Just about the only constant in our world is change. In 2010, by the one-hundredth birthday of my hubby’s mother, she had seen changes no one would have thought possible— Two world wars, nuclear power, personal computer, antibiotics, television, jet planes, a walk on the moon, the Internet. Change is happening faster and faster.
Even museums are changing! According to the recent issue of Art in America, mobile apps will keep museum visitors thinking about art even when looking at their phones. For example, the ASK app at the Brooklyn Museum offers a live team, the Audience Engagement Team, with advanced art history degrees, available to answer visitor inquiries. They can answer any questions about the museum collection, and they work in plain sight, so you can see they are live in their open office to the side of the lobby.
Disney’s Tomorrow: General Electric carousel
Let’s take a stroll in history, when life seemed simpler, and for some relief from the constant changes surrounding us, the so-called technology of progress.
Wheel of Progress Wagon
For a taste of New England’s beginning, why not visit historic Branford, Connecticut’s cemetery? Walk the grounds of history. Did you know you could still buy a plot?
Places and pieces of history in Branford, CT
Founded in 1645, it’s beautiful, well kept, and at the far end is lovely Lake Stalltonstall. It’s strange to me that there are so many vacancies after 371 years. It’s easier to buy a place in this cemetery than a place in New York City. Some of the tombstone relics have almost legible inscriptions that are fun to read. Some date back to the 1700s, maybe earlier if you look around. I was not able to find the tombstone of Richard Harrison Senior, who was a founder of Branford. My hubby’s descendants, the Harrison family had come here from England on one of the early ships after the Mayflower. They first settled in New Haven circa 1635 then founded Branford in 1644.
Back to 2016, although human-like robots are on the agenda of the hot wheel of progress, we can still call ourselves human, but honestly, are we in the same hemisphere as these folks were?
Here’s a little mystic music to soothe your soul.
Enjoy music from the met museum while you read my excerpt from my novel:
If you like romance, and you like rip-roaring adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Here’s an excerpt from my book that will curl your toes.
Available in eBook, free audiobook and paperback. Want that audiobook? It’s free, email me for access: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.
Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”
Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.
A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”
Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.
The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.
She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.
Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.
One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.
Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”
Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”
The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”
Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.
Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.
Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”
He shook her off. “You obey.”
Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.
She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.
For you viewing pleasure, here’s the Indigo Sky trailer:
Indigo Sky_07_11_15 – Small
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA
Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w
Artist Page: https://artist.gailingis.com/blog/
According to history, about one thousand people embarked for their new home during the year 1630, the first of the eleven years of the “great Puritan migration.” During the time that Charles I attempted to govern England without parliament, nearly twenty thousand men, women, and children were transported to the shores of New England. They went with the idea of establishing churches in which they might worship in the way they preferred.
West Kirby, England the beach
When Richard Harrison Sr. was told he could not worship as he pleased, he pondered, planned and paid a tidy sum to remove himself and his family from a land of prejudice. He packed their minimum and walked away from where he, his wife, Sarah Yorke, and his five children were all born, the town of West Kirby, England.
West Kirby, England storm on the coast
They would take one of the ships of the Puritans, on 22 June 1635 to the new world. The Harrison children were Richard Jr. born 1620, Thomas, born 1626, John, Samuel, Mary. It was not long on the ship before the playful children distracted travelers from the difficulties of crowding, unsanitary conditions and unpalatable food.
Maplewood, New Jersey cemetery
The Harrisons came to New Haven, Connecticut, and then made their way to Branford, Connecticut, where they founded the town in 1644. The original house is gone, but the one built in the eighteenth century still stands on Main Street as a museum. There is a library in the house with the history of the family written by a Captain Thomas Harrison, who fought in the Civil War. At the end of his writing, he wrote that he hoped someone would continue recording the history of the Harrisons. That is what Gertrude Harrison Claus, born 1910, has done. At the age of one hundred and one, she was remarkable–still healthy, happy, and sharp. She went home to her maker in 2011. She was Mom to me and to her children. Everyone else called her Trudi, short for Gertrude. Trudi was my role model, a liberated, Christian woman. I miss her smile, her love, and her interest in our lives.
Typical house of the era in Newark, NJ 1725-1730
One of the brothers, Richard Harrison Jr. and possibly, his sister Mary, left CT for New Jersey. Richard founded Neworke, now Newark, New Jersey. Richard married Sarah Hubbard, had 8 children and became one of 11 founders of Newark, NJ in 1667 and a patentee in 1675. In 1668, he was
one of 6 Newark agents who negotiated its boundary with Elizabeth, NJ. He also was an original town committee member and town surveyor. Newark was founded after 6 years of communication with Peter Stuyvesant of New Amsterdam. There is a plaque in the center of town with Richard Harrison’s name as the founder. I saw the plaque. Richard’s children with his wife Sarah Hubbard had six children, Joseph, born1649, Samuel, born 1652, Benjamin, born 1655, George, born 1658, Daniel, born 1661, and Mary, born 1664.
