BFNA Reunion – River Falls, WI 2021

BFNA wants to thank Denise and Merlin Blasdell and family for hosting the Blaisdell Family National Reunion held on July 29-31 of 2021 in River Falls, Wisconsin which was a great success. The descendants of Albert Corydon Blasidell were in charge of the 2021 get together.

May be an image of 19 people, including Jenna Rack, Laura Gellert, John Blasdel, Trisha Blasdel Spears, Karen Blasdel and Jeff Blasdel, people standing, people sitting and outdoors
Southeastern Indiana Blasdels


Who was Ralph Bleasdale, America’s Patriarch?

“Fitting all these various items into the composite picture in which the
parts seem to confirm the whole and the whole the parts, we do get a
consistent result, which, while it will always remain without actually
positive assurance, nevertheless, does make a reasonable and probable
whole. With these qualifications of uncertainty the result is as follows:

“Ralph Bleasdale was probably born near Bolton, Lancashire, shortly after [Later Blaisdell Family National Association Genealogists have
concluded that he was born in Hawkshead in 1593; perhaps he later moved to the Bolton area.] In that [Bolton] general neighborhood his ancestors had lived for some generations. He was born into, or achieved, a measurable comfort by some form of association with the wool trade,
which gave him the name of a ‘tailor.’

“He was brought up amid Puritan influences, which deeply impressed him and which ultimately shaped his life and sent him to the lands beyond the ocean. He was a man of more than common education.

“In Lancashire he married Elizabeth [Parker]……, who survived him.
Before leaving England they had one son, Henry, who as a lad of three,
accompanied his parents on their memorable journey and through whom the whole line of descendants who have deployed the family name
throughout the world.

“As a trader in wool and woolen goods [‘tailor’] he became aware of the
sea travel, and possibly himself had made the trip from near-by Liverpool
to Ireland; then to Milford Haven [Wales] where he could take the ship to
New England, thus avoiding the difficulties of the hard journey by land to
the southern port of Bristol, where ships for America commonly started.
This course he took.

“To what part he intended exactly to go in New England is uncertain, but
his ship was wrecked at Pemaquid Point, Maine. Some of the passengers
on board the wrecked vessel re-shipped to Boston, but he located
temporarily at York, Maine, where he acquired property and from which
place he moved a few years later [1640] to Amesbury [adjacent Salisbury
east of Amesbury], where he spent most of his active life. Records of him
in these places are considerable.

“In his last years he is said to have lived at Lynn and to have died there.
All in all, he must have been a man in whom the family should take
abundant pride as, let us hope, he might, in turn, take pride in the family
which he founded.”

Above is quoted from Blaisdell Papers, Vol. II, No. 8 (Autumn 1944), pp

Given Names Reflect a Puritan Persuasion

by R. Carter Blaisdell

A study of the given names of Blaisdell family members before and after 1635, the year our patriarch Ralph Bleasdale sailed to America, shows a shift from Teutonic to Biblical names, indicating a Puritan persuasion. Between 1559 and 1633 there were 16 male and 12 female given names among the Bleasdale/Blaisdell family members.

Names in England Before 1635

The male given names before 1635 are John (12 entries), Robert (9), Henry (8), James and Richard (7 ea.), Lawncelet and William (6 ea.), Thomas (5), Gyles (4), Leonard (2) with one entry for Alexander, Anthony, Marcus, Michael, Radi and Ralph.

The dominant female given names between 1559 and 1633 were Issabell (8), Alice (6), Elizabeth (5), Janet (4), Agnes, Anne, Ellen and Jane (3 ea.), Margaret (2), Grace, Katherine and Mary (1).

Early Male Names in America

After arriving in America in 1635 the dominant male given name of Ralph Bleasdale’s progeny to the sixth generation were John (18 entries), Daniel, Ebenezer, Jonathan and Samuel (11 ea.), Henry (10), Jacob (9), David (8), Ralph (7), Abner, Ephraim, Stephen and William (6 ea.), Elijah
and Enoch (5 ea.), Moses and Thomas (4 ea.), Isaac, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip and Richard (3 ea.). Also: Eliphalet, Ezra, James, Joshua, Nathaniel, Oliver and Spencer (2 ea.), Aaron, Abijah, Christopher, Dummer, Eliot, Ezekiel, Harvey, Hezekiah, Jedediah, Jeremiah, Josiah, Levi, Lewis,
Marcus, Micajah, Nehemiah, Parrit, Peter, Robert, Rodolphus, Roger, Sargent, Thomas, Timothy, Wells (1 ea.)

