Tag Archives: William Bassett

Search For My Ticket On The Mayflower

In the past when I have talked about the Pilgrims of Plymouth, I focused on William Bassett. You can read here about my Pilgrim ancestor who missed the first Thanksgiving. While most of those early Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower, another group left their homes and extended families behind and boarded The Speedwell, sailing at the same time as the Mayflower and destined to land in America at the same time.

But might I be related to Pilgrim leader William Brewster? That would be lovely. He was the Pilgrim father who left an inventory of several hundred books when he died. Not exactly my reading taste, but, still, a lover of books.

The Speedwell/Fortune Passengers

To continue William Bassett’s story, on August 15, 1620, the Speedwell, packed with expectant, excited, and probably fearful passengers set sail from Holland. That ship met the Mayflower at Southampton. After a stop at Plymouth, England, however, it became obvious that the Speedwell would not make it across the ocean. If the captain of the Speedwell had possessed a public address system, he would have announced to his passengers, “Due to mechanical difficulties, we are returning to base.” The Mayflower sailed on to fame and glory. The famous settlers landed in the wrong place–but Virginia, Cape Cod…it is all the same continent, isn’t it?

The Mayflower
The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbour. Painting by William Halsall, public domain.

My 9x great-grandfather, William Bassett had boarded the Speedwell and stoically (or not so stoically, as we was a young man) waited until the financiers of the company substituted the ship The Fortune. Another notable passenger on the Fortune–Jonathan Brewster, son of the Pilgrim’s spiritual father in Plymouth, William Brewster. No doubt the Brewster family felt deep frustration that their eldest son got stranded in England for a year. The Fortune landed in Plymouth Colony in 1621. The survivors of the first terrible winter expressed great joy to see this healthy younger people arrive after so many of the Mayflower passengers had died.

Despite the fact that the passengers on the Fortune had been delayed through none of their own doing–they had meant to arrive in 1620, they are second citizens in the ranks of “American royalty.” The Mayflower Society, an organization open only to descendants of those who arrived on the Mayflower, does not recognize those whose misfortune it was to sail on the Speedwell and arrive on The Fortune.

So William Bassett, an ancestor my mother’s family has always been very proud to claim, does not get us a ticket to the Mayflower descendants. (Since estimates say that 35 million Mayflower descendants live today, you cannot really say it is an exclusive group, can you?)

Connections to William Brewster

William Brewster
William Brewster portrayed by an actor at Plymouth Plantation. Wikimedia Commons.

I hope this introduction shows you how excited I was to discover the name BREWSTER woven in with the Morgan family I have been exploring. Researching Samuel Morgan, my 5th great-grandfather, yielded at least three connections to Jonathan Brewster, and therefore Mayflower passenger and book-lover, William Brewster.

The connections came to my family tree came through Capt. Jonathan Morgan, brother of my 5th great-grandfather, Samuel Morgan.

The Puritans of Connecticut

The Morgans, as we have seen, were Connecticut dwellers for many generations. But weren’t the Pilgrims from Massachusetts? Ahhh, not all. And not forever. The leaders of the Pilgrims realized that they needed to spread out and start new towns to accommodate their expected growth. They had explored the coast of Connecticut as early as 1631 when Governor Winslow personally visited and encouraged the establishment of a trading post at Windsor Connecticut (named for the Indian name Quonehtacut River).

William Brewster’s son, Jonathan Brewster, arriving on the Fortune in 1621, became a leader and one of the first settlers of Connecticut when he established a trading house at Brewster’s Neck, Pequot (later Groton). Other early settlers of the area were James Avery and James Morgan, both founders of families in my descent.

The Connections

Ruth Morgan Brewster

I first noticed that the niece of my 5th Great grandfather, Samuel Morgan (1669) married a Brewster.

  • Ruth Morgan was the daughter of Capt. John Morgan (1667). Capt. John Morgan was the brother of Samuel Morgan (1669).
  • Ruth married Jonathan Brewster (1694), great-grandson of Jonathan Brewster, the eldest son of Pilgrim leader William Brewster.

Unfortunately, first cousin six times removed does not get me a ticket on the Mayflower.

Ruth Shapley Morgan

Not only did Capt. John Morgan (1667) have a Brewster son-in-law, he also was married to a descendant of William Brewster. I would not have discovered this except for the many and detailed books that trace the descendants of every single passenger from the Mayflower–some that go on for a dozen generations.

