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"the particular family bearing the name to whose progenitor it
"had been granted or confirmed, and it was as purely individual a
"piece of property as a homestead. Hence it was as ridiculous
"to assume arms without being able to prove the right as it
"would now be to make use of a representation of the Washington
"mansion at Mount Vernon and claim it as having been the
"original property of one's family, unless bearing the name
"of Washington and being of the line of those who owned it."

This is in direct opposition to the stand of 1864, and there-
fore in adopting the later report the society admitted that for
fifty years it had been in error in the matter of heraldry. One



COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES. 25

naturally asks what assurances there are that it is not equally
at fault now.

In reciting the new regulations we are given to understand
that they were applicable and of force here in these colonies.
Such is not the fact. No restrictions or laws of any kind relating
to arms bearing here ever existed. These rules more nearly
resemble the position of the English heralds of today than any
others, but they do not truthfully state the present requirements
of the English college, and they are very unlike the rules in force
in England at the time of the colonization of America. The
settlements here were made at the time of the visitations in
England, and the later visitations there, were of a subsequent
period.

That we may understand how the bearing of arms was
regarded by the heralds of the visitations, the words of one of the
best known, Sir William Dugdale, Norry king of arms in 1668,
are quoted:

"Therefore, it will be requisite that he do look over his
own evidences for some seals of arms, for perhaps it appears in
them, and if so and that they have used it from the beginning
of Queen Elizabeth's reign, or about that time, I shall allow
thereof, for our directions are limiting us so to do, and not for
a shorter prescription of usage."

This makes it sufficiently clear that use in a family for
about one hundred years gave good title to arms. This was in
accord with the practice in the visitations in some other coun-
tries, and such proof is admitted by the heralds in some parts of
Europe even now. Prescription of usage covering three genera-
tions will establish one's right to arms today with the Ulster
king, so liberal are the regulations of the Irish office.

Although until 1898 the New England Historic Genealogical
Society did not adopt its present plan, there was a disposition by
those in control to disparage all American claims some time
before the society formally took this new stand. In 1891, W.
S. Appleton printed in the magazine the names of twenty-nine
families as the sum total of New England's founders entitled by
evidence satisfactory to him, to bear arms; and this Ust has been
used as a final dismissal in many instances of any inquiry there
as to arms.

The exact title of this extraordinary roll, as it appears in
the pamphlet reprint is, — ''Positive Pedigrees and Authorized



26 COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES.

Arms of Nezv England," and the second family in the list is that of
its author. Its preface contains this precious bit of information :

" It is a fact that the early settlers of New England were not
"all of the same social rank at home. Some belonged to the
"gentry and were entitled by birth to use shields with the arms
"of their families, while many more were simple yeomen with
"no claim to such distinction."

This idea that no one of the ^^eoman class can have any
valid claim to arms is very industriously nurtured by the
heraldry people of the New England society, and the admission
by them of one's right to arms is to be taken also as establishing
his standing as a gentlemen. While the modern English herald
fosters the same theory, it is nevertheless utterly untrue.

Theoretically, the younger son of a gentleman is always a
gentleman. In practice the younger sons of younger sons are
generally of the yoemanry or lower yet. The younger son of a
peer is but a gentlemen, and in a few generations it is not unusual
to find the descendants of noblemen among the actual peasantry.
A coat of arms once acquired descends forever to all heirs male
of the body of its original bearer, and however low by poverty
one of these may have fallen, his right to the arms of his family
still holds. It is a commendable spirit that leads the Spanish
peasant rudely to emblazon upon the stones of the hut he in-
habits, his armorial bearings. In England, on the contrary,
poverty and the conditions that go with it, cause many to
relinquish any claim to their armorial rights, and in time all
trace may be lost.

The use of the term "authorized arms" has this exact
meaning: the herald will certify to a man's right only if he has
upon record in the office of arms his grant or his lineage from a
grantee. Arms having such certificate are "authorized." The
right to arms exists without the record, by virtue of inheritance.
The herald cannot deny a man's right to arms — he can only
refuse to certify if fees have not been paid to record the requisite
pedigree. The majority of arms borne by the recognized gentry
of England today, have not the sanction of the herald, and the
absence of a record in the college is evidence of nothing in the
world but the refusal of one's ancestors to pay fees. The New
England people would have us believe that a man is not permitted
to display arms in England unless they are sanctioned by the
heralds, but the truth on the contrary is, that the heralds have



COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES. 2']

not the power to give a man this right. A yearly tax payment
collected independently of the college and its officers, is the only
means and the only requirement by which one may there have
the privilege of placing arms upon his carriage door.

