“Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” – Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914). In a nutshell, Abrose Bierce was famous in his day as a writer and journalist. He most successfully wrote about war and ended up in his early 70’s doing such and disappearing in Mexico. He wasn’t well liked or critiqued otherwise, but it is said his critique could make or break an upcoming writer. He was known as “Bitter Bierce.” He had a horrible home-life – divorced his wife after six years of separation, she died a year later; and two of his three children died (childless) before him – one son shot in a brawl and the other died of pneumonia complications related to alcoholism. He did enjoy a successful eight-year working stint, about the time he split from his wife, living in San Francisco and writing for the William Randolph Hearst newspapers. You remember “yellow journalism,” I imagine.
Here’s the skinny on Ambrose Bierce as your “relative” relative (if you’re my relative), keeping in mind that records conflict and proof positive is hard to come by the further back you get. The trail seems relatively solid until you get back to the late 1600’s and a few questions arise about the “Experiences.” Read on. Eat an apple – it will help you concentrate. And if you learn nothing more, do what you need to so that no one ever accuses you of taking after “Bitter Bierce.”
(But right up [relatively] front, I want to point out that Lois has already done this research. She had a 2005 Rawlinson family reunion around the theme of possibly being related to pilgrims, and she gave each family the novel, The Mayflower Secret by Dave and Neta Jackson. http://www.christianbook.com/the-mayflower-secret-trailblazer/dave-jackson/9780764220104/pd/22010)
Neil Fugal was begat (1913) by Viola Young,
who was begat (1888) by Louisa Ellis Adamson,
who was begat (1863) by Esther Eunice Ogilvie,
who was begat (1832) by George Ogilvie,
who was begat (1804) by Ellis Egerton,
who was begat (1770) by Hezekiah Egerton of Plymouth.
Hezekiah Egerton was begat (1729) by Dennis Egerton and Experience Bearce.
Experience Bearce was begat (circa 1692) by James Bearce and Experience Howland.
Experience Howland was begat (1668) by John Howland.
John Howland was begat (1627) by John Howland Sr.
John Howland Sr. (begat circa 1599) is the pilgrim, a manservant to the governor and came to Plymouth at age 21. His future wife was also on the Mayflower, age 13, Elizabeth Tilley (circa 1607). Her parents died the first winter and she married John Howland at age 15.
Ambrose (b. 1842) had 12 siblings, all first names started with A. His mother was a descendant of the pilgrim William Bradford (the governor). His father Marcus Aurelius Bierce was begat (1799) by William Bierce. William was begat (1753) by Hezekiah Bierce who was begat (1730) by James Bierce (who was begat (1688) by James Bierce Sr.
So. We cross paths with Ambrose via James Bearce Sr. and Experience Howland, he via their son James Jr. (1688), we via their daughter Experience (1692) who purportedly married Dennis Egerton.
We can therefore (if proven) consider ourselves descended from pilgrim John Howland and pilgrim Elizabeth Tilley.
We are also (if proven) descended from Augustine Bearce (1618), the father of James Bearce Sr. (1660 – 11th and last child); however, Augustine came on the last arrival of the second Mayflower in 1639 (first Mayflower arrived in 1620). (The second Mayflower came in 1630, 1633, 1634, 1639, and sank on the next trip in 1642 with 140 passengers on board.) We don’t know the name of the mother(s) of these 11 children. Some claim an Indian princess and that Augustine was a romany (gypsy) but according to some, including a very well documented website referencing a ton of sources, both of those claims are incorrect. (http://www.gdcooke.org/SS/default.aspx/page/org2-o/p14301.htm)
[On the other hand, I must point out that he discredits the claim largely because of a court document, and there are numerous (claimed) descendants who state their proof came down through the generations long before they ever heard of this court document. http://genforum.genealogy.com/bearce/]
There is a book, by the way, that one would think contains the proof we need as to the pilgrim connection. Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol 2: John and Elizabeth Howland’s Son John, for Five Generations. I emailed a person who has it, looked, and couldn’t find mention of whom either Experience-mom or Experience-daughter married (which seemed odd given the “for Five Generations” as part of the title). Continuing to research I did find a source which typed up exactly what appears in the book, and what is written in the book is exactly what she said, that the name Experience was considered a man’s name up until the 1830’s and that no primary proof has ever been provided. [Even so, I beg to differ as to gender. Just as femme as Temperance, Mercy, Thankful, Consider, Faith, Hope and Charity, though there does exist a male Experience here and there. In just my looking for ours and finding those below, I found one (only one). In addition, if it’s such an odd and/or masculine name, why are there more female Experiences sprinkled among the Howland and Bierce relatives? i.e., Experience Hamblen (3) circa 1674, 1704 & 1776; Experience Bearce 1684, dau. of Abigail dau. of Au(gus)stin(e) Bearce of Barnstable; Experience Egerton Howland 1725, Dennis’s dau. who married her cousin, a descendant of Mayflower John Howland’s brother. It wouldn’t be because it’s a popular name, even back then. Researchers claim even Puritan used such ‘virtue’ names only once out of six, but did use biblical names heavily (Mary, John).]
