Showing posts with label Henry Phelps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Henry Phelps. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

William Dane Phelps: His Life and Family

About Capt. William Dane Phelps William Dane Phelps
  • Birth: Feb 14 1802 - Gloucester, Essex, MA
  • Parents: Henry Phelps, s.of Mary "Polly" Forbes Coffin d of Peter Coffin and Mary Forbes
  • Wife: Mary Cushing, Lusanna Tucker Bryant
  • Death: Aug 15 1875 - Magnolia, Essex, MA
  1. Mary Ann Cushing, died 16 Dec. 1831, daughter of Henry Cushing of Boston
  2. 18 May 1834 Lusanna Tucker Bryant, born 11 July 1804, died at Providence, R. I., death 23 Aug. 1885, daughter of Josiah Bryant and Sally (Withington).
Children by the second wife, all born at Lexington:
  • Lusanna, b. 18 Nov. 1836; d. 80 Apr. 1872.
  • Alice Dodge, b. 18 Oct. 1838; m. 15 Oct. 1862 Charles Goodwin.
  • Edwin Buckingham, b. 14 Apr. 1845; d. 4 Sept. 1849.

Frémont's private Navy: the 1846 journal of captain William Dane Phelps
William Dane Phelps Two Letters to H.H. Bancroft: Lexington, Mass
Alta California, 1840-1842: the journal and observations of William Dane Phelps, master of the ship "Alert", Volumes 1-2
Fur Traders from New England: The Boston Men in the North Pacific, 1787-1800 : the Narratives of William Dane Phelps, William Sturgis, and James Gilchrist Swan
History of the Town of Lexington, Middlesex County, Massachusetts: Geneologies
Alta California 1840-1842 Edited by Briton Cooper Busch
This book is subtitled “The Journal and Observations of William Dane Phelps, Master of the Ship ‘Alert’, where Mr. Phelps recounts his voyage to Mexican California during the era of the hide and tallow trade. The author compares California with Spain, referring to an ancient Arab proverb that Allah gave Spain land, climate and inhabitants, a veritable paradise with one exception: good government.
On one of the trips to Northern California, Mr. Phelps travels to New Helvetia, the domain at the foothill of the Sierra Nevada mountains belonging to John Sutter, who has successfully controlled the local Native Americans and has become a comfortable rancher and farmer. Sutter mentions that he is planning to build a millrace for a new saw mill that he is planning to build on the American River. That turned out well.
The journal gives us a great amount of information about the hide and tallow business as his ship visited the major ports of California, trading goods from the United States in return for the hides and tallow. The hides must be cured and stored for later transport, along with the tallow, to the United States. In order to make the voyage profitable, the ship must carry as many hides as physically possible without threatening the seaworthiness of the ship.
Mr. Phelps’s observations are tinged with his perspective as a Protestant, white, Anglo-Saxon. He believes that individuals with his background could make California into an agricultural paradise, teeming with wild game. It is only because of the lazy Californios that the land does not produce. Sharing the blame is the Catholic Church who, Phelps believes, is only interested in its own aggrandizement and the afterlife. This attitude frequently offends the native Americans and excuses the indolence of the Californios.
In his voyages, Phelps meets up with many ships of various nations that are trading in California. Many also trade with Hawaii. The voyages face difficulties with the weather along the California coast, which is treacherous and has few protective anchorages. Toward the end of his stay, there is an abortive attempt by Americans to take over California.
Mr. Phelps also notes that, on July 26, 1841, he heard of the death of President Harrison, who had died on April 4, 1841. This was the California that William Workman arrived at.

  Thomas B. Wales, Captain Charles Hunt, Captain William D. Phelps, Benjamin Burgess
From Sixty Years in California: A History of Events and Life in California William Heath Davis

The ship " Alert" arrived at the beginning of 1840, from Boston, in command of Captain William D. Phelps, the vessel and cargo consigned to Alfred Robinson and Henry Mellus. Captain Phelps was a Boston man, an extensive traveler, and became popular on the coast. My brother Robert and myself were once invited to spend an evening on board the " Alert," when Captain Phelps entertained us with an account of his travels over the world. He said that while his vessel lay in the Mediterranean Sea, he conceived a great desire to visit Jerusalem—which he found means to gratify, so impressed was he with that city and its relation to the events narrated in the Scriptures. When in the sacred city, his religious emotions overcame him and he knelt and prayed several times. On his return to Boston, he was impelled to join a church, and had retained his connection with it continuously since. At the same time, he was not bigoted, but entered heartily in all little festivities. He believed his visit to Jerusalem was the most valuable part of his experience, and his observations there to be worth more than all he had seen in the rest of the world.

