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This page contains:  Class divisions   Puritanism in New England   Who was the Kimball?   Madeline's obituary     Yankee Empire    William Kimball Wight's diary   From the Wight book   Madeline's ashes    John Wight's two wives    Wight of Hareby   Story of School Fire           

Class divisions
I have been looking at information on the ancestors of the Abel family. Previously I wrote something about the European aristocracy and their relationship to the Puritan New Englanders and this included information on the Abel family as well as the Cotton, Post and Hyde families. This time, in looking at this family, I kept thinking about class.
Class in England is a very particular thing. It has an element of money to it but that is not the primary about money – it is about accent, attitude, education and breeding. When one Englishman meets another, they immediately determine the other person's class and the treat them accordingly. People can not only identify most regional accents but can also identify the strata – not just Yorkshire but whether rich farmer, rural laborer, industrial worker etc. Class in England is a prejudice that goes as deep as race in America or religion in Ireland. It was once absolute and rigid but has softened and transformed over the last 1000 years, but it is still there with a real edge. The source of this brand of class is the Norman invasion. It was once about money (well, land really) but it became about breeding and finally about education. This class was transferred to North American with the very earliest settlers in New England and the South. After a few generations, the breeding became much less important than the money. But it appears that the marriage of my grandparents was the first time that the Wights or the Eastmans marriage outside the circle of families springing from the early New Englanders – there was a marriage to a mixed source Pennsylvanian family, the Krewsons. The Wights and others came to America with the English class attitudes of the time and kept those attitudes for several generations. What are the deep, deep roots of 'class'?
Normans:
It is said of the Vikings that they robbed and plundered if they could. If that was not possible in some places then they conquered and settled. And if that was not possible they engaged in trade. Some Vikings settled in Northwest France and became known as the Normans. From there they conquered southern Italy, the British Isles, Mediterranean islands, the Holy Land, and they became important mercenary armies in Spain and Byzantium. (the Vikings that settled in Russia did not come through Normandy and some came to Britain directly but we are only interested here in the Normans).
From Geoffrey Malaterra we have: “Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, that is, perhaps uniting, as they certainly did, these two seemingly opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report. They were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the very boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held firmly down by the yoke of justice. They were enduring of toil, hunger, and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, and of all the weapons and grab of war. Their quick adaptability expressed itself in the shrewd Norman willingness to take on local men of talent, to marry the high-born local women; confidently illiterate Norman masters used the literate clerks of the church for their own purposes.” It is interesting that none of the kingdoms that they held became 'Norman' places, the people remained French, English, Irish, Italian etc. This seems to be because the Norman always remained a bit aloof and sparse. Even in Normandy, the bulk of the population spoke French.
In Normandy, they adopted the growing feudal doctrines of the rest of northern France, and worked them, both in Normandy and in England, into a functional hierarchical system. They also adopted the administration and court systems of the Saxons. The Norman warrior class was new and different from the old French aristocracy, many of whom could trace their families back to Carolingian times, while the Normans could seldom cite ancestors before the beginning of the 11th century. Most knights remained poor and land-hungry; by 1066, Normandy had been exporting fighting horsemen for more than a generation. What usually set the Normans apart from the people they lived among and ruled was arrogance and violence.
The Conquest:
Guillaume de Normandie (William the Conqueror) gathered his own Norman knights, knights from France and Scandinavia who wanted land and some English collaborators to invade England. The number of invaders was small, 5000-8000. Families and more knights came later but the numbers were never high, about 1% of the population. The invasion seems in the history books like a quick thing but it took many years to subdue the country. William immediately claimed personal ownership of all England's land and all landholders became his tenants. He took the lands of anyone who had supported King Harold and gave it to his knights as rewards. These initial confiscations led to revolts, which resulted in more confiscations, in a cycle that continued virtually unbroken for five terrible years. Then they became somewhat rarer but where anyone died without heirs, revolted or otherwise disobeyed William, they had their land confiscated and given to others. Daughters and widows that came into possession of land were forced to marry (Normans chosen by the King, of course). The land was given to knights but it was their job to actually subdue it. It was these rewarded knights who actually had to do the conquering of most of England and Wales. William also kept his knights from becoming too powerful by giving them lands in little bits all over the country. Soon the old Saxon nobility was either displaced or assimilated and in 20 years after the conquest there were only two large Saxon landlords left. No other medieval European conquest of Christians by Christians had such devastating consequences for the defeated ruling class.
There were many revolts (Kent, Wales, Mercia, Northumbria etc.) and they were put down with such ferocity that the pope (who was a supporter of William) demanded an explanation. William's ferocious "Harrying of the North" in 1069-1070 had results that were still visible nearly 20 years later at the Domesday survey when estate after estate in Yorkshire is recorded as producing no revenue in 1085, because the land was largely uncultivated waste. Immediately following the campaign it was said that nothing lived between the Humber and the Tees, probably an exageration but still chilling.
The conquest ended with a state of enormous mutual fear and hatred between the common Saxon English and their Norman noble lords. An essential feature of the Norman feudal system was that political and economic relationships rested on personalized power. This contrasts with bureaucratic forms of social organisation, where the location and exercise of power are relatively impersonal, found in institutions rather than with specific individuals. Power in the feudal hierarchy was never far removed from its basis in the use of violence. The Norman aristocracy had gained power through the force of arms, had held on to it in the face of continuing rebellion, and continued to be extremely sensitive to any hint of insubordination.
Separation:
Between 1066 and about 1200, the nobility spoke Norman French and the native English spoke English. There was practically no bilingualism (as seen in the lack of loan words between the languages). When Normandy was lost to the English crown in 1204, Parisian French rather than Norman French became the language of the nobility for the next 100 years. Bilingualism was still weak. Until Normandy was lost, the nobility were often absent landlords, spending much of their time in Normandy and France. Then between 1300 and 1400, bilingualism increased in both nobility and native English, French loan words flooded into English and English because the primary language of the nobility. The reasons for this breakdown of the barriers were: the start of the 100 Years War with France and therefore the strengthening of an English identity, the Black Death that increased the power of ordinary people, and the acceptance of English in courts.
So for about 300 years the nobility in England was separated from the rest of the people, not sharing identity, language, culture and not inter-marrying, very especially not inter-marrying. (The exception being the Saxon women who had estates were married by Normans). The mutual dislike and fear of the other group simply grew during 300 years. Later, even after 800 years the nobility and the gentry were still a people apart from the ordinary population and they controlled the land, church, military, courts, and government. The more important of them made up the House of Lords and the lesser ones supplied the Members of Parliament. They spoke with their own accent rather than their local dialects, their were educated separately and they strictly did not marry outside their group. Because the land holdings were often dispersed, the nobility had very little local identity. They shared a country-wide culture that was restricted to their class while the common people had local cultures. It is only in the last 150 years that ordinary people have started to share power. (But still Eton is the place to go to school if you want to be an important person.)
The gentry:
Breeding was absolutely important to the medieval nobility. But every youngest son of a youngest son of a youngest son could not hold large tracts of land. There was a movement downward from the Norman nobility; there was also a movement upward from the wealthier farmers and townsmen; so there was after a time, a transition group formed between the nobility and the poor commoners. This group did not stay as a transition but took on a character of their own. The wealthy purchased estates from the Tutors during the dissolution of the monasteries. Larger farmers gained land during the enclosures. It is this group that becomes the archetype of the New England settler. They imitated the nobility as much as they could especially in accent, leisure activities, acquiring land, touchiness about insubordination and restricting marriage to their own group. They were also different. The nobility was high-church but the landed gentry tended to be low church or even non-conformist. The nobility was more Tory while the landed gentry was more Whig (especially following laissez-faire capitalism). Very few nobility soiled their hands with commerce or industry and they had very little to do with the towns and cities. These activities were the source of wealth for the gentry but they still valued their land as a token of higher status than money alone would give. They often valued education more than the nobles. They families were as Saxon as they were Norman. The English Civil War was fought behind a screen of high-sounding words - claims of "rights" on either side, claims of religious persecution, claims of God's will. But, in the end, the English Civil War was really about this emergent gentry, grabbing their share of the political action. And these were the people that when thwarted by the establishment, made there way to New England bringing their 'class system' with them. Like the nobility, the landed gentry was very interested in genealogy, keeping good records. The Wight Book and the many similar records are a indication of that interest and in the habit of marrying with 'one's station'.


