AN UNTOLD STORY

From the Stump to the Statue

reported by Neil Wright on September 9th 2019

A symposium was held in Boston, Lincolnshire at the Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre on Saturday, September 7th to address the role of Boston (Lincs) in the foundation of the USA, and in particular the role of people from Boston, and elsewhere in Lincolnshire, in the founding of Boston (Mass) and the colony of Massachusetts Bay in New England in the 1630s.   The inspiration for the symposium and much of the organisation of the event was by Richard Austin, BEM, a former Mayor of Boston (Lincs), who was assisted by many other people.

The Symposium Chairman was Dr. Jonathan Foyle, an author of seven books on historic architecture, presenter of several series on BBC television, and a former Chief Executive of the British office of the World Monuments Fund.

There were three speakers, of whom two came from the USA.

Barry Arthur Cotton is the 7th great-grandson of the Rev. John Cotton, the Puritan Patriarch of New England.   Barry has served as National Chairman and President of the Winthrop Society is a Trustee of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons and has authored articles for the Winthrop Journal and the Mayflower Quarterly.

Eve LaPlante is a direct descendant of Anne Hutchinson and John Cotton with degrees from Princeton and Harvard.   She has published articles, essays, and five non-fiction books, including American Jezebel, the story of the colonial heretic and founding mother Anne Hutchinson.   LaPlante’s second ancestor biography, Salem Witch Judge, won the 2008 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction.

Neil Richard Wright has been researching and writing books and articles on the history of Boston (Lincs) since the 1960s.   He has published 17 books, many about the history of Boston, and over 50 articles.   He is a past Chairman of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology and a Trustee of the Partnership of the Historic Bostons.   He has visited Boston (Mass) several times in recent years and has given talks at some Charter Day events (which mark the foundation of Boston (Mass) in 1630).

The Symposium was a sell-out success with all 224 seats in the theatre being taken.   The theatre was built in the 1960s and the front of house facilities are located in the remains of part of the Dominican Friary which was built in the 13th century, hence the name of the theatre.   Blackfriars went through a difficult patch about ten years ago but is now flourishing.

The Symposium began about 10 am with a welcome and introduction by Jonathan Foyle.

The first contribution was an illustrated presentation by Neil Wright, describing the natural, architectural and cultural environment of Boston (Lincs) in the 1630s and comparing and contrasting that with the situation in Massachusetts when the immigrants from England arrived there.   In referring to the Puritan culture of old Boston at that time he described how that had arisen, and referred to some of the people involved in both Bostons.

Barry Cotton then spoke on “Leading Men of the two Puritan Bostons”, describing their role in the companies created to facilitate immigration to the New World, and the involvement of other prominent figures including the Earls of Warwick and Lincoln, the Dowager Countess of Lincoln, John Winthrop, and Ferdinando Gorges.   He indicated the origins of some of the 166 people who went from the wider Boston area to New England in the Great Migration of the 1630s and ‘40s, and showed the dominance that the men from old Boston had in the new Boston for the first 60 or so years.   Barry enjoys sharing his information and I hope much will appear in his forthcoming books on John Cotton and the Boston Men.

Before the lunch break, Jonathan Foyle officially launched a new book on the history of Boston (Lincs), entitled “Boston – The small town with a big story”.   It contains fifty-five contributions from numerous authors, including Eve LaPlante, Barry Cotton, and Neil Wright, dealing with aspects of Boston’s history from 1066 to the 21st century.   It is well illustrated with many pictures of Boston past and present.   The numerous authors appeared on stage for a group photograph and many signed copies of the books that were for sale during the day.

The lunch arrangements ran very smoothly.   The attendees went from the theatre through the garden of Fydell House (1726) into the side entrance of the Guildhall (c.1390) where they each picked up a box filled with selected delicious items, and could also get a drink.   They then demonstrated their ingenuity in finding places to sit and eat their lunch in the garden or the Guildhall.   We were very lucky to have good weather, sunny and not too cold.

After lunch, everyone returned to the theatre for the final talk, an inspiring address by Eve LaPlante on her ancestor Anne Hutchinson.   Hutchinson came from Alford in Lincolnshire, and many times made the long journey on horseback with some of her family to hear John Cotton preach in Boston (Lincs).   She then followed him to America and her knowledge and ability as a midwife made her a respected member of society.   Hutchinson’s ability to interpret the sermons she heard and to discuss them with the women of the new colony, and later with many men, made her a controversial figure, a heretic, and she was eventually driven out of Massachusetts.   She then co-founded the colony of Rhode Island which adopted a more tolerant approach to freedom of religion, as later reflected in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Jonathan Foyle questions Neil Wright, Barry Cotton & Eve LaPlante

There then followed a Question Time session, chaired by Jonathan Foyle, when the three speakers responded to questions from the audience.   The first question was, “how should Boston prepare to commemorate the migration of 1630 in 2030?”   Several ideas were suggested, including some from the audience.   It is not too soon to start to prepare for that event, and perhaps a few people with a particular interest could take a lead in preparing for it in the original Boston.   The creation of a Heritage Centre, and perhaps a genealogy centre, were possibilities.   It would be necessary to try to make young people aware of this important period in the history of both Bostons’.   Young people are concerned about global warming and the environment, so they might respond to the matter of how settlers reacted to the new environment they encountered in the New World.

