Tragedy At Sea: Agnes Bent, Agnes Bent 2 and child

Agnes Gosling Bent,1570(Probable birth year)- 1639 and Agnes Bent Blanchard, 1602-1639

Old Agnes is Cautious

As we learned in the story of John Bent, the first  of the Bent family to arrive in America, his mother, Agnes Bent approached the idea of relocating with caution in 1638.  Her husband Robert had died seven years before, leaving her with enough land and money to support her in her old age. Her entire life had been spent in rural Hampshire County as the wife of a farmer. When Peter Noyes organized a group from Penton-Grafton England to travel to America in 1638, Agnes had reached the age of 68, definitely old age for the 1600s.

And sailing was dangerous.  She had heard the stories of ships lost at sea. She lived inland and she probably had never had reason to be on a boat. The prospect of three weeks or more on the heaving waves of the Atlantic would give her pause.

The marker here shows Penton Grafton’s location in relation to London and the port of Southampton.

For historical background–England was ruled by Catholic King Charles, hated and feared by the reform Christians like those we call Puritans.  The restrictions on religion by his father King James was a motivating factor in the emigration of the Pilgrims to New England in 1620.  Since then, the trickle of emigres had turned to a gusher that we call The Great Migration. Despite the hardships of taming the wilderness in the New World, the prospects seemed preferable to the religious restrictions and the high taxation of King Charles. Civil War was brewing in England. As more English families fled England, the first Pilgrim villages expanded throughout the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Agnes Bent sailed for Massachusetts

Massachusetts Pay Colony 1630

John was Agnes’ only remaining son, and possibly the only child in addition to young Agnes.

Family of of Agnes Gosling and Robert Bent

  • Jane/Margery Bent (Plympton) 1590-1631 (after Aug 1631) Her husband Robert Plympton died in 1637.
  • Richard Bent 1592- Died Bef. Aug. 1631*
  • Robert J. Bent 1594-Died Bef. Aug.1631*
  • John, 1596-1672
  • Maria 1598-1599
  • Denys/Dennis/Dennys (female) 1599, married 1626 (Death unknown.)
  • James B. Bent abt. 1602-Died Bef. Aug. 1631*
  • Agnes 1602-1639

* Not mentioned in father Robert Bent’s will in July 1631

When her husband Robert died in 1631, Agnes moved in with her son John in the Hampshire village of Penton Grafton. Even though widow Agnes’ son John,  was leaving  England in 1638 with his wife and his five children, she hesitated. However, she entrusted Peter Noyes with 60 pounds to check out the possibilities of settlement and possibly purchase land for her in Massachusetts.

Peter Noyes, himself, had left some of his family members in England, but his first year in America persuaded him that the move was the correct thing to do.  So in 1639, he returned to England to complete selling his property there and to round up his family and book them on a ship with him as he returned to his new home in Massachusetts.

When the widow Agnes’ son John left for America, one source speculates that she may have been “placed” in Andover, presumably with one of her children. In 1637, Agnes’ youngest daughter married Thomas Blanchard.  In early 1639, the widow Agnes went to live with the family of Thomas Blanchard. They lived in London and the move must have been in preparation for the trip to America, since Thomas Blanchard, and widow Agnes’ daughter, the younger Agnes, were also gong to America.

Although the widow Agnes was well fixed, a source reports that there was a “gathering of Christians” in “Sarum” to help raise the passage for  Thomas and Agnes Blanchard. Widow Agnes’ daughter Denys and her husband lived in New Sarum in Wiltshire County, so they may have organized the fund raising.

The Young Agnes Bent (Barnes, Blanchard)

The younger Agnes, probably the last of Agnes’ children, was baptized in July, 1602.  She and Richard Barnes were married in the township of Weyhill, location of Penton-Grafton, her home town in April 1630. Her son, Richard Barnes Jr., was born before July 1631, as he is mentioned in his grandfather’s will. However, Agnes’ husband Richard did not live long after the wedding. He may have died before Robert Bent’s July 1631 will, since he is not mentioned there and other sons-in-law are. [Note; Several sources claim that the couple had a daughter, Elizabeth, however, I am not convinced.  I will put a short note separate from this post explaining.]

