Wednesday, November 5, 2014

52 ANCESTORS in 52 WEEKS, No. 45: (Capt) George CURWEN, 1610-1684, Immigrant

Following the challenge from Amy Johnson Crow to write a post weekly, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, here is my 45th installment, Captain George CURWEN.  George CURWEN's title of Captain refers to his military service as Captain of a troop of militia during King Philip's War.  

Thank heavens for relationship calculators on family tree software: he's the husband of my ex-husband's half-7th great-grand aunt, (8th, to our children) through the RICE family line, up through to Susanna WHITE Winslow's daughter, Elizabeth!  I decided to write a little bit about him after reading through a book I stumbled on in our B.C. Genealogical Society's library while volunteering there.  

The book I found is: Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700, by Frederick Lewis Weis, 7th Edition by Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., published by Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 1992.  This book is a compilation of ascendancy of early colonists back to Saxon and English Monarchs, French, Charlemagne, Early Kings of Scotland and Ireland, and much more. As I have quite a few early colonists, I checked the names with my database, and found George CURWEN. (I also found Thomas TROWBRIDGE, but that's another story!)  Many specific sources are listed, one of them refers to a chart made "by Rev. George Curwen 1698, made during his father's lifetime". This book is not a primary source, as it is a compilation from various other sources, none of which I have seen or examined. Still, it is an interesting start.

George was born 3 Nov 1610 in Sibbertoft, Northampton, England. We know his father's name was John CURWEN; his mother's name is stated to be Marjorie, but I have not seen proof. The other children were: Thomas, Matthew, Elizabeth, Sarah, and John.  His older brother, Matthias Curwen, b. abt 1602, immigrated with his three children abt 1634, settling first in Ipswich, MA.

George's first wife was Elizabeth Herbert, daughter of the Hon. John Herbert, Mayor of Northampton, England. They married in England about 1635, having at least one or two children in England. She died on 15 Sep 1668, and he married on 22 September 1669 to Elizabeth WINSLOW Brook, the only daughter of (Governor) Edward WINSLOW and Susanna White (widow), Mayflower immigrants. Elizabeth (2nd) was a widow of Robert Brook who had died earlier; she had one son, also named Robert Brook.

George & Elizabeth (1st) had seven known children:
   1.  Abigail, b. 1 Aug, 1637, died by 1 yr of age
   2.  John, b. 25 July 1638; d. 12 Jul 1683; m., 5 children
   3.  Jonathan, b. 14 Nov 1640; d. 25 Jul 1718; m., 10 children
   4.  Hannah, b. 1642, died by 1 yr of age
   5.  Abigail, b.? bap. 30 Nov 1643
   6.  Hannah, b. 1 Jan 1645/6;  d.21 Nov 1692
   7.  Elizabeth, b.? bap. 2 Jul 1648;  d. bef 1685

After Elizabeth died on 16 September 1668, in Salem, George married for a second time in 1669 to Elizabeth WINSLOW Brook (widow).  Corwin Genealogy in the United States, [by E.T. Corwin, pub. 1872 by S.W. Green, New York], lists the following children on page 78: 

George & Elizabeth (2nd) had 3 children, all of whom married, with children:
   9.  Penelope,
 10.  Susannah
 11.  George

George was a wealthy and influential man in Salem, living in the city, owning four houses, warehouses, and 2 wharves in Salem, plus another warehouse and wharf in Boston.  He also owned about 15,000 acres of various land parcels around the area. His family lived in one side of his very large home, and the other side had several businesses/trade establishments leased. He was made a Freeman in 1665, and was involved as a Selectman for most of the years from 1666-1676.

When he died 5 Jan 1684, his will showed an inventory valued at  £5,964. 10s. 7d., which was a large fortune at the time. Some details of his inventory (e.g., silver-topped cane) are still kept by descendants.  His portrait was commissioned and is in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA; a copy is hanging in the "Witch House", house, again owned by a Corwin descendant, in Salem. He is described as having a "fine, round forehead, large nostrils, high cheek bones, and grey eyes," in the Corwin Genealogy in the US  book mentioned previously. 

Much has been written in various articles, letters, journals and books of history and genealogy, concerning George CORWIN/CURWEN, and searching on several genealogy websites will turn up a number of books and histories which may be directly searched.  Interestingly, the original surname in the 1200s, was spelled CULWEN and the spelling shifted in about 1433 - see next paragraph.  

That book that started me on this post lists the direct lineage (with more details as known in the book) as follows on pages starting at 40-41, 37, 1-4, following generation numbers:
Captain George CURWEN - John CURWEN - Henry CURWEN - Thomas CURWEN - Thomas CURWEN - Margaret CURWEN (m. cousin Wm CURWEN) - Sir Christopher CURWEN - Sir Thomas CURWEN - Sir Christopher CURWEN - William CURWEN - Gilbert CULWEN - Sir Gilbert CULWEN, Knt. - Gilbert CURWEN (m. cousin Edith HARINGTON) - Gilbert CULWEN - Patric DE CULWEN - Thomas OF WORKINGTON, son of Gospatric, Lord of Workington in Cumberland. 

The last named ancestor, Thomas of Workington, is known to have died soon after 13 Nov 1200.  Both the Harington and Culwen/Curwen lines can be traced back to Aethelred II (King, 979-1016). Aethelred II traces back to CERDIC, King of the West Saxons in the early 500s.  Yes, once one finds a landed gentry ancestor, there are interesting lineages to find, piecing them from various writings of battles, of famous people's visits, and from various collections of documents. Interesting puzzles.

Of course, all of us trace back to a fairly small group of people. I find it fascinating to see how "mixed up" we all are: Vikings and other Scandinavians, Germans, French, English, Dutch, and others.  One day I'll be able to pay for genetic testing and find out even more about my deep ancestry details.

If you have questions or comments, do contact me via calewis at telus dot net,or add them to the Comments section below.  Thank you for stopping by and reading. 

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis