Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Let...Thanksgiving Bee Made For All Men"

"Let supplication and Prayer and Thanksgiving bee made for all men...Remembrance of the good done to us...Confessing God to be the Author and giver of it...Cheerfulnesse, being glad of an occasion to praise him, and doing it gladly, with joy"  ~ Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson, minister at St. George of the Martyr Church in Canterbury never came to the colonies but his ideas reflected the ideals of the early New England immigrants

Wilson was the author of A Christian Dictionarie. The dictionary has been used to provide clues regarding the Pilgrim's religious motives and it allows scholars to have some idea of how Pilgrims interpreted the Bible and used its words.The dictionary is listed in inventories of the estates of famous Pilgrims - William Bradford, Samuel Fuller and Myles Standish. Thomas Shingleton, John Kemble, and Robert Cushman were members of Wilson's congregation in Canterbury and later moved to Leiden and joined the Pilgrim Leiden Church. The Pilgrims were serious about studying the Bible and used a variety of books to help them in their studies. Wilson's dictionary was a best-seller and Dr. Ian Green called it the most popular Bible study aid. Given the importance of Bible study in the daily lives of the Pilgrims, this dictionary must have been highly regarded. 

So what does all of this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, Wilson used his own definitions of everyday words and included quotes from the Scriptures to provide examples. Wilson's dictionary offered a religious definition of thanksgiving that included “An acknowledgement and confessing with gladnesse of the benefits and deliverances of God…to the praise of his Name" along with the quote that starts this post. The Pilgrims make repeated references to thanksgiving and it's pretty cool that one of my ancestors had such influence on their worship and daily lives. 

Robert Cushman (a member of the Pilgrim group in Leiden) called him "a very excellent preacher in Canterbury, who was both a lover of goodnesse and good men." 

Historian Peter Clark wrote the Thomas Wilson was "probably the most distinguished preacher in early Jacobean Kent [who preached] themes from middle-of-the-road Calvinism." 

10th Great-Grandfather
Rev. Thomas Wilson & Christian Ower
Theophilus Wilson & Elizabeth
Seaborn Wilson & David Fiske
Anna Fiske & Timothy Carter
Benjamin Carter & Sarah Stone
Timothy Carter & Sarah Walker
Timothy Carter & Frances Freeland
Elias M. Carter & Rebecca Williamson
Augustus M. Carter & Mary Frances Stanley
Edward M. Carter & Fannie May Capen
T. Richard Carter & F. Lyndell Cotton

Monday, November 5, 2012

Politics Will Make You Crazy

Timothy Jarvis Carter was born in Bethel, Maine to Dr. Timothy and Frances (Freeland) Carter. He was the older brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, Elias Mellen Carter. He died in Washington, D.C. at the age of 38. His good friend and fellow Maine represenatative, Jonathan Cilley, had been killed in a duel on February 24, 1838. Timothy was so upset over the death of his friend that he went insane and died on March 14, less than a month afterwards.

From the Daily Ohio Statesman, March 21, 1838
We have but little Express news. Both Houses of Congress attended the funeral of the Hon. Timothy J. Carter, a member from Maine, on Saturday last. Mr. Carter was confined to his room at the time of Cilley's murder. On hearing of that fatal deed, he became insensible and never fully recovered. 

From the New Hampshire Patriot, April 9, 1838
DEATH OF HON. T. J. CARTER - The melancholy duty devolves upon us to-day to announce the death of another member of the delegation in Congress from this State. - The Hon. T. J. CARTER is no more. The particulars of his death will be found in the subjoined letter of a correspondent...He was one of the most pleasant and amiable men living - and was strongly endeared to a large circle of personal and political friends, who will deeply regret his early death. Although not in the habit of participating in debate, he possessed a sound and discriminating mind - and his opinions were entitled to, as they received, the respectful attention of his friends. 
From out Correspondent
Washington City, Thursday Morning
March 15th, 1838
Dear Sir: - Again the badge of mourning is hanging at the door of Berth's boarding house - the friend, the colleague, the fellow boarder of the martyred Cilley has followed him to the land of shadows - the Hon. Timothy J. Carter is no more. Mr. Carter's health has been feeble for several months past, but, as he himself informed me within the past month, he was getting better, and until the day that consigned his noble hearted colleague to the tomb, he was regularly in his place in the House. On that day, while the parties were out, I conversed with him while in hope that the affair would be amicably settled and that both parties would return unharmed! Alas! had that hope been realized, Maine would not now be called to mourn over two of her most upright and promising young men. The shock occasioned by such an effect upon Mr. Carter that his brain became disordered, and I have been told that in his delirium his constant idea was that he had been challenged to fight a duel. He continued to lose his strength gradually, under the effects of his disease, until last night, when death terminated his sufferings. With a sad heart do I reflect upon what has occurred here within the past three weeks, and with feelings in my bosom that I dare not trust my pen to express I leave this melancholy subject with a hope and conviction, that these mournful events will have the moral effect which shall cause the whole nation to frown down a practice only worthy of barbarians in a barbarous age. 

