My two most recent posts highlighted relatives who lived in New England in the mid-1700’s. They describe how my 8th great-grandfather Humphrey Atherton persecuted Quakers while my 7th great-grandfather’s step-brother, Benanuel Bowers, was persecuted for being a Quaker. Researching and writing about the history of America through the lives of distant relatives is a great experience. However, the posts about Atherton and Bowers illustrate the fine line between myth and reality and (for me) create a struggle on how to accurately portray these stories. I always question if I am getting the historical context correctly.
On the day that I published the story about Humphrey Atherton, the Washington Post ran an excellent story by Lori Stokes about the Puritans. I dropped her a note and she was kind enough to respond!
I visited your blog and it’s very interesting. Keep up the good work! Family histories and historians are invaluable to the body of research. Together, eventually we’ll get everyone in the record. Lori Stokes
As Thanksgiving approaches, Americans look back on the first English settlers in what is now New England. Since these Puritans fill the earliest chapters of the American story, they make plenty of appearances in our shared imagination. But debates over who the Puritans were, what they stood for and how they contributed to our sense of national identity are shrouded in misunderstandings.
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