The Symposium finished at  3pm, and attendees then had the chance to join one of three tours.   One group went to visit the original building of Boston Grammar School (1567), which inspired John Cotton to found the Boston Latin School (which still flourishes) in the new Boston in the 1630s.   A small group went to look at Shodfriars, a 15th-century half-timbered building with an 1877 addition, which it is hoped will be restored in the near future and made available for public use, such as, perhaps, a visitor centre or cultural centre.   The third option was a guided tour of historic sites within Boston.

The Symposium and the new book are both intended to make old Boston’s history better known, and thereby to attract more tourists to the area.   They should also help to inspire people to start to prepare for the events in 2030 to commemorate the foundation of the new Boston.  It had been commented that the information on display at Tattershall Castle, run by the National Trust, suggested that nothing important had happened there in the 17th century.   As that was the home of the Earl of Lincoln, who was actively involved and whose sister Arbella gave her name to the flagship of the Winthrop fleet, we need to try to persuade the National Trust that it needs to remedy that omission in its literature and to prepare for the Castle to become involved in the 2030 celebrations.

Representatives of the Boston Borough Council and the Board of Blackfriars

On the evening of 7th September, a Symposium dinner was held at the Boston and County Club, located just off Wide Bargate.   About one hundred people attended, including His Worship Councillor Anton Dani, Mayor of Boston, and Councillor Tony Bridges, Chairman of Lincolnshire County Council.   An excellent meal was served, and many toasts were made and drunk before Jonathan Foyle gave an excellent impromptu after-dinner talk.   Neil Wright attended as his alter ego, Sandra Lezinsky, in a strappy, glittery, yellow full-length dress, and had conversations with many people who said how excellent the whole day had been.   I hope that this enthusiasm will lead to attendees spreading the word of the umbilical connection between the two Bostons, and help to prepare for 2030.

40 YEARS AGO: Iran Part One

Pan AmForty years ago this week, a Pan Am 747, staffed by an all-volunteer crew, landed in Tehran to evacuate us to Frankfurt, Germany.

Though Khomeini guaranteed safe passage for foreigners wanting to leave Iran, all regularly scheduled flights in and out of Iran had been canceled. Fortunately, Pan Am and their voluntary crew risked flying into the heart of a Revolution to get us out.

We had been held up in the Tehran Hilton for three or four days after arriving in a bus convoy from Isfahan 280 miles south of Tehran. US and Canadian Embassies coordinated evacuation flights from the Tehran Hilton while the Islamic Guard provided ‘security.’ Word was that the Communist Youth Movement that helped Khomeini to power realized they were being betrayed and were attempting to attack the Tehran Hilton. A lot of windows had been shot out on the lower floors of the hotel and machine gun positions were placed around the hotel.

PalestinianMost members of the Islamic Guard had been street cleaners or taxi drivers before the revolution. They lacked discipline or any understanding of how to handle firearms. As a result, they were more of a safety hazard than security. It wasn’t until we arrived at the Tehran airport that we saw any real disciplined military. These paramilitary forces, however, wore distinctive black and white keffiyeh and must have been Shia PLO because Hezbollah did not exist until 1985. Perhaps more significant than the black and white keffiyeh were their prominent Arab noses.

By the time we boarded the Pan Am flight, we had been searched dozens of times. Even when seated on the plane, paramilitary with AK-47s in black & white keffiyeh walked up and down the aisles for one last passport check. The barrel of an AK47 caught my cheek as one of them passed by. I froze. Fearing any movement might provoke violence, I endured the gouging. Five minutes later, we were in the air. A loud cheer reverberated throughout the cabin and the crew broke out the booze.

FOURTH OF JULY REFLECTIONS 2017

He is gone the veteran is no more

Come drop a grateful tear

The love of God to call his (home?)

While he resided here

In that blessed faith through life he (persevered?)

And died without a fear.

On the Fourth of July 2017, I reflect on my 3rd great-grandfather, Lt. John Cotton, who was the son of Colonel Theophilus Cotton. Lt. John Cotton was a veteran of the American Revolution and the first of his line to move west.

