Remembering Our Ancestors: John Case

John Case, our 10th and 11th great-grandfather in the Snyder line, immigrated to the New World in the first half of the 17th century.

John Case was born on 25 Jul 1616 Aylesham in the Dover District in England, that’s tomorrow 404 years ago.  We don’t know much about his childhood, but the Case family, father, mother and four sons, left Gravesend, England, bound for Boston on the ship Dorset, of the Winthrop fleet, in 1635, when John was 19 years old.  The father William (properly John William Richard) died en route in September of that year, but the rest of the family settled largely in what today is the area of Hartford, CT.

John married Sarah Spencer, whose family had been living in the colonies since the 1630s as well, around 1655, and in 1656 their first daughter Elisabeth was born.  Nine more children were to follow.  In the early years of their marriage, John, Sarah and their children lived in the settlement of Massacoe which had 13 permanent residents in 1669. People appeared to be have been hesitant to settle there in the first years.  John was appointed to the position of constable of the ‘plantation’, this being the first recorded civil office held by residents of the area.  John also appears to have been instrumental in the process of turning the settlement into a town of Connecticut, which happened on 12 May 1670 when the plantation was ordered to be called “Simmsbury“.  The boundaries at that time were Farmington on the south side and Windsor on the east side, with the extent of Simsbury running 10 miles north of Farmington and 10 miles west of Windsor.


One can surely say the family were American pioneers, and it appears that for most of his life, John played an active role in the community life of his plantation / village / town.

Following Sarah’s death on 3 November 1691, John married Elizabeth Moore, the widow of Nathaniel Loomis, but they had no children together, Elizabeth already having had 14 children by her first husband.

John in turn died on 21 February 1704 in Simsbury and it is believed that he was buried next to Sarah in an unmarked grave on Simsbury Cemetery.

once edible mushroom - Edited

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa John.  It’s hard to imagine what life must have been like for your family, setting out into the New World and losing the father before you even got there, and then going on to build a community where there had been uninhabitable wilderness before.  On your shoulders we stand, and we hope to live in such a way that you do not have to be ashamed of us.

Classical Sunday: 10 Sonatas by Henry Purcell


Top 10 Sonatas by Henry Purcell

Artwork by Joseph Wright of Derby (1734 – 1797)

Sonata No. 5 in G Minor, Z. 806 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio 00:03
II. Canzona 01:40
III. Largo 02:48
IV. Adagio 05:16
V. Presto – Allegro – Adagio 06:00

Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Major, Z. 791 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Adagio 08:33
II. Largo – Presto 10:15
III. Adagio 11:36
IV. Allegro 13:12

Sonata No. 6 in G Minor, Z. 807 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Chaconne. Adagio 14:41

Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Z. 804 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Grave 22:56
II. Largo 24:31
III. Adagio 26:21
IV. Allegro 29:01

Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, Z. 790 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Adagio 30:57
II. Vivace 32:36
III. Adagio – Presto 33:42
IV. Largo 36:04

Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Z. 792 (12 Sonatas of Three Parts – 1683):
I. Grave, Adagio 37:49
II. Canzona 39:30
III. Poco largo – Allegro 41:19

Sonata in G Minor for Violin and Basso Continuo, Z. 780:
I. Adagio 44:07
II. Allegro 47:08
III. Largo 48:28
IV. Vivace 49:55

Sonata in D Major for Trumpet, Strings and Basso Continuo, Z. 850 (1694):
I. Allegro 50:48
II. Adagio 52:05
III. Presto 53:47

Sonata No. 2 in E-Flat Major, Z. 803 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio 55:06
II. Canzona. Allegro 56:31
III. Adagio 58:27
IV. Largo – Allegro 1:00:08

Sonata No. 1 in B Minor, Z. 802 (10 Sonatas in Four Parts – c.1680):
I. Adagio – Canzona. Allegro 1:02:41
II. Largo 1:04:53
III. Vivace 1:07:18

Remembering Our Ancestors: Anthony Needham I

Our 11th (and 12th) great-grandfather Anthony Needham I passed on this week 373 years ago.

