Introduction to the connections between the Bucklin family history and events in American colonial history
Our American History focus is on the period of 1600 to 1799
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 establishment of the early ship harbor of New York, the Dutch had a chance to stamp their culture on the new world. The surrender of the city to the English recognized that England, not Holland, ruled the seas between New York and Holland. The Dutch of New York adopted the English language and customs of the ruler of the commerce of New York. The French lost the chance to form the character of what would become the United States when the French, after losing Quebec, receded to parts outside of what would become the early 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. These are only examples of why it is the New England and the period of 1600 to 1799 that is the defining period which we study.
Now, a word about why the study of the Bucklin family history fits with the study of American History of 1600 to 1799. In short, the family history adds detail and substance to the larger events and trends that are the usual subject of historians.
It was during this important period that the Bucklin family arrived in New England and spread through the New England settlements. William Bucklin arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. By 1645 he had left Massachusetts and was in Rhode Island. Successive generations of Bucklins always seemed to have some family members that moved to the edges of settlement, bent on improving their lives or simply for the sake of being involved in the enterprise. he was in the time period of Massachusetts on which we focus. When the successive generations of Joseph the 1st, Joseph the 2nd, Joseph the 3rd, Joseph the 4th and Joseph the 5th were working as carpenters, farmers, and merchants, acquiring land and being appointed to grand juries, the records were sufficient so that we can see something of their lives, and also the lives of general mass of people that lived in the 17th and 18th centuries in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Maine, and the other colonies of England. Hence, studying the Bucklin family of the time also yields a study of American History, and vice versa.
The first generations of Bucklins were in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But the Bucklin family always included people who moved to new frontiers. 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 to be a Justice of the Peace from the President of the United States, to greet the new arrivals and sell them land.
American history shows a Bucklin family tradition of volunteering to enlist in fighting for what they regarded as morally right, to help others at the cost of their own lives and fortunes.
Why did so many Bucklins serve in the Revolutionary Army? Part of the reason probably was a rich family traditions of upholding one’s personal beliefs and the liberties of free persons. A more immediate and practical reason was the fact that Joseph Bucklin stood a good chance of hanging for his shooting of the English navy ship captain. Joseph’s act (although his identity was unknown) was declared by a joint opinion of the English Attorney General and Solicitor General to be “treason”. Not only Joseph, but those of the family who harbored him and did not turn him over, could expect harsh treatment if England won the Revolutionary War.
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.
But as we have said elsewhere, this website is devoted to American History, and the Bucklins are only a part of that history.
For this website, to limit the number of web pages we have to maintain, we have kept the pages to those that are of primary interest to persons interested in both Bucklin family and American history. Thus we have, for example, pages on the following topics. (These are only examples.)
A great deal of information about the William Bucklin property in Pawtucket is found on this site.