Captain Phelps was an excellent shot with the rifle, very fond of hunting deer, elk, rabbits, ducks, geese, quail and other birds; and kept his vessel in game while in port. Being an epicure, he always selected the choicest game to supply his table and that of his friends—Rae, Spear and others. Phelps approaching the store on landing of mornings from the vessel, would meet Spear on the outside, leaning against the gate near the water, looking for the captain. The latter would call out, "Good morning, Don Natan," (foreigners having adopted the California style of addressing each other by their first names) and Spear would respond in the same cordial way. Captain Phelps had a curious peculiarity of hesitating and stammering as he commenced to talk, his right cheek quivering rapidly until he got along farther in his speech and warmed up a little, when his language came fluently and the pulsation of the face ceased. He was a good observer, and a man of excellent judgment, and also entitled to much credit, with others heretofore mentioned, for making California known on the Atlantic side, by letters, recording his observations and experiences. They were well written, and calculated to make a good impression in regard to the department of California. He frequently read to us portions of the letters, and we recognized their truthfulness and his happy mode of communicating impressions of the country. He also visited Wilkes, and was handsomely entertained, and, like Paty, became a favorite of the commodore.
From Other Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston: Being More Information about the Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston who Played Such an Important Part in Building Up the Commerce of New England, Together with Some Quaint and Curious Stories of the Sea
Captain William Dane Phelps, who was born in 1802, followed the sea for over forty years. He was a lively youngster and played many mischievous pranks at school. Many years afterward, on returning from one of his voyages he called upon his old teacher, who did not at first recognize him. Finally Captain Phelps said, "Master Moore, can you tell me who was the biggest rogue among all the boys who ever came to your school?" "Ah, Billy Dane, you scamp, I know you now!" was the teacher's reply. At an early age Captain Phelps showed a strong love for the ocean, and spent all his spare time on the docks or in learning how to sail boats. His family sent him to school to avoid the sea, but a year of this life was enough for him and he stole away in the capacity of cabin boy on the "Corporal Trim." He then sailed with the "Pickering" of Boston again as cabin boy, the object of the voyage being to procure a cargo of fur-seal skins for the Canton market. While the Captain was a good seaman and skilful trader, he was what the sailors called a "Tartar." His plan was to leave gangs of men on different uninhabited islands where there might be seals and to call about nine months later for the men and cargo. Young Phelps was left with six others to reside on an island in the Indian Ocean where they lived almost " Robinson Crusoe " lives until called for twenty-eight months afterward. Some years later he was made captain of the " Mermaid," owned by Robert Edes & Brother of Boston, and then took charge of the " Herald " with the first cargo of ice ever sent to Malta.
Some years afterwards he decided to settle down to a farming life in Lexington. He, therefore, sold his Bowditch Navigator and his almanac and purchased some books on agriculture; but he soon decided, as his daughter expressed it, that he could "plough the deep more successfully than he could plough the land." Trade opened between California and Boston about the year 1840, and Captain Phelps decided to sail for that coast in command of the ship "Alert," the vessel that Richard H. Dana had served on a few years before and about which he wrote "Two Years Before the Mast." While in California, Captain Phelps penetrated the River Sacramento in one of the ship's small boats, the first trip up the river with the Stars and Stripes. He again went to California in the "Moscow." His daughter, who now lives in Lexington, remembers sitting on her father's shoulder while he "paced the deck" of his parlor and she also distinctly remembers being taken to Boston to see the "Moscow " just before sailing. They made the journey in a clumsy stagecoach which plied daily between Lexington and Boston and which was driven by old Deacon Brown. The family all had pictures taken, which were then hung in the cabin of the vessel. Captain Phelps often declared that he considered the stage ride between Lexington and Boston as the most dangerous part of his voyage, and as proof of his statement he used to relate an amusing incident that happened once on the way home. He and his sister were among the travellers and the coach capsized at a bad place in the road. His sister's new bonnet, which was being taken home in a big band-box, was pitched into a mud puddle and sustained considerable damage. He was fortunate enough to sell his ships in California during the gold craze and was one of the first to return in 1849 with a small amount of gold to show his friends. His arrival in Boston caused quite a sensation, and for many days visitors came to his house seeking information concerning the gold-mines and the best way to reach California. Extravagant statements were made in the Boston papers as to the huge amount of gold he brought with him, but the final account in the papers stated merely that he had only one barrel of gold, but that he was a jolly good fellow. Captain Phelps thought he would retire for good, but in a few years decided he would make another voyage around the world, which he succeeded in doing successfully. He was accidentally drowned while visiting his family at their summer home in Magnolia.
From From the Life of an Old Sailor 
From Americana, American historical magazine, Volume 13 National American Society Lusanna Tucker Bryant Phelps, wife of William Dane Phelps, was born in East Lexington, July 11,1804. She attended the Young Ladies' Seminary at Ipswich, under the instruction of Mary Grant and Mary Lyon, afterwards becoming a very successful teacher. She married Captain Phelps in 1834. She accompanied him on one voyage up the Mediterranean sea, but the most of her life was spent in Lexington. Her memory of places and people was remarkably clear and exact, and she often entertained her friends with narrating her experiences. Both she and her husband were members of the Baptist church, and were actively engaged in promoting benevolent work at home and abroad. She died August 23, 1885.Tuesday, August 17, 1875  Paper: Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA)

