Friday, August 24, 2012

TGIF Circus Life "Sweet Painted Ladies" The Political Sideshow Opportunist Edition


After watching countless hours of campaign coverage that ignores our national debt, high unemployment, deflated personal income, and media gotcha moments about events that don't effect the average American's lives in any foreseeable manner. I have come to the conclusion that the main theme of this campaign cycle is "political opportunism".  While Rome burns the political class, and their "political props" have turned the campaign for high office, and the future of the U.S.A., into some kind of absurd political sideshow.

If there is a republican war on women, there is another war being waged by the democrats - a war on people's intelligence. Case in point, the current sideshow currently underway.  The democrats haste to make hay out of a statement made by what would be described as one of the poorest politicians of our day - but the day is young. Some people may want to be in political life, but that doesn't make them a competent politician. Todd Akin made indefensible claims about rape, women's biology and abortion, in response his party dropped him like a lead balloon, and withdrew funding for his campaign. The democrats desperate for something to smear the republicans with trot out their political props.  For some reason the democrats believe the way to win elections is to turn political campaigns into side show attractions. It's not that they are intentionally trying to insult people's intelligence. They think the average American is stupid. There is no other explanation unless of course our political class is made up of the special needs demographic. 

The current list of absurd claims being made. Mitt Romney didn't pay any taxes....uh huh the IRS isn't aware Mitt Romney is running for president of the United States, and they have no idea if he's paid his taxes or any interest in checking, because that's how the IRS works? 

Mitt Romney caused the death of man's wife years after he left the company where he was the CEO. Uh huh sure that's how cancer works?

Mitt Romney is a felon, because if you make a statement, it makes your statement a fact, that's how the truth works?

It reminds me of an old saying when I was growing up when someone would tell such a huge whopper or proposed something so outlandish your jaw would drop open. "What do I look like? Do I look like I have stupid written across my forehead?" 

It would be better still if we had some kind of stamp we could stamp across these political opportunist foreheads. I think "Political Whore" gives a whole new meaning to the term - tramp stamp. 

Is it any wonder why we get candidates like Todd Akin, and not politicians of a high caliber, the political class hasn't exactly set the bar very high,  this is how the war on women works? 

The republican convention has a list of speakers.  None of which are one of the most popular conservative woman of our day. 

The democrats on the other hand have a list of women who are going to speak at their convention. A list of women who have turned themselves into political sideshows "First woman of color at Harvard Law" turns out the first woman of  color at Harvard Law was a white woman so that's how diversity works? A Georgetown student who thinks contraception is a right, because contraception cost money so that's how rights work? Caroline Kennedy, well sure that's a no brainer we know how the Kennedy's treat women/  Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, because nothing says you support women like having the champion of making sure women don't make it past the womb -to speak, so that's how democrat support of women works?  Planned Parenthood is all for sex selective abortions. 


Susan B Anthony, Women's Rights

Republicans are dismissive of strong women, and Democrats are insulting, and condescending. Susan wouldn't stand for the kind of treatment, American women are receiving from the political class of today. Susan B Anthony, didn't march so women could sell themselves as political sideshows, so the political class could sucker the rubes into their political tents. 

Sweet Painted Lady, 

I'm back on dry land once again 
Opportunity awaits me like a rat in the drain
We're all hunting honey with money to burn
Just a short time to show you the tricks that we've learned.......

Monday, August 6, 2012

President Obama's Immigrant Bunch Ancestor "Free" or "Indentured Ringleader"


In the years the English were transporting colonist into the Virginia Colony, 20 December 1606,  and prior to the date 1637, the estimated birth of John Bunch I. The above graphic shows the route they - the English Captain's took to deliver their passengers to the Virginia Colony.

This is the route that would have brought Eliza Bunch, aboard the Alice to Virginia in 1635. This is the same route that would have been used to transport Hugh Gwyn's three servants,  (One) called Victor a Dutchman, the other a Scotchman called James Gregory, the third a negro called John Punch, three servants that were indentured to Hugh Gwyn. The terms of Indenture, would include Hugh Gwyn, paying for passage, food, clothing, and shelter - in return for labor for a set period of time usually five years.