Puritanism in New England
Puritans in Search of a New Haven: 1630-1668
by ANDY MILLER
Introduction
American historical consciousness has been permeated with the idea that Puritans were religious exiles from England fleeing religious persecution and seeking a place where they could practice their particular brand of Protestantism without fear of persecution or reprisal. There is much to be said for the validity of this time-old story, simplified as it may be. However, like most historical events, this migration was more complex and multidimensional in nature than such a narrative might suggest. The
Puritan’s motivations for emigrating to New England were comprised of push/pull factors that pushed and pulled them to migrate to a relatively unknown part of the world, and these factors continued to influence their lives once they had settled in New England. In fact, what these Puritans were running from may have been secondary in importance to what they were running towards –an envisioned covenant with God to establish a society predicated on religious and moral virtue, which would serve as an example to errant others. This was most famously articulated by the Puritan minister John Winthrop when he said, “We shall be as a city upon a hill, and the eyes of the world will be upon us.”
Moreover, for the Puritan colonists, emigration to New England was not a static movement, not a one-time action, but rather a continual process whereby some Puritans considered further migration within New England as a necessary means to maintain their theocratic cohesion as a community. I do not propose to say that all Puritans continued to migrate once they settled in New England, but a significant number of them did. One such example of a community of migrants was the New Haven Colony. Through a close examination of the Puritans who established the New Haven Colony, a picture emerges of a community that was dynamic, of a people who moved and changed both in terms of identity and location.
Puritan Exodus to New England
“As sure as God is God, God is going from England” –Rev. Thomas Hooker
In the late 1620s and early 1630s the English Puritans began a watershed of emigration to New England. This rate of emigration remained consistently high throughout the 1630s and only ebbed in the mid 1640s with the Civil Wars in England. During the period known as “The Great Migration” of the 1630s and 1640s, some 20,000 Puritan colonists left England to traverse the wide Atlantic Ocean to the wilderness of New England. Leaving the familiarity of their hometowns to exile themselves in the harsh environment of New England had to be a tremendous decision on the part of these people, but they did not look at this venture in the ways that one might expect. The Puritans believed that they were fulfilling their religious calling as God’s “chosen” and simultaneously escaping what they saw as a society that was headed for disastrous social and economic consequences.
Historians have debated whether or not this migration to New England was solely the result of their desire to escape religious persecution, to found a theocratic utopia, or to escape the social and political events that were emerging in England. “Acting on the assumption that happy people do not emigrate, historians have usually begun their histories of the Great Migration by turning to whatever might have made...” people unhappy in England at the time. Understanding the context for such a large exodus of Puritans from England requires an understanding of the socio-political climate in England in the early part of the seventeenth century. I will briefly offer a background as to who these people were, during the period in question, by touching upon not only their religious context, but also what economic factors may have prompted their emigration.
The term “Puritan” is a difficult one to define, as its permutation has evolved since its inception in the late 16th century, and for the purposes of this paper I will avoid developing Puritans in terms of their religious philosophy, but rather concentrate on their general social composite as a community. In England during the reign of Charles, I, (1625-1649) there was a growing segment of the population that believed that the official Anglican Church was headed toward a brand of Protestantism that was overly concerned with and corrupted by ceremony, idolatry, and generally becoming too much like the
Catholic Church, which they disdained. These people who objected to the trajectory of the Anglican Church, known as Puritans, fell into two groups: those who wanted to reform or “purify” the Anglican Church, and those who wanted to separate from it.
King Charles I was vehemently opposed to the Puritan movement. When he appointed William Laud as Bishop of London (1628) and later Bishop of Canterbury (1633) the Puritan reformers and separatists saw that as an obvious step toward Catholicism and away from the Protestant faith. They felt that their religious agency was in danger of being impinged upon if not threatened outright, as they were becoming more and more alienated from the civil and religious leadership of England. In fact, all throughout England in the mid 1630s Puritan ministers were being harassed by the Anglican Church hierarchy.
The Puritan sermons of the time convey a sense that these emigrants were not so much running from religious persecution as they were trying to avoid the cataclysmic events that they believed to be in store for England. Ministers like John Winthrop and John Cotton predicted the impending troubles and downfall of English society, but none was as apocalyptic in nature as Thomas Hooker’s 1631 sermon The Dangers of Desertion. This sermon portrayed the horrors awaiting unfaithful England, and argued that God had made New England “a refuge for his Noahs and his Lots, a rock and a shelter for his righteous ones to run into.”
Concurrent with this religious disenfranchisement and concern for what was to befall England, English Puritans had suffered a very real stretch of economic hardship throughout the 1620s, which may have had equally as much to do with their predisposition towards emigration than did any religious motivation. In the region of East Anglia, where many of the Puritan emigrants of the 1630s were from, the 1620s had witnessed a downturn in their regional economy, which was heavily dependent upon the cloth trade. Compounded with the fact that there had been several outbreaks of plague in London, Norwich, Sandwich, and many other cities in the mid 1630s, one can begin to see a more complex picture as to why there was such a monumental exodus of Puritans to New England during this period. There seems to have been an outward hostility towards these emigrants on the part of the Puritans still in England, charging that the emigrants “had fled from England like mice running from a crumbling house, anticipating its ruin, prudently looking for their own safety, and treacherously giving up the defense of the common cause of the Reformation”.
To look at this Puritan exodus in solely religious terms, as historians have been apt to do for generations, leaves the whole question of economic impetus aside. These push/pull factors worked simultaneously to prompt the Puritan migration to New England, and any “attempt to separate out one cause from another appears not merely hopeless but unhistorical –a badly posed question. ...The traditional either/or dichotomy –either religion or economics –makes no sense.” In fact, among Puritans such a dichotomy would not have even been considered. Their economic or temporal well- being was entrenched in their spiritual well-being. They saw the unprecedented hard times of the 1620s and 1630s as evidence of God’s wrath against England. Again, turning to a sermon of the time, William Gouge’s 1631 sermon, God’s Three Arrows , refers to “plague and famine as being two of the arrows that were afflicting England after the bad harvests of the 1620s.”
Further Migration throughout New England
One aspect of Puritan life in New England that I find most intriguing is that they were a transitory lot, moving from colony to colony, with a majority moving on average between one and three times from their initial place of settlement. This rate of mobility may, in large part, have had to do with concerns such as economic viability, over- crowding in the established colonial settlements, and/or a desire for religious cohesion amidst perceived corruptive influences from other colonists who were less strict in their interpretation of the Puritan ideology. The Puritans of the New Haven colony, who I will
address later in this paper, left Massachusetts and Connecticut to establish their own colony because these former colonies seemed less entrenched in the theocratic principles that were important to these “hard-liners”.
To get a picture of the rate of mobility among the emigrant generation, refer to to the table, which shows that among single men, the rate of mobility for those who moved at least once after settling in New England was at 58.1%, and for single women at 59.1%. For married men, although a bit lower, they still moved at least once at a rate of 47.8 %, while married women moved at 46.9%. The number does drop considerably for those people who moved more than once. Men who moved twice were at 19.8% and women at 14.4 percent. However, in the second generation mobility did not follow this trajectory, and was considerably higher.

Mobility Rates of Emigrants
Moved at Least Once


Number Number who moved Percentage who moved
Female
2298 1236 53.8

unattached minor 3 1 33.3

dependent minor 499 371 74.4

single 22 13 59.1

married 618 290 46.9

widow 15 5 33.3
Male
4062 2181 53.7

unattached minor 65 35 53.9

dependent minor 755 507 67.2

single 346 201 58.1

married 734 351 47.8

widower 15 7 46.7

Number of moves


Females
Males

N % N %
0 1062 46.2 1884 46.4
1 651 28.3 5345 33.1
2 454 19.8 585 14.4
3 101 4.4 175 4.3
4 21 1.0 54 5.3
5 7 0.3 12 0.3
6 2 0.1 7 0.2

