Tuesday, November 12, 2019

John and Joan Chadwick of Watertown and Malden, Massachusetts (1600-1681)

I've been putting this bio off for a while as there is much confusion on the Internet about him. There are several men named John Chadwick, alive in New England and their information has been confused. Here is what I know about John Chadwick of Malden. 

english origins
That John Chadwick was of English origin is almost certain. That John Chadwick came from the Lancashire Chadwick family is possible. That the father of John Chadwick is certain, is untrue. John's father is variously given as Richard Chadwick of Rochdale, Alexander Chadwick or George Chadwick, same locale.

The source for his birth year is said to be a 1680 court case in which a deposed John Chadwick claimed to be 79 years old, according to Savage. [1] The case is found in the Middlesex County Court record, Folio 90. It can be seen here.

Just for grins let's say John was born about 1601, in Rochdale. There are multiple John's born in 1601. How can we possibly know which if any is him? There is nothing about the Massachusetts immigrant that connects him to any ancestral home in England. 

John Chadwick is not included in the Great Migration Project. Many speculate that he was related to Charles Chadwick who was in Watertown in 1635. The project can find no proof of his origins or his kinsman, John and Thomas Chadwick. 

his wife
We know that on 11 July 1674, Joan, wife of John Chadwick of Malden died. [2] Whether they married in England or in Massachusetts is unknown. Her ancestry is also unknown. 

Unknown daughter, married in 1680
Elizabeth: 1 April 1648 recorded in the Malden records
John: died 17 March 1650, death recorded in the Malden records
Sarah: 1 June 1650 recorded in the Malden records 
John: born most likely in 1652
James: 15 April 1653 recorded in the Malden records
Samuel: birth not recorded
Hannah: supposed the youngest daughter

will and probate
"1st Day 10th month 1680, I John Chadwick senior of Malden ... my will is that my two sons John and James shall have two-thirds parts of all my land and that they shall have their shares on that side which is next to their own land. My son Samuel shall have the other third part to the Eastward with the house and orchard. James and Samuel shall each of them pay five pounds unto my son John. In case any one of the said sons should die leaving no issue, the land of his share shall be equally divided between the two sons that are surviving. I give unto my daughter Hannah all my cattle, bedding brass, iron and pewter, in a word all my moveables both within doors and without. After debts and funeral & sickness expenses are discharged out of the profits or income of my land orchard and house that the whole profit of all my land orchard and house shall be .. said daughter for the space of four years. But in case she should decease and have no issue surviving then my will ... all that remains of her portion shall be equally divided between my three sons John, James and Samuel. more over I bequeath unto my three daughters that are already married by way of legacy ten shillings apiece to be paid by my executor. I constitute my son John for my executor and I make ensign[n] Thomas Lynde and Thomas Skinner the overseers of this my will.

witnesses ??? Jenkins & Samuel ???"

john's life
John's life is a mystery. There is very little known about him. He makes rare appearances in the records of the day. He must have been in Malden by 1648 when his daughter Elizabeth was born and recorded in the town records. In 1651 Joan's name appeared on a petition written on behalf of the women of Malden concerning their Minister. [3] John was made a Freeman in 1656. And that's about it.

Wikitree profile of John Chadwick can be found here.

Wikitree page on various Chadwicks in New England can be found here.


[1] Savage, James, 1784-1873, O. P. (Orrando Perry) Dexter, and John Farmer. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, On the Basis of Farmer's Register ... Boston: Little, Brown and company, 1860-62. Volume 1 page 351.

[2] Corey, Deloraine P. (Deloraine Pendre), 1836-1910, and Malden (Mass.). Births, Marriages And Deaths In the Town of Malden, Massachusetts, 1649-1850. Cambridge: Printed at the University Press for the city of Malden, 1903. page 336. 