Early Female Names in America

The preferred given names for Ralph’s female descendants in America to the sixth generation were Mary (28), Elizabeth/Betty (19), Sarah/Sally (18), Hannah (17), Abigail (11), Anne, Dorothy and Judith (9 ea.), Lydia & Ruth (7 ea.), Molly (6), Martha & Miriam (5 ea.), Susanna & Rhoda (4 ea.); Naomi & Polly (3 ea.), Eleanor, Dinah, Jane, Mehitable, Nabby and Olive (2 ea.), Margaret, Mercy, Patience, Rachel, Rebecca, Ruhamah and Thankful (1 ea.).

From research by Lowell S. Blaisdell, Blaisdell Papers, Vol. 4, No. 8, Sept. 1954, and from a compilation by R. Carter Blaisdell, Editor, Blaisdell Papers, of BFNA’s Genalogical Outli

Ralph Bleasdale, The Family Patriarch

by R. Carter Blaisdell

The earliest mention of the Blaisdell family name was in a record of the Parish Church of Chipping: John Bleasdale on October 15, 1559 and a baptism on same date of Henry Bleasdell. The only Blaisdell entry between 1559 to 1584 are in the Chipping Parish records.

During that period there were 34 ways to spell the family name; the most dominant today: Bleasdale in England, Blaisdell in America.

Hamlet of Bleasdale

The hamlet of Bleasdale is 5 miles west of Chipping and 10 miles north of Preston, the county seat of Lancashire County, England. Most of the 500 entries for all of Lancashire County were found in the Chipping (136) and Goosnargh (124) parish records. The two churches are only 4 miles apart.

There were no parish records found anywhere in Lancashire County between the years 1633 and Likely this reflects the turmoil in this county, which was a hotbed of Puritanism. Rev. Richard Mather and Rev. William Thompson had preached in Bolton. They were Puritan divines who had been defrocked by the King’s Church of England for their “nonconformity to the King’s Prayer Book.”

Bolton, Hotbed of Puritanism

Rev. Thompson preached and ministered in York, Maine while Ralph Bleasdale was a resident there between 1635-1640. The name Ralph is unique to Bolton, which was considereed “The Geneva of England,” indicating strong Calvinistic leanings (John Calvin of Geneva, John Knox
of Scotland, Oliver Cromwell of England).

An influential family in Bolton was the Shuttleworth family. In their accounts is an entry of a “Rauffe” [Ralph] Bleasdale in 1582.

Fitting all these various items into the composite picture in which the parts seem to confirm the whole and the whole the parts, we do get a consistent result, which, while it will always remain without actually positive assurance, nevertheless, does make a reasonable and probable whole. With these qualifications of uncertainty the result is as follows:

Ralph and His Family

Ralph Bleasdale was born in Hawkshead March 11, 1593. He was born into, or achieved, a measurable comfort through the wool trading business. He was brought up amid Puritan influences, which deeply impressed him and which ultimately shaped his life and sent him to the
lands beyond the ocean.

He was a man of more than common education. He married Elizabeth Parker of Chipping September 3, 1629. Before leaving England they had a son, Henry, age 3. Henry’s five sons perpetuated the family name. In four generations his progeny numbered 410.

Escape Route to New World

As a trader in wool and woolen goods [‘tailor’] Ralph became aware of the sea travel, and possibly himself had made the trip from nearby Liverpool to Ireland; then to Milford Haven, Wales, where he could take a ship to New England, thus avoiding detection and the difficulties of
land travel to Bristol, from which many ships for America originated.

This course he took. His ship, the Angel Gabriel, left Bristol June 4, 1635. He and his family boarded the ship at Milford Haven, Wales, June 9, and arrived at Pemaquid Pt., Maine, August 14. The ship was destroyed in the Great Colonial Hurricane the morning of August 15.

Pemaquid was at the northern edge of English land claims, next to the French claims, thus frequent friction. Ralph and family moved to York – then Agamenticus – and owned land there. He moved on to Salisbury in 1640 and was the 64th of 69 founding fathers of Salisbury, MA, who
held “in common” the land for the town, hence called “Commoners.”

