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Settling the Massachusetts Bay and New Haven Colonies
from the Corwin Genealogy, 1872

This piece is the whole of the piece from which the biography of Matthias Corwin was condensed. This is the "long' version, and thus repeats that material, but adds a lot of material on the general history of the Massachusetts Bay and New Haven Colonies. nmt


         Among the earliest settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, we find a Matthias Corwin, (pronounced Currin.) The Commoner's Record, at Ipswich, yet preserved, says, "Given and granted to Matthias Currin, two acres of land, lying unto his house, on the east end thereof, to him, his heirs, and assigns," etc. This was in 1634, and seems to be a second grant of land. The name in the same records is also spelled Curwin, and they note, concerning him, that he finally removed to Southold, Long Island.(*) The first grant was probably the fifty or two hundred acres given to all the first settlers.(+) It is said that he came from Warwick, England.??

         These settlers of Ipswich came under the lead and governorship of John Winthrop. That the circumstances of that settlement may be understood, permit a condensed statement to be given from Bancroft's History of the United States:

         Rev. Mr. White, a minister of Dorchester, in the south of England, a Puritan, but not a separatist, breathed into the attempted settlement at Cape Ann (1624) a higher principle than the mere desire of gain. Roger Conant obtained the agency of the adventure, (1625.) The attempt at Cape Ann failed. But Conant, confiding in the active friendship of White, made choice of Salem as a convenient place of refuge for the exiles for religion, and he and his companions remained as the sentinels of Puritanism on Massachusetts Bay.

         The desire of a plantation was now ripening in the mind of White and his associates in the south-west of England. About the same time, some friends in Lincolnshire fell into discourse about New-England, (1627;) and children, and also a reading-room. Corwen possesses an endowed hospital for widows of clergymen. (See Parry's Cambrian Mirror; Cliffe's Book of North Wales; Land we Livein, vol. iii.; Zell's Encyclopedia.)

          (*)These facts are also all presented in Felt's History of Ipswich. The writer visited Ipswich in July, 1870.

          (+)Each adventurer who took 50 stock in the Massachusetts Company was to receive 200 acres, or 50 acres if he took no stock, but simply transported himself and family. Fifty additional acres, however, were given for every person, additional to the family, whom any of the immigrants brought over.

          ??This tradition was brought to light in the excitement, in 1848, about the Austrian estate. The writer is not aware of the ultimate authority of the tradition, and can not pronounce either for or against it. (See letter of Irena Husted, in Appendix G.)

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         from London, Lincolnshire, and the west-country, men of fortune and religious zeal, merchants and country gentlemen, offered the help of their purses to advance the glory of God, (1628,) by planting a colony of the best of their countrymen on the shores of New-England. To facilitate the grant of a charter from the crown, they sought the concurrence of a Council of Plymouth, (England,) for New-England; they were befriended in their application by the Earl of Warwick, and obtained the approbation of Sir Ferdinando Gorges; and on March 19th, 1628, the Council conveyed to Sir Henry Roswell, Sir John Young, Thomas Southcoat, John Humphrey, John Endicott, and Simon Whetcomb, a belt of land extending three miles south of the River Charles, and three miles north of every part of the River Merrimack, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The grantees associated to themselves Sir Richard Saltonstall, Isaac Johnson, Matthew Cradock, Increase Nowell, Richard Bellingham, Theophilus Eaton, William Pynchon, and others; of whom nearly all united religious zeal with a capacity for vigorous action. Endicott was made governor. He arrived in September, 1628, and united his own party and those who had formerly been planted there into one body, amounting to fifty or sixty persons altogether. With these he founded Salem. Thomas Walford, a blacksmith, already dwelt at Charlestown, and William Blackstone, an Episcopal clergyman, a courteous recluse, lived on the opposite peninsula, (Boston,) while Samuel Maverick, himself a prelatist, son of a pious Nonconformist minister, of the west of England, was at East-Boston; all within the bounds of the new Massachusetts Bay Colony.

         After the departure of the emigrant ship from England, (1628,) the company, counseled by White, an eminent lawyer, and supported by Lord Dorchester, obtained from the king a confirmation of their grant. On the second of March, 1629, a new offer of "Boston men," that promised good to the plantation, was accepted; and on the fourth of the same month, the broad seal of England was put to the letters-patent of Massachusetts Bay. The freedom of Puritan worship was the purpose and the result of the colony.

