July… reflecting on family almost lost.

So big scare this month… a virus almost wiped my family out. Nothing like waking up to find your technical nose all runny and the chance that years of work might have suddenly disappeared. And it’s not just regular old work, but your complete family history! Okay, a tad over exaggeration… I did have a 5 month old back up… but there was a lot of familial discovery over the past 5 months. Five months of todays history is a few generations of research!

But big sigh of relief everyone, because the family is not lost! It is found… at least as far as I have found it. I safely have the July anniversaries for you to view:

  • Maria Underwood & Thomas Ormsby: 1 July 1602
  • Lydia Batchelder & William Porter: 5 July 1733
  • Joane Clark & John Bull: 7 July 1672
  • Dorcas Manzer & Gilbert Hatfield Dykeman: 10 July 1794
  • Sarah Brooks & Jonathan Taylor: 11 July 1678
  • Mary Odell & Benjamin Turney: 12 July 1630
  • Christian Penn & Francis Billington: 16 July 1634
  • Marie Berger & Etienne de Tourneur: 18 July 1605

Mary Odell and Benjamin Turney married in England and came over to North America together. In 1631 they settled in Concord, MA and began a life of early American settlers. They were active members in the Concord Church led by Rev John Jones and Rev. Peter Bulkeley. Originally a rector in All Saints Church, Odell UK, Rev. Bulkeley left for more religiously tolerant shores of North America aboard the Susan and Ellen.  The town of Odell UK is in Bedfordshire, the same ‘shire where Mary Odell was born and the marriage location of Mary & Benjamin (Salford Bedfordshire). Is it just coincidence that Mary Odell lived so close to the town of Odell in England? Is it possible that Mary & Benjamin also came across the Atlantic Ocean with Peter on the Susan and Ellen in search of religious tolerance?

After a few years in Concord they moved to Fairfield CT in September 1644 along with 17 Concord families including Rev. John Jones, who left the congregation due to theological disputes. Rev John Jones was a Cambridge University graduate and had sailed to Concord on the ship The Defence (another possible Mary & Benjamin vessel to investigate?).

For a picture and history of Rev. John Jones and Rev. Peter Bulkeley see: http://www.firstparish.org/ministers/index.html

Within 3 1/2 years of moving to Fairfield it is rumoured that Benjamin was killed by Natives, leaving 6 daughters and 2 sons, between the ages of 3-17, without a father. Mary remarried another Concord-to-Fairfield resident, John Middlebrook. It is uncertain when shed died… although she had no children with her new husband, leaving some to believe that she died early in her re-marriage. I am descended from Mary & Benjamin’s daughter Rebecca who was 8 years old when her father died.

I have not been able to find any record of Benjamin’s death at the hand of the local Native people. It would not be uncommon for death to occur in such manner.  But here is what interests me the most: while Benjamin might have had his life ended prematurely by Natives, his great grandson married a Native. (Her name’s unknown, but genealogy refers to her as: Mohawk Indian maiden). It’s amazing the political and social steps forward only a few generations can make.

Had I lost this family history to the jaws of the mighty computer virus, I could not share this with you today. It’s amazing the technical steps only a few generations can make… Now off I go to back up my files!

Published in: on 31 July 2008 at 11:19 pm  Comments (3)