Monday, October 25, 2010

On our way to The New World from Ipswich, England

It is the 10th day of April in the year 1634 A.D.  We find ourselves in the midst of the "Great Migration" brought on by the growing influence of Puritan ministers, which forced many to remove themselves from East Anglia. Others just join their migrating families, and yet others find their reasons in a failing economy, overpopulation, spreading of disease and food shortages.  After taking the Oath of Allegiance to England, we step aboard the Elizabeth in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, traveling alongside Mr. Edmund Lewis, his wife Mary and his two children John, 3 years of age, and Thomas, only 9 months young.  Our names are checked off from the passenger's list as we are greeted by the ship's Master William Andrewes.  We hurry along to get to the cabin and await the departure to the New World; to a wonderful new start.  The Elizabeth casts off and we are eager to arrive in a little over a month from now at our destination: Massachusetts Bay.

The New World is promising and the Lewis' settle in Watertown, Massachusetts, the largest settlements of its time.  We witness Edmund's participation in the first great division of lands and he is granted a total of 46 acres.  [It makes one think of the movie Far and Away with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, where he immigrates from Ireland and takes part in the land division in Oklahoma... different time, different place, but it puts into perspective how it might have been for our Mr. Edmund Lewis.  As far as we know, Edmund just simply purchases the land without having to ride his horse, armed with a stake, ready to thrust it into the land he wishes to claim as his own.] All in all, they are off to a good start.  His homestead is on the east side, now known as Lexington Street. There, a new brother to John and Thomas is born the 11th day of November... first born in this new world... this new life.  They name him James.

The day has finally come on which our successful Edmund Lewis is admitted a freeman, this day of May 24, 1636 - a full citizen of the New World. He is allowed to hold public office and vote in town meetings, which is exactly what he does.  Just a short time thereafter in 1638 he is elected a Selectman. October 14, 1638, he is one of the committee chosen "To lay out the farmes as they were ordered, near Dedham line."  The Lewis-Family welcomes another son to their family on June 25, 1639, who is named Nathaniel. Unfortunately, only a couple of years later, Edmund and Mary lay to rest the body of a 20 day old child on this 6th day of November,  1642.  

The same year, we pack up our belongings and move to Lynn, Massachusetts, joining Edmund, Mary and their children, yet again, in a new beginning.  He settles on the Eastern part of the town, on what is now Lewis Street. Just a few years later, in January of 1650, Edmund passes away.  In his will he states that he wants his land in Watertown to be soled and that his eldest son John shall receive double portion, while the rest of his children, namely his five youngest, receive a like-portion of his estate.  Edmund also states for his dear and loving wife Mary to receive a third of his whole estate.  Interestingly, he makes sure that his wife receives a cow from his son John, and from his son Thomas half of his sheep for the upbringing of Edmund's youngest children.  Mary died on the 7th day of September, 1658.

Now, we shall pack our bags and travel to Westerly, Rhode Island, in the year of 1661; Person of interest (it feels as if he is a subject of stalking, really): John Lewis, son of Edmund Lewis.  Ready to be a first settler and make a deal with an Indian tribe? 

Source of Information:
Edmund Lewis, of Lynn, Mass., and some of his descendants ; by George Harlan Lewis
A genealogical dictionary of the first Settlers of New England... ; by James Savage
The Wilson Family; by Wendell E. Wilson
Watertown ; by Fred G. Barker
Genealogies of Lynn, Mass. ; by Henry Bond
History of Lynn, Mass. , by Alonzo Lewis

Source of Images:
Map of Watertown, Mass., by Henry Bond
Map of Lynn, Mass., by Alonzo Lewis

*Alonzo Lewis believes that Edmund Lewis was admitted a freeman on 25 May 1636
*Alonzo Lewis believes the year of removal to Lynn, Mass. is 1639, whereas Henry Bond believes the year to be after 1642, and James Savage believes the year to have been 1643.  
*numerous claims have been made that Edmund Lewis originated from Glamourganshire, Wales, however, there is no proof to confirm or deny this claim.
*Some believe, that the wife of Edmund Lewis is Mary Carey, born in 1602, Norfolk, England... I have yet to find proof of that...
*George H. Lewis reports the birth year of James as 1635-6
*Some claim Edmund's ancestry back to the early 1300's to a Madock Lewis, born 1325, Wales, and others trace it as far as 314 A.D. to a Tegin, in a region of Wales.   I have yet to find anything to confirm either claim.  However, all those claims make for an interesting read.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Digging Up Roots

I promised Lewis that I would use his suggestion of a blog-name for my first blog as i didn't feel naming my blog "Digging Up Roots".    So finally, I've made it... after sticking my toes into the cold water, the current grabbed me and pulled me in.  My office could be mistaken as a stalker type person's living space and the sticky notes only amplify a thought of craziness.  But I would like to think that there is order to my madness.  When I packed up my suitcase filled with pencils and paper, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I wonder, if anyone knew exactly of what's coming when hopping onto the train to the past.  I thought, besides it being interesting, it has to be quite easy.  Oh silly me !!!  I should have performed a hair-count as I am sure, there is a lot less of it on my head now. 

It is amazing what you get to see on this journey though.  As frustrating as it can be, it is just as rewarding.  For me, anyways.  As you, or most of you, know, I started this trip really to find more information about the person who called himself "father" in regards to me.  I know very little of him, and actually, as it turned out, with what I know, it can be classified as "I don't know anything at all".  So my own bloodline remains at 7 people.  Lewis, on the other hand has a huge family.  His family took me on a trip through American History.  I found myself studying the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War along the way.  I am taking on the Lewis Family (I giggle every time I say it...  if Lewis'  surname still would be Lewis, he'd be Lewis Lewis...  no, you didn't get a giggle out of that? ) 

The Lewis-surname is from Lewis'  mom's maternal ancestral lineage.  Yes, I even learned the difference between an ancestor and a relative. 

The year is 1634 A.D., Lynn, Massachusetts...