Sunday, November 24, 2013

(SCOFIELD) Robert Wixam and “The White Man’s Fly”

*NOTE: First, the genealogy to this person is at the bottom of the blog. If you are wondering how you’re related, that’s the place to check. Second, sources are also listed at the bottom. Third, I have not verified the line of genealogical descent; I am relying on the accuracy of other contributors to*

Robert Wixam supposedly came to Massachusetts in 1630 as part of the “Winthrop Fleet.” This group of about a dozen ships was led by John Winthrop, who became the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Many of the passengers were Puritans.

Plymouth Colony map.png

Robert and his wife, Alice, settled in Eastham (on the Cape Cod peninsula), Barnstable County, Massachusetts. On October 1, 1686, Robert wrote his will. In this last testament, Robert specifically mentioned land, housing, cows, and… a beehive.

“Robert Wixam of Eastham being very weak and infirm of Body but yet in perfit memory and understanding and not knowing the time of my departure but dayly expecting when my chang shall be, Leave this as my last will and testament…

“I do give up to daughter Jemimah one Browne Cowe with a Starr in the fore head and one hive of Beese, and house room and priviledg in the orchard as long as shee lives unmaried….

“This I leave as my last will and testament with Liberty to add to or Alter as I may see cause If God shall be pleased to prolong my days.”1

Robert’s days were not prolonged: in less than a fortnight, his bequests were granted.

After his death, his belongings were inventoried. [I have copied a transcription of the inventory to the bottom of this post.] Among the miscellanea were a pot hanger, wooden trenchers, fire tongs, pewter, brass, gunpowder, Indian corn, rye, oxen, calves, and two beehives. The beehives together were valued at 10 shillings—the same price as a bedstead, an old horse, a pig, or 4 spinning wheels. Why were the bees worth as much as a horse?

Example of an early beehive, from
Honeybees are not native to the United States. They were first imported to Virginia in 1622 and appeared in Eastham about ten years before Robert’s death.2 By this time, honeybees were actually relatively inexpensive, considering that 40 years before, they had cost four times more. Robert bequeathed his hives at a time when honey had become a common food in the colonies.3

The lower prices were largely due to the importation of more hives, and partly due to the fact that bees are not truly domesticated, and “feral” bees began to colonize the continent.4 Some colonists were able to raid honey from wild hives.

In the 1780s Thomas Jefferson wrote of feral bees, “The bees have generally extended themselves into the country, a little in advance of the white settlers. The Indians therefore call them the white man's fly.”5

An American essayist later wrote, “The Indian regarded the honey-bee as an ill-omen. She was the white man’s fly. In fact she was the epitome of the white man himself. She has the white man’s craftiness, his industry, his architectural skill, his neatness and love of system, his foresight; and, above all, his eager, miserly habits. The honey-bee’s great ambition is to be rich, to lay up great stores, to possess the sweet of every flower that blooms. She is more than provident. Enough will not satisfy her; she must have all she can get.”Once bees arrived, settlers were usually not far behind. 

Bees may have their faults, but in the 17th century, when cane sugar was prohibitively expensive, honey was the primary sweetener for the “ordinary man.”2 And it certainly must have been for Robert Wixam and his family.

Line of descent:
-      Guy Wixon Scofield, 1913-1984
-      John Wixon Scofield, 1888-1963
-      Florence Amanda Wixson Scofield, 1844-1896
-      John Wixson, 1821-1893
-      Daniel Wixson, 1786-1852
-      Solomon Wixson, 1749-1813
-      Joshua Wixon, 1695-173
-      Barnabus Wixam, 1663-1735
-      Robert Wixam, 1624-1686


Other sources:
- - information on Robert Wixam

Below is the inventory taken of Robert’s estate after he died.1 Items are listed followed by their worth.

