Humphrey Hodges in History and Literature

According to some of his family trees, Humphrey Hodges was born in Charles town in 1623.  In a court testimony he indicated he was born in 1620 or 1621, If so, our Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving was also Humphrey’s first Thanksgiving.

Humphrey was only 14 years old at time of Mystic River Massacre if born in 1623. The massacre was in 1637 when the Puritans joined the Pilgrims. He was about 15 or 16 if born in 1621 or 1520.

While the outward excuse for the massacre was the murder of another father-and-son mariner team, the other merchants were not respected in either the Indian village or the English village.  The Pilgrim Invasion of America was not for religious reasons. The English came with the intention of displacing the legal, native population. That made the Pilgrim invasion entirely different from the Norman invasion of England. William the Conqueror had prior contact in England. William had a reasonable expectation to be made King of England. He came and took what was his. The Pilgrims came and provoked an excuse to massacre. If that were not enough to make them terrorists, the joining of force of the militant Puritans newly arrived as refugees, defeated and ejected from years of a reign of terror in England, certainly made the joint force capable of a mass killing. Further the natural native enemies were enlisted to join the two English militias and the Puritan army. It was five combined military forces against a native village of men, women, and children. It was an attack in the middle of the night. The village was surrounded and set afire from both ends. In the morning, all of John and Humphrey Hodges’ neighbors and customers were dead. They had nobody to come shop. They left their land and moved on. Not all of the parcels of land purchased by John Hodges in that area have been accounted for by distribution records. Accounts of the survivors of the massacre vary. One myth states that many of the Pequod Indians were taken as slaves. Another tradition is that there were only five survivors total, and those were chained and sent to Barbados as slaves.

Time passed and Humphrey Hodges showed up in history again. He is now the neighbor of Pastor Cotton Mather. Cotton Mather was married to a granddaughter of Humphrey’s sister. Cotton’s local friend Pastor Danforth was part of a family that frequently married Hodges girls. His descendant was a Civil War hero and wrote a Hodges family genealogy. Danforth brought a stone with strange markings to Mather. Mather, a graduate of Harvard College and an English University, wrote about the stone to the British Royal Society of which he was a member. Archaeologists in Ireland found a book in the ruins of an Irish monastery that described the alphabet on the stone. The book? written before 800 AD. The alphabet used in America was known in Ireland 700 years before Columbus!

Mather gathered more literary matter. He wrote an opinion for the Salem Witch Trials.

And again we return to Humphrey, Cotton’s neighbor. Humphrey Hodges became a Quaker. He was one of the first men in America to be whipped for their faith.

Again, Humphrey in the news and neighborhood. The governor of Barbados wrote to the Governor of Massachusetts asking for medicine. Don’t ship it, just leave it with ‘Humphra Hodges,’ Mather’s neighbor.

Exploring History through Ancestry and Literature