         The company was authorized to transport to its American territory any persons, whether English or foreigners, who would go willingly, would become lieges of the English king, and who were not forbidden.

         In April, 1629, the new embarkation was far advanced. The company was directed to make plentiful provision of godly ministers, as the propagation of the Gospel was their professed aim in settling. One of these was Samuel Skelton, of Clare Hall, Cambridge, under whose preaching Endicott had sat. Another was Francis Higginson,(*) of Jesus College, Cambridge.

          (*)Revs. Higginson, Skelton, and Bright came over to America in 1629, (being silenced ministers in England,) and with them came over sundry honest and well-affected people, in several ships, which were engaged to transport planters to New-England, all of whom arrived alive and safe at Naumkeag, (Salem,) Mass., intending to settle a plantation there. (Hubbard's Hist. New-Eng., 112.)

          Higginson came over in ship Talbot, (Captain Thomas Beecher,) and he is called the father and pattern of the New-England clergy. His relation of the voyage is printed in

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         Deprived of his parish in Leicester for nonconformity, he received the invitation to conduct the emigrants as a call from heaven. Two other ministers were added as missionaries to the Indians.

         The party included also six shipwrights, and an experienced surveyor, who, with Samuel Sharpe, master gunner of ordnance, was to drill the company at appointed times. A great store of horses, cattle, and goats was put on ship-board. Higginson called his children, as the ship was receding from Land's End, and bade them look, for the last time, on their native country, not as the scene of sufferings from intolerance, but as the home of their fathers and the dwelling-place of their friends. They did not say, "Farewell, Babylon! Farewell, Rome!" but "Farewell, dear England!" "On the Sabbath, they added preaching twice, and catechising; and twice they faithfully kept solemn fasts. The passage was quiet and Christian-like; for even the ship-master and his religious company set their eight and twelve o'clock watches with singing a psalm, and with prayer that was not read out of a book."

         In the last days of June, 1629, the little band of two hundred arrived in Salem. The old and new planters numbered about three hundred, besides women and children. They believed themselves to be chosen emissaries of God, the favorites of heaven, selected to light in the wilderness the beacon of pure religion. Mr. Skelton was chosen pastor, and Mr. Higginson, teacher, and were consecrated by the imposition of hands of some of the flock. Mr. Higginson wrote a glowing description of New-England, which went through three editions in a few months, and many letters were sent back to friends by the colonists. While former attempts to colonize, from motives of gain, had failed, this effort could not, since their object was purity of religion. They purposed to form a peculiar government, and to colonize only the best.

         In July, 1629, Matthew Cradock, the governor of the company, proposed to transfer the government of the company to the emigrants. This led several persons of worth and quality, wealthy commoners, zealous Puritans, to think about casting their destinies with the American colonists. Twelve men, of large fortunes and liberal culture, on the 26th of August, 1629, among whom were John Winthrop, Isaac Johnson, Thomas Dudley, and Richard Saltonstall, offered to bind themselves to each other, that if the government of the colony were thus transferred to America, they would emigrate. On the 29th, the transfer took place. Thus the commercial corporation became the germ of a commonwealth. John Winthrop was chosen governor. Of the stock of the company, nine tenths was sunk in the first year. Cradock furnished two ships. The Eagle was purehased, and its name changed to Arbella.(*) From the resources of the emigrants, Hutchinson's Collection of Papers. 1630. London. Neal's Puritans, i. 300, 301. Harper's edition, N. Y. 1843.

          (*)Mr. Drake, in his early History of New-England, gives the passenger-lists of about fifty or sixty ships which brought some of the early settlers to New-England; but the name of Matthias Corwin is not found among those yet published. We understand that additional passenger-lists of the Puritan emigrants are about to be published in England.

