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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Denman, Williams, and Lyon Family Connections

In the article about Roger Williams (first governor of Rhode Island), I mentioned that he had sailed across the Atlantic on the colonial ship, Lyon.  I'd also wondered whether we might somehow be related to him, through our direct ancestor, Mary Elizabeth Williams (both being of Welsh descent, and early American colonists).  I'm still not certain what the precise relationship might be, but there seem to be definite connections historically, between the Denman, Williams, and Lyon families (according to the following historical document in the archives).
(c1906.  The surnames Denman and Williams are sprinkled throughout this document, like chicken scratch.)

Quote, from the "Lyon Memorial":

 "This William Lyon was called the Marquis of Southwold, and he was owner of the forefather ship "Lyon," which brought many a cargo of precious souls to New England. Among her passengers was Rev. John Eliot the non-conformist minister of Roxbury church, the Apostle of the American Indians, and Roger Williams, the Apostle of Civil Liberty."

"Apostle of Civil Liberty"... I like that!  Lol.

So Roger Williams sailed on the ship Lyon, which was owned by the Lyon family of Scotland.  I already had Joseph Williams and wife, "Mary" (no other info available) listed on the family tree, for Mary Elizabeth's parents.  Then yesterday, I came across a website listing her parents as Joseph Williams (of Elizabethtown, NJ -- Mary Elizabeth was born in Westfield), and Betsy (or, Betsey) Lyon (of Lyon's Farms, NJ).  I know it was the same woman, because she was married to my great-grandfather, John Denman (b. ca1701), and the location matched.

[UPDATE:  The Joseph Williams and Betsy Lyon listed above, can't possibly be our ancestor's parents... locations are relevant, but not the dates.  Still searching...]
(Interesting old regional write-up.)
(c1902.  Detailed history of the Lyon family.  The names Denman and Williams also found here.)

I can't find the link at the moment, for the information naming Betsey Lyon as Mary Elizabeth's mother... however, in both of the Lyon family histories linked above here, it is quite clear that the Lyon, Williams, and Denman families were all rather tightly connected through a number of marriages.  Many of the Lyon boys were even given the first names of "Denman" and "Williams" (with an "S", lol).

I don't think it's purely coincidental, that Roger Williams and Mary Elizabeth Williams are both associated in historical records, with the Lyon family and thus circumstantially with one another.  I'm going to keep looking, and try to get proof of her parentage; also looking deeper into Roger's genealogy.

If he really is my direct ancestor, it would help explain why I have such a strong innate desire for freedom, truth, and justice, imho.
(Info about Mary Elizabeth, husband John, and son Daniel).

The following linked website I found also yesterday, states that Judith Stoughton (one of my great-grandmothers) did indeed leave a will bequeathing her property to all three of her children from both marriages.  Her brother, Israel is on record as having been the executor of the will and it is on probate record too.  It took several years for her will to be settled, for some reason.

Judith Stoughton is listed on the old Dorchester Church records in Salem Colony, as number "5".  Her daughter Mary (my great-grandaunt) and son-in-law, Clement Maxfield, are listed therein as a couple, number "32".  John Denman isn't listed there, but it's known that he left Salem for Long Island, NY, while still very young (in his teens).

The Denmans are listed in the Presbyterian church records, I believe in both Newtown, NY, and in New Jersey.  I've read that in New Jersey, they'd originally attended the Episcopalian church, then switched to the Presbyterian one during the Revolutionary War.  I also read somewhere, something (mostly rumor) about Daniel Denman being involved with a Congregationalist church.  It's interesting to note, that at least one or two Denman daughters married Quaker men.  The earliest Denman men seemed to get along well with the Dutch, French Huguenot, and Walloon settlers (as did Roger Williams after he was banished from Massachussetts, apparently).

Both the American Dutch Reformed church and the Congregationalist church have very interesting histories, about which I've read some, in an old book I have called, "Handbook of Denominations in the United States".

