Saturday, March 03, 2018

it's a fascinating story and i get drawn into it repeatedly. my ancestors picked up and moved from boston lincolnshire to boston massachusetts in 1633. the guy i was named after, thomas, was a puritan gentleman and friend of john cotton's. in the new world they settled in downtown boston, with a farm in muddy river (what is now brookline) and went about life. he put his 16 year old son, john, in the boston latin school, founded in 1635, and he graduated that same year. now that's kind of fishy for several reasons. one, he was already two years in the new world, and had started doing other things. there was no harvard yet (it was to follow in a year or two), so we can presume his education was just temporary, if he had any at all.

the tutor who he was assigned to, philemon, ran off with Wainwright, a follower of anne hutchinson, to become the founder of exeter new hampshire. anne, as you might know, was banished from the colony along with others, for being a little too fanatical. it's hard to discern where the leveretts stood on this issue. my sense is that they were deeply involved in the hiring of philemon, perhaps less so in the hiring of whoever followed, and that, since hutchinson was a neighbor, they were right in the thick of it, whatever they felt.

so john goes out and joins the artillery, and starts a life of business which is to include owning ships (losing one off the coast of virginia), owning and selling lots of land, and becoming governor of the colony. he was a kind of high-profile character; once he got started, he was all over the place, representing massachusetts in england, hocking this king or that, coming back, becoming deputy governor and then governor. but when his son was born in 1640, to hannah, daughter of the draper who was their neighbor and family friend, co-founder of the school, no sign of the son, hudson, being in the school at all. the son was born in 1640; if the school indeed taught kids of all ages, from five on up to eighteen, you'd think he'd be in there 1645-1663 or thereabouts, or maybe somebody noticed that he'd dropped out, or caused a scandal, or whatever, but instead, no sign, like he's been expunged from the books. and maybe he has. it's a mystery.

the odd thing is, his son, another john, who was to go on to become president of harvard, is all over those books. he entered. he graduated. he gave a speech. he did everything. hudson, for some reason, put his son in the school, but not himself.

it's a mystery, perhaps not to be solved. i'll try my best. i suspect philemon, for some reason. you leave those latin scholars at home alone with a young boy, and, you never know. i've had an instinctual gut hatred for latin from the beginning, and now i find all these ancestors who were deep into it. they wrote a catechisme. they wrote "leverett's latin grammar," or some such thing. i should like latin. instead i like languages, and hate latin. and don't really know why. it's like an echo in my soul that has been passed along. there is some bad experience back there, and i'd like to get to the bottom of it.

hudson, somehow, was damaged for life. didn't join the church, didn't even write it down when he had children. didn't live with the ones he had. came into the record books only when he was selling his father's considerable property. he had one son who turned out well, very well, perhaps brought up by the grandparents. one doesn't know about these things, where were they, actually, and who covered for him when he fell? not sure. by the time he died he owed money, in spite of all the money he was given. and they brought him back, to put him in the family grave, with his mother and grandparents, right there at that little cemetery in downtown boston.


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