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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Col. Edward Pye 1640 – 1697

Edward Pye was b. c 1647. He was the son of John and Blanche Lingen Pye.  John was the 7th son of Sir Walter and Joane Rudhall Pye of the Mynde, Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire, England. Sir Walter was the Knight Attorney General Court of Wards and Liveries and was considered to be the richest man in Herefordshire, at one time. He invested  with the West Country Adventurers and helped to finance Lord Baltimore’s (George Calvert) settlement of Ferryland in Newfoundland.  John graduated from Exeter in 1637, possibly as an attorney. He married Blanche Lingen soon after and they had a very large family of 23 children, Edward being one of the older ones.

Edward’s mother, Blanche Lingen, came from a fairly well known family. Her brother, Sir Henry, served in the English Civil War against Parliament. He was greatly distinguished for his attachment to King Charles I, in whose service he maintained a regiment of horse. He was a MP (Member of Parliament) in his later years. Interestingly, he married Alice Pye, sister of John Pye. So in this instance, a Lingen brother and sister, married a Pye brother and sister.

Blanche’s mother was a Bodenham and her maternal grandmother was a Baskerville. All these families had long, deep roots in Herefordshire.

Henry Lingen and Alice Pye

There is a report in the Maryland Bulldog that Edward Pye was from Dymock, in Gloucestershire. However, going through various Visitation and genealogical accounts for several counties, there seems to be no other reference to Dymock or that any member of the Pye family resided there or leased it out to anyone.                                                   
It is possible it was a land holding of Sir Walter Pye, but there’s nothing that indicates Edward Pye was born there. As one document cautions, tracing the owners and titles to land in England especially in the early years, is usually difficult. This is probably because they owned properties in many counties but resided most frequently in just one or two places.

There is also a report that states Edward Pye was in Barbados representing his cousin’s properties. Sir Robert Pye, the son of Sir Robert Pye, had sugar plantations there along with his in-laws the Drax (Drakes) family. Apparently he never lived in Barbados but had trusted family and friends to oversee the plantation’s operations. However, it has been discovered that the Edward mentioned in Barbados records was a full grown man in the 1640’s, while our Col. Edward Pye wasn’t born until 1647. This Edward, a man who never married, would probably be Sir Robert’s brother (the older one), and would also be a brother of John Pye, Col. Edward’s father.

Although Col. Edward came from such a large family, to date I’ve only been able to discover the names of six of them. Nothing is known about Col. Edward’s childhood, whether it was spent in England, Barbados, Jamaica (where some Pye’s also had sugar plantations), Newfoundland, or the Colonies, before he settled in Maryland.

Edward was well established in Maryland by c. 1682 when he married Anne Sewell (Sewall) Rozer, a widow with one son, Notley Rozer. Ann’s ancestor’s included Lowe’s, Cavendish, Harpur and Dugdale. Her mother, Jane Lowe Sewell, became a widow in 1665 and then remarried Charles Calvert, making Anne and Edward in-laws to the Calvert family. Jane Lowe is also a proven descendant of King Edward III, through John of Gaunt. Edward served on the Board of Deputy Governors of Maryland from 1684-1686. As such, he was one of 16 men who were appointed to this political body and served simultaneously. He was also a member of the Upper House, the Governor’s Council, was Secretary to Charles Calvert and served in the army as a Colonel.

Various records show that Edward Pye had a tobacco plantation in the area that was known as Port Tobacco and was a slave owner.  Edward and Anne had children:

Charles (c.1682-1758) m. c. 1720 Mary Elizabeth Booth (1701-?)
Henry (c 1683-1716)
Walter (c. 1685 -1749) m. 1703 Margaret Tant (1690-1752)
Anne (c.1689-1720) m. 1704 Robert Needham (?-1720)

Visitation of Herefordshire
Mynde Estate Records
The National Archives Records, Kew, surrey
Maryland State Archives

Maryland Calendar of Wills

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Bliss Family of Rehoboth, MA

John Blysse (1550-1636) of Belstone, England m. Alice Smith (1565-1625).  They settled in Preston Parva, Northamptonshire, England. This was but a hamlet, about 5 miles south of Daventry, which was considered a market town. John was a blacksmith, along with his two sons, Thomas and George.

Thomas married Dorothy Wheatley, Nov. 22 1614 at Holy Cross Church in Daventry, Northamptonshire, England.  Thomas and Dorothy Bliss had seven children, all born in England.  Somewhere c. 1630-1632, a Dorothy Bliss died and another record shows Thomas Bliss married to an Abigail Southam in 1633, in Daventry, England. Here the confusion multiplies. Thomas and his children emigrated to the colonies c. 1638.  There is never any sign of a wife named Abigail in the colonies. Also, the Dorothy Bliss who died c. 1630 is not identified as the wife of Thomas, or anyone else. Furthermore, a Dorothy Bliss did die in Rehoboth MA around 1645. There was another Thomas Bliss living in the colonies at the same time.  He is the Thomas Bliss who moved on to CT and, over time, the records for the two men became entwined.