Agnes Bent Barnes did not immediately remarry when her first husband died, but records show she married Thomas Blanchard on May 15, 1637. By the time they were married, the couple must have been thinking about sailing for America.  Agnes gave birth to a child in late 1638 or early 1639, and once the money had been gathered for the voyage, they set sail with their mother and the party of Peter Noyes on the Jonathan.

The departure date April 12, 1639 must have been a day of great excitement as well as some concern. Eight-year-old Richard  Barnes would be filled with excitement. Young Agnes would have been concerned not only for her infant, who was still nursing, but also for her mother, who was not well.  Additionally, I believe young Agnes had the responsibility for the orphaned Elizabeth Plympton who would have been about Richard Jr.’s age.

Illness and Death Aboard the Jonathan

Near the Bank of Newfoundland, just a few days out, Widow Agnes fell ill, and for the rest of the voyage she was confined to her cabin.  This put an extra burden on her daughter and son-in-law, because the passengers had to prepare their own meals.

The first tragedy began 15 days out. In late April, 1639, the younger Agnes fell sick and died at the age of 37. The passengers on the ship had a meeting and found volunteers to nurse the infant.

A few days later, the baby also died.

The death of young Agnes left the mourning husband, Thomas Blanchard, to care for his wife’s son, Richard, her niece Elizabeth (17), and nephew Thomas Plympton (13) and Thomas Blanchard’s very ill mother-in-law.  Apparently he worked hard at that task and was admired by the other passengers for his care of his mother-in-law.

The Record Left in a Court Case

Thirteen years later, the young boy, Richard Barnes sued his father in law, Thomas Blanchard in Massachusetts court to recover £20 promised him by his mother.

The wife of “Goodman Cook” and  Samuel Hyde, fellow passengers on the Jonathan,testified about Thomas Blanchard and Agnes Bent.  [Note; The ‘weake girl’ must have been Elizabeth Plympton, widow Agnes’ 17-year-old grand-daughter.]

Goody Cook: Thomas Blanchard did wholly take care and paynes with his wives mother all the way over (except some little help some time of a weake girl who was a kinsman of hers) and the old woman what with her age and what with her sickness for she was sick all the way his trouble and payns with her was such that it was unseemly for a man to do but there was no other save that little helpless girle his kinswoman and continued his care and payns with her all the way from London to Nantaskith (Nantucket?)  and anchored there and this deponent came away before she was dead.
Samuel Hyde: “The old woman stayed in her cabin and never came out. The big girl didn’t do much for the old woman but Thomas Blanchard did much about her.

In fact, knowing that Thomas Blanchard was poor, the other passengers took up a collection to help him.

Old Widow Bent Succumbs

At some point, the ship’s surgeon was called to assist, but Widow Agnes Bent continued to worsen.  By early May when the ship approached Boston, and her long-awaited reunion with her son, John Bent, she still had not emerged from her cabin.  At last the ship docked and the passengers began to debark.  Then, so close to the new life in the New World, Agnes Gosling Bent died, never having seen the country she sailed to.

Her son-in-law, Thomas Blanchard, took charge of burying her body in the Boston area, and found a home for young Richard with John Bent in Sudbury.

The Costs of a Journey

A receipt shows that Peter Noyes paid  £5  per adult and £ 2.50 per child, a total of 50 pounds for 9 adult and 2 half-passengers. He also paid £8 ,10 shillings for freight and  £17 , 18 shillings for “mele”, 4 firkins of butter [about 11 gallons per firkin] and 2 cases licorice.

The passengers enumerated with that receipt are

  • Peter Noyes
  • John Waterman [neighbor from Penton-Grafton]
  • Nicholas Noyes
  • Doreyti Noyes
  • Peter Noyes (Jr.?)
  • William Stret [There is a William Streete who is a brother-in-law of widow Agnes’ husband. This might be a son from that family.]
  • Anie (Agnes) Bent [widow Agnes]
  • Elizabeth Plemton (Plympton)
  • Richard Barnes
  • Agnis Blanchet (Blanchard) [young Agnes]

I am not sure why Thomas Blanchard is not on this list. Peter Noyes later testifies that he paid for the passage of Agnes Blanchard and Thomas Blanchard out of her estate, plus loaned money to Thomas once they landed, so apparently another receipt no longer exists.