There is only one record pertaining to John Punch. From this record a narrative has been constructed, and an identity crafted, based solely on reference to his race - Negro. What can we tell from this one recorded document of John Punch? That he was a servant of Hugh Gwyn - an indentured servant, because Hugh Gwyn took him to court to receive redress (Recompense) for John Punch's act of running away from his employer. If John Punch was just a free servant of Hugh Gwyn, he could have simply quit Hugh Gwyn's employ. If John Punch had been a slave, there would have been no need to penalize him by ordering  that he serve a lifetime of servitude to Hugh Gwyn, he already would have been serving a lifetime of servitude.

Where did John Punch come from? We know that the English were transporting people into Virginia Colony from England. There were colonist paying for their own passage, indentured servants, and convicts. Virginia was a penal colony. We know that John Punch, was subjected to English law. The impression the reader is left with, the narrative created for John Punch is that, because of his race identified as negro, he came straight from Africa, and was sentenced more severely, because of his race.  There is nothing in the record or document that identifies John Punch's origins.  Slavery of indigenous Africans, didn't just exist in Colonial America, the practice also existed elsewhere, and one of these places was England. The presence of Africans in Elizabethan England.  The Elizabethan Era  (1558-1603) In fact Queen Elizabeth, ordered that they start being deported from 1596- 1601.

Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, Peter Fryer has argued that the queen's discriminatory project "failed completely" "in so far as [it] was a serious attempt to deport all black people from England." (13) To be sure, Elizabeth's efforts extended only across the short period between 1596 and 1601 and did little to diminish the size of that population. Blacks remained in England throughout the Renaissance and by the middle of the eighteenth century comprised somewhere between one and three percent of the London populace. (14) Yet to evaluate the queen's policies in the ambitious terms of a full-scale deportation is misleading, even with qualification ("in so far as") of the sort Fryer offers, since, as Fryer also acknowledges, Elizabeth never attempted to deport "all black people from England," only parts of that population.

If I was curious about the origins of John Punch, I might start by looking in London baptisms, and parish records for dates preceding the colonial Virginia record date of  July 1640. What's been overlooked in the ancestry.com report is that Virginia was an English penal colony, the people involved were English subjects, who would be subjected to English law. An accurate description of the final disposition of John Punch, would be, the first documented slave in the English penal colony of Virginia.  There is no evidence that John Punch, is the progenitor of the Bunch family of early colonial Virginia. The first record identifying (A) John Bunch I purchased 450 acres of land in 1662, neither his race nor his ethnicity is mentioned in the document.

Let's examine the only existing record of John Punch in Colonial Virginia. I found a copy of the transcribed record in The free Negro in Virginia 1619- 1865, by John Henderson Russell.  pages 29-30.

Where the text becomes pertinent: 9 July* (exact date added) 1640 the general court (53) rendered in a single case a judgement which is very instructive as to the earliest development of slavery. "Three Servants" of Hugh Gwyn, to wit a Dutchman called Victor, a Scotchman named James Gregory, and John Punch, a negro, having run away from their master, were overtaken in Maryland and brought back to Virginia to stand trail for their misbehavior. The verdict of the court was "that the said three servants shall receive a punishment by whipping and to have thirty stripes apiece."  Thus far there was no discrimination in the penalty, but the court went on to order that the Dutchman and the Scotchman should "first serve out their times with their master according to their Indentures and one whole year apiece after the time their service has expired......in recompense of his loss sustained by their absence," and that then they should serve the colony for three years. But "the third being a Negro....shall serve his master or his assigns for the time of his natural life. " (54)
While there is no mention of an indenture or a contract with the Negro, it must be remember not all white servants had formal contracts. If John Punch was not merely a servant with a future right to freedom, his punishment was much less severe than that of his white accomplices. If he was such a servant, his penalty was greater than the penalties inflicted on the white men. The most reasonable explanation seems to be that the Dutchman and the Scotchman, being white, were given only four additional years to their term of indenture, while "the third being a negro" was reduced from his former condition of servitude for a limited time to a condition of slavery for life.(55) END

This reasonable explanation would stand if we didn't have another similar case in the same period of time to compare the two similar events, and penalties ordered by the same court. What other explanation could there be for singling out one person from the other participants for a greater penalty if it wasn't based solely on their race?

The Virginia Magazine of history and biography The Virginia Historical Society page 236 -237.