  • Ruth Shapley married Capt. John Morgan (1667).
  • Her mother was Mary Picket Shapley, married to Benjamin Shapley.
  • Mary Pickett’s mother was Ruth Brewster Pickett, married first to Jon Pickett, who “dyed at sea on a voyage to Bermuda.”
  • Ruth Brewster was the daughter of Jonathan Brewster (1593), and
  • Ruth Brewster (Pickett) was Grand daughter to William Brewster, which means Ruth Shapley (Morgan) was 2 x great-grand daughter to Jonathan Brewster.

Ruth Shapley does not get me a ticket on the Mayflower, either, although she is a 3rd great-grand-daughter to William Brewster. Despite the fact that she is a s wife of my 6th great-uncle, our relationship is marital, not blood.

Hannah Brewster Morgan

Then I moved on to another Morgan tied to a Brewster.

Hannah Brewster (1641) married Capt. James Morgan (1643) the brother of my 6th great-grandfather, Capt. John Morgan (1645).

But Who is Hannah _______??

Most of the standard sources, like The Descendants of James Morgan of Groton, and the Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, as well as all the various Mayflower descendant books, list only Hannah _________ as Capt. James Morgan’s second wife. James and his first wife, Mary Vine, had six children. When Mary died and he remarried, both James and Hannah_____ would have been fifty years old. James and Hannah had no children. They died within days of each other when they were in their mid 60s. The details proving that the Hannah_____referred to in most books is actually Hannah Brewster Starr (Morgan) comes in a painstakingly researched piece published in The Genealogist, 14 (2000): 118-28. We have David L. Greene to thank for digging out the truth.

  • Hannah Brewster Starr (1641) married Capt. James Morgan (1643) after her first husband, Samuel Starr, and James’ first wife, Mary Vine, died.
  • Hannah Brewster Starr Morgan was the daughter of Jonathan Brewster (1593) and
  • Hannah was the Grand daughter to William Brewster.
  • Notice that she was a sister to Ruth Brewster Pickett mentioned in the line of Ruth Shapley.

Obviously, if Ruth Shapley Morgan did not get me a ticket on the Mayflower, Hannah Brewster Starr Morgan also did not get me a ticket.

Peregrine White

I would be remiss not to at least mention my previously discovered tie to a Mayflower ancestor. Peregrine White, first child born to the Pilgrims after they reached America, married a daughter of William Bassett. But there we have it again–a marital relationship rather than a direct descent. No ticket.

Conclusion

I am not going to prove eligibility for the Mayflower Society by tracing a connection to the William Brewster family.

But in the process of searching, I greatly expanded my understanding of the Morgan line and their various branches. I also learned a great deal about the early history of Connecticut, as well as about the history of one of the most important Pilgrim settlers, William Brewster.

Some Sources for Pilgrim Research:

The Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, Vol. I, and Vol II Pts 1 & 2, Emma C. Brewster Jones, New York: Grafton Press, 1854. Available at http://archives.org.

Mayflower Descendents and Their Marriages for Two Generations After the Landing, Including a Short History of the Church of the Pilgrim Founders of New England, Washington D.C.: Bureau of Military and Civic Achievement. John D. Landis, 1922. Available on line through the Hathi Trust.

History and Genealogy of the Mayflower planters and first Comers to ye old Colonies, Vol II, Leon Clark Hills, Washington D.C.: Hills Publishing Co. 1936-1941. Ancestry.com (membership). Also available free on line if your local library card admits you to the website Open Library. Also available for purchase in print or e-copies.

New London County Connecticut with Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneer and Prominent Men, Compiled by Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co. 1882. Available on line at archive.org

Mayflower Births and Deaths from the files of George Ernest Bowman, ed. by Susan E. Roser. 2 Volumes, Baltimore MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Available at Ancestry.com (membership) and by search only (not entire text) at Hathi Trust.

A catalogue of the Names of First Puritan Settlement of the Colony of Connecticut, Royal R. Hineman, Hartford: Tiffany & Co.1846 Available on line at Hathi Trust.https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.l0072881345;view=1up;seq=11

James Morgan – First of Jesse Morgan’s Line

James Morgan (Sr.) 1607-1685

I’ve spent a lot of time on the story of Jesse Morgan.  My 2nd great-grandfather wins the prize for the most fascinating ancestor in our line–or at least the most fascinating direct ancestor whose story came down to us by word of mouth, documented by letters in his own hand and by many other sources.

