Thursday, February 13, 2014

Branches & Boughs

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road.
And those who've gone before us light the way,
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace,
~ Steve Green

When Abigail Warren married Anthony Snow in 1639, little did they know that I would be among the progeny they bore.  They are my 8th great-grandparents.

Abigail is the daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Walker-Warren, the same Richard Warren who was signatory of the Mayflower Compact, and who traveled to America aboard that great vessel in 1620.  He traveled alone, ahead of his family; followed by Elizabeth and 5 of their children in 1623 aboard the vessel Anne.

Abigail was born in 1618, so in 1623 when the Anne sailed she was but a wee child.  She would grow up in the new world alongside her siblings; and eventually she would meet & fall in love with Anthony Snow.  They would marry in 1639, bearing several children ~ among them another namesake by the name of Abigail. 

Collectively these, my kin, would settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they established their homesteads among the many other pilgrims of their day.    

Eventually, Abigail the 2nd would grow up and meet Michael Ford, another Plymouth resident.  They married in 1667, going on to have numerous children, among them yet another Abigail (the 3rd) ~ like her mother and grandmother before her.  

This youngest Abigail would eventually meet Johnathon Grinnell, a descendant among the long, deep lineage of Grinnells/Grenelles from the Argon region of France who settled the Americas far & wide.  His own grandfather, Matthew, had emigrated in 1630, settling & raising his family in Newport Rhode Island.  

In 1698 Abigail would become Johnathon's 2nd wife; his first wife having either died or divorced.  She left her family environs in Massachusetts to live among his in Rhode Island.  In 1711 they would bear their one and only child, Johnathon Jr.  Then, a mere 7 years later, Abigail would die at the young age of 40, leaving a bereft child and husband to mourn her passing and to carry on her legacy.  

From young Johnathon, Jr. would come Nathaniel, the first to leave his home in Rhode Island for New York.  From Nathaniel would come John; and from John, Thomas.  Thomas would give birth to Elisha, and from Elisha came Fred, my mother's father.  Elisha eventually made his way from New York to Wisconsin, and then onto South Dakota, where my mother was born & raised.  

Unbeknownst to the lot of these, and during eras that reached far into a future they could not possibly envision, they had set in motion the genealogical destiny that would ultimately provide for my birth.

All of these particular ancestors derived originally from England; some from Surrey, others from London, and yet others from Dorset.  Much is written in the public record about their adventures and mis-adventures given their close proximity to the early settling of America.  Millworkers & ministers, farmers & homemakers. militia & teachers, they all managed to make their way to a new land and a new hope, never imagining that one day I'd be penning this blog.  

Often I travel my way out onto these limbs; the ones that feel so much like rockabye-baby-boughs beneath me.  When I do, I am mindful of the myriad biblical genealogies recorded for our benefit ~ some to demonstrate how noble & godly were many; some to demonstrate how wicked were others, with the caveat that often one's lineage was a contributing factor in which of those camps you resided.  Yet high above and through it all was (and is) God's advancing purpose; His providential hand in crafting history.

These are the providential means by which I came to be.
Mother (a young girl, standing)
Grandfather Fred (sitting, far left)
Great-grandmother Adelaide (next to Fred)
Great-grandfather Elisha (next to mother, holding child)
Grandmother Etta (holding baby)

The remainder are mother's siblings and/or other relatives.

I realize and cherish the tectonic shift that took place when Jesus made His way, with the Father's sanction, to the cross.  His shed blood forever altered the course of our future, our eternal estate, should we choose (and be chosen) to embrace salvation.  But one bloodline supplanted any and all contenders.  Such a sobering reality.

Even so ... and yet ... my past is my past.  Upon the many branches from which I come I find myself intrigued, awed, mystified.  I can almost see up ahead, just where the branch is about to be pruned (often as I squawk), the names of the new formations forming ever-so-close to my own growth; some that have yet to be born. 

It is truth:  we cannot alter the past, but we can forever impact what lies ahead.  

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, 
lead them to believe;
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
~ Steve Green

Knowing where you came from may
help you understand where you are going.
~ Anonymous

Anything & everything you ever wanted to know about the Mayflower:  Mayflower History


Denise said...

Enjoyed this.

Sharon said...

Absolutely fascinating. My mom has a box full of letters and old pictures. We keep meaning to research these and find out a bit more about our family tree.

But, the family tree I'm most pleased to be part of is the Tree of God's Family! Because of the Vine, we can become branches on the Tree of Life!


Peggy said...

How interesting to know all that about your family history and how they were a part of our country's history too. I need to research my history sometime, my mother's maiden name was Hogsheads. I'd like to research that.