[1:4] October 11: 1686
An Invintory of the Estate of Robert Wixam of Eastham deaseaced as follows

2 Oxen .................................. 06-10-00
1 Stear .................................. 01-15-00
1 Cow ................................... 01-15-00
3 Cows .................................. 06-00-00
1 Heifer, 1 Steere ................ 02-15-00
3 Calves ................................ 01-01-00
1 old Mare ............................ 00-12-00
1old Horse ............................ 00-10-00
2 Swine ................................. 01-00-00
In Indian Corne ..................... 01-00-00
In wheate ............................... 01-03-00
In Rye ...................................... 01-00-00
In Iron .................................... 00-12-00
2 hives of Bees ....................... 00-10-00
In Pewter.................................. 01-02-00
In Earthen Ware....................... 00-01-08
In Books.................................... 00-07-00
Sheep Steers............................. 00-01-03
Iron Box and heatre.................. 00-02-00
In Brass .................................... 02-00-00
Powder and bullits ................... 00-02-00
One Iron Pott and hooks ......... 01-00-00
One pott hanger........................ 00-01-00
2 Spinning wheels ................... 00-05-00
Wooden trays & trenchers...... 00-08-00
Tobacco ................................... 00-10-00
One Fether bed and bolster, One old rugg and
old blankit...................02-15-00
One old bed & bolster.............. 00-16-00
One Bedstead .......................... 00-10-00
2 old Sives and old bagg........... 00-02-00
One bed and bolster and three pillows and old rugg
& blankit................. 03-10-00
One bedstead & Settile............. 01-00-00
One table and forme ................ 01-00-00
3 chairs ..................................... 00-03-00
1 forme old pails ...................... 00-02-00
1 fire slice and tongs ................ 00-03-00
his wearing clothes .................. 01-06-00
In Linning ................................. 03-04-00
2 Chests and box ........................00-12-00
The Total is ......................... 48-05-11

Sunday, November 17, 2013

(LUKE) Please Come Get Your Carp

“In 1877, the U.S. Fish Commission imported common carp from Germany and for the next two decades the agency began stocking and distributing the species as food fish throughout much of the United States and its territories”.1 For two decades, the federal government disseminated up to 350,000 carp per year.2 “There was at this time a fever of enthusiasm for carp…throughout all parts of the United States.”3

“In 1880, the carp bug bit Utah, and a Deputy United States Fish Commissioner promised to transport free carp to Utah as early as 1881. The commissioner required interested parties to fill out a written application, pay for the shipping container and cover freight expenses. The price per fish ran between 35 and 85 cents, depending on size and how many fish fit into the container.”4

Several articles were printed preparing people to care for carp. One paper ran a lengthy, two-part feature on properly constructing a carp pond.5 Another article discussed the best types of water, soil, and plants for the fish.6
As many as 23,000 carp were delivered to Utah per annum. Most were put in private ponds, but over 10,000 were intentionally stocked in public waters.7 As an interesting side note, the fish were not stocked in Utah Lake or the river that feeds it. Instead, “a spring flood washed some of the fish out of” a private pond, and they made their way to the lake.8

The carp quickly overtook Utah Lake, severely straining native fishes like the June Sucker. A fisherman lamented in 1894 that if a law was passed to stop seining (fishing with nets) in Utah Lake, the lake would be filled “again with suckers and chubs, the same as it was years ago when no imported fish could exist in Utah Lake… The lake is now well stocked with carp… There are millions of them and they have come to stay… The carp are twice as good as the suckers.”9

For a time, Utahns were a carp-loving people. Some of my ancestors got in on the craze. In October, 1890, the newspaper reported, “We propose to commence the annual distribution of German carp as soon as practicable after November 1st, and…we expect to be able to comply with all reasonable requests.”10

My ancestors were among those with “reasonable requests” that year.
Salt Lake Herald, 26 Nov 1890,
Alexander Gillespie Adamson, my great-
great-great grandfather

Alexander and Elizabeth Adamson were from Lanarkshire, Scotland. The males in their families started mining coal around age 8. Elizabeth was a maid. Alex and Elizabeth immigrated separately to Utah in the mid-1860s and were married in Salt Lake City.

