Excuse the mess!

The dustbunnies have had the run of the place far too long, so
Two Bubbles is undergoing a long overdue makeover. Hence, the
posts on the Gatchells' journey from Weymouth to Massachusetts
and their lives there will sink from view into Older Posts,
so if you've a mind to read them again, a synopsis with
links to all of them is about halfway down the righthand
column under "On the 8th day, God created Marblehead".

Apologies for any confusion.

It's 1635 and a glorious May day in Dorset....

>> Thursday, January 28, 2010

Imagine you're 24, and there's no future in the Somersetshire village where you grew up and where your family has lived for at least a hundred years. You, your bride, and your younger brother Samuel have decided to seek your fortune in the New World. The journey will begin at Weymouth on the coast of Dorset, which borders Somerset.

As the coach at last crests the hill above Weymouth, you gaze upon the natural harbour bracketed in the distance by white chalk cliffs. From here, you can't tell which ship bobbing at anchor is the Hopewell, but you can't board her until morning anyway. Deferring to your wife's comfort, the two of you will pass your last night in England at an inn rumored to be a favorite of pirates who find the hidden coves around Weymouth Bay convenient for off-loading ill-gotten treasures. Samuel hasn't decided yet where he'll rest his head.

You'll try not to remember that you'll never see your beloved England again. You push aside thoughts of the perils of a month at sea. At least the Hopewell's passengers won't suffer the same fate as those of the Mayflower did fifteen years earlier. There have been reports that the Indians haven't totally accepted their new English neighbors, but there's now some semblance of civilization on the shores of Massachusetts Bay.


Into the sunset to a new life in a new land...

>> Sunday, January 24, 2010

John GATCHELL, wife "Wibera" (true spelling unknown), and brother Samuel sailed from Weymouth on the Hopewell in May 1635 for Massachusetts Bay, where John and Wibera settled on Marblehead Neck near present-day Salem. They "lived in that part of Salem which was incorporated as Marblehead in 1648" (History of Salem, MA: Vol. I (1626-1637), Heresy, p. 444).

John was born about 1609 in Somersetshire, England, and christened at St. Augustine's, the parish church in West Monkton. His younger brother Samuel was also christened there. Wibera's birthplace is unknown. [There's also evidence a third brother, Richard, also briefly joined John and Samuel in Salem, then returned to Somersetshire, where he died around 1669.]


Inside St. Augustine's...

>> Saturday, January 23, 2010

Charles Edward "C.E." Banks implies in his Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650 that John and Samuel were born in the West Monkton area of Somerset, where there was a significant Gatchell family presence at the correct time. A fire in the West Monkton parsonage destroyed the parish's records, therefore no definitive birth records exist proving the birth locality or parentage of John or Samuel. Consequently, their presumed births in the West Monkton area is based largely on circumstantial evidence.

High on a wall inside St. Augustine's (left) in West Monkton is a Gatchell family monument. Its location denotes they were prominent members of the community, although not titled.

In fact, the monument is so high on the wall that on my visit there in 2003, I couldn't make out what it said, even by (shhh...don't tell anyone) standing on the back of a pew.


"Gatchells were evidently not of puritan strain...."

>> Friday, January 22, 2010

Apparently not. The following always makes me laugh:

In July 1879, Henry F. Waters wrote in the New England Historical and Genealogical Review: The Gatchell family were evidently not of puritan strain, as shown by the following extract from Salem records: "[at] a Towne meeting this 21th of the 6th month 1637"... "John Gatshell is fyend [fined] tenn shillings for building upon the Towne ground wth out leave [permission], and in case he shall cutt of [off] his lonng har of his head in to sevill [civil] frame in the mean time, shall have abated five shillings, his fien to be paid in to the Towne meeting w'thin too [two] monthes from this time and have leave to go on in his belding [building] in the meane time."

And this....

From History and Traditions of Marblehead, chapter 2, p. 13: The prejudice of the Puritans against the habit of wearing long hair is well known, and it seems that they were willing to enter into any compromise with Mr. Gatchell in order to remove the obnoxious habit. It appears, however, that he was not a man to submit to any such interference with his personal appearance, and, it is said, "continued the custom to his dying day, in spite of popular opinion and all the formal denunciation of Church and State."

And thus begins a long line of rebellion against "acceptable behavior".


Black Sheep Sunday: The Great Corwin Burglary

>> Thursday, January 21, 2010

To encourage members to write about nefarious ancestors, GeneaBloggers sponsors something called "Black Sheep Sunday".

