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#WritePhoto The Family Obelisk

May 4, 2017 11 Comments



The family sailed from England when they had a chance to come to America.  The hardship of the voyage and the harsh conditions in the colonies took a toll on the surviving members of the family.  They wondered about the decision to live in the new world, and felt lost without the comfort and status of British society.  Carving out an existence turned out to be much more difficult than they had ever imagined.  They lost touch with the roots of their family back in England and had no way to return even if they wanted to go.  They had little money and just barely the time to protect and feed their offspring.

Eventually they came to feel pride in the American adventure they founded, and erected a monument to the first Morses to come to America.  They had sailed from a harbor with a large assuming obelisk that bid them adieu when they left their homeland.  The group decided to model the new world monument after the last sight they saw as the ship left the shore.  British no more, but connected to the language and the culture of the motherland, the American obelisk builders were sure that God was on their side.

Morse Monument

This is a piece in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt.  Please join writers from around the world each week to read or submit your own story.



Peter Brown, 9th Great-Grandfather

December 21, 2016 3 Comments

My 9th great-grandfather was a baker who arrived in Connecticut  in 1638. He was an original settler in that colony.  He landed in Massachusetts then moved to New Haven.  He signed the New Haven Plantation Covenant on June 4, 1639.

“The Story of the Early Settlers of Stamford, Connecticut, 1641 – 1700” by Jeanne Majdalany (including genealogies comp. with Edith M. Wicks), page 152: “Peter Brown was born 1610, died 1658, married 1 Elizabeth Smith(d1657); m2 1658 Unice/Unica Buxton…Peter Brown was of Concord, MA in 1632 and of New Haven in 1639 where he was a baker. In 1647 he was in Stamford. He probably was a brother of Francis. He lived on the west side of “River Street”.

Brown Coat of Arms

Brown Coat of Arms

Peter Brown (1610 – 1658)
9th great-grandfather
Deliverance Brown (1656 – 1727)
son of Peter Brown
Rachel Brown (1700 – 1716)
daughter of Deliverance Brown
Mary Mead (1724 – 1787)
daughter of Rachel Brown
Abner Mead (1749 – 1810)
son of Mary Mead
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Abner Mead
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
You are the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Peter Brown was one of the Governor Theophilus Eaton and Rev. John Davenport Company, that made a settlement at New Haven in the spring of 1638. This company was partly from the City of London, where Rev. John Davenport had been a celebrated minister, and partly from the counties of York, Hertford, Kent, Surry and Sussex, and sailed from London, England, in the ship Hector, which arrived at Boston on the twenty-sixth day of June, 1637. Peter Brown signed the compact appertaining to the government of the New Haven Colony, in 1639. He sold out in 1647, and removed to Stamford, Connecticut, where his wife, Elizabeth, died Sept. 21, 1657, and his son, Ebenezer, Aug. 19, 1658. He married again at Stamford, May 25, 1658, Unity, widow of Clement Buxton, and died there Aug. 22, 1658. His widow afterwards married, March 9, 1659, Nicholas Knapp.

From the book One Life at a Time: A New World Narrative by R. Thomas Collins, Joseph Wood
Peter Brown was born 1610 in Hastings, England. A baker, Peter was a member of the immigrant company organized by London merchant Theophilus Eaton and the Puritan divine, Rev. John Davenport. Peter Brown was one of the signatories of the New Haven Plantation Covenant on June 4, 1639.
Peter Brown was one of the many townsmen to seek opportunity elsewhere after the failure of the Great Shippe. In 1647, Peter moved to Stamford. Peter, who died in 1648, and his first wife had at least one son, Hackaliah (#51). Peter’s second wife, Unity, widowed, later married Nicholas Knapp (#2) in Stamford.

Seeking Refuge

September 9, 2015 1 Comment



Many of my ancestors came to North America seeking refuge. Most of them had religious problems in the old country that caused their exodus. My Irish family fled the potato famine in the 19th century.  I don’t think any of my family came to escape war.  When I consider the conditions on a sailing ship in the 17 or 18th century I am amazed that so many survived the journey across the ocean. The earliest arrivals had the most difficult time establishing their culture and society on land that had previously belonged to native peoples.  The European settlers conquered the continent and took control of all natural resources to create comfortable lives for themselves.  Slave labor was one of the practices that made the cultural dominance swift and complete.  The Europeans enslaved Africans and made war on the native people to “win” and develop the land we now occupy. In some places  a natural alliance between slaves, former slaves, and native people developed based on strong mutual distrust of the ruling culture.