In Utah, the Adamsons could give their children a future better than coal mining. Alex farmed and did construction projects. The family grew their own produce.11 And, apparently, they raised carp, too. They would likely have constructed a pond specifically for that purpose, as many other Americans did at that time.

His wife Elizabeth McGill Adamson,
my great-great-great grandmother

By 1899, however, public sentiment about carp was changing. One newspaper article reported that when the US government was distributing the fish, “a great many Utahns were among those who received allotments for their private waters. It was said that in Germany carp was highly esteemed and…would become a very valuable factor among the pond fishes of the United States. But when the testing and tasteing time came, they were found to be an inferior fish,…and many are now turning their noses up at them.”12

Their son George Hunter
Adamson, my great-
great grandfather
A Utah State senator spoke out against State Fish Commissioner A. M. Musser, declaring that, as “Musser had introduced carp into the waters of Utah, he should be compelled to reimburse the State.”13 Musser rebutted that carp were “highly recommended,” and were in fact sent by the federal government “on the thousand and one applications for them by the people of Utah.”14

Carp have been further maligned over the years as “trash fish.” Currently, a tax-funded multi-million dollar government project is removing them from Utah Lake at the cost of 20¢ per pound—about three times more than they originally cost to purchase—all for the sake of that "inferior" native, the June Sucker.15

Line of descent:
Alexander Gillespie ADAMSON (1841 - 1902) is your 3rd great grandfather
George Hunter ADAMSON (1880 - 1954) son of Alexander Gillespie ADAMSON
Jennie Constance Adamson (1903 - 1975) daughter of George Hunter ADAMSON
Zenda Constance Lang [my grandmother] (1924 - 2005) daughter of Jennie Constance Adamson

2 - The German Carp in the United States (Google eBook), Leon Jacob Cole, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1905, p. 547
3 - The German Carp in the United States (Google eBook), Leon Jacob Cole, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1905, p. 548
5 - The Daily Enquirer Newspaper 1887-07-19 vol. 11 no. 56 and 1887-07-22 vol. 11 no. 57
6 - “About Carp,” The Daily Enquirer Newspaper 1887-11-15 vol. 11 no. 89
7 - “Pisciculture in Utah,” Deseret Evening News, 2 Jan 1891,
9 - “About Seining,” The Daily Enquirer, 24 Jan 1894,
10 - “Carp, Etc.,” Deseret Evening News, 10 Oct 1890,
11 – Adamson family information is from “A Compilation of Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes: Alexander Gillespie Adamson and Family,” compiled by Nathan W. Adamson, Jr., published Salt Lake City, 1996.
12 - “All About Fish,” Deseret Evening News, 3 Feb 1899,
13 - “An Attack on Mr. A. M. Musser,” Deseret Evening News, 14 Mar 1899,
14 - “An Attack on Mr. A. M. Musser,” Deseret Evening News, 14 Mar 1899,

Monday, November 11, 2013

(ROBERTS) Coming to America

In the 1840s, about 100,000 German emigrants arrived in America each year. In 1848, “when it seemed that Germany might be at last a place worth living in,” that number was cut in half. But hopes were dashed, and emigration swelled. Throughout the 1850s, more than 250,000 Germans arrived annually on US shores.1 “By 1900, almost one third of people born in Mecklenburg lived outside of the state.”2 “These emigrants were the best of their race – the adventurous, the independent, the men who might have made Germany a free and civilized county. They brought to the United States a contribution on inestimable value, but they were lost to Germany.”3

Among the waves of immigrants came several of my ancestors, including Johann Friederich Heinrich Gronow, his wife, Johannah Maria (Fischer) Gronow, and some of their children. But why emigrate?

Lübz is situated on the river Elde.

Johann was born in Lübz, Mecklenberg-Schwerin, Germany. Lübz is a beautiful little town along the river Elde, about 60 miles south of the Baltic Sea and 100 miles northwest of Berlin. Like most of historic Germany, however, the area was riddled with problems.

Johann Gronow was christened at this Lutheran Church in Lübz. 

