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Visit To Plymouth Plantation

November 23, 2016 6 Comments

cannons above church Plymouth

cannons above church Plymouth





miller's take

miller’s take

mill pond

mill pond

When I visited Plymouth Plantation to see how my ancestors had lived the Mayflower was out of town being repaired. That did not bother me. I filled my day visiting at the museums of the living culture, including the grain mill extension in town.  The details are fabulous and the actors doing the recreation are very knowledgeable and professional at their work.  My personal ancestors were not on hand the day I went, but I did see the recreations of their homes.  I also spent time in the cemetery and the church.  The whole town is kind of preserved, with a definite Mayflower Pilgrim theme.

I was most interested in the Wampanoag section of the display. I thought for years I was a descendant of Quadequina, a member of the first Thanksgiving party.  I was thrilled to be a Wamp, but later my first cousin discovered an error in my research.  I had to cut that branch from the tree and begin again in the 1700s in South Carolina.  I was super distressed at this news, which at first I was unwilling to accept.  I was furious at my cousin, but had to face the reality that I had based my conclusions on specious data.  I had mistaken one John Taylor in South Carolina for another, and that was all it took to lead me astray.  It was a bummer.  I was just a wanna be Wampanoag after all.  It was a sad day when I had to admit that.

I stayed on Cape Cod where many of my ancestors moved after they had had it with the Plymouth bureaucracy and religious police.  The whole area is filled with history.  Even though my dreams of being a Wampanoag were dashed I enjoyed learning about the tribe and their struggle today.  My relationship to them is purely intellectual, but I still love the People of The First Light.  I love them more than I love the Pilgrims, who turned out to be pretty religious crazy.  That whole story about religious freedom and Plymouth has been stilted quite a bit.  They had no use for religious freedom other than their own specific brand of religious practice.  They forced everyone to go to their church and obey their church’s rules. That is why many of my ancestors left for Cape Cod and later for Rhode Island.  Those oppressive Pilgrims were just too intrusive to have as neighbors.

I hope to go back to Plymouth some day.  I now have done more research and more people to find in the vicinity.  I also hope I will revisit Williamsburg, VA because many of my ancestors were living down there in the 1600’s too.  If you have a chance to go see the exhibits at Plimouth Plantation Thanksgiving will never be the same for you.  You will see a clearer picture of what really happened in history.

Michael Blackwell of Sandwich, MA

December 19, 2013 2 Comments

Seal of Sandwich

Seal of Sandwich

My 12th great-grandfather was born in Sandwich, MA, on Cape Cod, in 1623.  He served as a constable in Sandwich.  There is some confusion about Myles Black/Michael Blackwell records in Sandwich, which seem to indicate they are one in the same man:

