Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Heraldic arms found for Hutchinson nephew

© 2018 Christy K. Robinson

This article is copyrighted. Copying, even to your genealogy pages, is prohibited by US and international law. You may "share" it with the URL link because it preserves the author's copyright notice and the source of the article.  
All rights reserved. This book or blog article, or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

By BardofL - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
 In the English town of Boston, Lincolnshire is the 700-year-old church of St. Botolph's, the country's largest parish church. In 1612, Rev. John Cotton, a scholar with multiple degrees in theology, was appointed vicar of the church. Though his preaching was controversial with the Church of England bishops, his charisma and ability to draw tithe-paying listeners from miles around were much-appreciated. Cotton held his position until 1632, when he and his first wife became gravely ill with malaria. She died, and he recovered over a period of about a year. But then, when King Charles II and Bishop Laud reissued the anti-Puritan The Book of Sports, Rev. Cotton was summoned to a hearing for his refusal of the command to have it read aloud. He went into hiding, remarried, and set out for the new Boston, in Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1633.

During his years of ministry at old Boston, Rev. Cotton's sermons caught the attention of Anne and William Hutchinson, newlyweds from Alford, Lincolnshire, about 20 miles to the north. Even in good weather, 20 miles would be a day's journey each way, so you know that they valued their pastor's teaching and friendship.

As many people know, Anne and William Hutchinson and many members of their large families emigrated to the new Boston in 1634. After trials for sedition and heresy, the Hutchinsons were exiled from Massachusetts in late winter 1638. They and their considerable number of supporters bought land from the Narragansett Indians and settled in Pocasset, later named Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

Some of the Hutchinson relatives moved back to England; some never left England at all. One of William Hutchinson's brothers was John Hutchinson of Alford, who stayed in Lincolnshire. Among John's nine or ten children was Samuel, born 1643. Samuel was born in the same year that Anne and her children were massacred at their farm. He was her nephew-by-marriage, and first cousin to Anne's and William's children.

In 1668, Samuel married Catherine Bonner. In 1680, he was elected Mayor of Boston in that county, and he served as Mayor again in 1695. Both Samuel and Catherine died in 1696. This Samuel (out of many Samuels in numerous generations, so it gets very, very confusing to figure out which he was) had a memorial plaque placed in St. Botolph's church, perhaps by his son Stephen Hutchinson, Boston's mayor in 1699.

This plaque came to light in a Facebook group called "Partnership of the Historic Bostons." Alison Fairman posted a photo, writing:
"This was found recently in St Botolphs Church Boston. The College of Arms in London tell me that they are the Arms of a Hutchinson and his wife possibly Riddell. They are not the actual followers of John Cotton but the Arms perhaps of [Hutchinson] descendants." 

Then sister and brother, Ann Epton and Colin Epton, got into the action with these comments:

Ann Epton: any ideas?
Colin Epton: Already on it
Ann Epton: Good man
Colin Epton: According to Burke its definitely Hutchinson of Lincolnshire and Ridell of Gloucester and Oxford. Several of the Hutchinsons went to Massachusetts but I haven't found the Ridell connction yet.
Colin Epton: Got them. Burke has Ridell-alias-Bonner. Don't ask me why, possibly related by marriage and for some reason allowed the same arms. Samuel Hutchinson b. Alford 1644, m Catherine Bonner in 1668 at Lincoln, Lived in Boston and had several children there.
Samuel and Catherine both died in Boston in 1696.
(That's Boston Lincs )
Ann Epton: So that’s a really old one! Probably removed during one of the restorations.
Colin Epton: Probably. Do we know how and where it was found?
Ann Epton: No well I don’t I had no idea of it’s existence until now.
Colin Epton: Samuel was the son of Edward Hutchinson, Mercer, of Alford and grandson of John Hutchinson, Sheriff, Alderman and Mayor of Lincoln C. 1550.
Colin Epton: William Hutchinson, who went to Massachusetts colony in 1633 was Samuel's elder brother. William was married to Anne Hutchinson who was at the centre of a religious row in Massachusetts and was accused of heresy. Her family and followers were exiled from the colony and left to found the colony of Rhode Island. Apparently the family can be traced back to Bernard Hutchinson of Cowlan, Yorks, recorded in 1262. He's recorded as an Esquire, and as this would be the time when heraldry was becoming very popular among the gentry, he may well have been the first one to bear these arms.
Colin Epton: The arms are:
Per pale gules & azure. Semee of crosses crosslet or, a lion rampant argent, armed and langued of the third (Hutchinson of Co. Lincoln )
Paly of 6 or & gules. on a chief azure 3 lions rampant of the first. (Bonner / Ridell of Co. Oxford / Gloucester.)
The crest would be his -
A cockatrice azure. crested, jelloped, and armed gules issuing out of a ducal crown or.
Colin Epton: I might see If I can reconstruct this, complete with its crest.
Colin Epton: According to Pishey Thompson, Samuel Hutchinson was Mayor of Boston in 1695 and his son Stephen was Mayor in 1699.
Thompson doesn't mention this memorial in his book, but he only lists what he calls the "main" memorials in the church, so it may have been there in his day, or it might already have been lying broken in a cupboard.
Ann Epton: So another Mayor has his own memorial. Very interesting.