Skagway Presbyterian Church, Alaska. Founded by Norman B. Harrison c. 1898
There is more about the family. Tom’s grandfather, Norman B. Harrison, took his organ, his wife and his children to Skagway, Alaska, in 1898 and founded the Presbyterian Church there. Mom Trudi and our friends Jean and El visited a some years ago and verified they saw his name on a plaque. Later, he came back to the homeland to the state of Washington and founded the
University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA Founded by Norman B. Harrison
University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. The church is still there. Norman’s writings were about different books of the Bible. I treasure the “The End. Re-Thinking the Revelation”, signed by him to his daughter Gertrude Harrison Claus, on December 15, 1954.
Trudi’s brother, Everett Harrison, was one of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He too wrote books about the Bible and like his father Norman, was a scholar. For anyone that knows Princeton Theological Seminary, Norman B. Harrison’s name is on the cornerstone.
Thomas Harrison Claus
Trudi Harrison Claus and her son Thomas Harrison Claus, both direct decedents of Richard Harrison Jr. and Mary Harrison, scoured cemeteries in New Jersey. Tom said they found ancestors in a cemetery in West Caldwell, NJ. We never looked in Connecticut. I would like to do that, amidst the beautiful fall foliage.
Another bit of information—Thomas Harrison Claus’s father, Wilbur Claus, a biochemist, discovered Cheerio’s for General Mills, and Tom, also a biochemist, discovered a drug for type 2 diabetes, but it never got to the market.
Tom has three brothers, diluting the Harrison name with Claus, and so it goes. We lose all the Harrisons’ in marriages and births. It becomes almost impossible to find all the linkages. But Mom Trudi said the early Harrisons’ married Smiths, Baldwins, Pearsons’ and others. And by the way, we were told that this end of the Harrison’s are connected to William and his nephew Benjamin Harrison, America’s past presidents.
Should anyone be interested in touching base with me about the Harrison Heritage, just leave a comment with your contact info, and I will get back to you.
First Presbyterian Church of Skagway is the home of God’s disciples who
are called to follow Christ in this unique Alaska setting by living out their mission statement: “As children of God we embrace our call to share the Good News of the Gospel through worship, fellowship and open doors providing a nurturing environment as we grow in Christ and minister to our greater community.”
African Children’s Choir performance at Skagway Presbyterian Church
African Children’s choir: The choir performed three times in Skagway during this past Labor Day weekend -. at the First Presbyterian Church, at the Skagway School. All concerts are free admission. There are CDs available. The African Children’s Choir™ is made up of some of the neediest and most vulnerable children in their countries. Many have lost one or both parents to poverty or disease. The African Children’s Choir™ helps these children break away from the everyday cycle of poverty and hopelessness. Before being selected to join the Choir, children, generally aged between 7 and 11 attend Music for Life camps. These camps are fun and stimulating environments that provide a break from the daily hardships the young children face at home. Children selected to tour will spend approximately five months at the Choir Training Academy in Kampala, Uganda. Here the children learn the songs and dances, attend school, play and attend Sunday School at a local church. Check out their website: http://www.africanchildrenschoir.com/ for more information.
So, Captain Thomas Harrison, who wrote in that Branford book was an ancestor and related to my husband Thomas Harrison Claus.
Any Harrison’s around that are direct descendents of the Richard Harrison Jr. of Newark, NJ?
Last week’s blog talked about the Harrisons arrival to America on one of those small wooden boats, carrying Puritans. (Not Pilgrims, who came on the first ship). That part of the Harrison saga to be continued. Here below is one of the characters in my story.
The name Thomas Harrison has been duplicated throughout the centuries. The first one I know of was Major-General Thomas Harrison (1606 – 13 October 1660), henchman to Oliver Cromwell. He fought in Cromwell’s army to help save the people in England from a corrupt King. In 1649 he signed the death warrant of Charles I and in 1660, shortly after the Restoration, he was found guilty of regicide. Harrison was the first of the Regicides to be executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered on 13 October 1660. Harrison, who had pleaded not guilty, after being hanged for several minutes and then cut open, was reported to have leaned across and hit his executioner—resulting in the swift removal of his head. His entrails were thrown onto a nearby fire.
