I am including this town since one of my relatives, Mary Bradbury lived in this town. She was tried as a witch in Salem in 1692 and found guilty. A neighboring family with whom she had a long time land dispute accused her of shape shifting into a blue boar. At her trial she was referred to as an "ancient woman." 115 people testified on her behalf. Her family was able to break her out of jail before the hanging so that she was able to spend the last years of her life in peaceful seclusion. She is also a relative of Ray Bradbury, the science fiction writer.
I have dozens of ancestors who were early Pilgrims and I know of five ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower. Most of my Mayflower ancestors are from my mother’s side except for William Brewster, the spiritual leader on the Mayflower, who was from my father’s side. I found a note on the back of a photograph about my father’s grandmother attending Mayflower reunions in the early 1900’s. One ancestor arrived in America before the Mayflower in 1604 and was one of the few to survive the brutal first winter.
I will share a few stories that I find interesting.
Deacon John Longley 1683 - 1750
John Longly lived on his family farm until the age of twelve when the family as was attacked by Abenaki-Algonquain Native People early in the morning of July 12, 1694. His father, mother and five of his siblings were massacred in the raid. John and two sisters, Lydia and Betty, were carried into captivity by the Native People. Betty died of starvation.
His sister, Lydia, taken to Ville Marie, now Montreal, Canada, was ransomed by the Mother Superior of the convent there and raised in the Roman Catholic faith. There is book about her, "Lydia Longley, The First American Nun" by Helen A. McCarthy
Tom located John Longley’s grave in the Old Burying Ground in Groton so that I was able to place flowers on his grave.
I prefer to use the more respectful term of Native People or Native American, however, when quoting I will use the word Indian as in the original quote.
“John remained with the Indians over four years and was known among them as John Angary. He took kindly to life among the Indians, notwithstanding hardships, and, had it not been for determined efforts on the part of his relatives and the Massachusetts government, he would probably have become an Indian chief. He was ransomed by the government and, with great difficulty, induced to return to civilization. He became, instead of a great Indian Sachem, a respectable deacon of the church and leading citizen of Groton, Mass.
John Longley was the clerk of the town for six years, and had three elections to the office of representative to the General Court. He was a deacon of the church for twenty-eight years.
Among papers in possession of the New-England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston (Knox manuscripts), is a deposition made by John Longley, giving a statement concerning his captivity among the Indians.” I would like to read these papers to try to find if there is truth in the statement that he almost became a chief.
John Longley married twice and fathered eleven children. Three of John’s sons would live to fight in America’s war for independence, along with more than twenty of his grandsons.
P. Gifford Longley wrote two books about John Longley titled Captive: Based on a True Story and Compelled: Based on a True Story.
After viewing the grave we drove one mile north of town on Longley Road to find a large granite bolder that has the following etched on its face:
NEAR THIS SPOT DWELT
WILLIAM AND DELIVERANCE LONGLEY
WITH THEIR EIGHT CHILDREN
ON THE 27TH OF JULY 1694
THE INDIANS KILLED
THE FATHER AND MOTHER
AND FIVE OF THE CHILDREN AND
CARRIED INTO CAPTIVITY
THE OTHER THREE
GROTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY 1946
Just as I knelt to place flowers at this rock marker, a clap of thunder sounded loudly. Shortly after the skies opened and it began to rain. It was the only sound of thunder all day.
We camped at a city park near the water. When Tom was walking the dogs he read a sign that stated this was Execution Hill where people were hanged. At one particular notorious hanging 12,000 people came to witness the event.
I had numerous sleepless nights here. One was when our two neighbors made a bit of noise while consuming what is below.
John Buckman owned this inn during the Revolution. He gave it a new double hip roof to provide more attic bedrooms, obliterating its “saltbox” roof profile. In later years it served as the town post office.
David McDermott is a master glass blower. His work is technically excellent and aesthetically beautiful. David worked with and studied under Robert Mason at Pairpoint Glass. He currently teaches at Corning.
