Today I’ll just add some more information about Reverend William and his immediate family. At present much of the information I get is from family trees on Ancestrydotcom although I’ve gotten a few books and articles from the internet which contain quite a bit of information. One of the sources is a section on the town of Marblehead taken from a history of Essex County Massachusetts. Then I also have two very detailed works done before the advent of the internet so the research is done from letters, documents and family members. The first is “Walton Family Records1598 – 1898” by Josiah Proctor Walton. Apparently JPW comes from Reverend William’s son Samuel (as do I) and then from Samuel’s son John (I come from Samuel’s son Samuel). The second is “A Brief Historical and Genealogical Account of the Walton Family …” by Hattie E. Walton Henninger which was published after 1954. Hattie’s line is, Rev Wm – Samuel – Samuel – Samuel – Reuben, and mine is Rev Wm – Samuel – Samuel – Samuel – William. So, in both cases I’m related indirectly to both of these authors and their research has certainly helped me fill in some of the blanks in my overall tree. Not that I’m done with them yet, I still have lots to glean from both of them. Also I’ve got some previous research done by others in the family and distant relatives who are also doing active research. All in all quite a good number of resources to draw from.
My biggest problem with the family trees online is that whoever is doing them is frequently not very careful about what information they include. They frequently include children for a couple when the couple were 10 or 11 years old or sometimes even after both have died! Also, frequently one or more children are listed 2 or more times with sometimes the same and sometimes different birth dates. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, lots of other strange stuff is more subtle but equally incorrect information and can’t be trusted. Oh well, enough said on that subject.
I do have a fair amount of good information about the good Reverend and his family but I’m always looking for more. His wife, Elizabeth Cooke, was the daughter of William and Martha (White) Cooke and her maternal uncle was Reverend John White who was the founder of Dorchester, Massachusetts. The family started out in Hingham, MA but after only about 2 years moved to Marblehead, MA. At that time Marblehead was part of Salem and not a separate town but they were sorely in need of a minister. Apparently Salem was a very religious town ( I mean, the Salem Witch Trials for crying out loud !!) and most of the residents of Marblehead were definitely not religious in the same way. To attend church they would have had to travel to Salem and attend a church which did not conform to their beliefs and thoughts. According to the “Marblehead” section of the History of Essex County Massachusetts, in 1635 a ship was sent to bring the Reverend John Avery to Marblehead to become a minister to the residents. Rev Avery, his wife and 8 children were accompanied by Anthonie Thatcher, his wife and 9 children. Before reaching Marblehead the ship was wrecked on an island during a severe storm and all but Mr. Thatcher and his wife perished. The island is known as Thatcher Island and is a National Wildlife Refuge just off the coast from Rockport, MA. The loss of the designated minister may have been what prompted Rev William to move his family from Hingham to Marblehead, either from his knowledge or at the request of someone. Hingham, Marblehead and Salem were all part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony – not the Plymouth Colony – which was headquartered in Boston, MA. The colony leaders certainly would have known of the tragedy which prevented Marblehead from having a minister and after the arrival of Rev William at about the same time may have asked him to take over. We’ll never know but it’s kind of fun to speculate!!