My Ancestors (6) – Christopher Hussey – 1599 – 1686

(1) Christopher Hussey, (2) Stephen Hussey, (3) (Abigaill Hussey) Marshall, (5) Major Elihu Marshall, (6) Elizabeth (Marshall) Guion, (7) Elijah Guion, (8) Elijah Guion II, (9) Alfred Beck Guion, (10) Alfred Duryee Guion, (11) Alfred Peabody Guion, (12) Judith Anne Guion

May 10, 1798, was a Thursday. In the town of New Rochelle, New York, people had gathered for a wedding. Probably, though we aren’t sure, they had gathered in the village’s little Episcopal church; both groom and bride had been raised by Church-of-England mothers, though on their father’s side the groom was Huguenot and the bride, Quaker.

Elijah Guion, 28 years old, 10th child of the late John Guion, farmer and good-sized land-owner of the near-by vicinity called Rye, was taking as his bride a 19-year-old girl, Elizabeth Marshall. She was the eldest living daughter of Maj. Elihu Marshall, a veteran officer of the revolution which had ended only 15 years before; we can safely assume that the Major, looking older than his 48 years, was present to give his daughter away.

In the weeks to come, I will post information on Elizabeth’s ancestors. I will present these original American ancestors in the order of their arrival in America.

Earliest of our ancestors to reach this country where the three Hussey’s, who arrived at Boston on the good ship “William and Francis” in June, 1630. Christopher Hussey was a young man of 33. He was born at Dorking, England, the son of John Hussey, who was roughly a contemporary of Shakespeare. John’s wife, Christopher’s mother, was Mary Wood, whom John had married at Dorking on December 5, 1593. Christopher himself was born, or at least baptized, on February 18, 1599. Christopher’s wife, Theodate (Bachiler) Hussey also arrived with them.

The Hussey’s were a good middle-class family. Christopher Hussey became a sailor, and it was probably in his sea-faring capacity that he encountered the romance which, years later, became told and re-told in Nantucket tradition.

It seems that his ship, during the 1620’s, ferried across to Holland a congregation of Dissenters, a unique group, called the “Company of the Plough”. Head of this company was the Rev. Stephen Batchiler, an elderly hell-raiser whose entire life had been one continuous storm. Bachiler had with him his charming daughter, Theodate, apparently his youngest by his first wife. What happened was that Christopher Hussey, the sailor, fell dead in love with Theodate Bachiler.

They asked the old man for permission to wed. Bachiler, never shy, was planning at this time (1629) to bring his congregation to America. Why not use Hussey and Theodate as his advance-agents? So he set a condition. “Take the girl to America and settle there and you can have her — not otherwise”, he said in effect; and Christopher Hussey accepted the bargain.

Bachelor married them in Holland. They went back to England (with Bachiler, perhaps, accompanying) for two purposes: to book passage for Boston, and to pick up Christopher’s mother, Mary, who had been widowed by John Hussey’s death. So here they were, all three, aboard the “William and Francis”, a ship that made regular trips to Boston and ended this one some time in June, 1630.

Christopher and his two womenfolk looked briefly around Boston, evidently didn’t like it, and within a month or so joined a group that was starting a new settlement ten miles up the coast; the Indians called the place “Saugus”. It became the town of Lynn in 1636, six years after its founding. Both Christopher Hussey and his mother, “ye auld widow”, are listed among the original proprietors of the land, jointly granted to several colonists, on which the town was built. This was the first of four New England towns which Christopher Hussey helped to found.

Theodate obviously had been pregnant before she left England, for her first child, named Stephen after his grandfather, was born at Lynn (or Saugus) in September, 1630. Stephen Hussey was the second white child born there, and the fifth white child born in Massachusetts Bay Colony. We are descended from him. The baby went unchristened for two years, and thereby hangs another oft-told tale.

Next week I’ll continue the story of Christopher Hussey, his son Stephen Hussey and his father-in-law, the Rev. Stephen Bachiler.

Source: COLONIAL ORIGINS of the CALIFORNIA GUIONS, An Informal Genealogical Study by Ernest Jerome Hopkins, finished in 1952.

Tomorrow I’ll begin posting a week of letters written in 1943. It is the Spring and I believe Lad has met Marian Irwin in California.

Judy Guion 

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