Sunday, October 24, 2010
Rev Richard Mather
My mother is descended from Rev. Richard Mather thru his Taylor descendants (some of the original founders of Danbury)
Mather was born in Lowton, in the parish of Winwick, Lancashire, England, of a family which was in reduced circumstances but entitled to bear a coat-of-arms.
He studied at Winwick grammar school, of which he was appointed a master in his fifteenth year, and left it in 1612 to become master of a newly established school at Toxteth Park, Liverpool. After a few months at Brasenose College, Oxford, he began in November 1618 to preach at Toxteth, and was ordained there, possibly only as deacon, early in 1619.
In August-November 1633 he was suspended for nonconformity in matters of ceremony; and in 1634 was again suspended by the visitors of Richard Neile, archbishop of York, who, hearing that he had never worn a surplice during the fifteen years of his ministry, refused to reinstate him and said that "it had been better for him that he had gotten seven bastards."
He had a great reputation as a preacher in and about Liverpool; but, advised by letters of John Cotton and Thomas Hooker, he was persuaded to join the company of pilgrims in May 1635 and embarked at Bristol for New England.
On June 3, 1635, Richard, wife Katherine, and children Samuel, Timothy, Nathaniel, and Joseph, all set sail for the New World aboard the ship James. As they approached New England, a hurricane struck and they were forced to ride it out just off the coast of modern-day Hampton, New Hampshire. According to the ship's log and the journal of Increase Mather, the following was recorded;
"At this moment,... their lives were given up for lost; but then, in an instant of time, God turned the wind about, which carried them from the rocks of death before their eyes. ...her sails rent in sunder, and split in pieces, as if they had been rotten ragges..."
They tried to stand down during the storm just outside the Isles of Shoals, but lost all three anchors, as no canvas or rope would hold, but on Aug 13, 1635, torn to pieces, and not one death, all one hundred plus passengers of the James managed to make it to Boston Harbor.
He arrived at Boston on August 15, 1635, in the midst of one of the most catastrophic hurricanes of the colonial era. He was the pastor of Dorchester until his death in 1669.