Two categories that can qualify an ancestor for black sheep status are armed robbery and involvement in the witchcraft trials.

In early 1684, the Gatchells were involved in the Great Corwin Burglary, which wasn't an armed robbery, but considering the column inches devoted to it in histories of Salem, one would think so.

It also qualifies as "involvement in witchcraft trials" on a technicality. The Corwin who was robbed was the father of witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin and grandfather of namesake Essex County Sheriff George Corwin, who arrested the accused and served as executioner of those found guilty.

According to Sidney Perley's History of Salem, Massachusetts, Vol III, pp 184-, Elizabeth Godsoe, a servant in the home of the elder George Corwin, told her husband and some of his associates that Capt. Corwin, a wealthy Salem sea captain, kept large amounts of money in a closet to which she had a key, and also in the cellar.

The husband, William, in turn told his friend John Collier about the money, after which Collier hounded Godsoe about stealing it.

On the night of 6 March 1683/84, a party consisting of William Godsoe, John Collier, Nathaniel Pickman, and David, a negro belonging to John English, went to Capt. Corwin's home at 214 Essex St, and by use of a borrowed ladder, stole several bags of English, New England, and Spanish coins worth a total value of £500.

The miscreants were soon discovered and went to trial the following June. In all, sixteen people were charged in connection with "burglary in breaking open a dwelling house in the night-time":
the Godsoes, Pickman, and Collier,
David, "Mr. Pilgrim's negro" who was leaving for Barbadoes when the theft was discovered,
Jane and William Lord, Sr. (possibly Eliz. Godsoe's parents),
Reuben and Abigail Guppy,
Deborah Winter,
Richard Harris,
Thomas Russell,
John and Wibra Gatchell,
their son Thomas Gatchell,
and Bethiah Gatchell, most likely Thomas's wife.

I don't know what the Gatchells' connection to these people was before the burglary, but am guessing from accounts of it that Thomas Gatchell and Nathaniel Pickman were friends.

William and Elizabeth Godsoe were sentenced to be branded with a "B" on the forehead, whipped 39 times or pay £10. They left Salem and were never heard from again.

As accessories, John Guppy, John Gatchell and son Thomas, Nath'l Pickman, and John Collier each were ordered to pay treble damages, be severely whipped 39 times or pay £10.

Capt. Corwin died five months after the trial, the excitement of it possibly hastening his death.


Salem's Witch House

>> Thursday, January 14, 2010

At left, the house known as "the Witch's House" due to Jonathan Corwin and son George's involvement in the witch trials.

According to Historic Salem, Inc., it was built in 1672 by Capt. Nathaniel Davenport of Boston, then purchased only partially completed in 1675 by Jonathan Corwin for himself and his family.

In 1944, it was saved from demolition by the formation of Historic Salem, Inc. and "moved west" from its original location at 312 Essex to 310 1/2 Essex, the NW corner of Essex and North streets.


The Scene Shifts to Philadelphia...

>> Monday, January 11, 2010

In 1682, Barnabas WILCOX, a Quaker from a family of shipbuilders and outfitters in Bristol, England, came to Philadelphia with 13-year-old son Joseph, arriving shortly before William Penn.

Barnabas soon established the city's first rope walk to produce the heavy ropes every ship required.

If you've ever made a "rope" of yarn, the process is a miniature of the making of nautical rope. The halfway point of long strands of hemp was secured at one end of an open shed, then the ends stretched tightly and rotated while being "walked" to the other end, resulting in a rope several inches thick.

According to early maps of Philadelphia, the rope walk was two city blocks long - "at the north side of the town, running westward from Front to Third, north of Vine Street".

In 1684, Joseph and Barnabas returned to England to fetch wife Sarah and the rest of their children. They possibly made the voyage in the originally-French ship Hope, which had been scheduled to be scrapped but the Philadelphia Council sold "by inch of candle" [meaning 'at the last minute'?] to Barnabas for £59 s10 d6.

While they were away, the premium lots assigned to Barnabas as one of Penn's First Purchasers, on which he intended to build a home, was given to someone else. After his return, he was eventually given land in a less desirable location. As recently as 20 years ago, the resulting lawsuit was still used as a model case in real estate law at one U.S. law school.

In 1706, Barnabas and Sarah's daughter Rachel, b. in Philadelphia in 1685, married Elisha GATCHELL, Sr., son of Jeremiah and Elizabeth (Boude) Gatchell.


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