Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How NOT To Keep a Husband Alive

Down through the ages, one thing seems to stay constant.....some folks just have no luck.  You are either born with good luck or you spend lots of money on lawyers.

And of course, I happened to tumble upon someone like that way up on my Family's Genealogical Food Chain recently.

I was going waaaaaaaaaaay back on one of the pasty white European branches of the family.
The ones that have been planted in American soil for quite a long spell.
I've been reaching back to see just when/who was the 1st immigrant on each of the many familial lines of my mother's ancestors.

And I found this poor soul.....

Her name was Mary Flood.
She was born in Surry County VA in 1635.
You see, she wasn't even the 1st immigrant of that line.
I can't rightly say who is the 1st one since there is some controversy over who exactly were her parents.
Seems the ones that have been claimed to be for eons are in doubt now so I won't go back further on that line to the British Isles just yet.

Anyway, poor Mary.
She's young and ripe for the picking.  She finds a husband and they are wed in either 1655 or early 1656.
The lucky guy is named Richard Blunt.
Well not so lucky because he drops dead shortly after they are married.

Not even married a year and she's a 21 year old widow.
Oh, and she was married long enough to get pregnant and have a son, Thomas.
So she's got to find a new meal ticket and fast!

Then she finds husband #2 and marries him on April 9th, 1657, 1 year after #1 dropped dead.
Let's call him Charles Ford......but do it quick because he drops dead that same year!

No additional babies but still-22 years old with a 2 year old baby and no man.
Then she snatches up husband #3, John Washington, and marries him November 15th, 1658.

Here's a Washington.....
 Not our Washington however.

This was John's first marriage.
He got an instant family and a wife who knew a few things...wink, wink.....

He lasted a little longer than the first two husbands did but in the end, my ancestor killed off a Washington.
Thankfully, it was a lower tier Washington and didn't affect the whole Revolutionary War and setting up the government thing and the really great Broadway musical we all got out of the deal.
But I digress.....

John may have been born a Washington but that didn't keep him from taking "the big sleep" in 1660.
That's the same year the couple's son, Richard Washington, was born too.

The popular theory is that John drowned at sea on one of his trips to Barbados on business.
Might have been a ship full of rum that time.  I'm not saying that old John was partying out with his bad self and some 1660 era Caribbean babes but this could have been the first case of Spring Break going terribly wrong....

I think that he never stood a chance once he said "I Do" to my Black Widow Ancestor......

Just think.....to be 25 years old, with a baby at the breast and a toddler at your knee and having already buried 3 husbands.
Talk about a bad reputation!
I bet no man would make eye contact with her at this point.

Another year or so went by before Mary could talk another man into taking the marriage step again.
But sometime in 1661, here comes Henry Briggs.
And he lasted all the way to 1686!

That's 25 years of wedded bliss and 3 more children along the way.
My ancestor was their son, Samuel Briggs.

So his mom was Mary Flood Blunt Ford Washington Briggs.
Try fitting all that into your driver's license application.....

Old Mary Ann Cotton had nothing on my ancestral Black Widow Mary Flood Bl.....oh, you know the rest.....



  1. It's stories like these that make researching your family tree so worthwhile. I've become addicted to the PBS show Finding You Roots. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out online, I've gotten some new ideas for how to research that I plan on trying out when I get back to my home state.

  2. "You are either born with good luck or you spend lots of money on lawyers."-BAHAHAHAHA!

  3. Usually it is the man burying young wives after the women die in childbirth. Did she marry old men? At any rate, you don't seem to have inherited her tendencies. Did you buy a subscription to a genealogy site? Do you have access to a physical location of an LDS library?

  4. That's exactly why I don't marry women.

  5. Bahahahaha. Thank you. I needed this, and I didn't even know I needed it.

  6. What limited choices women had back then! Marry or pimp yourself out. Luckily she was able to continuously find men who were willing to marry her. I guess there's something to be said about an "experienced" woman!

  7. I have been watching a series called "Deadly Women". I think Mary was on an episode.

  8. Wow!! That's quite a story. I love looking into my ancestry. I always thought all my ancestors came straight from England to Canada, but I found one branch actually made their way to Salem, MA before venturing to the Great White North.


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