A separate accounting gives the amounts that Agnes Bent reportedly paid as £17  for passage plus  £1, 10 shillings for transporting her goods and 10 shillings for the surgeon. (Note: this does not quite line up with the 5 pounds per adult and £2 .5 for a child, nor does it specify for whom she paid, or why Peter Noyes is credited with paying for Agnes Bent’s passage.)


John Bent , son of the elder Agnes, became a leading citizen of Sudbury and friend of another of my great-grandfathers, Samuel Howe.  You can read about him here.

Peter Noyes returned to Sudbury where he was a leader and friend of John Bent the rest of his life.

Elizabeth Plympton, grand-daughter of Agnes Bent, married John Rutter and  lived in Sudbury until she died in 1689. John Rutter was one of the deponents in the Barnes-Blanchard court case.

Thomas Plympton, Settled in Sudbury. Married a daughter of Peter Noyes when he was twenty-nine. Lived in Sudbury until he was killed at 52 on April 29,1676 in the Indian attack on Sudbury part of King Phillip’s War.

Thomas Blanchard remarried and lived in various places in New England.

Richard Barnes, grandson of the elder Agnes Bent, as mentioned above, first lived with John Bent. Later he had another guardian. When he reached adulthood, he became an important member of his community, married Dorothy Dix in 1667 and started the Barnes line in America.  In March 1652, Richard had filed suit against his stepfather to recover his legacy from his mother. The finding of the Cambridge Court said the jury found for the plaintiff, giving Richard damages of £20 and costs of court–thirty shillings. Thomas Blanchard contested the decision, but the books that relate the details of the case, do not say if his appeal was successful.  Richard moved to Marlborough and lived to 1708, a long life.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Martha Bent How, the daughter of
  • John Bent, Sr. and Agnes Gosling Bent

Notes on Research

  • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at, Allen H. Bent, 1900. Also available at Contains will of Robert Bent
  • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Sr. arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
    DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
  • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for John Bent Sr.., arrival 1638
  • A History of Framingham, Massachusetts, including the plantation, from 1640 to the present time with an appendix containing a notice of Sudbury and its first proprietors. By William Barry, 1847, J. Munroe & Co., Boson. At the Library of Congress. Accessed through This book has a footnote on page 181-182 detailing much of the information I relate about the two Agnes and other on the Jonathan.  The Footnote specifies that the information came in part from the court files of Middlesex County.
  • The History of Sudbury, Massachusetts 1638-1889, Alfred S. Hudson 1889, R. H. Blodgett, Sudbury.  Available on Page 45 contains a sketch of John Bent and family. (It incorrectly states that he returned to England and came back on the Jonathan) and information on activities and land throughout. Page 52 talks about Thomas and Elizabeth Plympton, including the information that Thomas was probably the brother of Elizabeth, because he was mentioned in his grandmother’s will and  worked for Peter Noyes, and married his daughter. It also details how he was killed.
  • History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Charles Hudson, 1862, read on Page 314: Thomas Barnes sketch and information throughout book. Bent family members throughout.
  • The Sudbury Fight, April 21, 1676, An Address Delivered before the Society of Colonial War, at the Battle Ground, Sudbury, Massachusetts, June 17, 1897 by Edward Webster McGlenen. Boston, 18. This address, printed in book form, mentions the death of Thomas Plympton.
  • The Planters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: A Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: to which are Added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which Brought Them; Their English Homes, and the Places of Their Settlement in Massachusetts. 1620-1640. “Passenger and Vessels That Have Arrrived in America, page138-140.” Section seen at  The section on the ship Jonathan, instead of having the regular list of passengers, has very detailed information from the trial records of Barns v.Blanchard.  It is the most complete record I have discovered of the trial, although I have written to the Massachusetts Court Archivist to try to discover the original. The testimony given by passengers on the Jonathan provides a good picture of the last days of the two Agnes Bents.