[3] History of Malden

Friday, November 8, 2019

Historical Book Review: Ingvar: The Gods' Forsaken Son

Ingvar: The Gods' Forsaken Son by [Armstrong, Wayne]

Ingvar: The Gods' Forsaken Son by Wayne Armstrong
Publisher: self published
Date: August 2019
Genre:Historical Fiction, Norse / Icelandic Historical Fiction
Pages: 210
Available: amazon in ebook and paperback

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Plot: Ingvar: The Gods' Forsaken Son is the story of the eldest son of a fictional Norse King who has fallen under the sway of Gyda, his second wife and mother of his second son, Thorir. Ingvar is worried that his step-mother will convince the King to name Thorir as his heir. Ingvar organizes a mighty expedition and sets sail seeking fame and fortune. Unfortunately, a storm blows him off course and his plans are dashed when he is taken and sold into slavery in Spain. Despite his predicament, Ingvar is determined to return home and claim his throne. 

Characters: When not killing innocent farmers, enslaving their families and robbing monks and monasteries, Ingvar is a likable enough man. He loves his wife and children and he inspires respect and loyalty in his crew. An uncomplicated man, he is predictable in his choices and actions. The evil step mother and her son are both one dimensional and without real depth of character. They do just what you think they are going to do. There are lots of bit characters who assist or hinder Ingvar along his journey.

Writing: I thought the writing was excellent. Without typos or grammatical errors, the pace is fast and the story zips along.  No complaints here. 

History: I thoroughly enjoyed the historical aspect of this book. I have read several books in this time frame, including the Bernard Cornwell Saxon series, set slightly later in the 10th century. This one is particularly well researched.  The inclusion of the Emir of Cordoba and Muslim Spain was a treat. From the petty kingdoms of the British Isles to the monks of Mont Saint Michel, Armstrong takes us on a whirlwind tour of 8th Century Europe. I did not see anything that I found out of character/ unrealistic for the time period. 

Overall: I found this an enjoyable read. I admit to skimming some of the battle scenes as I had a hard time following them in my mind and there are a lot of them. I do wish there was more intrigue and suspense to keep me guessing what will happen next. The overall story is one of action; straightforward and without surprises. 

Recommendation: I would recommend this well written novel to fans of historical fiction, especially those with an interest in the Dark Ages, military history, Vikings and sea-going adventure stories. There's ample good history to be gleaned from this book. There are quite a few battle scenes, but I didn't think the violence was overly graphic. 

My Rating: I give this book 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Historical Book Review: The Braided Stream by Harper Swan

The Braided Stream (The Replacement Chronicles Part Four): by Harper Swan 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Prehistoric Fiction
Published September 2019
Pages: 268
Available in ebook and paperback

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. If you are interested in purchasing this book or viewing it on Amazon click on the book cover which has a link to its page. 

The Plot: The Braided Stream is the fourth is a series which chronicles the lives of Raven and Leaf who lived in a prehistoric world alongside the Neanderthals. I read it as a stand alone novel. (I will now go back and read the earlier books!) but I never felt lost in the series. The Neanderthals, known as the People, are dying out and Elder Woman, the cagey leader of her clan is determined to see to the survival of her family. To do this, she kidnaps Leaf and his daughter Wren, members of the Wind Clan, and a separate race, known as Them. Elder Woman hopes they will mate with her children and grandchildren and propagate a new generation. Raven tracks the pair back to the clan's cave and struggles to free her child and mate even as she reunites with Elder Woman's son Chukar.

The History: Little is known about the cultural lives of our prehistoric ancestors. When did they achieve true speech, when did religion arise and in what form, what was the nature of their relationships? This void gives authors, a blank canvas on which to create the world of prehistoric peoples almost from scratch. Jean M. Auel's 1984, Clan of the Cave Bear, is one of the most celebrated books in this genre. That being said, fans of Ms. Auel will be delighted with the world and characters created by Harper Swan. She paints a vivid, realistic picture of the lives of these people. I felt like I was squatting in front of the hearth fire alongside Raven eating raw liver.

The author does a great job of creating language, cultural norms and religion for her characters as well a differentiating the abilities between the two early hominid species. I appreciated that Swan created strong women in Raven and Elder Woman, both take charge women who lead their clans with their intellect and their nurturing natures.

The Writing: Harper's writing is clean and crisp and very well edited. The pace clips along and there are no slow bits. I was never tempted to skip ahead. I was happy to see that the dialogue is written in modern English with no manufactured words or stilted grammar meant convey an archaic language.