The American Morgan story, however, did not start with Jesse. In fact, it started with HIS 3x great grandfather, James Morgan (Sr.). James and his two younger brothers were the first of a Morgan clan that eventually spread out across the new land after they first arrived in Boston in 1636. That is just 15 years after William Bassett, the Pilgrim who is the direct ancestor of Mary Bassett Morgan, married to Jesse Morgan. An Early American power couple, genealogically speaking.

SOURCE of JAMES MORGAN’S EARLY STORY

The story starts in Wales where James was born probably in 1607, probably in the town of Llandaff in the county of Glamorgan. Notice that Llandaff lies just northwest of Cardiff, the capitol of Wales.

Wales - James Morgan's homeland

Map of Glamorgan County, Wales, showing Cardiff with Llandaff to the NW.

Glamorgan County lies on the far south of Wales along the Bristol Channel. Wales attaches to the west side of England.

Wales coast

Bristol Channel, along the Glamorgan Wales coast

Much of the information that I have about the early life of James –his exact birth date and place, the name of his father, etc.–needs further proof.  The 1869 book, James Morgan and His Descendants, honestly states when the author cannot prove a fact. He does not back up his stories with concrete proofs, although he seems to at least try to sort proven from unproven.

Therefore, I also will proceed with caution, attempting to warn you when proof is elusive.

For instance, although according to the book a family legend leans toward the name William for James’ father, without a birth certificate or baptism record, I cannot be sure.  It is true that there are many Morgans in that region of Wales. And my Morgan family has common names–William, John, James, Joseph. Find A Grave for England and Ireland shows a William Morgan dying in Bristol in 1649, and his age range is correct for a father of James. Plus James and his brothers sailed out of Bristol.

On the other hand, Find a Grave does not have a gravestone or death record for evidence, and Bristol could very well be the most convenient port for someone sailing out of Wales as well as southern England.

WHY LEAVE BRITAIN?

Whether the family moved to Bristol or stayed in Wales, the religious and political events brewing in England in the 1630s would have a great effect on their lives. Welsh people along the border with England joined the reform religions. The Scots beat the English King Charles in the first Civil War, a struggle over religion, in 1639. In Bristol, the Royalists stormed the port in 1642–just six years after the Morgan brothers departed. In another few years, the King would be deposed and executed.

Surely the Morgans were at least fleeing war, if not joining sympathetic Puritans streaming into North America. The younger son, John, reportedly was a minister and even Boston, according to the family history, was too wild for him.  He moved on to Virginia to practice his strict religion.

Miles became an instant leader, as he joined a group founding Springfield Massachusetts. At the age of 20, he finagled his way into the division of property which was supposed to go only to men over 21.

JAMES MORGAN IN NEW ENGLAND

So, wherever he came from and whoever his father was, we do have a record that shows James and his two brothers, Miles and John sailed from Bristol to Boston in March and April of 1636. His age is confirmed in later statements he makes in those wonderfully voluminous records kept by the New England towns. (Thank you, all you Puritan beaureaucrats!)

Are we related to J. P. Morgan?  In response to a request, I checked it out. Nope. Unfortunately, the millionaire Morgan descended from James’ brother Miles.  James family, however, claims the honor of a Presidential wife–Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes descended directly from James Morgan.

Once James arrives in America, the record becomes much clearer. By 1640, he shows up in Roxbury, Massachusetts, where he marries Margery Hill. In 1643, the town grants him the rights of a freeman (full citizen.) The couple settled in Roxbury and had a daughter and four sons (the last one dying within his first year) before they moved on to Connecticut.

Boston and Roxbury

Boston area colonial map. Roxbury (south) and Cambridge (west). Note that the bay has not been filled in and Boston City is an island.

I am amused–or bemused–by the fact that my grandson, visiting in Boston, met and married a young woman from Roxbury more than 360 years after James married Margery in Roxbury.

JAMES AND MARGERY MORGAN’S FAMILY

Hannah Morgan (Royce) 1642-1706

Hannah married Nehimiah Royce in 1660 in Groton CT and when she died, they had been living in Wallingford CT. Other than birth and marriage record, I know nothing else at present time about Hannah.

