Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day at Nantasket Beach: Rainsford Island

I had a wonderful afternoon in Hull. Nantasket Beach is 45 minutes from my house. I took Gwen (the enchanted corgi) with me and she SO enjoyed it. After walking on the beach and taking photos of the old Paragon Amusement Park buildings, honky tonk board walk and carousel I drove out to the part of Hull that projects out into Boston Harbor. It's where the fishermen and the townies live. I love standing at the very end looking across the water at the Boston sky line. I took photos of Boston light and several of the Harbor Islands. One of the islands is named after a fellow Rainsford. There's not many of us around anymore. The following quote is from the Boston Globe. August 2001.

Rainsford Island, just off Boston, was named for one of earliest recorded settlers, Edward Rainsford, who had a farm there as early as 1636. In 1819, the Old Mansion House was built on the Great Head of Rainsford Island. Due to the structure of the house it was also known as the Grecian Temple. For many years thereafter, this was the chief summer resort on the island.

After his first wife, Mary, died in June 1632, probably as a result of complications in giving birth to twins, he remarried to Elizabeth, who on 15 December 1633 was "admitted to Boston Church." She died 16 November 1688.

As the story goes... a descendant of Edward and Mary, also named Edward, became a wealthy merchant later in Boston's Calvinist period. His wife was charged and convicted of heresy for conducting bible study in their home. The Calvinist Church Pastor objected to her teaching the bible because she was encouraging people to have a direct relationship with God... unencumbered by the Pastor who was consider the intermediary for his flock. For this Mrs Rainsford was banished to the wilds of Rhode Island. Edward left his business holdings and went with her. A true act of love when RI was a uncharted....

I love me a rebellious woman and the man who would stand by her. My descendants came to Boston in 1900 from Ireland but I like to think I share a common ancestry with a brave heretic.

No comments: