Family Trees and Family Stories
 McKay/Stevens Genealogy Pages

McKay Notable Ancestors

George Soule, Mayflower Passenger

A Mayflower image

Mayflower II

George Soule was a passenger on the Mayflower and helped establish Plymouth Colony in 1620 and was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact.

He sailed in the Mayflower as one of two servants to Edward Winslow. The Winslow family from which Edward was descended lived in nearby Kempsey Parish and this early neighborhood association may explain the apprenticeship of George to the future Governor. George was probably in London when he joined Edward Winslow on the Mayflower voyage. Droitwich, the Winslow family home at the time, was a salt-mining community connected in a business way with the Salter's Company of London and thus the Winslow-Soule association was established.

George was the 35th signer of the Mayflower Compact (at Cape Cod in 1620). He had volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637, but Plymouth's troops were not needed. He sold his lands in Plymouth and moved to Duxbury before 1645, at which time he was Deputy to the General Court at Plymouth; he was also an original Proprietor of Bridgewater in 1645. He was on various committees, juries, and survey teams, during his life in Duxbury. In 1646, for example, he was appointed to the committee to deal with Duxbury's problem of the disorderly smoking of tobacco. George, Myles Standish and John Alden laid out the town of Duxbury and all are probably buried there.

George became a relatively well-to-do community leader, businessman and office holder. In 1668, he gave his land in Middleboro to his sons-in-law John Haskell and Francis Walker and their wives (his daughters) Patience and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Fones

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Elizabeth (Fones) Hallett

Elizabeth Fones was born at Groton Manor, Suffolk, England on January 21, 1610 to Thomas Fones, a London apothecary, and his wife, Anne Winthrop, sister of John Winthrop, a staunch Puritan and the eventual Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

As a young girl, Fones worked at her father's shop in London. To the dismay of her family, she entered a whirlwind courtship with her first cousin Henry Winthrop, a son of Governor John Winthrop; they were married on April 25, 1629, at the Church of St. Sepulchre at New Gate, London. A year later, her husband sailed alone for the Massachusetts Bay Colony on the ship Talbot, leaving his young bride behind in England on account of her pregnancy. The baby, a daughter named Martha Johanna Winthrop, was born on May 9, 1630. Shortly after his arrival in Massachusetts, Henry was killed in a drowning accident in July 1630 when he went swimming in the North River after visiting an Indian village near Salem.

Elizabeth sailed to the Massachusetts Bay Colony with her infant daughter Martha aboard the Lyon, arriving on November 2, 1631. Her father-in-law, uncle and guardian, John Winthrop, served as Governor of the Colony.

In 1632 Fones married her second husband, a wealthy landowner named Lt. Robert Feake. In 1640, the Feakes acquired more land in what is now Greenwich, Connecticut. Indeed, she is considered one of the founders of Greenwich; what is now called 'Greenwich Point' was known for much of its early history as 'Elizabeth's Neck' in recognition of Elizabeth Fones. The fact that she, as a woman, had property in her own name was viewed with dismay in the more rigid society of the day. They had five children.

In 1647, due to financial, domestic, and personal problems, Lt. Feake went insane and abandoned his wife and children. Elizabeth and Feake were separated or divorced by Dutch law in 1647. Following her husband's desertion, Elizabeth deeply scandalized the rigid Puritan society in which she lived by marrying William Hallett without evidence that she and Lt. Feake were divorced.

Elizabeth had two sons with Hallett: William and our ancestor, Samuel. Their marriage took place in August 1649, and was officiated by her former brother-in-law John Winthrop, Jr.. Only her close blood relationship to the Governor saved her from prosecution for adultery, for which she could have been hanged. Nevertheless, Elizabeth and her new husband and family were forced to leave Connecticut and Massachusetts for the more tolerant Dutch colony of New Netherlands / New York, where they were eventually recognized as husband and wife. The Halletts settled in an area which was later called Hallett's Cove and is now known as Astoria, Queens, near Hell Gate. Upon the marriage of her daughter Hannah Feake to John Bowne, Fones and William Hallet became Quakers.

The Winthrop Woman is Anya Seton's 1958 historical novel about Elizabeth Fones.

