6 February is the birthday of my ancestor, William Spo, born in 1590 at Fitzhead England. He immigrated to Massachusetts in 1630. He was a deacon in the Puritan church. He was also in charge of ‘the three cowes’ for the colony. Spos of the “William line” pause this day and wonder what brought him to New England in the first place. My great-aunt taught me he was escaping from persecution with desire for liberty and religious freedom. My bet is he was on the lamb. Whatever his motives, twelve generations later “Urs Truly” is here in America rather than in a provincial English town.

I’ve always had a fascination with the Puritans. The Puritans are integral part of The American Psyche. The ‘Protestant work ethic” and the Pilgrims of Thanksgiving are in our roots and in our blood.  The myths and legends around the Puritans are often in contrast to who and what they were. They were a remarkable bunch.

William F. of Designerblog can help me out: they were religious zealots who saw themselves as special in the eyes of God. They set out to North America to make a new Jeruselem mostly because they couldn’t take over and England run it they way they wanted it to be.  They saw themselves like the Old Testament Israelites arriving in the Promised Land. The people already there were to be converted or ejected – in the name of the Lord. They saw themselves as saviors to the godless. ‘We are here to make things better”.

The seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony sums up their philosophy :

MassBaySeal

 The native American is saying “Come over and help us”

 As Hanuman would say : “Can you imagine?”

Tonight Someone and I are going to the encore performance of “Maria Stuarda”, an opera about Mary, Queen of Scots. MQS was executed just a few years before William Spo was born. The later part of the 16th century must have been a trying and tedious time what with everyone fighting and killing each other over religious beliefs.

Her story and The Puritans are history lessons which warn us ‘what happens’ when religious zealots run around unchecked.

 

About these ads