On October 15, 1862, Charles Clinton Goodwin was united in marriage with Alice Dodge Phelps, who was born October 18, 1838, a daughter of Captain William Dane and Lusanna Tucker (Bryant) Phelps, of Lexington, Massachusetts. Her father, Captain William Dane Phelps, was a native of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and was a noted sea captain. He had sailed the coast of California for several years before the discovery of gold in that country, and he was the first man to carry the American Flag up the Sacramento river. The ship "Alert," famous in song and story, immortalized in the book written by Richard H. Dana, Jr., entitled, "Two Years Before the Mast," was commanded on its return voyage to California by Captain William Dane Phelps. Richard H. Dana, Jr., returned from the coast aboard the "Alert" and his adventures are recorded in his most interesting sea tale. The "Alert" subsequently became a prize of the Confederate steamer, "Alabama." Captain Phelps also brought to Boston the first California gold, after its discovery in 1849, and was the author of a book, which related his many exciting and dangerous experiences, entitled, "Fore and Aft," which he wrote under the nom de plume of "Webfoot." When a boy, on a voyage in the South Seas, he and seven others were left by their captain on Prince Edward Island, in one of the South Sea groups, to collect oil. The captain promised to return for them in nine months. The captain, however, did not return, and for twenty-eight months young Phelps and the small party lived a Robinson Crusoe life on the desert island, until they were finally rescued. In 1835, Captain Phelps was shipwrecked in Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts, and he was one of only three or four of the crew who were saved. After he retired, he decided to take one more voyage, and this time took a trip around the world. He passed the remainder of his life in his pleasant Lexington home, among his old friends and neighbors. He was well known for his wit and dry humor, and his family and closest friends spent many happy hours listening as he related his many strange experiences in all the corners of the world.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clinton Goodwin were the parents of three children, as follows: 1. George Clinton, born November 24, 1863; unmarried; he is connected with the Northern Pacific Railroad, at Tacoma, Washington. 2. Grace Elise, born September 21, 1870, who became the wife of Edward Porter Merriam, the son of Matthew Henry and Jane Merriam, of Lexington; they are the parents of two children, Robert Clinton and Gordon Phelps. 3. Alice Phelps, born October 20, 1875; she is a graduate of Smith College, and studied at the University of Berlin, Germany; she is a graduate nurse of the Boston Homeopathic Hospital, and took an allopathic course at the Boston Floating Hospital, where she served as superintendent of Nurses for two seasons; she also served as superintendent of Nurses at the Medical Mission.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Captain Henry Phelps Salem MA---Letter in a bottle

For New England Phelps Group and those researching Phelps line

Info from "The Phelps family of America and their English ancestors, with copies of wills, deeds, letters, and other interesting papers, coats of arms and valuable records" by Oliver Seymore Phelps
Americana, Volume 13
Captain Henry Phelps*, son of Henry Phelps, was born in 1745, and died in 1786. He was united in marriage with Betsey Herrick, of Beverly, Massachusetts. In October, 1786, Captain Phelps was lost at sea. When all hope of being saved had been given up, he wrote a letter to his wife, describing the terrible situation, and, sealing it in a bottle, cast it forth upon the waters. It was picked up by a Boston vessel, and forwarded to his wife, who, from the contents, learned the sad fate of her husband.

Some time after it was picked up by a Boston vessel and so reached Mrs. Phelps. This letter is now in the family. We are indebted to Mrs. E. C. Poland of Wakefield, Mass. for the following copy of same.

"Oct.. 1786, Lat. 44°-24, Long. 52 W.

My Dear Wife:—As I fear this will be the last you will hear from your unfortunate husband, I would inform you that I sailed from France, the 27th of Aug. I had nothing but bad weather. I lost half of our water, and head of my bow spirit with jib and jibboom twelve days after starting. I fell in with a French Vessel in Latitude 48 who gave me about twenty pounds of beef and pork, the bread was all shared. The bearer of this I hope wil! spare me some provisions. I do not know what I shall receive from him. (Note— Mr. Wakefield says, "It is supposed a Vessel was sighted and they hoped to be rescued. The Boston Vessel that picked Up the bottle knew nothing about the wreck.) The 24th of Oct. we shipped a Sea which took off our quarter sail and stauchels and left nothing above my deck. We have at present nothing but our three sails to set. God only knows if we ever meet again. I would advise you if you can, to get Henry through his learning. (Note by Mr. Wakefield "Henry was then in Harvard College.") What little remains of the property is for you to use if you want it, and what you can spare for my dear little sou David. Grief stops my pen. Adieu my dear wife and children. Hoping we shall meet in Heaven. We have been on allowance sixty days and now we are very short. Two of my men are sick and we are almost discouraged. Once more Adieu, my dear wife and children. From your loving husband, Henry Phelps."

Extract from Salem Gazette, 4 April, 1782: Ship "Exchange," Capt. Forester and brig. "Revolt," Capt. Phelps, both belonging to this Port are taken and carried into New York.

Extract Salem Gazette, 9 May, 17X2: Sunday, May 5th, 1782, Capt. Phelps came to Salem from New York, "who was lately taken iii a brig belonging to this Port." He left New York on the Monday preceding, and brought with him considerable news.

Extract Salem Gazette, 15 Jan., 1784: Brig "Monmouth," H. Phelps Commander, cleared Salem Harbor for North Carolina, 14 Jan., 1784.

Extract Salem Gazette, 19 July, 1787: Phelps Commander, arrived in Boston from Hispaniola, 19 July, 17S4.

Extract Salem Gazette, 20 Jan., 1787: A letter from a gentleman in the West Indies to his friend in Portsmouth says: " I supplied a Vessel belonging to Beverly, Henry Phelps, Master, with a small quantity of provisions, 12 Nov., 1786, in Longitude 52 West. Am afraid if he did not get into Nova Scotia he must have perished. He was 76 days from Isle of Ree and almost a wreck."

Essex Probate Records: Capt. Henry Phelps Beverly, Mariner, Intestate, Administration granted to his widow Hannah Phelps, 7 April, 1788, in 1789. A minor son David, oldest son Henry.

Essex Probate: Mr. Henry Phelps, late of Beverly, Mariner, supposed to be deceased, having been absent about two years, Son David r6o8 Phelps Genealogy. Phelps aged 14, Dec. 2nd, 1778, Josiah Bacheldor appointed Guardian, Cornelius Wood and Henry Phelps of Salem, sureties, bonds 600. April, 1788, Appraised Real Estate, 155, Personal 67, 19s., ad. Total ,£222, 14s, 9c. Real estate could not be divided, and it was settled by oldest son, Henry Phelps, payiny younger son, David Phelps, his share in money. Children, b. Beverly, Mass.: + 330. I. Henry, b. 1766, m. three times. 340. II. David, b. 1774, num.
A Mariner, lost at sea in 1803.

