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.
Thomas died in Rowley, Massachusetts just five years after his arrival, but his widow lived on another 53 years on the property he purchased. There is no record she ever remarried.
Ann married another English immigrant, Robert Emerson (my eight times great-grandfather) in Rowley, Massachusetts when she was 20. The couple had eight children. Some of her children and grandchildren enlisted as military guards. Others were kidnapped or killed in Indian attacks. Ann died from drowning in her 80th year of life.
The town of Rowley was founded by Reverend Ezekiel Rogers. Rogers led his congregation in England for 17 years before he was suspended for refusing to read The Book of Sports, an “accursed” book that enumerated the sports that could be played on God’s holy Sabbath. Rogers gathered 20 families from his Yorkshire parish of Rowley in England to establish the new Rowley in America. The congregation sought to escape religious persecution due to their Puritan belief.
The Book of Sports, or Declaration of Sports, was an order issued by King James I of England, giving permission for dancing, archery, leaping and vaulting, and for “having of May games,” on Sundays.
The concept of allowing for recreation on the Sabbath was so abhorrent to Thomas Grant, he left everything he had to sail to the New World so he could worship his God in the way he felt best.
Today we have new immigrants coming to our shores seeking religious freedom. Like Thomas Grant before them, they seek freedom to worship according to their own beliefs. I find it demoralizing that these new arrivals are so often met with discrimination when their practice of religion does not match with that of “mainstream” Americans.
Today, most Americans do not believe it is a sin to practice archery on a Sunday, but 379 years ago it was a pretty big deal. I would like to see an America that is much more tolerant when it comes to embracing our diverse immigrant population.
Can we be accepting of one another, whether or not we choose to practice archery on the Sabbath, whether we choose to eat (or refrain from eating) certain foods on particular days, or whether we choose to pray with our heads covered or uncovered—if we choose to pray at all?
Perhaps we should all spend more time getting the log out of our own eyes before we attempt to remove the speck from the eye of our immigrant neighbor.
Additional Note: The Grant family was featured in a 2007 episode of the British version of the television series, Who Do You Think You Are? which featured Jodie Kidd, an English television personality and model.
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?
In Climbing My Family Tree, Parts 8-18, I highlight eleven different charities that support immigrants and children. Every charity listed boasts the highest rating possible as designated by Charity Navigator. Please consider pledging your support to these important organizations who are working so hard to make a positive change in our world.
Please go out of your way to be kind to immigrants and refugees.
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My Family Tree:
- John Grant
- Thomas Grant
- Ann Grant
- Ephraim Emerson
- Theadotea Ephraim Emerson
- Elizabeth Emerson
- Elizabeth Killam
- Thomas Weldon
- Gideon Smith Weldon
- Edgar Wilson Weldon
- Hazel Adelia Weldon (See Part Three)
- Weldon Paul deMeurers
- Me (Alan deMeurers)
Running count of family immigrants = 68