The enactment of the law making arms bearing dependent

upon this tax alone, accomplished the purpose of protecting

claimants whose right through lapse of time was impossible of

establishment by unbroken pedigree. It was also a rebuke to

the avarice of the heralds, who sought to deprive such of their

arms and to coerce people in various other ways to pay tribute.

Remembering the significance of the term, "authorized

arms," as employed in heraldry, let us see what Mr. Appleton's

list of "authorized arms of New England" claims to be. He

names twenty-nine emigrants to these shores as the authorized

arms bearers. Unless the names of these individual men are

entered in the records of the college of arms they were not

authorized. " ' Let us take his own family as a test case. He says ;

"Appleton, Samuel of Ipswich, Mass. From Little Walding-

' field, Suffolk. In visitation of Suffolk. Arms. Argent a fess

'sable between three apples gules leaved and stalked vert.

'Evidence: Will of Robert Ryece of Preston, Suffolk, 1637,

'who married Mary Appleton of Little Waldingfield : 'My

'loving brother-in-law, Samuel Appleton, now dwelling at

'Ipswich in New England.' See also Lichford's Note Book as

'published by American Antiquarian Society."

Nothing here making Samuel Appleton of New England an
"authorized" arms bearer. His name is not in the visitation
records nor upon any pedigree in the heralds' college. Mr.
Appleton's family have a claim to arms no whit better than a
thousand other New England families. In some respects not as
good, for unfortunately for the claim here set up we find no use of
these arms, he has described, by the emigrant, his sons or his
grandsons, but we do find an entirely different coat claimed by
Colonel Samuel Appleton of Ipswich, grandson of the emigrant,
and this shield may be seen upon his tombstone in that town.

The value of this roll of arms may be judged by this sample.
The whole thing bears the appearance of an attempt to place his
own family in a social plane above the majority of the founders
of New England, and the preface emphasizes this effort as a
piece of oiTensive impertinence.

The false standards set up in this pretended roll of authorized



28 COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES.

arms in 1891 appear to have dominated the course of the society
later in making the regulations adopted in 1898. How utterly
untenable these restrictions are, can be understood when we
realize that the assumption of a coat of arms was once a right
enjoyed by everyone — that until king or constituted authority
supervenes that right continues, and that no such power has
ever attempted any regulation here.

The bearing of arms has always been a right of every colonist
in America and of every American citizen even to this day. Tt
is very probable that every colonial family has an inherited
right to arms, though very few can trace the intervening genera-
tions back to the founder of his line or the ancient bearer by the
record. That our ancestors, like their kindred in Europe, in
some instances used such arms as they had reason to believe
had been the ensigns of their family, when the actual proof was
wanting, was natural and in no way reprehensible. The English
heralds have provided a way for the enrollment of such assump-
tions among the authorized arms. This is done by a new grant
(though discreetly called generally a "confirmation") of the very
arms the family had adopted. To avoid duplication a slight
change may sometimes be made by the herald, that is unnotice-
able except to the professional eye, yet sufficient to mark a
distinction. These officers are so very obliging if one only pays
their fees.

In America there has never been a way to have an official
"confirmation" of arms. In a few cases a grant of arms made
to an Englishman has carried with it the name of his son in
America, and there is one case upon record where a man of New
England origin, but at the time of his application an admiral in
the British navy, obtained from the college a grant on the
representation that his family was "by tradition" a branch of
one of the same name in England.

So general had been the assumption of arms and the claim
of right by descent, though no pedigree had been entered with
the heralds, and so universal the knowledge that the official
records held only a small part of the arms justly borne, that
Sir Bernard Burke, Ulster king of arms, issued his " General
y4rtnory." This was an honest effort to give a register of all arms
in use at any period in Great Britain and Ireland, and has run
through many editions and brought upon its author unbounded
abuse from his brother heralds during his life and after his death.



COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES. 29

It is a work of great value, however the supporters of the college
in England and their imitators here may regard it, for it has
preserved the blazonry of thousands of arms that otherwise
would be lost.

There are families in England who are able to trace lineage
to remote generations, who make no attempt to satisfy the
officers of arms, being quite content in the possession of shields
that have long been borne by their ancestors. No new grant
from the college would be accepted by them as a substitute under
any circumstances. Lineage is not by any means an attribute
peculiar to the nobility, for Macaulay tells us, "Pedigrees as long
and escutcheons as old were to be found out of the House of
Lords as in it. There were new men who bore the highest titles
and there were untitled men known to be descended from knights
who broke the Saxon ranks at Hastings and scaled the walls of
Jerusalem."

Among the untitled men that made up the pioneers of New
England it is possible now to trace in some cases to the like
period, and our old line American families today have preserved
the evidences of descent in much more complete lines than have
the peerage of England. The proofs of arms that were sufficient
for the visitations, should be accepted here and applied to the
arms left by our American progenitors, and it should never be
deemed the province of any historical society to assail the record
of an American heraldic tombstone.

Very industriously do the ruling spirits of the New England
society try to instil this doctrine that arms are property in the
sense that lands and houses are possessions protected in the law.
They are imitating the course of the modern English herald who
seeks in England to place arms upon this footing that he may
draw revenue from every bearer. His efforts thus far have had
the result to make it impossible to know now who are by inlier-
itance entitled to bear them in that country. His American
allies in the New England society have not this motive and we
can ascribe their position to Anglo-mania solely. Most arms,
excepting only the late grants, were arms of assumption — the
fancv of their first bearer transmitted to his descendants. When
kings or legis^.atures took these matters under their control,
confirmation was given to the arms thus created, and in some
countries voluntary assumption was still permitted, while pro-
viding means for recording such assumptions and making the



30 COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES.

bearings hereditary. Wherever the governmental power was not
exercised, arms bearing rested in its original state, wholly at
the will of the individual. The American colonies were never
included within such restriction, and the general adoption of
arms here previous to the revolution was entirely within the
rights of the people. In Scotland, before the union with Eng-
land, the legislature passed restrictive measures as to arms,
and this old law still exists, and the resident families there
generally comply with it. In no other part of the British Em-
pire has there ever been any legal obstacle to prevent a man
from bearing such arms as he chose.

It is a matter of little real concern, in examining the relics
of our colonial period, whether this or that coat of arms had come
down through a series of generations to its then claimant or was
the original device of the man who bore it. It should be sufhcient
that a man of colonial times claimed and used it, and no other
credential should ever be asked or wanted. The heraldry of
America should rest upon the heraldic remains of these colonial
days, the evidence of tombstone, seal and bookplate, of heir-
looms — plate, paintings and embroidery — and the evidences
of every other nature that can now be brought forth to show
the arms then used.

To impeach, as do our critics, the claims of Benjamin
Franklin and many more of the leading spirits of the revolution,
the very founders of this nation, is almost sacrilegious; and the
efforts of these same men to place the bearings of Washington
upon a different and firmer basis are ridiculous and amusing.
By the rules of the college of arms the coat that the father of our
country proudly displayed upon his carriage was "without
authority," yet no true American would for a moment ask to
know more than that he bore it.

Of the arms in use in the United States at the present time,
very many are recent productions. In this land, where the peo-
ple are the sovereign we may freely admit the right of every
man to assume and display such devices ; but the antiquary will
feel interest only in those arms that have the stamp of time and
were borne by the forefathers. No systematic attempt has ever
been made to collect or compile a record of such, and the cause
of colonial heraldry is in sad need of some published roll of arms
bearers. As the time passes on the possibility of an approach



COAT ARMOR IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES. 51

to completeness grows steadily less, and the wonder is that the
work has not before this been done.



NOTE.

Since the above paper was read at the meeting of the Association in
if)02, I have learned that many English antiquaries liave of late taken
very similar ground on this question to that advocated by me. Among them,
E. Marion Chadwick, Esq., an eminent lawyer, as well as an accomplished
writer on archaeology and armory, has declared: " That it is only a sovereign
power which can grant arms, I flatly deny. It has been the practice of
persons and families, not to speak of tribes and nations in all countries,
and in all ages, to use symbols for the purposes of identification, historical
record, marks of ownership, and in various other ways, and this is the
simple and uni\ers.tl form of heraldry. It is simply nonsense to say that the
whole system of the use of symbols, must be changed in its nature or pur-
pose, or in any other way by the mere fact of placing the symbol or combina-
tion of svmbols on a shield."

