Monday, March 12, 2018

so to you puritan scholars out there, let me introduce myself. i was named after the first two leveretts in america, thomas and john, and started out studying them before i tried to figure out exactly how we are related. there is a gap in the genealogy, right in the late 1600's, which i will get to later, but just while i was trying to figure out who thomas and john were, i ran up against the late 1600's, and voila, there's this huge boston witch trial in there, with our friend cotton mather right in the middle of it.

now thomas and john had come over on the same boat as john cotton, and had settled in the same boston with the cottons, and the dudleys, and the bellinghams, and the hutchinsons, and a few other noteworthy families. all were from boston lincolnshire, and ended up in boston massachusetts. no sooner did they arrive than their community was torn up by the anne hutchinson controversy, but the leveretts, after our guy was governor, and quite a big and powerful guy, tended to go underground in the late 1600's as his son had absolutely nothing written about him at all, except that he was a "rather indifferent character." he, however, had a son who was to become president of harvard.

now in this mix comes the cottons. john cotton made his big mistake by turning anne hutchinson out of the colony, for being strong, or a woman, or powerful, or whatever. he sided with the forces of puritan orthodoxy. in the boston witch trial his grandson cotton mather allowed the local puritans to hang an old irish washerwoman, in 1688, fifty years later.. in salem four years after that, the salem witch trials began. john leverett, grandson of the governor and son of the indifferent character, and cotton mather were by now rivals, and this especially showed up at harvard, where john was entrenched, having worked there, and having liberalized the place, whereas increase, who had been president, really would rather have made it more of a divinity-type puritan place. john did not approve of the witch trials, but, being at harvard, had less say over what the local boston authorities chose to do. cotton wanted to replace him as president of harvard; they were a little upset at his reign. harvard was never to go back to its puritan ways.

i write this because i keep coming up with more and more. the dudleys also, old bostonians, were in the middle of it. it all makes such a good story that i want to simply make a book, rather than a genealogy. perhaps i'll make both.

here's the essence of the gap. this indifferent character had his first son john, another son thomas who became the barber of boston, then remarried and slipped off into obscurity in boston, after the father's death in 1679. leverett genealogists somehow figured he had a son out there who was somehow not noticed even after the death of the father and the fact that john and this thomas the barber guy were the only male heirs.

but, besides hudson, john the governor also had six daughters, and they all had interesting stories, and slipped off into the same oblivion that poor hudson was occupying. the city of boston was convulsing in the kind of fear that would make you hang a washerwoman for simply making kids act bonkers. one can imagine how one of these daughters were to feel if she, for example, had a son out of wedlock with someone. and, as it turns out, this is probably possible, and is an angle that i will pursue. because, it is well known, and often said, that we are related to the governor, though not the president of harvard (who had only daughters, but had a much more public life than any of john's daughters, or hudson the indifferent). all of these folks were knocking around in the boston of the late 1600's, when cotton mather was railing about the works of satan being shown in the hysteria of local people come unhinged.

not that that's ever happened to anyone i know.

and by the way, i use all small letters, to signify the informality of just talking, just writing for my own benefit here. i am not proclaiming the absolute truth here as sometimes i find myself wrong later on, and don't even go back to correct the blather. i read, i think, i get my ideas down here, it's like i'm talking to you. this whole blog is full of this stuff. but here i am, out there, pulling this stuff together, and it makes a good story, if nothing else. those too were interesting times. eventually i'll come to the one who walked out of maine, and headed for the wilds of quincy illinois where, lo and behold, they were kicking out the mormons. but this guy, by this time, was a farmer. no use for that city lifestyle, of getting involved in public discourse and local politics. within a couple of generations, they had given up the city altogether, and had even given up going to town to mix in on public questions like what to do with the mormons' bell. that would be the same one that ended up out in iowa, on mormon trek road, and i'll just say now, all that story will come out later, i hope. chou.


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