From the National Aegis, March 28, 1838
The following beautiful eulogium, upon the character and virtues of this gentleman was pronounced by Mr. Evans, in announcing his death to the House of Representatives, of which he was a member. 
Mr. Speaker - These bades of mourning which we still wear denote that death has been in the midst of us. Again his arrow has flown; and again has the fatal shaft been sent, with unerring aim, into a small and already broken rank. it is my melancholy office to announce that since the last adjournment of the House of Representatives, Timothy Jarvis Carter, then one of its members, from the State of Maine, has surrendered up to the Being who gave it, a life upon which many anxious hopes depended, and for whose preservation many an ardent prayer had gone up to the Father of all spirits. He died last evening at 10 o'clock, at his lodgings in this city, after a sickness of not very protracted duration, but of great and excruciating intensity of suffering and agony. The ways of a righteous Providence are inscrutable, and while we bow in submission, we are not yet oppressed with deep and solemn awe. 
Our deceased friend and colleague, was a native of the State and the district which, so lately, he represented in this branch of Congress; and he, therefore, brought with him the confidence, largely bestowed, of those who had known him from his earliest years. Well did he deserve it. His character for probity, integrity, uprightness, morality, was free from spot or blemish. His principles were well founded. Loving the country of his birth, and its institutions, with all his heart, he pursued with fidelity such measures as his judgment deemed best calculated to promote the welfare of the one and the durability of the other. He was a lawyer by profession, faithful, just, discriminating, attentive, humane, in its practice. 
Of manners, mild, courteous, affable; and a temper, kind, conciliating, patient, he won respect and attachment, even from those who differed from him in matters of opinion; and probably there lives not human being who has a single resentment, or one unkind recollection to bury in his grave. He has gone in the strength of manhood, and the maturity of his intellect, the road that all must once pass: - "calcanda semel, via, lethi."
The ties that bound him to life are severed forever, as all human ties must be severed. 
"Liuquenda tellus, et domus, et amaus
Uxor; neque harem quas celis, arboruia
Te practer lavisas cupressos
Ulla, broven dominum secuffiur"
Although when his eyes opened for the last time upon the earth and the sky, they fell not upon his own native hills; though the sod which will cover him will not freshen in the same influences which clothe them in verdure and beauty; though he died far from home, the companions and the brothers of his childhood were with him, - the sharer of his joys, the solace of his griefs, stood by him, and the hand which could best do it assuaged the bitter pains of parting life. The last earthly sounds which fell upon his ear were tones of sympathy and kindness, and affection, and support - tones which ceased not, even when they vainly strove to pierce the cold and leaded ear of death. Tears shall flow copiously, and deep sighs be heaved over his lifeless form; tears not more scalding, sighs not deeper drawn, nor mingled with any bitter recollections - any unavailing regrets. 
If human means could have availed - if devoted, fraternal sympathy and care - if constant, abiding, self-sacrificing affection, triumphing over exhausted nature and bearing up a feeble frame, unconscious of weariness, through long and painful vigils, would have saved his life, he would have been spared to the friends who now deplore his death and to the State and to the country which he served. To that stricken bosom we proffer - alas! How little will it avail! - our sincere sympathy and condolence. He has gone from this place of earthly honors and human distinctions, to a seat in that "House which is not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens." 


Photo Credits -
Newspaper articles accessed on Genealogy Bank

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Surname Saturday - Gawkroger of Platts

One of the more interesting names in my family tree is Gawkroger. Depending on which source one finds, it means something along the lines of "awkward or clumsy" Roger or "left-handed" Roger. Tracking down the Gawkrogers gets interesting as some of the family of immigrants used the surname Platts. Heather Wilkinson Rojo wrote a post about the family last July. Platts is a place name and evidently used to distinguish my ancestors from those of another "awkward/clumsy/left-handed Roger."

Names and History: People, Places, and Things by George Redmond uses the Gawkroger surname to demonstrate the linguistic and social development of a surname (p. 38-39). "In a roll of 1545, for example, six individuals were taxed in Sowerby and two more in Hartshead and Liversedge. It was not a prolific surname but probably more numerous than these figures suggest, for there would be some families who were not sufficiently well off to be included." He goes on to trace the evolution of the name to various aliases that different branches started to use. The name Platts came from a property and the family was said to be "of Platts" and some eventually took Platts as their surname. Another branch of the family lived near Sowerby Bridge and took the surname Brigge. Yet another became Barker - possibly from the northern England word for a tanner. He concludes "The lesson for genealogists is clear, for while they would probably accept that Gaukroger might have such variants as Gawkroger and Gaukrodger, or even Corkroger and Cockroger, they would find it more difficult to to come to terms with aliases such as Barker, Platts, Brigg, Ro(d)gers, Gawke, and even Cockrobin."

Mary Gawkroger was the daughter of Abram and Martha (Riley) Gawkroger. She married John Prescott on April 11, 1629 in Sowerby, Yorkshire, England. The couple went first to Barbadoes and then became one of the first families of Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Mary Prescott married Thomas Sawyer and had a daughter, Mary.
Mary Sawyer married James Houghton and I descend from two of their sons, Ephraim & Thomas.

Ephraim Houghton & Hannah Sawyer
Elisha Houghton & Meriah Pierce
Moses Houghton & Martha Haskell
Sally Houghton & James Dunham
Florilla Dunham & Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Nina Ellingwood & George Gibbs
Annie Florilla Gibbs & Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton

Thomas Houghton
Hannah Houghton & John Pierce
Meriah Pierce & Elisha Houghton (first cousins, once removed)

Names & History: People, Places, and Things