Monday, April 19, 2010

Richard Mather


RICHARD MATHER
(1596-1669)


Richard Mather, a direct 10th generation ancestor of Herbert F. Clarke, was a Puritan clergyman and author from Boston, MA. He was born in Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, near Liverpool, England, of a family which was in reduced circumstances but entitled to bear a coat-of-arms. He had a great reputation as a preacher in and about Liverpool; but, advised by letters of John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, he was persuaded to join the company of pilgrims in May 1635 and embarked at Bristol for New England. He arrived at Boston on August 15, 1635, in the midst of one of the most catastrophic hurricanes of the colonial era. He was the pastor of Dorchester until his death in 1669.

Richard's son, Samuel Mather, and my 11th great grandfather, migrated to Lyme, Connecticut, where he would later continue the line that would lead to many of the Clarks of Connecticut.

Richard's other son, Increase Mather, was a Puritan minister from Dorchester, Massachusetts who got involved in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  Increase's son, Cotton Mather, was Puritan minister more directly involved in the trials, and was believed to be the mastermind behind the persecution of the purported witches.

I find it interesting that Richard Mather's sons were directly involved in persecuting the witches.  An ancestor on my father's side, Susannah Martin, was hanged for being a witch.

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