Katherine Banks

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Katherine Banks

Katherine Banks was born into a prosperous family in Canterbury, England in County Kent in 1627, the same year the Massachusetts Bay Colony had been chartered to colonize the eastern coast of North America. Her father, Christopher Banks, was one of England's most influential commoners in his position with the Old London Company, which financed the settlement of Jamestown and Virginia.

Sometime in the early 1640s, Katherine journeyed to America, landing in Charles City County, west of Jamestown on the James River. It was not long after her arrival that she married her cousin, Joseph Royall, twice a widower and 27 years her senior.

Joseph Royall had come to Jamestown aboard the Charitie in July 1622, just after Powhatan Chief Opechancanough had murdered three hundred and forty-seven colonists. Royall survived "the burning fever," which killed even more settlers. By transporting colonists to Virginia, Joseph Royall was able to accumulate a large plantation, which he called "Doghams" after the French river D'Augham, on the James River above Shirley and opposite current day Hopewell, Virginia. Joseph Royall died in the mid 1650s. As was the custom in those days, his wife's dower from his estate passed to her during her widowhood.

When Katherine married Henry Isham in 1659, Royall's estate passed to Isham, who immediately added another wing to his residence on Bermuda Hundred. From their luxurious home encircled by tall pines and a extensive English flower garden, the Ishams became leaders of Virginia society. It has been said that Katherine Banks Royall Isham was the wealthiest woman in America. Her father gave her one of the first English coaches to be used in the colonies.

By her first husband, Katherine gave birth to six children, Joseph, John, Sarah, Katherine and two other unknown daughters.

Katherine was known as the wealthiest woman in the Colonies during the 1600s.

Thomas Hooker

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Rev. Thomas Hooker

Thomas Hooker, (born probably July 7, 1586, Markfield, Leicestershire, England—died July 7, 1647, Hartford, Connecticut [U.S.]), prominent British American colonial clergyman known as “the father of Connecticut.” Seeking independence from other Puritan sects in Massachusetts, Thomas Hooker and his followers established one of the first major colonies in Hartford, Connecticut. A staunch supporter of universal Christian suffrage (voting rights independent of church membership), Hooker was a renowned theologian and orator who greatly shaped the early development of colonial New England.

After preaching briefly in the parish of Esher in Surrey, England, Hooker became lecturer to the Church of St. Mary at Chelmsford, Essex, around 1626, where he delivered fervent evangelical addresses. Such church lectureships, an innovation of Puritanism, came under attack from the Church of England in 1629, and in 1630 Hooker was cited to appear before the Court of High Commission. He fled to Holland, forfeiting his bond, and in 1633 immigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony. At New Towne (now Cambridge), he became the pastor of a company of Puritans who had arrived from England the previous year; in expectation of his joining them, they had been called Mr. Hooker’s Company. Hooker and his supporters became restive under the influence of John Cotton, and in 1636 Hooker led a group to Connecticut to settle Hartford, where he served as pastor until his death.

Critical of limiting suffrage to male church members with property, Hooker sought a more-universal suffrage and told the Connecticut General Court in 1638 that the people had the God-given right to choose their magistrates. Though his view was an advanced one for his time and led some historians to call him “the father of American democracy,” Hooker had no intention of separating church and state; he declared that the privilege of voting should be exercised according to the will of God. He was active in formulating the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639), which later helped shape aspects of the Constitution of the United States of America. In matters of church governance, Hooker preferred the more-autonomous Congregational model to the hierarchical structure of Presbyterianism and defended his views in A Survey of the Summe of Church Discipline (1648).[1]

Stephen Bachiler

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Hampton, New Hampshire

Information on Stephen’s early life is scant. Having matriculated from St. John’s College, Oxford, 17th November 1581, receiving his BA, on the 3rd February, 1586, Bachiler pursued a career in the sacred ministry. Following the death of the Vicar of Wherwell, Revd. Edward Parrett, Bachiler was presented to the living by the Lord of the Manor of Wherwell, Lord de la Warr on the 17th July 1587.

At the Hampton Court Conference held in January of 1604 - called to settle differences between the various traditions within the Established Church - James I declared that he would make the Puritans conform “or I will harry them out of the land.” The direct result of the King’s words was the ejection of ninety Puritan Vicars from their livings. Among the first to go was The Revd. Stephen Bachiler, Vicar of Wherwell. After eighteen years of ministry, in 1605, Bachiler was deprived of the living.