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         seventeen vessels, during 1630, brought over about a thousand souls. About seven hundred others, not conformists, yet not separatists, many of them men of high endowments and large fortunes; scholars well versed in the learning of the times; clergymen, who ranked among the best educated of the realm, embarked with Winthrop in eleven ships, bearing with them the charter of their liberties. They arrived in June, 1630, at Salem, and afterward settled at Boston. The west-country men, who, before leaving England, had organized their church, with Maverick and Warham for ministers, and who, in a few years, were to take part in calling into being the commonwealth of Connecticut, were found at Nastasket, where they had landed just before the end of May. Some of the emigrants remained in Salem; some founded Lynn. William Coddington, of Boston, England, settled on the peninsula, since called Boston. Malden, Watertown, Roxbury were also founded. Ludlow and Rossiter, with the men from the west of England, settled South-Boston.

         On the 5th of February, 1631, the ship Lyon, from Bristol, arrived, laden with provisions, and twenty passengers. In 1631, only ninety came over. In 1632, only two hundred and fifty. In April, 1631, Roger Williams began to preach at Salem. In the same month, the Indians of Connecticut invited a colony to their river. In July, 1633, the ship Griffin brought over two hundred passengers. Among them was Haynes, Cotton, and Hooker. In 1634, the bay of Massachusetts was thronged with squadrons.(*)

         Now, some of these settlers came over from London, Lincolnshire, and the west-country, about 1630. These persons are expressly said to be those who afterward took part in the settlement of Connecticut, whither Matthias Corwin went in 1640, though these west-countrymen at first remained for a while in South-Boston. The west-country might refer to Warwick, especially as the Earl of Warwick was a special friend of the enterprise. The company was also to convey either Englishmen or foreigners. There is, therefore, some probability that Matthias Corwin came over as early as 1630, while we find his name among the inhabitants of Ipswich in 1634. His name is not in the imperfect list of the first ten(+) who went there in March, 1633; but in 1634, he received a second grant of land. He was a freeman of the place.

         John Winthrop, Jr., purchased Agawam, (the Indian name of Ipswich,) of the Indian chief Masconnomet, for 20, in 1638. The numbers of this settlement were soon increased by additions from abroad. Rev. Nathaniel Ward,?? persecuted by Bishop Laud, arrived in June, 1634, in which year "fourteen great ships arrived at Boston and Salem." The passengers of at least two of these ships were expressly designed for Agawam. They (*)See Bancroft's interesting account in his Hist. U. S., vol. i., 339-382. Palfrey, in his History of New-England, gives a still more minute account. Vol. i., chaps. viii.-xv.

          (+)The original list gives the names of Mr. John Winthrop, Jr., Mr. William Clark, Robert Coles, Thomas Howlet, John Biggs, John Gage, Thomas Hardy, William Perkins, Mr. John Thorndike, William Serjeant. Felt's Ipswich, p. 11.

          ??A very excellent memoir of Ward was published by John Ward Dean in 1868. Munsell, Albany.

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         arrived in August, and at once changed the name of the place to Ipswich,(*) because of the great kindness which they had received at Ipswich, England, when embarking for their distant home. Rev. Mr. Ward was chosen preacher, and Rev. Mr. Parker,(+) who had already been preaching there, was chosen teacher. The next year, the latter removed to Newbury, and Revs. Thomas Bracey and John Norton took his place. In 1636, Mr. Ward resigned on account of ill health, but continued to reside in Ipswich; and Rev. Nathaniel Rogers succeeded him in February, 1637.

         Ipswich was, at this time, one of the most intellectual and refined towns in the colony. An unusual proportion of the people were persons of wealth and education. Four members of the colonial government resided here, namely, Bellingham, Saltonstall, Bradstreet, and Symonds. Ipswich was also one of the most beautiful of the sea-board towns, resembling the charming rural scenery of Dorsetshire. Mr. Ward, on returning to England in 1646, says that in the twelve years of his residence there, he had only heard one oath, had only seen one man drunk, and had only heard of three bad women.

         Cotton Mather, in 1638, at the time of Mr. Rogers's ordination at Ipswich, says, "Here was a renowned church, consisting mostly of such illuminated Christians, that their pastors in the exercise of their ministry might, in the language of Jerome, 'Perceive that they had not disciples, so much as judges.'" Johnson remarks, 1646, "The peopling of this town is by men of good rank and quality, many of them having the yearly revenue of much land in England before they came to this wilderness. But their estates being employed for Christ, and left in bank, they are well content till Christ shall be pleased to restore it again to them or theirs, which, in all reason, should be out of the prelates' hands in England."