 (two weeks later) 22nd July 1640, Whereas complaint has been made to this board by Capt. Wm. Pierce Esqr., that six of his servants and a negro of Mr Reginald's has plotted to run away unto the Dutch plantation from their said masters, and did assay to put the same Execution upon last Saturday night, being the 8th day of July 1640, as appeared to the board by the Examinations of Andrew Noxe, Rich'd Hill, Rich'd Cookeson, and John Williams, and likewise by  the confession of Christopher Miller, Peter Milcocke, and Emanuel the aforesaid Negro, who had, at the aforesaid time, taken the skiff of the aforesaid Capt. Wm. Pierce, their master, and corn, and powder and shots and guns to accomplish their said purposes, which said persons sailed down in the said skiff to the Elizabeth river, where they were taken and brought back again, the court taking the same into consideration as a dangerous precedent for the future time (if left unpunished) did order that Christopher Miller a dutchman (a prime agent in the business), should receive punishment of whipping and to have 30 stripes and so be burnt in the cheek with the letter R and to work with a shackle on his legg for one whole year and longer if said  master shall see cause, and after his full time of service has Expired with his said master to serve the colony for seven whole years, and the said Peter Milcocke, to receive thirty stripes, and to be Burnt in the cheek with the letter R and after his term of service is Expired with said master to serve the colony for three years, and said Rich'd Cookeson, after his full time has expired with his master, to serve the colony for two years and a half, Rich'd Hill, to remain on his good behavior until the next offence, and Andrew Noxe, to receive to receive thirty stripes, and the said John Williams, a dutchman and a chirurgeon after his full time has Expired with his master, to serve the colony for seven years, and Emanuel the Negro to receive thirty stripes and be burnt in the cheek with the letter R and to work in shackles for one year or more as master shall see cause, and all those condemned to serve the colony after their time are Expired with their masters, then their said masters are required hereby to present to this board their said servants condemned to the colony.

The reasonable explanation is that the prime agent aka ringleader is penalized more severely than the rest of the participants. Above Christopher Miller styled the dutchman is referred to as (a prime agent in the business) he received the most severe penalty, he was white. The reasonable explanation would be that John Punch received the most severe penalty of the three, because he was (a prime agent in the business).

The purpose of examining genealogical records is not to emote meaning into the records, and documents. Emoting leads to people reading opinion into records. The purpose of examining genealogical records is to glean from the record any information that would lead to the next step backward's in the specific person's ancestry, in this case John Punch.

Without having a dog in the fight, I can look at the records dispassionately for their intended purpose, identifying John Punch, and his origins. Examining the court record, I noted that the other two men were identified by their nationalities Victor the dutchman, and James Gregory the scotchman. What is the point of the court identifying them as such ? Is it to make the point they are other than English in origin? John Punch is only referred to as Negro, but no mention of origins, because he was already an English subject? From the second court record it's stated the six, and one Negro's purpose was to runaway to a Dutch plantation. Two of the men are identified by nationality Christopher Miller a dutchman, and John Williams a dutchman and chirurgeon. The other's nationality are not identified by the court - because their origins are English, and they are already known to be English subjects? If they had managed to reach the Dutch plantation, would they have been out of the reach of English law?

From examining the court record, I can determine that, John Punch was free, and became Indentured to Hugh Gwyn. How did John Punch, become indentured to Hugh Gwyn? Did Hugh Gwyn pay for John Punch's passage into the Virginia colony or was John Punch a convict sent to the Virginia colony to serve his sentence on a tobacco plantation? If John Punch was a convict shipped from England to Virginia, the next place to look for records for John Punch is in England.

Addressing the beginning of slavery in America, I read that the Portuguese made a point of christening the people they imported into the Americas, for the express purpose of servitude -indenture. The cultural mores' of the time being, that no Christian could be held in bondage for the entirety of their life time. The Europeans first mission was to convert pagans to Christianity. When examining records, it's important not to project our current cultural mores' onto  people who lived in the 17th century with the cultural mores' we live by today. That's what creates road blocks in genealogical research IMO. 

I did note that ancestry.com's report on John Punch, does include muster rolls, and Emanuel is mentioned in the rolls.

page 40 I found an Emannuell in 1639 Richard Kemp - James City, this isn't the only mention of him in the muster rolls. 

page 41 *Emanualla 1642 William Ireland - Robert Wallis, York

page 43 Emanuel is mentioned again in 1648 Daniel Pierce selling to Francis Yardley lower Northfolk. The 6 in the above court record were referred to as servants of Capt Wm Pierce, this Daniel Pierce,  was probably a relation to Capt Wm Pierce, (speculation).

