The why of this blog

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Major John Drury Stith

Stith, John, (Major) came to Virginia before 1656 and settled in Charles City county. In 1656 he was a lieutenant of militia, in 1676 a captain, and in 1680 a major. He was also a merchant, a lawyer and a justice of the peace. He was a prominent supporter of Sir William Berkeley during Bacon's rebellion in 1676. In 1686 he was a burgess for Charles City county. He left issue— John Stith, Drury Stith, Anne, (who) married Colonel Robert Bolling.

That's the beginning of a list of his descendants.   I'm not sure who compiled it, but it's available over at Ancestry Dot Com.  And it seems to have mostly accurate information.

Bacon's Rebellion of 1676 is mentioned in his biography.  Do you remember about that in those early American History classes?  Here're some sources of information. 
Bacon arriving in Jamestown, VA, painting by Pyle

Bacon's rebellion, burning the Virginia colony's capital of Jamestown 1676

The Wikepedia article seems pretty biased (a bit unusual).  The Encyclopedia article has some factual information and a good timeline of all the events, and many participants. 

Bacon before the Virginia Council
Nathaniel Bacon 1646-1676
I was impressed how the telling of the history of this event changed, as mentioned that before 1950 it reflected one opinion, and afterward another.  I think I learned the 1950 version am glad I've reviewed the different possible conclusions.  The way history is written is often so intriguing. One person says this event led to laws which eventually created the slave economy of the south.  Another says this rebellion was a precursor of the American Revolution a hundred years later.  Then the author says that neither of these things can be attributed to Bacon's Rebellion.

Back to the Stith family...

I am not going further into the sons/daughters of Major John Drury Stith and Jane Mosby Gregory Parson Stith today.  That's because of confusing ancestry saying their firstborn was WIlliam who married Jane Randolph, and the other saying firstborn was John who married Jane Randolph.

I can live a lot longer if I don't waste my grey cells on who these people married, and thus had a legacy of presidents of the College of William and Mary, which I attended (summer school session anyway!)

My ancestor (eight times great grandmother) was the daughter of John and Jane Stith, Anne Meriwether Stith who married Col. Robert Bolling. I've blogged about them HERE, and here!

Today's quote:

Jealousy is a common human feeling and usually stems from a place of lack in our own lives. Madisyn Taylor

Friday, March 23, 2018

Making ancestors into a mental sculpture

Connecting the ancestors.
Like connecting the you remember those exercises? Each dot had a number by it, and you'd follow along, and eventually you will have a drawing of something or another.  What form do my ancestors make, if I bring all the dots together?

I will use my own imagination here, and hope that I don't offend anyone (ancestors are sometimes pretty silent on what they are thinking.)

While my grandmother Swasey's ancestors were in New England, Long Island, and then the South, my grandfather Rogers' English roots spread from generations in the Virginia colonies to Tennessee.  And my mother's kin came from Ireland (after leaving Scotland mainly) or England, to western New York state, Kentucky and then to Texas.  My grandmother and grandfather's families also came to Texas.  So I'd say that's the focal point of all these immigrants.

I see a form coming into being, with that great big map of Texas as the base, and lots of settlers arriving from all over the eastern states.  These people are wearing bonnets and long skirts, buckles on shoes or boots for working in fields, wearing hats of cowboys or pickers of cotton, and working daily to bring up their families.  They arrived in wagons or under sails.

 These are men wielding axes to build homes, to clear fields, then plowing and planting.  These are women making stews and soap, serving food and cleaning children, weaving cloth and giving birth. 

These ancestors were all children, running through woods and grass, down paths of rock and muck.  Some learned to read and write, many didn't.  Some children laughed at their simple hiding games, some children cried when they were hurt. And they hauled water from many streams and ponds to where their families gathered.

Only in the last hundred years did they have indoor plumbing, and then electricity, and then telephones.  Now we mostly have internet and speak through these satellites hanging in the sky invisible.

