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My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Poem for Bill West's Sixth Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge


My entry for Bill West's Sixth Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge was found by accident while researching John Taylor, my 9th great-grandfather. **See below for an update pertaining to a second ancestor.

I was using one of my favorite sources, which I simply call Dawes-Gates. This is a series of two huge volumes, one for the Dawes line, the other for the Gates. Within my first weeks of researching my many New England lines, somebody at the DAR pointed me to the books. They are completely sourced and are available several places online. (See below for specific information.*)

In Vol. 2 : 786, I read the following about John Taylor of Windsor, Connecticut:

"This will was not probated until September 6, 1694, when it was presented by John who was made administrator.Nothing is found of record about John subsequent to the signing of his will subsequent to the signing of his will. The statement is made that he was lost at sea and the amazing delay in the probate of his will suggests that uncertainty existed in the minds of his family as to whether he was really dead or only cast away or imprisoned. The belief exists, and it is often stated as a fact, that he was one of about seventy who embarked in the vessel made famous by Longfellow's poem, 'The Phantom Ship,' which sailed from New Haven, Connecticut, the middle of January, 1645-6, a few weeks after the date of the above will. This tradition seems more likely to be true than most such tales, though no complete list of the passengers is known."

Because Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem about the Phantom Ship, I decided to make it my entry for the 2014 Genealogy Challenge. The poem was located on the Maine Historical Society Website.

"In Mather's Magnalia Christi,
  Of the old colonial time,
May be found in prose the legend
  That is here set down in rhyme.

A ship sailed from New Haven,
  And the keen and frosty airs,
That filled her sails at parting,
  Were heavy with good men's prayers.

"O Lord! if it be thy pleasure"--
  Thus prayed the old divine--
"To bury our friends in the ocean,
  Take them, for they are thine!"

But Master Lamberton muttered,
  And under his breath said he,
"This ship is so crank and walty
  I fear our grave she will be!"

And the ships that came from England,
  When the winter months were gone,
Brought no tidings of this vessel
  Nor of Master Lamberton.

This put the people to praying
  That the Lord would let them hear
What in his greater wisdom
He had done with friends so dear.

And at last their prayers were answered:--
  It was in the month of June,
An hour before the sunset
  Of a windy afternoon,

When, steadily steering landward,
  A ship was seen below,
And they knew it was Lamberton, Master,
  Who sailed so long ago.

On she came, with a cloud of canvas,
  Right against the wind that blew,
Until the eye could distinguish
  The faces of the crew.

Then fell her straining topmasts,
  Hanging tangled in the shrouds,
And her sails were loosened and lifted,
  And blown away like clouds.

And the masts, with all their rigging,
  Fell slowly, one by one,
And the hulk dilated and vanished,
  As a sea-mist in the sun!

And the people who saw this marvel
  Each said unto his friend,
That this was the mould of their vessel,
  And thus her tragic end.

And the pastor of the village
  Gave thanks to God in prayer,
That, to quiet their troubled spirits,
  He had sent this Ship of Air."

*  Dawes-Gates ancestral lines. A memorial volume ... compiled by Mary Walton Ferris.
http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/005730222

** After this was posted, I received a comment from a reader who told me that her ancestor, Thomas Gregson was also on this disastrous vessel. Thomas was also my ancestor, my 9th great-grandfather, so it appears I had two who died during this voyage.

3 comments:

Bill West said...

Great story, Barbara! Narrative poetry like Longfellow's poetry is a lost art. They are great sources of information for us.

Thanks for taking part in the Challenge!

Barbara Poole said...

My 9th great-grandfather, Thomas Gregson, an early settler of New Haven, was also lost on that "phantom ship" memorialized by Longfellow.

I enjoy your blog. We have a couple of families in common. And I am a big Neil Diamond fan!

Jean Seeley Richards

Barbara Poole said...

Bill, I look forward to this every year, so the thanks go to you. I have next years all planned. Easy, since my ancestor is the first female poetess in America, Anne Bradstreet.

Jean, thank you for your comment, and I need to change my post a bit, and add Thomas Gregson, since he is my ancestor as well. Guess we are distant cousins!