Stevens Notable Ancestors

Richard Williams, Diplomat and Quiz Kid

Dick Williams and his Quiz Kid paper doll

Richard Llewellyn Williams, (born December 28, 1929) was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who, over three decades as a career U.S. diplomat, opened the Consulate General of the United States, Guangzhou, the first American consulate in mainland China since the 1940s, served as the first U.S. Ambassador to the Mongolian People's Republic from 1988 to 1990 (Diplomatic relations were established with the Mongolian People's Republic in January 1987) and then was named Consul General in Hong Kong from 1990 to 1993. Williams was also director of Chinese affairs at the U.S. State Department during the Tiananmen crisis. His book, At the Dawn of the New China: An American Diplomat's Eyewitness Account, details his experiences during the diplomatic opening of China.

As a child on the radio program Quiz Kids with particular emphasis on math and geography questions. From 1940 to 1945 in 38 cities across the United States, he and three others performed at bond rallies raising $120 million in support of the war effort; the group was featured on prominent radio shows of the day such as Jack Benny and Fred Allen, and was received by luminaries from Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House to Walt Disney in his studio.

Growing up Dick thought he would become an engineer like his father but a fellow Quiz Kid opened up the idea of the Foreign Service and the idea became his career. After retirement he taught graduate studies at NYU and Columbia.

Elizabeth Hooten, Indomitable Quaker

Elizabeth (Snowden) Hooten

Oliver Hooten married Elizabeth Snowden on July 17, 1632 in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, England. Elizabeth was Oliver's third wife. Elizabeth was an early follower of Quaker founder George Fox and was greatly persecuted for her beliefs. It was Hooten’s ability that persuaded Fox that God anointed women for ministry, as well as men. Within a few years, she had become one of his itinerant preachers. In 1651, she was imprisoned in Derby for ‘reproving a priest’, and in 1652 she was jailed for 16 months in York for preaching in the church at Rotherham. She was literate and wrote letters to judges and other public officials. When in jail in Lincoln in 1654, she wrote a letter to the authorities there protesting conditions in the prison and calling for separation of the sexes and useful employment for the prisoners. In 1661, at the age of sixty, Hooton made her first trip to New England. Quakers in New England were suffering severe persecution. Not long before, four Quakers had been hanged in Boston. Though the death penalty had since been revoked by King Charles II, other punishments had been devised for Quaker blasphemers, of which the harshest was the ‘Cart and Tail Law’ – those condemned were stripped to the waist, tied behind a cart and dragged from town to town, where they were whipped with the knotted rope. Ships bringing Quakers to Massachusetts were threatened with steep fines, so Hooten traveled via Virginia. Having reached Boston by small boat and overland, they attempted to visit Friends imprisoned there, but were waylaid and taken before Governor Endicott. After they had been imprisoned for days without food, put in the stocks and beaten in three towns, they were taken out into the wilderness and left. The two women survived by following wolf tracks through the snow till they found a settlement.

Having made their way to Rhode Island and thence to Barbados, the two women returned to England. Once there, Hooten petitioned the King to stop the persecution of Quakers in Massachusetts Bay Colony. Following him to where he played tennis, she refused to kneel in his presence, but walked beside him like an equal. She must have won the King’s respect, because he gave her a document authorizing her to buy land in Massachusetts and use it to make a safe haven for Quakers in the colony.

Hooten returned to Massachusetts, accompanied by her daughter Elizabeth. However, the royal seal on the letter proved no protection. Once again, she was repeatedly stripped, beaten and left in the wilderness by the authorities in Boston and Cambridge. In 1665/6, Hooton returned to England. She clearly had no taste for a quiet life, though, as shortly after, she was imprisoned again in Lincoln for disturbing a congregation. In 1672, George Fox planned a trip to Jamaica, his first and only voyage to the New World. Although she was now 71, she was determined to accompany him. Fox fell ill on the voyage and Hooten nursed him, probably ensuring his survival. However, within one week of their arrival, she herself fell suddenly ill and died the next day.