         They had been so greatly persecuted by the prelates that they were forced to emigrate. Some of these pilgrims were merchants. Many of them were among the most estimable of their parishioners, whom the clergymen brought over with them from England.??

         Ipswich increased rapidly in wealth. In 1633, the town was assessed only 8, but the next year 50. After this, however, they were yet obliged to use bullets for farthings. Persons were not allowed to use tobacco under a penalty of 2s. 6d. 

         But no sooner was a settlement formed, than it began to send out emigrants to form new ones. This process began in Ipswich in 1635. In 1641, several families in Lime and Ipswich, "having proposed to inhabit (*)The town of Ipswich, England, derives its name from the river Gipping, and was, in the time of the Saxons, called Gippeswic, now corrupted into Ipswich. This town suffered from persecution during the reformation. Its history was written by John Glyde, Jr., and published at Ipswich, England, 1850.

          (+)In May, 1634, Rev. Thomas Parker, of Wiltshire, England, became a resident of Ipswich. He preached much that the "emigrants had come over for good reasons, and that God would multiply them, as he did the children of Israel." He remained only one year. (Felt's Ipswich, 216.)

          ??Felt's Ipswich, p. 33.

          Felt's Ipswich, pp. 40, 69, 72.

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         Long Island, their leaders are called before the General Court, and persuaded from proceeding any further, because it would strengthen the Dutch, whom Winthrop called 'doubtful neighbors.'" Matthias Corwin had left in the preceding year.(*)

         In 1637, the Pequot war occurred in Connecticut, causing much suffering to the first settlers there, who had gone from Massachusetts. As early as 1631, Seguin, the Indian Sagamore of the Connecticut Valley, requested Governor Winthrop to send a colony thither. Individuals from Devonshire, Dorsetshire, and Somersetshire, England, had located at Dorchester, Mass., in 1630, under Rev. John Warham as pastor, and Rev. John Maverick as teacher. Roger Ludlow and Henry Wolcott were in this company. Sir Richard Saltonstall's people, the same year, settled at Watertown, Mass., under the care of Rev. Mr. Philips. In 1632, a congregation, under the lead of Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Chelmsford, Essex, England, settled at Cambridge, Mass., and were joined by certain others from Weymouth, Mass. These parties applied, as early as 1634, for permission to remove to Connecticut; but their request was denied. The next year, their renewed request was reluctantly granted.

         Thus Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield were settled in the spring of 1636. But the most distinguished company of emigrants that ever came to New-England, arrived in Boston, from London, July 26, 1637. Their pastors and leaders were Rev. John Davenport, a preacher of London; Governor Theophilus Eaton, a wealthy merchant, and others. They proceeded to Connecticut, and founded New-Haven, April 18th, 1638. In January, 1639, they framed a written constitution, the first example of such a thing in history. "There, by the influence of Davenport, it was resolved that the Scriptures were the only perfect rule of a commonwealth. A committee of twelve was selected to choose seven men qualified for the foundation-work of organizing the government. Eaton, Davenport, and five others were 'the seven pillars' for the new house of wisdom in the wilderness. As neighboring towns were planted, each was likewise a house of wisdom, resting on its seven pillars, and aspiring to be illuminated by the Eternal Light. The pleasant villages spread along the Sound, and on the opposite shore of Long Island."(+) About this time, or shortly after, Matthias Corwin left Ipswich, and came to New-Haven.

         At New-Haven arrived soon after Rev. John Youngs, a minister from Hingham, Norfolkshire, England, with a part of his congregation. On October 21st, 1640, he reorganized his church, and removed to Southold,?? (*)One very direct tradition says he went first to Saybrook, in Connecticut, about the time that the Rev. Mr. Hooker settled Hartford. Felt says (p.72) that it is unknown what became of many of these emigrants from Ipswich, though he tells what became of Corwin. So also Farmer's Register.

          (+)Bancroft's U. S. i. 404. In Felt's Ipswich, p. 55, we read that Rev. Mr. Davenport also directed the brethren at Ipswich to nominate eleven of their most godly men for church pillars, out of which the seven pillars of wisdom were to be chosen.

