Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Goodbye, Cousin

300px-Doty-42-4THERE ARE LOTS
of us, no doubt. Cousins, that is. As you go back in time, the fewer the people and therefore the increased likelihood that any two people today share a common ancestor.

Such is the case with a roguish character who sailed for America on the Mayflower as an indentured servant, Edward Doty. I am a descendant, thanks to my mother.

So was Dorothy Anne “D.A.” Murphy Van Nest of Scottsdale, Arizona. She died in September at the age of 95, and I learned about her connection to Doty and me from her obituary.

ajh

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Hugh Hefner was a descendant of Puritan leader William Bradford.

Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine and an ensuing media empire, recently died at the age of 91. And feminist icon Camille Paglia had a few thoughts.

“Hefner’s new vision of American masculinity was part of his desperate revision of his own Puritan heritage. On his father’s side, he descended directly from William Bradford, who came over on the Mayflower and was governor of Plymouth Colony, the major settlement of New England Puritans.”

An interesting take on Hefner and the sexual revolution.

ajh

 

Roger Williams Arrives

On February 5, 1631Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island and an important early American religious leader, arrives in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He came from England.

Some of my Walker kin, including Philip Walker and his mother, often known simply as the Widow Walker, possibly Elizabeth Browne, may have been followers.  (The family house still stands. I wrote about the house previously.)

Williams, a Puritan, worked as a teacher before serving briefly as a colorful pastor at Plymouth and then at Salem. Within a few years of his arrival, he alarmed the Puritan oligarchy of Massachusetts by speaking out against the right of civil authorities to punish religious dissension and to confiscate Indian land. In October 1635, he was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the General Court.

After leaving Massachusetts, Williams, with the assistance of the Narragansett tribe, established a settlement at the junction of two rivers near Narragansett Bay, located in present-day Rhode Island. He declared the settlement open to all those seeking freedom of conscience and the removal of the church from civil matters, and many dissatisfied Puritans came. Taking the success of the venture as a sign from God, Williams named the community “Providence.”

Among those who found a haven in the religious and political refuge of the Rhode Island Colony were Anne Hutchinson, like Williams, exiled from Massachusetts for religious reasons; some of the first Jews to settle in North America; and the Quakers. In Providence, Roger Williams also founded the first Baptist church in America and edited the first dictionary of Native American languages.

AJH