I won't have enough time in this lifetime to talk about them all.  The many uncles and aunts and cousins who shared similar DNA...we're all connected but not all in touch with each other.  Let's say each of us knows about a thousand people, friends and aquaintances...maybe on the high side for most of us.  And each of us knows maybe 50 relatives...again a high estimate.  So when I consider my three family trees, with over 3000 people listed in totality...I know I'll not learn much about many of them, and will have to skip any mention of most of them here.  I am sorry about that.  I hope someone else is tending to their some respect for those who gave our lives the existences we have.

Thank you, grandmothers and grandfathers!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thomas Brinley - Part 2 and will

To continue the discussion of my ancestor's life (Thomas Brinley) as auditor to Kind Charles I, living in Dachet, England (see yesterday's post please.)
"The Auditors of the King's Revenue were officials whom we would now call civil servants. Land and property made up much of the crown's great wealth, but Tudor and Stuart monarchs were constantly short of actual money. The Auditors' primary job had been to visit the king's estates to assess and collect rents, but increasingly they were also required to value land, make contact with buyers and negotiate sales to boost the royal coffers. Thus they combined the skills of a modern accountant, a surveyor and an estate agent, and answered fairly directly to the King although the office was a branch of the Exchequer. This was a closely-knit group, as young men were trained as clerks to one of the seven Auditors before becoming their deputies or partners and eventually taking on an Auditorship themselves.
"The first Auditor living in Datchet was Richard Budd, to whom Thomas Brinley was clerk. We know Budd was here at least by 1625 because in that year he wrote to the tax collector in London to say that he had already paid his dues in Datchet - but of course he didn't give anything so useful as his address! Budd had himself been clerk to Auditor Thomas Hanbury (brother of Richard) in the 1580s and...his sister had married into the Wase family, and that relationship was extended when his clerk Thomas Brinley married Anne Wase in about 1630. Such a dense network of family and business interests is typical of the time, and the above is only a brief outline of a much more complex situation.

Village of Dachet, England map 1833

"We do not know where in the village Richard Budd actually lived, but the current suggestion is that it may have been the Manor House, perhaps followed by the Wases and eventually by Thomas Brinley. It was rented out directly by the crown and then by the Wheelers who bought it as part of the Manor of Datchet in 1631, and is the only high status house with no known occupants during this period. Neither Richard Budd, William Wase nor Thomas Brinley left any property in Datchet by their wills, which strongly suggests that they had rented rather than owned the houses where they lived; this is just one more piece of circumstantial evidence.
Postcard 1910, hand colored, showing Manor House buildings on right.
 From left past Morning Star: two shops; low blacksmith’s building; Jubilee Cross 1897 & Oak Tree 1887; Country Life Club in background; drinking fountain at original site; large elm tree (cut down 1940s); Chemist’s, Bank & Bank House, all about 1907. (Hand-coloured postcard, Royal Windsor Web Site)