Many people insist that America is not a "Christian" country, but they're only partly correct.  Some early Christian founders like Roger Williams, easily recognized the virtues of keeping Church and State strictly separate.  However, it was mainly Protestant Christians fleeing religious and political persecutions and oppressions in both Europe and in England (where Church and State were solidly partnered), who settled, colonized, and developed our country.  They based all of their laws (and the English laws which they rejected) on Protestant Christian principles.  Even the Declaration of Independence is rooted in Christian ideals.

The US Constitution's Bill of Rights, Article 1, states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

I'm also getting really tired of listening to people who claim to be "peace-loving scandinavians" LIE about our forefathers' treatment of the Indians.  The Pilgrims and Puritans did their level best to maintain peaceful political relations with Native Americans.  They made it illegal to supply them with weapons, but traded and gave them tools for agriculture, etc.  Reverend John Eliot printed a bible expressly for the Indians, in their own language, too.  They even felt it was only right to allow them to have rum and beer, too (they believed it was cruel to deprive them of those things, which they treated as having medicinal -- not recreational -- value).  Remember the first Thanksgiving?  We got along very well together, people.

It wasn't until the Dutch West India Company, and the French, began supplying them with guns, in exchange for pelts and tobacco, that real problems of violence began to surface.  The Native Americans who received the guns and used them against colonists, didn't share our European values and morals.  It was like handing guns to children, in most cases.  Then eventually, the French and the English involved Indians in their wars with the Colonists -- paying them for American scalps.  These are the things which caused the downward spiral of relationships between the Native tribes and the Colonists.  The Americans were at first friendly with the Natives, but later became terrified of them for those reasons.

People also need to realize, that not all Native Americans are the same.  There were then as now, many different tribes.  Some were more intelligent, more peaceful, more civilized than others.  Those were the ones who made an effort to be welcoming and helpful to the immigrants.  Then there were others who were literally savages, and not just because of their clothes and customs.  They engaged in such abominations as cannibalism, torture, slavery, etc.

And yes, I realize that unfortunately many Europeans, who were themselves of Pagan ancestry, were also savages.  But the early Protestant Christians at least ~tried to reform themselves and society.  And many Indians became some of the most devout Christians of all.  Early Protestants knew the horrors of the Catholic Inquisition and of England's religious tyranny (even after Henry VIII had separated England from Rome).

And Protestants didn't ~force their religion on the Indians, as did the Roman Catholic Spanish conquistadors (which it turns out were mostly converso- or crypto- Jews).  Protestant colonists ended up having to fight the Native tribes eventually, but they didn't make a ~sport of hunting and killing them, "like rabbits" (as De Soto bragged).

"Hernando de Soto was born in 1500 of a respectable family in Spain. As a young man, DeSoto sailed to and learned slaving skills in Panama. Vicious dogs, fast horses and extortion became his hallmark. DeSoto earned the title "Child of the Sun" for conducting dawn raids on unsuspecting villages. He captured village chiefs then extorted their citizens for their return."

I've got news for you "peace-loving scandinavians":  the earliest Catholic conquistadors came here to conquer, enslave, and exploit this land -- not to establish ~Law and Justice, as did our Protestant forefathers.  Serious problems between Puritans and Indians originated in the activities of other exploitative and capitalistic entities (the French, British, and Dutch govenments), who were the earliest ~arms dealers and ~warmongers.  We had to fight them also, in order to maintain peace here.  But unfortunately, after the Revolution our country continuously experienced waves upon waves of every sort of immigrant, seeking peace and sanctuary from abuses in their homelands, but never really finding it:  because they brought their ~attitudes and superstitions along with themselves.

Oh, and by the way -- abolishment of Slavery was spearheaded by Puritan PROTESTANTS, too (including Quakers, a sect described by Joseph Dillaway Sawyer as being the logical culmination of Puritanism).  Early Quakers and Puritans alike, had to wisely shake off the old ingrained habits and superstitions (including loyalty to the monarchy) brought with them along with all their other baggage from Europe; but they gradually managed to do so, with great courage and determination.

Social change doesn't happen overnight, and one thing's for sure:  'Society's a behemoth which when set to a particular course (right or wrong, beneficial or not), literally requires 'acts of Congress' to correct.  Stop blaming the wrong elements in Society, and good change will arrive quicker.

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