Johann was born April 13, 1810. This was the age of Napoleon.

“From 1806 to 1813, the country suffered great hardship and destruction during the period which came to be known to all Mecklenburgers as the "Franzosentid" (period of French occupation). Robbery and pillage became commonplace.”4 “French troops took horses, food, and whatever other supplies they needed without any compensation to the people. Throughout the next few years, peasants were periodically forced to take in troops and provide for them. The French government levied heavy taxes on the people to support the continual warfare and drafted young men into the French army. Prices on common goods increased enormously. Although Napoleon did bring some progressive changes with him, in the end, the main effect was repression and suffering.”5

Mecklenburg-Schwerin had been “forced to join”6 the Confederation of the Rhine, which was a military alliance “for mutual defense and [to] supply France with large numbers of military personnel.”7 After Napoleon’s defeat in Russia, a campaign from which fewer than 5% of Mecklenburg’s soldiers returned,8 Mecklenburg-Schwerin was the first member-state to renounce the alliance with Napoleon, and in the War of German Liberation (1813-1815) fought against Napoleon9 until his final defeat in 1815.10

After a decade of war, peace must have been a welcome change. Unfortunately, peace also brought an economic depression.

In 1815, the duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin joined the German Confederation and became a grand duchy. (A grand duke ranks one step under a king.) It was about the size of the US state of Connecticut.11 “All power was placed in the hands of the Duke, nobles, and upper classes. The lower classes had no voice. Land was held under a Feudal system.”12 Absolute rule continued until well into the 20th century.

Inherited Serfdom was the Mecklenburg way of life. Peasants were dependent on the nobles. Peasants and their property could be bought and sold and they could not acquire additional land. Taxes were typically increased every few years. The police force and the church were controlled by the nobility. “The servant of a noble landowner was not even permitted to marry unless his master gave him permission.”13 “Practices such as having to ask for permission from the Grand Duke to get married, or having to apply for permission to emigrate,” continued until after World War I.14 Serfdom was technically abolished around 1820, but in fact continued for at least two dozen years. “Mecklenburg was known for being perhaps the most backwards of the German states.”15

The Gronows lived on this street, Plauer Strasse.
Johann apparently did not work the land. He lived in the small town of Lübz, which had a population of less than 2,000,16 and was either a stonemason or a ropemaker. His life was of course affected by the social rigidity of Mecklenburg. At some point, he met Johannah Fischer; her father was from Güstrow, about 25 miles north of Lübz. Presumably, they had to seek permission to marry and were forced to wait on a noble’s timeframe, as restrictions on marriages were not removed until 1867.17 Like most Germans of the time, they had a loving, monogamous relationship for quite some time before they wed. When they married at the church in Lübz on November 16, 1836, they were already the parents of two boys, ages 3 years and 5 weeks.

Johann and Johannah married in the Lutheran Church at Lübz,
pictured here in 2008 (with me!)
Johan and Johannah's marriage record. "Gronow" and "Fischer" are underlined.
From microfilm #0069316, page 384, at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This house, on Plauer Strasse, was inhabited in 2008 by K.
Gronow. Johann and Johannah might have lived here.
After their marriage, Johann and Johannah lived together in Lübz from 1836-1849. During that time, they had 6 more children. Sadly, two of those children, aged almost-5 and almost-2, died in September 1842.

The political situation in Mecklenburg-Schwerin remained mostly the same until 1848. In February, Parisians revolted and the king abdicated. The revolutionary fervor swept across Europe, including the “March Revolution” in Germany. The demands of the people included “arming of the people, freedom of the press, trial by jury and creation of a German parliament.”18 The people wanted a unified Germany. Initially, rulers were fearful of being overthrown and gave in to some of the demands. A National Assembly convened and spent the summer drafting “Basic Rights for the German People,” which were declared in December 1848 and included equal legal rights for all citizens.19 In April 1849, the Assembly offered all of Germany to the king of Prussia. He, however, “would not ‘pick up a Crown from the gutter,’” and refused.20 “Thus, all the deliberation of the Frankfurt Assembly resulted in nothing. Germany remained fragmented after 1848, and the small rulers of the various small German states came back to power.”21 With no leader for a unified Germany, the movement failed. The Assembly disbanded and “the revolution of 1848/49 was over. The achievements of March 1848 were repealed in all states.”22 The aristocrats who had been so willing to make concessions a year before now swept them away; the “Basic Rights” were abolished, and life in Germany became even more repressive.