In school the manifest destiny business is taught to children as if European culture had been sponsored by European God to spread across the North America.  Very little mention is made of the treatment of the tribes who opposed the conquest.  By the time I was born we had taken all the land we would claim, but had not yet made Hawaii or Alaska states.  We still have territories around the world, including in the South Pacific.  Our political reach extends beyond the boundaries of our nation in obvious ways.  Our military and our intelligence community reach across the globe.  In the name of defending democracy the United States has made many enemies.  In the precarious balance of worldwide power we play the role of peace keeper.  In this role we have fought and are fighting wars on other people’s homeland. No matter which side eventually may surrender the residents who must flee or live in a battle are the real victims of these wars.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The refugees arriving in Europe will not be stopped until the war that they want to escape is contained.  The situation is complicated and strained in every way.  We can see no winners anywhere from London to Afghanistan.  Chaos and suffering are moving across very large landscapes with no remedy in sight.  There is not enough money, infrastructure, or housing to deal with the crisis that will continue to flow into Europe.  This is the most serious issue in the world right now.  Containing the disaster and stopping the violence deserves all civilization’s attention.  Compassion is the only responsible response.

What Would Quadequina Do?

November 23, 2013 3 Comments

My ancestors attended the first Thanksgiving party in Plimouth Colony. Most of my heritage is English, and the Mayflower was full of my peeps.  My 11th great-grandfather attended the feast as a representative of the Wampanoag people.  When he first met the Pilgrims they gave him alcohol , which must have aroused his curiosity.  The political system in New England was way different from the one in Europe.  The local natives made friends with the Pilgrims with reservations (not the kind they have been granted by the US government).  They had made contact with Brits before which had resulted in an outbreak of disease that killed a large number of the people.  They saw the Mayflower, but kept a distance since they assumed these Brits would be diseased as well.

Quadequina is credited with bringing popcorn to the first Thanksgiving.  The Wampanoags I met in Plymouth this year told me it was actually parched corn.  Either way, there was a potluck dinner and Quadequina brought corn as his dish.  He acted in good faith, was a respectful and polite guest, even allowing the Pilgrims to occupy his homeland and build a fort around their town.  It was fairly impossible for the American natives to do due diligence on these religious Pilgrims who had arrived and planned to stay.   Squanto, the famous translator, was about all the interface available.  The Natives of New England were stuck with this highly unnatural situation through no fault of their own.  They just happened to be where the Mayflower got stuck on the rocks.  It was their luck.

When my 10th great-grandfather Gabriel Wheldon wanted to marry Quadequina’s daughter he gave his consent and helped the couple avoid disaster from the Pilgrims:

Gordon B. Hinckley, Shoulder for the Lord” by George M. McCune page 35- ” Two of the early immigrants to Plymouth colony were Gabriel Wheldon, of Arnold, Nottingham, England, and his brother (name unknown). Gabriel had been married in England before sailing to America but his first wife named Margaret evidentally was deceased at the time of his migration. Both brothers had a free spirit much like Stephen Hopkins and found their way to the camps of the Wampanoags. There they both fell in love with two of the daughters of chief Quadequina, younger brother of the Great Chief. They each married and Gabriel gave his second wife the English name ‘Margaret’ after his first spouse. The two counseled with their father-in-law and his older brother Massasoit regarding what to do. The Plymouth Colony would probably punish them for their intermarriage. Massasoit advised them to return to the colyn and all would be well. The Plymouth Colony tribunals saved face by banishing the couples from Plymouth for life but did not send them back to England. Gabriel and Margaret established their home in Barnstable where the Hinckleys came in late 1630’s and here Gabriel and Margaret raised a large family of girls. One of these was Catherine “Catone” Wheldon who married Stephen Hopkins'(First to build a house in Mattachesse Villiage/Yarmouth) oldest son Giles on October 9, 1639. Giles had been given the home his father had build in Yarmouth and the couple established their home and raised four children there. When Giles’ father Stephen passed away about July 1644, his father left an estate.. Some records give Margaret as the wife of Gabriel Wheldon. It seems she was his second wife, who, after his death, may have returned to England with Rev. Marmaduke Matthews and his wife. Other records state that Margaret was an Indian Princess, Wampanoag, and give her lineage for several generations. He _may_ have been Margaret’s brother. He immigrated 1638, aPreacher of the Church of Malden. He returned to England in 1655, and Several of the Malden Church members went with him. Of these returning pilgrims, the widow Margaret Wheldon, who left a law-suit over the estate of her deceased husband, Gabriel, also went to England. (from: Pg 155 The History of Malden, Massachusetts, 1633-1785). Rev Matthews died 1683 in England.

I don’t believe he is partial to either pecan or pumpkin pie. I think Quadequina would have liked to see us celebrate equal rights and justice each November.  The story of Thanksgiving is mostly mythical, since very little was recorded at the time.  Turkeys may not be the best logo for  American seasonal gratitude.  Popcorn deserves a place at the table.