Elizabeth Knapp, Accused Witch

The Trial of Elizabeth Knapp

Well before the witch trials in Salem and Hartford, in 1671 in Groton, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Knapp [PR], a 16 year-old at the time, was "possessed by the Devil" on and off for a period of three months. This incident has been recorded in many books and even documented by Church Elders and a certain Cotton Mather in particular.

Elizabeth had gone to work as a servant in the home of the minister, Samuel Willard, in Groton. This was a household that was much more prosperous than her own and probably for the first time she was exposed to a life that was much nicer than the one to which she was accustomed. The Puritanical lifestyle was a very restricting one, especially for a 16-year old girl.

Sometime after, Elizabeth's strange behavior began. Samuel Willard wrote, documenting the case, and sent his report to the Church Elders, and also to Cotton Mather. According to his account, in some of Elizabeth's early fits, she frequently cried out "money, money" and sometimes "sin and misery." She "was violent in bodily roarings and screamings, representing a dark resemblance of hellish torments." She tried to blame her condition on an older woman in town, but because Willard did not think this woman was a witch, he paid no attention to Elizabeth's accusations.

When Willard pressured Elizabeth to tell "the true and real occasion" of her fits, she said that the Devil had appeared to her many times over the previous three years and had offered to make her a witch. He offered her "money, silks, fine clothes, ease from labor, to show her the whole world..." She admitted that the Devil came because of her discontent and that he came much more frequently once she started to work as a servant in the Willard household.

As the weeks went by, Elizabeth's fits became worse and she was more confused. She alternated between violent, convulsive states and trance-like stupor's, between denying that she had given into the Devil's temptations to become a witch and admitting that she had. She said that "it is too late for me...I've done it already...I am his sure enough." Other times she condemned herself as a sinner, admitted that she was tempted to sign the Devil's book, but said absolutely that she hadn't done it. Throughout the period of time that she was "possessed," there were times when Elizabeth could not speak at all, when her breath or speech were "stopped" by her invisible Devil. At one point, Willard noted, "her tongue was for many hours together drawn into a semicircle up to the roof of her mouth and could not be dislodged, despite the efforts of some people to do so."

In the second month of her possession, Elizabeth made another unsuccessful attempt to hold a second woman accountable for her problems. Willard refused to believe her and, pushing her again to tell the truth, received the following explanation:

She declared that the Devil had sometimes appeared to her, that the occasion of it was her discontent; that her condition displeased her, her labor was burdensome to her, and she was neither content to be at home nor abroad; and that she had oftentimes strong persuasions to practice in witchcraft, had often wished the Devil would come to her at such and such times, and had resolved that if he would, she would give herself up to him soul and body. But though he had oft times appeared to her, yet at such times he had not discovered himself, and therefore she had been preserved from such a thing.

Samuel Willard talked to Elizabeth, telling her that as a good Puritan, she needed to rest contented with the conditions that so upset her, and that he would help her. He told her that Satan was responsible for her actions. This talk seemed to cause a crisis. Her fits now became more extreme and her emotions more volatile. She tried to kill herself, and began to lash out at others, "striking" those who tried to hold her, "spitting in their faces," and then laughing. A few days later, as Willard recounted, the Devil in Elizabeth Knapp took over completely.

The Devil made his presence known, Willard continued, "by drawing her tongue out of her mouth more frightfully to an extraordinary length and greatness, and making many amazing postures of her body." He then began to speak "vocally in her," railing at her father and another person. When Willard himself tried to intervene, "Satan" turned his rage on him directly, calling him "a great rogue" and telling Willard that he told the people "a company of lies." Amazed and apparently shaken, Willard fought back, challenging the Devil to prove his charges and called him "a liar and a deceiver."

The Devil continued to speak in Elizabeth but within a few weeks, he was "physically" gone - apparently for good. Elizabeth continued "for the most part speechless." Her fits became less intense, although she was "seen always to fall into fits when any strangers go to visit her - and the more go, the more violent are her fits."

