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.


  1. Cool, just like a novel. Very interesting. Nathaniel and I share the same birthday, just a slightly year (hehe). Thank you for sharing, can't wait to read more.

  2. Good morning, Curt... thanks for your lovely comment... I was a bit worried if that's the route I should go in re-telling or whether I should just toss down a bunch of names and dates and stuff...

  3. cool post, you've spent some time researching!
    Terry from FB

  4. Very interesting Liane! My dad's family is from that area of Massachusetts also but not that early. They came down from Canada in the early 1900's

  5. Terry, i've spent months on this research..whew ;-)

    April... how nice to see you here ;-) in the posts to come.. somewhere down the line, more places of Massachusetts in later years will come up .. stay tuned ;-)

  6. Its funny to read history and wonder how it would have been to be in the same place at the same time… would you make the same decisions, could you or would you change history by going in a different direction… I know there is a lot of things in the past that are subject to a point of view, even that of the person that its being said… his view. Its always makes me marvel though that as far as we have come, we have not if you know what I mean. I have really enjoyed the beginning of your trip and cannot wait to read more… Now back to you bad girl… where have you been? You need to utter my way more often young lady…


  7. Oh my dear Sir Thomas... i know i have been quite rude not showing up in soooo long and I have neglected my other blog as well... i should be spanked.. oh wait, that's not the right blog for that kind of comment is it? lol.. In regards to your comment though, i do agree... just one simple decision has such power in how our life takes shape. And looking back, there will always be the thought of "what if"... hugs and stuff ;-)

  8. I felt like I was there... by the way, Thomas and James are excellent names, as I have both :) - but your research has paid off great dividends, as you have brought back to life people who have long passed, and now they walk among us again, showing us, through you, a glimpse of the past. You weave such a wonderful tale, and thank you again for taking us along. I look forward to the next installment... You are just the most bestest, yanno?

  9. enjoying your work....

    have to look some more up on maps as my knowledge of the USA and places is limited :-)

    Just thinking about what a huge move it was to get on a tiny ship for a month !! and head off across the oceans without any previous knowledge of that kind of travel... and with kids too,, oh my ...

  10. Thank you Tom :-) I will always take you along, until you tell me to stop ;-) and I haven't heard an oink from above yet either ;-)

    Matt... my favorite Brit.. thanks for coming along.. I have to say, i have learned to read maps more and more through this project, as well as understanding how to read the old english written word, ha ;-)

  11. I would follow you to the end of the planet and beyond, you know that... no oinks here either, thank you. I may have to sit down and write about some Deutschlanders coming over to the this side of the pond back in the 1840's... think that there is a story there? What say you? :) Our weather lately is really more conducive to indoor activity, so maybe I shall capitalize on that, and actually write something. It would pale in comparison to this, but I shall try... I love to read what you write.

  12. Keep it up Liane, as Curt said, this reads like a novel. Can't wait to turn the next page. Your research points to your talents, and your writing skills paint a picture on a canvas that is rich with texture, color, and character. Looking forward to all your future posts.

  13. Tom, I'd love to read about those Deutschlanders of yours ;-) I think there is a story there ;-) And as you very well know, my stuff pales in comparison to your writing ;-)

    Lindy... oh how wonderful to have you as my reader... I hope to be able to post "the next page" some time this weekend. so happy to have you with me on this journey ;-)


What say you?