A Man of Ability and Achievement

Salisbury records show Ralph was a “Prudential Man,” constable, farmer, tailor, attorney, keeper of the ordinary (tavern), which doubled as the town hall. He was referred to as “Goodman Ralph Blasdel” and his wife as “Goody Blasdel.” Ralph was one of those 69 founders to be given the
title of Mr., the town’s highest honor.

All in all, he must have been a man in whom the family should take abundant pride as, let us hope, he might, in turn, take pride in the family which he founded.

The above account is based on Blaisdell Papers, Vol. 2, No. 8, Autumn 1944; Vol. 4, No. 8, Sept. 1954; Genealogical Outline, Volume 10, No. 5, Supplement, June 1983; Rev. Richard Mather’s Journal, 1635; J. Mason Burnham’s 1985 paper on 350th anniversary of the Angel Gabriel’s 1635 voyage; genealogical and family data provided by Philip R. Freimann, BFNA Genealogist. R. Carter Blaisdell is Editor, Blaisdell Papers. This article appeared in the June 2009 issue, Blaisdell Papers.

The Journey of the Blaisdells

by Louise Butler

On the morning of August 15, 1635, off the coast of Pemaquid, Maine a ship thrashed at anchor. The 250 ton Angel Gabriel was a big ship with heavily gunned decks and a reputation for successful transport of immigrants and cargo.

It had arrived at one of the most beautiful harbors on the east coast of the New World the day before and on this morning the crew and passengers were busy off-loading people, possessions
and livestock.

The Great Colonial Hurricane

While those with a weather eye may have known that trouble was brewing, none could have guessed that the Angel Gabriel was about to be set upon by a storm that history would call the “Great Colonial Hurricane.”

The hurricane is the first great storm recorded by the Europeans who were steadily populating New England and the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard. Though no such scale existed at the time, the hurricane was probably a Category 3. The eye passed between Boston and Plymouth with winds
approximately 115 miles per hour. A tidal surge of twenty feet was reported in Boston.

Thousands of trees were toppled and houses flattened as the hurricane bore down on the Angel Gabriel at anchor at Pemaquid. As the men, women and children frantically sought shelter with whatever possessions they had been able to take from the ship that morning, a storm of what must truly have seemed like “biblical” proportions closed in on them.

Ralph and Elizabeth Blaisdell

The Angel Gabriel was torn from its moorings and dashed onto the solidly pre-Cambrian rocks of Maine. It was completely destroyed. Among the immigrants huddled on shore, watching as their only link to the old world sank beneath the gray waves, were Ralph and Elizabeth Blaisdell, and their three year old son, Henry.

Ralph and Elizabeth were my great-great-great… grandparents. They had risked all, left the family and home they knew in England, and traveled to a primitive land, burning every bridge behind them.

Bleas Dale — A Hotbed of Puritanism

Ralph Blaisdell had been a “dealer in wood” in the Lancashire area of northern England and probably lived in or near the town of Bleas Dale1. This locale was a hot bed of the Puritan movement and Ralph Blaisdell must have been in the thick of it. There are two facts which speak
to this.

First, Ralph, Elizabeth and Henry boarded the Angel Gabriel in Wales, not Bristol, England where the travel of Puritans was closely monitored. Their names do not appear on the original registry. Second, the Blaisdells kept some very interesting company on their trek to the New

Angel Gabriel Set Sail With Others

The Angel Gabriel did not sail alone. There was a small armada of immigrant ships sailing together for protection from both pirates and foul luck. More ships represented the redundancy so desired by those who sail the oceans of space today. Along side the Angel Gabriel were the
Diligence, Mary, Bess and St. James.

Only the Angel Gabriel was bound for Maine, but the rest would travel with her as far as Newfoundland and Boston.2 On board one of these ships was an Anglican priest from the same Lancashire County as the Blaisdells. The Reverend Richard Mather had been removed from the
church because of “non-conformist” ideas and was immigrating, along with his suspect beliefs to a land where they might be appreciated.
Reverend Mather was the father of Increase Mather, who became the President of Harvard and grandfather of Cotton Mather, a minister and scholar.

Life on Board Ship

Contrary to the bleak portrayals of the poor pilgrims on the Mayflower, the immigrants on the Angel Gabriel fared much better. There was plenty of livestock on board to eat and they also had beer, bread, oatmeal, buttered peas and sack pudding. They were a moral group, attending
regular church services and putting ashore a drunken sailor.

