There have been questions concerning the origin of Hugh Calkins in England, and when he came to America. Therefore I am posting the following, to debunk the myth that Hugh Calkins was from Chepstow, and to establish the most likely time of his immigration to America.
The following excerpts are taken from:
I. Calkins Family Association newsletter, Calkins World, Vol. 7, No. 3, July 2000, pages 8-10, "Origin of Hugh Calkins Found," by Ken Calkins.
II. monograph on file at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), "Outline of the English Origins of Hugh Calkins", by Roy Edwards, 18 July 2000.
[some bracketed comments are my own]
I. "Origin of Hugh Calkins Found":
A genealogy and family history workshop was held at the Calkins International Family Reunion on Saturday morning, March [sic; should be "May"] 6, 2000. Highlight of the session, without question, was the presentation by Roy Edwards of Hayes, Middlesex, England on the search for the origin of Hugh Calkins and his family in Wales or England.
Since Hugh and his wife Ann, with at least four of their children, came to America with a group called the 'Welsh Company' led by the Reverend Richard Blynman of Chepstow, Monmouthshire, it has generally been assumed and often reported that this was the birthplace of Hugh and others in his family.However, thorough searches of records in that area have failed to reveal any records of anyone by that name.
Following leads provided in 1998 by Marilyn Brown of Ogden, Utah, and by Robert Charles Anderson (NEHGS), Roy and Leslie Edwards began a search of available records from the city of Chester and surrounding communities in Cheshire, a county to the north and east of Monmouthshire. In particular, microfilm copies of Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts starting from the mid-1500's to the mid-1600's were reviewed for many of the parishes around Chester. Unfortunately, many of the records are incomplete, with key years missing in some cases, and many of the ones that exist are of such poor quality that deciphering is nearly impossible. In conducting the search Roy and Leslie looked for any conceivable spelling of the names Calkins and Eaton (for Ann), and also for other names that were known to be associated with the 'Welsh Company.'
In many of the parishes searched no information was located that was useful.In numerous others, however, the names Calkin, Caulkin, Calkyn, Cawkin, Corkin, Calken, Calker, etc., were found. A map located elsewhere in this issue [p.10] shows some of the areas where such names were located. [p. 9 is titled "Calkins…Vital and other Records from Waverton, Cheshire, England and other parishes in the surrounding area" and contains entries from Waverton (includes some entries from Chester St. Oswald), Christleton and Tattenhall, dated 11 May 1998, revised 26 Apr 2000, by Roy Edwards.] In addition, a lesser number of entries contained the name Eaton, and other members of the Company, such as Bruen and Hough.
The parish of Waverton, Cheshire, provided the greatest number of record entries and those of greatest interest in Calkins genealogy. Those that seem to be directly applicable to Hugh and his family are listed below.It should be noted that these parish registers do not normally record birth dates of children, but christening dates.As in the modern world, the christening can be several months to a number of years after a birth.Similarly, burial dates are given rather than death dates, although these are usually within a few days after a death.
II. "An Outline of the English Origins of Hugh Calkins"
There is no evidence to support the myth that Hugh Calkins was born in Chepstow, Monmouthshire in 1600.The date derives from a deposition made by him in 1672 when he stated he was aged about 72 years. A letter from Daniel Clark of Windsor, CT, to Hugh Calkins clearly implies that both men and others of their circle came from Cheshire. The 17th century distribution of the name Calkin in England, based on parish record extracted data in the IGI, is restricted to three counties - Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire. The 17th century and earlier occurrence of the name in Cheshire is all in the western part of the County, almost entirely in three parishes East of Chester, with some events (mostly marriages) in some of the City parishes.
Hugh Calkins was baptized 8 April 1603 at Waverton, the son of Rowland Calkin and Ellen (Payne) who were married in 1597. Hugh had an elder brother William, who appears to have survived, if the marriage of 1631 to Elizabeth Siverston is pertinent. A younger brother Peter, baptised 18 August 1605, probably did not survive because his mother Ellen was buried five days later. Obviously arrangements amongst the Calkin clan were made to aid Hugh's survival chances, but Rowland did not appear to remarry immediately. He did remarry much later, in February 1624/25. While the Bishop's Transcript record is defective, the marriage license dated the previous day (12th February) gives a full version, namely: Rowland Cawken and Margaret Kirfoot, widow, of Waverton. Re-inforcing [sic] this is the Will of Margaret Calkin of Waverton in 1637 where she leaves bequests to her three children John, Mary and Ralph Kirfoot. So Rowland had died between 1625 and 1637 but we have no record of his burial. Rowland was born in the late 1570's probably the son of Hugh Calkin.