Because the family status of all who moved is unknown, the total number of those whose family status is known is not equal to the total number of females or males. The rate of mobility among the second generation (the children of the emigrant generation), which is not listed, further strengthens the argument that the early colonists were a mobile people –especially those of the second generation. “People born in New England before 1650 showed a somewhat greater geographic mobility than did their emigrant predecessors. Well over half of them (56.6%) moved from one town to another at least once.”16 When considering the New Haven Colony this generational shift in mobility offers interesting insights into who moved and begs for further inquiry into why the second generation, in particular, would have been more disposed to move.
For the people of the New Haven Colony examined in this paper, there were at least two movements to be considered: the movement from their initial town of settlement in either Massachusetts or Connecticut to the several towns in the New Haven Colony, and then the movement of a large number of these colonists to Newark, New Jersey in 1666-67. If the above figure and statistics can be used as representative for the people of the New Haven colony, then a clearer picture emerges of who went on to found the colony at Newark, New Jersey. Approximately twenty percent of the Newark founders would have been from the first generation, and the rest would have been from the second generation of those born in New England.
With further study, and a more detailed examination of the individuals who settled in the New Haven Colony and further migrated on to Newark, New Jersey, one might determine whether or not these people were representative of New England colonists in general, or whether they were an exceptional situation. In the time allowed for this study, I was unable to determine whether or not the New Haven colonists followed this statistical norm, or whether they deviated from the norm.
There were two primary routes of migration through Massachusetts to the New Haven Colony: 1) inland, through western Massachusetts, then southward through Connecticut; and 2) seaward around the Cape into the Long Island Sound. The later 1666-67 migration from the New Haven Colony to New Jersey was primarily through the Long Island Sound, along the coast of New York, into the New York Harbor, and ultimately to Newark, New Jersey.
New Haven Colony
For those unfamiliar with the New Haven colony, it was an independent colony on the Connecticut coast during the period of 1638 until its annexation into the Connecticut colony in 1665. During its brief twenty-seven years of existence the New Haven Colony was perhaps the closest manifestation of the Puritan ideal, wherein strict adherence to the Puritan orthodoxy was maintained. Its brief existence supports the fact that change and outside influences such as will be discussed in a later section threatened the theocratic backbone and the very existence of this colony.
The New Haven Colony was a project conceived by a London minister, John Davenport, his friend Theophilus Eaton, and a party of followers who had emigrated with them in 1637 on the ship “The Hector”.18 Upon arrival in New England, they settled in Boston, where they stayed for about a year, but soon decided that they would be economically and spiritually better off forming their own colony. Reverend Davenport and his followers found Boston to be a welcoming place, reuniting with many people they had known back in England, and the people of Boston tried to persuade them to remain as members of their colony. However, the Massachusetts colony was too liberal and lax for their sensibilities, and they desired to form a settlement where they could be free from corruptive influences found in the Massachusetts colony.
When the Davenport party left Boston in 1638 they drew a considerable number of Bostonians as well as people from the outlying towns of Connecticut such as Wethersfield with them. It has been said in various accounts that Rev. Davenport’s reputation, dynamism as a minister, and the prospect of furthering their economic circumstances, inspired these people to leave their familiar surroundings and follow him. Other accounts attribute the internal theological divisions within the Massachusetts colony as a reason for the established colonists to remove with Davenport. One such division was the debate over Anne Hutchinson and her unorthodox ministering. She deeply divided the colonists in Boston, and some were ready to leave Boston for the more orthodox views of Davenport and his community.
Eaton and Davenport chose as a site for their new settlement the Native American village of Quinnipiac, which had recently been abandoned by the natives after the Pequot War of 1637. The land was situated on the Connecticut coast and at the mouth of the Quinnipiac River, which looked promising for trade and economic viability. Davenport negotiated the purchase of the land from the local Native Americans but failed to procure a legal title and charter from the Crown, which would later prove to be a source of controversy for the colony. Nevertheless, in April 1638 Davenport and his followers settled at Quinnipiac and began building their settlement. The exact population of New Haven at its outset is not known for sure, but in 1639 there was a population of seventy “freemen”, or members of the church who were afforded all the privileges of citizenship under the rules of the settlement.
A list of these first New Haven settlers was included in Robert Atwater Smith’s 1902 history of New Haven Colony, which he gleaned from the early town records of New Haven. This list will prove invaluable when attempting to ascertain the origins and mobility rates of the early settlers of New Haven Colony. Within the scope and time allowed for this study, such a detailed exploration of these individuals proved to be unmanageable.
In the ensuing first few years (1638-1643) the settlement grew from the initial town, which in 1640 changed its name to New Haven, to an actual colony that encompassed the areas surrounding the town of New Haven. These outlying areas came under its jurisdiction and included the towns of Stamford, Milford, Guilford, and the Long Island coastal town of Southold. With the inclusion of these other towns, in 1643 the New Haven Fundamental Agreement was drawn up, which outlined the colony’s governance.
The New Haven Colony was the archetype of a theocratic colony in that it restricted citizenship to people who were full members of the church. It was governed by an elite body of church members who were given special dispensations such as land, suffrage, and a restrictive say as to who could be admitted into their colony as freemen. What further distinguished the New Haven Colony from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and others during its twenty-seven years in existence was its conservative religious adherence to Puritan theology. It was the most restrictive colony in New England in terms of personal liberties and it rejected the reformations that were being proposed in the 1640s by its neighboring colonies.
Another important town in the New Haven colony was Milford, which was founded in 1639 and admitted to the New Haven Colony in 1643. Much like the town of New Haven, Milford’s early settlers were followers of a particular minister, Rev. Peter Prudden, who also emigrated in 1637, bringing with him to Boston a group of English Puritans. Like the followers of Davenport, Prudden’s followers settled in Boston for nearly a year, but envisioned a colony where “they might enjoy his pious and fervent ministrations.” And, like Davenport, Prudden drew a considerable number of followers from the surrounding areas of Massachusetts and Connecticut with him to the new colony. During the period of 1639-40 Rev. Prudden also preached at Wethersfield Connecticut, “and several of the people of Wethersfield became so attached to Mr. Prudden that they followed him to Milford, and were among the first and principal settlers of the town. Prudden’s reputation among his fellow ministers was very high, and may be best exemplified by the Rev. Cotton Mather, who upon Prudden’s death in 1656 remarked, “His death was felt by the whole of the colonies as a fall of a pillar which has made the whole fabric shake.”
If the New Haven Colony can be said to be the most conservative among the Puritan colonies, then within the colony itself, the town of Milford exemplified this conservative way of life like no other. Throughout the period of settlement until the late 1650s, the people of Milford can be argued to have been the staunchest practitioners of the Puritan faith. One such example of their conservative outlook was their adoption of what would later be known as the “Connecticut Blue Laws”. These laws, which were agreed upon by the town fathers, prescribed the behavior and decorum of the citizenry, specifically in regards to the way in which people observed the Sabbath day. This code of laws, though initially unwritten, was solely based on religious observance and moral rectitude, and laid the groundwork for the ways in which people were to be governed in the town.
This conservative outlook and rigid adherence to the church doctrines is further evidenced by “the unusually high number of baptisms, with 67 recorded for the first five years and another 155 until Prudden’s death. Likewise, most of the children born to the founders were brought under the discipline of the church.” Furthermore, the number of early settlers who were full members of the church substantiates the fact that the settlers of Milford took their religion very seriously. In the initial years of settlement the church grew exponentially. “By the end of 1644 it had added seventy-three new members, who with the original seven, composed 82 percent of the men receiving land by November 1643, and 77 percent of the wives. A full 95% of all families had one spouse in communion; 63% percent had both spouses receiving full communion”.
This high rate of church membership continued throughout the 1640s, but after the initial influx of settlers, church membership began to decline. This “declension” was not a problem unique to Milford, but was pervasive throughout the Puritan-based colonies. The reasons for this decline in membership may in part stem from “the failure of many newcomers who arrived after 1643 to take an active interest in the church.” Or, perhaps, that the church membership was so exclusive and restrictive in nature that new settlers found it hard to comply. Another reason would be the way in which Puritans qualified full church membership. “Unlike Anglican and Catholic churches of the time, Puritan Churches did not hold that all community members should be full church members. A true church, they believed, consisted not of everyone, but of “the elect”. To become part of this “elect” required a conversion experience, or profession of faith.
New Haven Colony Struggles against Change and Ultimately for Survival
After the initial decades of settlement, the New Haven Colony struggled to maintain its theocratic ideals, and found it increasingly hard to stand firm in its adherence to the Congregationalist model of government. In the late 1650s and early 1660s the New Haven Colony experienced three distinct challenges to its survival: waning church membership and the resulting Half-Way Covenant; the restoration of King Charles II; and the subsequent absorption of the New Haven Colony into the Connecticut Colony. Each in its own way affected the colony irreparably, ultimately prompting a large number of its inhabitants to further migrate outside of the Connecticut River Valley.
The first of these challenges to face the New Haven Colony was a divisive measure introduced in 1657 to address the waning church membership, the Half-Way Covenant. After much debate, in 1662, the synod of the Congregationalist churches of New England proposed allowing people who had not experienced a religious conversion to become “half-way” members of the church, which would also allow them to baptize their children in the church. Most of the Puritans of the emigrating generation (especially in the New Haven Colony) were vehemently opposed to such an inclusion because they believed that people should convert and become full members in the church before they were afforded the benefits of baptism for their children.
The rancor of this debate was most hotly contested in the New Haven Colony where hard-line Puritanism ruled with an iron fist. The ruling elders and many of the older generation could not conceive of allowing such a dilution of their church, as was happening in the more liberal colonies surrounding them. This, perhaps, became the impetus for further migration among the Puritans of New Haven Colony, for it was also about this time (circa 1662) that members of the New Haven Colony sent representatives to the neighboring Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to inquire about procuring a place in which they could resettle.
Concurrently with the debate over the Half-Way Covenant, the Stuart monarchy was restored in 1660. Charles II’s return to the English throne was an ominous event for the Puritans of New England, especially those in the New Haven Colony. With the fall of the Cromwell regime and largely Puritan-based Parliament of the Interregnum, several of the key participants in the overthrow of the monarchy had fled England in exile. Two such exiles were judges who had served on the tribunal that condemned King Charles, I, to death.
The Major-Generals Edward Whalley and William Goffe left England and found refuge in New England, and during the period of 1661 to 1662 they were harbored in the town of Milford, by Micah Tompkins, one of the ruling elders in the church. Tompkins kept the two judges in the cellar of his house for over a year without them being detected, only the town elders being aware of their existence. King Charles II, sent bounty hunters to New England to arrest the judges so that they could be tried for treason against the crown, but the Puritans of Milford, who were sympathetic to the exiles’ cause
steadfastly refused to admit that they knew the judges’ whereabouts. This complicity in aiding and harboring the exiles certainly put the citizens of New Haven Colony in a precarious situation; one that may have added to their imminent desire to seek a new place to resettle.
The third, and perhaps most resounding death knell for the people of the New Haven Colony came in 1662 when Charles II, with one decree, renounced their existence as a colony, and forced to them to cede their independence to the colony of Connecticut. This was an alarming development for the members of the colony, as they were suspicious of what would befall their theocratic based colony if they were annexed by the more liberal Connecticut colony. Such an annexation would “jeopardize the purity of the Church, according to the people of New Haven, and it was to them an unendurable
condition; to accept it would have meant a sacrifice of conscience.”
Before the fundamental conflict could come to a head, a safety valve opened to the South of the New Haven Colony. The Province of New Caesarea or (New Jersey) opened its lands for settlement. “The new proprietors of the province were Lord John Berkley and Sir George Carteret. The two aristocrats being shrewd businessmen, capitalized on the situation faced by the people of New Haven Colony and offered them a place to resettle that would be free from civil interference.”
The members of the New Haven Colony seized the opportunity to transplant their theocracy to a more conducive climate, free from the interference of the King and free from the corruptive influences of the surrounding colonies. In 1666 a party from the town of Milford traveled down the Long Island Sound to the banks of the Passaic River, to choose a site for settlement. Arriving, the settlers encountered yet one more problem, the Hackensack Indians. Although the colonists had obtained a proper title from the proprietors, they had not bargained for a deed with the Indians. In July of 1667 the Puritan settlers signed a bill of sale with the Hackensack Indians, purchasing their settlement for approximately $750.00 worth of goods.
Founding the Settlement of Newark:
The last hope for a theocracy
The first group of settlers who migrated to the new settlement in 1667 was from the town of Milford. Accordingly, they called the new settlement Milford. However, with the arrival of people from the towns of Branford, Guilford, and New Haven in 1668, it was agreed upon that they would rename the settlement in honor of their first minister, Abraham Pierson. Reverend Pierson was a native of Newark-On-Trent, England, so the settlers adopted the name of Newark. A somewhat different, and perhaps more romantic story relates that the name of Newark was morphed from the term “New- Work”, as the settlers envisioned the new settlement as their new work with God, and in the original documents pertaining to the settlement, it was spelled “New Work”. Regardless of the origin, the name Newark was established after the arrival of their spiritual leader, Reverend Pierson, in 1668. The settlement quickly grew to a population of approximately 75 settlers by the end of 1668.
Initially, the settlers conceived of Newark as their theocratic haven, where they could live by their own covenant with God. They adopted the same sort of theocratic structure as they had envisioned for the New Haven colony, wherein they elected church elders to be in charge of the civic affairs and restricted full church membership to those who had experienced a religious conversion. In the early decades of settlement, Newark seemed to afford its colonists their last hope of a theocratic utopia, but as time passed and new settlers came, once again, the theocratic cohesion which the Puritan colonists sought became ever illusive. This was, then their last attempt at a separate theocratic colony.
Conclusion
In examining the experiences of the Puritan colonists of the New Haven Colony, taking into account their migratory experience during the period of 1630-1668, it seems clear that the motivations for emigration from England as well as migration throughout New England were more complicated than what our collective historical consciousness may suggest. It was not a simple dichotomy between religion and economics factors, but an amalgam of the two that prompted these Puritans to migrate.
One may further argue, as I have maintained, that there was a complex system of factors that pushed and pulled these Puritans to emigrate and move throughout New England in addition to religion and economics. These Puritans were also motivated by their apprehensions about what was happening socially and politically around them at the time. They witnessed social upheaval, the Civil Wars in England, as well as perceived corruptive influences from others who maintained different religious beliefs. It was the sum of all of these factors that influenced the Puritans to search for a new haven.
The colony of New Haven followed a clear trajectory in terms of motivations for further migration, all three reasons which I have outlined: the Half-Way Covenant and the resulting splintering of the Congregationalist/theocratic structure of New England colonies; the restoration of the monarchy; and ultimately their annexation by the Connecticut Colony, which played vital roles in motivating these particular Puritans to continue to migrate throughout the region. Further investigation into New Haven Colony records might prove that economics may have proven to be an equally motivating factor for further migration than reasons offered.

Who was the Kimball?
William Kimball Wight ( 1833-1903) was my great grandfather. The Kimball in his name implies that he had ancestors with the surname Kimball. But they are not in my family tree. There is no Wight-Kimball wedding to be found. What do we know about the family? If anyone knows the link, please let me know.
Two Kimball brothers, Richard and Henry, came to America and all American Kimballs are thought to be descended from them:
“Richard arrived in America aboard the Elizabeth which had embarked from Ipswich, Suffolk England on 10 Apr 1634, William Andrews, master. Included on the passenger list were Richard, age 39, wife Ursula and children Henry age 15, Elizabeth age 13, Richard age 11, Mary age 9, Martha age 5, John age 3 and Thomas age 1. The family apparently came with Richard's brother Henry Kimball and Ursula's mother (Martha) and brother's family (Thomas and Elizabeth, both age 40).
Richard worked as a mechanic and wheelwright in Suffolk. They settled in Watertown MA before moving to Ipswich, MA about 1637. Richard was listed as a freeman in Watertown in 1635. He was a selectman for Ipswich in 1645 and the surveyor of fences in 1653. He later moved back to Watertown. Richard, being a wheelwright, removed to Ispwich, Mass. in 1837, at the request of the inhabitants of that town. All the Kimballs in the United States are believed to be descendants of these two brothers.
Richard Kimball became one of the prominent citizens of Ipswich, being frequently mentioned in its records and dying there in 1675. Richard's will was dated 5 Mar 1674 and probated 28 Sep 1675. The inventory of his estate totaled 737, 3 shillings, 6 pence.”