Willard concluded in his report that Elizabeth's "distemper" was both real and diabolical, and that the Devil was actually present within her. To support his belief, he pointed out that the terrific strength of Elizabeth's fits was "beyond the force of dissimulation," that the healthiness of her body when she was not having convulsions argued against any "natural" explanation, and that when "the voice spoke" within her, her mouth and vocal chords did not move and her throat was swelled to the size of a fist. He also said that Elizabeth herself had never expressed hostility towards him. On the contrary, both before and after "being thus taken," she had always been observed to speak respectfully concerning him.

Throughout Elizabeth's "possession," Willard never gave up on her. He said, "Charity would hope the best, love would fear the worst, but thus much is clear; she is an object of pity, and I desire that all that hear of her would compassionate her forlorn state. She is, I question not, a subject of hope, and therefore all means ought to be used for her recovery. "

Elizabeth Knapp was an imaginative, unhappy, and frustrated teenager who was expected to work hard and to be "seen and not heard." Her "possession" can perhaps be explained as the result of her extreme dissatisfaction with her prospects in life. What better way to vent her anger and frustrations than to cry out and then say, "It wasn't me...the Devil was responsible!" Remember also the narrow and rigid society in which Elizabeth lived, where witchcraft was believed to be a very real thing, a personification of the Devil himself. Finally, the possibility of a physical or mental malady cannot be ruled out.

Puritans did not believe that possession was of itself witchcraft, only that it could lead to witchcraft. They also believed that ministers could prevent this from happening by helping the possessed adjust to their place in society. Apparently, this is exactly what Reverend Willard accomplished, as Elizabeth never did become a "witch." She became a good Puritan and lived out her long life as a wife and mother.

There are many detailed accounts of this time in Elizabeth Knapp's life, thanks to the many books written concerning the witches of Colonial New England. Cotton Mather gave a very complete account.

Three years after her "possession by the Devil," on 11 September 1674 in Cambridge, Mass., Elizabeth married Samuel Scripture. She was 19 years old. She and Samuel went on to have ten children, all born in Groton.

Captain Robert Andrews, Mariner

Capt. Robert Andrews came from Norwich, Norfolk, England, early in the year 1635, as owner and master of the ship Angel Gabriel which sank in the Great Colonial Hurricane [modern scientists believe this was a category four storm].

The Angel Gabriel was a 240 ton English passenger galleon. She was commissioned for Sir Walter Raleigh's last expedition to America in 1617 and took part in the Duke of Buckingham’s 1627 assault on Cadiz. She sank in a storm off Pemaquid Point, near the newly established town of Bristol, Maine, on August 15, 1635. The sinking occurred during the middle of the Great Migration.

Angel Gabriel Memorial

The ship was initially built as the Starre in 1615 and renamed the Jason by Sir Walter Raleigh for use in his second expedition to Guiana (then under control of the Spanish) in 1617. Following Raleigh’s return it was seized and became a merchant ship, renamed the Angel Gabriel.

The ship Angel Gabriel pulled into Pemaquid Bay (Pemaquid, Maine) on August 13, 1635 and laid at anchor. The next day there was a terrible rain storm which ravaged the whole coast from Nova Scotia to New York starting at morning. The Angel was torn to pieces by the savage storm and cast away. Most of the cattle, 1 seaman and 3 or 4 passengers died. The others escaped to shore. The tides had been as high as 20 feet.

Several plaques commemorating the loss of the Angel Gabriel have been placed near Pemaquid. One reads:

Here at Pemaquid Harbor on 15 August 1635, the 250-ton galleon Angel Gabriel was wrecked in a fierce hurricane one day after her arrival from Bristol, England. Many of the vessel's immigrants to the new world had come ashore at the small Pemaquid settlement before the storm struck, but several crew members and passengers still aboard the ship perished. The surviving passengers eventually departed Pemaquid for towns in northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Robert, originally from Norfolk County, England, settled in Ipswich's Chebacco Parish, where he had a house and family. He was made freeman in 1635.