The marriage of Hugh Calkin has not been found probably because the Bishop's Transcripts are not extant for the most likely year, 1626. We then have the baptisms of three of his known daughters, Sara 6 May 1627, Mary 27 December 1629 and Rebecca 9 November 1631.An infant burial of a Margaret [sic; parish list gives it as Elizabeth Callkin] on 26 Mar 1629 may be relevant. There is then a big gap before the baptism and burial of a Deborah in 1639. This is significant because when they were in America they named another daughter Deborah (baptised 18 March 1643/44). What is missing from the Waverton register is the baptisms of the two sons John and David. According to F. M. [Frances Manwaring] Caulkins ([historian of] New London) David was the younger and was probably born in America. She provided no supporting evidence. The period between the 1631 and 1639 baptisms at Waverton and Chester St. Oswald, could easily accommodate the births of both sons. [The age given at John's death in Norwich, Ct., on 8 January 1702/03 provides a birth year of about 1634; David's birth year has been given as 1636 to 1644, but only in unreliable secondary sources] The baptismal register for Waverton is unusual and this may account for the missing baptisms. In baptismal registers for nearby parishes which cover the period from at least 1600 there are no fundamental trends in the number of baptisms until the nearly universal collapse of registration in the 1640's. At Waverton however, the baptism numbers drop to half the previous level in the 1630's. There was a new vicar from 1632 and this may represent slack recording or some more fundamental problem over the baptism of the children of Dissenters. Under Archbishop Laud's regime non-conformists may not have accepted the official baptism procedure and did not get their children officially registered. Perhaps the new vicar tolerated or sympathised with them. The baptism and burial of the first Deborah at Chester St. Oswald rather than Waverton may have significance in this respect.
Though there are record gaps that one expects at this period, the above story is convincing on its own. But there is additional data pointing towards Cheshire. While the so-called 'Welsh Company' which emigrated to America probably did have some Welsh members, there is evidence that part of the group besides Hugh Calkins, came from Cheshire. Obadiah Bruen, son of John from Bruen Stapleford in the parish of Tarvin was baptised there 25 December 1606 only two to three miles away from where Hugh Calkins was born.[See Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families by Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, ed., 2004, p.162-163, for a royal descent of Obadiah Bruen] Obadiah a Draper, became a Burgess of Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1633 while still a single man. He must have married very soon afterwards because he had a daughter by his wife Sarah, baptised there on 12 June 1634.He returned to Tarvin where a second daughter Sarah was baptised on 1 May 1636. According to published American genealogies two other Company members seem to have come from Cheshire, although in neither case has this been substantiated.William Hough is alleged to have been born at Westchester (an old name for Chester) in 1619. Andrew Lester is supposed to be derived from the distinguished family of that name in Cheshire.
The Reverend Richard Blinman who led the party to America almost certainly was born at Chepstow, Monmouthshire (baptised 1608).He graduated from Oxford in 1636 and held temporary posts in 1638-9.One was in North Herefordshire and the other just over the border in Shropshire at Brampton Bryan with Sir Robert and Lady Brilliana Harley, prominent Puritans.This couple knew Obadiah Bruen's father John, who[m] they called 'Bishupp Bruen.'It was Lady Brilliana who tells us that Richard Blinman in 1640 'had goon into New England.'A line of communication along the Welsh Borderland can thus be envisaged.
While outside the scope of this summary, the above evidence highlights the problem of where the group, possibly equally well called the 'Cheshire Company' gathered, and from which port they ultimately sailed to America.Did Hugh Calkins start sailing from Chester or Liverpool? Or did he travel through the Welsh Borderland down to Bristol? It is unlikely that we shall ever know, but we do know that he came from Cheshire.
Footnote (by Roy Edwards): An expanded referenced article is being written for one of the main American genealogical journals. [I have not yet seen this article; if anyone knows of it, please let me know]
III. [Entries gleaned by me from parish lists, mostly at Waverton (the parish church there is St. Peter):]
1597 23 Jun Roland Calken & Elen Payne [at Chester St. Oswald]
1624/25 12 Feb Rowland Cawken & Margaret Kirfoot, widow, of Waverton [license]
1624/25 13 Feb Rowl….. & widowe Kirffot [hole in page]
1631 28 Dec William Calkin & Elizabeth Siverston [of Shocklach]
1583 27 Nov Peter, s. of Hugh Calkin
1600/01 11 Jan William s. of Rowland Calkin
1603 8 Apr Hugh s. of Rowland Calkin
1605 18 Aug Peter s. of Rowland Calkin
1627 6 May Sara, d. of Hugh Calkin
1629 27 Dec Mary, d. of Hugh Cawkin
1631 9 Nov Rebecka, d. of Hugh Calkin
1639 17 Apr Deborah, d. of Hugh Calkin [at Chester St. Oswald]
1599 29 Dec Elizabeth, w. of Hugh Calkin
1605 23 Aug Ellin Calkin
1629 26 Mar Elizabeth Callkin, infant
1639 4 Oct Deborah, d. of Hugh Calkin [at Chester St. Oswald]
IV.Hugh Calkins was likely still in England on 4 Oct 1639 when his infant daughter Deborah was buried [she had been baptized 17 Apr the same year]. He was clearly in America on 2 Mar 1640/41, the date when the Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England state 'Mr. Richard Blindman, Mr. Heugh Prychard, Mr. Obadiah Brewen, John Sadler, Heugh Cauken, Walter Tibbott' were propounded to be made free the next Court. Since crossing the Atlantic seldom occurred in the winter due to the often hazardous travel conditions, it's clear that Hugh Calkins most likely arrived in America in 1640, if his wife and children accompanied him. He could have come slightly earlier if his wife had remained in England, and came over after the birth and burial of daughter Deborah.