Richard Kimball - was born about 1595 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 22 Jun 1675; (will 5 Mar – 28 Sep) in Watertown. He was the son of Henry Kimball. Richard married Ursula Scott in 1615 in Eng. Ursula was born on 15 Feb 1597 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng. She was the daughter of Henry Scott and Martha Whatlock. She died before Oct 1661 in Ipswich, Suffolk, Ma. Then Richard married Margaret Cole on 23 Oct 1661 in America.
Children with Ursula Scott:
i. Alexander Kimball was born Feb 1614 in Hitcham, Suffolk, Eng and died ?d.s.p in Hitcham, Suffolk, Eng and was buried in Eng.
ii. Henry Kimball was born on 12Aug1615 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died adm. 4Jun 1676 in Wenham/Ipswich, Ma .
iii. Abigail Kimball was born Nov1617 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 19 Jun 1658 in Salisbury, Ma, USA . Abigail married John Severance. John was born in 1615. He died on 9 Apr 1682 in Salisbury, Ma .
iv. Mary Kimball was born Apr1618/1625 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 12 Jul 1686. Mary married Robert Dutch. Robert was born in Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA. He died in 1686.
(Mary - One source shows a birth date of Apr 1618; another (Jama Kimball) shows a date of 1625.
v. Ursula Kimball was born about 1619 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng.
vi. Elizabeth Kimball was born about 1621 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died Aft. 1675, prob.d.s.p . (Elizabeth - The record on Elizabeth Kimball Severance shows her to be living in 1675, followed by notation "prob. d.s.p." )
vii. Richard Kimball Jr. was born about 1623 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 26 May 1676 in Wentham, Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA . Richard married Mary Cooley. She died on 2 Sep 1672 .
Then Richard married Mary Gott in 1672/1673 in Ma, USA.
viii. Martha Kimball was born about 1629 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng.
ix. John Kimball was born about 1631 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 6 May 1698 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA. John married Mary Bradstreet about 1655. (Mary - came over on the same voyage in the Elizabeth as Richard Kimball, with her father Humphrey Bradstreet and her mother Bridgett. ) Then John married Hannah Muncey.
x. Thomas Kimball was born about 1633 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died on 3 May 1676 in Bradford, Ma, USA; killed by Indians. Thomas married Mary Smith. Mary was born about 1635. (Mary - Mary Smith Kimball was living in 1782 in Bradford., MA. Mary and five children were captured by the Indians who killed Thomas but were returned 13 Jun 1676.)( Thomas Kimball: wheelwright, Hampton, was son of Richard and Ursula K. of Ipswich, Mass. P. of M. Came from England with his parents in 1634. Resided in Dover in the year 1657, as he deposed at Portsmouth, 28 June, 1678, being then "about 57 years of age" Rem. to Hampton. Bought land 15 Oct. 1658. Wife Mary; children, Elizabeth b. and d. 1658, Richard b. Nov. 20, 1659.)
xi. Sarah Kimball was born about 1635 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA and died on 12 Jun 1690 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA . Sarah married Edward Allen on 24 Nov 1658 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA. Edward was born in [Ipswitch].
xii. Benjamin Kimball was born about 1637 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA and died on 11 Jun 1696 in Bradford, Ma, USA . Benjamin married Mercy Hazeltine on 16 Apr 1661 in Salisbury, Ma. She died on 5 Jan 1707/1708 in Bradford, Ma .
xiii. Caleb Kimball was born about 1639 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA and died Imv. 23 Sep 1682 in Ipswich, Essex Co., , Ma, USA. Caleb married Anna Hazeltine on 7 Nov 1660 in Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA. Anna was born on 1 Mar 1640 in Rowley, Ma, USA. She died on 9 Apr 1688 in Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA .

Henry Kimball - was born on 12 Aug 1615 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, Eng and died adm. 4 Jun 1676 in Wenham/Ipswich, Ma . He was the son of Richard Kimball and Ursula Scott. Henry married Mary Wyatt in 1640 in Wenham, MA. Mary was born in 1622 in Assington, Suffolk, England. She was the daughter of John Wyatt and Martha Sheldrake. She died on 12 Aug 1672 in Watertown, MA. Then Henry married Elizabeth Gilbert.
In the record of Henry Kimball, it shows, following the information on his two marriages, the phrase "adm. 4 June 1676 Wentham, MA." We are not sure as to the meaning of this phrase; it may have something to do with the date of death. Henry moved from Watertown to Ipswich about 1646 and then to Wentham about 1655.
Children with Mary Wyatt:
i. Mary Kimball was born on 26 Nov 1641 in Watertown, Ma, USA.
ii. Richard Kimball was born on 13 Oct 1643 in Watertown, Ma, USA and died on 30 Jul 1715 in Wenham, MA . Richard married Rebecca Abbye on 13 May 1667. Rebecca was born about 1645.
Then Richard married "Widow" Ford on 20 Nov 1706.
iii. John Kimball was born on 23 Dec 1645 in Watertown, Ma, USA and died on 12 Oct 1723 in Amesbury, Ma, USA . John married Mary Jordan on 8 Oct 1666 in Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA.
Then John married Mary Pressey on 9 Feb 1712/1713. Then John married Deborah Weed in 1715.
iv. Caleb Kimball I was born about 1647 in Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA and died on 18 Sep 1675 in Narragansett .
v. Dorcas Kimball was born about 1649. Dorcas married Thomas Dow on 17 Dec 1668 in Bradford, Ma, USA. Thomas was born about 1640. He died on 21 Jun 1676 in Haverhill. Ma, USA .
vi. Abigail Kimball was born about 1652. Abigail married John Wycome on 14 May 1673 in Rowley, Ma, USA.
vii. Sarah Kimball was born about 1654. Sarah married Daniel Gage on 3 May 1675 in Bradford, Ma, USA. He died on 8 Nov 1705 in Bradford, Ma, USA .
Viii. Henry Kimball Jr. was born about 1655. Henry married Hannah Marsh on 14 Dec 1677 in Haverhill. Ma, USA. She died on 15 Mar 1696/1697 in Haverhill. Ma, USA . (Hannah Marsh was killed by Indians 15 Mar 1696/7. )
ix. Mehitable Kimball was born Aug 1657 and died on 7 Dec 1689 . Mehitable married Thomas Stickney.
x. Benjamin Kimball was born on 12 Nov 1659 in Wentham, Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA.
xi. Joseph Kimball was born on 20 Jan 1661/1662 in Wentham, Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA.
Joseph married Elizabeth Needham. (Joseph Kimball was a mariner; lived in Boston, MA.)
xii Martha Kimball was born on 18 Aug 1664 in Wentham, Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA. Martha married Daniel Chase on 25 Aug 1683 in Newbury, Ma, USA. Then Martha married Josiah Heath in 1713.
xiii. Deborah Kimball was born about 1668 in Wentham, Ipswich, Essex Co., Ma, USA. Deborah married Donald Chase. Donald was born about 1666.
http://www.renderplus.com/hartgen/htm/kimball.htm was where this information came from.

I have looked for female Kimballs marrying Ballards or Griswolds and so far have found little:
1. Lucy Gear Kimball (1791-) married Chester Griswold Fanning in Feb 1818. Last name is Fanning not Griswold
2. Volney Richard Kimball daughter Ellen Griswolds (1842-) and a son Alonzo Griswold (1838-). I didn't find why they had Griswold for second name.
3. An Abigail Kimball (Caleb, Benjamin, Benjamin, Jonathan, Benjamin, Richard) born 1785,  died Sept 1822, married 1807 Dr. John McCrillis and settled in Meredith. Her children included Harriet Stanley McCrillis who married Rufus W. Griswold, who was distinguished as an editor and compiler. His "Poets and Poetry of America" reached 20 editions. This seems a little late but might be the connection.
Of course Kimball could have been the name of a grandmother rather than a mother.


Madeline Reid, 1929 - 2011
Madeline, a wonderful mother, grandmother, sister, family member and friend, passed away on Friday, December 16th. With her daughter holding her hand, she peacefully slipped away to join her son Brian, who predeceased her a few short years ago.
Madeline had a zest for life, which she shared with her family and friends. She had an easy laugh and was always good for a fantastical story or two. Madeline had a tremendous sense of humour and could get a room full of people laughing along with her “at the drop of a hat”. Madeline shared a
madelnelove for writing, music, community and social justice and had a passion for teaching. She started her early career as a substitute teacher, then became a life skills coach and continued to provide advice and guidance on creative writing to creative writers.
She worked hard on the farm at Wilcox as a young woman, then moved to Regina at the age of 50 and shared her passion for helping others through work with the Saskatchewan Council for International Development and with single mothers. In her retire
ment years, Madeline continued to contribute to the community through her involvement in numerous community-based organizations and programs; including Soul’s Harbour, the Chili for Children Program and Transition House.
Madeline is remembered by her three children; Larry (Kirstie) Day, Muriel (Stuart) Garven, Warren Day and daughter-in-law Marsha Delouchery-Day; the children’s father Dwight Day, her predeceased husband Bob Reid’s family; her two sisters; Evelyn Wight and Eileen (Ed) Law; her nine grandchildren, her three great-grandchildren and numerous other family and friends.
A service of remembrance will be held at the Regina Memorial Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 20th. Her children would like to invite
all of Madeline’s family and friends to come and celebrate her life with them. In honour of Madeline, please wear something purple on her day of remembrance and join us for pie and ice cream. In lieu of flowers please donate to Circle Drive Special Care Home, 3055 Preston Avenue South, Saskatoon, SK, S7T 1C3.

