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History Group Reads > The Winthrop Woman: Part Three - Connecticut and New Netherland 1640-1655

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message 1: by Emily (new)

Emily (ohmagichour) | 181 comments Please discuss Part Three - Connecticut and New Netherland 1640-1655 here.


message 2: by April Ann (last edited Dec 16, 2008 07:36AM) (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments I'm finding this section of the book increasingly interesting. It parallels my family history! There is an Ann Husted (who married a Hardy, my maiden name) who was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Angel) Husted nee Miller. It's interesting that in the novel "Angell" is the son of Robert. I have to do some geneaology research to see if Ann had a brother named Angell!!!!

Here's an excerpt from our family history: "She (Elizabeth Miller) was born in England about 1623, and died 13, Oct. 1707. Robert Husted was born probably in Somerset, England in 1596, he sailed for Massachusetts in 1635, where he remained for a few years in Wollaston and then removed to Stamford, Conn. He was a witness in July, 1640, to the Indian deed of Greenwich, Conn., Old Town, to Robert Feake and Daniel Patrick in Oct., 1642 and died there in 1652."

I keep waiting for the mention of a "Hardy" character. The family had a settlement in Stamford known as "Hardy's Hole", I'm assuming it must have been a low area of land.

Who knew???? These characters are alive to me and isn't that the great thing about Historical fiction?? :)

eta: I found it! The Angell Husted referred to in the novel is the BROTHER of my (don't know how many greats) Great Grandmother!! She was three years younger than him he was born in England and she was born in Stamford. So he's a Great Uncle! Cool!


message 3: by MichelleCH (new)

MichelleCH (lalatina) | 55 comments This is where I became absolutely hooked into the story. The characters are so interesting..although it seems like it is one bad thing after another for poor Bess. And Robert Feake is so odd. This strangeness bit is referencing ??? Mental illness, hidden homosexuality?


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily (ohmagichour) | 181 comments LaLa, I'm pretty sure it's all of the above. Total weird character.


message 5: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments It does seem like Bess had a lot of bad luck in her life. But it really was pretty indicative of the struggles the early settlers faced. They were truly pioneers.

Imagine having to move because all of a sudden your property is in a different jurisdiction and your marriage is now illegal? Different countries were land-grabbing all over the place, I wish history classes would bring more fiction into their curriculum, it sure makes it easier to remember when you can relate it to characters.

This was the most fascinating section for me on a variety of levels and Seton has her history nailed.


message 6: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments April Ann, that's really cool about the genealogy of your family! It's must be kind of crazy seeing family members involved with the people we're reading about. At this point I've gotten so involved in the story that I kind of forgot that these were real people. I really love this section of the book so far (even though it's so sad).

Robert Feake is something else. At first I thought he was gay and maybe mental ill, and well, I've read enough now to definitely confirm the mentally ill part (and not really know about the homosexuality part). Poor guy! Sucks for him, and certainly sucks for poor Bess.


message 7: by April Ann (last edited Dec 30, 2008 10:22AM) (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments Sara, it has sparked a renewed interest in researching my genealogy. I found a record of a Robert Husted on a ship's passenger list but unfortunately the ship was unnamed.

The Mayflower and Lyon (among others) made several trips over the years bringing more settlers. If I'm remembering correctly (correct me if I'm wrong) of the 600-700 (not sure of the number) that came over with the Winthrop sailing (several ships), 200 died on the way. I'll look it back up when I have more time and try to be more accurate.

I had to keep reminding myself that the characters were actually real people too! Since it was about the Winthrops it's no surprise that Thomas Dudley was only briefly mentioned.

Yes, and I feel bad for Feake too, to live in a time with no meds for his illness had to be extremely painful for everyone.





message 8: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I was thinking the same thing about Feake! It's bad enough not having meds to help him, but also not having any medical understanding about it either would be horrible! Mental illness = being taken over by the Devil. How awful!

I love genealogy too although I haven't done much with it lately. I don't think I have any early Americans in my family (i.e. colonial times), but I have some early kind of prominent (in their way) Chicagoans/Milwaukeeans that I want to dig up some information on.


message 9: by MichelleCH (new)

MichelleCH (lalatina) | 55 comments Also I am sure the 'cures' of the time for mental illness were quite barbaric as well. I just saw the film The Madness of King George - watching the 'treatment' he received was terrifying. In the film, everyone around him seemed to believe that King George could control his behavior and his physician used punishment to get him to act 'normal'. Robert Feake was very lucky to have a family and later money to support him through his illness.

One question I had about Robert was when Daniel Patrick ( I think) was remembering an 'incident' that happened in a monastery. He seemed to be relating this to Robert and his odd behavior. Did anyone pick up on the connection he was making here?

Also did anyone else feel like it took FOREVER for William and Bess to get together?


message 10: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I finished TWW yesterday and loved it.
I thought the characters were wonderful.
Elizabeth, especially. I identified with her so strongly when it came to the religion stuff.
Robert was a mess! Poor guy. Interesting to find out he never actually committed a crime...

This was my first early American historical fiction (since reading The Scarlett Letter, etc. in HS) and I loved it. Good choice!!!


message 11: by April Ann (new)

April Ann (bloomer) | 83 comments Mandy I've heard Katherine by Anya Seton is great too!


message 12: by Misfit (new)

Misfit | 696 comments Mandy, there's actually some good stuff out there on US history one just has to look for it. As much as I love medievals its'a nice change.


message 13: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments This was my first early American historical fiction read too (since high school - also The Scarlett Letter!). I definitely would like to read more (and non-fiction about the American colonies as well). I really liked how this book started in England first and then moved to the colonies. It was really interesting to think about why these people decided to move here.

I liked this book better than Katherine, but Katherine is still good.


message 14: by Misfit (last edited Jan 04, 2009 05:05PM) (new)

Misfit | 696 comments Sara, an interesting trilogy to check out is Celeste de Basis' Swan Trilogy. Although technically classified as romance there's a whole lot of history as well. Starts in England and moves to Maryland, through the Civil War and the end of the 19C. For those lovers of all things horses, horse racing and the horsey set an added bonus.

Wild Swan
Swan's Chance
Season of Swans, A


message 15: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Thanks Misfit, I'll give those a look!


message 16: by George (new)

George Husted | 1 comments Concerning Lt. Robert Feake; his civilian occupation was as a jeweler. In fact, I believe he was a goldsmith by trade. This is significant because mercury is used in the extraction and purification of gold. Chronic mercury poisoning was an occupational hazard.

The symptoms of mercury poisoning include: itching, burning or pain of the skin and discoloration (pink cheeks, fingertips and toes), as well as swelling, and shedding or peeling of the skin. They may also experience profuse sweating, persistently faster-than-normal heartbeat, increased salivation, and high blood pressure. Other symptoms include kidney dysfunction, or neuropsychiatric symptoms such as involuntary crying or uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing, or other emotional displays, memory impairment, and insomnia. All this is described as his "silliness".

I feel truly sorry for Robert Feakes. He suffered terribly without knowing why, in a time when such an illness would have been regarded as possibly demonic oppression. He would have been a pariah in puritan New England. His is a very sad story.

Regards,
George Husted (13th great grandson of Robert Husted)


message 17: by Anne (new)

Anne (gloucester) | 10 comments Fascinating, George. Thanks!


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