Unlike the two books I have published so far, this book is not about my family. It is a compilation of information I found during my research that I thought others might find interesting. Most of this stuff usually gets cut from history books because it would make the books too long, or because the stories are politically incorrect, or because there is not enough substantial information to prove the stories really happened. But I think it is the soul of early American history.
As you can see from the long list in my Bibliography, I have received a lot of help so far. I have appreciated every minute of everyone’s time and assistance. And I appreciate every other author who has researched and written about this subject before me. This is only a partial list:
Tim Mellow helped as Park Supervisor at Dighton Rock State Park in Massachusetts.
A. Bowdoin Van Riper, known as “Bow” helped as the historian at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and Historical Society.
Genealogists and historians David Dearborn, Christopher Child, Jerome Anderson, David Lambert, Michael LeClerc, Rhonda McClure, Judy Lucey, and Ryan Woods assisted and guided me at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society [NEHGS] in Boston and during a conference they held at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
Robert Charles Anderson, whom I’ve never formally met, helped through his books on the Great Migration Study Project (GMSP), an invaluable resource. I accessed them through NEHGS.
Dr. Evan Jones at the University of Bristol is an authority on the replica of John Cabot’s ship the Matthew and Bristol’s maritime history. He helped me via the Internet and granted me an interview in Bristol.
Rob Salvidge, the Matthew’s skipper, helped me understand the workings of the ship as she sailed down the River Avon. He drew from his own experience sailing the Matthew’s replica and provided me with navigation and tidal information. The rest of the Matthew’s crew, who guard her at the Matthew Museum in Bristol Harbour, showered me with tasty trivia bits about what it would have been like living on the small ship four hundred years ago.
Dr. Jeffrey Brain of the Peabody-Essex Museum in Massachusetts answered my questions about the Popham Colony, the remains of which he has been excavating and researching near Phippsburg, Maine.
Thank you cousin Kathy Ames Wilkinson for driving me up to the parking lot that now covers the Popham Colony remains, just to check things out. It was fun to have your company.
Leon E. Cranmer was my authority on the Pilgrim’s Beaver Trading Stage in Cushnoc on the Kennebec River in Maine, which he has been excavating.
My cousin James Bissell-Thomas in Kew, Surrey, England, and map collector William Latey of Jonathan Potter Ltd. in England helped me research antique maps.
The same James B-T and another cousin, Carolyn Hughes Hogg, provided help and hospitality while I was in England and through emails across the sea.
James Ashbey and Jim Fahey of the Braintree Historical Society in Massachusetts provided me with information about the voyage of the Lyon in 1632, information that helped me understand Winthrop’s voyage.
Google Books provided me with digital copies of scores of old books that I would never have been able to read otherwise. The first book I found, Christopher Levett’s own account of his trip to New England in 1623 (published in a book by James Phinney Baxter in 1893), gave me the inspiration to relate first hand experiences of early colonial adventures.
John de Forest, David Bunzow, Jack Bieda, Rodney de Chair, Marion Wiener, and Jim Baker proofread, edited and/or looked over early drafts – primarily the first version titled The Lyon’s Tales – and made needed suggestions.
Avi Schoenholz translated some Hebrew references into English for me.
Jane Geisler worked as my research assistant one summer.
The three historians for the California Society of Mayflower Descendants: Patricia Friesen, Myrtle Savage and Linda Longley, gave me moral support and answered questions. They are among the few who take my writing projects seriously. They never ask me if I’m almost done because they know that this type of research is never done.
My two children and their spouses have listened to me talk about my research, on occasion.
Why I wrote this book.
Someone asked me once how I became interested in New England history. A couple of decades ago, in 1992, my son Jon’s American history teacher assigned him to create our family tree. From under my bed, Jon and I dragged out the boxes of family records collected by my great Aunt Rosemary. Jon put together a tree using Hypercard. [Anyone remember that software?] Since we have so many ancestors from Colonial America, and since New England records are relatively well preserved [at least compared to records of people who descended from the Deep South where we Northerners destroyed town halls and other record offices during the Civil War], Jon ended up with a lot of information to graph and link.
Since then I have added new information to that tree, which is formatted in InDesign. There are more than 365 different family names, most of them from New England.
As I charted the information I got a different view of New England history than that which I received in grade school. I have had a good time researching the details. Now I am sharing them with you.