Saturday, 1 October 2016

Our immigrant ancestors -- Hugh Calkins (abt 1603-1690)

Immigrant Ancestors listing
My 9th great grandfather Hugh Calkins arrived with his family in New England in 1638 as part of the Welsh Company, a group led by a minister, which sailed from Wales, but whose members may not all have been Welsh, seeking religious freedom. The minister may or may not have been ejected from his position in Britain, which may have been the catalyst for him leading a group of about 50 families to New England.

Hugh is one of dozens of my immigrant ancestors listed in my favourite little reference book. As noted there, Hugh was one of the founders of Gloucester, Massachusetts. He and his wife Ann (last name unknown) had at least nine children, the youngest of whom were born in New England. Through his children, he has many descendants across North America today.

William Cutter writes in his 1910 book, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, "Hugh Calkins was a radical, in religion a non-conformist, and living in the troublous times of Charles, the First, soon became satisfied that there were safer countries than England and Wales—for men who wished to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Accordingly, he with his wife, Ann, and John, their son, then four years old, joined a body of emigrants called the 'Welch Company,' and with their pastor, Rev. Richard Blinman, embarked and came to America, about 1638 or 1640.” Does this mean he was a Puritan? I don't know. 

Hugh was born in Cheshire, the English county that borders on Wales, and was christened on 3 Apr 1603 in Waverton, Cheshire, England. We know from his christening record that his father's name was Rowland. 

His son, my 8th great grandfather John Calkins (1634-1703), was one of the founders of Norwich, Connecticut in 1659. His name, together with the other town founders, is listed on a monument in Founders Cemetery there.

At some point, the "s" was dropped in the family name. Hugh's great grandson (and my 6th great grandfather), Jeremiah Calkin (1705-aft 1770) migrated from New England to Nova Scotia as a New England Planter as a widower, with his family in about 1760. Jeremiah had been married to Rachel Janes (1700-bef 1760) in Connecticut in 1725, and they had at least five children.

Jeremiah's house still stands today in Kings, Nova Scotia. Jeremiah's daughter (and my 5th great grandmother), Lucy, migrated to Nova Scotia separately with her husband Jonathan Godfrey, as I noted here.

The more you research, the more you know. Early on, I was thrilled to discover Hugh Calkins because, based on what I initially read, I thought that I had Welsh ancestry. Sigh. But the more I researched I learned that he was an Englishman.

The never ending story continues....

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