Thursday, March 15, 2012

Romance in Rockport - Updated

The legend of Mary Andrews and Stephen Knutsford of Rockport. When I first wrote about this, I     thought I was a direct ancestor of Mary but then I found a mistake in my research. I was very disappointed that my connection to this story was broken. However, I recently discovered that Mary is my 4th cousin 7 times removed...hey, it's a connection and I'll take it.  
Andrews Point

Mary is described as dreamy and intuitive; a girl who liked to use her imagination. She had one daydream that came over and over. It involved her husband coming to her from across the sea. In some dreams he was lying injured and exhausted on the shore of Andrews Point. It was such a powerful dream that she turned away other suitors choosing to wait for her dreams to come true. She frequently wandered down to the shore to look for him. Finally one day, she saw him - a young man in a foreign uniform lying injured on the shore - just as she pictured in her dream. She revived him and helped him up the path to her father's home where he was nursed back to health. On November 5, 1778, Mary became his bride. 

The name of Mary's dream man was Stephen Knutsford and his background adds to the romance of the story. It is unknown how he ended up in the British Navy but in a deposition he gave in 1805, he stated that he came to this country during the Revolutionary War; was taken prisoner when General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga, October 17, 1777; called himself a "seaman" and said he was born in Ireland. Others have speculated that he was the second son of a Lord Knutsford whose estate was in Cheshire or the son of an Irish lord. Eleanor Parsons wrote that he was from a titled Danish-English family; on a British ship sailing off Straitsmouth Island when he was tossed overboard by the rolling sea. Unfortunately, he died in 1807 without ever revealing any information about his family background. 
Burgoyne surrenders at Saratoga

Adding to the mystery is the fact that he was not typical of seamen of the day. He could read and write quite well. His handwriting is described as beautiful and his conversation as brilliant. He was secretive about his former life and there is no evidence he communicated with his family or friends in the British Isles. Of course, he was not an American citizen and risked capture by the British who would consider him a deserter and a traitor. He lived a quiet life, teaching school at Lanesville and Pigeon Cove on Cape Cod. He and Mary had eight children. 

Common ancestors for Mary Andrews are Nathaniel & Lydia (Huckstep) Andrews. It comes through the Ellingwood line to my grandmother, Fern Lyndell Cotton, for the descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood who read my blog.  

Sources: Alluring Rockport : an unspoiled New England town on Cape Ann : an irregular, rocky shore with ledges and sandy coves, quarries [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.

Rockport: The Making of a Tourist Treasure
 By Eleanor C. Parsons, 1998


  1. We should pay our dreams more attention, Sometimes they are a reflection of what has happened, sometimes they tell us of things yet to come.

    1. Thanks for reading! I love your comment.