Richard Warren, Mayflower Passenger

Mayflower Compact signing

Richard Warren was one of the passengers on the Pilgrim ship Mayflower and the twelfth signer of the Mayflower Compact. Richard was called a "merchant" of London. Warren was one of those very few English merchants who signed on to make the Mayflower voyage as a member of the Leiden contingent. At the time of the Mayflower's voyage in 1620, Richard and his wife had five daughters including Elizabeth. But Richard came on the Mayflower alone, deciding to wait until conditions in the New World were satisfactory before bringing over his family. After about three months at sea, they spotted land, which was the Cape Cod Hook, now called Provincetown Harbor. After several days of trying to sail south to their planned destination of the Colony of Virginia, strong winter seas forced them to return to the harbor at Cape Cod hook, where they anchored on November 21. The Mayflower Compact was signed that day.

Warren participated in some of the early explorations of Cape Cod, when a suitable settlement location was being searched for. One such extensive exploration began on Wednesday, December 6, 1620 in freezing weather in a row boat. This exploration would result in their first encounter with Indians and did not turn out well, as they learned that slow-firing muskets were no match for rapid-fire arrows. This Indian challenge to the Pilgrims was later known as the "First Encounter".

In 1623 Warren felt that conditions were right to bring his family over from England, and they arrived that year on the Anne. Richard and Elizabeth had two sons in Plymouth Colony before Richard died in 1628. He was buried at Burial Hill in Plymouth.

Because all seven of Richard and Elizabeth Warren's children survived and had families, they have very many descendants today. Some notable descendants include:

  • Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States and noted Civil War General
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States
  • Sarah Palin, vice-presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska
  • Sir Charles Tupper, Canadian prime minister
  • Joseph Warren, American Patriot leader killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill
  • Taylor Swift, American singer-songwriter
  • Orson Welles, noted American actor, director, writer, and producer
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and educator
  • Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher, poet, and author
  • Alan Shepard, American astronaut
  • Richard Gere, American actor
  • L. L. Bean, American business entrepreneur
  • Ernest Hemingway, American author
  • Marie-Chantal, Crown Princess of Greece
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author

Ann Hutchinson, Religious Non-conformist

Ann Hutchinson
Ann Hutchinson's trial

Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson One of many persons victim of the religious persecutions in Europe, she followed the highly venerated Reverend John Cotton from England to Massachusetts Bay Colony with her husband in 1634 on the ship Griffin and they settled in Boston. Intelligent and keen-witted she spent her youth learning to read the only book available; The Bible. With the strict New England religious climate being that of discipline and prayer Anne was a regular fixture at church. Soon she formed a women's group that were to initially discuss the previous week's sermons, however she slowly began introducing her own ideas and Bible interpretations. Her opinions differed from the local ministers and soon men were joining her group to hear what she had to say. It's reported that she was brilliant and articulate. She denied that conformity with the religious laws were a sign of Godliness and insisted that "true Godliness came from inner experience of the Holy Spirit." She further proclaimed that only two Boston ministers were "elect" or saved, John Cotton and her brother-in-law, John Wheelwright. Anne Hutchinson's ideas were branded as the heresy of "Antinomianism" (a belief that Christians are not bound by moral law).

Governor John Winthrop put a ban on her meetings and settled a law that prevented any further Antinomians from settling in Boston. In defiance, her meetings were now held twice a week and to further try to squelch her, they branded her the worst kind of heretic and put her and her husband on trial. During this trial Winthrop described her meetings as "a thing not tolerable nor comely in the sight of God, nor fitting for your sex." Now banished, Anne with her husband, children and 60 followers settled in Rhode Island, the land of Narragansetts, from whose chief, Miantonomah, they purchased Aquidneck Island. In 1638 they founded the town of Pocasset, later to be called "Portsmouth" in 1639. They established that colony's first civil government. Upon her husbands death in 1642 she moved her family (consisting of the five youngest of her nine children) to the Dutch colony in what is now New York County. In August of 1643 Mohicans raided the settlement and killed Anne and her children living with her.

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