Tonight, I sit in my great-grandfather’s adopted hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The lights below me shimmer from city center out into New Jersey. From my window, I can see the part of the world my great-grandfather lived most of his adult life.
This photo of my great-grandfather was taken before 1915, and was used in his autobiography. At the time of the picture, he had adopted the name Paul de Meurers.
Earlier this week I walked along the streets my great-grandfather named in his autobiography. I was cognizant of occupying the same space more than 100 years later. I observed young homeless men preparing to sleep on the sidewalks. Many were the age of my great-grandfather when he, too, was homeless, trying his best to survive on the very same streets. Continue reading →
Immigrants Francis Cooke, Hester le Mahieu Cooke, Jane Cooke, and Experience Mitchell
Francis Cooke (my ten times great-grandfather) was a Mayflower passenger. I stumbled across his lineage while investigating the Packards in Part 22. Francis was born in England in 1583. Curiously, we find him living in Leiden, Holland, about eight years before John Robinson and the rest of the Pilgrims arrived. This period was before the time of Protestant persecution in England under King James, so the original motivation to move to Holland is unknown. His occupation was that of wool comber. Continue reading →
Immigrants Thomas Grant, Jane Haburne, Ann Grant, Robert Emerson
Thomas Grant (my nine times great-grandfather) was born in Hessle, England in 1600. He, his wife, Jane Haburne, and their four children, sailed to America on the ship John of London in 1638. Their youngest child, Ann (my eight times great-grandmother), who was but an infant at the time of their immigration, in fact, they departed shortly after Ann’s baptism. Continue reading →
On August 10, 1888, a large family gathering of Packard descendants met in Brockton, Massachusetts to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Samuel Packard’s (my eight times great-grandfather) arrival in Boston Harbor.
Now, 129 years after that reunion, and a total of 379 years since Samuel’s landing in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, I learned I, too, am a descendant of Samuel Parker.
Grand Gathering of the Descendants of Samuel Packard, held in Brockton, Mass., Friday, August 10, 1888
Stephen Larrabee (my nine times great-grandfather), most likely was born in France—the first ancestor I have discovered from that nation. The Larrabee name was originally spelled L’Arabie. Stephen was born around the year 1630.
Stephen was a Huguenot (a French protestant). He immigrated to America as a result of religious persecution by Roman Catholics after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (a 1598 law granting religious liberty to French citizens). Continue reading →
Walter Downie (my six times great-grandfather) was born in Scotland in 1697. He immigrated to Bridgewater, Massachusetts with his two children, William and Isabel (my five times great-mother). William was 11 and Isabel was 7 when they set sail. Walter’s wife had died back in Scotland. Walter settled on the farm formerly owned by the late Howard Cary, ESQ, in 1735.
When William, died 1747 at the age of 22, Walter became so distraught he sold his property and returned to Scotland. The following is upon William’s gravestone. In my head, I hear Walter’s words out loud, spoken with a broken heart and a thick Scottish accent. Continue reading →