs lived in the time when the government made laws that all must observe the Sabbath. He was in charge of putting offenders into the stocks after warning and fines didn’t work. Most people did not transgress and were deemed sour, dour and obsessed with religion, although a robust sexuality springs forth from the pages of the record books.

Forbidden – cont’d

Keziah was jealous. And jealousy was a sin. Her jealousy was mostly due to a new baby being born on the night of October 15, 1733. Her new step father, Elisha was elated with the baby and named him Edward Higgins. As her mother nursed little Edward, Elisha’s children, Jane and Sarah and Elisha Jr. crowded around to admire the ten little fingers and toes. Keziah wanted a look at the new baby but there didn’t seem to be any room for her to inch closer. Jane and Sarah also got to hold the baby first being eleven and eight years old and that made Keziah not the oldest girl in the family anymore, and not the favored one. Baby Edward had made a hasty sudden appearance and though Dorothy Doane had been sent for she hadn’t arrived in time. When Gramma Dorothy bustled through the door she took over the care of the baby and then whisked Keziah and Jerusha away so mama could get some rest.

The next morning Keziah asked to help her grandparents by going next door to Uncle Jonathan’s house. She was supposed to bring back the freshly churned butter but her real reason was to see her cousin Bethia, whom she missed terribly since her mother had remarried and they had moved to her new home. Bethia was able to toddler after her and the two entertained themselves with a sticks and stones game until Aunt Martha nudged her out the door with the butter.

He Needed a Wife, She Needed a Husband

Sketch 2019 by Wendy Harty; inspiration: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one. If either falls down one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also if two lie down together they will keep warm. Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Forbidden – Keziah cont’d

The New Year of 1733 had come and gone in Eastham, Massachusetts. Keziah Atwood woke with cousin Bethia’s heel pressed into her cheek. The little cousin had flipped upside down in her sleep and her sister, Jerusha was pressed tightly up against her back sharing their warmth. Keziah extracted herself from the sleeping bodies. Things were going to happen today. Mama’s leg was healing nicely. Aunt Keziah had let her sister, Hannah up out of bed. Last night she’d brushed her sister’s hair into a gleaming mass of curls that hung down her back. Melted snow water made warm bath water. While Hannah soaked Aunt Keziah brushed Keziah’s, Jerusha’s and Bethia’s curls into submission. Keziah’s brothers, Samuel 9 and Enoch 4 were also scrubbed behind their ears.

Their meagre belongings had been packed and Uncle Jonathan had helped transport them the three and a half miles to a new home at Cedar Swamp, the northwest corner of the Town of Orleans, situated on Town Cove and Rock Harbor on the Bay side of the Cape. At meeting last Sunday the people had heard the words of Ecclesiastics. Keziah knew their family certainly needed some help since her father, Stephen Atwood had died less than two months before.

Elisha Higgins became their answer. Elisha was a fourth generation Puritan, born in Eastham. He was a great grandson of Richard Higgins, one of the 7 Founding Fathers of Eastham. As the town of Plymouth outgrow itself in 1644, and the blessed increase in their families was so great it was plain that they must scatter, these seven moved to Eastham. Those first seven fast increased to twenty; the twenty to fifty. Thus it was that Richard Higgin had Jonathan who had Elisha Sr. who had ten more: Elisha Jr., Martha, Beriah, Alice, Apphia, Jonathan, Elizabeth, Joseph, Ruth and Barnabas.

Elisha Higgins Jr. had married Sarah Lewis. When Sarah died October 1732, the couple had three children: Jane 11, Sarah 8, and Elisha III aged 6. And Elisha Higgins Jr. needed a wife! His sister, Martha, who was married to Uncle Jonathan Doane, knew just the answer. There wasn’t much of a courtship, as both parties involved made the agreement.

Keziah wondered how she could feel happy and sad at the same time. She was leaving the only home she’d ever known. She was moving away from grandparents Doc and Dorothy Doane. The Higgins and Doane family were inconnected already. Besides Elisha’s sister, Martha marrying her Uncle Jonathan, his other sisters Alice and Apphia had married her mother’s cousins Solomon and Simeon Doane and Elisha’s brother, Jonathan had married Rachel Doane.

At the meeting house, this large extended family had paused in their work to celebrate the marriage of Elisha Higgins to her mother, Hannah Doane Atwood Higgins, January 24, 1733. A new family was formed with his kids, her kids and within ten months, their kids.

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