The Angel Gabriel and her sister ship, the St. James, even took time to briefly chase a Turkish pirate ship. While taking exercise on the deck,
Ralph and Elizabeth saw both whales and porpoises playing about the boat. On the eighth week a blue bird landed on board, which was taken as a sign that they must be approaching land.

After a relatively uneventful ten week voyage, falling prey to the Great Colonial Hurricane must have seemed like a cruel reminder of how perilous their leap of faith truly was.

Yet this tenacious family not only survived, they thrived. Ralph was 43 when he sailed for America. He must have married late in life as his only child, Henry, was 3 years old. One can presume that his wife, Elizabeth, was a much younger woman.

Ralph Blaisdell, An Able Leader

There is indication that Ralph was both intelligent and industrious, or perhaps the New World brought out the best in him. During his short stay in York, Maine he was named an attorney for the town.

Ralph’s family did not stay in York, but instead, moved to Salisbury, Massachusetts where he was an honored member of the founding fathers. In Salisbury he was one of only eight men who earned the honorific of “Mister.”

He was referred to as “Goodman Blaisdell” and his wife as “Goody Blaisdell.” Ralph packed a great deal of enterprise into the 15 years he had in America before his death in 16503. And while he only left one child4, his son, Henry went forth and multiplied.

Questions for Ralph and Elizabeth

Ralph and Elizabeth could not have imagined me or my life in modern America; yet I owe so much to their choice and resolve. I wish I could watch them from afar, learn what type of people they were, and, perhaps, ask them a few simple questions.

I would especially like to talk to Elizabeth, because the immigrant women were so often the last to have a say in the ebb and flow of their lives, but the first to bear the burden of those sea changes. Even more than that, I would like them to meet me and make a judgment on whether or not they thought their sacrifice was worth it. I hope they would say, “Yes.”

1 Or Bleasdale.
2 The five ships left Bristol June 4. On June 23 the Diligence, Bess and Mary went ahead. On June 24 the
Mary was captured by a Turkish pirate ship. On July 4 the St. James sped ahead of the slower St. James.
3 BFNA records indicate Ralph Bleasdale died between 1648—1650.
4 Ralph and Elizabeth had three more children after arriving in America:
Mary, Ralph and Martha.

Reprinted by permission of the author and the Mensa Bulletin, No. 522,
February 2009. Louise Butler is a BFNA member from Emery, SD. See her brief bio on p. 564.
Louise Antonette (Yatckoske) (Whittenberg) Butler From: Irene (Blaisdell) Yatckoske, Jessie Blaisdell,
Marshall S Blasdell, Marshall Newton Blasdell, Ezra Blasdell — (C1.1).

Civil War Solider’s Widow Appeals for Help

[Helen Amanda (Sampson) Blaisdell, 1843-1927, Moline, Illinois, widow of
Captain James M. Blaisdell, 1835-1897, 9th New Hampshire Regiment, wrote the following letter June 3, 1914 — 17 years after her husband’s death — to the U.S. Pension Office.]

Dear Sir,
I am the widow of James Blaisdell, Co. H, 9th NH Regiment. I will do the best I can and tell you all that I know about his sickness.

Malaria and Swamp Fever in Mississippi

When Mr. Blaisdell went into the Army he was a well, strong man. He was
always well until they were ordered down to Mississippi, as the History of the Regiment says on that fatal journey down the Mississippi. They were sent down there in the worst time, in the heat of summer with the heat and malaria and swamp fever. Is it any wonder the most of them were sick? They were at Jackson and Vicksburg.

They may have had as hard times in other places, but the climate was bitter, a terrible place for New Hampshire soldiers to go. Before the Regiment was ordered back, the sick were sent up in Hospital boats, and Mr. Blaisdell came home at that time. I don’t think he even got over the hard time he had down in Mississippi.

After his furlough expired he went to Kentucky and reported for duty. His
company was two miles from Cynthiana. They were guarding the Kentucky Central Railroad. He was provost guard at Cynthiana while they were in Kentucky.

When they were ordered to go into active service he was still feeling bad. And when in front of Petersburg, wrote me that he had made up his mind to resign, if he saved what health he had. He would leave the Army. And while he was waiting for things to quiet down in front of Petersburg this other trouble came.