Yankee Empire
Are genes the key to the Yankee Empire? This is a question which Razib Khan replied to in Discover Magazine. I take it with a grain of salt but its interesting – its background to the Wight-Eastman families who were pure New England Yankee until about 1900. Here is most of Khan's article:

That’s the question a commenter poses, albeit with skepticism. First, the background here. New England was a peculiar society for various demographic reasons. In the early 17th century there was a mass migration of Puritan Protestants from England to the colonies which later became New England because of their religious dissent from the manner in which the Stuart kings were changing the nature of the British Protestant church.* Famously, these colonies were themselves not aiming to allow for the flourishing of religious pluralism, with the exception of Rhone Island. New England maintained established state churches longer than other regions of the nation, down into the early decades of the 19th century.
Between 1630 and 1640 about ~20,000 English arrived on the northeastern fringe of British settlement in North America. With the rise of co-religionists to power in the mid-17th century a minority of these emigres engaged in reverse-migration. After the mid-17th century migration by and large ceased. Unlike the Southern colonies these settlements did not have the same opportunities for frontiersmen across a broad and ecological diverse hinterland, and its cultural mores were decidedly more constrained than the cosmopolitan Middle Atlantic. The growth in population in New England from the low tends of thousands to close to 1 million in the late 18th century was one of endogenous natural increase from the founding stock.
empireThis high fertility regime persisted down into the middle of the 19th century, as the core New England region hit its Malthusian limit, and flooded over into upstate New York, to the irritation of the older Dutch population in that region. Eventually even New York was not enough, and New England swept out across much of the Old Northwest. The last became the “ Yankee Empire,” founded by Yankees, but later demographically supplemented and superseded in its western reaches by immigrants from northwest Europe who shared many of the same biases toward order and moral probity which were the hallmarks of Yankees in the early Republic.
While the Yankees were waxing in numbers, and arguably cultural influence, the first decades of the American Republic also saw the waning of New England power and influence in relation to the South in the domain of politics. This led even to the aborted movement to secede from the union by the New England states in the first decade of the century. By the time of Andrew Jackson an ascendant Democrat configuration which aligned Southern uplanders and lowlanders with elements of the Middle Atlantic resistant to Yankee cultural pretension and demographic expansion would coalesce and dominate American politics down to the Civil War. It is illustrative that one of the prominent Northern figures in this alliance, President Martin Van Buren, was of Dutch New York background.
But this is a case where demographics was ultimate destiny. Not only were the Yankees fecund, but immigrants such as the German liberals fleeing the failures of the tumult of 1848 were aligned with their anti-slavery enthusiasms (though they often took umbrage at the anti-alcohol stance of the Puritan moralists of the age, familiarizing the nation with beer in the 1840s). The Southern political ascendancy was simply not tenable in the face of Northern demographic robustness, fueled by both fertility and immigration. Because of overreach on the part of the Southern elite the segments of the Northern coalition which were opposed to the Yankees eventually fractured (Martin Van Buren allowed himself to be candidate for the anti-slavery Free Soil party at one point). Though there remained Northern Democrats down to the Civil War, often drawn from the “butternuts” whose ultimate origins were in the Border South, that period saw the shift in national politics from Democrat to Republican dominance (at least up the New Deal). Curiously, the coalition was an inversion of the earlier coalition, with Yankees now being integral constituents in a broader Northern and Midwestern movement, and Southerners being marginalized as the odd-men-out.
I review all this ethno-history because I think that to a great extent it is part of the “Dark Matter” of American political and social dynamics. Americans are known as “Yankees” to the rest of the world, and yet the reality is that the Yankee was one specific and very distinctive folkway on the American scene. But, that folkway has been very influential, often in a cryptic fashion.
...
New England in particular stands out over the long historical scale. In many ways of the all the colonies of Great Britain it was the most peculiar in its relationship to the metropole. Unlike Australia or Canada it was not an open frontier, rich with natural resources which could absorb the demographic surplus of Britain. Unlike India it was not a possible source of rents from teeming culturally alien subjects. Unlike the South in the mid-19th century there was no complementary trade relationship. In economic terms New England was a potential and incipient rival to Old England. In cultural and social terms it may have aped Old England, but its “low church” Protestant orientation made it a throwback, and out of step with a metropole which was becoming more comfortable with the English Magisterial Reformation (which eventually led to the emergence of Anglo-Catholicism in the 19th century). Like modern day Japan, and England of its day, New England had to generate wealth from its human capital, its own ingenuity. This resulted in an inevitable conflict with the mother country, whose niche it was attempting to occupy (albeit, with exceptions, such as the early 19th century, before the rise of robust indigenous industry, and the reliance on trade). Today the American republic has pushed England aside as the center of the Anglosphere. And despite the romantic allure of the frontier and the surfeit of natural resources, it is ultimately defined by the spirit of Yankee ingenuity (rivaled by the cowboy, whose violent individualist ethos seems straight out of the Scots-Irish folklore of the South, transposed to the West).
What does this have to do with genetics? Let’s go back to the initial colonial period. As I’ve noted before: the Yankee colonies of New England engaged in selective immigration policies. Not only did they draw Puritan dissenters, but they were biased toward nuclear family units of middling background. By “middling,” that probably refers at least toward the upper quarter of English society of the period. They were literate, with at least some value-added skills. This is in contrast with the Irish Catholic migration of the 19th century, which emptied out Ireland of its tenant peasants (attempts to turn these Irish into yeoman farmers in the Midwest failed, with fiascoes such as the consumption of their seed corn and cattle over harsh Minnesota winters).
So the question is this: could “middle class” values be heritable? Yes, to some extent they are. Almost all behavioral tendencies are heritable to some extent. Adoption studies are clear on that. But, is one generation of selection sufficient to result in a long term shift?
...(I skip some genetic calculations here)...
Rather, this is a case where there are so many uncertainties that I’m not inclined to say much more than that it is possible, and that we may have an answer in the coming decades with widespread genomic sequencing.
But there’s another option, which is on the face of it is more easy to take in because so many of the parameters are well known and have been thoroughly examined. And that’s cultural selection. While we have to guess at the IQ distributions of the early Puritans, we know about the distribution of their cultural tendencies. They were almost all Calvinists, disproportionately literate. Because of its flexible nature, culture can generate enormous inter-group differences in phenotypic variation. The genetic difference between New England and Virginia may have been small, but the cultural difference was wide (e.g., Yankee thrift vs. Cavalier generosity). Yankees who relocated to the South would assimilate Southern values, and the reverse (there is some suggestion that South Carolinian John C. Calhoun’s Unitarianism may have been influenced by his time at Yale, though overall it was obviously acceptable to the Deist inclined Southern elite of the period).
schoolsBefore New England, human societies had an expectation that there would be a literate segment, and an illiterate one. By and large the substantial majority would be illiterate. In the Bronze Age world the scribal castes had almost a magic power by virtue of their mastery of the abstruse cuneiform and hieroglyph scripts. The rise of the alphabet (outside of East Asia) made literacy more accessible, but it seems likely that the majority of ancient populations, even in literary capitals such as Athens, were functionally illiterate. A small minority was sufficient for the production, dissemination, and propagation of literary works. Many ancient books were written with the ultimate understanding that their wider “reading” was going to occur in public forums where crowds gathered to listen to a reader. The printing press changed this with the possibility for at least nominal ownership of books by those with marginal surplus, the middle class. By limiting migration to these elements with the means to buy books, as well as an emphasis on reading the Bible common to scriptural Protestants, you had a society where the majority could be readers in the public forum.
What were the positive cultural feedback loops generated? And what sort of cultural dampeners may have allowed for the new stable cultural equilibrium to persist down the centuries? These are open questions, but they need to be explored. I’ll leave you with a map of public school expenditures in 2003. In the 1840s and 1850s one of the more notable aspects of the opening of the Western frontier with the huge difference between states settled by Yankees, such as Michigan, and those settled by Southerners, such as Arkansas. Both states were settled contemporaneously, but while Michigan had numerous grammar schools, Arkansas had hardly any.


William Kimball Wight's diary
Original in handwriting of W.K. Wight is in possession of Harry William Wight grandson of William K. Wight. William Kimball Wight died in Gibbon Nebraska in December 1903, later in the same year as this trip. The trip was taken with his new second wife, back to New York state where she was born.