[This book is considered primary proof of lineage for those wanting to be approved as a member of the Mayflower Society. I went through the Mayflower archives from now, backwards for as long I could stand, and found no accepted PSes as to the Experience issue. http://www.archive.org/details/generalsocietyof00gene]
I found an email online from a person who has this same book and told the inquirer the same thing, to which the inquirer responded:
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2001 23:39:10
Thanks for the info... but...according to
"Genealogy - Boston and Eastern Massachusetts", William Richard Cutter, A.M., Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1908, vol 3, pg. 1294” and "A Contribution to the Genealogy of the Bearse or Bearss Family in America 1618-1871", printed 1871, Ancestry and Descendants of Dea. John Bearss and his Wife, Molly (Beardsley) Bearss, of New Fairfield, CT., and Westmoreland, N.Y. written by John Bearss Newcomb of Elgin, Illinois, and published by Gazette Printing Co., Elgin Illinois Dec., 7, 1871…
Experience Howland married James Bearce in 1683...
Of course the Mayflower Society knows it all too... I have a gravestone with my great great grandmother's name on it - but they aren't sure she died. I assured them that she had.
Respectfully, Steps In It firstname.lastname@example.org
(I emailed this person and asked what it says on the tombstone - no response, but I didn’t get a reject message either.)
The oldest authoritative thing I can find which fills in most of the questionable blanks, is the book “Steps In It” references and is online, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Vol. 3, compiled by William Richard Cutter and printed in 1908* (ISBN: 9781143645297).
Page 1294 states that James Bearce (Sr.) was the youngest child of Austin (Augustine) Bearce (1618-1697), born July 1660, died in Plympton (now Halifax, and not an alternate spelling of Plymouth as some have said) 1728. Mother unnamed (generally accepted by some that her first name was Mary). All the children were born in Plympton. Owned property in Barnstable before moving to Plympton. He married “Experience _____” in 1683, and their daughter Experience married Dennis Egerton in 1719. Which all fits with the above and gives credence to the pilgrim connection. [*Another odd reason, predating 1930, for the so-called official claim that Experience is a man’s name.]
The second source that "Steps in It" references (above, published 1871) is also online and can be word searched. http://www.archive.org/stream/contributiontoge00newc/contributiontoge00newc_djvu.txt. It does NOT, however, contain the words "Experience" nor "Howland". It follows the genealogy of Joseph, a brother of "our" James. Which means she was 1) confused and added the second source in error (which I must tell you is VERY easy to do, even if you are considered an effective researcher!), 2) fabricating, 3) someone else ID'd this information incorrectly for her (happens all the time!), or 4) the online version isn't the same version.
I had to “join” to get to view the official Bearce ancestry page. Experience Howland and Experience Bearce are their story and they’re sticking to it. Interestingly, they have data on our connection down to George Beyers Ogilvie but nobody had submitted family groups further down than that. What they have of ours was provided late 2008. (If you would like to join [free]: http://arborfamilias.com/newacctform.php)
If we ARE connected, we are as “related” to Joseph Smith as we are to Ambrose Bierce! (John and Elizabeth Tilley, parents of John Howland who married Mary Lee: our line comes through their daughter Experience, b. 1688 [James Bearce Sr.], Joseph Smith’s through Experience’s sister Hannah Howland, b. 1661.) We could go to a John Howland Jr. and Mary Lee reunion and circulate among our Smith cousins! Or a John Howland Sr. and Elizabeth Tilley pilgrim reunion bash and hobnob with our Smith cousins!
*pictures are public domain*
(If any of you become genealogy nut cases and learn more, please let the rest of us know!)