He did not want to leave; he said he’d rather stay and see the end, but thought best to resign.

Never a Well Man after the War

After he came home in August 1864 he never was able to do anything until the next June. Then we came west. He never was a well man, but always took the best of care of himself.

He never was down sick, and the day he died was up until nine o’clock in the evening, and at ten was dead. He had a stroke and did not live ten minutes after. He always took a resting spell during the day and a nap in the afternoon.

The morning the trouble came he had been up to see Colonel Titus, 9th NH, and he said he took two glasses of whisky. And when he came back he met Major Potter. They were not good friends and always passed each other as strangers. I guess he had been to visit someone, for he had been taking something stronger than water.

Language Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman

He made some remark as he passed Mr. Blaisdell, and he told him he was a“damn liar.” Mr. Blaisdell said he if he had not been drinking he would not have said anything, and if I had, I should never have answered him. He was charged with using language unbecoming an officer and a gentleman and [was] dismissed [from] the service.
In 1866 he had a paper sent him that was supposed to remove the disability – and also a check for three hundred fifty dollars – back pay due him when he left the service. I will send you that paper and you can judge for yourself. The 9th NH History speaks of his intention to resign.

Soldiers Buried in a Blanket, Far from Home
The 9th NH Regiment and other regiments that were in Mississippi came up for good. They stopped every night and buried twenty-five or thirty soldiers, buried far from home and friends, among strangers, wrapped only in a blanket. There were only 93 able bodied men that answered the roll call when they came up from Mississippi. Fourteen months before, they left Concord with one thousand soldiers.

As a soldier you can’t find anything against his record, and I regret very much that things happened as they did. I am just seventy-one and would be glad if I could get a pension. I feel the need of it in many ways.

Yours, Mrs. H. S. Blaisdell, Moline, Illinois
Helen Amanda (Sampson) Blaisdell w/o Captain JAMES M. BLAISDELL
From: James Wason Blaisdell, Ebenezer Blaisdell – (6.212)

Crossing the Atlantic in 1635

BACKGROUND: R. Carter Blaisdell, Black Mountain, NC, prepared the research for the Angel Gabriel’s “Crossing of the Atlantic in 1635” in 1997. He based his research on the 1635 diary of Rev. Richard Mather, a Puritan divine, and on a paper by J. Mason Burnham, presented in August 1985 at the 350th anniversary of the Angel Gabriel’s crossing the Atlantic from Bristol, England, to Pemaquid Point, Maine. Pemaquid, Maine, which had seen European planters [immigrants] from Europe as early as 1605, was a common  destination for the Angel Gabriel, a 240 ton, 16 gun ship, built in 1614 for Sir Walter Raleigh for his voyages to Guiana, South America. Pemaquid Point and harbor is composed of black and gray granite rock. After 1618 the ship was used for immigrant trade between England and America until 1635 when she was shipwrecked off Pemaquid Point on August 15, 1635, during The Great Colonial Hurricane. She was the first passenger ship until then to meet with catastrophe. Angel Gabriel had won distinction for defeating three Spanish ships to defend the city of Bristol, England in 1631. Angel Gabriel left Thursday, June 4, 1635 from Bristol, England, harbor with four other vessels: the Diligence, Mary and Bess, who were headed for Newfoundland, and the St. James, who with 100 passengers was headed for Boston. The Angel Gabriel’s first stop was to be Pemaquid Point, Maine. Stalled by unfavorable winds, the five ships waited 12 days at Milford Haven, Wales, and then with the aid of a freshening easterly wind, the five ships left Milford Haven and by noon were out of sight. Angel Gabriel’s last voyage was captained by William Andrews.

Thirty (30) passengers came over on the last voyage:

Captain Robert Andrews, who settled in Ipswich’s Chebacco Parish, where he had a house and family. He was made a freeman May 6, 1635.  

Thomas, John and Robert Burnham, three nephews of Captain William Andrews, being the sons of his sister Mary and her husband, Robert Burnham. The three nephews also settled in Chebacco Parish.  

John Bailey, a weaver from Chippenham, England, settled in Newbury with his son and daughter. His wife and other children in England remained separated forever as the wife refused to risk the New England voyage, and Bailey would not return. However, in his will dated 1851, John Bailey left his wife twenty pounds sterling provided she come over.  