Ancestry.com has created an ancestry for President Barack Obama based on John PUNCH who is found in only one record. Punch stepped out of a court room in 1640 and into oblivion.  John Punch was not a slave, he was a servant, his transportation paid for by Hugh Gwyn. 

Just because John Punch, wasn't the progenitor of the Bunch family in America, doesn't mean the Bunch family didn't have African slave ancestry. 

This post was a collaborative effort of myself -  Keyboard Jockey, and Joanne Pezzullo.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Was President Barack Obama's Bunch Ancestor A Stow Away?



Graphic: Chickahominy River upstream from James Towne on this 1667 map by John Ferrar
Source: Library of Congress, John Ferrar map of 1667 -
Philip Freeman transferred 450 acres to John Bunch I in 1662. The red line above indicates the location of the Chickahominy river.

470. Phillip Freeman. May 2, 1661. 1000 acres. Upon the No Side of Chickahominy main swamp, Beg'g at a corner beech (by the swamp) of Thos Meredith's land.


‎519. Philip Freeman. Mar. 10, 1673/4. 650 acres. Upon the Main swamp of Chickahominy river, above Westham path, and adjoining to the Land of Thomas Meredith.

Ancestry.com recently published:  President Obama descends from the first African enslaved for life in America. 


I must admit, I appreciate the symmetry. To wit, the first bi racial President of the United States, who's father was born in Kenya, and white mother was born in Kansas, descended from the first documented slave in America. The same documented slave who is conjectured to have begotten at least one child by a mysterious white indentured woman. I mean what are the odds of this occurring? Go ahead take your time, think about....think about the long odds :)  There are 3 conjectures that jump right out at the reader. 1. That the YDNA test results proves that John Punch was the father of John Bunch, styled John Bunch I born before 1637. 2. That later generations of John Bunch I's descendants were referred to as mulatto proves their father was of mixed ethnicity.  3. That the nearest person in colonial Virginia with a similar surname during the period of John Bunch I's birth prior to 1637, was a John Punch.

Let's start with the YDNA, the halo type E1b1a8a, Sub Saharan African, YDNA cannot determine a person's ancestor's race or ethnicity.  There is no way for us to determine when E1b1a8a, entered the Bunch family ancestry.  It could have happened centuries earlier, and in Europe or it could have happened later in Colonial Virginia. There is no way to be able to determine when from  YDNA test results.


The report of the  DNA is significant, because it's conjecture through preponderance of evidence that states, the DNA matches. The DNA matches descendant's of males who have proven themselves back through records, and documents to John Bunch I, *through preponderance of evidence. No one to date has proven themselves through records or documents to the man identified as John Punch, the first documented slave in America (there is only conjecture). In an event like this, the only other way to obtain John Punch's DNA, would be to locate his resting place, get permission to dig him up, and test his DNA. I think that would be extremely disrespectful, and in poor taste.  I would be among those that would insist his remains be shown respect, and left to rest in peace. Human decency trumps human curiosity. I don't need to know anything badly enough to dig someone up.  I would just as soon agree that John Punch was John Bunch I's father if that were the only option. 


The later generations of John Bunch I descendant's were sometimes referred to as mulattoes, but John Bunch I was not referred to as a negro or mulatto in any records.


*Page 20 of the report, John Bunch I, who patented land near Richard Barnhouse, New Kent County, Virginia, in 1662/3, is an ideal (and the only available) candidate to be their father. However, John Bunch I is not specifically stated to be “Negro” or mulatto in the patent.
55

My question for ancestry.com knowing they can't fix the time period that E1b1a8a entered the Bunch family line, or have a sample of John Punch's DNA, how do they know that John Bunch I was mixed, when he was never referred to as a negro or of mixed origin? Isn't it more likely that John Bunch I married a mixed woman in Virginia, and produced mixed offspring, that were later referred to as mulatto? There is evidence that this halo type was present in Europe - E1b1a8a.


