Immigrants Henry Baldwin, Sr, Ezekiel & Susanna Richardson
Last week we learned about immigrant John Taylor and his wife, Julia A. Dyer (my three times great-grandparents). Julia was born and grew up in New Sharon, Maine in the 1800s, but several of her ancestors sailed here from England in the 1600s.
Henry Baldwin, Sr. (my nine times great-grandfather) was born in England in 1622. He arrived by 1640 and settled in Woburn, Massachusetts. He built a simple farmhouse in 1661, which his great-grandson rebuilt into an elegant mansion in 1803. The house remained in the family for six consecutive generations.
Henry Baldwin, Sr. married Phebe Richardson in 1649. They had eleven children and at least 49 grandchildren.
Phebe Richardson’s parents were both immigrants as well. Ezekiel and Susanna Richardson (my ten times great-grandparents) arrived and settled in Boston, moving to Charleston, Massachusetts by 1632. In 1640 he was one of the seven original founders of Woburn.
Susanna’s maiden name is yet to be discovered. Some claim it was Bradford, which would make her the daughter of Governor William Bradford of Plymouth, but that link is yet to be substantiated.
The couple had six children. Ezekiel Richardson was a freeman in 1631, a constable in 1633, and a selectman for Charleston later in the 1630s. He was a deputy to the General Court in 1634-35.
He also was follower of Anne Hutchinson and of Ann’s husband’s brother-in-law, John Wheelwright. Anne believed and preached that salvation could be realized through faith and belief alone, without the aid of the church, a worldview that got her expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1637.
Ezekiel Richardson was one of 80 men belonging to the Boston church to sign a document in favor of Mr. Wheelwright, which was presented to the General Court.
A few months later, Ezekiel and many other members petitioned to have their names removed from the document. In so doing, Ezekiel publicly acknowledged “his own fault,” thus exempting him from censure–meaning he was not ordered by the court to be disarmed.
At the time, he was lauded by the community for his, “ability to abandon an enterprise in which he had unwisely embarked.” It is more likely he reversed his position to avoid censure and possible expulsion himself.
Here we find yet another example where a group of people came to this nation in search of religious freedom, only to become equally intolerant of any other viewpoint.
I wonder about Ezekiel and his choices. What was his true level of conviction? Was he willing to stand up for the right of freedom for others–but only to the point where that level of commitment did not have a direct effect on him, his family, or his livelihood?
I must also reflect on my own level of commitment. How far am I willing to go to stand up and fight for freedom of religion for others? To what level am I willing to sacrifice? To what level am I willing to put myself, my family, and my livelihood in jeopardy? Are there times when I am silent or inactive because I deem that price too costly?
Are there times when all of America is silent or inactive, while simultaneously telling ourselves we are the freest country in the world? (By the way, a 2016 US News report contends we have dropped to number 23, and that we have been in a continuous decline for years).
Perhaps we should consider why we have dropped so far from first place, as well as what, if anything, we are willing to do about it.
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:
Northwest IMMIGRANT RIGHTS Project (NWIRP)
The Northwest IMMIGRANT RIGHTS Project promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education. The organization strives for justice and equity for all persons, regardless of where they were born.
Here are their Values and Principles:
- Dignity: We all deserve to have our human dignity and fundamental rights respected. We respect the dignity of all persons.
- Fairness: Laws and policies should be fair and equitable. When liberty or fundamental rights are at stake, all people are entitled to meaningful due process and competent legal representation.
- Solidarity: We are connected by our common humanity, by global forces that affect our lives, and by historic patterns of oppression, discrimination and inequity. For society to be just and whole, we must work together to undo systemic oppression in its many forms.
- Self-Determination: Society thrives when all people have opportunities to live their lives to their fullest potential.
- Safety: People and communities thrive when we all feel and experience safety. Safety should never be used to justify oppression.
- Inclusion: We see diversity and inclusiveness as a source of strength.
Founded in 1984, NWIRP provides direct legal assistance in immigration matters to over 10,000 people. They seek systematic change affecting immigrants through impact litigation, public policy work, and community education.
Awarded their highest rating of 4/4 by Charity Navigator, it is not surprising to learn NWIRP is the second largest pro bono program in the state of Washington.
Please go to the Northwest IMMIGRANT RIGHTS Project website and see what you can do to help.
Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.
Did you enjoy this post? Please like and share. I would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!
My Family Tree
- Thomas Richardson, Sr.
- Thomas Richardson, Jr.
- Ezekiel & Susanna Richardson
- Phebe Richardson & Henry Baldwin, Sr.
- Henry Baldwin, Jr. & Abigail Fiske
- Isaac Baldwin
- Nahum Baldwin, Sr.
- Nahum Baldwin, Jr.
- Francis “Fanny” Baldwin
- John Taylor & Julia A Dyer
- Abby E. Taylor
- Arthur Howard King
- Charles Asburn King
- Patricia Louise King
- Me (Alan deMeurers)
Running count of family immigrants = 54