Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Southwick Saga

Heather Rojo at Nutfield Genealogy has a nice post about my Southwicks—specifically, Provided and her father Lawrence.

Provided Southwick, my 7x great-grandmother, was born in 1641, married Samuel Gaskill in 1662, and died in 1727, all in Salem, MA. John Greenleaf Whittier’s The Ballad of Cassandra Southwick, although using her mother’s name, is about an incident in Provided’s life: she and her brother Daniel were sentenced to be sold into slavery for failure to pay fines incurred for not attending the Salem Church recognized by the Puritans.

Her father, Lawrence Southwick, was born 1594 in Staffordshire, England and was married in 1623, to Cassandra Burnell of Lancashire.  He left England for America with most of his family around 1636-37.  Once in Salem, he was a glassmaker by profession.  He died 1660 at Shelter Island, NY.

The Southwick story is filled with persecution by the Puritans for first supporting Quakers and, later, for being Quakers. Lawrence and Cassandra were eventually banished in 1659 under threat of death and went to live on Shelter Island where they endured a harsh life until their deaths from deprivation and exposure the following year.

The more research I do on my ancestors of this era, the more difficult it is to think about Thanksgiving without acknowledging what the Puritans were really about.


  1. Wow, now I know we are cousins! That's very, very cool news. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and learned something new about your ancestors. There are lots of sad stories about the Quakers in Massachusetts. Its very sad, but a theocratic government never worked out well- Massachusetts and Afghanistan are too examples.

  2. Until I started my family research, I had no idea the Quaker heritage I had. I have a handmade Shaker-style chair that has been passed down in my mom's family. I always assumed it was a replica made in the 1900s. Now I'm beginning to wonder...