Lastly ancestry.com states, after ignoring the above, and dismissing alternate possibilities, through process of elimination, that John Bunch I had to be a mixed child of an African man, and a white indentured woman. They looked around to find the most closely spelled  surname to the surname Bunch. They found John Punch, in the same geographical area during the same time period. Virginia wasn't over populated in 1635/7 many people lived in vicinity of each other for survival, there was safety in numbers, especially after the Isle of Wight massacre. (The houses of Captain Basse's plantation were building when a great calamity happened to the infant colony. At midday on Good Friday, March 22, 1622, there were twelve hundred and forty inhabitants in the Colony* of Virginia. Of these three hundred and forty-seven were killed by the Indians in the eighty settlements on the north and south side of the James river, of which fifty- three were residents of this county.) 993* survived. 


I believe that ancestry.com scoured the early Virginia Colonial records, and looked for bastard bonds, head rights received for transporting people into the colony, and head rights collected upon release of indenture. The standard was 50 acres for someone who was transported into the Virginia colony after their indenture was served, and a 100 acres for a Virginia born indenture after their indenture was served.

Ancestry.com deduces that this means that John Bunch I was born to a white mother in Virginia in turn a free man. They can find no bastard bonds for a Bunch. They also don't find any headrights collected for a John Bunch or a John Bunch collecting head rights for an indenture. 


So where else could John Bunch have come from who else was living in Colonial Virginia prior to 1637?  The estimated birth of John Bunch I was prior to 1637. Was there a Bunch living in Colonial Virginia during this time period?


Passengers on Ship Alice from London England to Virginia 1635  


Theis under-written are to be transported to Virginea, imbarqued in the Alice, Richard Orchard Mr. the men have taken and oath of Allegeance & Suprem."


*Bunch Eliza  20

Eliza Bunch was transported by the crown into Colonial Virginia aboard the Alice in 1635 she was 20 years of age.  


Still if Eliza Bunch, had intermixed with a man in Virginia, and produced a bastard child in Virginia, there should be a bastard bond.


On my mother's maternal side of the family, there is this funny old family story (Shaw Family Oral History), that's been passed down through our family. Ambrose E McFarland, married Laura Alice Shaw. The Shaws had a tale about how their grandfather was a stowaway on a ship on the way to America.  After closer research, I found that it wasn't their father Joseph Newton Shaw's father Gabriel E Shaw, that was the stowaway, but his father George Shaw. The Irish have a fine sense of humor, when I was researching the Shaw family ancestry in multiple census, I found two of George Shaw's sons, who stated their father was, born at sea* you know a stowaway. 


If Eliza Bunch was transported into Virginia, and was carrying a child at the time, no one in the Virginia colony was going to be accused of being the father of her bastard child * no bastard bonds, and no one in Virginia would be made to pay for that child. There would be no bastard bonds.  For all we know she was married, and widowed before she embarked for America aboard the Alice in 1635. There would be no headrights paid to anyone, because the crown paid for Eliza Bunch's transportation into the Virginia colony.


Was President Barack H Obama's Bunch ancestor a stowaway? 


Of course this is all conjecture, exactly the same kind of conjectures, ancestry.com makes connecting the Bunch family to John Punch. It is interesting that Paul Bunch son of John Bunch I, named a daughter Elizabeth who married Russell, and mentions another Elizabeth Bunch in his documents ancestry.com's conjecture: This Elizabeth Bunch could have been a daughter in law. Page 9 of the report bottom paragraph: Paul Bunch also gave one shilling to an Elizabeth Bunch, but did not state a relationship. This Elizabeth Bunch might have represented the heir of one of Paul Bunch’s children or been his daughter-in-law. P


If John Punch was the father of John Bunch I born prior to 1637. It means that John Punch ran away to Maryland in 1640, leaving the mother of his child, and his child behind on Gwyn's property? If John Punch had a family wouldn't the magistrate have taken that into account before sentencing him to a lifetime of indenture? John Punch would have had a family to support. Mitigating circumstances? Finally if John Bunch were the son of a black slave, and indentured white woman, where did he get the money to purchase 450 acres of land in 1662? 


It's easier to figure out who the wife of John Bunch I, could have been, he was living in the middle of the Chickahominy Indian Tribe's territory. If John Bunch I did marry an Indian or mixed Indian woman, it would explain mixed children. Paul Bunch, and his descendants, John Bunch III, and his descendants, weren't ever referred to as negro only as mulatto. 


There is documentation of the English marrying American Indians as early as 1612.


The First African Slaves in America - arrived in what would become the United States in 1526. 

In the End it doesn't even matter.