There is something that is interesting about the name Grizel...perhaps it reminds me of one of Cinderella's stepsisters, Grizelda. Whatever the case, it isn't the usual name. I haven't even seen it much in the early colonial times. So I was interested when I came across her name.
Elizabeth Baldwin would have been my 6th great grandmother. She married Jesse Swan on the 24 Nov 1766 in Stonington, New London Co., CT. My line to her is as follows:
Nathaniel Swan m. Harriett Shutter
Cynthia Swan m. Potter Gage
Gilbert Gage m. Phoebe Allen
Orlando Gage m. Edith Phoebe Gallup
Ora Silas Gage m. Florence Christine Shawver
Helen Marian Gage m. Frank Stewart Johnson (my grandparents)
I have found the Swan family line to be a very interesting line to pursue. I have found a lot of interesting tidbits through the years. From all the research that I have done through the years, I have the realization that an awful lot of my family comes from New England. I have family living in Connecticut and Massachusetts from the mid 1600's to the late 1700's. With that small of a geographic area there is a high likelihood that there are a lot of tangled family connections...and that is certainly the case.
Elizabeth's parents were John Baldwin and Eunice Spaulding and she was born in 1745 in New London Co., CT and died in 1803 Berne Co., NY. Elizabeth and her husband Jesse Swan migrated to NY probably in the late 1790's. I have a few other more family lines who moved about the same time. Anyway, you take Elizabeth's family back a few more generations you end up with Grizel Fletcher.
John Baldwin m. Eunice Spaulding
Thomas Spaulding m. Mary/Mercy Welch
Joseph Spaulding m. Mercy Jewell
Thomas Jewell m. Grizel Fletcher
Thomas Jewell was born about 1607 in England, immigrated to Massachusetts in 1635 and married Grizel Fletcher around 1640. Grizel was born about 1618 in Chelmsford, Essex, England. Her father was Robert Fletcher and her mother is unknown. I have seen Robert's second wife Sarah Hartwell listed, but since they didn't married to 1631, I find that doubtful. Thomas and Grizel were the parents of the following children:
Thomas Jewell b. 1639
Joseph Jewell b. 1642
Hannah Jewell b. 1643
Nathaniel Jewell b. 1648
Mercy b. 1653 (My 9th great grandmother)
Thomas Jewell dies on 21 Jul 1654 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA. I don't know if women were in a shortage or if Grizel needed protection and help, but Grizel marries about six months later on 9 Jan 1655 to Humphrey Griggs. (He was b. 1610 and d. 1657) He must have died before 8 Aug 1657, because Grizel marries Henry Kibbee on that date. Henry passes away on 10 Aug 1661. They have three children:
Edward b. 1659
Sherebiah b. 1659
Joshua b. 1661
Then, on 12 Nov 1661, Grizel marries John Gerney. I don't have any birth and death dates, but I would make the assumption that he died before 1667, because that is when Grizel marries John Burge on 3 Jul 1667. Grizel dies herself on 9 Jul 1669 in Chelmsford, Middlesex Co., MA.
There is no judgement on my part as to the many marriages. It would have had to be very difficult to support young children as a woman. The husband's all had young children and they needed wives to provide food and care for them as well. Grizel was the mother of nine children by two different husbands and also married two more times. Grizel was about 21 when her first child was born in 1639 and about 43 when she had her ninth child. When she died in 1669, she was 51 years of age. She left behind 5 children below the age of 16. I am fairly sure those children were absorbed into other family members families. My 9th great grandmother (Mercy Jewell) married on 9 Dec 1670 to Joseph Spaulding.
If the data I have found is correct, it doesn't paint a very pretty picture. It does paint a picture of woman who was a survivor and did whatever she could to keep hearth and home together. How difficult it must have been to face the death of three husbands and have nine children to look after and make sure they were clothed and fed. I am not sure how anyone could call that period of history the "good old days!"