Against this backdrop, in 1849, Johann and Johannah Gronow left for America. They settled in Frankfort, Illinois, where they had four more children. Here, John and Hannah enjoyed the rights and freedoms denied to them in Mecklenburg.

Line of descent from Johann, who was the great-grandfather of John Curtis Roberts. 

Johann Friederich Heinrich GRONOW (1810 - 1897)
is your 3rd great grandfather
son of Johann Friederich Heinrich GRONOW
daughter of Henry Carl Gronow
son of Aurelia Charlotte Gronow

1 - The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History Since 1815, by Alan John Percivale Taylor, p. 94.
3 - The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History Since 1815, by Alan John Percivale Taylor, p. 94. He is British, by the way. I am not sure that a German historian would agree that all the best Germans left. J
4 - “Mecklenburg Since the Middle Ages,” by Carol Gohsman Bowen
6 - “Mecklenburg Since the Middle Ages,” by Carol Gohsman Bowen
8 -  “Mecklenburg Since the Middle Ages,” by Carol Gohsman Bowen
11-13 - “Mecklenburg Since the Middle Ages,” by Carol Gohsman Bowen
20 - The Course of German History: A Survey of the Development of German History Since 1815, by Alan John Percivale Taylor, p. 93

Monday, November 4, 2013

(SMITH) Roger Williams, father of religious liberty

Roger Williams was born near London into a middle-class family in the early 17th century. He was formally educated and excelled in many subjects, including languages. Before leaving England, he was fluent in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Dutch, and French1. He later learned several Native American languages.

Roger Williams thought it prudent to leave England because of his religious beliefs, and he arrived in Boston in 1631. He refused a position in the Boston church because it had not separated from the Church of England. He taught briefly in Salem, then made his way to Plymouth2. His "strange opinions,"3--such as, no kings, merely because they were Christian, had the right to "take and give away the Lands and Countries of other men," ie: Natives--made him unpopular with the Plymouth leadership, and after 2 years he returned to Salem. 

The rulers of Salem were more moderate, but Roger's ideas also got him in trouble there. In October 1635, Roger Williams was charged with "new and dangerous opinions," including "That we have not our Land by Patent from the King, but that the Natives are the true owners of it" and "That the Civil Magistrates power extends only to the...outward state of men"4. In other words, Roger Williams believed that Indians should be paid for their land, and that individuals should have the right to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience, for "God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls."5 For this, the Massachusetts court decided, "Whereas Mr. Roger Williams, one of the elders of the church of Salem, hath broached & divulged diverse new & dangerous opinions... it is therefore ordered, that the said Mr. Williams shall depart out of this jurisdiction within six weeks."4

Meanwhile, Roger Williams continued sharing these radical ideas, and the court decided to deport him to England immediately. He was warned, however, by a good friend, former governor John Winthrop, and fled Salem a few days before the sheriff arrived to arrest him.6

"The winter of 1635/6 was cold even by New England standards. That winter, Narragansett Bay froze over, an event that rarely happens. In this extreme cold, Roger Williams, a city boy from London, made his escape on foot from Salem."4 Of this event, Williams later wrote: "I was unmercifully driven from my chamber to a winter's flight, exposed to the miseries, poverties, necessities, wants, debts, hardships, of sea and land, in a banished condition. For...fourteen weeks, in a bitter winter season, I was sorely tossed and knew not what bread or bed did mean."6