Then Colin did more research and photoshopping (which he calls a time machine), with this result:
Digital recreation of 1695 arms of Samuel and Catherine Bonner Hutchinson, by Colin Epton.

I've put Samuel Hutchinson into my Ancestry pedigree (though he is NOT my blood relative, my readers will get a kick out of this). Here's how I relate to Samuel Hutchinson the Mayor of Boston: First cousin 1x removed of wife of 9th great-uncle. In other words, he's the relative of the sister-in-law of my ancestor, Charles Dyer. 
Will of Samuel Hutchinson, Mayor of Boston.
Many thanks to Alison Fairman for the original photo, and to Ann Epton and Colin Epton, amateur historian, genealogist, and time traveler, with a particular interest in Lincolnshire.

Do you enjoy this site's articles and photos? If so, please support the author's continued research with the purchase of her books, or push the Donate button on this page. 
Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)
A contemporary biography with new research into
the lives of Anne Hutchinson, her family, and her culture,
through the eyes of her friends and enemies,
the people of her era.

Christy K Robinson is author of this website and these books.

·          We Shall Be Changed (2010)
·          Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
·          Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
·          The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
·          Effigy Hunter (2015)
·          Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The weed our ancestors ate in tough times

© 2018 Christy K. Robinson 

This article is copyrighted. Copying, even to your genealogy pages, is prohibited by US and international law. You may "share" it with the URL link because it preserves the author's copyright notice and the source of the article.  
All rights reserved. This book or blog article, or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Every late-spring or summer day that I'm out watering my potted vegetable plants to try to keep them alive in the harsh desert heat, I wonder how long I can keep them going before they inevitably wither from heat, lack of humidity, or hornworms (the voracious caterpillar of the sphinx moth). Meanwhile, nearby in the Arizona rocky gravel that passes for a desert "lawn," a plant grows and seems to flourish despite the climate and the miserly way I deprive it of water: that is the humble weed, purslane. Purslane is related to the pretty garden flowers, portulaca or moss rose. It's a fat succulent that can spread both by seeds from its flowers, and by surreptitiously sinking roots into the soil if you pull up or break off the plant and leave it there to wither.
Purslane growing in my yard.

It's a survivor!

And that is what made it not a weed, but food for our ancestors in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe and America.

I first heard of purslane when my friend, a writer for a health sciences university where we both worked, told me I shouldn't try to rid my yard of it, but to harvest it for salad. She'd covered a foraging field trip for the university magazine, where she'd learned of this weed. But when I offered that she could take the purslane off my hands while I enjoyed my blessedly bland salad, she was not a taker.

Purslane was a cultivated garden food in India and Persia for two millennia, and it was well known in France, but when it propagated in the American colonies, it was not a desirable food. It was cultivated in 1562 in Britain. Botanists have found fossilized purslane seeds in the Americas, so it's likely to have been deposited by migratory birds' droppings. 

When our ancestors were suffering famine and hunger in the 17th century (Jamestown, Virginia, and New England, for instance), they had little to eat but foraged nuts, berries, and greens. Purslane was a valuable weed, and it kept them alive. 

Some of the biggest factors in famines were that everyone was trying to grow tobacco as a cash crop, but they neglected their food crops (thinking they could just buy imported food); there were biblical-style plagues of grasshoppers and caterpillars that ate the crops down to the soil; the settlers didn't count on the Little Ice Age killing their seedlings every spring; and didn't know that tobacco depletes the soil nutrients, rendering it barren. They couldn't get food shipments from England because of the famines and plagues raging through their home country, alongside the ravages of the English Civil Wars in the 1640s and 1650s. 

Going back a few more years, the Endecott Party that settled Salem, Massachusetts in 1628 that was supposed to build a settlement for the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, had terrible setbacks in its agriculture, didn't have enough food brought with them from England, and lost many of its members to scurvy (a nutritional deficit disease) and starvation. Their physical condition had deteriorated so far that they were susceptible to other diseases and disorders.

