The Genealogist

The Chosen Ones – A Genealogy Poem

The Genealogist

The Genealogist

The Chosen Ones
In each family we hear the call to find our ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live once again,
To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
To me, genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts,
But instead, breathing life into all who have gone before.
We are the story tellers of the tribe.
We have been called as it were by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us:
Tell our story.
So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.
How many graves have I stood before and cried?
I have lost count.
How many times have I told the ancestors?
You have a wonderful family, you would be proud.
How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?
I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documented facts.
It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do.
It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever,
To weeds and indifference and saying I can’t let this happen.
The bones here are bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh.
It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.
How they contributed to what we are today.
It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up.
Their resoluteness to building a life for their family.
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us as a nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us,
That we might be born who we are.
That we might remember who they were.
So we do.
With love and care we scribe each fact of their existence,
Because we are they and they are us.
It is up to that one called in the next generation,
To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do Genealogy,
And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

Author: Della M. Cumming ca. 1943

wash tub baths

Forgotten sayings of yesteryear

The meaning behind the old sayings……

wash tub baths

wash tub baths

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house always had the privilege of the nice clean water, then the sons and other men. Next the women and finally the children, with the babies last. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it….Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof….Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and the guest got the top, or the “upper crust.”

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a “wake.”

Coming January 2015

Today in History August 21, 1619

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Three hundred ninety-five years (395) ago today “twenty and odd” Africans arrive at Old Pointe Comfort, in Hampton, Virginia. They are the first Africans to arrive in what will become English-North America.
The “twenty and odd” Africans were captives, sold as slaves, during the Portuguese invasion of the Kingdom of Ndongo, in Angola Africa. Sold to the Spanish-Portuguese Captain Acuna some three-hundred captives are placed aboard the San Juan Bautista and shipped seven-thousand miles away to their doom in the silver mines of Mexico. But, before the slaver can reach it’s destination the ship is pirated by two English corsairs and fate is set in motion by the Calvinist Reverend turned Privateer, Captain John Jope. Their new destination becomes a small English settlement which will eventually become known as America. Until recent years the identity of the Captain was simply known as a Dutch Captain, who brought “twenty and odd” Africans to the shores of Virginia. Now, after intense research we know who they were, their fate which brought them to America and the cover-up that took place surrounding their arrival.

Family of Dr. John Harland Paul

Returning a family album to its rightful owners

Family of Dr. John Harland Paul

Family of Dr. John Harland Paul

Recently, I came into the possession of a very old and beautiful family album. It is in very good condition for its age. The photos seem to range from 1900 to 1910. The family names noted are Coffin, Hauk, Norman and Paul. Also, there is a letter written by Ellen Coffin of the Parker Coffin family of the Wayne County Coffin Quaker Pioneers, stating that they are of Norman-French descent. Total, there is probably 30-40 very old photographs. The following are just a few. If a notation is added, it is what someone has written on the back of the photo. Please let me know if you recognize any of these, so that the album may be returned to its rightful owner.

John Harland Paul and Kathryn Paul, Shanghai, China 1905  (siblings)

John Harland Paul and Kathryn Paul, Shanghai, China 1905 (siblings)

Harvey Hauk

Harvey Hauk

Florence Hauk, age 8 yrs. old  1903 possibly 1908

Florence Hauk, age 8 yrs. old 1903 possibly 1908

Union Baptist Church est. 1825

Union Baptist Church, Lanier County GA

Union Baptist Church est. 1825

Union Baptist Church est. 1825

Union Baptist Church, the first church in the old area of Irwin County, Georgia was established October 21, 1825. The original members were William A. Knight and Sarah, his wife; Jonathan Knight and Elizabeth, his wife; Joshua Lee and Martha, his wife; James Patten and Elizabeth, his wife; Mary Knight, and Josiah Sirmans. The first Minister of Union Baptist Church was Reverend Matthew Albritton.