Overall: I really enjoyed diving into the prehistoric world of Raven and Leaf. I read Auel's books back in the day and was a huge fan. I found this book equally enjoyable.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend The Braided Stream to fans of Jean Auel, you're sure to enjoy it. Anyone who is curious about prehistoric peoples and how they may have lived. There is a fair amount of 'conjugal relations' in the book, but it is not graphic and in keeping with the rest of the book.

Rating: I give this book 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, October 7, 2019

Historical Book Review: A Thousand Mothers by Brenda Marie Webb

A Thousand Mothers by Brenda Marie Webb
Released: November 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction; Holocaust/ Jewish history
Pages: 378
Available: ebook and paperback

Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Plot: A Thousand Mothers is the moving story of a group of women who come together in Ravensbruck, a Nazi Concentration Camp in Germany, to save the life of a newborn child. 

Characters: The first half of the book focuses on a large group of women who steal, lie, cheat death, and allow unspeakable things to happen to themselves and others, in order to preserve the life of Flora, an infant born at the camp. Against a backdrop of brutality and the constant killing of prisoners, the women sacrifice themselves for this child. For a while, I feared there might really be a thousand mothers. Because there are so many of them, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who and had to go back and reread bits to refresh my memory. It was difficult to see much difference in their personalities. 

Part two of the book whizzes through Flora’s life after she is rescued from Nazi Germany and adopted into an American family. Her early life is given a brief outline before the final segment of the book which takes place when she is a grandmother. We learn what became of many of the women who protected Flora as a baby as she reconnects with her past. There is a whole new set of characters to keep up with in this part. The story is told in third person omniscient, so the voice and point of view changes rapidly as well. 

The History: Webb nails the history of Ravensbruck, in all its gory details. The plight of the women, each from a different background, is terrifying. The conditions of the camp are told in graphic detail as is the despicable nature of the German prison guards, doctors and staff. I do have to say, not to diminish what anyone suffered in these camps, I thought there might have been too much focus on the atrocities which I found took away from the story. 

The Writing: The writing is good, the book well edited. I don’t like third person omniscient as a point of view, but I understand why the author chose it, with so many characters, clamoring to get her attention. 

Overall: It might sound as if I didn’t enjoy this book, which is not true, I did. I found the story of Flora compelling and well told. But, I was overwhelmed by the cast of characters, and sorry that I did not know them a little bit better. 

Recommendation: I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, stories of determined women, readers interested in holocaust stories and Jewish history. There is a lot of death and dying in this book, as one should expect in a book set in a death camp, so reader beware.

I rate this book 4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Historical Book Review: Wanders Far by David Fitz-Gerald

Wanders Far by David Ritz-Gerald
Released: May 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, folklore
pages: 198 (paperback)
Available on: Amazon in paperback and ebook

Reviewers note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

You really can't judge a book by its cover. The gorgeous cover of this novel totally sold me. What a face. But, I have to admit the story, the tale of Wanders Far was a disappointment for me. 

The book opens just before his birth. His family lives along the Mohawk River in New York, centuries before Europeans settled the North American continent. The year is 1125. The writer has done his homework and we learn a lot about the daily life of the Native Americans who populated the area, which I found of interest. Although, I think the author went overboard on the blow by blow process of making a canoe. I was also surprised that in the minutia of the daily life of the Native Americans, there was no in-depth exploration of their religious life and/or ceremonies. That is until Wanders Far's story is pretty far along. 

After Wanders Far is born, we trail after him on his walk-abouts, of which there are many. As a young child, 5-6 years old he travels miles and miles alone through the wilderness, never coming to any harm. (Okay, it is folklore, I'll give it a pass) At first his family looks for him and then give up. Wanders Far will go when and where he wants.

The author tells us that Wanders Far is an 'Old Soul' and indeed we learn he is a special child. Wise beyond his years, he has visions of the past and the future. We learn what his vision are and sure as shootin a few chapters later the very same thing happens. We are told he plays an important part in creating the Iroquois Confederation.  All very interesting in concept, but not in the telling.

