How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.
My 5th Great Grandfather
Colonel James Morgan 1644-1711 From his “Will” dated 1711
The early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a series of seven villages in 1630. Roxbury was located about three miles south of Boston, which at the time was a peninsula, and was connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, “Roxbury Neck”. This led to Roxbury becoming an important town as all land traffic to Boston had to pass through it. The town was home to a number of early leaders of the colony, including colonial governors Thomas Dudley, William Shirley, and Increase Sumner. The Shirley-Eustis House, located in Roxbury remains as one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governor’s mansions in the United States.
The settlers of Roxbury originally made up the congregation of the First Church Roxbury, established in 1630. The congregation had no time to raise a meeting house the first winter and so met with the neighboring congregation in Dorchester. The first meeting house was built in 1632, and the fifth meeting house is still standing and it is the oldest such wood-frame building in Boston. In the 1600s Roxbury held many of the resources that the Colonists prized: potentially suitable land for farming, timber, and a brook (source of water and water power), and stone for building. That particular stone exists only in the Boston basin; it is visible on stony outcroppings and used in buildings such as the Warren House, and it proved to be a valuable asset to the community that led to early prosperity. The village of Roxbury was originally called “Rocksberry” for the rocks in its soil that made early farming a challenge.
First Church Roxbury
The Roxbury congregation, still in existence as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, lays claim to several things of note in American history:
*Establishment of the first church school in the British colonies. *The founding (along with 5 other local congregations, i.e. Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown and Dorchester) of Harvard College. *The first book published in the British Colonies (1640). *The first Bible published in the British Colonies (1663). It was a translation into the Massachusett language by the congregation’s minister and teaching elder, John Eliot who was known as “The Apostle to the Indians”. *First Church Roxbury was the starting point for William Dawes’ “Midnight Ride”, April 18, 1775. He went off in a different direction than Paul Revere to warn Lexington and Concord of the British raids.
James Morgan Jr, my 8th great-grandfather, was born in Roxbury on March 3, 1644. He was the second of six children born to James Morgan Sr (1607-1685) and Margery Hill (1611-1690). He lived in Roxbury until about 1665 when he was 21 years old. He then moved to Groton, New London, Connecticut. Here he married Mary Vine (1641-1689) in November 1666. They had 6 children, 2 sons, and 4 daughters.
James was a very prosperous farmer, and he was chosen as Captain of the first “train band” in 1692, under an order of the Governor and Council, authorizing a military company to be formed there. He continued as the commander of the “dragoon” force of New London County, under a special commission from the General Court.
He died on December 8, 1711, in Groton at the age of 67.
I decided to post a blog every Friday with some of the odd or “Freaky” Genealogy discoveries I have made. I hope you enjoy my wildly odd family!
Confession time….my name is Valerie Jane. I have always disliked the name Jane even though my mother told me that I was named Jane after not only herself but several other Ancestors. Her name was Emma Jane, my Grandmother was Ella Jane, my Great Grandmother was Sarah Jane, you get the picture. Growing up she always told me “if you ever have a daughter I would like you to give her the name”. I struggled with that because I couldn’t find a name that sounded good with Jane.
When I was 12 years old, my friend and I went to the movies to see “Hawaii” starring Julie Andrews. In the film, she played the part of a missionaries wife and her name was Jerusha. I had never heard that name before but I loved it. When I put the two names together, Jerusha Jane, I knew I had found my future daughter’s name. After having 2 sons. John Pleasant and Starr Douglas, I finally got my daughter when I was 22.
Fast forward to a few months ago. I was concentrating on my Morgan family line. My 8x Great Grandfather James Morgan Jr was the first of the line to be born in the Colonies. He and his wife Mary had 7 children. Looking over the list of children there it was, they had a daughter named Jerusha. She was born in 1682. Her older sister, my 7x Great Grandmother Mercy married a man named Thomas Starr. They had a daughter whom they named Jerusha. So, her name was Jerusha Starr. This is the really FREAKY part. Remember the names of my sons? The younger one is named Starr!
After further searching through this line I have a total of 7 Jerusha’s in my Hughes Family tree.