First Africans to arrive in English America

First Africans in English America

First Africans to arrive in English America

First Africans to arrive in English America

continued…..Unveiling the First Africans in English America
Next, we must explore the men who owned and captained the three intersecting ships on that fateful day.
The San Juan Bautista was captained by the Don Manuel Mendez de Acuna. Known to be of the powerful Acuna family to which Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuna, the Count of Gondomar also belonged.
The Treasurer’s ownership was shared between the powerful Earl of Warwick, Robert Rich II and the current Governor of Jamestown, Samuel Argall. In early 1618, Captain Daniel Elfrith was hired once again by Warwick to Captain the Treasurer. Elfrith, an active and known privateer in the West Indies as early as 1607, had captained the Treasurer before. Elfrith and the Treasurer left England in late April or early May 1618 and arrived in the Settlement of Virginia just as the Neptune, carrying Lord Del la Warre to retrieve Argall back to England was making its way into the mouth of the James River. Questions of foul play arose quickly. The Neptune’s Brewster accused the Treasurer of foul play and bad air. Lord Del la Warre, Sir Thomas West was dead. Governor Argall would in turn order his Treasurer, Elfrith and crew to the West Indies, to plunder what they may with the marque of Charles Emmanuel I, a commission Rich obtained from Count Sarnafissi, Emmanuel’s ambassador to England.
The White Lion was owned and captained by the Reverend John Colyn Jope, a Calvinist Minister from Merrifield in Cornwall England, just miles northwest of Plymouth. In 1619 on the captain’s maiden voyage, Jope would leave his wife, the well-connected Mary Glanville and the Port of Plymouth, heading for the West Indies with a Dutch Marque, a commission acquired through Prince Maurice.

The Bautista’s Cargo
In early 1619, the Kingdom of Ndongo in the Central Mountains of Angola, under siege by the Portuguese Governor Luis Mendes de Vasconcellos, is ransacked and men, women, and children are enslaved and marched to the Port of Luanda to be transported to the silver mines of Mexico.
Of the six slave ships leaving the port of Luanda in the summer of 1619 for the Port of Vera Cruz, only one would report a raid by English pirates. The San Juan Bautista, captained by the Don Manuel Mendez de Acuna.
Just weeks later in mid August 1619 the White Lion arrives with “twenty and odd” Africans. The Captain, carrying a Dutch marque, claims he took them from a floundering Spanish warship.
Documents recently discovered by Historian John Thornton determines they were the Northern Mbundu people who spoke Bantu, from the Kingdom of Ndongo. Only one other possibility exists. There was a report of some Portuguese Christian porters who accidently became caught up in the Imbangala’s slave march to the Port of Luanda, their port of origin and point of sale.
Of the three hundred fifty sold to the Bautista’s Captain Acuna there would only be “twenty and odd” blessed souls to make it to Englands’ young settlement of Virginia. Will the “twenty and odd” continue to be slaves as they were when they left Africa? Or do they find their freedom? Could God’s hand have been involved? Over the centuries many have said “God must have been involved.”

The San Juan Bautista's battle against the two English corsairs, the Treasurer and the White Lion.

Unveiling the First Africans of English America -1619

In order to unveil who they were, we must take a new unbiased look into their arrival. After studying those involved and the activities surrounding the event, a truer picture evolves.
I begin with the three ships that collide in the Bay of Campeche.

The San Juan Bautista's battle against the two English corsairs, the Treasurer and the White Lion.

The San Juan Bautista’s battle against the two English corsairs, the Treasurer and the White Lion.

San Juan Bautista/Sao Joao Bautista/St. John Baptist-

When the Bautista arrived in the port of Luanda it was already blessed or maybe it was cursed. The ship was originally called Date Maru. (伊達丸 in Japanese) Built in 1613 by Date Masamune, in Tsuki-No-Ura harbour, the ship was one of Japan’s first Japanese-built Western-style sailing ships, a Spanish galleon type. Once completed the ship left on October 28, 1613 for Acapulco in Mexico, with around 180 people on board, consisting of 10 samurai of the Shogun (led by the Minister of the Navy Mukai Shooken), 12 samurai from Sendai, 120 Japanese merchants, sailors, and servants, and around 40 Spaniards and Portuguese. The ship arrived in Acapulco on January 25, 1614 after three months at sea. After a year in Acapulco, the ship returned to Japan on April 28, 1615. It seems that around 50 specialists in mining and silver-refining were invited to Japan on this occasion, so that they could help develop the mining industry in the Sendai area. A group of Franciscans led by Father Diego de Santa Catalina, sent as a religious embassy to Tokugawa Ieyasu also sailed on the ship. The San Juan Bautista arrived in Uraga on August 15, 1615.
In September 1616, the San Juan Batista once again headed to Acapulco, at the request of Luis Sotelo. But the trip went terribly wrong and around 100 sailors died en route. San Juan Bautista finally arrived in Acapulco in May 1617. By April 1618 the San Juan Bautista arrived in the Philippines, under the belief the ship was “sick”, and the Bautista was sold to the Spanish government.
The Bautista would have one more mission. Captained by Manuel Mendes De Acuna, the ship would sail from the Port of Luanda transporting slaves to the silver mines of Vera Cruz, Mexico. They were slaves captured by the Imbangala during the Portuguese invasion of the Kingdom of Ndongo. (We will re-visit their origin again soon)

The White Lion
This WHITE LION was built in the Villa-Villa Franca shipyard near Lisbon,
Portugal in 1570. It was originally called the LEONA BLANCA (White Lion).
180-200 tonnage, it was designed the same as the PELECANO (Pelican) which eventually would be owned by Drake. Provisions for both were for 10 cannons. Both ships sailed for the Marque of Portugal one year before being seized by the Spanish Armada in 1571. Drake captured the Pelecano and changed the name to the PELICAN. He later reworked her and re-christened her the GOLDEN HIND.