Author: LYDIA B. (PHINNEY) BROWNSON, Of Duxbury, Mass. and MACLEAN W. MCLEAN, Of Pittsburgh, Pa
No attempt has been made by the present writers to investigate possible connections between Michael Blackwell and others of the name in England or America. It certainly would be interesting to know whether the Sandwich family was in any way related to the Rulling Elder Francis Blackwell of the Separatist Church whose recantation William Bradford criticized. Actually it is by no means certain that the family name was originally Blackwell. The Sandwich list of men between 16 and 60 able to bear arms in 1643 includes one Myles Black. James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of The First Settlers in New England, 1860, vol. 1, p. 191, says “hardly can I doubt that this man called by Savage
“Michael or Myles Blackwell” is he designated in the Col. list of those able to bear arms 1643, as Miles Black” (THE REGISTER, vol. 4, p. 257,
July 1850). This Question puzzled also Thomas Spooner, the compiler of the Memorial of William Spooner, 1871, who corresponded with the Rev. Frederick Freeman author of The History of Cape Cod, 1858. Spooner quotes Freeman as saying: “The Blackwells of Sandwich were generally called Black. Even since my remembrance the latter name was used for those who wrote the name Blackwell and in some early instances of recorthe same Liberty was taken. The progenitor himself is in one instance at least on record as Black” (p: 60:61 footnotes.It seems to us that the evidence, while not conclusive, strongly suggesthat Miles Black and Michael Blackwell were one and the same person. The reader may speculate for himself from the data available. Conclusive proof of identity doubtless would have been found in the Barnstable County land records, but these were destroyed in the 1827 fire. Fortunately Michael Blackwell and his son, and grandsons left wills and probate records which are unusually complete. The earliest reference we find has to do with Miles Blacke who was a creditor in the amount of 7 shillings due from the estate of William Swift, Sr., 29 Jan. 1642 (Plymouth Colony Probate, Liber 1, p. 44, in May. Des., 8:170, December 1900). This first reference, by the way, poses a second problem of confusion of identities, namely.the fact that there was in New England early date a gentleman of some wealth and influence called “Mr. John Blackwell.” This complication will be discussed under the account of John Blackwell. For the moment it is enough to point out the really extraordinary co-incidence that the Swift estate should have been indebted to both Miles Black of Sandwich and to “Mr. Blackwell,” since so far as we can find the latter was of Boston and co. Middlesex, England, and had no interest in Sandwich.In 1643 Miles Black’s name appears on the list of Sandwich men aged between 16 and 60, able to bear arms (The Register, Op. Cit.), but
Michael Blackwell’s name does not appear. Yet 7 June 1648 “Mycaell Blackwell” served on the grand inquest; and the following October “Micaell Blackwell” served as grand juror in the infanticide case of
Alice Bishop (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth . . . , 2:134, cf. p. 124, where his name appears as Mycaell Blackwell). An agreement was made 17 Jan. 1652 by the town of Sandwich “with Daniel Wing & Michael Blackwell for the taking of fish in Herring River” (Frederick Freeman, “Annals of Sandwich” in his History of Cape Cod, 1858, 2:50).
“Myles Blacke” was appointed, 3 June 1656, constable of Sandwich (Shurtleff, op. cit., 3: 100). On the 1658 list of Sandwich land holders the name of Michaell Blackwell appears, but not that of Miles Black
(Freeman, op. cit., 2:59). Yet it would seem unlikely that the town’s constable was not a land owner. It is interesting to note here that this Miles Black or Blackwell held the post of Constable in Sandwich
immediately preceding the inauguration in 1657 of what Amos Otis called “a system of terrorism” there, under the enthusiastic leadership of the notorious Sandwich Marshall George Barlow, to whom the Colony Court gave “full power to act as constable in all things in the town of Sandwich” (C.- F. Swift, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families, 1888, p. 258-259). No reference is made anywhere that we have seen which would indicate that Black or Blackwell was involved in persecution of the Quakers in this period, though the Blackwell family seems to have been active members of the Sandwich Congregational Church, and not to have had family connections with the Quaker element.
On 13 June 1660 “A parcell of meadow was granted to Myles BIacke att Mannomett.” And in the following March he and Thomas Burges, Sr., were brought to court for fraudulently obtaining meadow land there (Shurtlefop. cit., 3:194, 208). These entries are perhaps significant in view of the fact that Michael Blackwell’s will refers to land adjoyning Jacob Burges, principal heir to Thomas Burges, Sr.
We come now to two entries which refer to “Myles Blackwell.” The first shows that “Myles Blackwell” served on the Grand jury 4 Oct. 1664 (Shurtleff, op. cit., 7: 1 19). The second shows that Myls Blackwell was chosen surveyor of highways in Sandwich 3 June 1668. Oddly enough the same source shows that Miacaell Blackwell served on the Grand Jury 5 Ju 1667 (ibid., 4:148, 181). Micacll Blackwell served 5 June 1671 on a committee “to view damage done to the Indians by the horses and hoggs of the English” (ibid.-, 5:62).
In 1672 “Mr. Edmund Freeman Senr., William Swift, Thomas Wing Senr., Thomas Dexter Senr., Michaell Blackwell & William Newland were constituted a committee to go forward in settling & confirming the bounof the township with the Sachem of Mannomet . . .” (Freeman, op. cit., 2:67). Joseph Burges petitioned the Court, 5 June 1673, regarding “a way that goes through lands of Myles Blackwell … att Sandwich” (Shurtleff, op. cit., 5:116). The list of “all those who have just rights to the priviledges of the Town” in 1675 shows Michaell Blackwell and his son John Blackwell, and does -not show a Miles Black (Freeman, op. cit., 2:68) In 1680 Michaell Blackwell served once more on the Grand Inquest
and in 1672 he took the inventory of the estate of Edmund Freeman. His will shows that he deeded land in 1705 to his son Joshua and it is to be inferred that he had done the same for his elder son.
His will is of considerable genealogical value. Firstly, it proves that Michael Blackwell’s wife had predeceased him. It seems strange that there is not the slightest reference to the wife of either Miles Black or Michael Blackwell. Secondly, the testator in his intense desire to be the founder of a dynasty patterned upon the model of the landed gentold England gives proof of one or two relationships which otherwise would
have remained obscure, as will be seen. The Sandwich vital records in the town hall are copies of the originals. The entry of Michael Blackwell’s death reads 6 January, the date of the year having been torn away, but the careful copy made by the late George E. Bowman of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants notes that 1710 was added – in pencil, and as we now see, this notation is correct (May. Des., 29: 22 footnote, January 1931). With the exception of the son Michael, no dates of the births or baptisms of Michael Blackwell’s children have been found. The order of birth of the sons is clear from the father’s will, although the daughter Jane (whose husband was born in 1644) may have be older than Michael.