          ??Although Rev. Mr. Youngs and his colony came from Hingham, Norfolkshire, yet their

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         Long Island, where Captain Howe and other Englishmen had purchased of the Indians a large tract of land.(*) This little colony remained in union with New-Haven, though they reluctantly yielded to the rule that none but church members should hold office. Says Trumbull in his History of Connecticut, vol. i., p. 119, "Some of the principal men (of Southold) were Rev. Mr. Youngs, William Wells, Barnabas Horton, Thomas Mapes, and Matthias Corwin."(+) The other parties who made up this Southold colony were Peter Hallock, Richard Terry, Robert Akerly, Jacob Corey, John Conkline, Isaac Arnold, and John Budd.??

         Says Hinman in his Settlers of Connecticut, p. 726, "Matthias Corwin was one of the leading men of Southold in its first settlement....It was first called Yennecock....Many of the first planters came with Rev. John Young, from Hingham, Norfolkshire, England. Mr. Young stood at the head of the civil and religious affairs, aided by Corwin, Wells, Tuthill, Horton, and others of his church. The name of Corwin was not strictly a Connecticut name, but only at the time Southold was under the jurisdiction of the Connecticut colony." We see from the above facts that Matthias Corwin took part in the settlement of at least two towns in New-England, namely, Ipswich and Southold, and perhaps three. For it is not certain whether the reference in Hollister's work,º which places him among the founders of New-Haven, refers to New-Haven. proper or to Southold, which was then in the colony of New-Haven. He had lived about six years at Ipswich, and he spent the eight remaining years of his life at Southold. His will may be found in the town records of that place. He was also, at times, a director of town affairs. In a description of his property new town was called Southold, and their county Suffolk, no doubt after Southwold, Suffolkshire, England. The band is said to have sailed from Yarmouth, Norfolkshire.

          The following works are on Southwold, Suffolk, England:

          Suffolk, Southworld, and its Vicinity, Ancient and Modern. By Robert Wake, M.R.C.S.L.

          With maps and plates. Thick octavo. Yarmouth, 1839. 7s. 6d.

          Another: Suffolk, Southwold, and its Vicinity; an Historical, Antiquarian, and Picturesque Guide for the especial use of Visitors. With plate. Small octavo. 1844. 1s. 6d.

          These works are noticed in Mr. James Coleman's catalogue of books, 22 High street, Bloomsbury, London, W. C.

          (*)They made this purchase in behalf of Connecticut. The tract extended from the eastern part of Oyster Bay to the western part of Holmes Bay, and to the middle of the great plain.

          It lay on the north side of the island, and extended about half-way across. (Trumbull's Conn., vol. i. p. 119.)

          (+)This passage from Trumbull is quoted by Barber in his History of New-Haven, and by Lambert and Hinman in their histories of Connecticut.

          ??John Ketcham became a citizen of Southold in 1648. He also was from Ipswich, like Matthias Corwin. (Moore's Southold, p. 253.)

          (*)They made this purchase in behalf of Connecticut. The tract extended from the eastern part of Oyster Bay to the western part of Holmes Bay, and to the middle of the great plain.

          It lay on the north side of the island, and extended about half-way across. (Trumbull's Conn., vol. i. p. 119.)

          (+)This passage from Trumbull is quoted by Barber in his History of New-Haven, and by Lambert and Hinman in their histories of Connecticut.

          ??John Ketcham became a citizen of Southold in 1648. He also was from Ipswich, like Matthias Corwin. (Moore's Southold, p. 253.)

          The following are the pastors at Southold and Mattituck until the Revolution: Rev. John Youngs was pastor at Southold, 1640-72; Rev. Joshua Hobart, from Boston, 1674-1717; Rev. Benjamin Woolsey, 1720-36; Rev. James Davenport, 1738-46; Rev. William Troop, 1748-56; Rev. John Storrs, 1763-76; again, 1782-87. At Mattituck, Rev. Joseph Lamb, 1717-49; Rev. Joseph Parks was pastor, 1752-56; Rev. Nehemiah Barker, 1756-72; Rev. Jesse Ives, 1772-3; Rev. John Davenport, 1775-7; Rev. Benjamin Goldsmith, 1777-1810.