1903
May 6
After a hard week of packing, boxing and baling & sorting our household goods with Mrs. McMahon, L.E. Wight and G. Griswold, we (W.K. & wife) began our drive east (or more properly our visiting trip) by driving to Englewood.
Camped with H.P. Ludden & family overnight. Had a nice visit & restful night. W. fine but cool. So far Monkey behaved with good sense hardly winking at the one “auto” we saw & little minding innumerable trolley cars with which some of the streets were encumbered. Garfield & Douglas parks were looking fine: the trees just in the act of putting on full dress of green & the lawns in perfection. Everything conspired to make our drive pleasant except street cars autos moving vans boys girls dogs goats &c which filled Mollie with fears which bubbled over with instructions to the driver which no doubt was the means of landing us safely in Englewood.
May 7
This A.M. drove to Hammond, Ind. via of South Chicago. S.C. has a fine harbor & is quite noted as a manufacturing city. The drive to H. was on street car tracks. The soil is far from agricultural --- all sand. H. surely has a sandy foundation & the busiest streets are cumbered by steam car crossings. Took lunch at H. P.M. drove to Merrillville, a small town. Its one hotel presented a salon as the principle attraction which indeed repeled us and we found good quarters for ourselves with a maiden of uncertain age --- Angeline Glazier. Monkey had good quarters near by. In coming to M.ville we followed explicit directions of a man who claimed to know the way perfectly. His directions proved to be as wrong as they were explicit. On reaching Dyer we were put in the way of excaping much extra travel. Had gone about four miles out of the way & found much sand. Passed through a great variety of soil --- the roads are good in vicinity where soil is good & poor where the soil is thin & almost worthless. Dairing is the principle occupation in this portion of Ind. There is many orchards and fruit does well.
May 8
Passed through Valparaise and Westville. V. is a small little city in the midst of a find country. Corn ground about half plowed --- some corn planted. Milk the favority product. Lunched at noon at a farmers who took pity on us & brought us a pitcher of good milk. No doubt his symphathy was aroused by our pinched and starved looks. Mrs. W. has an alcohol stove and does the cooking --- that is, tea & coffee to a limited extent. P.M. passed through a fine farming section reaching Laporte in good season, finding room in private house, Mrs. Orr. L. is a bustling city some paved streets & street cars. Sugar maples abound in all this section adorning the roadside of many farms as well as the streets of city & town. W. fine.
May 9
Passed through village of N.Carlysle on through So.Bend which is the largest city seen since leaving Hammand and very nice --- street cars &c. Seven miles east of So.B. we lunched at farm house & was made quite welcome by a nice old lady (Widow Field). Towards night we lost our way after passing Granger going a half mile which we retraced to our trail where we were permitted remain over Sunday finding the family very nice, name David Schneck.
May 11
The rest of yesterday found us in good trim to take the road again. Reached the Ind. & Mich. state line within a mile from our Sunday stop. Said line was evidently buried in sand so we saw nothing of it. After leaving Edwardsburg & Casseopolis two thriving villages to the rear, we lunched at a farmers making coffee in carriage house. This P.M. we passed through the midst of a dense forest of birch maple & some walnut timber, extending for a mile or so. Reached Lawton on the Mich cent RR in good time to put up for the night at the hotel. W. fine. Roads good.
May 12
Four miles from Lawton passed through the neat thriving village of Paw Paw. Seven miles farther on at Gobleville was a thriving creamery. Good dairy country --- roads sandy --- hill-sides set with grapes & some peaches. Fed Monkey & lunched at farm house seven miles from Allegan where we arrived at three o’clock finding Eliza & the Lilly family well.
Wednes. 13
Called at Dr. Albrights. Took Eliza to drive P.M. Dr. Albright drove with me to Co. Infirmary --- nice road & some fine land & buildings --- farmers seem to be prosperous.
Th. 14
Went driving with Eliza --- took in the manufacturing part of A. creamery which skims & churns & also churns the cream from two other skimming stations --- paper mills --- plow factory --- wood shop making writing desks &c --- two flouring mills one run by water power & one by electric power. Water works & electric lighting use the fine water power made by a dam in the Allegan R. in the village of A.
Fri. 15
16
Went with Sott & A. to Base Line lake nine miles & caught a fine string of fish --- blue gills.
Sun. 17
Went to church with Eliza at the Pres. ch. --- good sermon.
Mon. 18
Tues. 19
Mollie & I drove nine miles to Mr. McDougal’s --- a family Mollie knew with years ago in Fowlersville. They have a nice farm & good buildings. There is good fishing in a small lake directly in front of their house about thirty rods away a larger lake of 300 acres partly bounds their farm on the north. It is also well stocked with fish. The portion of Mich. we have passed through abounds in lakes many of them very picturesque.
Wed. 20
Went with Mr. L to the fair ground to see his horse he has in training for a trotter. He thinks the horse is a wonder. I think lots of people will never hear of him. Went fishing with the horse trainer. Had a long walk along the Allegan R. All the bites were mosquito bites.
Th. 21
P.M. went with Dr. A. nine miles to Swan lake s.w. of A. Caught a fine lot of fish of which the Dr. would take none. The Dr. & his wife contributed not a little to the pleasure of our visit in Allegan. The Drs. wife was Maggie McDougall. In all our drives in Ind. & Mich. we see much stake & rider & also much old Virginia worm fence. In recent years much woven wire fence is replacing the rail fences. All farmers have stone-boulder & cobble for foundations. In many places where the low places in the road have been filled much stone gathered from the fields has been dumped along the sides of the track to hold the filling.
Fri. 22
Took E. to drive. She seemed to enjoy our visit very much especially driving. She is as busy as ever. Rheumatism causes her fingers to be clumsy se her sewing is done with difficulty. Still she stitches away.
Sat. 23
One o’clock P.M. we left Allegan & our friends to drive to McD’s. A brisk thunder storm drove us to take shelter in a barn two miles out of Allegan. Had a pleasant visit with DcD’s leaving there.
Mon. 25
Drove to Kalamazoo & spent the night with the family of a daughter of McD. --- Garrison --- K. is quite a manufacturing city of about forty thousand.
Tues. 26
Drove to Athens passing through Vixburg & Futton. V. is a RR town of no little importance --- quite sandy. F. is a pretty little place of one street. Had a good room and an indifferent bed at hotel. W. good.
May 27
Five miles from A. passed through the nice thriving town of Union City on the St. Joe river a few miles from which we passed the Hoduck roller mills, a branch of the St. Joe furnishing power. This A.M. were forced to seek shelter in a barn during a thunder storm. Called on Mrs. Nye (nee Nancy Bush) one mile S. of Gerard. From 11 A.M. to two P.M. Mollie and Mrs. Nye had a good time talking over their girlhood days spent in Fowlerville N.Y. Mrs. Nye has no family having buried husband & three grown daughters. A heavy shower detained us longer than we had planned to call. Drove to Cold Water and by quick work reached the livery barn just in time to be sheltered from a good downpour of rain soon after three P.M. Procured a good room at the Park Hotel for the night & procedded at once to house-keeping. C.W. is very nice --- on the Southern Mich. RR. The principle streets are paved.
Th. 28
Drove through Hilsdale Hudson & stayed with farmer Star 3 1/2 miles from Pittsford. The rain came down as soon as we were in the house --- good quarters --- nice people --- no children.
Fri. 29
Passed through Pittsford where is a prosperous co-op cheese factory --- then on thro Medina which caused us to think of Jane. M. is a straggling town which bloomed long ago & now gone to seed. Country quite rolling about M. Just east of M. we accepted an urgent invitation to eat dinner with farmer Polland. Morency on our way this P.M. is a pretty town with street cars & some paved streets. M. is connected with Toledo by trolly cars. Fine coutry about M. Put up over night 1-2 miles east of Oakshade with farmer Crittenden. The land about Oakshade is sandy. 34 miles.
Sat. 30
A.M. passed through the towns of Ottoke Delta south edge of Swanton. Good graveled roads until we reached Swanton when we struck sand five miles long & of unfathomable depth --- very poor country --- just good for real estate men to bleed city “suckers” with. Seeing a good new barn we were made welcome to use a stall in which to feed Monkey. The house was small but we were urged to spread our lunch on a table set out for us while the family ate dinner in another room. The A.M. had been windy & cold & we were glad to get by the fire. The family had been just a month from the city & were enthusiastic over learning the ways of the farmer. They will soon go back to the city or starve but they do not know it now. Besides the parents this family consists of seven children --- the eldest twelve youngest 2 years --- nice children & well behaved. P.M. passed through Maumee on the M. river. Street cars and road travel use the same bridge. Mollie declares it a horrible place and gave a sigh of relief when we were safely over. The view of the river as we drove along the bluff was fine. One mile below the bridge we turned east on the pike (stone) running directly to Fremont. Reaching Lime city we found the only hotel contained a salon and although forty miles had been left behind we drove a mile farther & were fortunate in finding good quarters with Farmer Brownhauser to remain over Sunday. W. cold & wind N.E. 42 miles.
Sun. 31
Quiet Sabbath with plenty of good Methodist reading.
June 1 Mon.
Cold & rainy so did not drive.
Tues 2nd.
Found the pike to Fremont quite muddy with very little real good going. A few miles west of Fremont oil wells are numerous for several miles on either side the pike. Arrived at 319 Burchard Ave where Mr & Mrs Henry West made us very welcome in the home of Dr. Truesdale son-in-law to the Wests. Mrs. T. was in sanitorium at Cleveland. Fremont is a busy thriving city of 10 thousand on the Sandusky river. The country is fine & well improved. W. lowry & cool (28)
Wed. 3rd.
The Wests insisted on our remaining with them today. With Mr & Mrs West we drove through some of the finest streets & through the beautiful homestead of Ex-Pres Hayes. The house is situated near the center of the estate which consists of about 40 acres of native forest with here & there evergreens set in the more open spaces along the drives. The house is large & modest viewed from the outside. Bachelor Webb Hayes owns & occupies the property. The drives through the estate are free to the public. A suitable stone marks the grave of the horse that carried Pres. Hayes during his service in the war --- 1861-1865. On our drive we visited the grave of R.B. Hayes in the beautiful cemetery appertaining to Fremont. The monument is very mice & modest. The grave is in the center of a circular mound perhaps a hundred feet in diameter in one of the many rolling portions of the cemetery. The cemetery is well kept & F. may well be proud of it. Dr. Truesdall is a large manufacturer of sterilized grape juice. The make of 1902 was 22000 gallons. The court house is ample and stands just above the business part of city on high ground seemingly planned for the purpose. In the yard is mounted the old cannon “Mollie” used against the British & Indians is 1813 Aug 1 & 2. There are many interesting relicts in the library building, one a double barrelled cannon of Spanish make in 1676 & one of Chinese make in 1521.
