- Charles Smith, son of Jonathan Smith and Susanna Johnson, was born in 1731, in Suffield, Connecticut. Charles married Bersheba Bartholomew, daughter of William Bartholomew and Mary Rogers(?), in 1750, in The Congregational Church, which was formed was formed in 1742, in the locality then called Judea, Washington, Litchfield, Connecticut. Charles and Bersheba lived in Litchfield until after December 04, 1766, where Charles deeded Lemuel Charles his brother?in?law, Bersheba?s brother, a tract of land ?in consideration of many kindness which I have received from time to time of my brother Lemuel Bartholomew of Litchfield and more especially for his many gifts to my wife soon after I married her by which she was furnished for housekeeping and also for love, goodwill and fraternal affection.? What a beautiful relationship between brothers-in-law! Charles and his wife subsequently moved to Washington, Vermont. Charles died in 1804 in Washington, Orange, Vermont aged 73.
Bersheba?s 2nd Great-grandparents were, William Bartholomew and Anna Lord,dparents they lived in London. I think we can guess that he was a mercer like his father as so many of the Bartholomew's were. London in this period was known as a riotous, high-living place with much drunkenness and crime. But we know that our ancestor, William and his wife, Anna, lead conservative lives. They soon gathered about them a group of friends who were religious dissenters and who formed an independent or Presbyterian Church in London. These were the people who later became known as Puritans in American history.
One of their favorite guests was the famous Anne Hutchinson. She was the daughter of a Puritan preacher who had been forced to flee to Holland because of what he said against the Church of England, the state religion. She had married well and was known as able and fearless and was a strong critic of all conditions in England. Although we do not know if William, the second, and Anna, his wife, joined the newly formed religious group, we can safely say they were influenced by them, and especially by Anne Hutchinson.
They gave up the good life they had enjoyed to take a stand for what they believed was right. In 1634 they joined the group of Puritans who sailed from England on the ship called "Griffin", for America, leaving England behind forever. America then was just beginning to be settled. Indians had roamed it land uninterrupted by the White Man for generations. For the most part, the Indians were friendly ? at first ? to the arriving Colonists from England. You will remember the famous ship, the "Mayflower" had arrived just a few years earlier ? in 1620, landing at Plymouth Rock. A pact had been signed on that ship among its passengers called The Mayflower Compact, which established the way the colonists would be governed in this strange new land. All the colonists who followed later accepted that set of laws, based on the English laws they had known. The arriving Puritans settled around Boston and of course governed themselves according to the English law.
On the "Griffin" among a number of distinguished people was the Rev. John Winthrop who was the leader of the dissenting religious group. He and 40 of his members had been imprisoned in England and released on the condition that they leave the country. They came to America, as many people then did, to find religious freedom -- to worships God in their own manner as they saw fit. In England only one church had been permitted ? the Church of England. So we know that our ancestors ? the Bartholomew's ? were willing to give up everything for what they believed in and thought was right. We can honor them in our memories and be proud of them.
We can also pause to think about our own freedom, which is ours only because these early hardy people were brave enough to seek a new life in a strange country and to endure much hardship. We can imagine the tears that were shed when the early colonists left their families behind, never knowing if they?d ever see some of their relatives again. Even the freedom that you and I enjoy should never be taken for granted. The only people who have ever enjoyed freedom very long have had to be watchful and willing to fight to keep their freedom.
William and Anna settled in Ipswich, Mass., which is near Boston. It was already growing by leaps and bounds. The Bartholomew's were among the first settlers of Ipswich. It is interesting that the first thing that had to be done in those days was to go into court and establish your position in the community. It was common in those days for someone to want to come to America who couldn?t pay for his passage by ship. Such a person could become "indentured" to another who would pay his way and then he would work for that person for a certain length of time agreed upon without charge. Such arrangements had to be recorded by court so a person would truly remain and work for him for the agreed time. Records show that William was declared a "Freeman" by the court in Boston. Within a year he had been given "privilege to trade" at Ipswich with visiting ships. So, we see that in America the first Bartholomew followed his previous family trade ? a merchant. Records in Ipswich show that he bought quite a bit of parcels of land. That Mr. Bartholomew ? again that title of respect ? was chosen as the town representative at the General court in Boston. This was a high position. It meant that he was the spokesman for everything within the colony at Ipswich that had to go to court.