H. S. R.



^/* ^/^ ^y%



SOME DESCENDANTS OF
GEORGE AND MARY (BUSHNELL) ROBINSON.



By Hamline Elijah Robinson, of Maryville, Missouri.




THE first notice of record which I have been able to
find of this ancestor of a now widely spread family,
is from Suffolk Deeds, Book i, page 283, where it
is stated that on July 17, 1656, he witnessed a
deed given by Joshua Hues and Henry Fowler to
Thomas Savage.

On Oct. 3, 1657, George Robinson was mar-
ried to Mary Bushnell, by Governor John Endecott.
She was born in England in 1634, and was daugh-
ter of Francis Bushnell, a carpenter, who came to America in
April, 1635, with his wife Martha and child Mary. He first
settled in Boston, but soon removed to the Winthrop farm at
Ten Hills. He was admitted freeman at Salem, and died
March 28, 1636. The widow, Martha, returned to Boston,
where on Feb. 3, 1638, she was admitted to the church by
Mr. John Cotton, who on the 17th of the same month bap-
tised Mary.

To George and Mary (Bushnell) Robinson were given three
children, of record,

George^, born March 30, 1658.

John, born 1661.

Martha, born March 31, 1665.

In Suffolk Deeds, Book 3, page 366, is recorded an execu-
tion against John Horsam, master of the ship Samson, in favor
of George Robinson, mate, for "thirteene pounds, fower shill-
ings, and fower pence, for wages due."

George Robinson is witness to an endorsement on a deed
dated January 16, 1678, given by Sarah Jameson to William
Gard, recorded in Suffolk Deeds, Book 11, page 217,

His Signature.



SOME DESCENDANTS OF GEORGE AND MARY (BUSHNELL) ROBINSON 3}

The great fire of November 27, 1676, in Boston, seems to
have stirred the authorities towards measures of prevention of
such losses, and a fire engine was ordered from England. In
the town records under date of Jan, 28, 1678-9, we find the fol-
lowing entry:

" In case of Fire in y*" towne where there is occation to
make vse of y*^ Engine lately come from England, Thomas
Akins, Carpenter is desired & doth ingage to take care of the
Manageing of the s^ Engine in y*^ worke intended & secure it
y*' best he can from damage & hath made choyce of y*' severall
psons followinge to be his Assistants which are aproved of
and are promised to be paid for their paines about the worke.
The persons are Obediah Gill, John Raynsford, John Barnard,
Thomas Elbridge, Arth"" Smith, John Mills, Caleb Rawlins,
John Wakefield, Sam" Greenwood, Edward Martin"", Thomas
Barnard, George Robinson."

This was the first paid fire department of Boston and
George Robinson was one of the first members.

On April 25, i68r, George^ Robinson was chosen one of
the tithing men for Major Thomas Clarke's Company in Boston,
His name is found in various tax lists, etc, of Boston, and he
seems to have been a man of some substance.

Mary Bushnell Robinson died before 1698, for on April 7th
of that year George Robinson and Sarah Maverick were mar-
ried by Mr, Cotton Mather. He appears not to have lived
many years after his second marriage, for we find the following
entry in the Boston Town records:

" Sarah Robinson, widd" , her Petition for license to Sell
Strong drink by retayle both within doors & without dissap-
proved by the Selectman July 17th, — and since by y'" approved
July 12th, 1702."

George* Robinson, born March 30, 1658, joined the second
church in Boston in 1680. He was married about that time to
Elizabeth , whose maiden name is as yet undiscov-
ered. To them were given eight children, as follows:

George', born December 28, 1680.

John, born June 19, 1684.

Martha, born August 8, 1687, died young.

Nathaniel, born June 22, 1689.

Nathaniel, born February 7, 1690.

Robert, born January 23, 1692.



34 SOME DESCENDANTS OF GEORGE AND MARY (BUSHNELL) ROBINSON.

Sarah, born February 5, 169J.

Martha, born January 7, 1695.

