Sunday, August 7, 2016
Mayflower Descendant Twice, Me?
In a previous blog, here I wrote about my 11th great-grandfather John Billington, a controversial passenger who sailed on the Mayflower. Well amazingly enough, or maybe not all that amazing, I have found that another progenitor was on that storied ship; Francis Eaton who is also on my mother's side of the tree. It doesn't surprise me at all that both these Mayflower passengers were on Mom's side; my father's family were relative latecomers, not reaching America's shores until during and after the potato famine for the most part.
The new ancestor is Francis Eaton, born in England in 1596. Yes, 1596. That. Is. Mind boggling. Men were mincing about in neck ruffs, codpieces and hosiery at that time. It's a time so far removed from my experience that in truth, I can't begin to summon any real feelings about this individual. Yes, he's my 11th or 12th great-grandfather, but I really can't make any emotional connection. Anyway--Francis and his third wife begat Benjamin after arriving in modern day Massachusetts. Benjamin begat Benjamin Jr., who begat another Francis around 1700. Francis and his second wife Lydia Fuller had a son in 1734 whom they named Silvanus. We're now approaching a time I can begin to relate to-- slightly.
This brings us to Annis Eaton born in Massachusetts just before the American Revolution. Annis married Joseph Foster Jr. and they were the first direct ancestors of this line to move to New York State and into Wayne County where my mother's family lived for many decades after. Annis' son Asahel Foster was one of the pioneers of Wolcott, NY; he married Hannah Gregory and they had at least one child, Lucinda, born in 1832. Hannah died in 1834 and Asahel then married her younger sister Martha who bore him six more children--five girls and finally a boy, Asahel Jr. I wonder how many more children there would have been had he not gotten that son in 1852?
This is where the Galloway's come in, Asahel's third daughter, Clarissa, married George Galloway. Their granddaughter Grace was my mother's mother who died in a tragic fire leaving seven children under the age of twelve, the youngest being eight months.
I often wonder how other researchers feel about their far distant ancestors? I'm very curious about them and find myself reading histories of their time and place and studying costume sites online to see how they may have dressed, but I admit it, I feel somewhat emotionally detached. Francis Eaton was born 420 years ago. When you say it like that, it doesn't seem all that long a time and yet everything has changed-- attitudes, modern conveniences even gender rolls, no woman today would be content with being her husband's chattel. I will likely find more Mayflower ancestors on Mom's side, but to tell you the truth, I'm more impressed with my 8th great-grandmother Winifred the witch than I am with my Pilgrims.