Wednesday, January 07, 2015

On Reading "Here I Shall Die Ashore" by Caleb Johnson

I have read quite a few biographies and autobiographies, and I prefer the ones about ordinary but fascinating individuals. You know, the people who were not born to greatness but lived a life worth writing about -- whether that was on a dairy farm or in the white house. Right now, that person is Stephen Hopkins.

The back cover of Here Shall I Die Ashore by Caleb Johnson, reads in part, "By the time he turned forty, he had already survived a hurricane, been shipwrecked in the Bermuda Triangle, been written into a Shakespearean play, witnessed the famine and abandonment of Jamestown Colony, and participated in the marriage of Pocahontas. He was once even sentenced to death! He got himself and his family onto the Pilgrim's 'Mayflower,' and helped found Plymouth Colony. He signed the Mayflower Compact, lodged the famous Squanto in his house, participated in the legendary Thanksgiving, and helped guide and govern the early colonists. Yet, Stephen was just an ordinary man..."

This ordinary man is also my 11th great grandfather (on the Beem quarter of my tree), and I am so enjoying reading about him and his family. Don't forget, it was his wife, my 11th great grandmother Elizabeth Hopkins, who gave birth while traveling across the Atlantic. I loved every page!

I appreciated the author's attention to detail, his detailed and thorough research, and his ability to breathe life into the events of nearly 400 years ago.

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