Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Herrick Connection

Who where the Herricks?

Since looking into the Salem Witch Trials and our family connections therein, I have been looking further into the background of the Herrick Family.

First ...  The Genealogy

William (Sir) Herrick+ (1557 - 1653) - My 11th great grandfather??
  Henry Herrick (1598/1604 - 1671) - Son of William (Sir)??
    Ephraim Herrick* (1638 - 1693) - Son of Henry
      Ephraim Herrick (1664 - 1712) - Son of Ephraim
        Elizabeth Herrick (1702 - 1744) - Daughter of Ephraim
          Aaron Geer (1722 - 1813) - Son of Elizabeth
            Samuel Geer (1743 - 1810) - Son of Aaron
              Betsey Geer (1785 - 1871) - Daughter of Samuel
                William Geer Winnek (1821 - 1903) - Son of Betsey
                  Ella Gilman Winnek (1854 - 1895) - Daughter of William Geer
                    Burton Winnek Bair (1893 - 1964) - Son of Ella Gilman
                      Lucretia Viola Bair (1921 - ) - Daughter of Burton Winnek
                        Lois Jeannette O'Neal (1944 - ) - Daughter of Lucretia Viola
                          Brian Paul Muller - Me

Second ... The Historical Record

Thus far, I have been able to trace the lineage back to England and the mid-16th Century.  It was thought that my g-grandfather was Sir William Herrick+ (Heyrick), born in 1557 in Leicestershire, England.  Origianlly ironmongers by trade, Sir William became a goldsmith and was the first Herricks to reside at an estate that dated back to the 14th century known as Beaumanor.  Beaumanor Estate was also in Leicesterhire and in 1579 Sir William purchased it.  In a survey he commissioned regarding the estate it was said, "A anciante mannor house of greate receipt emoted aboute with a large mote well stored with fishe, with a Gardyn Orcharde and hopyarde belonging to the same with a douehouse a fayre Barne and a stable with a Kilne and a malthouse with Garnersfor Corne and a Smithes forge, all of which with some other necessarie houses thereto belonginge conteyne by estimation about foure acres of grounde, all verie Conveniente and answerable beinge the freeholde within the Parke and worth by the years”.

Today Beaumanor Hall and Park is a historical park.  While the present house was not Sir Williams, it was here where he and subsequent Herrick families maintained their residences.  More information about Beaumanor and its history can be found in a pdf. HERE.  My research at present had indicated that Sir William would marry Joan May and would have at least two sons, William and Henry.  William, being the eldest would inherit the estate and pass it down to subsequent generations, while Henry would immigrate to the 'new world' and would settle.  But it is here that the history gets muddled.  It has been said that Henry Herrick (of Salem) was the Fifth son of Sir William.  But was he?  It is now believed that it was not Henry Herrick (of Salem) that was his son, but rather Henry Herrick (of Virginia).  Research in this area was made by a committee of genealogist between 1998-2001 and came to the conclusion, based on letters, court dates, and signatures, that Henry of Salem was NOT the 5th son of Sir William.  However, it is believed that the two Henry's may have been cousins, but is yet to be proven.  Such is the way of genealogy.  For more information regarding this research, click HERE.

However ... that connection put aside, we do know that Henry (of Salem) would marry Editha Laskin and subsequently would parent the Herricks associated throughout the Salem Witch Trials.  Their fourth son Ephraim* would marry Mary Cross.  A family of modest means, Ephraim was obviously influenced by the wealth of his ancestors as he invested in quality furniture of the time.  One of the pieces they invested in what was known as a Valuable's Cabinet.  While many families of the period would have similar pieces, it is rare that such a cabinet of luxury would have survived overtime and have a documented history to show it's provenance and craftsmanship.

At an auction at the the NY based Christies in January of 2000, the following piece of furniture was auctioned.  "Embedded in a small cabinet from seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, lies an extraordinary story of persecution and survival in early America. Just as its door creaks open to reveal hidden drawers, the cabinet provides a glimpse into the little known world of its first owners--a world of unconquered wilderness, Quakers and witchcraft."

In the notes for the auction it was mentioned that 5 other cabinets of similar design where still in existence.

In a time when one's existence was continually threatened by the unknown frontier, Native Americans, the climate and societal strife, this valuables cabinet represents an extraordinary effort of workmanship. The survival of only five other known New England cabinets with comparable decorative elements attests to their production as luxury--rather than necessary--goods. Two of these cabinets, made for Thomas Hart and Ephraim and Mary Herrick, exhibit nearly identical ornamentation, interior arrangements 
and construction and were clearly made in the same 
shop as the Pope cabinet offered here.

At auction the Pope Valuables Cabinet sold for $2,422,500. 

The Herrick cabinet, similar of design, craftsmanship and of the same maker as the one offered at Christie's, is now part of NYC's Metropolitan of Art Museum.  It was gifted to the MET in 1906.