After the death of Capt. Phelps, Mrs. Herrick-Phelps m. Joseph Simmons. They removed to Gt. Barrington, Mass., where shed. 18 Jan., 1808, aged 62 years, and where he d, in 1S09. By 2nd marriage she had no children.

*Henry1, John2, Henry3, Henry4

Below is an article Capt Phelps captured by Brits "Revolt" 

By the Hartford Post. Baltimore, April 16
Date: Thursday, May 9, 1782 Paper: Massachusetts Spy (Worcester, MA)
Volume: XII   Issue: 575 Page: 3

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rachael Phelps Hawthorne Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne

A big Thanks to Teresa Whitney from Hawthorne of Salem
The Paternal Ancestors of Nathaniel Hawthorne: Introduction

Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne
Drawing of Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., son of Daniel and Rachel Hathorne (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

NOTE: Spelling for Hathorne/Hawthorne /Hathorn 

Major William Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal great-great-great- grandfather; c. 1606/7-1681) 
Justice John Hathorne (son of Major William Hathorne and Hawthorne's paternal great-great-grandfather; 1641-1717; ) Captain William Hathorne (brother of Justice John Hathorne; 1645-1678/79) Captain Joseph Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal great-grandfather; son of Justice John Hathorne; 1692-1762) Daniel Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal grandfather; 1731-1796) Colonel John Hathorne (son of Joseph Hawthorne;1749-1834) Rachel Phelps Hathorne (1734-1813;Hawthorne's paternal grandmother) Captain William Hathorne (brother of Daniel Hathorne; 1715/16-1794) Captain Nathaniel Hathorne (1775/6-1808;Hawthorne's father) Most of Hawthorne's paternal ancestors are buried at the Charter Street Burying Point in Salem. Major William Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal great-great-great grandfather; c. 1606-1681)

Major William Hathorne arrived in the New World in 1630 on the Arbella. After living in Dorchester, MA, he moved around 1636 to Salem. He became a deputy to the General Court of Massachusetts and gained the rank of major in campaigns against the Indians. He was, as Hawthorne later characterized him, "a bitter persecutor" of Quakers. In particular, he is remembered for ordering the whipping of Ann Coleman. Both in "Main Street" and in "The Custom House" sketch, Hawthorne refers to this ancestor as a persecutor of Quakers, and he is referred to indirectly in "Young Goodman Brown.

John Hathorne was the third son and fifth child born to Major William and Anna Hathorne. He became a prosperous merchant in Salem and a judge on the Superior Court. He was also commander-in-chief against the Indians in 1696. He is best known, however, as the "witch judge" as he was a magistrate of the Court of Oyer and Terminer and the chief interrogator of the accused witches in the Salem witchcraft hysteria of 1692. John Hathorne is entered at the Charter Street Burying Point in Salem. Captain William Hathorne (brother of Justice John Hathorne; 1645-1678/79)
Captain Willliam Hathorne fought in King Philip's War in 1675.
Joseph Hathorne (son of Justice John Hathorne; 1692-1762)
Joseph Hathorne prospered, first as a ship captain and then as a farmer. He married Sarah Bowditch, daughter of William Bowditch and Mary Gardner, first cousin of Ruth Gardner Hathorne.
Daniel Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal grandfather; 1731-1796)

Son of Josepth Hathorne, Daniel married Rachel Phelps at 27 Union St. in Salem, the house where Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804. Daniel Hathorne served in the Revolutionary War and was hailed for his bravery in a song entitled "Bold Hathorne." When he died in 1796, he was honored by the Marine Society and the Fire Club at his funeral at the Charter Street Burying Point, and the notice of his death was published in the Salem Gazette.
Captain William Hathorne (brother of Daniel Hathorne)

William Hathorne, Hawthorne's great uncle, married Mary Touzel. William Hathorne and his wife inherited from John Touzel half of the house on Essex St. owned by Philip English. (Touzel left the other half to Susannah Touzel Hathorne, a widow.) Captain William Hathorne is buried in the Charter Street Burying Ground as is his wife, Mary Touzel Hathorne.
Rachel Phelps Hathorne (Hawthorne's paternal grandmother;1734-1813;)
Hawthorne was also descended on his father's side from the Phelps; his paternal grandmother was Rachel Phelps Hathorne. Rachel is a descendant of Henry Phelps and his first wife, Eleanor /Baskell/Batter . Henry's second wife, Hannah, was originally married to Nicholas, Henry's brother. Nicholas and Hannah Phelps were Salem Quakers who held meetings at their home in the Woods, as the area west of Salem was called at the time. William Hathorne had ordered that those who held such meetings be arrested, and eventually Hannah was jailed and Nicholas was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Thus Hawthorne may have felt a connection to both the persectors of Quakers and the persecuted which, says Margaret Moore in The Salem World of Nathaniel Hawthorne, may account for "the very ambiguity with which he treats the Quakers" (37).
We are grateful to Richard James Phelps, Associate Director of Public Affairs, College of the Holy Cross, and Gwen Boyer Bjorkman, noted Quaker/Hannah Phelps historian, for the following genealogy of the Phelps/Hathorne connection: Starting with Henry Phelps, born 1595, married Eleanor Sharp issue:

son Henry Phelps, Jr, born 1615, arrived in Salem 1634, married Eleanor Batter
son John Phelps, born 1644, married Abigail Antram
son Henry Phelps, born 1673, married Rachel Guppy
son Jonathan Phelps, born 1708, married Judith Cox
daughter Rachel Phelps, born 1733, married Daniel Hathorne
son Nathaniel Hathorne, born 1775, married Elizabeth Clarke Manning
son Nathaniel Hawthorne, born 1804

