Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rebels, Poets, and Preachers

My ancestor was in love with her, but the king wanted her, too.  So she became the wife of King Henry VIII and mother of the first Queen Elizabeth.

A recent email at requested genealogy information on the Wyatt family (The inquirer had read info from my blog post about members of the family). This got me to thinking about the interesting history of my Wyatt family line.

My new email friend and distant cousin Mark is descended, as I am, from Rev. Haute Wyatt, who came to theses shores from England in the fall of 1621 with his brother Sir Francis Wyatt, the newly-appointed governor of Jamestown, on the ship George. (See my June 13, 2007 blog post).

When Rev Haute later returned to England, he left behind several descendants. Among these was his son--and my 9th great-grandfather-- George Wyatt. Among George’s sons were Richard Wyatt and Henry Wyatt. And this is where our family tree branches out in separate directions. Mark’s ancestor is Henry; mine is Richard.

My branch of Richard Wyatt’s family eventually ended up in Shelby County, Alabama, where I was born and still live. Several generations of this family line are buried in Cedar Grove/Meredith Cemetery between Helena and Maylene in Shelby County, Alabama.

I recall going to “Homecoming” at this cemetery and the little white church across the road when I was a young child in the 1940s and 50s. I knew I had “kin-folks” buried in the cemetery, but don’t recall who or how many. It was only about five years ago that I began to learn a little about them.

Before my mother died in 2004, I took her to visit a first cousin of my father’s (He had died several years earlier), who gave us a book written by her grandson. It followed the Wyatt family line from Adam Wyatt (or Wiat) in the early 1300’s to the present day.

Using books and the internet I did my own research on the family info in this book, so I would have my own documentation. One entry in the book especially piqued my interest, but I was a year or more getting around to checking this out.

The entry said that one Thomas Wyatt died in London Tower. I knew that people close to the English throne, who had displeased the king or people who aspired to the throne, were often thrown into prison in London Tower. I finally decided to check the internet to see if I could find Thomas Wyatt mentioned in anyway close to English royalty.

I googled his name and dates, and lo and behold! All this stuff began popping up about him. I found that he was known as “The Rebel,” after leading a rebellion against “Bloody Queen Mary,” daughter of King Henry VIII and half-sister of the first Queen Elizabeth. Both he and Lady Jane Grey, whom he was attempting to place on the throne, were beheaded at London Tower.His father, also Thomas Wyatt, was known as the tudor poet. He was a poet in King Henry VIII’s court and an Ambassador for him. He grew up on the Wyatt estate next door to the Boleyn Estate. Anne Boleyn was a Lady In Waiting to Queen Catherine, who was one of the eight wives of Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Eliabeth.

As children on neighboring estates, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt I (the elder) were friends. But after they were older, they went different ways, until they ended up in King Henry VIII’s court at the same time.

By this time Thomas was married to Elizabeth Brooke, who would become my 13th grandmother. Falling in love with Anne Boleyn, Thomas divorced Elizabeth to marry Anne, but she had found favor with the king and Thomas was forced to back off. She became one of Henry’s eight wives and the mother of their daughter who would become Queen Elizabeth. After Henry grew tired of Anne, he found reason to have her thrown into the tower and executed. Thomas, too, spent some time in the tower, accused of committing adultery with Anne, but the king found a reason to get him off and he returned to court.

Thomas Wyatt I and his wife Elizabeth Brooke (WHO DESCENDED FROM KINGS AND QUEENS. I‘ll have to wait until another time to go into this) were parents of Thomas Wyatt II (who married Jane Haute). Thomas II “The Rebel,” and Jane were parents of Haute Wyatt (the first of this line to Virginia and an early pastor of the Church of England).

That part of Rev. Haute Wyatt’s family line which is also my direct line is as follows:

1. Rev. Haute Wyatt married Barbara E. Milford

2. George Wyatt married Susannah R ?

3. Richard Wyatt married Catherine Long

4. Henry married Elizabeth Dandridge

5. Joseph Wyatt married Dorothy Peyton

6. William Wyatt married Susanne E. Jones.

7. William H. Wyatt married Lucinda Meredith (William was apparently the first of this line into Shelby County. Lucinca’s parents David and Sarah Meredith lived and died here and are buried at Cedar Grove/Meredith Cemetery.)

8. Elizabeth Meredith married Josiah (Joseph) Pledger (several earlier generations of the Pledger family are also buried in this cemetery.)

9. Betty M. Pledger married Charles Augustus Seagle (buried at Cedar Grove)

10. Edna Cordelia Seagle married James Thomas Shelton

11. J. T. Shelton married Ethel Robert Motes

12 Shelba Dean Shelton (that’s me) married Kenneth L. Nivens

Are any of the above people in your family tree? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Comment in this blog or email Or contact me through face book: Shelba S. Nivens.

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