So, why didn't I like this book. The writing. It drove me crazy. After the first chapter, I put the book down and went to Amazon to see if it was a Middle Grade book for 4th graders. The writing is childish and highly repetitive.  If you can say something once, why not say it three or four times? 

The dialogue was also strangely modern. At one point the father says, 'Good job' son. Another person says, 'wow', and Wanders Fars admits he 'goofed off'. The language seems incongruent with the time period. The author acknowledges this fact and asks us to overlook it. Why not just rewrite it? 

There is no tension, no suspense, no nail biting will he do it moments. Everyone just trundles along. Even the one bad guy is a cartoon character. I was never afraid for Wanders Far, never said, I can't believe that just happened or I didn't see that coming or what on earth did that mean. Nope, the book reads like: he did this, then he did that, then he did this again, and yep, he did that. The author tells us everything, but shows us nothing. 

Did I hate the book? No. Did I like it? Not really. Did I learn something from it? Yes. So was it worth reading? I find value in learning new things, so I can answer yes to this. But, I was glad to reach the last page.

Now, I go to Amazon and Goodreads to post my review. There are multiple other reviews already there. Most are five stars. Wait, what? Did I miss something? I go back and re-read about half the book. I look for deeper meanings or some reason for the plodding redundancy of his storytelling. I can't find it. Maybe I am deficient, this is over my paygrade, or something else is missing. Whatever, I could not connect to this book. Clearly, other people have thoroughly enjoyed it. Just not me. So, take my review with a grain of salt and don't let it put you off the book, if it sounds like it's up your alley. 

Recommendations: This is tough. If you want to learn about the daily lives of Native Americans give it a read. But a pass if you are looking for a great story.

I give this book 2 1/2 stars

My Ratings: 

1  Star: Not good at all, do not read!

2  Stars: Read only as a last resort, no other books available

3 Stars: Good, enjoyed it, will recommend with reservations

4 Stars: Really good, read this book!

5 Stars: So good, I might read it again sometime! Highly recommend

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Gundalows of New Coastal New Hampshire and Maine

The Gundalow Company, photo from Trip Advisor

There was a time, in New Hampshire and Maine, when the quickest way to transport goods and people was by water. The main impediment, though, to this mode of travel was the tidal nature of the many rivers that flowed into and out of the Great Bay. The waters of the Lamprey, Scamscott, Winnicut, Salmon Falls, Cocheco, Bellamy and Oyster Rivers, eventually flow into the Piscataqua and into the Atlantic Ocean. The Great Bay is a tidal estuary; at low tide more than 50% is exposed

One of the most successful vessels to navigate these waters was a boat known as a Gundalow. More a barge than a boat, the gundalow was introduced in the mid-1600s, reached its heyday in the 1700s-1800s and was gradually replaced by more modern transportation systems, most notably the railroad. More than 2000 of these workhorses were built and the growth of the region depended on these sturdy boats. 

It's been suggested that the name Gundalow comes from the Venetian Gondola. The boats operated only on smooth inter-coastal waters in good weather. The flat bottoms were perfect for the tidal rivers and the boatmen could move the boats with their long poles through narrow channels. The boat was designed to harness the power of the tides. Moving inland with the incoming water and floating downstream with the outgoing tide.  When conditions were right, in deeper water, the sailor could employ the triangular sail attached to its stubby mast.

Goods flowed into the Portsmouth harbor from Europe and other American cities. Loaded onto gundalows, the cargo was moved upstream to smaller towns of Dover, Exeter and Durham. Bricks, lumber, produce and other local products moved around the region via these boats. 

The Gundalow, also called the salt-marsh gundalow was used to move hay from its watery marsh straddle to the farmer's barn. Benedict Arnold had nine gundalow in his fleet in his 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, a significant inland naval fight against a superior British fleet. 

Today, the Gundalow Company operates a new vessel, built in 2011, out of Portsmouth, NH. It was designed to take passengers and students sailing. It's on my bucket list of things I'd like to do. 

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17 th century pur itan Massachusetts , the roles of men , women and children were very clearly defined . Men were the ...