In 1694, George- Robinson joined the Ancient and Honor-
able Artillery Company, and in 1697 he was chosen third Ser-
geant. He was earlier a member of Major John Richard's
Company, of which he was chosen tithing man, May 5, 1686.
On March 11, 1694-5 he was elected one the Constables of
Boston, and on March 14, 1714-15 he was elected one of the
tithing men.

I715. GEORGE^.

Elizabeth Robinson died July 7, 1697. George Robinson
and Deborah Burrill were married November 30, 1710, Rev.
Cotton Mather performing the ceremony. About this time he
removed to Dedham, where he had acquired land some time
previous, for we find him listed on No. 1, Country rate, in
June, 1691. There he died in August, 1726, and among the
articles named in his inventory is "Armour, 16 s.," evidently a
relic of his soldiering days.

George^ Robinson, born December 28, 1680, settled in
Dedham. He married at Sherborn, January 17, 1707, Mary
Learned, daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Bigelow) Learned. Isaac
Learned was one of the wounded in the Great Swamp Fight of
December 19, 1675, and John Bigelow, father of Sarah, was a
soldier in both the Pequot and King Phillip's Wars. He was
also a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Com-
pany, which he joined in 17 10.

George^ and Mary (Learned) Robinson had seven children,
the first six recorded at Needham and the last at Dudley, Mass.
They were:

Mary, born August 13, 1708, married Joseph Wakefield and
had six children.

Sarah, born September 20, 1711, married John Thompson
and had one son.

Eliakim, born September 12, 1714, died in infancy.

Eliakim, born July 2, 1716, died January 17, 1734.

Paul, born July 2, 17 17.



SOME DESCENDANTS OF GEORGE AND MARY (bUSHNELL) ROBINSON. }^

Silas, born Nov. 19, 1721, married Susannah Moore and had
sixteen children. Tlieir descendants are many at Oxford, Mass.,
Hartwick, N. Y., and in the West,

Samuel, born June ig, 1726, married his cousin Hannah
Learned of Oxford, Mass. Their descendants are found in
Worcester County, and elsewhere.

In 1 7 19 George^ Robinson bought 500 acres of land in
Oxford, Mass., of Col. WilHam Dudley of Roxbury, moving to
his new home in 1723. That year he bought 225 acres more,
which lay just across the line in Connecticut. At the first town
meeting held in Dudley after its incorporation in 1732, George
Robinson was elected one of the Selectmen, and again in 1740
and 1 741. He built the first mill in Dudley. He gave his
children farms as they came of age, and seems to have been a
thrifty citizen. Mary (Learned) Robinson died June 30, 1750,
and George^ Robinson died April 13, 1752.

Taking up the line of my own immediate descent, Paul*
Robinson, born July 2, 1717, grew to manhood in Dudley. He
bought a tract of land there when he was but 18 years old,
and after becoming of age his father gave him another farm.
In 1740, he was elected one of the Constables of Dudley and
afterwards served on many important town committees. In
1758 he w^as Captain of the Dudley Militia. Late in life he
moved across the line into what is now Thompson, Conn., where
he died.



O^




SIGNATURE OF PAUL* ROBINSON.

Paul* Robinson was married ist, in May, 1737, to Mary
Jones, daughter of Col. Jones of Hopkinton, Mass., by whom
he had six children, nearly all of whom died young. Mary
(Jones) Robinson died March 8, 1748, and in 1749 Paul* Rob-
inson married 2nd, Hannah Trumbull, daughter of Joseph and
Abia (Gale) Trumbull of Framingham, Oxford and Leicester,
Mass. On both sides Hannah Trumbull was descended from
men who did valiant service in the Pequot and King Phillip's
Wars, and in the 1690 expedition to Canada.



}6 SOME DESCENDANTS OF GEORGE AND MARY (BUSHNELL) ROBINSON.







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SOME DESCENDANTS OF GEORGE AND MARY (BUSHNELL) ROBINSON, 37

The children of Capt. Paul and Hannah (Trumbull) Rob-
inson were:

Elijah, born July 25, 1750,

Aaron, born January 27, 1753, served in the Revolution,
and has descendants living in Thompson, Conn., Springfield,
Mass., and elsewhere.

Mary, born December 19, 1754, married a Mr. Jewell.

Moses, born May 3, 1757.


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