Captain James Morgan (Jr.) 1643-1711

James, like his father, was both a leader in the church and in the town. He served as a Deacon in the Groton church and also as Chief Magistrate and one of the first Town Selectmen.  He was moderator of every town meeting until he died and then his two sons took over the job. James had three boys and three girls. He inherited his father’s farm. James served as the Capt. of the “train band”, local militia in Groton in 1692 and Commander of the Dragoon Force of New London County in 1693/4. Keep in mind the military service of James Jr. and his brother John took place under the British, an irony since their father presumably left Wales/England because of enimity with the British.

Captain John Morgan 1645-1712

John, my direct ancestor (6 x great grandfather) married a second time after his first wife died. He had seven children with his first wife and eight with his second.  The second of his children in the first family is my 5 x great grandfather, Samuel Morgan.  John Morgan moved from Groton to Preston Connecticut where he also took community leadership roles as Indian Commissioner and Deputy to the General Court. He had served in that office from New London in 1690 and then from Preston in 1693.

Lt. Joseph Morgan 1646-1704

Joseph and his wife and family lived in Preston, which split off from Norton Connecticut.  He had one son and nine daughters.  The one son was a colorful preacher–popular in the pulpit, but getting kicked out of a couple of churches with accusations of practicing astrology, encouraging dancing and other nefarious activities.

Two other children of James Sr.died in infancy.

PEQUOT/GROTON CONNECTICUT

In 1650, James moved his family to the new settlement of Pequot in Connecticut, later known as New London. Reading the story in the book, James Morgan and His Descendants, reminds me what a godforsaken wilderness this was that these optimistic souls were seeking to turn into farms and towns. There he built a log cabin “on a path to New Street.”

The land was rocky and the Indians had not been gone long. Later in 1650, the “James Morgan” book relates from a contemporary record, “James Morgan hath given him about 6 acres of upland where the wigwams were, in the path that goes from his house towards Culvers, among the rocky hills.”

In 1656, he moved across the river to the area that was subsequently named Groton. Apparently the land there is more amenable to farming, and he thrived. There he rose to prominence in the community, being appointed First Deputy (from Groton) to the General Court at Hartford, and being reappointed nine times. He took leadership roles in the church as well.

In another geographical coincidence, my oldest son trained in the U. S. Navy submarine service in Groton in the 1980s. He only missed his 8x great-grandfather by 330 years.

In 1668 the tax records show James as third wealthiest land holder in the town, with a worth of £250.

James died in Groton in 1685, leaving his home farm to his son James. The property continued to pass on from James to James to James for six generations, and when the family history was written in 1846, the property still belonged to a member of the Morgan clan. And many of the Morgans stayed put in Groton for a very long time.  My 3x grandfather, Jesse Morgan Sr. was born there.

James Morgan (Sr.) and his wife Margery are buried in Avery-Morgan Burial Ground in Groton Connecticut. (The Hale Headstone Inscriptions mentioned below places them in a Hartford Cemetery, but the Avery-Morgan is much more likely.) This memorial plaque honors James Morgan at the Avery-Morgan Burial Ground.

James Morgan memorial

James Morgan Memorial at the Avery-Morgan Burial Grounds, Groton CT.

(The two families are related through the marriage of James’ grandson William to Margaret Avery, daughter of James Avery)

The plaque says,

Erected to the memory of the founders of the first Avery and the first Morgan families in America whose graves are near this site.

[on the left hand side]

Capt. James Avery

1620-1700

His wife, Joanna Greenslade

[and on the right hand side]

James Morgan

1607-1685

His wife, Margery Hill

Two pioneer families joined. Just as when Mary Bassett, whose 5 x great grandfather William Bassett was the first of the Bassetts who arrived in America married Jesse Morgan, whose 3 x great grandfather, James Morgan was the first of his clan.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • Harriet (Hattie) Morgan Stout, who is the daughter of
  • Jesse Morgan, who is the son of
  • Jesse Morgan (Sr), who is the son of
  • Timothy Morgan, who is the son of
  • Samuel Morgan, who is the son of
  • John Morgan, who is the son of
  • James Morgan (Sr.), first settler in America.

Notes on Research

James Morgan and His Descendants, Nathaniel H. Morgan,1869, from North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Ancestry.com

Connecticut Census, 1668, New London, New London County, James Morgan, resident, part of  Connecticut, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1790-1890, Ancestry.com

Connecticut, Deaths and Burials Index, 1650-1934, Ancestry.com, James Morgan

Connecticut, Hale Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, James Morgan,1629-1934, Ancestry.com

Massachusetts Applications of Freemen, 1630-91, James Morgan, Ancestry.com

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867, James Morgaine and Margery Hill, Ancestry.com

U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, Place: Massachusetts; Year: 1636; Page Number: 49, James Morgan 1636, Ancestry.com

U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1700s-Current, James Morgan

415 Years of Williams

Dear Reader, I hope you will accept my belated New Year wishes, as I launch a new year at Ancestors in Aprons.  In the next few months, I’ll return to my mother’s ancestors, starting with the Cochran family.  I make no other particular promises, because I do not wish to tempt fate. “Man proposes. God disposes.”

