Monday, April 25, 2016


It's now time to turn attention to the families of the women who married into the Stow family,
beginning with my 8x great grandmother Martha Metcalf who was the wife of Nathaniel Stow.

Martha's father was Michael Metcalf and he left England because of religious persecution. Even
though he was a weaver by trade he was well educated, and is one of the few of my early colonial
ancestors who wrote about coming to New England, The following article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register contains an abstract of a letter he wrote describing his troubles
in England and how he finally left there:  

                                                          METCALF FAMILY.
[Communicated by Dr. Luther Metcalf Harris, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Mass.]
Michael Metcalf, the emigrant ancestor of this family, was horn in Tatterford, county of Norfolk, Eng., 1586. He followed the occupation of a Dornix* weaver, in the city of Norwich, in the same county, where he was made freeman, June 21,1618. His wife, Sarah, was born in the adjoining town of Waynham, (?) June 17, 1593, where they were married Oct 13,1616. Their seven eldest children were born in St.Benedict's, Norwich, and four, afterward, at St. Edmondsbury. "I was persecuted," he writes, "in the land of my father's sepulchres, for not bowing at the name of Jesus, and observing other ceremonies in religion, forced upon me, at the instance of Bishop Wren of Norwich and his chancellor Dr. Corbet, whose violent measures troubled me in the Bishop's Court, and returned me into the High Commissioners' Court. Suffering many times for the cause of religion, I was forced, for the sake of the liberty of my conscience, to flee from my wife and children, to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London the 17th of Sep' 1636; being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following; then veering about to Plymouth in Old England; in which time I met with many sore afflictions.

Leaving the ship, I went down to Yarmouth, in Norfolk county, whence I shipped myself and family, to come to New England ; sailed 15th April, 1637, and arrived three days before midsummer, with my wife, nine children, and a servant." The name of this servant, appears to have been Thomas Comberbach, aged 16. (Manuscript of Hon. James Savage.)

The above extracts, we take from a copy of his letter, written in Plymouth, Eng., Jan. 13, 1636, on his voyage hither; directed, "To all the true professors of Christ's Gospel within the city of Norwich." In the postscript, he remarks, "my enemies conspired against me to take away my life, and, sometimes, to avoid their hands, my wife did hide me in the roof of the house, covering me over with straw."

History informs us, that one of the charges, brought against Bishop Wren, by a Committee of Parliament, was, that during the term of 2 years and 4 months, while he held the See of Norwich, "3000 of his Majesty's subjects, many of whom used trades, spinning, weaving, knitting, making cloth, stuff, stockings, and other manufactures of wool; some of them setting a hundred poor people at work;" "transported themselves into Holland," and " other parts, beyond the seas," in consequence of his "superstition and tyranny." [See Appendix to Dr. Lamson's Hist. Discourses.]

-p171   the new england historical & genealogical register for the year 1852 Volume 6  Thomas Prince, Printer And Publisher, Boston, 1852

Michael prospered once he finally arrived at Dedham, Ma. I'll discuss that in the next post about him.

To be continued...

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