The LEONA BLANCA (White Lion) kept her name under the Spanish Cross. The name was changed to WITTE LEEUW (White Lion) when she was captured by the Flemish Second Squadron in 1579. In 1584, with the death of Prince William of Orange, the Sea Beggars of the Netherland sold the WHITE LION to Admiral Howard of the English Privateers. In 1585 Drake and Howard began privateering against the Spaniards. The White Lion’s captain, Erizo (Erisey) got the loan from Drake to begin outfitting her. Erizo commanded the White Lion in the years of 1587 and 1588 in the war on the Armada. The WHITE LION usually traveled with one of Drake’s Squadrons.
After Erizo’s default, the ship went to Drake although Erizo still captained
her. Drake died in 1596 and in 1597 Drake’s will was probated and the WHITE LION went to Captain James Erizo who privateered the ship for the next eleven years. In 1609 Capt Erizo sold the WHITE LION to his minister, the Reverend John Colyn Jope. After a ten (10) year overhaul the White Lion’s first refurbished voyage, Captain Jope would find himself in consort with the Treasurer’s Captain, Daniel Elfrith.

TREASURER

The Treasurer was owned by Robert Rich, II Earl of Warwick, one of the most wealthy and powerful aristicrats in all of England, as well as one of the most influential members of the Virginia Company of London. The Virginia Company of London controlled the Colonial settlement of Virginia. By 1617, Samuel Argall, who captained the Treasurer, had been appointed the acting Governor of Virginia. Daniel Elfrith would become the new captain of the Treasurer, appointed by Robert Rich.
After the review of later court proceedings between Robert Rich, II Earl of Warwick and Lady Cecily Shirley West, records disclose the fact that Elfrith arrived in Jamestown on the Treasurer either the end of May / first of June, 1618. Within days, the Neptune would also arrive under the command of Brewster, the pilot who claims the Treasurer intercepted the Neptune some days earlier and poisoned Lord De La Warre, (Sir Thomas West), who was being sent to bring the acting Governor, Samuel Argall back to England for questioning by the King’s Privy Council. Lord De La Warre was buried in Jamestown June 7, 1618. Argall, still the acting Governor of Virginia, would send Captain Elfrith and the Treasurer to the West Indies to continue on with what was said to be a fishing expedition. The court case was settled out of court with the Earl of Warwick paying West’s widow a substantial amount.
Interesting fact: On September 17, 1612, Samuel Argall commanded Sir Robert Rich’s 130-ton ship, Treasurer, which reached Virginia on September 17 after a fifty-seven-day voyage that was the fastest then recorded. Rich and Argall had much history between them.
***
Almost one year later in the West Indies, off the shores of Cuba, two of these ships would intersect. Captain Daniel Elfrith, of the Treasurer and Captain John Jope, of the White Lion were childhood companions from their early days in Cornwall, England. They would sail in consort finding themselves on a direct collision course with the San Juan Bautista.
The two English corsairs were not looking for a slaver, as the Bautista was being used for. They were looking for Spanish gold, usually carried by a Spanish Galleon that could protect its cargo. A Spanish Galleon like the Bautista appeared to be when the two corsairs fired upon the slaver.
After seeing the horrific scene of the foundering San Juan Bautista’s cargo, the two Captains took some fifty or so Africans (split between the two ships) and sail for Virginia, the closest English port that Elfrith believes will welcome the two ships, turning a blind eye to their antics of piracy. During the journey to Virginia, the two ships sail through a storm, causing one to lose the other. When the White Lion and the Africans arrive at Point Comfort, Virginia, without the Treasurer, Captain Jope finds Virginia under a very cautious new government, noticeably alarmed when Jope reports he took the Africans from a Spanish galleon.
The number of Africans is only reported as “twenty and odd”. The twenty and odd were enslaved on the Bautista, but when they arrive in the settlement of Virginia, under the laws of England, they became indentured servants. Slavery was not yet acceptable under the laws of England. Some say indentured servitude is just another name for slavery, but it is contractual. The average colonial contract was for a period of 4-7 years.
After completing many years of research through Genealogy, I have found that the original twenty and odd and their descendants are documented as free residents of Virginia.