In March 1632, Stephen and his third wife and grandson sailed to America on the William and Francis. He was 70 years old when he reached Boston in 1632, and gathered his followers to establish the First Church of Lynn (then Saugus). He incurred the hostility of the Puritan theocracy in Boston, casting the only dissenting vote among ministers against the expulsion of Roger Williams. Despite his age, he was uncommonly energetic, and throughout some two decades pursued settlement and church endeavors, always engaged in controversy and confrontation with Bay Colony leaders.

In 1638, Bachiler and others successfully petitioned to begin a new plantation at Winnacunnet, to which he gave the name Hampton when the town was incorporated in 1639. His ministry there became embroiled in controversy when Timothy Dalton was sent to the town as "teaching assistant" by the Boston church after New Hampshire was absorbed by Massachusetts in 1641. Shortly thereafter, Bachiler was excommunicated by the Hampton church on unfounded charges of "scandal", but protested to Governor Winthrop and was later reinstated. In other respects, Bachiler's reputation was such that in 1642, he was asked by Thomas Gorges, deputy governor of the Province of Maine, to act as arbitration "umpire" (deciding judge) in a Saco Court land dispute between George Cleeve and John Winter.

A Hawthorne image

By 1644 Cleeve had become deputy governor of Lygonia, a rival province to that of Gorges' in Maine established from a resurrected Plough Patent, and asked Bachiler to be its minister at Casco. Bachiler deferred, having already received a call to be minister for the new town of Exeter. Once again Massachusetts intervened in his affairs when the General Court ordered deferral of any church at Exeter. Frustrated in his attempts at a new ministry, Bachiler left Hampton and went as missionary to Strawbery Banke (now Portsmouth, New Hampshire) probably that same year 1644. While there, he married in 1648 (as fourth wife) a young widow, Mary Beedle of Kittery, Maine. In 1651, she was indicted and sentenced for adultery with a neighbor.

Some have suggested that Mary’s life story became the inspiration behind Nathaniel Hawthorne’s best-selling novel of 1850, ‘The Scarlet Letter’. Hawthorne’s grandfather, Captain William Hawthorne, lived three farms north of the Bachilers. He may have related Mary’s story to his grandson, giving ample material for the character of Hester Prynne, the chief protagonist in the story

Denied a divorce by the Massachusetts Court, Bachiler finally returned to England about 1653. His children who had stayed in England, were well off and able to take care of him. Bachiler died near London, and was buried at All Hallows Staining on October 31, 1656.

Perhaps the best summation of his career is in the biographical entry in Robert Charles Anderson's look at the early immigrants: "Among the many remarkable lives lived by early New Englanders, Bachiler's is the most remarkable."

Captain Christopher Hussey

Christopher Hussey married Theodate Bachiler probably in England before he and his wife and widowed mother sailed from Southampton in 1630 on the William and Francis. Christopher was one of the first settlers of Hampton, New Hampshire. In 1639 Christopher Hussey was made Justice of the Peace. He also held office of town clerk & was a deacon in the church. He was one of the original "purchasers" of Nantucket. In 1679, he was an Officer of the Crown having been commissioned by King Charles II of England to "govern the Royal Province of New Hampshire". He was the first person in Hampton, Rockingham County, to swear allegiance to King Charles II.


Nantucket whaling

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Founders of Nantucket

Christopher Hussey was also a Sea Captain. In the late 1600's, the settlers on Nantucket took up whaling as a serious business. At first they hunted right whales passing just south of the island shoals. Nantucket, about 30 miles into the sea, was within easy reach of the main migration stream of the right whales passing near the island. In 1712 Christopher was caught in a storm and blown several miles out into the Atlantic and accidentally was carried into the midst of a large herd of the great sperm whales. This discovery of the sperm whale forever changed the nature of whaling on Nantucket and in New England. Because of the sperm whale, what had been a minor enterprise along the New England coast, rapidly became big business. For more than 80 years, sperm whale fishing remained dominated by Nantucket sea captains.

There is a memorial at the Founder's Burial Grounds in Nantucket that commemorates Christopher as one of the founders (although he is not buried there).


[1]Thomas Hooker

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