During my hunt through my family ancestry over the past 2 years, I’ve come up some interesting connections in my father’s family tree. Sadly the search through my mom’s family from the Azore’s and Spain has not been so fruitful. Most recently I have discovered that my father’s paternal grandmothers line goes all the way back to early colonies. We are actually descendants of two Mayflower families.
My 10th Great Grandfather was William Brewster, the Pastor for the Puritans, who lead the puritans from England to Holland and then back to England, then on to the new world. The second family connection is through his daughter Fear Brewster’s marriage to fellow pilgrim Isaac Allerton. Fear was Isaac’s second wife and their son Isaac Jr. was my 8th Great Grandfather. Back in college I had a friend who was member of DAR and a Mayflower decedent. Growing up in California, you didn’t meet to many people who could lay claim to such things (maybe in the movies). I envied her a little for having those connections but I wasn’t sure why. It had nothing to do with status, there just seemed to be a spark of similarity between us I guess. So to find out this ancestry connection gave some insight to the connection or past life connection.
I dug more and more into the story of my Great (G.) Grandparents some more. My 9th G. Grandmother, Fear Brewster Allerton actually came over later than her father and mother. She also was fell victim to the smallpox virus which ravaged the colony. Issac Allerton, Sr. became a diplomat for the colony and eventually a trader in secret, thanks to his numerous trips back to England. While not honest about his secret money making schemes, he was successful for a while but at the end of his life his fortune was gone and banished himself to Connecticut, rough life.
Isaac Sr.’s son Isaac Allerton, Jr. (my 8th Great Grandfather) was also successful in his trading endeavors although he steered clear of his fathers shady business practices. He eventually moved to Virginia and became a Burgess or an elected Representative to the first Assembly of Government in Jamestown. Isaac, Jr. was also one of the first elected officials to publicly turn it’s back to the crown by refusing to take the oath recognizing William and Mary as England's rightful ruler. The Boston Tea Party and American Revolution would not happen for another 75+ years.
Next I started to read about the plethora of descendants that are spread through out the history books. While William Brewster's line is plentiful, Isaac Allerton Sr.’s line does have 2 presidents, Brewster just had 1. Here is some of what I found.
Other decedents of Isaac Allerton and his wife Fear Brewster include:
President Herbert Hoover
President Zachary Taylor (Brewster/Allerton)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Allerton)
V.P. Hannibal Hamlin
V.P. Dan Quayle
V.P Nelson Rockefeller
US Supreme Court Justice David Souter
William Brewsters other decedents that provided some other colorful connections, include:
Seth McFarlin (creator of Family Guy)
Elizabeth & Andrew Shue (I always had a liking to them both even when they did cheesy shows or movies, now I know why)
and some really interesting descendants include:
Roger Nash Baldwin (co-founder of the ACLU)
Moses Yale Beach (founder of the Associated Press)
painter John Brewster, Jr.
Governor Howard Dean
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Brewer Stanton
Louis Comfort Tiffany
There are several people on that list that I had a connection with at some point in my life or still do till this day. This feeling or memory is most prevalent with 5 women I found to be descendants. First there is Ashley & Wynona Judd, I’ve always loved Wynona’s voice and Ashley has been a favorite actress of mine for many years, I even got to see Ashley on stage in NYC in a performance of “A Cat on Hot Tin Roof”. Second and third are two actresses who are one my all time favorite top 5 actresses of all time, Katherine Hepburn and Joanne Woodward (whose just a descendant of Isaac Allerton). Talk about two strong women! Then I saved the best for last, this descendant I’ve actually met twice in my life, both times back in college. First at a lecture at school and second a book party a year later. Julia Child had such presence, I guess the same could be said for Katherine as well. But the connection I got from Julia on those two occasions has followed me ever since.
Oh last and most certainly least......Sarah Palin is a fellow descendant of William Brewster :-( I know! In the end, yes I know it’s the past but it’s interesting to find out these little tid-bits about one’s family. No I am not going to register Paley with the DAR. I am sure there are more finds to be had. In the end we all have this little hope from when we were children that we had a connection to the amazing story of the early American settlers. Come on, admit you were always mystified by the puritan search for religious freedom and the beginning of this great country’s foundation of religious freedom. Today it’s so sad to see that foundation slowly being chiseled away by todays religions trying to inject their beliefs upon the whole country.
Next up, Royalty. So check back soon.
(pictured: top row; Chevy Chase, Katharine Hepburn, William Brewster, Isaac Allerton, POTUS FDR, POTUS Zachary Taylor; second row; POTUS Herbert Hoover, Jordan Brewster, Julia Child, Joanne Woodward, Dan Quayle, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s; third row; Gov. Howard Dean, Sarah Palin, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ashley Judd, Bing Crosby, Andrew Shue & Justice David Suetor)