Captain Nathaniel Hathorne (1775/6-1808; Hawthorne's father) Son of Daniel Hathorne, Nathaniel Hathorne was, like his son, born at 27 Union St. in Salem. Like many of his Hathorne ancestors, Nathaniel Hathorne chose a life at sea. He sailed aboard the America in the late 1780s, aboard the Perseverance, a ship owned by his brother-in-law, Simon Forrester, in 1796. Nathaniel Hathorne married Elizabeth Clarke Manning who lived a block away on Herbert St., on August 2, 1801. Their first child, Elizabeth, born on March 7, 1802, and their second child, Nathaniel, born on July 4, 1804, were both born while Hathorne was on a sea voyage. Hathorne returned later in 1804, having achieved the rank of Captain, and was inducted into the East Indian Marine Society in November of that year. He sailed on this last voyage on December 28, 1807, on the Nabby bound for Surinam, or Dutch Guiana. Less than a month later, on January 9, 1808, his wife gave birth to Maria Louisa. A few months later, in early April 1808, she received the news of her husband's death from yellow fever in Surinam.

Hannah Phelps
Davenport-Hathorne--Judge Curwin Witch House
Page citation: Hawthorne in Salem

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hannah (Baskel) Phelps Phelps Hill - A Quaker Woman and Her Offspring

Gwen Boyer Bjorkman is a genealogical researcher. This article first appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, v 75 no 4 (Dec 1987). It won the 1987 Family-History Writing Contest of the National Genealogical Society. It is usually difficult to document the lives of colonial women. As a category, they left few legal documents. Yet through sundry records, it is possible to reconstruct the life of one remarkable woman - Hannah (Baskel) Phelps Phelps Hill. One does not read about Hannah in standard histories of early America, yet she held the first Quaker meeting in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in her home in Salem and later opened her home to the first Quaker meeting in the Albemarle settlement of Carolina. She was truly the Proverbs 31 Lady. After all these years “her children (will now) rise up and bless her saying: ‘Many daughters have done noble, But you excel them all!’ Despite her accomplishments, however, Hannah did not set out to be a noble heroine. She emerges in history as a young woman - human and alone, as far as family is concerned. The search for Hannah began in the records that men have left to chronicle the past. Before 1652, she came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England. An undated deposition of one Jane Johnson provides the only record of Hannah’s maiden name, Baskel. It reveals that, at the time of the deposition, Hannah was the wife of Nicholas Phelps but at the date of “coming over on the ship,” she was in the company of his brother, Henry. The document labels her a “strumpet.” Obviously, Hannah was a woman of independent mind not inclined to conform to the dictates of convention. This trait was to her blessing, scorn, and persecution. 
 "'Deposition of Jane Johnson: Saith yt: coming ov’ in the ship with Henry Phelps and Hannah the now wife of Nich: Phelps: Henry Phelps going ashore the ship lying at the Downes: Hannah wept till shee made herselve sick because mr Fackner would not suffer her to goe ashore with Henry Phelps: and Henry came aboard late in the night, the next morning mr Falckner Chid Henry Phelps and Hannah and said was it not enough for y’ to let Hannah lay her head in y’ lapp but must shee ly in ye Cabbin to and called Hannah Strumpet and this deponent saith farther yt she saw Henry Phelps ly in his Cabbin. Y when he was smocking in the Cook roome tobacco Hannah tooke the pip out of his mouth, etc., etc.'
One Henry Phelps arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 on the ship Hercules, under John Kiddey, Master. His destination was said to be Salem. However, the Phelps family may have been in Salem before this date. It is known that Eleanor Phelps, mother of Henry and Nicholas Phelps, had married Thomas Trusler of Salem and that they were members of the first church in Salem in 1639. One historian holds that Trusler probably came to Salem in 1629, when a kiln for the burning of bricks and tiles was built, and that he continued this business until his death in 1654. There has been found no record of a previous wife or children for Trusler in Salem, so it is possible that Eleanor married him in England and came to the Bay Colony with him and her five Phelps children. Eleanor mentions in her 1655 will 'the legacy bequeathed by my Late husband to his Daughter in England.' Trusler’s will has been lost. The inventory of his estate has been preserved.”

