Introduction to our pages on Colonial History

American colonial history in New England and Bucklin family history are intertwined. As you read our pages on Colonial History, you will find about several noteable Bucklins in New England before 1800.

The first generations of Bucklins were in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But the Bucklin family always included people who moved to new frontiers and were substantial contributors to the new societies they formed. (That’s why there are several places named Bucklin. When New York became available Bucklins went there. When the area that became Maine was cleared of the French, Bucklins went there. When the Erie Canal was opened to make it easy to go westward to new lands, an enterprising Bucklin had already gone into the wilderness, armed with a commission from the President of the United States to be a Justice of the Peace, and armed with his business skill there he sold the new arrivals land he had gathered at low prices.

During the period before 1800 a new and separate “American” character was formed

Not only was the character of individual residents of New England changed from that of being “European” to being “American,” formed, but also a new type of society and an entirely new type of government was formed.

“During …[the era of 1636 to 1790] major legal themes included the development of a body of internal law for the governance of a New World frontier commonwealth; the relationship between the colony and the mother country and the delineation of their respective powers; the establishment of intercolonial relations; the Americanization of the common law and its gradual replacement by local statute; the adjustment to the laws of trade and commerce under the mercantilist system, the formulation of the federal theory of empire and its corollary, dual sovereignty; the establishment of independence; the creation of a federal union under a national constitution…” [Conley 1998, at 9 – 10].

During New England’s colonial period the Bucklin family flourished and had significant local roles. When William Bucklin arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, he was in the time period (1600 to 1799) of Massachusetts and Rhode Island on which we focus. Studying the Bucklin family during the successive generations of Joseph the 1st, Joseph the 2nd, Joseph the 3rd, Joseph the 4th and Joseph the 5th is a study of American Colonial History, and vice versa.

The American Revolution was in fact a value system revolution to the English and the Old World countries. The values and political philosophy owed much to the revolutionary thinking of Englishmen before the English Civil War. The foundations of American values were laid by the Englishmen who left for New England before the English Civil War. Here in the American colonies the social and political system was rooted in mavericks, innovation, risk-taking, impatience, vigorous intellectual arguments, a desire to move upward socially and economically, and great value was placed on actual constructive work by mind and body.

Probably the rich tradition of the Bucklin family of upholding one’s personal beliefs and the liberties of free persons was an important part of the reason why many Bucklins served in the Revolutionary Army. No doubt the fact that Joseph Bucklin stood a good chance of hanging for his shooting of the English navy ship captain (formally declared by a joint opinion of the English Attorney General and Solicitor General to be “treason”) was further impetus. When the Civil War came, Bucklins responded. A Medal of Honor of a Bucklin shines. But equally significant of the family tradition of upholding liberty are the Bucklin officer and the Bucklin first sergeant who volunteered to lead “Colored Troops” of the northern army when to do so was thought to be the way to dead end a military career. And so again, you can study Bucklins and learn American history; or you can study American History and run into Bucklins.

You can choose to go to:

  1. American History of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Colony, in the period 1600— 1799 (including history of the places Bucklins settled in that time frame and
  2. English History of England in the same time period (with particular reference to the Dorset area), and
  3. Gaspee Affair (with particular reference to the legal and political background) and the period of the early American Revolution (with particular reference to Massachusetts and Rhode Island).

This website has over 500 pages of information. We have much more information, but as a practical matter we have to limit the number of web pages we have to maintain. Thus our pages on colonial history are limited to pages which are of primary interest to persons interested in both Bucklin family and also American history. Thus we have, for example, pages on:

Rhode Island geopolitics of 1600 to 1799.

The pirates and privateers of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New York.

The development of the William Bucklin property in Pawtucket.

Although colonists came from many countries to the New World colonies, a combination of events propelled the culture and traditions of England to the forefront in the colonies. For example, with the settlement and early ship harbor of New York, the Dutch had a chance to stamp their culture on the new world. However, the peaceful surrender by the Dutch of New York to an English fleet of ships recognized that England, not Holland, ruled the seas between New York and Holland. The Dutch of New York adapted their commerce by adopting the English language and social customs of England. The French, after losing Quebec, receded to parts outside of what would become the original 13 states of the United States. The Spanish likewise, were outside the commercial area that became the original United States. And the Hanoverian line of the English kings that ruled England when the United States were born did not encourage German settlers to set up German areas in the colonies of the New World, rather encouraged Germans to be Americans under the rule of the German Hanoverian King George of England.