"Budd was a wealthy man; in a taxation list he paid an amount second only to William Wheeler of Riding Court, but as the value of his possessions rather than land, which was probably even more impressive to his neighbours. He was godfather to Brinley's son Richard and left him by his will all his 'household stuff' at Datchet, to be used by Richard's mother Anne Brinley during her life. To Thomas Brinley Budd bequeathed his copy of Sir Walter Raleigh's History of England.
"There is one source which provides a tiny glimpse into the lives of these people: in 1626 Eton College held an inquiry into the will of the vicar of Datchet, because his widow was refusing to hand over a bequest the vicar was said to have made to the College. Richard and Rose Budd, together with Thomas Brinley and several other gentlemen from the village, attested to how the will was found concealed in the vicar's clothes when he died suddenly at the vicarage house. Auditor Budd stated that the vicar had made a will by his advice, sitting in an arbour in the garden of Budd's house in Datchet. All the witnesses had come running to the vicarage when he was taken ill, having been carried there by two men in a chair. Rose said that the other gentlemen found the purported will in his 'bosom' as they unloosed the sick man's cassock while she ran to fetch clean sheets and a warming pan to make up his bed. When she came back the papers were shown to her, laid on the window sill, and she gave them to the vicar's maid to pass onto his wife as she was told they were important. The outcome of the inquiry is unclear, but the circumstances could be seen as suspicious.
"The main interest of this case is to show that by 1626 we have not only Richard Budd living in the village but also his clerk Thomas Brinley at least visiting if not actually living here with him. In 1647 Brinley's youngest child was baptised in the village church, all the others having been baptised in the 1630s and 1640s in London. During the period of the Civil War and Cromwell's Commonwealth, from 1649 to 1660, Thomas and Anne Brinley were in dire trouble; he was seen as a Royalist by the Parliamentary side and stripped of his office and it is possible that all his assets were seized. It has been suggested that he went into hiding, and he certainly kept a very low profile throughout those dangerous years. There is evidence that the couple were trying to maximise their financial investments overseas in order to provide for all their children, the seven daughters and three surviving sons, in case the worst should happen.
"On the restoration of Charles II in 1660 Brinley was given back his original auditorship but died a year later, which explains the tombstone claim of having been an Auditor to Kings Charles I and II. The last, and most convincing, piece of evidence is provided by Brinley's will in 1661. As was usual, two of his neighbours drew up an inventory of the possessions in his house, valuing them for probate purposes and listing items in each room in order as they walked through. It is strange that Brinley's possessions seem hardly sufficient to furnish the house and are of low value; perhaps he had fallen on very hard times or maybe everything of quality had already been passed on to his children for safe-keeping. Such inventories are often used for establishing the number and type of rooms in houses of the past, and the internal layout at various periods. In this case, if the two present tenements of the Manor House are read as one, the appraisors' route exactly fits for the three stories and the sequence of rooms, including some unusual features which are similar to Riding Court. On this basis alone it is highly likely that it was Thomas Brinley's house, at least at the time of his death. As at present there were subsidiary dwellings each side of the big house which may have been occupied simultaneously by this group of families - or by others completely unrelated.
"The reason for American interest in the Brinley tombstone is that several of his children settled on Long Island, having been sent out for their own safety and prosperity during the perilous Civil War years in England...their fortunes at Sylvester Manor, an important and almost unchanged early settlement, [have been mentioned in previous posts, HERE and here.]

My own thoughts:
All the kings employees were in the same amount of danger when Charles I was arrested by Cromwellian and Parliamentary revolutionaries.  I think this historian put Thomas Brinley in a more severe situation than necessary. Charles I had had many financial difficulties, and that was part of the basis of Parliament taking over his powers. Unless Brinley was somehow at fault for some of these financial problems, his situation was simply that of being employed by a king who was unpopular to the extent a war was waged against him, and he was executed.  I think it was a wise man to hide from former associates about that time.

Brinley's loyalty was rewarded in that he was reinstated in his position of Auditor when Charles II came to power in 1660, though Brinley only lived until 15 Oct. 1661.  His will (including a codicil) is included below.  I found it most interesting that in the codicil he urged his beneficiaries to sell some land right away.  Perhaps he had some knowledge that made that a good bargain.

Will of Thomas Brinley

"Thomas Brinley, of Datchett, co. Bucks, Esq., 13 September, 1661 with codicil of 16 October, 1661, proved 11 December, 1661.
"My third of tenements in the town of Newcastle upon Tyne, and two thirds of the manor of Burton in Yorkshire, to eldest son, Francis Brinley and his heirs. My half of the township or manor of Wakerfield, heretofore parcell of the Lordship of Raby, and my lands and tenements in Wakerfield, county and Bishoprick of Durham, purchased in the names of William Wase of Durham and of Robert Worrall, lately deceased, and of Michael Lambcroft, lately deceased, and of John Maddocke, of Cuddington, co. Chester, in trust for the use of me, the said Thomas Brinley, and the said Robert Worrall and our heirs and assigns forever, to my wife, Anne Brinley, during her natural life; at her death to eldest son, Francis Brinley. My lands in Horton and Stanwell, in the several counties of Middlesex and Bucks, and, by me purchased of Henry Bulstrode of Horton, to wife Anne for life; then to my second son, Thomas Brinley, a lease of ninety-nine years. Certain other lands and, lately bought of James Styles, the elder, of Langley, to daughter Mary Silvester, widow and her daughter, my granddaughter, Mary Silvester, the younger, who are both left destitute of subsistence by the decease of my said daughter's late husband, Peter Silvester, To the children of my daughter Grissell, the now wife of Nathaniel Silvester, gentleman, dwelling in New England, in the parts of America, in an island called Shelter Island, one hundred pounds within one year after my decease.