John Cogswell, his wife, eight children, and servants William Furber and Samuel Haines migrated from Westbury, Wiltshire, England. Mr. Cogswell had recently sold his woolen business and all his property to settle in Ipswich where he received a town lot and a large grant of 300 acres in Chebacco Parish. Cogswell salvaged only a part of his freight from the wreck of The Angel Gabriel, although goods and specie valued at $25,000 were aboard, a large sum for the 17th century.  

William Furber departed Ipswich on expiration of his apprenticeship with John Cogswell. He moved to Dover, married and settled down.  

Samuel Haines also left Ipswich on expiration of his apprenticeship and returned to England to marry and brought his wife back to Dover, where they also settled.  

William Hook.  

John Tuttle settled in Dover. Other Tuttles immigrated in other in ships in 1635, but John Tuttle was always referred to as “John Tuttle who came in the Angel Gabriel.”  

Ralph Blaisdell, age 42, his wife Elizabeth Parker Blaisdell, and their son Henry Blaisdell, age 3. He was from Lancashire, England, the same area that Richard Mather and his family were from. Ralph first went to the southern Maine town of York, and within a few years was one of the first settlers of Salisbury, MA.  Henry Simpson, wife and children “planted” in York, Maine. Two were lost on the voyage, and three during the August 15 Hurricane. Governor of New England, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, said that  “planters” [immigrating colonial settlers] were “going to New England in heaps.” South of Pemaquid, Maine, and east to Monhegan Island [the cradle of New England] were English  settlements. North of there and inland were French settlements. People came to New World for religious freedom and for the trade of furs, fishing and to own their own land.

The Ralph Blaisdell and Henry Simpson families were bound for York, on the coast of southern Maine. The other passengers were headed for points farther south in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where they had relatives waiting for them. Rev. Richard Mather of Lancashire, England, on the James ship (which accompanied The Angel Gabriel from June 4 to July 4, 1635) had been removed from his Anglican Church in 1633 because of his non-conformist beliefs. By April 1634 restrictions were placed on immigration and a system of searchers, who boarded outgoing ships looking for persons who were not licensed “to pass beyond the seas,” was instituted. On May 23 “two searchers came on board the James, viewed the list of all passengers, ministered to us the oath of allegiance to all of a full age, viewed our certificates from the ministers of the parishes from which we had come, approved of the lists, and gave us licenses with their signatures and seals to pass the seas, cleared our ship for departure,” wrote Richard Mather in his diary. Bristol city is about five (5) miles inland up the Avon River from the Severn Estuary where the wharves and merchant establishments were located. Kings Road was along a deep water harbor at the mouth of the Avon River on the east side of the Severn Estuary, but with tides and contrary winds it was a most difficult channel to navigate.  


The Angel Gabriel comes into Bristol, England, harbor, known also as the Kings Road on the east side of the Severn Estuary.

May 26, 1635, Angel Gabriel – 240 tons – enters Bristol harbor area and joins up with the James, much lighter – 110 tons, but can carry 100 passengers. The Angel Gabriel did not yet have its full complement of 30 passengers and cattle.  

May 27, 1635, Passengers from three boats came aboard The Angel Gabriel. Sir Ferdinando Gorge was granted the Province of Maine in 1629 and was appointed Governor for New England in March 1635. He came on board the Angel Gabriel, asking the passengers of their country, occupation and calling of life. 

He expressed his good will and promised if he ever came to Mass-achusetts he would be a true friend unto them.  

May 28, The cattle for the Angel Gabriel were brought on board. While winds delayed departure, the immigrants had time to go ashore to wash and buy more oats and hay for the animals, and bread for themselves. We assume that the Angel Gabriel’s passengers were also inspected by two searchers as had the James on May 23. Richard Mather, a passenger on the James, said on of the passengers on the ship Angel Gabriel, “Among them some loving and godly Christians that were glad to see us.” Richard Mather is the father of Increase Mather [who later to became President of Harvard College] and grandfather to Cotton Mather, minister, scientist and scholar. The passengers met with each other several times until wind conditions would be right for departing: The more heavily armed Angel Gabriel would help protect the James on the high seas from pirates or in case of disaster.  