In New England, purslane is known to grow in gardens, fields, and "waste areas and coastal beaches." It doesn't need much in the way of sustenance, as it grows easily in beach sand and even in California and Arizona desert gravel.

Yet if you must be hungry, and foraging for weeds is what's for dinner, purslane is surprisingly nutritious. Among the plant's attributes are:
  1. high in Omega-3 fatty acids for brain, heart, and depression
  2. potassium for blood pressure
  3. iron for blood oxygenation 
  4. anti-oxidants that slow aging
  5. magnesium and calcium for muscles, bones, teeth
  6. tryptophan and glutathione, more anti-depressants
  7. betalain, beneficial for cholesterol levels
  8. melatonin, which regulates sleep cycles
  9. beta-carotene, in levels about six times higher than a carrot
  10. its citrusy, peppery taste is said to be good in salads
  11. its pectin (the white powder that thickens fruit jams) is a soup thickener
For recipes that include purslane, try this web page:  One of the concoctions, Traveler's Joy, which requires several invasive weeds, seems only to be redeemed by chunks of avocado and cheese. I'm pretty sure avocado wasn't on the shopping list of hungry colonial foragers.  

Martha Washington's cookbook included pickled purslane. Another site shows a 17th-century recipe:
To pickle Purslayn.
Take Purslayn with their Stalkes, and boyl them tender in fair water, and lay them a drying or soaking, when done, put them in a Gally-pot [small earthenware pot used by apothecaries], and make a Brine with Salt and Elder-Vinegar to put to them, so as to cover them, and keep the Pot close stopt.
Early 17th century hay harvest.
Hey, wait. What's going on with those slackers in the background?

We don't know if the Dyers and others of Newport foraged for purslane and ate it, as it's not mentioned in contemporary writings, and it's only a summer weed that the Indians saw growing between their corn. In the winter of 1639-40, when Newport was only about a few months old, some families were running low on food rations, even after trading with the natives for venison and Indian corn. In January, the settlers took inventory of the grain of the 95 households in Newport, and scraped together only 137 bushels. They redistributed and rationed a bushel and a half-peck to each family, promising to reimburse those larger lenders who had given up their ample stores to the poorer households in this biblical-style social compact. The Narragansett natives taught them how to find clams, crabs, and lobsters, and to forage for foods like groundnuts that the English settlers didn't yet consider food. They wouldn't see results in their crops until midsummer, but they could get by with fishing if the weather allowed, and the foods they'd dried and preserved from the previous summer.

Knowing that your ancestors are connected to that purslane growing in your yard, will you be brave enough to add a weed to your salad? If you do, will you comment on this article and let the rest of us know what we're missing?


Christy K Robinson is author of these books:

We Shall Be Changed (2010) 

Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)   

Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This Vol. 2 (2014) 

The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport Vol. 3 (2014)  

Effigy Hunter (2015)   

Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)


And of these sites:  

Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)

Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)

William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)

Friday, June 1, 2018

June 1, 1660--Mary Dyer's victory, not victimhood

© 2018 Christy K Robinson 
This article is copyrighted. Copying, even to your genealogy pages, is prohibited by US and international law. You may "share" it with the URL link because it preserves the author's copyright notice and the source of the article.

June 1, 1660 was the day Mary Dyer chose to die, and with her death, bring an end to religious oppression.

Statue of Mary Dyer at the
Massachusetts Statehouse, a mile from
the gallows where she was executed.
Photo by Christy K Robinson.
Mary Dyer intentionally left Shelter Island, a Quaker haven, and traveled first to Providence, Rhode Island, the colony where she was safe from persecution. She was the wife of Rhode Island co-founder, wealthy businessman, and colonial official William Dyer, so that was an additional privilege she could have claimed for personal security. She walked through wilderness and farms to Boston at the time of its greatest surge in population, the annual elections and court sessions. She timed her arrival in late May for the greatest number of watchers. Then she made an appearance, in defiance of earlier court sentences of banishment-on-pain-of-death, in the heart of the city. She was arrested and imprisoned. The governor and assistants urged her to leave and not force them to carry out her sentence. She refused to go unless they would stop the beatings, fines, and hanging of religious dissenters. They hanged Mary Dyer on the first of June, 1660, before a crowd that may have numbered 5,000.

It was Mary's civil disobedience that resulted in a royal decree to stop capital punishment for religion, and a major influence on freedom of conscience to worship--or not worship--without government interference or promotion. That's encoded in the US Constitution.

