Friday, March 23, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Misfortune

This post is part of Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for 2018. The prompt for the week of March 19, 2018, is Misfortune.

As soon as I saw the prompt for this week, I knew who I wanted to write about--my maternal 9th great grandparents William Shattuck and Hannah (maiden name unknown). (They are on my mother's paternal Redles line.) I've been planning for a while to write a blog post about the religious persecution they experienced because they were Quakers in a country where people supposedly had religious freedom.

Two years ago, while researching one of my other maternal ancestors, I stumbled across an interesting story about William Shattuck of Boston (not to be confused with William Shattuck of Watertown). (I no longer remember where I first saw it, but I give my references below.) William was born in England sometime around the late 1610s or early 1620s and came to America about 1650. He was a shoemaker in Boston. In 1654, he married Hannah, and they had three daughters: Hannah (b. 1654), Exercise (b. 1656, my 8th great grandmother), and Elizabeth (b. 1658). 

In 1658, William was persecuted for being a Quaker and was imprisoned, whipped, and banished from Boston. Lemuel Shattuck, in Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck [William of Watertown], quotes an account by Joseph Besse (from Collections of the Sufferings of Quakers) about my William Shattuck of Boston (I've paraphrased some parts below):

Because William of Boston was “found on the first day of the week at home in the time of public worship,” he was sent to jail where he was whipped and put at hard labor. In the meantime, while he was in prison, Hannah and the children were suffering from want. Deputy Governor Bellingham was “appropriating the proceeds of [William’s] labors to himself.” 

Bellingham had “terrified” Hannah with “threats of keeping [William] still in prison, because he was poor and not able to pay the fine of 5 shillings for his weekly absence from their places of public worship.” Bellingham tried to cause William and Hannah to separate by sending William away without her, with the promise that she and the children would be cared for. But Hannah “spurned and detested” this “proposition.” Eventually, William was released and given three days to leave Boston. 

William and his family went to Rhode Island and then to New Jersey where they lived in Shrewsbury in Monmouth County. In 1675, he was elected to the Shrewsbury assembly, but since he wouldn’t swear an oath, he didn’t serve. The family seems to have prospered after their banishment from Boston.

Philip Shaddock notes on his Shattuck family history website some information about William of Boston found in a family history dated 1905 by Mary Elizabeth Sinnott, titled Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and Allied Families (the Corlies are also my ancestors). Sinnott wrote that William came to Massachusetts in 1650 and became a Quaker in 1658, after which he was cruelly persecuted. He was one of the first buyers of land in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and may have been one of the founders of the Shrewsbury Meeting of Friends. He was still living in 1693, as he witnessed a marriage on September 28 that year. Below are the birth dates and marriages of William and Hannah’s children from Sinnott’s book:
Hannah, born in Boston 8 July 1654, married Restore Lippincott
Exercise born in Boston 12 November 1656, married George Corlies (my 8th great grandparents)
Elizabeth (no birth date given), married Jacob Coale
Sinnott provides a copy of William’s signature in her book, which shows that he spelled his surname “Shattock.”

William Shattuck of Boston's signature from Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and Allied Families by Mary Elizabeth Sinnott

Philip Shaddock speculates that since William could sign his name, he must have attended school as a boy. He notes that William may have been from Stogumber, Sumerset, England, and that there were three William Shattucks born there in the years 1616, 1621, and 1623. One of these could be my William (A huge "thank you" to Philip Shaddock for posting this information online! See his well-written and well-researched website "William Shattuck of Boston/New Jersey.")

I've labeled this Google map with the location of Stogumber, Sumerset, England, where William Shattuck of Boston may have lived before immigrating to America

I wish it was always this easy to find information about all of one’s ancestors in books and websites! 

You know how you start down these genealogy rabbit holes—"way leads on to way"—and you forget what you were looking for to start with? I wish I’d written a blog post when I first ran across this story about William, but I kept putting it off because I wasn’t yet willing to spend the time to compile the information. (Writing a genealogy blog post feels like writing a research paper.) I always felt like I should be doing other “more important” things besides genealogy. I'm glad I've joined the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog challenge for 2018! It has me writing and researching again.


References (I've made up my own style format below from memory to save time in looking up and figuring out the proper style for genealogy.):

Shaddock, Philip, "William Shattuck of Boston/New Jersey." Electronic document,, accessed March 22, 2018. (I originally found this website in 2016 but looked it up again in 2018 to check the links.)

Shattuck, Lemuel, Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck, the Progenitor of the Families in America That Have Borne His Name. 1855, Dutton Wentworth, Boston.  Electronic document, https.archive.orgaccessed March 23, 2018. Pages 366-367. (I originally found this in Google books in 2016 but downloaded a complete copy from in 2018).

Sinnott, Mary Elizabeth, Annals of the Sinnott, Rogers, Coffin, Corlies, Reeves, Bodine and Allied Families. 1905. Printed for private circulation by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia. Page 187. Electronic document,, accessed March 22, 2018.

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