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Society Register, Vol. 41, 1887, p. 81-82, “New England Gleanings”  Entire passage: “Massachusetts Archives-Petition of Thomas Blancher [Blanchard] 2-4-1646 says whereas Anne (Agnes Bent Barnes) of Way-hill in Hampshire England gave her son Richard Barnes 20 pounds and Anne (Agnes Gosling Bent) grandmother to said Richard gave him 16 pounds committed to trust of John Bent with whome the said Richard hath been “maintained since his coming to New England about seven years: John Bent gives security for payment when said Richard is twenty-one, signed by Thomas Blancher [Blanchard], John Bent and Peter Noyes.
  • U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, Agnes Bent,  King, Carol Tyler,
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900,, Source number: 93.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: NV1,; Agnes Gosling Bent and John Bent.

  • U. S. Find a Grave, Agnes Gosling Bent
  • Puritan Village, Sumner Chilton Powell, Wesleyan University Press, 1970, Hanover, New Hampshire. Author’s collection. Read in Kindle version.
  • England and Wales Marriages, 1538-1988, An Barnes and Thomas Blanchard, Place: Salisbury, Wiltshire, England; Collection: St Edmond; -; Date Range: 1587 – 1650; Film Number: 1279311,
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900, Agnes Bent and Richard Barnes, Source number: 3416.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: RH1,

Sweet and Sour German Cabbage Grandma Would Love

My grandmother loved sweet and sour dishes. I’ve never been able to pull off a duplicate of her really delicious sweet and sour dandelion greens. Despite her almost all British Isles background, in northern Ohio where she lived, Germans immigrants have influenced the foods we ate for centuries, like this German cabbage.

My German cookbook does have a slew (or slaw?) of German cabbage recipes,among them this recipe for sweet and sour cabbage.  Not very photogenic, but you don’t want to waste time taking pictures when you could be eating, now do you?

German cabbage with raisins

German cabbage,  sweet and sour cabbage with raisins

I found this recipe because I bought a pretty little Savoy cabbage at the Farmer’s Market.  Savoy is the one with the ruffled leaves that curl out away from the main ball of the cabbage like an Elizabethan collar. It has a milder flavor, so is an easier sale with non-cabbage people.

The recipe is from the German cookbook that I keep on my Kindle. You can see a bit about The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton on my Cookbooks Page.  I just prop the Kindle up on the counter as I would a recipe card. Very handy.

So I spotted a recipe for Savoy cabbage in brown sauce that looked pretty good, but a few pages farther on, I saw an adaptation of that recipe that made a sweet and sour German cabbage dish.  I followed the recipe except for swapping vinegar for the called-for lemon juice.  Lemon would be delicious, but somehow I can’t picture German–or northern Ohio cooks having a lot of lemons around in the winter time when they were using up their cabbage. Likewise with the called-for white raisins. I used currants.

My husband turned up his nose when he heard I was making German cabbage for dinner, but lo and behold, he took one bite and pronounced it good!  Hope yours will be as successful.

German Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Wheat
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region German
From book The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton
A favorite flavor for German recipes--sweet and sour--with a favorite German vegetable--cabbage.


  • 1 head of savoy cabbage
  • salt
  • 1 onion (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (Cooking liquid from the cabbage--see directions)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1/2 cup currants (Or use raisins. Original recipe calls for white(golden) raisins.)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Cut cabbage in quarters, and remove tough outer leaves, hard core and any tough stems.
2. Bring to boil 4 cups water with a little salt, add cabbage and any loose leaves, reduce to fast simmer and cook for ten minutes.
3. Remove cabbage from pot and drain, reserving liquid.
4. Chop by hand or in food processor and drain again. Set aside
5. Melt butter in two-quart pan. Add onion and saute, stirring until onion turns brown.
6. Sprinkle in flour and continue stiring and sauteing until flour becomes a rich brown. Keep the heat low so it will not burn.
7. Stir in the two cups of cooking liquid from the cabbage and stir with whisk to keep it smooth as it thickens slightly.
8. Add vinegar, brown sugar, and cloves and simmer five minutes, stirring frequently.
9. Add cabbage back to pan, stir in raisins or currants and stir to combine with sauce and continue cooking slowly for ten more minutes. Taste and add more sugar or vinegar or salt or pepper if you wish.
10. Serve with sausage or a salty ham. Roasted potatoes would make a good side dish and applesauce or cooked apples are also good as a side with cabbage.