He built a large but very plain wood house. It was still standing there in the 1880?s according to my Bartholomew book. Next to them lived his wife?s brother who had also come over from England. And on the other side I believe a well-known colonist, a Mr. Brown. Within a few years the town granted him 80 acres of land in payment of his work with the court. Much later he deeded most of it back to Ipswich and it was known for years after as "Bartholomew Hill." People had paid him to let their cows pasture there.
He was chosen one of the "seven men" of Ipswich and helped lay out the streets of the area, as well as the general roads. He helped to establish the first public school in the town. He became treasurer of the county. He was chosen to "divide ye Colonies arms among he shires," which meant that he was in charge of the guns and swords which in those days all citizens were allowed to have.
Court records show that one time a servant girl who had been "indentured" to him ran away. The judge ordered that she "be whipped" for running from her "mast" ? meaning whipped for running from her master, no doubt! In addition, the girl was told she would have to work for Mr. B. for an extra six weeks as additional punishment after her indenture period had ended. Justice was swift those days. Things have certainly, changed, haven?t they? Most bosses scarcely dare tell their help they?ve done something wrong today! I think we can agree that perhaps the law was too severe in those days, right? But certainly today we live in a world that is not strict enough. Our very lives depend on an orderly, non-violent society. If you board an airplane you trust the pilot to do his utmost to get you safely to your destination. That is his responsibility to Society. If you enter a restaurant and order a dinner you trust the cook not to put poison in your food! It is his responsibility to prepare you a meal that is tasty and doesn?t make you ill. Every good citizen of any Society takes his own responsibilities seriously. Those who don?t, tear down Society and make it worse for the rest of us. Those who do, build up Society and make it better for all of us. Our colonial forefathers abided by a very strict set of rules and punishment was swift and perhaps even harsh, but wasn?t it better for Society as a whole than the way our courts coddle wrongdoers today? About ten years ago an irresponsible young man in Chicago killed nearly a dozen, if I remember correctly, young girls studying to become useful nurses. Only one survived to testify against the killer. He is still languishing in prison, still hoping his lawyers can shorten his sentence. In the days of your ancestor, William Bartholomew, you know very well what would have happened to such a man ? he?d have been hung from a tree or shot. His day in court would have been short.
William did one thing that I?m not proud of. He testified unfavorably against Anne Hutchinson in her famous trial. Yes, she got into trouble with the Puritans here in America just as she had gotten into trouble with the Church of England. Apparently William felt she had gone too far, especially as she spoke of her "revelations." Later in life the Bartholomew family moved to Boston where William continued to take an active part in local affairs. He died January 18, 1681, and was buried in a grave adjoining that of John Harvard, the benefactor of Harvard College in the Phipps Street Cemetery at Charlestown. Mass. No will was found. It is believed that he may have given most of his worldly goods to his children prior to his death. Just as he had given some of his land back to the town of Ipswich.
William Bartholomew also named one of his sons William Bartholomew, Bersheba?s great-grandfather. It is thought he was born in Ipswich in 1640 or 1641. Records show that he was married in Roxbury, Mass. in 1663 to Mary Johnson, the daughter of Captain Isaac Johnson and Elizabeth Porter.
Mary Johnson?s grandfather was Captain John Johnson, who was noted above, was a very important man in the early days of the Colonists. He held the title of ?Surveyor of all ye Kings armies in America.? Both the grandfather and father represented Roxbury many years in the General Court, just as William the second, had represented Ipswich in the General Court. They held high social rank in the community.
Mary?s father, Capt. Isaac Johnson, was killed in 1675, in the famous Narragansett Fort Fight, leading his men into an Indian fort. fly now the Colonists were beginning to have trouble with the Indians. The Indians had begun to realize that the White Man was taking over his land. I don?t blame them for fighting back! In a way, I think we can agree that we, the white people, destroyed much in this beautiful land that our Indians would have preserved. They did not kill wantonly just to watch an animal die and see how accurately they could shoot. They killed for food. It is said that an Indian said a little prayer for an animal before he shot his arrow.
Nevertheless, I am sure that had I lived in those days and feared for my life from an Indian raid I would have felt just like our forefathers did about the Indians - that the country was vast and there was room for the colonists as well as the Red Man.