After the Northwest Territory was ceded to the United States at the Treaty of Fort McIntosh in 1785, the Ohio Company purchased one million acres of land along the Ohio River and a number of families from New England migrated to Ohio in 1787.  One of the first families to settle Ohio was Nathaniel Little, his wife Keziah Atwood/Adams, his daughter Lucy and Lucy’s husband Lieutenant John Cotton, who served with Nathaniel Little in the War of Revolution.

The marriage of John Cotton and Lucy Little linked two of the oldest and most distinguished families of Old Plymouth Colony.  Lucy Little is descended from Richard Warren, Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact.  And, Lieutenant John Cotton is descended from Rev. John Cotton, who fled England in 1633 to escape trial by Charles I for being puritan.

John Cotton’s father, Colonel Theophilus Cotton, was head of the Plymouth Militia and the Plymouth Sons of Liberty. Together with his father, John helped the cause of the American Revolution well over a year before the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. In April 1775, he was appointed Quarter Master under his father, Col. Theophilus Cotton and served for about 8 months, assisting George Washington to organize the Continental Army. In January 1776, he was reassigned to Ensign Elija Crother’s Company under Col. John Barbey. Then in December 1776, he was reassigned to Col. Baily’s Regiment and, in January 1777, was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to Col. Rufus Putnam’s Regiment. Finally, in 1778, his commission transferred to Gen. John Nixen, under whom he served as Quartermaster.

Lt. John Cotton retired his commission in 1780 and recorded his intentions to marry Lucy Little, the daughter of Captain Nathaniel Little, whom he served with under Colonel Rufus Putnam. The two were married in Plymouth, MA on August 28, 1780, and moved west to Ohio with Lucy’s parents and siblings in 1787. They settled first in Belpre, Ohio and later moved to Youngstown, Ohio, he died on February 1st, 1831 at the ripe old age of 85. He and his wife, Lucy are buried next to each other in “The Cotton Cemetery” in Youngstown, Ohio.

 

LANCASHIRE CONNECTIONS

 

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Members of Family 11 of the Cotton DNA Project include the surnames COTTON, COTTAM AND COTHAM. The Cotton surname has been proven back to Roland Cotton born London, England 1558. The Cottam surname shows a lineage back to St. Michael on Wyre, Lancashire, England to a Thomas Cottam circa 1740 and a William Cottam born 1779.

The Cotton DNA Project attempts to bridge genealogical proofs with DNA Test results. Fortunately for Family 11, the Cotton surname genealogical proof has been confirmed by a large number of prestigious lineage and hereditary societies. In addition, the Family DNA Big Y test is the most extensive DNA test available. Shown above in yellow highlight, the Cotton line’s placement has been further defined several more subclades or subgroupings under Haplogroup R-ZZ7. To my surprise, a link between the Cottam and the Cotton surnames has been revealed in results of my recent Big Y Test and is displayed on the Big Tree .

The subclade DYS435=12 groups the Cotton line solidly with the Irish Sea or Leinister Modality as the group is dominated by Z16430 and the Clan O’Byrne. The Byrne family is named after the King of Leinster “Braen mac Máelmórda”, who was deposed in 1018. However,  along with the Clan Byrne subclade Z16430 is the subclade BY2573 containing a Byrne ,two Singletons and a Cotton (me). Further research seems to indicate that the Singletons took their name from the Lancashire township of Singleton. Later, in the early 12th Century,  a Singleton purchased land in the nearby township of Cottam and took the surname “de Cottam”. As a result, it seems that a potential nexus of historical and DNA data exists showing that Cottam and Cotton surnames derive from the Singleton family of Lancashire early in the 14th century.

“The Lancashire Chartulary, Series XX. Charter No. II (A.D. 1153-1160 Stephen to Henry II) shows the confirmation of William Warren, Count of Mortain, to Ughtred, son of Huck de Singleton, of the village of Broughton in Amounderness. “ A note by the Chetham Society, XXX. Page 5, in their Latin comments about the Charter state, “Broctun, now Broughton, in the parish of Preston, was assessed to Danegeld in 1066 as on teamland, and was a member of Earl Tostig’s great manor of Preston in Amounderness. Hucca or Uck is the Anglo-Saxon Hoc, a tribal name retained in the place name “Hucking”. The individual so named in the charter seems to have been the successor of the preconquest thane or drengh of Broughton, and Singleton. He was the ancestor of the Singleton family, which with its various offshoots at one time held estates in Amounderness. Ughtred, son of Huck, is frequently mentioned in charters and other records of the time of Henry II. At Michaelmas, 23 Henry II, 1177, he rendered account at the Treasury of 5 marks to have the King’s confirmation or warranty of land which he held by the gift of Geoffrey de Valoiness…” Based on this charter and the notes of the Chetham Society, the following lineage has been established.⁠1

Huck (Ecke) de Singleton (lived about 1125)