Th. 4.
Left our good friends the Wests & Fremont passing through Clyde Bellevue Norwalk & East Townsend where no one could give us care over night so drove 3-4 mile to R.R. town of Collins where good quarters awaited us. From F. the trolley cars occupted the road side to Bellewiew. W file but threatening rain. 38
Fri. 5.
Rained last night & a little this morning which delayed starting. A little later than usual we commenced our drive the w. threatening. About 9 a.m. we found shelter in a barn from a heavy shower. Than proceeded through Wakeman Tipton Obertin Elyrid Didgeville and put up at farmer --- good quarters. The tolly cars pass on or near our route today. The dairy & market gardening are the chief occupation of the farmers. Passing Oberlin at the noon hour the walks swarmed with students going to dinner. O. is noted for little else besides her schools. R. fair. W fair P.M.
Sat. 6.
Passing through Dover 3 miles from where we passed the night we encountered no other town before reaching Cleveland. Rocky River Bridge spans a deep valley. The bridge is of stone arches with walls of stone to hold the earth which forms the roadway. The view of the valley from the bridge is fine. The street from the bridge to city is paved. Between team traffic & street cars we found C. streets very busy & full especially on the viaduct leading to the bridge crossing the Ouyahoya river. As we reached the bridge it was turned to let a large freighter pass which resulted in packing street cars and teams on both sides of the bridge. Monkey behaved fine. C. has more autos than us saw elsewhere. Cousin Hiram Wight lives on Noble road eight miles E from public sq. in C. We passed E on Euclid Ave & by enquiry found the street leading to cousin’s a mile & a half south. The paving reached a little beyond the hights where the road was torn up and we were obliged to the worst kind of a track between the street & the fence. The ruts were so deep as to endanger our buggy so Mother got out & shanks horses flew being urged by the preliminaries of what proved to be a heavy fall of rain with thunder & lightening. Mollie found shelter in a house & luckily a man opened the barn door for me to drive in just as the rain came in torrents. Waiting nearly an hour the rain ceased just long enough for us to reach Cousin’s where we were welcomed about 3 P.M. W.f. 28
Sun. 7
Rained last night and most of today. Roads muddy.
June Mon. 5
The trolly from Cleveland to Chardon passes 3 minutes walk from Cousin’s which Mollie & I took with the intention of calling at Mr. Gaylord’s at Euclid Ave. 4182 & also on the Ballard family on Republic St. Found the Ballard family packing to move. The Gaylords had moved to the corner of Euclid Ave. & Nodingham Road in Euclid. This P.M. called at the home of one of Hiram’s daughters --- Mrs. Peddler. Have a very pretty home. Mr. Peddler runs on the R.R. as an engineer.
Tues. 9
Bid good bye to Cousin Wight’s folks and drove about ten miles to call on the Gaylords. The roads were very bad in places on account of the recent rains. The drive along Euclid creek was very picturesque. Mrs. G. insisted on our spending the day with them. They are a very hospitable family and our visit with then is one of the very pleasing incidents of our trip.
Wed. 10
Left the Gaylord home on foot to go to our horse at the livery a half mile away. Mrs G. walked half way with us before bidding us God speed and enjoining us to visit them whenever we should be passing through Cleveland. In passing Menter we passed the well kept home & grounds of the late President Gerfield. A few miles before reaching Painesville we were fortunate in getting the privilege of feeding where a colored lady brought tea and greens to the buggy where we were eating our lunch. Reached the home of my boyhood friend Warren Bowen about five P.M. where we were warmly welcomed. 29 w/f/
Thurs. 11
Left Perry & our Bowen friends this morning when the weather looked uncertain & threatening. The rain clouds passed away & we passed through Geneva Ashtabula Kingsville Conneaut to West Springfield where we put up for the night. A. has a fine wide high bridge which eliminated the deep gully and high hills. C. has a high bridge building which will cancel two bad hills. Called on Kate Sill as we passed her home. She was a Kingsville acquaintance. She is still single old & wrinkled but pleasant still. 41
Fir. 12
Drove to Erie where we remained over night with Mr. Hall. Mrs. Hall is daughter of Mrs. Fielder (Mary West) who lives with her daughter Mrs. H.
Sat. 13
Rained all last night and rained this morning early. The weather giving promise of clearing up we started just before nine o’clock. It soon began to drizzle and kept it up most of the day sone of the time a little too much rain to be called a drizzle. The trolly cars follow the highway along our way so far. We put up early at Ripley for over Sunday. Natural gas is abundant & cheap sone having their own wells.
Mon. 15
A few miles E of Ripley we encountered very bad roads especially in the hollows where the road was being graded & widened for the trolly. The new filling was soft & mushy from the recent rains. Silver Creek is near the lake & the view is fine. Grape farming is followed all along the days drive more than anything else. Many berries are raised. Passed through Westfield Portland Brocton Fredonia Silver Creek & brought up for the night at Irving. W.f. 41. Saw many loads of peas hauled like hay to Fredonia Canning Co.
Tues. 6
From Irvin to Buffalo the country along the lake is rather poor & the recent rains left the roads very rough. The streets reaching Genesee St were fine. Followed G. street about 3 miles & crossed over south & east to Depue putting up at D. Inn for the night. 38
Wed. 17
Drove back to Genesee St whcih we followed into Ratavia reaching Mr. Freeman’s at No.4 Elm St. before 3 P.M. Good roads mostly fine land.
Mon. July 6
Took lunch near a small lake --- Round Lake --- Monkey had a fine stall. Lady of the house treated to fresh buttermilk. Bid good bye to the Buena Vista friends & climbed the hill out of the valley & passed over a rough country through Kanona Bath Savona to South Bradford where we spent the night at grocery store & dwelling boarding ourselves. From Savona we climbed a very high hill --- over a mile in lenght --- Mollie on foot --- Crops are backward. Plenty of springs and watering troughs by the road side. W.f.
Tues. 7
From Bradford passed through Monterey Townsend Watkins Hector Falls and spent the night at N Hector. Took lunch & fed M at a farm a mile west of Watkins. This mile proved to be all down a steep hill into Watkins a smart little city at the south end of Seneca Lake with street cars & c. The road from W. passes for some few miles on the bluff east side of lake. The side hill in many places covered with grape vineyards --- gradually the road bears towards Lake Cayuga until it is midway between the lakes. A fine road passing through a fine & properous country --- Seneca Co.
Wed July 8
From Hector passed thro Lodi Ovid Fayette Seneca Falls crossing the marsh & the head of Lake C. passing about four miles to farmer C.A. Lamb where we were nicely entertained for the night. North of Seneca Falls went wrong & lost a little time & distance but added two hills to our list. W.f. Rd last part hilly. The road across the marsh was fine made by gravel hauled on. Lunched beside the road in the kindly shade of a tree. Opened the first bottle of grape juice given by H. West at Fremont Ohio. Farmers give much attention to dairying in this rough country. Some of the side hill meadows are so steep that the hay is gathered from the top of the hill down with breaks set so the hind wheels slide. Hard road. 34 W.f.
Th. July 9
This morning drove one mile south to old state road passing 3 miles north of Auburn on to Syracuse where we stayed at the Manhatten. Fed M beside the road at a creamery where we got a box to feed in. Road very hilly. 28.
Fri. 10
Drove to Vernon where we had good quarters at hotel. The road today passed via several towns on the R.R. near by. Pretty fair country. Lunched by roadside in shade. 36. W.f.
Sat. July 11
Passed through Rome, New Hartford, Utica Herkimer & brought up at Little Falls where we put up for over Sunday at the Foly House. Canal close to rear of hotel. Six locks at L.F.
Mon July 13
Left our rather poor quarters & drove something more than 40 miles to Akin passing through Paletine Fonda & several small villages. The road passes near the N.Y. Central R.R. along the valley of the Mohawk river. There are a large number of abandoned houses. The valley is divided between the river, canal, the highway & several tracks of R.R.s so that farming land is badly cut up. The valleys are quite narrow the hills high & wide. Steep hill sides are farmed --- the soil thin & giving poor crops. 40. W.f.
Tues July 15
Drove to Albany where we stayed over night near the capitol building at the Broderick H. 40. W.f.
Wed July 15
From Albany to Lebanon near L.Springs. The road fair --- some hills & the scenery fine. Lebanon Springs is quite a summer resort for city ‘quality’. Somewhat showery today.
Th. July 16
Two miles on our way the road begins to climb the Lebanon or Shaker mountain. Part way up the M. a stone marks the line between N.Y. & Mass. The above states joined in grading a road over the mountain making the grade easier than many fills we find. The view form the mountain road is very fine --- worth going miles to see. The road passes through the lands of a Shaker settlement and just above their buildings. For a long distance there are no farm houses as the S’s own all the land & live in villages. This settlement owns 13000 acres. On reaching Pittsfield at 11.30 A.M. Monkey was put in bern while we went to the cemetery to look for the burial place of some of Mollie’s relives. The visit to C. was quite satisfactory. Returning to town we satisfied our hunger at a restaurant & were on our way at 3 P.M. Drove to Warrington thinking to spend the night there. W. is only a station, only two or three houses none of which could accomodate us & so were obliged to drive four miles further to Backett most of the way after dark. The Beckett House was well filled with summer boarders yet room to spare for us. This P.M. the road was mostly in the valleys containing many factories.
Fri. July 17
After settling a high toned bill we drove to Fairfield for putting up over night. Passed through Chester Russel & Huntington in all of which were some kind of manufacturing establishments. There is very little agricultural land in our drive today. Every few miles the moutain stream is harnessed to make baskets, boxes, paper, cotton cloth or scrushed quartz. The N.Y. Central R.R. traverses the valley. We put up at the hotel which stands high above the valley road but far below the tops of the frowning mountains mostly covered by a great variety of timber, shrubs & bushes --- huckleberries & berries of all kinds. Many knobs are so completely formed of stone that little or no vegetation can grow.
Sat. July 18
Arrived at he Vining home at 11 A.M. passing through Westfield, a bustling city with street cars. The soil mostly sandy & poor. Had a hearty welcome & a good visit. Soon after noon it began to rain & kept it up off & on all night.
Sun. July 19
Mr. & Mrs. Vining went with us to call at Mr. Stur’s. Mrs. Stur was very poorly. Looked bad as though not long to stay in this world.
Mon July 20
Left the Vinings shortly before 8 A.M. Drove through Springfield to Indian Orchard for lunch after which we drove to Ware for the night. Rather poor country --- plenty of stone, sand & hills, good for nothing. It rained this eve. 40 W threatening.
Tues July 21 (part missing)
Heavy......clock A.M. the rain ceased &......six miles on our way a hard th.....Lakeside H. sheltered our outfit.....stay for dinner. After dinner....settled that we did not drive...


