Saturday, September 28, 2019

ipswich mary was a certain mary leverett, who lived in ipswich massachusetts in 1713, and married one jonathan moulton, who already had three children. those who tried to figure out where she was born, or from, were unsuccessful; that includes me. but if we accept the general truism that the puritan migration from england to boston had virtually stopped, and that therefore most of the leveretts in the colony were ours, then i suspected that she was one of ours. i in fact had lost track of a mary, in boston, in the late 1680's. i had said she disappeared. i had no clue what happened to her, or even if she was real.

back in the 1680's, hudson leverett's wife had died, and he married another, one who like him didn't join the church, and we lost track of some people. in 1692 he claimed that he had two, thomas and mary; we know that thomas became a barber and eventually had a son, knight. her father mentioned only thomas as if mary was not his grandchild. by that i might infer that mary was by his first wife, and that thomas was by his second. i wouldn't be alone in that inference, nor the first one who wondered. but if there was a mary, as well as a thomas, i had lost her trail. i didn't know where she lived, when she had died, whether she had children.

i told my son about ipswich mary. he was visiting from chicago, and he was impressed. of course, he had seen quite a bit upon arriving; i'd picked him up in el paso, bathed in sun, staring idly at mexico, shiny cars and big traffic. the vast desert between here and there, and then, high green mountain pastures, pines and aspens, golden trees, deer and elk. he went to see our horses; i took him to a waterfall. i also walked with him, back into the canyon, where an old deer skeleton marks a place where canyons come together, a place that has to be an ancient site, and we talked and enjoyed a stunningly beautiful fall day.

so i was telling him about my research into family members. ipswich mary was a special mystery. here's this woman, she finds her way up to ipswich, which is near salem, and, the witch trials were what, 1692, twenty years before she got married. i figure, if she was his second marriage, he was probably her second. people did that back then; if they had been left a single parent by death of a spouse, they found someone in a similar condition, and married. that way, one could be the man, and bring home food, and the other could be the woman, and cook and stay home. it was all very gender-divided, i assume, but it worked, and that was a common pattern. so i looked for her first marriage, but, no luck. and, children, that she could have brought into it. no luck. she's an enigma. and, to top it all off, how did she find her way from boston (if she's ours) up to ipswich? surely not attracted by the witch trials.

at one point, i took my son to the bluff springs waterfall. this is a place of stunning beauty, about 8700 feet in the mountains, like cloudcroft itself, high in the mountains. the water comes down out of a spring in the high mountain, and then careens over a bluff as a waterfall, with fall colors everywhere. it's not a huge falls, with tons of water, but it's a pure one, because the water in it comes right out of the mountain. a steep little climb, and you get to the top, and you are in the high mountains of remote southern new mexico.

back to ipswich. still no idea about this woman. she helped raise jonathan moulton's children. we don't know about her children; one of them could be ours. don't know why she had to leave boston. but an odd thing: a relative, president of harvard, had a daughter mary. and this daughter, in cambridge, associated with this president and all, was to herself marry a captain, a prominent man, and move to ipswich, only later. her husband was Captain Dennison, and she married in maybe 1726, a little later, not sure about the date. in any case her daughter was to marry a saltonstall, and these were wealthy people, who were able to save a number of family papers and such. everntully, i believe, leverett saltonstall came from this family, and quite a bit of fame. you get a lot of hits on that mary; she was mary leverett dennison. mary leverett had actually come before her: come to ipswich before her, and lived in complete obscurity.

my son and i huffed and puffed up the steep trail to the top of the mountain, or near the top, where the stream came trickling out of the mountain itself. my street shoes were slippery in the mud. but i stooped down, and drank some of the water. a ritual, a principle. if it comes out of the mountain, it hasn't been touched by cows, and it's by nature drinkable. that's what i figure. anyway i survived to tell the tale, at least so far. and, it was delicious. fresh mountain stream water, right out of the mountain. we're in the southwest, i told him. most rivers don't even have water. even the rio grande, you can't see water, unless it really rains hard. most of the rivers are dry. you find a stream, or a waterfall, or even a river of some kind, with real water, it's something to celebrate. and i celebrated.

i'm on the trail of ipswich mary. she's an enigma, and i may just not find much more about her. no idea, how she'd get from boston to ipswich, around the time of the witch trials. no other family members around, or any other good reasons, that i've found. the women often didn't write stuff down, and records were simply lost.


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