Notes from the Genealogy Library White County Historical Society

Located downstairs in the Ratcliff Inn, Downtown Carmi, Illinois

by Charlene Shields

Long time Carmi residents Sam and Martha Endicott took a great vacation this year to the land of their forbearers, and I've prevailed on them to tell us about it. It would seem that many, if not most, people have a strong interest in discovering something about their roots, the origin of the families.

Most of us are interested in what sort of people our forbearers were and where they hailed from. So, it has been with the Endicott family, many of whom have lived in this area beginning in the early to mid 1800s. In the early part of this century, Judge James Martin Endicott (grandfather of Martha Endicott, Dick Endicott and James R. Endicott) undertook the job of researching his family tree. Later on, his son, Judge J. Max Endicott, took up the work and pursued it even further. Among the tools these men used to develop their information were books, research centers, old records and personal recollections from older relatives and other people living in the area.

Over the years, they were able to trace their line back to the Middle Ages! It was clearly established that the family dates back to Gov. John Endicott of Massachusetts, who arrived on these shores in the sailing vessel Abigail in 1628. It seems further apparent that while this John Endicott sailed from Weymouth in Dorset County in southwest England, his own forebears had lived in the neighboring county of Devon for three or four hundred years before that. The earliest record we have shows Johannes de Ynndecote, who was born in Devonshire in 1327. Tantalized by all this information, we (Sam and Martha Endicott) had longed for many years to visit the homeland of our ancestors.

It was of particular interest to us, I suppose, because we bothdescend from Joseph and Rebecca (Casey) Endicott, who migrated to Posey County in 1815. They were the parents of 11 children, and my (Martha‟s) genealogy goes back to Moses, the second child, while Sam's goes back to George, the ninth child. We think this makes us sixth cousins, a fact we might never have discovered if we had not borne the same surname. And our children like to blame any peculiarity they may develop on this relationship! ”At any rate: 1998 turned out to be the year we actually put into effect our long established desire to visit our “homeland”.

With our daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Steve Adams acting as our advisors and tour guides, we set off on March 15 on a non-stop flight from St. Louis to London. Unfortunately, our flight was delayed for six hours due to some mechanical difficulty, but when we finally arrived, we set off immediately in a rented car to make the four-hour drive to Chagford, Devon. This motoring trip in itself proved to be very interesting and something of a challenge.

Chagford (our “hometown!”) is set in the middle of Dartmoor National park. The highway from London to the Park Entrance is wide and well marked, but once one enters the actual park, directions become harder to spot and the roads tend to be quite narrow, with either stone walls or dense hedgerows bordering closely on both sides. As a matter of fact, the roads are often so narrow that two cars cannot pass, and since there is no shoulder, one vehicle is forced to back up to the nearest cleared space. Due to our long flight delay, we were driving well after dark, but fortunately Steve is quite experienced in handling those "left-handed‟ English cars so Sam and I could relax and leave the driving to him”

(To be continued)