          ºIn The First Planters of New-Haven, by Hollister, vol. i., p. 506, occurs the name of "Curwin."

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         perty three years before his death, (1655,) no less than nineteen plots of land are described as belonging to him, situated in Southold, on the northern shore, on Tom's Creek, toward the north-west and the north-east, at Oyster Pond, toward the south-west, at Pechaconnicke River, and at Corchack, (Cutchogue.) His will mentions John,(*) Martha, and Theophilus as his children, all of whom seem to have been of age at the writing of his will in 1658. Hence they were probably born at Ipswich, before 1637, or possibly some or all of them in England still earlier. The families of the two sons were large, embracing seven or eight children each, all of whom continued to reside at Southold or immediate vicinity. The names of John's children are positively known by his will, which has also been found.(+) The other names therefore of the third generation, which are recorded in the census list of 1698, must belong to the family of Theophilus. Most of these removed eight or ten miles west of Southold, to Mattituck.

         In the fourth generation removals from the Island began to be made, though to a very limited extent, until the breaking out of the Revolution. Before that event, however, Amaziah, 1, had removed to Maryland, about 1750; Jesse, 2, to Connecticut, about 1760; Theophilus, 4, to Orange Co., N. Y., about 1760; Gilbert, 1, to Rockland Co., N. Y., about 1768; while David, 2, in his old age, accompanied his children to Orange Co., N. Y., about the opening of the war. But with the Revolution removals became frequent. That really broke up the family on Long Island.

         In April, 1775, a meeting was held at Southold, to secure the signatures of those who would support Congress. The list is preserved and printed in the Calendar of Revolutionary Papers. In May, the paper was carried around to get the signatures of those not present at the meeting. About 223, in the little town of Southold, L. I., agreed to support Congress, while only 40 declined. Among those who signed were most of the Corwins. (See Index, Revolution.)

         After the battle of Long Island, 1776, great consternation seized the people of Suffolk County. The American army being obliged to abandon the island, the more prominent Whigs of Suffolk County fled across the sound to Connecticut, carrying with them what they could, leaving their houses and farms to the enemy. The convention aided the removals. Many of these joined the American army. Some crossed over to the Hudson River and settled in Orange County, N. Y., while others afterward returned to the Island. (Prime's Long Island, p. 65. Onderdonk's Revolutionary Incidents in Kings and Suffolk Counties, L. I.)

         Among those who never returned were James, 1, who settled near Middletown, Orange Co., N. Y.; William, 1, his brother, and a Benjamin, who settled near Chester, Morris Co., N. J.; Joshua and Eli, with their father (*) Several of the inhabitants of Southold consented to be made free of this colony, unless any thing appear to interrupt the same. Among these was John Corwin, 1662. (Col. Rec. of Ct.)

          (+) This was found by Charles B. Moore, Esq., of New-York, and kindly furnished to the writer.

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         David, who settled near Scotchtown, Orange Co., N. Y., while their brother Phineas removed to Central New-York; Stephen went to Essex Co., N. J., near Springfield, and subsequently to Ohio; while Jesse, already in Connecticut, had, about 1767, removed to the vicinity of Flanders, Morris Co., N. J., and about the opening of the war proceeded to Fayette Co., Pa., and in 1789 to Bourbon Co., Ky.

         Since this first general scattering, the migrations have continued in every direction for a century, but the reader is referred to the particular names for further information. New-York State has always been the chief home of the family, especially the counties of Suffolk, Orange, Sullivan, Ulster, Cayuga, and other counties in Central New-York. New-Jersey has had the next share, perhaps, especially Morris County. Ohio stands next, until now fully three fourths of the States have members of this family for citizens. They are found in each of the New-England States, excepting Maine, and in all the others, except, perhaps, Utah, Nevada, Delaware, and West-Virginia.(*) (See Index.)

         Not a few college graduates, clergymen, lawyers, and doctors are also found in this family record. Judges are here, and legislative members in various States. One has been a governor, a member of the President's cabinet, and an ambassador to another nation, while others have been members of Congress. (See Index.)

Source:  from the Corwin Genealogy, 1872

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