May 28, the Captain of the Angel Gabriel and some of her passengers came on board the St. James. Food brought on board: oats and hay for cattle, bread, victuals, water, milk, foul, cheese, eggs, fresh fish. A typical meal on the Angel Gabriel consisted of mutton broil, turkey and good sack. When wind strong and the waves high, the ship was bounced around. Many of the women and some children got seasick, dizzy and light headed, vomiting, and could scarcely stand or walk without falling unless they took hold of something.


June 4, Angel Gabriel – 240 ton and the James – 110 ton, along with the three ships bound Newfoundland (theDiligence – 150 tons, the Mary – 80 tons, and the  Elizabeth – 240 ton) departed Bristol’s Kings Road and went as far as Lundy Island at the mouth of the Severn, where they dropped their pilots on June 9.

June 9, A Thursday, tacked north to Milford Haven, Wales. The passengers and crew bought “victuals, visited, went to church, held joint services with the “Gabriel” and other ships, and variously occupied 12 wind-bound days.  

June 12, Near Hartford, a knight of the country, Sir James Parret, came on board. After conversing with the men he lamented that “so many of the best people for upholding religion were removed and taken away” to New England.

June 14, Second Sabbath since leaving Bristol. Many of the passengers from Angel Gabriel went to a church on shore at Nangle and heard two refreshing and “comforting” sermons from Rev. Jessop from Pembrooke, a grave and godly man, who “had lost a good living, because of his non-conformity.”  

His text was Psalm 91:11  

June 18, One of the sailors, by name of Jeffrey Cornish, of the James was put on shore by the ship’s Captain for “drunkenness, blasphemy, brawling and cursing.”  

Monday, June 22 the two ships set sail from Milford Haven, where they had waited for the wind for 12 days, and by noon had lost all sight of land.  

June 23, The James and Angel Gabriel lost sight of the three ships bound for Newfoundland. “The Angel Gabriel is a strong ship, furnished with 14 pieces of ordinances [canons], and the James seamen desired the Angel Gabriel’s company. But the Angel Gabriel was slow in sailing, and at times the James went with three less sails to let the Angel Gabriel stay with them,” wrote Mr. Richard Mather in his diary. On the Angel Gabriel were found several children recovering from small pox. Afterward they stayed for supper with Captain Andrews.

June 24, Seen porpoises [dolphins] leaping running near our ship. The James and Angel Gabriel pursued a Turkish Pirate ship, which had taken the Newfoundland-bound Mary captive, but could not catch them, so turned back onto their regularcourse.  

June 28, Fourth Sabbath since leaving Bristol and first Sabbath on the high seas after leaving Milford Haven on June 22.  

June 29, One of the seamen struck a great porpoise, and hauled it into the ship with ropes, about the size of a hog which would sell for 20-25 shillings. The flesh was fat and lean with color like a hog. And when cut open, had liver, lights, heart and guts like that of a swine. It was like a sporting event for the women and children.  

June 29, Captain Taylor of the James and Rev. Mather went on board ship the Angel Gabriel and found that several children were recovering from small pox. Many women and children had been seasick as well. We remained for supper with them and had “good cheer, mutton boiled and roasted, roasted turkey, and good sacke.”  

June 30, We saw porpoises and crampushes [whales] as big as an ox, puffing and spewing up water as they went by the ship.  

July 4, Mr. Mather wrote, “We saw the truth of Scripture, Psalm 107:23-31. ‘Some went out to sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For He spoke and stirred the tempest, that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. ‘They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. (v. 28) He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.’”  


July 4, Some were very seasick. None could go or stand on the deck, because of “the tossing and tumbling of the ship.” This was the last day passengers on the Angel Gabriel saw the ship James. The James went on ahead, concerned that the hay or cattle could not hold out if they slowed up to the let the Angel Gabriel stay even with them. The James was now able to go full sail.

July 7, A bird was sighted, like that of a swallow, called a  Pitterill, which follows ships against foul weather. Another whale is spotted as big as an ox.  

July 18, Many Bonnyetoes leaping and playing about the ship. This is a fish a little larger than a cod, but less than a porpoise.  

July 19, Seventh Sabbath since leaving Bristol. The wind was so strong that the preacher’s loudest voice could not be heard while leading the services.  

July 20, Many dolphins were playing about the ship; many seafowl, hagbats and others.  

July 21, The seamen caught a Bonnyetoe and opened him up on the deck. It was as good a tasting fish one could desire.  

