Monday, November 25, 2013

Rebecca Needham, d/o Ann Potter, d/o Humphrey Potter, s/o Sir Thomas Potter, Lord Mayor of Coventry, 1622

The following was first printed in Potter Profiles, Vol. 11, March 1987. It had been shared with me by Lois Horn to go with what I had dubbed, Branch 81.

"Anthony Needham, born in Devonshire in 1628, was the son of Anthony and Jane, and was the father of Rebecca. He arrived in Salem in 1651 and Rebecca was born five years later. Back in England, under Cromwell, the Needham family had taken an active part in the Reformation movement. Their ancestry can be traced to the 12th century Norman..... "de Meet Mame".....interpreted as "deer or horses" and "park or home"..... suggesting a remote ancestor to have been a keeper of the royal deer park. Indeed, this progenitor's wife appears to have been a cousin to William the Conqueror.

"Rebecca's mother was Ann Potter, only child of Humphrey Potter, who died in the Irish Rebellion. Ann's grandfather was Sir Thomas Potter, who in 1622 had been Lord Mayor of Coventry. Possibly as a result of his title, he became an Irish landholder. We know that 19 years later he was in Dublin and became a victim of the Irish Massacre.

"Meanwhile, Humphrey Potter had married into the family of Sir Philemon O'Neale of Antrim. At the latter's death, the considerable property in northern Ireland was divided among his children, including of course the wife of Humphrey Potter.  Ann Potter would have been a small child during the dire events which cost the lives of both her father and grandfather.

"Ann Potter's aunt, her father's sister Rebecca, had in the meantime come to America. The new Mrs. Rebecca Bacon of Salem, she seems to have joined the sect of Quakers. After her brother Humphrey's death, this stout-hearted woman undertook the voyage back to Ireland to claim her niece, Ann, whose mother may also have died at this point. The two sailed on Ye London Merchant.

"So Ann Potter came across the Atlantic to live in Salem with her aunt, and to become a Quaker like her aunt. In January 1655, Ann married Anthony Needham and their daughter, Rebecca, was born the following year and christened for her great-aunt, the courageous Rebecca Potter Bacon."

The sketch continued with the saga of Rebecca Needham's life; she married Michael Chapman and died early at the age of 35. Consult Vol. 11 of Potter Profiles to read it for yourself. DPP

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