As usual, I eliminated the onion in this recipe and thought that it was plenty tasty.
The sauce will not be thick, but smooth and satiny
Although I used the milder Savoy cabbage, the sauce will match up with any variety of cabbage.
I used the time when the cabbage was cooking to measure each ingredient for the sauce into small dishes, so everything was ready. Once you start cooking the sauce, you need to pay attention to it, so it does not clump or stick to the bottom of the pan.


Disclaimer: The book cover illustration is linked to Amazon for your convenience. You need to know that I am an Amazon affiliate, which means if you use my links and buy something, I get a few pennies to help support this site. Thanks.

4th Birthday


January, 2015, I published a chart of how many direct ancestors one can have–total 8,191 through 12 generations. Back then,  I had discovered 133 of my direct ancestors.

In April, 2017, a year and a quarter later, I have entered in my pedigree tree a total of –drum roll–206 direct ancestors in 12 generations.  In this chart, copied from my page at, you can see the many ancestors in my first 5 generations for whom I do not have photos. I have dropped me (first generation) and my family off the left side, so you see my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents. The arrows on the right point to more information about earlier generations. A light gray box means no more information.

pedigree tree

Vera Marie Badertscher pedigree famly tree from April 2017

How many of these people have I written about at Ancestors in Aprons?

I will admit that when you get past this chart,there are plenty of lines that I have not even begun to trace. Although I try to stay focused on direct ancestors, sometimes a grandmother or grandfather (however many x removed) has such interesting brothers and sisters that I simply must tell their stories.  The Bent family I have been talking about recently are a good example of good stories lying to either side of my direct ancestors.

However, the pedigree chart is a good tool to get me back on track. Many of those names to the right of this have the Ancestry “shaking leaves” which mean there’s some information to be had (maybe). So have no worries that I will be idle in the coming year(s).

I hate admitting lack of progress, but just like last year, my father’s paternal line (Kaser) still refuses to budge beyond his great-grandfather, and my mother’s father’s paternal line (Anderson) halts at HER great-grandfather. I have been able to trace the females of the Anderson lines farther than the males, but I surely would like to trace my own maiden name and my mother’s.


In our first 3 years, we published 347 posts and a total of 90 recipes.  In the last year, we have added 91 posts (a slightly slower pace) and 28 additional recipes or food articles.

Your Favorites

True to form, How to Make Perfect Pie Crust stands at the top of the Most Read posts this year once again. You had “corny tastes” in older recipes you liked–corn pone, polenta, hominy grits, Indian pudding. But let’s take a look at what posts between  April 2016 and this April (2017) were your favorites.

The new food articles and recipes that caught your eye:

Welsh Skillet Cakes

Oliebolen, the Dutch Donut Holes explained by Jane Eppinga

Colonial Election Cake (Did anyone actually MAKE that cake, or, like me, did you just marvel at the quanitities?)

Grandma Vera’s Lemon Sponge Pie

Buttermilk Biscuits

The ancestor stories you liked:

Jesse's letter form Palmyra

Jesse’s signature on letter August 1847

You discovered the story of my adventurous great-great grandfather, Jesse Morgan last year through his letters to his wife as he wandered the midwest selling horses.  Six of those stories made it into the top 50 posts of the year. Why Chautauqua?, Letter Home, Charles Morgan in the Civil War, Wooster, Doc Woods, a Character in Jesse’s Story and Horse TraderI encourage you to find the Jesse Morgan series through the search box, because if I put too many links here, the Google gods will get mad at me.

The very most popular ancestor story was the slide show story about Jedidiah Brink’s home.

Next came an “insider” article called Why Genealogical Resarch is Never Done.

Besides Jesse, you liked my heirloom articles about the Propelling Pencil , and the Oldest Heirloom and Christmas Gift Books.

I tried something new this year, called Slice of My Life. Stories from my own life. Good reactions encourage me to continue.  You particularly liked Special Christmas Gift about my visit to the White House at Christmas time, and Home Sewn about my hobby sewing.


I don’t anticipate any great changes in the way we do business around here in the next year, so hope to see you back many times between now and April 2018.  Meanwhile, thanks so much for reading, supporting me with your comments and tips and encouragement.

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3rd Year Birthday