"The witnesses to the will were Robert Style and Rose Baker.
"In the codicil he bequeaths legacies to his brother Lawrence Brinley and Richard Brinley his son, both of London, merchants, to the intent that they shall with all conv enient speed sell that half of said lands, (in Wakerfield), for the best rate and value that they can get for the same. The witnesses to this codicil were William Wase, Budd Wase, William Carter, and William Brinley. The will was proved by the Widow, Anne Brinley.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thomas Brinley, Part 1- worked for a king and got in "dire trouble"

Background info (short) for us colonials who know so little of Charles I and Cromwell.
Charles I of England, (19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

After his succession, Charles quarrelled with the Parliament of England, which sought to curb his royal prerogative. Charles believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch. His religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of Reformed groups such as the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters, who thought his views were too Catholic. He supported high church Anglican ecclesiastics, such as Richard Montagu and William Laud, and failed to aid Protestant forces successfully during the Thirty Years' War. His attempts to force the Church of Scotland to adopt high Anglican practices led to the Bishops' Wars, strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments and helped precipitate his own downfall.
From 1642, Charles fought the armies of the English and Scottish parliaments in the English Civil War. After his defeat in 1645, he surrendered, [however] Charles forged an alliance with Scotland, but by the end of 1648 Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army had consolidated its control over England.... [Charles] was tried, convicted, and executed for high treason in January 1649. The monarchy was abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. The monarchy was restored to Charles's son, Charles II, in 1660. 
Source: Wikepedia.
I'll leave history with Cromwell for you to learn about elsewhere (a suggested source is here at Wikepedia.)

Thomas Brinley, Royal Auditor for Charles I and Charles II

My ancestor, Great times 8 grandfather through our Ada Swasey Rogers family tree, lived, worked and died in Dachet, England, right across the River Thames from Windsor Castle.

The town of Dachet is well recorded in history, and has a good site for further information HERE.
"The earliest settlement of the present village was centred around the church which is on an ‘island’ of high ground in otherwise low lying land and was probably a pre-Christian fortified site. Opposite, on the south side of the Green, is the Manor House range of buildings dating from the 1500s. At that time the characteristic Greens did not exist and a stream ran through the centre of the village widening to a pool in front of the Manor House; this was culverted in the 1840s to create the dry land of the present Greens.
"Datchet’s characteristic Victorian ‘mock Tudor’ architectural style was introduced when the Manor House was restored and re-fronted in about 1870.  
First known photograph of Dachet, around 1870
From left: Old Manor House; Manor House 1 & 2, newly re-fronted in mock-Tudor style and patterned roof tiles; Manor & Manor Green Cottage; Manor Hotel all whitewashed before any rebuilding; next white building is White Hart on opposite corner of High Street, with barns at back; Morning Star and ‘Temples’ building; old cottages; sign post pointing down Queens Road; gaslight in centre of village (no drinking fountain or Jubilee oak & cross yet); Royal Stag sign (pub out of shot); old cottages replaced by Bank & Bank House.

A business in one part of the Manor House
Dachet Manor House:
" ...A group of families ... probably lived at the Manor House in the 1800s and perhaps as far back as the early 1700s. Before that, although the evidence is very slight, it seems to have been occupied by royal officials, part of a group based in London but also living conveniently close to the Castle in Windsor, Eton and Datchet. The most significant character was Thomas Brinley, whose tombstone in the church is frequently visited by Americans seeking their ancestors. This black marble slab has been re-set in the chancel floor behind the altar and is easily seen. The inscription reads:


Continued in Part 2 Thomas Brinley to be posted tomorrow.