From the Wight book
(From the book: The Wight Family Author: Danforth Phipps Wight: Call Number: CS71.W657 This book contains the history and genealogy of the Wight family of Massachusetts. Bibliographic Information: Wight, Danforth Phipps. The Wight Family. T.R. Marvin. Boston 1848.)

The Records of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts, commence in 1635, and from this year is dated the settlement of this place. In these Records, under the date of July 18th, 1637, or as it is there quaintly expressed, "The 18th of ye 5th month, comonly called July 1637," are the names of twelve persons who were admitted inhabitants of the town--in the words of the Records, "producing certificates from the magistrates subscribed unto our covenant accordingly."
One of these persons, THOMAS WIGHT, was my ancestor. He was a native of the Isle of Wight, England, and was driven from his country by the religious persecutions of the time. The Records of the First Church in Dedham commence with a history of the gathering of the church, written by the Rev. John Allin, the first pastor, who was one of the eleven persons admitted to the town with Thomas Wight at the date referred to, in which he remarks of his associates in the township, "being come together by divine providence from severall parts of England; few of them knowne to one another before."
The life and character of Thomas Wight can be known only from what is recorded of him in the Town and Church Records. From these we learn that he came here with a family. The rule adopted by the first settlers of Dedham in the distribution of lands was, that a married man should receive twelve acres, and an unmarried man eight acres. This grant was considered a home lot, and other grounds were afterwards added. The Town Records contain a list of "Lands granted unto sundry men," commencing with the first division after the incorporation of the town in 1636. Among the earliest of these grants is one to Thomas Wight, as follows:
"Thomas Wight twelve Acres more or lesse made up good by an inlargemt rune in amongst ye Rockes & for woode and timbr as it lyeth ye one side by the highwaye leading into the Rockes for ye most pte & John Luson from that waye upon a lyne Southwest unto ye brooke that compasseth said Wight and soe by that Brooke as that side lyeth next John Luson towards the North. And the other side lyeth by Anthony flisher throughout wth a c'rteyne p cell of grounde for a Situacon of a house a yeard Roome & easemt of water by the Brooke wth in the said Antho. flishers lyne as by the marks & dooles app eth. The one head abutteth upon the waest towards the East and the other upon John Lusons Rockes towards ye west, the high waye leading towards the Ragged playne rung through the same."
I add a few words respecting the boundary lines to facilitate future inquiry. The estate of Anthony Fisher passed ont of his family more than half a century ago, and is now the property of Benjamin Bussey of Roxbury. John Luson's estate was sold soon after his decease, and is now divided among a number of owners. The highway, at that day, passed over the hill to the southeast of where it now runs and adjoining the residence of Thomas Wight. The outline of this grant will ever be easily traced by the "Rockes" and the "Brooke."
This is the ground on which he built a house and which has continued in the possession of his descendants to the present time, being now owned in common by the children of the late Ebenezer Wight. The house stood at the foot of a little rise of land on the margin of the plain, on the northwest of the brook and but little distance from it. The one first erected was of slender material and thatched. The framed house which succeeded this, after remaining nearly two centuries, was recently taken down. To preserve the remembrance of this spot--where was the family hearth two hundred years--the home of six successive generations--I have this year (1840) planted on it an elm tree. To the pilgrim who, in some future day tracing his descent from Thomas Wight, shall come up to this spot in homage to the memory of his ancestors, to him I say, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thon standest is holy ground."
The Town Records confirm the remark that Thomas Wight came here with a family. Under the date of 1652, only fifteen years after his arrival, is recorded a sale of land from Thomas Wight "unto Henery Wight his sonne," and also "unto John Wight his sonne." These names all refer to the same family, as there is not on the Records any person of the name of Wight, except Thomas Wight and his descendants.
In addition to the twelve acres granted him for a homestead, are a number of subsequent grants of "planting ground," woodland and meadow. All grants of land were made by the town in town meeting and are recorded, but are not easily traced out at this day. His tillage land, besides his home lot now in the possession of his descendants, consisted of fifteen acres on the east side of the present public road, extending from the cross road bounding his home lot nearly to the great common.
The inhabitants of Dedham conducted the affairs of their community in general town meeting during
three years after the incorporation of the town; but this being found to be inconvenient on many accounts, in 1639 they committed the management of their municipal interests to selectmen chosen annually.
Thomas Wight was elected selectman six years. His name frequently occurs in the early Records. He took an active part in the concerns of the town, and was repeatedly selected for the performance of various public services. The last recorded instance of his labors for the common weal is in 1650, when he, with others, was deputed by the town to attend to the erection of a village for the Indians at Natick. After this his name does not again appear in connection with town affairs, and only on the lists made out from time to time of the division of lands among the original proprietors, and on the lists of persons assessed for the payment of the public charges.
Henceforth his time and services were diverted into other channels. After residing in Dedham fifteen years, he removed to Medfield with a number of the Dedham people.
The Records of the Town of Medfield commence with a town meeting held in Dedham, November 14, 1649, "for the resolveing and concludeing upon consideration of such things as concerne the village to be erected" at the former place. At this meeting seven men were appointed, of whom Thomas Wight was one, to take charge of the "erecting, disposeing and government of the said village." A covenant was drawn up by their direction and signed
by forty-three persons who were about to remove to this "plantation," of which number were Thomas Wight and his son John. The town of Dedham having thus made provision for the favourable commencement of the new settlement, which was begun almost entirely by persons who had resided for a longer or shorter period within its present limits, voluntarily relinquished all control over them, and Medfield was incorporated in 1650.
Thomas Wight removed from Dedham to Medfield at the close of the year 1652. His name is found in the Medfield Records "att a general assembly" of the inhabitants held December 31st of that year. All his family accompanied him, except Henry, who remained on the paternal estate in Dedham.
In the succeeding year, 1653, he was chosen selectman, and was re-elected almost every year till his decease, a period of twenty years. It is a high encomium upon his native strength of mind and excellence of character, that, with no education, he should have been requested by his fellow citizens in Dedham and Medfield, during so many years, to take an active part in the management of town affairs; for, in both these places, many of his associates in this office were among the best educated and most influential inhabitants.
He lived to a good old age, saw the settlements of Dedham and Medfield grow and flourish, and saw also go down to the grave many of the first settlers of the former place.
He died March 17, 1674.
The character of Thomas Wight may be inferred from the known incidents of his life. That he was respected by his fellow citizens for his understanding and character, is evident from the various public services they called him to perform. Among the first settlers of New England, no man was invested with office by the popular voice, or could attain to influence in society, unless he was a man of inflexible integrity and ardent piety, and was devotedly attached to their religious opinions. He was a Puritan--one of a sect, to which we are indebted for most that is valuable in the institutions and character of New England. The Puritans had their faults, but they were the faults of the age in which they lived; whilst their hatred to tyranny, their love of liberty, their reverence for religion, and their political opinions--which were essentially, practically republican--mark them as far in advance of their contemporaries.
He left his home and country, not impelled by worldly ambition, but burning with a holier fire. He came when he had passed the midday of life, with wife and children around him; when he had much to induce him to remain in his native land, and much to persuade him not to peril his life and theirs on the ocean and in the wilderness. But he estimated the things of this life as dross, in comparison to the value of the possessions which he might attain in the world to come, as unfolded to him in the Scriptures. To interpret these by the light of his own mind; to conform his life to their precepts, as they were impressed upon his understanding,
he conceived to be the great duty of his life; and he severed the ties which bound him to the homes and sepulchres of his fathers, and came here that he might worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.--Such was Thomas Wight, more justly a source of pride to his descendants than are to others the records of Heraldry.
He was twice married.--His first wife came with him from England, and was the mother of his children. She undoubtedly favoured his views and opinions, as, without her aid, he could not have sought a new home in a far distant and desert land. We know what were the characters of the early mothers of New England, and we may well conjecture she was like them. Her Christian name was Alice. She and her husband were members of the church in Dedham. In the language of the Records, "Thomas Wight and Alice his wife were received into ye church ye 6th of ye 7 mo: 1640." There is this notice of her death in the Medfield Records: "Alice Wight the wife of Thomas Wight departed this life ye 15th. of July 1665."--His second wife was Lydia Penneman, whom he married December 7th, 1665. She was the widow of James Penneman of Boston, and sister of John Eliot, the Apostle to the Indians.
Thomas and Alice Wight came to Dedham with three sons born in England, and they had two sons and a daughter born in this town. Their children were,
1. Henry born (???)
2. John " (???)
3. Thomas " (???)
4. Samuel " February 5, 1639.
5. Mary (???)
6. Ephraim " January 27, 1645.


Madeline's ashes
croccus
Madeline's daughter, Muriel, sent some photos and a message in an email - “we sprinkled mom’s ashes on Tuesday, April 17th at 4:00 p.m. in the valley outside of Regina. We wanted to make sure that we did it in the early spring when the crocuses were in bloom. Mom and Bob loved to go out in the spring in search of the wild crocus flowers. It was a very special time for mom.” Here is one of the photos, the croccus.







John Wight's two wives
My mother said once the John Wight (my grandfather's grandfather 1808-1889) was married twice, to two sisters. And that he thought they were both very intelligent, as he told someone who was belittling female intelligence. Apparently granddad witnessed the conversation when his grandfather John lived with the family in Nebraska after he was widowed and old. I always wondered about the second wife.
The mother of John's children was his first wife, Sarah Ann Ballard 1815-1875 (sometimes Ballord). This marriage is written in some sources as Wright rather than Wight which is an error. She was John Wight's wife. Her parents were William Lynde Ballard and Susannah Baldwin. One of Sarah Ann's sister was Nancy Emeline (1817-1887) and she is recorded as the wife of Charles Stickney. In another site John Wight is recorded to have two wives 'Ballard, Sarah A' and '?, Nancy E'. This Nancy is recorded in the same source as having had another husband called Stickney. Nancy died in Cambridge Ill and John in Gibbon Neb.
I assume that after Sarah died in 1875, John married her sister Nancy, also widowed. They lived in Cambridge until Nancy died in 1887. John then moved to his son's house in Nebaska for the last couple of years of his life.
John and Nancy remind me a bit of Clarence and Lois. It was probably a similar arrangement for their 12 years or so of marriage.
It is interesting that another child in Sarah and Nancy's family was a brother Lewis Kimball. So that is the family with the Kimball connection – well two families, Ballard, or more probably, Baldwin.


Wight of Hareby
The information I had was that Thomas Wight who came to Medfield Mass was born in Hereby Lincolnshire. Unfortunately there is no Hereby in Lincolnshire. But there is a Hareby. It seems to be swallowed up long ago by neighbouring parishes but it was there (Hareby is a small village and former civil parish now in the civil parish of Bolingbroke, about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the town of Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England.). It has a mention in the Doomday Book but that village is a medieval deserted village; the place, for a long time, was a parish but not more than a hamlet, if that.
Looking at Hareby, there were references on the web to a 'Wight of Hareby'. Looking at this reference it is clear that our Thomas came from Hareby parish. There is information on his parents too. Most of the information comes from Cathy Sorensen. Click on the Google map screens to enlarge.

Hareby
Hardy
bolingbroke
Hareby country
Hareby by air
Bolingbroke

Parents of John Wight are unknown but there are records of Anna Alice Bray's parents
John I Wight (Apr 1552 Hareby – 1582) married Anna Alice Bray (1556 Hareby - 1582)
Robert Wight (1578 Hareby – 1618),Reverend married Elizabeth Fulshaw (1582 Hareby – 1620)
Thomas Wight (6 Dec 1607 Hareby-17 Mar 1674 Medfield)
Gary Wight says “Born in Hareby, Linclonshire, England in 1607 and met his future wife Alice Roundy of the Isle of Wight. Thomas Wight was a poor minister and fell in love with the wealthy Alice Roundy who's family refused to let them marry, so they left and came to America.” Some say Alice's surname may have been Pepper.
I will be add this and more to the family tree soon.


Story of school fire
Here is a letter from Vira Krewson to Clarence Wight written in 1898 when Clarence was in the Spanish American war and Vira was teaching in Nebraska:
Gibbon Nebr., June, 7, ’98
Clarence Wight
Dear Friend
Your welcome letter received, after, what seemed to me, an age. It doesn’t seem like you are on the Pacific Coast, and on your way to the Philipines Islands. I am living in hopes that something will turn up and you won’t need to go any farther. I should think you would enjoy the ride to California. It is quite romantic to ride in the car which carried Lincoln’s body to Springfield.
My school was out two weeks ago last Thursday. We had rather an unusual programme on the last day or what proved to be the last day. In the afternoon a storm gathered up in the south. But as it had been damp and rainy all day I thought little about it. Just a few moments before time to let out school Mr. Jones came along. I left out the last spelling class, and went home with him. I believe it was the only time I ever let out early for a storm. We drove quite fast so as to reach home but only got to the nearest house about 40 _d. away when it began to rain so hard we had to stop in. It rained the hardest I ever saw it rain. In a few moments Fred Fisher dashed upon the porch and said the school house was on fire. It had been struck by lightening. The fire could not be put out as it was caught up in the loft. They saved the desks, books, and blinds. But the building burnt to the ground. There was quite a large Insurance upon it, so they will build a new school house this summer. If it had not burned it was terribly ruined and would have cost quite a little to repair it. The whole south end was torn off, about half the plastering and things were thrown around in fine shape. The hooks to hang the maps on were thrown from one end to the other. The thunder that afternoon did not seem as loud as I have heard it. I was so worried, when it began to rain, about the children. I knew they would get wet through. I could not see what made me let them go when it looked so much like rain. I have often kept them a little later on account of a storm, but I had never let them out early before. When the school house was struck that solved the mystery. In our hurry to go home we forgot to ring the bell after school as usual. And so many thought we were all in the building yet. I guess we were out about 10 min.
We had a little picnic Sat. Papa and Mama came up after me Sunday. We started home Monday morning. I had to fill out the Classification Record Monday before we started home. If you was a teacher you would know that it took quite a little time. But they thought I could fill that out in a little while. It took me three solid hours as hard as I could work.
The Saturday after I came home Grace Brown of Kearney come down and   (rest of letter missing)