Book details East Anglia’s contribution to colonial America
PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 20 October 2017
From Abraham Lincoln’s ancestral home to Thomas Paine, East Anglia has a strong connection with the United States of America.
But some of the stories and colourful characters which have contributed to the country’s colonial past are not well-known.
Roger Pugh, from Thetford, has brought together a collection of stories and individuals and their contribution to the USA in a book called Uncle Sam’s Roots in Eastern England From Colonial Times Onwards.
He spent 18 months of “intense” researching and writing to produce the book - which features more than 30 stories from Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Lincolnshire.
“I am interested in history generally and there are some great yarns in this movement across the Atlantic,” said Mr Pugh, a keen historian who formerly worked in local government in the South East.
“East Anglia probably made the biggest contribution to colonial America and USA history than any other counties in Britain.
“We provided the families of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. We provided most of the Pilgrim Fathers who went in the 1620s. Indeed, you could say that the birthplace of colonial American was in East Anglia.”
One story tells the unfortunate deaths of two sisters who were born in Great Yarmouth and emigrated with their parents in 1640 to Salem, Massachusetts.
Rebecca Nurse and Mary Easty were accused of being witches during witchcraft trials at Salem in 1692 and were hanged - Rebecca was 71.
Other stories include the 1st Earl of Arlington of Euston Hall, near Thetford, who was given proprietorship of the colony of Virginia from King Charles II, but never visited.
Tradition asserts the Arlington National Cemetery, the United States military cemetery, takes its name from the Earl.
Mr Pugh’s next book will be entitled Troubles, Terror and Triumph The Tudor Saga in East Anglia. He has also written The Most Secret Place on Earth The story of the East Anglian Village of Elveden and the World’s First Tanks.
The book that revealed how East Anglia played a vital role in the First World War
The 74-year-old added: “I wish now I had started [writing] years before. I left it late in life and I have found I thoroughly enjoy it.”
The book is priced at £10 and is available from Amazon Books, Jarrold in Norwich, and the Elveden Courtyard.
Hethersett’s First Lady
Here are some of the other characters and their stories featured in Uncle Sam’s Roots in Eastern England,
Although Martha Washington was the first official First Lady as the wife of President George Washington, a young Norfolk can claim to be the first of America’s First Ladies.
Temperance Flowerdew, from Hethersett, married her first husband in 1609 and embarked for the New World.
In 1617 she became a widow and remarried that year to George Yeardly who was knighted by King James I and appointed the full governor of Virginia.
After his death in 1627 she retained her status by marrying his sucesssor Governor Francis West. She died nine months later.
Franklin’s mother Abiah, was the daughter of Peter Foulger, who left Norwich for Massachusetts in 1635 where Abiah was born.
There is also the story of Legend has it the native American princess Pocahontas who is said to have visited Heacham 400 years ago, after she married a colonist who came from the Norfolk coastal village.
She is believed to have planted a mulberry tree in the grounds of Heacham Manor, her husband John Rolfe’s family home, when she visited in 1616.
She is the centrepiece of the village sign, in a carving based on the most famous portrait of her.