Occam’s Henry Beedle

Quite simply put, the logic behind inserting Henry Beedle (c1680-c1738) into at least two lineages beginning with an immigrant father Robert Beedle is flawed. There is simply no supporting documentation.

Henry married Elizabeth Fost, the daughter of John Fost (or Foss) and Mary Chadbourne, and the widow of Daniel Dill.

Daniel died April 2, 1711, in York, York Co., Maine. On April 24, 1714, when Henry and Elizabeth’s first child, daughter Sarah, was born, Elizabeth was about thirty-five.

We will assume that Henry was about the same age as Elizabeth. There is no indication Henry had been married before or was a widower with children.

So, now we can begin the search for Henry’s parents.

The first of these family lines begins with Robert Beedle, the first husband of Mary Bailey of Scarlet Letter fame.

Immigrant Robert Beedle was of Kittery, York Co., Maine. It is unknown when Robert arrived in New England. However, on May 20, 1641, Robert had a land grant from Thomas Gorges. The land adjoined that of John Simmons (Simonds). Simmons, as reported in Maine Pioneers, is known to have been at Richmond Island, off the coast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in 1635. Robert could have been in the same area as Simmons. We simply do not know.

Robert and Mary only had two children, Christoper and Elizabeth.

Christopher Beedle, born about 1642, in Kittery, married Sarah Lockwood before 1665. They are known to have had two children, Christopher and Susanna. There is no evidence that Christopher Beedle Jr. had any children named Henry.

The background on this Robert Beedle is interesting. Given that he was at Kittery in these early days, it is possible he was involved with either the lumbering or boat building industries. He is believed to have been lost at sea in February 1647, leaving his wife, Mary, a young widow.

It is quite likely that Robert was the Robert Beedle baptized August 6, 1620, at St Dunstan on High Street in Stepney Parish, London. According to the baptismal record, the parents of this Robert are William Beedle, a shipwright, and Protelie or Protesie, surname unknown.

The Beedle family residence is given as “Lymehouse”. Limehouse is an area of the East End Docks in London which got its name from the lime kilns used by potteries to craft products for the shipping companies. The area, “close to the river and the traditional docklands”, is also known a “significantly sized port.” By time of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), Limehouse had become a “leading trade centre and, after her death, it was estimated that almost half of the 2,000 people who lived in Limehouse had some seafaring connection.”

It comes as no surprise, then, that Robert Beedle could have come from such a background.

The second Robert Beedle is well-documented by such leading historical and genealogical chroniclers of New England as David Hoyt, Ezra Stearns, and James Savage. All three agree that this Robert Beedle was first at Salisbury, then at Newbury and Amesbury in Essex Co., Massachusetts.

Robert Beedle married Martha, surname unknown, about 1665 in Newbury, with whom he had eight children born between 1666 and 1678: Mary, Thomas, Elizabeth, Judith, Hannah, Robert, Judith, and John. Some add another daughter, Isabel, born about 1681, but no record of her birth has been found.

Herein lies the temptation to add another son, Henry.

However, none of the several people involved in assembling the who, what, where and when for the Robert Beedle family can find any information connecting Henry Beedle to it.

Another interesting aside comes from Savage, repeated by Stearns and Hoyt: Robert Beedle relocated about 1650 from Wethersfield and New London, Connecticut, to Newbury.

Thanks to our internet capabilities to track down such possibilities, it is found quite unlikely that this happened.

The claim is based on Royal R. Hinman’s “catalog” of early Puritan settlers in Connecticut.

The object of our attention is a Robert Beedle, an early settler of Wethersfield, who, in 1644, being found guilty on several counts, including theft — described as having a “loathsome demeanor” — was incarcerated, whipped, and “branded in his hand”. In March 1645, as obviously his luck and the patience of the Wethersfield community had both finally worn out, Robert Beedle was “delivered” by an order of the court to Fishers Island.

At that time, Fishers Island, at the entrance to Long Island, located just two miles off the southeastern coast of Connecticut opposite, had only just begun to be settled. Essentially, it was yet a wilderness.

It would seem likely that communications from Wethersfield would have preceded any arrival of this social misfit, Robert Beedle (or his kin), at Salisbury or Newbury.

We are left with one obvious conclusion. Henry Beedle of York in Maine was not a child or a grandchild of any one of these Robert Beedles. He was the immigrant ancestor.

In fact, a Henry Beedle was born in 1665 in Tiverton, Devon, and another in 1668 in Chobham, Surrey. Henry Beadle was born in 1667 in Bramfield, Hertfordshire. Henry Biddle was born in 1668 in Leicester, Leicestershire and another in 1671 in Southam, Warwickshire. There are more variations on the name, any one of which could be the immigrant ancestor Henry Beedle.

This entry was posted in Bailey, Beedle, Chadbourne, Fost, Immigrant Ancestor, Kittery, Maine, Mary Bailey and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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