Crapo, Henry Howland, 1912. Certain Comeoverers. New Bedford, Mass, Anthony printers v.1, 518 pp.
From the authors forward pp.1-9.
To William Wallace Crapo of Detroit, Michigan.
My dear William:
At the present lustrum of your life you are, and should be, supremely indifferent to your ancestors. They are dead and gone and that's an end on't. Your utmost powers of receptivity are properly absorbed by vital considerations. Dead uns are nit" — as you would put it. In presenting you the following notes I ask not that you consciously attempt to change your present attitude. Inevitably there will come a time when these records of your forebears will have for you at least a passing interest. To you at that time I dedicate them. I hope, indeed, the time will never come when the pulse of glorious life will beat so slowly that you can afford to devote it to genealogical study. A lonely and a sterile life alone can find sufficient satisfaction in the dry-as-dust occupation of delving into dreary records to find a name, a mere name, the date when the name was born and died, the date when the name married another name, and the dates of all the other names that went before and came after.
Hoping to save you from so deplorable an expenditure of vitality, I, not inappropriately, present to you the names of many of the men and women who are responsible for your existence. Were that all I offer it would be hardly worth while for either of us. I seek, however, to offer something more. These men and women whom I name were all once fellows and girls, as much alive as you are now. They were born, and had the measles, and loved and lived and died much in the same way and to the same purpose, as has been and will be your experience. As Slender said of Shallow in the Merry Wives of Windsor: "All his successors gone before him have done 't; and all his ancestors that come after him may." Three hundred years hence there will, I trust, be some of your descendants who may care a little to realize even vaguely that you were alive once upon a time and had a vital history which, to you at all events, was filled with interest. To call these old fellows and girls back — nay forward — as living realities is what I seek to offer you. As vital personalities they deserve your kindly attention and affection. They are all your grandfathers and grandmothers, and had it not been for them you would not have been — surely not you at all events. They are your own people, flesh of your flesh, and blood of your blood. In Japan the old Shintoism made the Cult of Ancestors the supreme religion. I do not suggest your adoption of such a faith. Your ancestors were no better than they should have been, if, indeed, in many instances, they reached that standard. You at all events are, or should be, immeasurably their superior.
Yet there is ethical value in Shintoism. To keep alive and present in one's home and life the memory of those remote beings whose existence produced one's own existence is a form of human allegiance which transcends even patriotism. Many millions, to be sure, yes billions, and trillions (and whatever comes next) of human beings are, in truth, directly responsible for your existence. The retro- progression is too stupendous for sensible conception. There is a limit, moreover, to genealogical endeavor. The limit in this case I fix at your "comeoverers." Certain men and women came to this country which we now call the United States of America from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, from England mostly, one, perhaps, from France, none so far as I know from any other European country, who are your paternal ancestors. It so happens that almost all of these paternal comeoverers of yours came during the early days of immigration. If the same is true of your maternal comeoverers, and I fancy it is, you are for the most part of the tenth generation of New England descent and consequently have two thousand and forty-six ancestors to be accounted for, of whom one thousand and twenty- four were comeoverers. You may, perhaps, understand why I regard it as fortunate that my inquiries exclude one-half of them, namely your mother's progenitors. The one thousand and twenty-three ancestors and the five hundred and twelve comeoverers are quite sufficient to appal me, and you, too, doubtless, if you are fearful that I mean in these notes to vitalize for you so vast a congregation of dead uns. It is, indeed, only a comparatively few of the one thousand and twenty-three ancestors to whom I shall be able to give you a personal introduction. In the circular charts which I furnish you in connection with these notes you will perceive the blanks, which in the radiation backwards cause such vast hiati.
These paternal ancestors of yours, with the exception of the Stanfords, were of early Massachusetts stock. They were for the most part of the "yeoman" or farmer class; there were some " artisans" among them, a few "merchants," a few "gentlemen," and a very few "ministers." Few of them were of distinguished lineage. Your grandfather William Wallace Crapo's progenitors, without exception, so far as I have been able to ascertain, are descended from the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony and the Rhode Island Colonies, and your grandmother Sarah Tappan Crapo's progenitors all, except the Stan- fords, spring from the early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In Plymouth and Bristol Counties or in Rhode Island on the one side, and in Essex and Suffolk Counties on the other they dwelt. Few among them were renowned. They were almost without exception very decent sort of folk, exemplary and mediocre, whose personal histories if not of much importance to the world at large are none the less worthy of your interest and mine.
Your father, like most people, had four great grandfathers and four great grandmothers. They were:
Anne Almy Chase
Sarah Morse Smith
For purely literary reasons I shall present to you the ancestors of these eight forebears in the following order, in the divisions of these notes:
It is more especially my purpose to tell the stories of some of the comeoverers from whom these eight great great grandparents of yours descended, and something also about a few of the descendants of these comeoverers from whom in direct lineage you spring. The temptation to stray from the direct line of descent has been great. So many interesting people are collat- published genealogies of a considerable number of the families with whom you are of kin; the marvellous compendium known as the New England Historical and Genealogical Register; Mr. Austin's admirable work on the early settlers of Rhode Island; the publications of Historical Societies, notably the Old Dartmouth Historical Society; town histories; and in general the free use of the numerous handy tools of the trade of genealogy have, with the assistance of several kind helpers, supplied the data which I now present to you. The utmost to which these notes may aspire is to give you sometime in the future, when you have ceased to see visions and have come to dream dreams, a roughly sketched picture of that little portion of long ago humanity which by the accident of your birth involves your existence. The notes may not even achieve that aspiration. I keenly appreciate the undeniable fact that they contain much dry statistical information which may reasonably bore you. After all, even if you can not take pleasure in reading them all you will, perhaps, be pleased to know that they have given me much pleasure in writing them.
Affectionately your uncle,
HENRY H. CRAPO.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ANCESTORS OF JESSE CRAPO
ANCESTORS OF PEE BE HOWLAND
This work is currently available (Oct 2007) on-line through Google Books. Page 11 gives an index of ancestors. For immigrant ancestors, whom Crapo describes as the "Comeoverers". the year of immigration and the name of the immigrant ship are given when known. Entries for about 500 persons are given. This work exists in three editions, viz:
1. Certain comeoverers, by Henry Howland CrapoLanguage: English Type: Book, Publisher: New Bedford, Mass., Anthony, printers, 1912.
2. Certain Comeoverers by Henry Howland Crapo Language: English Type: Book : Microform Publisher: New Bedford, Mass. : E. Anthony & Sons, 1912.
3. Certain comeoverers by Henry Howland Crapo Language: English Type: Book Publisher: Salem, Mass. : Higginson Book Co., [1999?]
Mr. Crapo's writing style is a bit ornate, characteristic of the late 19th and early 20th century. Like many genealogists, his discussion if filled with intesting details, but provides few indications of from where his information was taken. There is no index, but the table of contents is detailed, and the "list of Comeroverers" is useful.