Many writers have said that Mary Dyer was hanged for being a Quaker or because of her Quaker beliefs. (There were scores of Quakers imprisoned in New England, but they were not killed.) That claim makes her a victim of a theocratic regime. But Mary Dyer was no victim. They didn't kill her: she laid her life down.

She had written in her letter to the General Court, 
Whereas it is said by many of you that I am guilty of mine owne death by my
coming as you cal it voluntarily to boston: I therefore declare unto every one
that hath an eare to hear: that in the fear peace and love of god I came and in weldoing
did and stil doth commit my soul and body to him as unto a faithful creator
and for this very end hath preserved my life until now through many trialls and
temptations... to offer up my life freely for his truth and peoples sakes... 
to me to live is christ and to die is gaine [Philippians 1:21]
though I had not had your 48 houers warning
for the preparation of the cruel and in your esteme cursed death of mee marie dire. 

Snippet of Mary Dyer's own handwriting from her October 1659 letter to the General Court of Boston.
 A high-resolution copy of the full-page letter is available here:

Mary Dyer was no victim of Boston's religious government. 
She was the victor.
She won.

One might question if Mary had a "religious liberty" motivation when she went to her death. It was a complex decision, surely. She didn't go to her death rashly, but rather in a considered, deliberate plan of action. As you see in the letter excerpts above, she had a purpose in forcing Governor John Endecott to stop persecuting Quakers.
  • Mary herself had been accused of heresy (the "proof" was her so-called monster pregnancy in 1637, seven months before Anne Hutchinson miscarried a molar pregnancy) which made the pair infamous on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • She knew the Antinomian men Gorton and Holden, who Boston authorities violently abducted from Shawomet, Rhode Island in 1643, and charged with sedition and heresy.
  • She knew that there was a virulent hatred and possible plot to imprison and execute Anne Hutchinson, an Antinomian, in 1643. 
  • She knew that the Baptist minister Obadiah Holmes, Sr., had been severely beaten and Humphrey Norton, a Quaker, was tortured nearly to death over several months. 
  • She knew Roger Williams, the proponent of separation of church and state, who worked closely with William Dyer for several decades. 
  • Her Quaker friends William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson had been severely whipped in Plymouth Colony and were hanged before her eyes in Boston in 1659. 
  • Other Quaker friends, Katherine Marbury Scott and Herodias Long Gardner, were stripped to the waist and whipped in Boston. Robert Harper and Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick and their adult children were whipped often and imprisoned.
  • The 1663 Rhode Island Charter of Liberties contained the very things Mary wrote in her letter, including liberty of conscience and the right to free passage through Massachusetts. 

Adding all those pieces together, Mary was motivated to advocate for religious liberty for all, which meant believing and acting one's conscience (the Holy Spirit speaking to one's mind) even if the majority disagrees with an individual or group. It's not freedom or justice for all if some are excluded for their belief or non-belief. It's not freedom for one branch of believers to have privileges from the government while others are denied based on their beliefs. 

Even today, our rights to freedom of religion and freedom from oppression are under sneak attack. As an admirer or descendant of Mary Dyer, I hope you will work to protect the rights of all Americans, as started by our *first* founders, Roger Williams, William and Anne Marbury Hutchinson, Richard and Katherine Marbury Scott, William and Mary Dyer, John Clarke, and many others. Because it's a never-ending struggle in every government agency, every state and territory, and every municipality, to allow freedom for all, and not just freedom for the powerful. Join me in support of liberty.

Related articles in this Dyer website:

The anniversary of our civil rights  (published in Providence Journal)
Mary Dyer’s last 44 miles Mary Dyer’s last journey, toward her death
The great New England quake of June 1, 1638 Mary Dyer and Anne Hutchinson
The 1630 comet of doom Charles II of England was born at the time of the comet, and crowned in 1660 as Mary waited in prison for her execution
Mary Dyer's execution -- Book excerpt

I wrote the first two volumes about Mary and her life as biographical fiction. To tell her story and show her motivations, I introduced readers to the titans of New England, Henry Vane, Gov. John Winthrop, Rev. John Cotton, Anne Marbury Hutchinson, Rev. Roger Williams, and many other real people (some of them your ancestors) in my books that came from years of research into lives, family and social connections, letters, land deeds and journals, in addition to academic history and sociological studies. However, this Dyer website exists to show research about the Dyers and their associates (friend and foe).

Christy K Robinson is author of these books:
Mary Dyer Illuminated Vol. 1 (2013)  
Effigy Hunter (2015)  

And of these sites:  
Discovering Love  (inspiration and service)
Rooting for Ancestors  (history and genealogy)
William and Mary Barrett Dyer (17th century culture and history of England and New England)