After the discovery of the Harrison family in Branford, Connecticut, we hoofed, well, flew in 1995, over to England, back to the city the Harrison’s originated, West Kirby. West Kirby is a town on the north-west corner of the coast of the Wirral Peninsula, in the county of Merseyside, England, at the mouth of the River Dee across from the Point of Ayr in Flintshire, Wales, in relative close proximity to Liverpool.Population: 24506
Area Size (ha): 758
Easting: 323487 Northing: 386182
Latitude: 53.37 Longitude: -3.15
= West Kirby
We visited town halls to explore ancestry records between West Kirby and London. We climbed up to the top of the Tower of London to experience the doom of Harrison in his small stone space. It was at the Museum of London that we discovered the birthplace of this Harrison. And although he was someone of great importance, and a prig—we discovered he was NOT part of the Harrison’s we were researching. He was born in Oxford. No way could a Harrison born in Oxford be related to the Harrisons from West Kirby, the distance is 185 miles. I breathed a sigh of relief, but was disappointed at the infamous connection the Harrisons could have had. The Harrisons from West Kirby were not related. But, we didn’t despair, there are Harrisons related to the West Kirby folks that are quite interesting–
Seems there have been lots of Thomas Harrisons, and even a couple of Captain Thomas Harrisons. So how do you find out who the latest is in this twenty-first century?
Come back for more next week.
THE GREAT MIGRATION: SHIPS TO NEW ENGLAND 1633-35
Harrison House, Branford, CT
It an amazing story of Providence and the skill of English seamen that dozens of Atlantic ocean passages were made in little wooden ships bringing our Puritan ancestors to America almost without mishap in the 1630’s; the unhappy exception being the harrowing story of the Angel Gabriel, 1635, which met a terrible storm and cast up on the coast of Maine with only a few survivors.
There were perhaps 30,000 emigrants from England to New England before the English Civil War. These folks were mainly from the English middle-class, self-reliant and motivated to find a place where they might live, worship, and raise their families without government harassment. This movement of people is called the Great Migration.
Their motivation was religious, political, and economic. The British church and government was becoming insufferably hierarchical, tyrannical, and tax-hungry. Common resentment among the English people led soon to the English Revolution beginning in 1642, and eventually to the beheading of King Charles for treason in 1649, after agents intercepted his secret invitations to foreign kings and armies, that they invade England, crush Parliament and the English Constitution, massacre his English opponents, and restore Charles to his pretended Dei gratia royal privileges. Charles Stuart continued incorrigibly to hold his dynastic interest separate and above those of Parliament and the British people, and ultimately Parliament had no alternative but to end his conspiracies with an axe.
King Charles I of England
Son of James and Anne. A well-intentioned knave, he was captivated by his Catholic bride Henriette-Marie, who led him to treason and death, and all England to civil war.
The Great Migration ended at the start of the English Civil War. Then for a time in the 1640’s was hope rekindled in the people that they might live in liberty in England, and the flow of emigrants ceased, in fact reversed. Many brave New Englishmen and their sons returned to fight in England to uphold Parliament and the Commonwealth. The true history of the British Commonwealth has been an unwelcome topic in Britain since the restoration of monarchy, 1661. But that is another story…
GREAT MIGRATION PASSENGERS BY SURNAME
The migration included over 1500 persons from England to New England during the years 1632-1635. I found the name Harrison on a passenger list, who with his family headed east from New Haven, Connecticut and helped to settle Branford in 1644.
My hubby, Thomas Harrison Claus has lots of Harrison descendants here from abroad. As noted above, the Harrison’s were included in the migration and came over on one of the Puritan’s ships from Darby, England, and boy did they rock the boat. They raised their children who spread their wings and founded Newark, New Jersey. We were bowled over when we saw Richard Harrison’s name on a plaque in Newark as a founder. And there was a cemetery in Essex Fells, New Jersey that had interred many of the Harrisons’.
Captain Thomas Harrison Branford, Connecticut
So, who was this Captain Thomas Harrison?
It’s a fantasy . . . . When we told my hubby’s mother we were moving to Connecticut from New Jersey, she mentioned the Harrison’s lived there generations ago. There it was, the Harrison house, well preserved right on Main Street in Branford as a antique home and museum, open to public for tours. But the best part was the library of the family right there on a bookcase in the kitchen. And it had the writings of a Captain Thomas Harrison who had the last entry in the late 19th century, ending with, “I hope someone will continue the Harrison history.”
Now, I have more about this Captain Thomas Harrison, but you’ll have to come back next week to hear the rest of the story.
Do you know anything about Captain Thomas Harrison?