Williams headed south, walking over 100 miles through deep snow. Eventually, he was given shelter among a Wampanoag tribe. After a few months, Williams negotiated with the Natives for his own land on Narragansett Bay. Then, "having made covenant of peaceable neighborhood with all the sachems [chiefs] and natives round about us, and having, in a sense of God’s merciful providence unto me in my distress, called the place PROVIDENCE, I desired it might be for a shelter for persons distressed for conscience."4

Me at Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Oct. 2012.
This park marks the site where Roger Williams built his home.
Roger Williams firmly believed in "soul liberty"--that all people should be allowed freedom of conscience, provided such an exercise did not harm others. He said of his settlement, "The Most High and only Wise hath provided this country and this corner as a shelter for the poor and persecuted according to their several persuasions."4 Rhode Island quickly became a haven for those of different beliefs, including Quakers and Antinomians. The state boasts the first Baptist church in America and the oldest synagogue on the continent7, both of which were built during Williams' lifetime.

The First Baptist Church in America, founded by Roger Williams in 1638,
though he eventually left organized religion. This building was erected in 1775.
Photo taken October 2012.
That his colony might be legally recognized by the English government, Williams traveled to London. He obtained a charter with two amazing provisions. First, "that it shall not bee lawfull to or for the rest of the Collonies to invade or molest the native Indians, or any other inhabittants, inhabiting within" the colony's bounds, they "being by us taken into our speciall protection." And more incredibly, considering that English citizens in England were not given this privilege, granting a "lively experiment...that all and every person and persons all times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments."4

Roger Williams is credited with the beginning of separation of church and state in the New World. Although deeply religious, he believed the government should not interfere in a person's relationship with God; government should only be concerned with community relations.

Roger was born into the Church of England, became a Puritan minister, and spent a few years as a Baptist. But "his search for the true church eventually carried him out of ... any visible church," although he continued to actively preach. "From 1639 forward, he waited for Christ to send a new apostle to reestablish the church, and he saw himself as a 'witness' to Christianity until that time came."8

Williams was convinced that authority to perform ordinances was lost in the Apostasy, and "could not be validly restored without a special divine commission."8 He declared: There is "no regularly-constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance; nor could there be until new apostles were sent by the great Head of the Church for whose coming he was seeking."9

Williams had several other beliefs that separated him from the churches of the time. He was opposed to infant baptism, as infants could not understand and accept the ordinance. 

He "did not believe in taking money for being a preacher. He earned his living by farming and trading blankets and knives with the Indians.”1 He wrote of ministers, "in their wages...they have always run in the way of a hire, and rendered such workmen absolute hirelings between whom and the true Shepherd, the Lord Jesus (John 10), puts so express and sharp a difference. [In John 10, the Lord declares that the true shepherd gives his life for the sheep, but the hireling sees the wolf coming and flees, caring not for the sheep.]...I am bold to maintain that it is one of [the] grand designs of the Most High to break down the Hireling Ministry, that trade, faculty, calling, and living by preaching."10

His ideas on freedom of conscience continued to differ sharply from the mainstream. In 1644, Williams was in London to secure a charter for his colony. While there, he wrote the book A Bloudy Tenant, "one of the most comprehensive treatises about the freedom of religion ever written,"11 which contained the revolutionary idea that governmental authority was granted by the people, not by God. Parliament, outraged, ordered that all copies of the book be burned. I'd say it's a pretty successful revolutionary who inspires a book burning. :)

Furthermore, Williams opposed slavery. In 1652, his settlement passed a law prohibiting it. Unfortunately, when other settlements were joined together to make the colony of Rhode Island, some areas refused to accept the law and it was disregarded.8

This great man consistently lived according to his conscience, whatever the consequences. He was courageous, charismatic, and an exceptionally good human being. Even his enemies agreed on that.

Thus was the life of Roger Williams, the founder of the state officially named "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." 

