Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Medical Condition Made Susana (Garbrand) Hooker an invalid?

Susana Garbrand was born in 1593 in England. Her parents were Richard and Anne (Ferrar) Garbrand. On 7 Jul 1621, she married the Puritan minister Rev. Thomas Hooker, son of Thomas and Susanna (Pym) Hooker. They moved a number of times keeping ahead of arrest by Archbishop Laud.

More Moves

Finally, they fled, with their four young children, to Holland in 1631. They returned to England to board the ship Griffin to come to New England. They set up a home in what is now Cambridge but before long, Rev. Hooker and many of his congregation became disenfranchised with the Massachusetts Bay Colony leadership.

Once again, Susana had to pack up her household belonging and move. On the other hand, did she? Some reports say that by this time Susana was incapacitated when, in 1636, over 100 people set out on a trek of 100 miles to the Connecticut River.

Susana Carried to Hartford on a Litter

This had to be the most difficult move Susana had to make with her children. Joanna, at 15 and Mary at 13, would have been given a lot of responsibility in watching the smaller children and helping their mother. There are at least two sites that say that Susana was carried the whole way on a litter. There is no indication what her infirmary was.

According to Caroline Gaylord Newton, in her 1912 book concerning Rev. Roger Newton, who married Mary Hooker, daughter of Susana and Thomas Hooker, Susana was an invalid for years.  She describes Susana, “Susana Hooker was a lady of culture, and worthy to be the companion of such a man as Thomas Hooker.”

Daughter Mary Took Care of Susana and Household

According to this report, Mary Hooker, being the eldest at home after Joanna married had the care of her father’s household. Caroline Newton said of Mary, “The one upon whose young shoulders had come many of the burdens of the family life.” She went on to describe Mary walking from Massachusetts to Hartford next to the litter of her invalid mother.

Yet, Susana married a second time, to William Goodwin, after the death of Thomas Hooker and moved two more times before she died in Farmington, CT in 1676 at the age of 83.

The big question is what medical condition caused Susana to be an invalid.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why the Puritans Came

It’s easy to look at the Puritan migration to New England just from a religion point of view but that’s a mistake. Yes, they came to New England to worship without persecution but many also came for other reasons. The ships were full of individuals looking for economic gain. This was a new country with new opportunities.

Mary Blott and Thomas Woodford

Mary, the eldest of 10 children, came from Bedfordshire, England in 1632 as a servant. Her parents and siblings followed a couple of years later. Thomas Woodford, also a servant, came to New England on the William and Francis ship in 1632. I haven’t proven yet if Mary was on the same ship. Maybe we have a shipboard romance.

Looking at the Gains

From the Hampshire County Probate Records we find that upon his death Thomas Woodford’s inventory was valued at more than 197 pounds and included  “a dwelling house, barn, orchard, garden” with land adjoining, 4 acres over the swamp, 8 acres in the third square, “5 acres of mowing land in the Great Rainbow” and discusses three more acres. This is a nice accumulation of wealth for someone who started out a servant.

Would you have taken that dangerous ocean crossing trip to come to a wild unknown land?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Frances Crippen, a Giddy Puritan

 Frances (Bray) Crippen was born in 1645 in England. So far, I have not been able to find any information on her parents. Frances married Thomas Crippen in 1664 in Plymouth Colony. He was born in 1640 in England. Note that when I don’t give an exact date, it is approximate.

Charged with Being too Giddy

With these dates in mind, they must have come to Plymouth Colony between the dates of 1640 and 1664. Being a new bride must have brought great happiness to Frances because the next year the Plymouth Colony brought Thomas into court to answer charges that his wife Frances “was too giddy.”

Living Saints

This is an example of how the Puritans lived within a fishbowl with everyone watching each others’ action. This was because they were taught that God would punish the whole community if any one individual within the community did not live trying to be a saint.