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 tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Plague Struck our Ancestors. Terrible Sadness (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Everyone,
I walked six miles today and am proud of that fact. With the coming of Spring, I’m feeling the need to try to work off a bit of winter’s providence. In other words, my belt is too tight and its time to work off a few pounds. Will the drive to trim continue or will it evaporate with tomorrow’s alarm in the early hours of the morning? I’m not sure; the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

In my researching I came across an something sadly interesting about our 12th Great Grandparents on the Williamson line through the Willis family and with that, something to celebrate with our 11th Great Grandparents.

Relationship Chart

12th Great Grandparents. Robert Atwaters (1479 - 1565) Esquire and Catherine Bright (1470-1565)
11th Great Grandparents

Mary Atwaters and Robert Honeywood

Katharine Honywood and William Gent Fleete
Mary Fleete and William Willis
Henry Willis and Mary Pease
John Willis and Ester Brinton
Henry Willis and Mary Rachel Underwood
John Willis and Phebe Bennett
Bennett Willis and Katherine Nosseman
Jonathan Willis and Anabella Phlegar
Margaret Ann Willis and George Matthew Williamson
William J. Williamson and Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.

Robert Atwater married Catherine Bright of Royton shortly after 1500. They had 12 sons and 2 daughters. The sons all died of the plague before the birth of the daughters. Their daughters were Joyce, who married Humphrey Hales only son of Sir James Hales of The Dungeon, Canterbury, and Mary the youngest born in 1527 who married Robert Honeywood of Henewood in Postling in Kent.

Imagine living at this time in history, never knowing when a terrible plague would strike. They all knew of the black death. Outbreaks occurred on a regular basis throughout Europe. All they could do was pray and hope God would spare them. Well, according to family history our Great Grandparents were not spared. Imagine the grief at losing twelve sons knowing the importance of sons in society at that time. Life was not easy. It was a daily challenge to live.

Dying of the plague was gruesome. This is a description of the course of the disease:
The symptoms of the Black Death included high fevers, fetid breath, coughing, vomiting of blood and foul body odor," says Rebecca Ferrell, graduate student in anthropology. "Other symptoms were red bruising or hemorrhaging of skin and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms do appear in bubonic plague, but they can appear in many other diseases as well.
Our Great Grandfather and Grandmother survived the plague and prospered. Robert Atwater became a man of fortune and a Justice of Peace in the County. In the list of tenures and in the histories of the County of Kent, Robert Atwater appears as owner of the following Manors during the reign of Henry VIII.

Puttwood in Osprings, Providers in Norton
Bewley in Boughton, Malherbe in Charing
Pette in Charing, Newcourt in Charing
Downcourt in Lenham, Royton in Lenham.

Of course there was some happiness in the Atwater family, which brings us to the story of Mary Atwater.

Our 11th Great Grandmother, Mary Atwater was the youngest of the two daughters of Robert Atwater and Catherine. She was born at Royton in 1527. When she was 16 year old she married Robert Honeywood of Postling in Kent in Feb of 1543. She was given the following Manors from her father: Pette and Newcourt in Charing and Dawn Court and Royton in Lenham, which became the property of her husband as soon as she married according to law.

Mary and Robert resided at Royton in Lenham and Pette in Charing. Robert died in 1576 and was buried in the Church of Lenham. They had 16 children, 2 died young.

The following is an extract from an article entitled "Posterity of Mary Honeywood by her son Robert.
"My father married my mother in 1543" .. "my mother departed this life at my house in Markeshall upon Tewesday ye 16 day of May, 1620 in ye 93 year of her age and according to her desyer was buryed in Lenham Church in ye County of Kent, uppon Saturday then following" . Mrs. Homewood lived to see three hundred and 67 of her descendants, 9 of them in the fourth generation.... ("a dinner was once given by her to a family party of two hundred of her descendants").. who had at here decease ... descended from her 367childern, 16 of her own, 114 grandchildren, 228 in 3rd generation, 9 in 4th ... on many accounts distinguished, but chiefly for her Christian character.

Life continues with all its ups and downs. I'm hoping this post finds all of you on the upswing.
Enjoy your day!


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