Immigrants William Kinge and Dorothy Hayne
When I think of the King family line, I normally think of my mother’s side of the family—her maiden name is King. But there are Kings on my father’s side of the family as well.
Originally spelled Kinge, William Kinge (my nine times great-grandfather) was a religious rebel of his day. He was banished from the First Church at Salem (Massachusetts) and was forced to surrender his gun.
William was born in Weymouth, England in 1595. He immigrated with his wife, Dorothy Hayne, and their five oldest children, in 1635 on the ship, the Abigail.
The family settled in Salem, Massachusetts, and had three more children there, including my ancestor, John King, born in 1638.
William was a member of the First Church at Salem, but he joined the Antinomians in 1637. Literally meaning, “opposed to the law,” the Antinomians promoted the preaching of “free grace.” They believed salvation was achieved through the divine grace of God, not as a result of earthly good deeds—a concept considered heretic in the colonies of New England.
William was friendly to Quakers, a group which was persecuted at the time. In 1658 a law was passed preventing ships carrying Quakers from landing in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Quakers faced whippings, arrest, imprisonment, and banishment. Quakers were often suspected of witchcraft. Four Quakers were sent to the gallows before King Charles ended the practice in 1661.
William was banished from the Church at Salem for harboring Quakers in his home, a crime against the Magistrates of the Colony.
William’s oldest son, also named William, became a Quaker himself. He was flogged and banished from the Church at Salem.
One of William’s daughters, Katherine, married a staunch Quaker by the name of John Swezey.
When William died in 1650, his widow, Dorothy, moved to Southold, Long Island, in the Colony of New York, an area which was more religiously tolerant than Massachusetts at the time. Many of William and Dorothy’s children moved with her, but his son John (my aforementioned ancestor) remained in New England with his wife, Elizabeth Goldthwait.
Sometime after John’s granddaughter, Elizabeth King, died in 1750, her surviving spouse, Theadota Ephraim Emerson, moved the family to Nova Scotia, Canada, and the family line continued in Canada until my grandmother immigrated back to the United States in 1930.
A number of our presidents, including George Washington, Harry Truman, and most recently, Barak Obama, have paid homage to a vision that the United States of America is a place of religious tolerance. In 2010 Obama said, “This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.”
A grand sentiment. But is it accurate?
From our very beginning, our ancestors, many of whom fled Europe as a result of religious persecution, arrived in the New World, only to pass laws which gave them license to persecute any who deviated from their own particular worldview. Not only did they refuse to recognize or respect any other religions, they oppressed their fellow Protestants.
What kind of America do we want to live in? Do we want to create the ideal of George Washington and Barak Obama and welcome people of all faiths? Or do we want a single, government-sponsored religion that is mandated for all—and if so, which specific religion would that be? Who will decide? And what will we do to the people who do not comply? Whip them? Imprison them? Banish them? Take their guns?
We stand on a slippery slope when we see ourselves as blessed by God and see all who worship differently from us (or those who choose not to worship at all) as less than. No matter what religion you identify with, you are in the minority. There are more people on earth who do not agree with your worldview, than agree.
Horrible atrocities have taken place as a result of religious intolerance, including the Inquisition and the Holocaust, but subtle, and not so subtle, abhorrent instances of religious hatred continue on a daily basis.
The vast majority of humans on earth today gained their religious beliefs as a result of their birth. The family we are born into teaches us to believe the way we do, with relatively few exceptions. Are we to disavow millions, or even billions, of people, simply because they practice their religion the way their parents taught them to worship? If we cannot yet embrace diversity, can we not at least be tolerant of our neighbors?
William Kinge may well have sailed to Massachusetts for religious freedom. If so, he certainly did not find what he was looking for. But now, 382 years after William’s arrival, we have an opportunity to create a nation that does welcome people of all faiths. I want to be a part of that nation.
Has your family benefited from immigration to America? Do you believe our diverse population makes us stronger? Do you want to be part of the solution? Consider the following:
Islamic Relief USA
For nearly 25 years Islamic Relief USA has been a community of humanitarians, working together for a better world, with an emphasis of eliminating world poverty. Islamic Relief USA provides relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world.
Islamic Relief USA has been highlighted in The World Post (an online partner with The Huffington Post) as one of the top seven charities supporting Syrians. Charity Navigator gives Islamic Relief USA their highest rating of four stars.
From the Islamic Relief USA website:
“In a world full of upheaval, children are the most vulnerable community members—vulnerable to hunger, to illness, to deprivation and to exploitation. Children are disproportionately affected by many illnesses, and in some countries, as many as 1 in 8 die before their fifth birthday.”
Islamic Relief USA improves the lives of children around the world. Among their areas of focus are emergency relief, orphan support, health and nutrition, water and sanitation.
Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.
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Thanks for reading!
My Family Tree:
- William Kinge & Ann Bowditch
- William Kinge & Dorothy Hayne
- John King
- Samuel King
- Elizabeth King
- Elizabeth Emerson
- Elizabeth Killham and Andrew Dale Weldon (See Part Three)
- Thomas Weldon
- Gideon Smith Weldon
- Edgar Wilson Weldon
- Hazel Adelia Weldon (Immigrant to the United States, See Part Three)
- Weldon Paul deMeurers
- Me (Alan deMeurers)
Running count of my direct immigrants from Europe to North America = 37