I like family history. My husband and I researched his Hopkins, Place, and related families decades ago, from colonial settlers to Irish immigrants.
One of our more interesting finds was the book The John Round family of Swansea and Rehoboth, Massachusetts : the first six/seven generations by H.L. Peter Rounds (Riverside, California : H.L.P. Rounds, c1983). “John Round (ca.1645-1716) and his family emigrated from England to Rehoboth, Massachusetts during or before 1689 and later moved to Swansea, Massachusetts. Descendants lived in New England, New York, Wisconsin and elsewhere. Some descendants immigrated to Québec, Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.”
I found it years ago in Rhode Island libraries at 929.273 R76, and even wrote the author’s widow asking to buy a copy, but was not successful. Luckily, I was able to get a copy and it is now available online at https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/253494-redirection.
The author explained “It was the practice in early Rehoboth, as in virtually
every part of early New England colonies, to support their ministers by “Ministerial Rates,” special taxes on the inhabitants.” However, some Anabaptists were exempted. “As Baptists, they supported their own ministry and felt it was wrong for the clergy to be supported by public funds.”
In the “Third Generation,” the author quotes Alverdo Hayward Mason, Genealogy of the Sampson Mason Family (E. Braintree, MA: Printed by A. H. Mason, 1902), how ancestral families Round, Seamans, Salisbury, and others came to move from Swansea, Massachusetts to Scituate, Rhode Island, about 1744. Briefly, they objected to paying civil taxes for church ministers, and were thrown in jail. The townspeople rioted, broke down the jail, the governor sent troops, and several families decided to move to Scituate, Rhode Island.
This story clearly shows how Rhode Island accommodated people who promoted the separation of church and state. It’s also a personal record of a slave-owning ancestor setting free a slave.
From Wikipedia, “In 1652, Rhode Island passed the first abolition law in the Thirteen Colonies banning slavery, but the law was not enforced by the end of the 17th century. By 1774, the slave population of Rhode Island was 6.3 percent, nearly twice as high as any other New England colony.”
Learning how your family was involved makes history real!
Leave a Reply