Nicholas Phelps House. From Sidney Perley's The History of Salem Massachusetts, Vol. II.
What did Hannah find in her new home in Salem? She found independent-minded people who, like herself, were interested in change. She also found others who rigorously opposed any thought contrary to theirs. Since all political and social life was centered in the church, religion was the arena for the excitement of dissent. Roger Williams had a short pastorate in Salem, around 1634, before being banished to Rhode Island. Robert Moulton, a Phelps neighbor, has been excommunicated from the Salem church in 1637 for antinomian heresy during the Wheelwright controversy. Between 1638 and 1650, nine people from Salem were tried at Quarterly Court for heretical opinions, and five of the nine were women. Lady Deborah Moody, a church member since 1640, was charged with Anabaptism in 1642; rather than recant, she moved to Long Island. Samuel Gorton was tried in Boston, jailed there, and sent to Rhode Island for his Separatists beliefs. Eleanor Trusler also was taken to court, in April 1644, for her Gortonist opinions, saying, “our teacher Mr. Norris taught the people lies.” Governor Winthrop was advised to bind her over to Boston Court as an example others might fear, lest 'That heresie doeth spread which at length may prove dangerous.' At the Trusler trial, one Casandra Southwick testified that Eleanor “did question the government ever since she came. This was Salem in Hannah’s day.The shipboard romance alleged between Hannah and Henry Phelps did not result in their immediate marriage. Instead, Henry married (or had been married) to another woman, by whom he had a son, John (born about 1645), while Hannah married his brother Nicholas. Historians have not always treated the latter kindly - he has been called “a weak man, and one whose back was crooked” - but it can be argued that he had a strong spirit much akin to Hannah’s. They had two children (Jonathan, born about 1652, and Hannah, born about 1654) with whom they lived on the Trusler farm in “the woods” about five miles from the meetinghouse in Salem. Situated at the site of the modern town of West Peabody, the farm had been devised to Nicholas and Henry jointly, in 1655, by their mother. It was in the late 1650’s that the Phelps became involved in Quakerism. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, had been founded in England in 1648 by George Fox; and its teaching were brought to Boston, in July 1656, by two female missionaries. However, it is believed that books and tracts by Fox and other Quakers might have been brought to the colony in earlier years. In 1657 William Marston, a Hampton-Salem boatman, was cited by having Quaker pamphlets in his possession. There is a passage in a letter written in 1656 from Barbados by Henry Fell, which provides the earliest mention of Quakerism in Salem. In Plimouth patent, there is a people not so ridged as the others at Boston and there are great desires among them after the Truth. Some there are, as I hear, convinced who meet in silence at a place called Salem.” Another passage bearing on this Salem group is found in Cotton Mathers Magnalia: “I can tell the world that the first Quakers that ever were in the world were certain fanaticks here in our town of Salem, who held forth almost all the fancies and whimsies which a few years after were broached by them that were so called in England, with whom yet none of ours had the least communication.”
       In 1657, the invasion of Massachusetts by Quakers began when visiting Friends from England landed in Boston Harbor and were immediately imprisoned. If the group at Salem had been meeting quietly for several years, they went public when - on Sunday, 27 June 1658 - a meeting was held at the home of Nicholas and Hannah Phelps. This was the first Quaker meeting of record in the colony. Two visiting Friends at that meeting, William Brend and William Leddera acknowledged that they were Quakers and were sent to prison with six Salem residents who were also in attendance. Nicholas and Hannah were fined.
            Quaker meetings continued to be held regularly at the Phelps home in defiance of the law. In September 1658, Samuel Shattock, Nicholas Phelps, and Joshua Buffum were arrested and sentenced by the court to prison, where Nicholas was “cruelly whipped” three times in five days for refusing to work. Within months, Nicholas and six neighbors were called before the court again. This time they were banished on pain of death with two weeks being allowed to settle their affairs. It was at the end of May 1658, that Phelps and Shattock sailed for Barbados with the intention of continuing on to England to present the matter before parliament. However, because of the unsettled state of affairs in England they were not to return until late 1661.
            In the meanwhile, Hannah was left in Salem with the care of the farm and their two small children. The Quaker meetings continued to be held at her home, and she was fined every year from 1658 to 1663 for nonattendance at the Salem Church. In the fall of 1659 she with five others from Salem went to Boston to give comfort to two visiting Friends from England who had been sentenced to death for their faith and defiance of the laws of the colony. She and her group were arrested and imprisoned also. On 12 Nov, two weeks after the execution of the five condemned Friends, the Salem party was brought forth to be sentenced for 'adherence to the cursed sect of the Quakers' and “theire disorderly practises and vagabond like life in absenting themselves from theire family relations and runing from place to place without any just reason.” They were admonished, whipped, and sent home.
           Upon Hannah’s return, her house and land were seized by the Salem Court in payment of the fines levied against her and Nicholas. Henry came to the rescue of his sister-in-law, arguing that the court could take only the half of the property belonging to Nicholas. He managed to obtain control of the entire farm and allowed Hannah and the children to remain there. Did Henry now become interested in his sister-in-law, since his brother was in England, or did he now become interested in the Quaker teachings? There are no records of Henry’s being fined for Quaker leanings. One thing is clear from the records: where Henry had once been a respected part of the community, he was now suspected. At the Quarterly Court of 26 June 1660, Major William Hawthorn was ordered to inquire after the misuse of John Phelps by his father. Henry Phelps of Salem, was complained of at the county court at Boston, July 31, 1660, for beating his son, John Phelps, and forcing him to work carrying dung and mending a hogshead on the Lord’s day, also for intimacy with his brother’s wife and for entertaining Quakers. It was ordered that John Phelps, son, be given over to his uncle, Mr. Edmond