Ughtred (Uctred) de Singleton (lived about 1153)

Robert de Singleton (lived about 1180)

Richard de Cottam (lived about 1204)

Richard, son of Robert, owned land in the village of Cottam and thus changed his surname to conform to the common practice “of being from a place” i.e. Robert de Singleton and Richard de Cottam.  (Pipe Roll, No. 71, m.I.) From the Cockersand Chartulary it appears that Richard de Cottam was son of Robert, son of Ughtred, who was brother of Richard de Singleton (1180-1212)⁠1  Geoffrey de Glazebrook and Edith his wife in 1227 released to Richard de Cottam an oxgang of land in Bilsborrow; Final Conc. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), i, 47. He is believed to be the Richard son of Robert who granted land to Cockersand Abbey (Chartul. [Chet. Soc] i, 269), Robert being son of Uctred and brother of Richard de Singleton, also benefactors of the abbey; ibid. 264, 268. John de Cottam was plaintiff in 1304 and William de Cottam defendant in the following year; De Banco R. 152, m. 22 d.; 155, m. 144. William de Cottam was again defendant in 1311; ibid. 184, m. 23 d. He contributed to the subsidy of 1332; Exch. Lay Subs. (Rec. Soc. Lancs, and Ches.), 60. Sir Adam de Hoghton (as guardian of Thomas the heir of Sir Adam Banastre) gave Adam de Singleton the wardship of John son and heir of John de Cottam of Bilsborrow, the tenure being of Banastre by knight’s service; Dods. MSS. cxlix, fol. 118. The Cottams then fall into obscurity, but from a pleading of 1570 it appears that in the time of Henry IV Richard son of William Cottam married Margaret daughter of John de Fleetwood and then had land in Bilsborrow settled on him. The descent continues: s. Oliver -s. Richard -s. John -s. Richard -sons Richard (who had a son John), Nicholas and Henry. Henry’s daughter Elizabeth married Christopher Parkinson, and these were plaintiffs in 1570, Joan Topping, widow, being defendant; Pal. of Lanc. Plea R. 228, m. 10 d. The duchy rent was claimed by the king’s bailiff in 1522; Ducatus Lanc. (Rec. Com.), i, 212.⁠4

† Geoffrey de Cottam

† John de Cottam

Richard de Cottam

Writ dated at Westminster, June 10th, 21st year of Edward I (1293), directed to the sheriff of Lancaster and his coroners, reciting the same terms as the previous writ (No. LXXI) the petition of the venerable father R. Bishop of Coventre and Lichfield respecting the lands and chattels of Richard de Cotton, clerk, which had been taken into the King’s hands owing to a charge against the said Richard, of the death of William le Paumere, and directing the sheriff to make inquiry as to the said Richard’s conversation and reputation….. By the oath of 12 free and liege men of the neighborhood of Amundernesse, who say that Richard de Cotton is of good and honest conversation and of good report nor was he ever a public or notorious malefactor except for the death of William le Paumere of which he was accused (arectatus) before the Justices in the last year at Lancaster, of which he afterwards solely vindicated (expurgavit) his innocence.⁠5

† John de Cottam (lived about 1344)

SOURCES

1 Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.

2 Farrer, William, and J Brownbill. The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster, 1908

Singleton, Sam, Singleton Family Association. A History of John Singleton of American Fork, Utah, His Ancestors and Descendants, Spanish Fork, Utah: JMart Publishing Company, 1973.

Cheshire, Record Society of Lancashire and. Record Society for the Publication of Original Documents Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire, 1903.

Ibid.

DISCOVERING OUR ROOTS

In a 2014 article in Time Magazine opinion article Gregory Rodriquez says that genealogy is nearly as popular as pornography as Americans obsessed with their ancestry has spawned a billion-dollar cottage industry. ABC News Good Morning America reports that genealogy is now a $1.6 billion hobby. The obsession with ancestry helps explain the popularity of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” which is hosted by noted Harvard scholar, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

So what explains our obsession with our roots?

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.47.43 AMI am not a genealogy “geek” although I have met plenty of them. In America there are hundreds of ancestral lineage societies that people with proven genealogies aspire to. Perhaps the best know is the Daughters of the American Revolution or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants. Many people I have encountered in my search for the past were obsessed with linking their line to British or European royalty. Online one can find many family trees that link back to ancient Rome.

To my mind, our obsession with our family roots is rooted in our rootlessness. We are out of touch, disconnected and fragmented by modern life. We no longer live in tight-knit family units or tribes. We no longer tell stories of our ancestors around the camp fire.

Honestly, how many of us know what tribe we descend from?

National Geographic’s Genographic Project using simple DNA swabs from people around the world has tested 150,000 DNA markers to trace the emergence and migration of mankind.