Family genealogy, for me, is like a mystery puzzle in the past. I enjoy trying to solve the puzzle with the bits and pieces of information. It also tends to make history more personal. I could care less if a so many great grand pappy was a saint or a sinner, famous or not, wealthy or poor. I like trying to figure out where he lived, what was going on around him.
In New London, Connecticut in 1653, a couple was telling the Inn Keeper how they had escape from the papists, the Catholics, who were chasing them all across Ireland. As the inn keeper told his story of fighting the Pequots Indians and the difficulty in the first years in Connecticut. I can imagine the glow of the candles causing shadows of the gesturing Puritans dance across the room. There was no way either the inn keeper or the refugees would know a descendant of both would know which of the two was not being honest until 2015.
In Ballingary Parish in 1650, the Butler family owned well over half the land (11,712 acres) and the Fanning family owned at significant chunk but much less amount at 4,454 acres. Both the Butler and Fanning families were well known Irish Papists.
In fact, Dominick Fanning was the mayor of Limerick, Ireland. He fought Cromwell’s army and lost. His reward was to have his head hanging for several years over the gate of St. Johns that lead to the garden and church. This is the gate which is part of the wall of the hospital in Limerick today.
New London, Connecticut’s constable and tax collector was Andrew Lester. He was also allowed to own a “house of entertainment”. This was his tavern and Inn and in this inn, Edmund Fanning and his wife, the former Ellen Butler, were lying in telling the constable and inn keeper, Andrew Lester how they just barely escaped the angry Irish Papists. My father is a descendant of Andrew. My mother is descendant of Edmund and Ellen Fanning. Andrew Lester is my 8th great grandfather. Edmund and Ellen are my 10th great grandparents.
In the History of Stonington, Conn it tells the two stories of Edmund Fanning. The oral history was…
“It has been transmitted from one generation to another in the Fanning family, that their ancestor “Edmund Fanning”, escaped from Dublin in 1641, in the time of the great rebellion, in which one hundred thousand Protestants fell victims to the fury of the Roman Catholics, and after eleven years of wandering and uncertainty, he found a resting place in that part of New London now called Groton, in the year 1652. “ However, history in Ireland mentions them as Irish Papists and they didn’t arrive in New London until 1653. This is a year after they lost their property.