Anthony Brian Needham I was born in 1602 in Winster, Derbyshire, England, to William Needham and Prudence Peck.  Some sources say he was born in Youlgreave, but since it’s only about four miles from one to the other and both are in the Peak District, it might be either one and would not make that much of a difference in the larger scope of things.  The featured image shows a view of Winster village.

Anthony lost both his parents relatively early.  His mother died when Anthony was 14, and his father followed her five years later, in 1621.

In 1622, Anthony married Lady Jane More, quite possibly in Winster.  They had a son, Anthony Brian II, in 1628, who went on to immigrate to the New World in 1651 and there marry Ann Potter, a young orphaned woman living there with her aunt.

But back to Anthony Brian I.  He stayed in England and died on 27 March 1647 in Youlgreave (or Winster, depending on your sources) at the age of 45, and was buried there.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandfather Anthony.  You rest in an area that became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951.

Old postcard of Youlgrave, Derbyshire, UK

Remembering Our Ancestors: Jane Playse

Let me take you back to the Elizabethan time.

Our 15th (and 16th) great-grandmother Jane Andrews (née Playse) was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and even lived in London, England, at the latest since 1595.

But she had not been a city dweller all her life, much like The Bard.  Jane Playse was born in 1528 in the East Midlands, more precisely in Northampton, in the shire that bears the same name, some 60 miles north-west of London, and about 45 miles east of Stratford-upon-Avon.  There she appears to have grown up, and by the time she was 21, in 1549, she married our 15th (and 16th) great-grandfather William Andrews in Charwelton, a village about halfway between Northampton and Stratford.  There, at least two sons were born to them, William Jr. and Robert, both in 1550.  Since the bubonic plague was ravaging the area off and on during those years (and for many more decades to come until the Great Plague of London of 1665-66 marked the last great epidemic almost 100 years later), we do not know how many more children they might have had and lost, but we do know that Robert lived long enough to become the father of our 14th (and 15th) great-grandfather John Andrews.  John’s own son William, in turn, immigrated to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT, and John followed him when he was already 83 and most all his remaining relatives had either died in England or immigrated already.

But back to Jane and William.  How long they stayed in the area of Charwelton we are not sure, but the year 1596 finds them in London, where William died, his burial being recorded in the church books of St. Giles Cripplegate.  This church lies about a 15 minute walk from St. Helen’s, Bishopsgate where Shakespeare resided during the same year.  Presumably, Jane and Andrew lived somewhere in the vicinity as well.  St. Giles is also the church where, 15 years later, Jane’s burial is documented.  According to the records, she was buried 24 January 1611, that’s today 409 years ago.

I still remember just how exciting it was to realize that Jane and William lived in Shakespeare’s London, and at least Jane had the (theoretical) possibility to go and see a play in the original Globe Theater which was build in Southwark, on the other, as yet barely developed and quite disreputable side of the river, in 1599.  Maybe Jane would never have dreamed of going to the playhouse!  But maybe she did!  We cannot be sure either way.

Jane’s son Robert did not live in London either for the most part, but married and settled in Coventry in Warwickshire, just north-west of his hometown.  Chances are that Jane and William moved to London only after their son had left their home to raise his own family.  Interestingly enough, however, Robert, too, died in London, at the St. Bartholomew-the-Great hospital, and his burial is recorded in the books of St. Martin, Ludgate.  All these places, St. Giles, St. Bartholomew and St. Martin are less than a mile away from each other.

It does make you wonder if people came to London from the countryside to die and be buried there, or if spending a part of your life in the countryside and a part in the big city, like we know Shakespeare did, was quite common back in the day, at least for a certain social class.

In any case, history comes alive when direct ancestors were part of it and no mistake.  Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Jane Andrews.  We envy you.  A little.

The_Swan performance
A 1596 sketch of a performance in progress at The Swan, a theater much like The Globe that was built in 1599.


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

~ William Shakespeare

Featured: John Norden’s map of London in 1593, cropped

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