Batter, to take care of him and place him out to some religious family as an apprentice, said Henry, the father, to pay to Mr. Batter what the boy’s grandmother left him, to be improved to said John Phelps’ best advantage. Said Henry Phelps was ordered to give bond for his good behavior until the next Salem court, and especially not to be found in the company of Nicholas Phelps’ wife, and to answer at that time concerning the entertaining of Quakers. The testimony seems to imply that Henry Phelps was living with his brother’s wife and holding Quaker meetings. The charges were expressed even more bluntly at the November 1660 Quarterly Court: Henry Phelps, being bound to this court to answer a complaint for keeping company or in the house with his brother’s wife, and appearing, was released of his bond. Upon further consideration and examination of some witnesses, which the court did not see meet for the present to bring forth in public (Was this when the deposition of Jane Johnson was taken?), and the wife of Nicholas Phelps not appearing, said Phelps was bound to the next court at Salem. He was ordered meanwhile to keep from the company of his brother Nicholas Phelps’ wife. Hannah had final say on the subject. At Salem Court, 28 June 1661, Thomas Flint and John Upton testified that, coming into Henry Phelps’ house on a Sabbath-day evening, they heard Hannah say that 'Higgeson had set the wolves apace.' John Upton asked her if Mr. Higgeson sent the wolves amongst them to kill their creatures and she answered, “The bloodhounds, to catch the sheep and lambs.” She was sentenced to be fined or whipped, and one William Flint promised to pay the fine. Political events soon eased the Phelps’ persecution - albeit slightly. The days of Cromwell and the Puritans were over in England in 1660. A new parliament proclaimed the banished Prince Charles as king, invited him to return from exile, and placed him on the throne of his father. As Charles II, he read - and sympathized with - the petition of those Quakers in England who had been banished from Massachusetts. That document contained a list of the sufferings of 'the people called Quakers,' and Number 15 stated, “One inhabitant of Salem, since banished on pain of death, had one-half of his house and land seized. On 9 September 1661, Charles II issued an order to the Bay Colony to cease the persecution of Quakers and appointed Samuel Shattock to bear the “King’s Missive” to Boston. No mention was made of Nicholas Phelps’ return at that time, although the historian Perley claimed “they returned together, but Mr. Phelps, being weak in body after some time died” It is known that Nicholas and Hannah were together again in Salem by June 1662 when, at the Quarterly Court, “Nicholas Phelpes and his wife were presented for frequent absence from meeting on the Sabbath Day. Hannah was fined alone in 1663. On 18 July 1664, Henry Phelps sold the property that he and his brother had inherited from their mother in 1655, and he, Hannah, and the children left Massachusetts. Many of their friends had departed already for Long Island or Rhode Island, but some had journeyed to far-off Carolina, where a new settlement was beginning on Albemarle Sound. It was the latter colony to which Henry and Hannah headed. Preseumably they married in a Quaker meeting before setting off by ship with what possessions they had left. In 1660 a few Virigians had crossed into the Albemarle region, then called Chowan. By charters of 1663 and 1665, Charles II granted to eight proprietors a tract of land which was to lie between the present states of Virginia and Florida, a vast tract that was named Carolina, and colony which had already spring up there was designated Albemarle County. Another settlement was begun at Cape Fear in 1664 by a group from Barbados and New England; their area became the county of Clarendon. By 1664, however, the latter group had deserted the Cape and moved to Albemarle. Fittingly, the first record found of Hannah in Carolina spotlights her religious activities. In 1653 one William Edmundson converted to Quakerism in England; and from 1661 he was recognized as leader of the Irish Quakers. He first visited America with George Fox as a traveling Friend in 1672. While Fox went to New England, Edmundson traversed Virginia; about the first of May 1672, he ventured down into Carolina. Two Friends from Virginia accompanied him as guides but became lost, saying they had “gone past the place where we intended.” Edmundson found a path that “brought us to the place where we intended, viz. Henry Phillips’ (Phelps) House by Albemarle River. It is Edmundson who accounts for the life of Henry and Hannah during the years in which legal records are silent. “He (Phelps) and his wife had been convinced of the truth in New England, and came there to live, who having not seen a Friend for seven years before, they wept for joy to see us.” Some scholars have interpreted this passage in Edmundson’s journal to mean that Henry and Hannah were the only Quaker family in Albemarle in 1672. However, evidence does exist of another couple, Christopher and Hannah (Rednap) Nicholson who had become Quakers and had been persecuted in Massachusetts. The Nicholsons had arrived in Albemarle Sound, probably by 1663, and were neighbors of Henry and Hannah Phelps. (See Nicholson Family-Part II) It is also known that Isaac and Damaris (Shattuck) Page came to Albemarle from Salem, after both had been fined as Quakers. Edmundson’s journal also reveals that the first recorded Quaker meeting in Albemarle was held at the Phelps’ home, just as the first recorded Quaker meeting at Salem had been sponsored by Nicholas and Hannah. Edmundson said, “it being on a first day morning when we got there. I desired them to send to the people there-a way to come to a meeting about the middle of the day.” Hannah opened her home yet again to the “Lord’s testimony,” as brought by the visiting Friends. Following the visit of Edmundson, Fox himself came to Albemarle in November 1672, stopping first at Joseph Scott’s home by Perquimans River, where he held a meeting, and then “we passed by water four miles to Henry Phillips (Phelps) house” and held a meeting there. Edmundson returned to Albemarle in 1676, and again the faithful Hannah appears in his journal.
He took our journey through the wilderness, and in two days came well to Carolina, first to James Hall’s (Hill’s) house, who went from Ireland to Virginia with his family. His wife died there, and he had married the widow Phillips (Phelps) at Carolina, and lived there; but he had not heard that I was in those parts of the world. When I came into the House, I saw only a woman servant. I asked for her master. She said he was sick. I asked for her mistress, she said she was gone abroad. so I went into the room, where he was laid on the bed, sick of an ague with his face to the wall. I called him by his name, and said no more; he turned himself, and looked earnestly at me a pretty time, and amazed; at last he asked if that was William? I said yes.