A Family of Williams

Our family is starting the new year by adding another twig to the family tree.

William Nils Kaser

Baby William Nils Kaser in heirloom cradle.

William Nils Kaser (whom I persist in calling Wink, a nickname derived from his initials) was born in December to my nephew and his wife.  Wink is noteworthy because he has been gifted (or perhaps burdened) with a family name–William.

Granted, William is a common name among the British and we have a very strong component of Britishness among our ancestors.  But we also have a very, very long string of Williams on my mother’s side that reaches back to the Pilgrims and before them into the shadows of British history.

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror, figure at Bayeux Tapestry Museum. My photo.

My mother liked to think that an ancient relative was a right-hand man of William the Conqueror, and that’s where the line of Williams started. I suspect that after the William, the Scandinavian Viking from Normandy crossed the channel and conquered England, many curried favor by naming babies William.

This fascinating story of William’s name on The History Channel, informs me that he was actually known as William the Bastard for a long time, a name that did not please the royal personage. The last paragraph of that article confirms my suspicion that the name William became popular–VERY popular to please the new ruler.

But since I cannot prove that our family descended directly from William the Conqueror or one of his lieutenants, here’s the story on the Williams that lead us to our own little conqueror.

(By the way, the new baby’s name points more to Scandinavia than England, since the middle name Nils is from his Swedish great-grandfather and now we know that William was also Scandinavian. This is all fitting, since his paternal grandmother is Swedish lineage.)

Here’s The History of your name, Wink. From 1600 to 2015.

No need for you to worry about emulating William the Conqueror. You have no lack of wonderful role models, starting with your father and your paternal grandfather, both of whom had William as a middle name.

Wink, your grandfather, Paul William Kaser, was named Paul for his father Paul Kaser and William for both his uncle and his great-grandfather. When he was a child he was Billie and later Bill. When he grew up he became Paul.

Your great-great Uncle William J. Anderson, was named for his two grandfathers, but since Joe Anderson was dead, the family avoided a curse by using only the initial.  The William in “Uncle Billl’s” name came from his grandfather, Doctor William Cochran Stout, and , William Morgan Stout his mother’s adored brother (your 3x great uncle). William Morgan Stout, an attorney, was called “Will.” You see, as a William, you have lots of short-form names to choose from.

Doctor William Cochran Stout, your 3x Great Grandfather, was named for his Grandfather William Cochran, his mother’s father, and your 5x great grandfather.

Doc Stout’s wife‘s line is the one that goes back to the Pilgrims and all those Bassetts. Her name was Harriette Morgan Stout, and her mother was a Bassett, Mary Bassett Platt Morgan.

Mary’s father William Basset, born 1779, was your 5x Great Grandfather and was the first of the Bassets to move from New England to Ohio.

William-who-moved-to-Ohio had an uncle named William Bassett (who would be your 5th Great Uncle), but the father of William-who-moved-to-Ohio was Samuel Bassett,who fought at Bunker Hill in the Revolutionary War.

Samuel’s father,  William Bassett, born 1726, was your 7x Great Grandfather.

His father, William Bassett, born 1694, was your 8x Great Grandfather.

His father, William Bassett, born 1667, was your 9xGreat Grandfather.

His father, William Bassett, born 1624, was your 10x Great Grandfather. You want to think twice before following in this William’s footsteps. He was a Naughty Pilgrim.

Pilgrims Going to Church

Pilgrims Going to Church, watercolor painting by George Henry Broughton (1833-1905)

His father, William Bassett, born about 1600, was the first of the Bassett line to sail to America from England. He was a Pilgrim, and arrived in 1621 on the Fortune, the first ship after the Mayflower.  He was your 11x  great grandfather.

The Pilgrim William Bassett’s father was probably also William, but I have not proven that to my satisfaction.

All family research is an ongoing puzzle. I only know for sure that we have one most welcome new William in the family. Happy New Life, Wink! (William Nils Kaser)