Michael Blackwell (1623 – 1709)
is my 12th great grandfather
John Blackwell (1645 – 1688)
son of Michael Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell (1662 – 1691)
daughter of John Blackwell
Thomas Baynard (1678 – 1732)
son of Elizabeth Blackwell
Deborah Baynard (1720 – 1791)
daughter of Thomas Baynard
Mary Horney (1741 – 1775)
daughter of Deborah Baynard
Esther Harris (1764 – 1838)
daughter of Mary Horney
John H Wright (1803 – 1850)
son of Esther Harris
Mary Wright (1816 – 1873)
daughter of John H Wright
Emiline P Nicholls (1837 – )
daughter of Mary Wright
Harriet Peterson (1856 – 1933)
daughter of Emiline P Nicholls
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of Harriet Peterson
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

When he died he owned quite a bit of land around Sandwich:

Michael Blackwell’s will, dated 29 Nov 1709 of “Michael Blackwell of Sandwich” gives “… unto my grand son John Blackwell, the eldest son of my son John Blackwell, deceased, all those lands, marsh and meadow ground . . . in the town of Sandwich, lying on the Northeasterly side of Skussett River . . . on part of which upland ye dwelling house of my sd. Grand son now standeth . . . adjoyning in part upon the messuage in ye tenour or occupation of Jacob Burges . . . as well as one parcell of meadow lying adjoyning Jireh Swift . . . and by the land of Irish Swift . . . on condition that my said grand son John Blackwell dye leaveing a male heire surviving, lawfully begotton of his own bodie. And that he do also pay unto Caleb Blackwell his naturall brother, the sum of 5 pounds . . . And if it shall so happen” (that said John dies without a male heir, then the testator directs the youngest brother Nathaniel, shall inherit). The will then provides that if John Blackwell survives his brothers, Caleb and Nathaniel, and finally die without male issue, the then male children of my son Joshua Blackwell shall inherit all. “Item: . . . unton my grand son Benjamin Gibbs, on half part of all upland at Waynonsett . . . lands in Sandwich adjoying land formerly belonging to John Gibbs and other lands in Sandwich and lands I formerly bought of Robert Bartlett in Plymouth township. Item: . . . unto my grand son Samuel Blackwell, son on my son Joshua Blackwell, the other half of my lands before given to Benjamin Gibbs. Item: . . . unto my daughter Jane Gibbs, that nine pounds which her husband formerly borrowed and me and which he yet oweth to me. Item: . . . unto the three sons and six daughters of my son Joshua Blackwell or to so many of them as shall survive mee, all that shall remain of my personal estate . . . to be equally divided between them. Item: . . . to my said son Joshua Blackwell the other half of my land that I bought of Robert Bartlett . . . and I do confirm unto him and unto his son Michael Blackwell all those lands, swamp & meadow ground to which I have given by deed of gift, dated 3 Aug 1705, only that he pay to my grandson Nathaniel Blackwell 10 pounds & to each of the sisters of ye said Nathaniel Blackwell, being the daughters of my said son John Blackwell, deceased, the sum of 40s in current passable pay within one year after my decease.”