Wampanoag Thanksgiving

November 15, 2013 9 Comments

Since last November I have visited my ancestral homeland at Plimouth Colony in Massachusetts.  The museum and displays helped me to more vividly picture what those Pilgrims were doing in the 1600s.  I have many ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower, and I am not overly impressed with that fact. I am, however, truly grateful to learn that I am Wampanoag.  I study history by learning about my family tree.  Thanksgiving, as taught in elementary school, has very little to do with the real events that took place at the time.  There was a feast and celebration, and there was a great deal of unease about these English people who built a fort around their town and put cannons on the second story of their church.  These Pilgrims, who are depicted to children as seeking religious freedom, only believed in religious freedom for themselves.  They had been repressed in Holland for their beliefs and wanted a place where their somewhat radical thinking would not clash with any royal Euros.  They did not propose to extend religious freedom and tolerance to the native people they encountered in America.  They proposed to convert them to Christianity, their own style of Christianity.

Thomas Dudley

Thomas Dudley

Harvard was endowed and sustained in business by conversion of native people.  The Indian College was used to educate and convert natives.  If they had not come up with donations based on this premise, Harvard may never have become the institution it is today.  My tenth great grandfather Thomas Dudley signed the charter for Harvard because he was the colonial governor when it opened.  His daughter and my 9th great grandmother, Anne Bradstreet, was a poet and wife of Simon Bradstreet, also a colonial governor.

Harvard College Charter

Harvard College Charter

I am not as proud of them as I am of Quadequina.  I have taken sides in the Thanksgiving story.  I think the Pilgrims were rude to say the least.  We build it up as a story about peace and religion, but it was a story of imperialism.  When I learned that all the historic wampum belts have gone to England to be kept in museums I became angry.  A very cool Wampanoag elder who worked at Plimouth gave me some very wise advise about that.  She told me there was no point in being angry about the past.  She is obviously correct, but my feelings have changed about history, Massachusetts Colony and all that it meant, and the fable of Thanksgiving.  There is more bitterness that the peach pie reveals.  It makes me wonder exactly how my tribe feels when they celebrate this holiday.  It looks like the tribe may open a casino on Martha’s Vineyard.  It is fair to give them access to the wealth and the weakness of the white people on that island.  There is plenty for everyone.  Turn about is fair play, even if it comes hundreds of years later.

Elizabeth Henchman, 10th Great Grandmother

April 8, 2013


grave of Elizabeth Henchman

Elizabeth Henchman has a birthplace on file of Plymouth, MA.  I doubt this is true, since in 1612 the Mayflower had not yet landed.  She came from England with her parents, I believe.  She married my 10th great grandfather in Plymouth in 1634.  Her second husband, Richard Hildreth, was prominent in Cambridge, MA. They married in Cambridge in 1645. Her grave can still be located in Malden, MA.

The origin of the name is really from being a royal henchmen in history:


The origin, genealogy, history, and traditions of the Henchman, Hensman, Hinchman, and Hincksman families are known to many family members today, because of the research and dedication of Robert Hinchman, Jr. (1921-1996), of Dallas, Texas, the founder and first president of the Hinchman Heritage Society.  It is from this beginning in England that we may someday find connections to The Hinchman Family in America.  The following two paragraphs were written by Robert for the October 1992 Hinchman Heritage Week in England.

“Legend has it that Thomas Crosborough of Magna Doddington, Northamptonshire, saved the life of King Henry VII during a hunt.  Upon being rescued from the tusks of a wild boar the King said to him:  “Truly, thou art my veritable henchman.”  Thomas thereupon, changed his name to Henchman, and thus, the family began.  His great grandson, Thomas, was apprenticed at the age of 12 to William Cokayne, Master of the Skinners’ Guild, and subsequently became a prominent merchant and Freeman of the City of London during the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth I.  Thomas was the father of Humfry who was instrumental in aiding Charles II escape to France during the English Civil War.  Thus, two Henchmans have helped save the lives of two English kings.”

“The scions of Thomas Crosborough Henchman are the progenitors of the Henchman/Hinchman and Hensman Families of today.  The variations in spellings began to stabilize during the reign of James I and by the time of the restoration of Charles II in 1660, the orthography had become almost set .. but as a Hinchman, you well know that confusion still exists.  The family began its migration to New England in 1637, to Maryland in 1664, and to Australia in the 1860’s.  And, of course, English members  continued down to this day.  Our generation, wherever we live, are descendants of Thomas Crosborough Henchman, his sons and grandsons.  It is an adventure for each of us to discover our particular origins.”

Elizabeth Henchman (1612 – 1693)
is my 10th great grandmother
Mercy Vaughn (1630 – 1675)
daughter of Elizabeth Henchman
Sarah Carr (1682 – 1765)
daughter of Mercy Vaughn
John Hammett (1705 – 1752)
son of Sarah Carr
MARGARET HAMMETT (1721 – 1753)
daughter of John Hammett
Benjamin Sweet (1722 – 1789)
Paul Sweet (1762 – 1836)
son of Benjamin Sweet
Valentine Sweet (1791 – 1858)
son of Paul Sweet
Sarah LaVina Sweet (1840 – 1923)
daughter of Valentine Sweet
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Sarah LaVina Sweet
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

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