***I did NOT research the genealogy for this post. I researched Roger Williams thoroughly and have cited sources below. However, I am depending on someone else's genealogic accuracy; I have NOT verified this line of descent. That being said, here is the genealogy, according to contributors on

Alice Zemp, born 1925
Lucia Scoville, born 1889
Maria Holt, born 1861
Sarah Carr, born 1838
Thomas Carr, born 1791
Benjamin Carr, born 1762
Benjamin Carr, born 1725
Caleb Carr, born 1700
Deborah Sayles, born 1656
Mary Williams, born 1620
Roger Williams, born about 1603

1 - PBS biography of Roger Williams,
2 - Roger Williams, by Henry Chupack, 1969
- History of the Pilgrims and Puritans, Joseph Dillaway Sawyer, 1922
- NPS biography of Roger Williams: and ensuing pages
- Roger Williams, A Plea for Religious Liberty,
- Voices from Colonial America: Rhode Island, 1636-1776, by Jesse McDermott
- The Thirteen Colonies: Rhode Island, by Craig & Katherine Doherty
- Picturesque America, ed. William C. Bryant, 1872, p. 496-502
10 - Roger Williams, "The Hireling Ministry," in On Religious Liberty: Selections from the Works of Roger Williams, by Roger Davis,
11 - Smithsonian Mag: [I strongly recommend this one for further reading! It's an excellent article.]

Thursday, October 24, 2013

(SCOFIELD) The Irascible Sir Cuthbert

Cuthbert Scofield was a pugnacious fellow. Perhaps it is fitting that he was the first Scofield to be granted a crest.

Crest granted to Cuthbert in 1582
The records of his life are primarily from the courts. Even his knighthood, granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1588, resulted from his assistance during a war. (He somehow helped defeat the Spanish Armada, probably by donating money.) 

As one author said, "Cuthbert Scolfeld was evidently a man either fond of litigation or uncommonly unfortunate, for he appears in the Duchy Court more frequently than any other inhabitant of the parish." (B)

Cuthbert went to court several times claiming various lands. His legal squabbles with relatives and neighbors, however, are the most interesting.

In 1561, Cuthbert sued his wife, Anne, for divorce. Herself the product of an affair, she apparently thought nothing of conducting a dalliance while her husband was at the market. Upon arriving home, Cuthbert was informed by others of the goings-on at Schofield Hall. Anne's lover fled from a window; she followed. Cuthbert pursued them, "brandishing his sword and giving chase through several fields." The pair escaped and made their way to Ireland; Cuthbert sued for divorce. (E)
Scofield Hall, 1829. Inhabited from the 16th-20th century. Now in ruins.

In 1565, Cuthbert quarreled with a neighbor about the ownership of a piece of land that included the local chapel. Apparently, Cuthbert attempted to enforce his opinion. According to another neighbor, Cuthbert, "a very evill disposed person... hath in verie riotous and forceable manor entered into the...chapell... and with strong locks and bars hath shut up the same," and when the locals tried to attend services they found "several disordered persons with drawn swords in their hands, who did make assault and affray upon divers persons." (A, C) 

Ah, Cuthbert, fractious and feisty till the end.

***I did NOT research the genealogy for this post. I researched Sir Cuthbert and have cited sources below. However, I am depending on someone else's genealogic accuracy; I have NOT verified this line of descent. That being said, here is the genealogy, according to contributors on 

Guy Wixon Scofield, 1913-1984
John Wixon Scofield, 1888-1962
Charles Andrew Scofield, 1840-1910
Eleazer Scofield, 1811-1881
Rufus Scofield, 1773-1854
Noah Scofield, 1750-1790
Jonathan Scofield, 1719-1788
Nathaniel Scofield, 1688-?
John Scofield, 1647-1699
Daniel Scofield, 1620-1669
Alexander Scofield, 1588-1620
Sir Cuthbert Scofield, 1555-1605

A) Rebe Taylor, Rochdale Retrospect, chapter 3,
B) Henry Fishwick, History of Rochdale, chapter 17, this is also the source of the picture of Schofield Hall, from a pen and ink sketch by George Shaw, architect, and the information about the Scofield crest
C) ibid, chapter 10
D) ibid, chapter 15
E) "Schofield Hall" at