Between Edmundson’s journeys of 1672 and 1676, Henry died and Hannah married James Hill. James was probably a convert of Edmundson in Ireland or Virginia, since they knew each other by first name. In November 1676, The Lords Proprietors had issued commissions to men designated as deputies in Albemarle. James Hill, Esq, was deputy of the Duke of Albemarle. During Culpeper’s Rebellion in 1677, Hill and one Thomas Miller escaped, and a guard of soldiers was put at his house. Promptly on his return from Virginia, he, along with Francis Jones and Christopher Nicholson, was arrested. Hannah Phelps Hill was again in the thick of conflict.
The Quakers drew up a “Remonstrance” to the proprietors protesting their treatment, outlining the above acts, and declaring they were “a peaceable people.” It was signed on 13 September 1679 by twenty-one Quakers, including Jones and Nicholson, together with Joseph Scott, Isaac Page, and Jonathan Phelps, son of Nicholas and Hannah. Under their signatures, it was written that most of the subscribers “have been Inhabitants in Carolina since the years 1663 and 1664. The Quakers had not been persecuted in Carolina previous to this time, but it is recorded in the minutes of Perquimans Monthly Meeting that about the fourth or fifth month of 1680, nine Friends were fined and put into prison for refusing to bear arms in the muster field. Among those nine were five of the signers of the 1679 remonstrance - including Jonathan Phelps and Samuel Hill, son of James.
Hannah’s devotion to religion did not prompt her to neglect her family, however. She appears again in court records to champion the cause of her grandchildren. In the intervening years, her daughter Hannah had twice wed - first to James Perisho and second, in 1697, to George Castleton. On 30 March 1680, it was ordered by the Lords Proprietors that one hundred acres of land be laid out, for “James Perishaws Orphants,” for the transportation of two persons, namely their parents “James and Hannah Perishaw.” However, complications arose involving this second husband, Castleton; and Hannah Phelps Hill went to court to protect her grandson’s property.
The first hint of the family troubles appears in the court records of October 1685:“Wheras George Castleton hath absented himself from the County and Imbezled the estate belonging to the Orphans of James Perisho deceased. It is therefore ordered that no person or persons buy any cattle belonging to the said orphans or any part of the estate of the said Castleton and that Jonathan Phelps gather the corne and measure the same and deliver the one half to Hannah Castleton and secure the other half til further order.”
Castleton apparently returned to the county and problems continued. In October 1687 the court ordered “that Hannah Castleton the wife of George Castleton doe repaire home to her husband and live with him and that if she departs from him any more it is ordered that the majestrates doe forthwith use such meanes as may cause her to live with her husband.”
The younger Hannah apparently did not live long past this point; she is not mentioned at attending the wedding of her daughter on 5 August 1689, although the grandmother Hannah did. In October of that year, the older Hannah appeared in court, concerned for the welfare of Hannah, Jr.’s son by her first husband.
At a Court Holden for the precinct of Pequimins at the house of Mary Scot on the first Monday being the 7th of October 1689. Hannah Hill Grandmother to James Perishaw hath petitioned this Court to have the management of the stock belonginge to the sd. James Perishaw, It is therefore Ordered that after the last of this instant October the sd. Hannah Hill take into her custodie the Stock belonginge to James Perishaw, and manage the same for the childs Care, putting in security for the same.”
For his proprietary land rights, Hannah’s son Jonathan took out a patent in 1684, covering four hundred acres near Robert Wilson on the west side of the Perquimans River. In his will written in 1688, he gave this four hundred acres (where he lived) to his son Samuel. In 1692, Robert Wilson and John Lilly, executors of Jonathan Phelps, went to court to divide the property. The suit was continued in 1693, when Hannah Hill petitioned for “hur Halfe of ye plantation”; and it was ordered that “Shee be posesed with it.” This patent was renewed by Samuel Phelps as son and heir in 1695.
All of Albemarle’s early land records have not survived. However, it is commonly accepted in the history of Perquimans County that the land Henry Phelps lived on, when Edmundson paid him the visit in 1672, was the land on the narrows of the Perquimans River that was granted to his grandson, Jonathan Phelps, in 1694 - and that part of this grant became the town Hertford. This should be partly true. It was Hannah Phelps’ grandson, Jonathan Phelps, who became owner of the property; but without recorded wills or deeds, the details of the property’s transfer are cloudy.
Since Hannah was the only one of the original family still living in 1694, it was she who proved rights for fifteen persons transported into the county of Albemarle. They were: “Henry Phelps (her second husband), Hannah his Wife (herself), John Phelps (Henry’s son). Jonathan Phelps (her son), Hannah Phelps junr (her daughter), Robt. Pane, James Hill (her 3rd Husband), Saml. Hill (son of James Hill), Mary Hill, Nathanl. Spivey and his wife Judity, John Spivey, Sarah Spivey, Anne Spivey, (and) Jonathan Phelps his freedom.”
This document implies one other situation not otherwise documented: After the death of Nicholas, Hannah’s son by him was apparently bound to his uncle - and her second husband - Henry. Once Jonathan’s servitude expired, in North Carolina, he was eligible for his own grant. The fifteen rights named in the forgoing document amounted to 750 acres. At the time of the survey in 1694, Hannah assigned the first six rights to her grandson, Jonathan Phelps, who was then seven years old, eight rights to her grandson, Samuel Phelps, age ten, and the last right to Robert Wilson, the executor of the estate of her son Jonathan.
Hannah, who outlived her three husbands and her two children, had now provided for her grandchildren. She had seen the establishment of the Quaker meetings and Quaker life in Albemarle.
"A 1709 letter of Mr. Gordon, a Church of England missionary, stated that the Quakers then numbered “about the tenth part of the inhabitants” of Carolina. And in Perquimans Precinct, he said, they “are very numerous, extremely ignorant, insufferable proud and ambitious, and consequently ungovernable.” It is because she was proud, ambitious, and ungovernable that one is now able to document the life of Hannah and her children.