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Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rev. Stephan Bachiler; Our Rebel 10th Great Grandfather. Excommunicated Twice!

Our 10th Great Grandfather's Signature and Seal.

A Dispatch from the Fortress of Solitude
Overlooking the Pleasant Grove Valley

Dear Clan,
I'm hoping this parchment finds all in good spirits and well in health. In tonight's readings I found information about our 10th Great Grandfather, through Violet Mattson's Mother's line.
The historical question is, Was he a Saint or a Sinner? Isn't that the question about many whose blood flows through our veins?
"Among many remarkable lives lived by early New Englanders, Bachiler's is the most remarkable."
--The Great Migration Begins
Stephen Bachiler was born in 1561, and according to World Family Tree, his birth took place at Wherwell, Hampshire, England.
Stephan Bachiler entered St. John’s College Oxford on November 17, 1581 when he was 21 years old. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1585. In 1587 he was appointed Vicar (Priest/Pastor) of The Church of HolyCross and St. Peter by William West, Lord De La Ware. He remained there until 1605. Apparently he was very opinionated and was fired as Vicar.

The next time his name pops up is 1593. It is reported in court documents that Stephan Bachiler “uttered in a sermon at Newberry, very lewd speeches tending sedulously to the derogation of Her Majesty’s Government” This of course refers to the government of Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth passed a law against the Puritans in 1593 which gave the authorities the right to imprison the Puritans for failure to attend the Church of England.

Stephan was excommunicated from the Church of England. It is thought he travelled from place to place preaching to different congregations when he could avoid the persecution of the church people.

Some time before 1632 we locate Grandpa Stephan again. A certain Sir Robert Paine, Sheriff of Hampton and Church Warden of Barton Stacy reports that several of his parishioners were misled by Stephen Bachiler, a “notorious nonconformist”. It seems he “had demolished a consecrated chapel at Newton Stacy, neglected the repair of the parish church, maliciously opposed repairing the church at his own expense and executed many things in contempt of the canons and the Bishop.”

King James VI worked to rid Great Britain of Puritans. In 1605 he was fired as a pastor at Wherwell. Stephen was the among the first of hundreds who lost their pastorates because of the King’s order. Grandpa Stephen embraced the Puritan doctrine. He was considered a liberal Puritan, zealous of human rights.

Between 1607 and 1620 is seems Grandpa Stephen hid from the English authorities in Holland.

On March 9, 1632, Stephan Bachiler and his family boarded the ship “William and Francis” from London. The crossing was difficult. They were at sea for 88 days. Stephan was 71 years old. With him on the journey was his third wife, Helena; his widowed daughter, Deborah Wing, and her three sons, Daniel, John and Stephen.
The ship’s register recorded the following cargo brought by Rev. Bachiler:

Four hogsheads of peas,
Twelve yards of cloth,
Two hundred yards of list,
Oaken furniture,
and a collection box.

Upon arrival in New England, Mr Bachiler and his family moved to Lynn Massachusetts. On his first Sunday in Lynn he baptized four children. After preaching for 4 months in Lynn he came under “suspicion” of having independent ideas, which he was not willing to yield to the dictates of others. The General Court passed the following order against him on October 3, 1632,
“Mr. Bachiler is required to forebear exercising his gifts as a pastor and teacher....... for his contempt for authority and until some scandals be removed.” After 5 months the prohibition was removed and he was free to form a church in Massachusetts.

The Rev. Bachiler's Chair, now on display at the Hampton Museum.

The History of Hampton , N.H. records the following about the Rev. Bachiler:
Mr. Bachiler was a tall and sinewy man, with prominent features. Especially his nose, a very dark complexion, coarse black hair in his younger days, white in age, mouth large and firm, eyes as black as sloes, features long rather than broad, a strong clear voice, rather slow of motion and speech, simple in dress, obstinate and tenacious of his opinions to a marked degree, a powerful preacher drawing largely from scripture, impress the hearers with the uncommon power and sanctity of his sermons, strong in his friendships and in his hates


The Rev. Bachiler's Church in Hampton.

The Rev. Bachiler founded the city of Hampton, New Hampshire. The church he organized at Hampton is now the oldest Congregational Society n New Hampshire and the second oldest continuous church in the United States.

The plaque on the stone in Hampton's
Founder's Park commemorating the
founding of the town in 1638.


Between 1638 and 1644 he and his parishioners fell out. He was once again prohibited from preaching and Excommunicated again!

Shortly afterwords her moved to Stawbery Bank. He was a widower and hired a housekeeper, a young widow whom he called “an honest neighbor”. His neighbors thought it “unseemly” so he married her. He was 86. She was 60 years younger than him. Her name was Mary Bailey. Strangely, he performed the marriage himself and failed to publish it.

Mary had an affair with their young next door neighbor George Rogers. When it was discovered she was sentenced to be flogged and branded with the letter “A”. The court ordered Stephan and Mary to live together after her punishment “or else”. Instead he fled to Hampton and lived with is grandson. Many believe that Hawthorne's novel "The Scarlet Letter" was inspired by Mary's punishment.

He wanted to escape Mary and going back to England seemed the best thing to do. The King had been beheaded and Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector of the land. It seems our Grandfather and Oliver Cromwell were friends. In 1654 he sailed back to England.

Stephen Bachilder was buried in the church yard of Allhallows Staining on 31 October 1656, having lived nearly 100 years.

In summary.

"Rev. Bachiler 'had a real genius for opposing the majority,' and in consequence his character has been much maligned. The truth is he was a reformer, with the strength and weakness of his kind. He was among the first to refuse conformity to the English church and 'suffered much at the hands of the Bishops.' He came to America in his old age, hoping to find here that liberty which was denied at home; he rebelled at the union of church and state, which the strong Puritan covenant enforced, and in consequence found himself opposed to the party in power, the Massachusetts authorities." Pierce, Batchelder Genealogy, p. 95.

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