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Bygod Eggleston

settringtonallsaints_2.jpg
The Church of All Saints at Settrington

The East Yorkshire village of Settrington, was once the domain of a family named Bygod. They lived in the manor and lorded over the farms in the area. In the 1530’s the owner of the manor was Sir Francis Bygod, and he took part in the "Pilgrimage of Grace", a northern revolt against Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. The revolt failed and the state took horrible retribution against them and their property, effectively wiping out the Bygod’s of Settrington.

In this little village, in the Church of All Saints, on February 20 1586, a baby boy was baptized Bygod Eggleston. His parents were James Eggleston and Margaret Harker Eggleston. Was he named after a relative of Margaret’s? There is speculation that her mother was a Bygod. But, other sources discount that. It does seem likely that the boy was named after the family of the estate. Whether this was due to family ties, or out of respect for the former family of the manor, may never be known.

James and Margaret had three daughters, after their son was born, and then, Margaret died. James remarried, a Juliana Frear, and had four more children before he died in 1613. But, it seems that Bygod and two of his sisters, Dorothy and Jane, did not live with their father and stepmother, but instead moved to Norwich to live with their father’s brother, Sylvester. Elizabeth stayed in Settrington. It was in Norwich that Bygod was on the militia list. This was not a standing army, but a list of all able-bodied householders and their servants who could be called to muster several times a year, Sylvester and his son, Edmund, appear there also. On this list Bygod is listed as a servant of Robert Coulson.

It was also while in Norwich that Bygod married for the first time. There doesn’t seem to be any record of his wife’s name, but together they had five children: James, born in April 1612 and died in August 1613, Mary, who was baptized at St. Margaret’s Church in Norfolk on Jan 19 1613, another James, born in 1617, John, born about 1620 and Samuel, born in 1627. Perhaps Bygod’s wife died in childbirth, as so many women did, because she did not emigrate with the young family in 1630.

From Norwich, on the eastern side of England, to Plymouth, in the southwest, was a tremendous journey in 1630, but apparently Bygod Eggleston and his four surviving children made that journey, in preparation for an even more unthinkable journey – that to the New World, for they were part of the company that boarded the "Mary and John" with the Rev. Warham, a noted minister from Exeter, the capital of Devonshire.

Before the March 20th departure, on a day of solemn fasting and prayer, the people who had gathered formed into a Congregational church, intending to go to North America in order to enjoy civil and religious privileges. They chose the Rev. John Warham and the Rev John Maverick to be their pastor and teacher.

On March 20th, 1630, a few days before the Great Migration began with the departure of the seven-ship Winthrop fleet, the "Mary and John", a 400-ton ship with 140 persons on board, departed Plymouth. They arrived

in Nantasket (now Hull) Massachusetts, 70 days later on the 30th of May. The master of the vessel, Captain Squeb, refused to sail up the Charles River, as planned, because he feared running the ship aground in waters that he had no charts for. Instead, he left his passengers and all their 150,000 pounds of livestock, provisions and equipment in a desolate locale 20 miles from where they wanted to be. Later the captain would be obliged to pay damages for this conduct, but that was no help to the settlers.

Fortunately there were some earlier settlers in this area and they were able to obtain a boat and they proceeded up the Charles River to the place called Watertown. They landed their goods and erected a shelter to cover them, but they soon found that a nearby neck of land called Mattapan, was a more desirable location for their many cattle, and they removed to there and began a settlement in the early part of June. They named the place Dorchester, after the town in England, because that had been the home of many of the settlers.

In the summer of 1635, the Rev. John Warham and his congregation picked up and moved again. They moved westward, to an area at the confluence of the Farmington and Connecticut Rivers, to a place the Indians called Matianuck, where a few settlers had established themselves two years earlier. When Rev. Warham and sixty members of his congregation arrived, they renamed the place Dorchester. Two years later the name was changed to Windsor, by decree of the colony’s General Court. Bygod Eggleston is listed as one of the founders of Windsor, Connecticut. Windsor is about six miles north of where the city of Hartford, Connecticut stands today.

Bygod married again, once he was established in Connecticut. His second wife’s name was Mary, but there is no clear indication what her maiden name was. Bygod and Mary had seven children: Thomas, 1638, Mercy, 1641, Sarah, 1643, Rebecca, 1644 (she died young), Abigail, 1648, Joseph, 1651, and Benjamin, 1653.

An interesting bit of information is that apparently, Bygod was fined 20 shillings in 1645 for "bequeathing his wife to a young man." The young man, a George Tuckye, was fined 40 shillings, but he took off and didn't pay. Why Bygod thought he needed a young man for his wife is certainly questionable, as Bygod was 67 years old when he fathered his youngest son, Benjamin.

By some accounts Bygod survived his second wife as well, and married for a third and final time. Once again, her name is unknown. No known children came of this marriage.

In 1646, Bygod’s son John, who had come over with him from England, died. He was about 25 years old.

James Eggleston, another son from Bygod’s first marriage became a freeman in 1637. He married Hester Williams, who had been born in Connecticut in 1639, in 1656 and had nine children. He fought in the Pequot Indian War and for his he was granted 50 acres of land in 1671. James died on December 1, 1679, just five years after the death of his father, on September 1, 1674. Bygod's Will was written in 1673, just a year before his death.

Bygod Eggleston m ?

    James Eggleston m Hester Williams

         John Eggleston m Esther Mills

              Esther Eggleston m Josiah Filley

                    Deliverance Filley m Solomon Halladay

                          Jonah Halladay m. Patience Doolittle

                                Lydia Halladay m John Howard

                                       Alfred Burr Howard m Ann Wheeler Fogg

                                              Max Clinton Howard m Rose Ann Forderkunz

                                                     Ruth Howard