William Bartholomew, Bersheba?s great-grandfather, became a Lieutenant. You must remember that every man was armed in those days and there was training so every man could join in defending the towns and wilderness homes. He is recorded as being a carpenter. Knowing that his father had been an overseer of William Brown?s mill in Boston, he probably helped build or at least maintain the mill and learned his trade then. It is believed that he assisted his Uncle Henry Bartholomew in building the Old South Mills in Salem, Mass.
There is a story recorded that he was perhaps working as a carpenter at Robert Heusdale?s mill near Medfield, Mass, when he took part in a wolf hunt with others. Wolves were a real threat in those days and there was a bounty on wolf skins. A party of Indians came by and demanded liquor. It is sad to think that it was the White Man who introduced the Red Man to liquor. There was some trouble about it and later he had to testify as to what happened. He said that ?Nathaniel Mott would not give any but ?tendered a peck of Corn apiece to every one for their pains in delivering the wolves, but they refused & were forced to thrust them out of doors & told if they would not be orderly he would lay hands? on them! Notice the old-fashioned spelling! So we know from this report that the Indians had brought some wolf skins to the men and didn?t want corn - but liquor- and it had been refused.
During the noted Indian raid at Hatfield, Mass. in 1677 their little four?year old daughter, Abigail, was taken, with twelve other people, and carried through the forests into Canada. The Indians kept the child there with the other prisoners for eight months. Finally, the grieving families were able to ransom them ? In May 1678, the Indians agreed to accept Two Hundred Pounds. (Remember that there was no United States then. The Revolutionary War did not begin until 1776?? almost a hundred years later. So the Colonists used English money.) That was quite a lot of money for the families to have to raise! We can well imagine how worried the Bartholomew's were during the long eight months as to their little daughter?s safety.
In February of 1681 ?The Towne have given liberty to Wm. B. to set up a saw mill upon the great river about the foot of the great hill and the town have given him liberty to make use of what timber he shall sea raise for sawing half a mile below said mill and so on both sides of the river and along his mill as far as he shall see cause.?
In August of 1683 he was appointed to ?go to the bay to do his utmost to procure a minister for the town.. Later we can read: ?The town have allowed William Bartholomew twelve acres of land.. in consideration of w time & money he hath expended for the procurement of a minister.? He was also appointed town Surveyor that year. He was appointed to keep ?ordinary? in Branford. So we can gather from that he was sort of a chief of police, can?t we, as well as everything else he was doing in the community. In a few years the records show he entered into another mill agreement for its construction. In January 2, 1687, the town objected to his building of a dam (!) and wanted him to build a bridge! Ten more acres were given him so we can gather he did build the bridge the town wanted! In April of 1687 the town of Woodstock passed a resolution selecting men to bargain with William Bartholomew of Branford for the building of a corn mill on ?as reasonable terms as they can.?
The Woodstock people passed a resolution that ?William Bartholomew should have 20 acres of land...provided he bring his wife and settle upon it by the next June following...?
It was May 1691, that he was made a Lieutenant of ?the Military Company in Woodstock.? In 1695 he was appointed to join the Roxbury Committee in ?staking and setting the divided line between the inhabitants of Roxbury & Woodstock.? He died in the spring of 1697. It is believed that he is buried in Woodstock Hill Cemetery, adjoining the graves of his Sons Joseph and Benjamin. It was, perhaps, unfortunate that he spent so much of his early life at frontier spots such as Hatfield. Later, he was more successful when he went to Branford, Conn. and Woodstock where he was even more popular and well received.
Bersheba?s father, William Bartholomew, was born about 1695. He was married in Branford, Conn. to Mary Rogers(?), daughter of Noah Rogers, Jr. , who had descended from the emigrant Thomas Rodgers. Mary, his wife, was the granddaughter of Noah Rogers and wife, Elizabeth Taintor. Elizabeth Taintor was the daughter of Captain Michael Taintor (Charles) who was ?master of a trader between the colonies, commissioner, judge, deputy, recorder, selectman, etc.?
William Bartholomew, was a farmer like his father. He also owned a gristmill, at least at one time. Records show numerous conveyances of land to him during his lifetime, in the Connecticut communities of Litchfield, Woodbury and Washington. The couple had ten children. One of them was a daughter named Bersheba who is your 7th Great-grandmother.
Charles and Bersheba had seven children Charles, Daniel, David, Reuben, Charlotte, Moses, and Aaron Smith. Daniel and David were soldiers in the American Revolution.