Michael’s son Joshua Blackwell was named sole executor. The will was signed by a mark and was witnessed by William Bassett, Sr., William Bassett, Jr., and Nathan Bassett. The witnesses were sworn 26 Jan and administration ordered 29 Jan. 1709/10. The date of Michael Blackwell’s death is 6 Jan 1710.
~New England Historic and Genelogical Register, July, 1963, pages 180-183

Magnolia Madness

April 28, 2013 5 Comments

I found that no matter how you shoot them, pink magnolias look good.  I am attracted to them like a bee to nectar..just love them.  Hope they will brighten your day as they do mine.

Party in Cape Cod

April 26, 2013 2 Comments

Four friends who have never met in person gathered yesterday in Falmouth, MA to meet, eat, party and fully enjoy each other. Our host, Chico, lives right next to the beach and is a really excellent chef. He prepared a seafood extravaganza that lasted all afternoon. Deborah Elizabeth lives in Boston.  Christine lives in Australia. I live in Tucson. We planned this for months since Christine was in this hemisphere for a visit. The meal included bay scallops raw and scampi style, raw oysters, salad, bread and spicy dipping sauce, mussels, clams…and then…. we all had to take a break. We walked along the shore to do some digesting for an hour or so…and then there was lobster and NY cheesecake. The entire meal lasted, including the walk, about 6 hours. It was luxury that few ever experience.
Since Christine was basically on a drive by, she stayed in the hotel with me last night and we set out for breakfast and one last photo shoot and shopping trip in Falmouth village. We both love blooming trees, so there was much to shoot. One dip of her feet in the Atlantic, and she had to drive to Newark to return her car for a flight back tomorrow. I have rarely packed so much in to a 24 hour time frame. It was memorable. We found a perfect day, a perfect place, and a perfect meal to share with each other. Our extreme compliments to the chef and host for the best day.

Packing to Go

April 22, 2013 2 Comments

Travel is an adventure. I like to take just the right amount of stuff from home to give me extra room in my suitcase. I typically find something I want to buy and bring back home with me. Since I am on a long trip this time I am including an extra duffel bag inside the suitcase for large finds. I have arranged my accommodations, except for the last 3 nights, which I can decide when I get to that.  I am meeting friends at the beach, planning a party, and going to a performance.  What do I need? What do I want to purchase in New England?

I always take:

  1. layers of clothing
  2. 2 iPads
  3. 1 laptop
  4. still camera
  5. 2 video cameras, one for underwater
  6. my cell phone
  7. very comfortable walking shoes

I enjoy shopping for or finding:

  1. tea
  2. cosmetics and body care products
  3. vintage clothing
  4. art
  5. natural items like rocks and shells
  6. food
  7. maps

I know Cape Cod will have all manner of souvenirs, but I typically like things that are out of the ordinary.   My friend who lives there makes wampum out of shells, so I look forward to purchasing a special commemorative set of jewels to go with the setting.  I doubt that Plymouth Rock, Colony, etc. will have the kind of item I like to buy.   I expect the Wampanoag tribe may have some crafts or books at the museum in Mashpee that will interest me.  I love to collect stories and history.  Since I am visiting many of my ancestors I expect to find some facts I do not know now. I am excited and open for a new culture, new cuisine, new (old) cities and towns, and friends I have not yet met.  I have been gardening, supervising a construction project in my home, and working in the office to clear the desk and put all business in order.  One thing I never take with me when I travel is my day-to-day concerns. My work is finished here for a couple of weeks. I will bring you along for the fun, gentle reader, as I to discover what is special about  Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Way to Retire-Chico’s Wampum

February 21, 2013 2 Comments

My friend Chico lives in Cape Cod and makes wampum, a currency and an art.  He turns the shells of particular beauty into individual pieces of jewelry art. The town of Falmouth, where he lives,  has a big tourism business in the summer.  To complete the experience the town hosts an art market. Chico is there to offer shoppers a truly local art and perfect souvenir of Falmouth.  Next month he will retire from his day to day work and be a man of his own currency.  While many face retirement without a good relationship to nature and life, wondering how to handle the free time they anticipate, Chico has created art as currency, and currency as art.  It is light weight, tucks into a suitcase, and has historical meaning.  He calls his art business Chico’s Wampum Revealed.  I predict much will be revealed.

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