Friday, February 5, 2010


This past weekend the Longwood Symphony Orchestra held a benefit concert for Haiti, and they raised over $100,000 for relief. This is an orchestra of doctors, nurses and health care workers from Boston. Many of them are on their way to help the people of Haiti. The concert will be broadcast in Boston on WSBK TV 38 at 10PM on Sunday, February 7th at 10 PM. In the interests of disclosure, my daughter is the assistant to the manager of the LSO.

Contributions to the fund can be made at the Longwood Symphony Website

I’ve never experienced an earthquake. I thought I was safe from them here in Londonderry, New Hampshire. As I look through my notes about my New England ancestors I can see that there have been plenty of earthquakes in New England. Even earthquakes in other parts of the world have affected their lives, just like an earthquake in Haiti in 2010 can affect doctors in Boston. Here are some examples:

Westley Burnham (1747 – 1835) My 6x great grandfather. "Captain Westley Burnham was in early life a sailor. At the age of seventeen he made a voyage to Lisbon, and rowed in a boat over the site of Old Lisbon, which had been destroyed and sunk by an earthquake in 1755.” From “Genealogical Records of Thomas Burnham the Emigrant”, by Roderick H. Burnham

Reverend Nathaniel Gookin, (1687-1734) distant cousin. Nathaniel Gookin was a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1703, and was ordained at Hampton, November 15, 1710. There are copies of the sermons which he wrote on the occasion of the great earthquake in 1727, the first of which he delivered only a few hours prior to the event, from the text, "The day of trouble is near." In this sermon he expresses a foreboding that something terrible is about to happen. In the evening came the violent shock which threw the people of the town into the utmost terror. Afterwards recalling the sermon of their minister they felt that he was possessed of the gift of true prophecy, and, though not to his own liking, he became commonly known as "The prophet.” From “Seaborn Cotton, John Cotton, Nathaniel Gookin” by Alfred Gooding, Minister of the South Parish, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from the Granite Monthly, Volume 42, pages 283-5 (1910)

Rebecca Rawson (1656-1692) no direct relationship to my family tree. Rawson and his wife, Rachel Perne, had twelve children. The ninth child was Rebecca whose portrait at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. In 1679, Rebecca married a man she believed to be Sir Thomas Hale, Jr., the nephew of Lord Chief Justice Hale of England. She moved to England with her husband, only to find out shortly after their arrival that he had lied about his true identity. Despite being abandoned with a child, she stayed in England for thirteen years. She decided to return to Boston in 1692, but she met a tragic end—a severe earthquake rocked Port Royal, Jamaica, where the ship was docked, and all lives were lost. This story is featured in D. Brenton Simons award winning book “Witches, Rakes and Rogues”, Commonwealth Editions, Boston, 2005.

From “Historic Storms of New England”, by Sidney Perley, about famous earthquake of 1727: “At Londonderry, N.H., when the pastor of the town, Rev. Mr. MacGregor, became aware of what was occurring around him, his Scottish heart being full of sympathy for the people of his charge, he at once arose, dressed, and started out. He was met by someone with the reminder this family would need his presence. “Oh!” said he, “I have a still greater family which I must care for.” He hastened toward their houses, but had not gone far before he met large numbers of them flocking to his own dwelling, seeking advice and comfort in the trying and dreadful hour.”

Another earthquake in Londonderry: “The Earthquake shock on Nov. 18, 1755, was so severe in Nutfield that Moses Barnett, the town clerk, felt that some mention of it should be made in the records. This is the entry he made, and it is the only authentic account which has been handed down of that memorable event: "on Tusday nobr ye 1755 at foure aclock in the morning and ten minets there was an Extrornary Shock of An Earthquaik and continuous afterwards with smaller shocks." From “Willey's semi-centennial book of Manchester, 1846-1896: and Manchester edition of the Book of Nutfield”; by G. F. Willey, Manchester, NH 1896, page 274.

Copyright 2010, Heather Rojo

No comments:

Post a Comment