Climbing My Family Tree, Part 24

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

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 12

Immigrants Robert Lee, Mary Atwood Lee, and Samuel Sturtevant Sr.

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My grandmother’s maiden name was Sturtevant, which can be traced back to Plymouth in the years following the Mayflower landing, and back to England before that.

Samuel Sturtevant Sr. (my eight times great-grandfather) was born in England around the year 1624. He was in Plymouth by 1640, which would put him in his teens at the time he immigrated. The name of his ship and his exact date of arrival are unknown. Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part Eight

Immigrants Edmund Rice & Thomasine Frost Rice, Thomas King & Ann Collins King, and Samuel Rice & Elizabeth King Rice

The Rice and King families immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England in 1638. The two families became extensively entwined when three Rice boys married three King girls. Samuel Rice King (my seven times great-grandfather) was born into the Rice family, and then was adopted into the King family. Because of this adoption 350 years ago, my mother was born Patricia Louise King, as opposed to Patricia Louise Rice.

Although the two families immigrated just eighteen years after the Mayflower, their history in the New World was vastly different from that of their Pilgrim neighbors to the south. The Rice and King families were Puritans, not Separatists, and their family histories involved deadly encounters with the native populations, in stark contrast to the relatively peaceful interactions in Plymouth.

The family story is one of war against the Natives, resulting in a succession of retaliatory attacks including killings, burning settlements to the ground, and the kidnapping of five young Rice children.  Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part Four

Immigrants Joshua and Bathsheba Pratt

For our fourth episode, we return to Plymouth. Three years have passed since Isaac Allerton’s arrival on the Mayflower, and that first fateful winter when half the original colonists died. (See Climbing My Family Tree, Part One.)

Joshua Pratt, my nine times great-grandfather, sailed from England to Plymouth on the Anne in 1623. My research introduced me to Joshua quite some time before I learned of any of my Mayflower foreparents. I was ecstatic to “meet” Joshua as he was a true-to-life passenger on the ship that carried my fictional character, John Wilkins, on his journey to Plymouth in my book, John Wilkin’s New Plymouth. I found this to be an astonishing coincidence, as I knew nothing about Joshua at the time I wrote the book. Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part One

Immigrants Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris Allerton, and Mary Allerton Cushman

When you think of Plymouth Pilgrims, Mr. Isaac Allerton is frequently at the top of the list, undoubtedly the consequence of his surname beginning with the initial letter of the alphabet.

Isaac Allerton is my nine times great-grandfather. He arrived off the shores of Cape Cod aboard the Mayflower in November 1620, accompanied by his wife, Mary Norris Allerton (my nine times great-grandmother), his three children, Bartholomew, Remember, and Mary (my eight times great-grandmother). They also traveled with Isaac’s apprentice, John Hooke.  Continue reading