Monday, May 12, 2014

"But for the Bread", an Historical Poem by Jeff Southwick

Shelter Island

Jeff Southwick wrote this poem about our mutual ancestors, the Southwicks.  Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick were persecuted Quakers in Salem, Massachusetts.  In 1659 they were banished, and fled to Shelter Island off Long Island, New York where they died of exposure.  Their minor children, Daniel and Provided, were sold into slavery by the Massachusetts General Court.  

I met Jeff via Google+ when he wrote to me in reply to my post about Shelter Island.  He shared his Southwick ancestry and this poem.  His lineage is 1. Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, Daniel, Daniel, Jonathan, George, Jonathan, Stephen Wilbur, Jesse, Jesse, Donald and then himself. 

Jeff Southwick wrote " I was wondering what my ancestors where like as people, and so how much different might be the temperament of a person from generation to generation.  With my parents, grandparents and my children I share a basic respect for others and outlook on life, and so I assume that provided that my ancestors married others of similar temperament, then maybe my outlook on life is not that much different from that of L&C, though how would I know.  As I pondered that thought this past week I wrote the following."  He also wrote " My branch came from Daniel, and headed west from NY to Iowa in the mid 1800s. I am in the 11th." 

But for the Bread
by Jeff Southwick
May 2014

But for the bread I might not be here had Daniel’s emptiness not been sated
But for the bread Endicott said a heretic possessing papers would not be fed
But for the bread slipped between jail bars I might be someone else instead
But for the bread Provided at risk we may have gone to darkness convicted
But for the bread the captain contemplated the morality of humanity traded
But for the bread never by Josiah was an unforgiving stone tossed in hatred 
But for the bread in a corner establish family tradition of love demonstrated
But for the bread within privation to hold vision of justice Cassandra waited
But for the bread when Lawrence sought shelter he willed to a nation ahead

For more information on the Southwick family:

A post about a poem by Whittier about the Southwick children being sold into slavery:

A post about Shelter Island (the one that inspired Jeff Southwick to contact me)

The URL for this post is

Copyright 2014, Jeff Southwick and Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Two consecutive days of cousinship-- what a coincidence, compounded because my Southwick ancestry is tied with my Eaton ancestry: Elijah Eaton, a paternal 6x gg (whom I mentioned in a comment on your previous post), married Deliverance Mott. She was a 2x granddaughter of Josiah Southwick, Lawrence's son, making Lawrence Southwick my 11xgg.

  2. Nineteenth Century books of collateral Quaker families I read for the zeitgeist and greater understanding of our early colonial period. I'll add Southwick to my list,
    if you think it reliable.
    Another Lawrence Antrobus cousin.

    1. There are a few errors in this genealogy (some dates and names), but the events with Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, and the first few generations are an excellent read!

  3. SOUTHWICK seems to be ancestor who married a GASKILL who married a GREEN who married my MILLS ancestor.
    Very Interesting. Not sure if same SOUTHWICK branch.


  4. The poem authored by Jeff is absolutely beautiful - such a tribute to the family.