July 22, An abundance of sea fowl like Pitterels and hagbats. 

July 23, An abundance of porpoises and crampushes [whales], leaping and spewing up water about the ship. The seamen thought that the ship was near land, because they noted a change in the color of the water, but with their sounding with a line of a 160 fathoms, they still could not find bottom.  

July 24, Exceedingly cold, like a winter December day. Saw fish twice as big as an ox swimming along side of the ship. We saw mighty whales, spewing water like chimney smoke, making the sea about them white and hoary as in Job 41:32. Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair. Mr. Mather no longer wondered if the body of Jonah could be in the belly of a whale.  At evening the seamen sounded and found ground at 50 fathoms.

July 25, Seamen sounded again and found no bottom, concluding that the day before they had been on the Newfoundland banks. The captain estimated that the ship had 250 leagues to go before reaching its destination.  

July 25, The passengers and crew feasted on three porpoises, striked by the seamen, and seasoned with salt, pepper andvinegar. The fat was like fat bacon and the lean meat like bull beef.  

July 26, Eighth Sabbath since leaving Bristol. The wind blew the rain so strong that the rain leaked through the sides of the ship and got the bedding wet.  

July 28, So hot that people and cattle afflicted with faintness, sweating and heat, but the goodness of our God caused a north by east wind to come up about noon, which relieved the heat and helped us forward on our way.  

July 28, A bluebird landed on the ship, which meant we were not far from land.  

July 30, About sunset we saw with admiration and delight innumerable multitudes of huge crampushes [whales] rolling and tumbling about the sides of the ship, spewing and puffing up water. Also seen were Bonnyetoes and lesser fish, “so marvelous to behold are the works and wonders of the Almighty in the deep.”  

August 1, Seamen sounded and found land at 60 fathoms. Another land bird came and landed on the sails of the ship. Seamen fished and caught cod as fast as they could hale them in.

August 2, The ninth Sabbath since leaving Bristol.  

August 3, About three in the morning, a strong storm and tempest of wind and rain came to us. The seamen let down the sails. The ship was tossed with fearful mountains and valleys of water, as if we could have been overwhelmed and swallowed up. This did not last long. The wind was against us, so we floated along the coast. There was also a great fog and mist all day. We did gain an abundance of cod and halibut. Many mackerel were caught. Saw multitude of great whales, which we were now used to seeing.

August 9, The tenth Sabbath since leaving Bristol.  

August 14, Angel Gabriel made her landfall off Monhegan Island during the early morning hours. Captain Andrews tacked the Angel Gabriel safely to anchor in Pemaquid Harbor by early evening, probably in the cove opposite Shurt’s Fort, present day Fort William Henry. 


August 15, Early Saturday morning, Angel Gabriel, anchored to the north, was caught by the Great Colonial Hurricane. Three or four passengers lost their lives. One seaman was drowned. Most of the cattle perished, and the passengers lost their goods. From Richard Mather’s diary: “The Angel Gabriel, at anchor at Pemaquid, was burst in pieces and cast away in the storm, and most of the cattle and other goods with one seaman and three or four passengers did also perish therein, besides two of the passengers who died on the way, the rest having their lives given them for a prayer.”  


[We now know that in the early fall storm tracks come from the Caribbean, rotating counterclockwise, bringing great quantities of rain from the sea on their leading edge. The cyclonic winds can get up to 200 mph and are capable of  huge destruction. See “The Great Colonial Hurricane” under Angel Gabriel.] Angel Gabriel had sailed 1000 leagues or 3000 miles from England. The trip took ten (10) weeks and one (1) day after leaving Bristol, having departed Bristol on June 4 and landing at Pemaquid August 14, 1635. Passengers remained healthy by walking the deck in the fresh air and having a variety of food. They had good and wholesome bread and beer, salt fish and salt beef, bacon or buttered peas, buttered bag pudding from currants and raisins, pottage beer and oatmeal, water pottage well buttered. After the storm “we saw many mighty trees rent in pieces from the storm. Others were uprooted.” Down the coast in the Massachusetts Bay on Marvil Head 23 colonists and seamen had been swept into the sea and  perished, except one man and his wife, who survived to report the news. The Angel Gabriel of Bristol, England, was the first ship to carry passengers to the New World and who suffered a catastrophic fate.

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