"The list of notable for which he has done commissioned pieces is highly impressive. That list includes Pope John Paul II, the Empress of Japan, Tip O'Neil, the Empress of Portugal, Henry Kissinger, the movie Amistad and numerous television commercial." His work can be seen at Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Tiffany's, Sotheby's, Shreve, Crump & Lowe as well as many galleries."
Apparently there are many sayings that came from this early era such as:
Saved by the bell - string in casket attached to bell which is above ground
Raining cats and dogs - cats and dogs would slide off the roof when it rained
Tie the knot - ropes to support mattress were tied at time of wedding
Turn the tables - table that became chair to avoid taxes for two pieces of furniture
Throw out the baby with the bathwater - baby last to bath in bi-annual family bath water so dark you could loose a child
Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite - mattresses were stuffed with weeds and often bugs. Sleep tight was from tightening the ropes that supported the mattress.
Dead as a door nail - nails pounded into the front door for reinforcement were not recycleable
Wing Fort House is a historic house at Spring Hill Road in East Sandwich, Massachusetts. The house was built in 1641 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Wing Fort House is recognized as the oldest home in New England continuously owned by the same family. Stephen Wing either purchased the homestead from the town of Sandwich, or the town granted him the property.
The home is currently owned by the Wing Family of America, Inc, an organization of family members. When I contacted the Wing Family of America a few years ago they already had records of my grandmother, Bertha Longley Wright being a descendant so they offered me membership into their organization.
Son of the Rev. John and Deborah Wing, came to Boston in 1632 with his mother and brothers John, Daniel, Matthew, with whom he settled in Sandwich in 1637. He lived upon this land and built this house and he was an original member of the First Friend’s Meeting in America established at Spring Hill in 1656 and suffered great persecution at the hands of Plymouth government in the cause of religious liberty. He died in 1710 and lies buried at Spring Hill.
Originally the home was brightly painted inside and out. The inside colors of this room were black and red. The floor was painted in a pattern to look like a rug and all of the furniture was painted and decorated. Over a period of time people stripped the furniture of all of its original paint thinking they were restoring it to the original finish. The same happened to the floor. Only the paint on the back stairs are original.
Wing family and the early Quakers
Stephen and his brother Daniel Wing are both my 8th great grandfathers since their grandchildren married each other.
Daniel Wing was before the Plymouth Court on numerous occasions for refusing to take the oath of fidelity to English government, being fined each time after he had claimed with others of the "friends" that it was unlawful to take any 'oath' at all. He was also fined on several occasions for refusing to assist the marshal at Sandwich in persecutions of the Quakers. He was once fined five pounds, which, in those days, represented the ordinary earnings of a man for a whole year.
Both Daniel and Stephen supported the religious freedom of the new Quaker religion and suffered greatly under the Quaker persecution. The constant fines had come to the point where he was afraid of losing his homestead. In order to escape that fate, he had his estate probated during his lifetime and given to his children. Under an old English law a man might be declared legally dead by the courts. This event has caused much confusion to family historians ever since.
The Quaker persecutions ceased by the order of King Charles in 1662, and thereafter Daniel and Stephen Wing, with their fellow Quakers, assumed their old places in the public affairs of the colony, although it was not until 1675 that the town of Sandwich voted to record the names as among those with "just rights and privileges of the town." The Plymouth Court already had restored Daniel's citizenship in 1669 and appointed him as one of two official surveyors of the highways. For the fact that Daniel, in his will made thirty-nine years after his "legal death", left the bulk of his property to his younger children, all born after the episode of 1659, it is inferred that his older children continued to enjoy the fruits of his first acquired estate.
After defending the Quakers both Daniel and Stephen Wing became Quakers. They were very active members at the first Quaker Meeting House in North America.
The Quaker Meeting House established in 1657, is the oldest continous Quaker meeting house in North America. It consists of congregations in Sandwich, in West Falmouth and in Yarmouth. This meeting house, the third on this site, was built in 1810.
I knew about this relation who was a Mayflower passenger for many years. I was not aware of the many Cook descendants who resided in Provincetown until I saw the displays at the Provincetown Museum. I was quite surprised to see that many of the Cooks remained in the area and “played a prominent role in Provincetown’s whaling fortunes and subsequently the town’s fortunes.”