We have corresonded before.I don't have anything new to report on this, but I thought I would provide a synopsis for others who may read this thread.I have spent a lot of time on this issue, and while I have no firm evidence one way or another, here are the conclusions I have tentatively reached.
First, in the Cooper reference of the mid 1700s, Isabella Hart was called a daughter of 'an old Jewish trading house', while Mark Anthony was termed a 'marrano of Amsterdam'.For those who are not aware, the term 'marrano' refers to Iberian Jews who were forced to convert to the Christian faith by the Inquisition before 1492.Many of them retained their Jewish faith in secret.The statements seem to make it very clear that both Mark and Isabella were of Jewish origin, at least ethnically.The information can only have been furnished by their granddaughter, Sarah Anthony Cooper, and she must have heard it directly from Mark and Isabella, or their children.
Second, there is a 'pirate story' about Mark Anthony, which many people doubt.In the story, Mark presumably was the son of a Genovese banker [also named Mark] who moved to Amsterdam.Mark was supposedly sent back to Italy for education, was captured by Algerian pirates, and escaped as a stowaway on a ship bound for America, skippered by a man named Fleming.Mark adopted the religion of this Fleming man and remained in Virginia.
The stowaway story is patently false.Mark Anthony was listed as an indenture to John Fleming, imported from England into Virginia in 1690.The record is clear.Further, there are no records of a Jewish Anthony (or Antonio) family in Amsterdam in the Jewish community there at that time.The Amsterdam connection is therefore probably false.The Fleming family was Scots and had extensive shipping interests, and there is some indication they may have been involved in privateering, at least in part.There were interactions between the Flemings and the shipowner John Anthony 'of Exeter' in maritime ventures.The Fleming people were Quaker, at least in Virginia.The comment about Mark Anthony 'adopting the religion' of Fleming, a peculiarity at first glance, makes some sense when it is considered that many secret Jews sought refuge among the Quakers.The Quakers of that period sometimes rejected the divinity of Christ, which would make that faith easier to reconcile to traditional Jewish tenets.
In looking at the circumstances of Mark Anthony, it appears to me that he deliberately falsified his background in the pirate story.That further indicates to me that he must have been a fugitive, as a secret Jew, or possibly as a privateer (pirate) trying to bury his past in the wilds of America.And if that is the case, then the Amsterdam connection is probably false as is his reported ancestry.Most researchers discount this whole scenario and place Mark Anthony in one of the Jewish Anthony families of England.
There were two major Jewish Anthony lines in England at that time, a goldsmith line derived from Derrick Anthony [chief of the British mint], and a shipping family derived from John Anthony 'of Exeter'.The two lines may have been related, but there is no firm evidence.Mark Anthony could have descended from either of these two.One of the principal researchers, Arlene Anthony, seemed convinced that Mark was the grandson of John Anthony of Exeter, through son Edward.Others have tried to trace his possible ancestry to the Derrick Anthony line, with Mark being the son of an Edward Anthony, the gg grandson of Derrick.This Edward Anthony was living in Italy about the time Mark would have been born, and so it is possible that Mark was in fact born in Italy around 1670.
The case for Isabella Hart Anthony is even more obscure.Virtually nothing certain is known of her background.
A direct Bassano-Lupo connection to Mark Anthony has been suggested, but I find it a bit far-fetched.The Bassano family and the Lupo family were Jewish musicians who were imported from Venice, Italy by King Henry VIII to provide music for his court in England.Given the tight-knit nature of the secret Jewish community in England, the Bassanos and the Lupos certainly would have been acquainted with the Jewish Anthonys, and some of them may have intermarried into the Anthony family.Some of the Lupos did in fact immigrate to Virginia and donated land for the first Jewish cemetery in the colony, at Hampton, VA.
The Jewish de Nassi (Nasi/Nazzi) family was important in the Italian banking system about the same time the Bassanos and Lupos were in Venice.I think there may have been intermarriage between some of the Bassano family and the de Nassi family.I ran across those names when I was looking for Anthony connections, but I did not pursue them.I cannot say if they had connections to the Davidic line, although it is possible, I suppose.I have no information on the Menges/Mendes names.If it was a family name, it probably came from Isabella Hart's family, since it does not appear in any of the Anthony lines.
If anyone has any new and definite information on any of this, I would certainly welcome it, even if it demolishes my conclusions.And I would welcome discussions about this, either here or in a direct email.
Lloyd (Lyn) Overton