The Bliss home in England. 

For the purposes of this blog, Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth MA and his wife Dorothy Wheatley, will receive the focus. It is based on the premise that Thomas and Dorothy were in Rehoboth and that this Thomas did not marry a woman named Abigail. Dorothy’s parents were Frank Wheatley and Mary Fiennes of Tingsboro, Somerset, England.

Mary Fiennes has long been a thorn in the investigative side of family researchers and genealogists. It is claimed she is the illegitimate daughter of Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre. He was a 2nd cousin of Anne Boleyn and a 5x gt. grandson of King Edward III (Plantagenet), through John of Gaunt. He was also, twice, a 6x gt. grandson of King Edward III, also through John of Gaunt, but different lines. He married Anne Sackville, a formidable woman with an imperious and dominating disposition. Anne was also a 1st cousin to Anne Boleyn and served as a maid-of-honor to Queen Elizabeth I. She and Gregory had but one child, a daughter, who died as a young child. When Gregory died in 1594, his Will made no mention of an illegitimate daughter. His titles and estates went to his sister Margaret, indicating that he had no issue to inherit. I have read dozens of reports on this by reliable researchers and some not so reliable. The bottom line for some is that Mary Fiennes couldn’t possibly be his daughter, legitimate or otherwise, because she wasn’t mentioned in his will or acknowledged in any other way. Because of this, many insist she is from another family line.  Because there is no written record is definitely important, but that doesn’t mean Gregory was not Mary’s father.

Let me offer a possible scenario. In a day and age when really large families were the norm, there was only one child in this marriage. If his wife, Anne, was that formidable, it’s easy to speculate that he had a dalliance elsewhere. If Mary was the result of that event, then it would put Gregory in a difficult position. He wouldn’t want his wife to discover this. But let’s say she did and there was hell to pay. Perhaps he settled some money on Mary’s mother and then to keep his wife under control (remember she had Queen Elizabeth’s ear) he promised to never acknowledge the child. The mother could have given the child her maiden name and none would be the wiser, but Mary used the Fiennes name. Anne Sackville Fiennes died a little more than a year after Gregory. Perhaps after that, Mary’s mother felt there was nothing to fear in allowing the child to use her father’s name. After all, she hadn’t inherited anything and wasn’t claiming anything.

The point of all this is – we’ll never know unless someone unearths information about the woman who was Mary’s mother. We don’t even know where she came from. She could have been a servant at home or at court. She could have been just about anybody, so where to look is a giant hay stack.

While I am on this particular topic, I am compelled to relate how absolutely astounded I am at the complete and utter rudeness of some people when they are answering questions on forums and elsewhere. These are not your dual and triple degreed history divas, but people who seem to think they have all the answers. When family researchers, seeking information to help them with their confusion on an issue ask questions, they don’t deserve the high handed, snotty/snooty replies they get. The problem being that the replies are often from people who want to sound like experts but end up looking like dopes. For instance, on one forum, a woman wrote about Mary Fiennes wondering if there was any new information about her connection to Gregory Fiennes. One reply was she should be doing her own research and not expect someone else to do it for her and another was – “it was 400 years ago, who cares?” Really?? There’s no excuse for this kind of behavior. Generally speaking, over the years I have found the most wonderful and helpful people while doing research. Everyone has been generous with their help and their knowledge. These other types are simply dorks. My rant for the day!!

                                               A Bliss home in Rehoboth, MA

Descent from Mary Fiennes and Frank Wheatley:

Mary Fiennes m. Frank Wheatley
Thomas Bliss m. Dorothy Wheatley
Jonathan Bliss m. Miriam Harmon
Martha Bliss m. Nathaniel Toogood
Anne Toogood m. John Finney
Nathaniel Finney m. Hannah Wood
Anne Finney m. Benjamin Tower
Phoebe Elizabeth Tower m. Edward Buck
George Buck m. Phebe Palmer
Catherine Buck m. Edward Cole
Rebecca Cole m. Alexander Chambers
Alvina Chambers m. Patrick John Broderick          My grandparents

The Antiquary, Vol. 17, p. 48-49
Rootsweb Gen-Medieval
Recollections of Emanuel School, Henry P. Maskell, London. 1904
Genealogy of the Wheatley  or Wheatleigh Family; A History of the Family in England and America, Hannibal Wheatley, 1902