Wednesday, August 5, 2015

JANE SANDUSKY FLANDERS - First Flanders Woman in America

WAS JANE FLANDERS SANDUSKY AN INDIAN PRINCESS? 

There are many mysteries to be solved in the Flanders family history line, and JANE FLANDERS is one of them!

Steven Flanders is the first Flanders listed in America.  It is said that the ship that he sailed on towards America sunk before reaching land, and that his wealth and possessions were lost.  However, due to him having "spektacles" (eyeglasses), he was known to be of European higher-class and educated.  He married a woman named Jane, listed as 'Sandusky Indian', and family stories state that she was an Indian princess. 

As early as the late 1500's, the Sandusky tribe lived on the banks of the Sandusky River in Ohio.  For some reason the tribe splinteed and went in opposite directions; some to Oklahoma, the rest to New York.  The New York tribe was absorbed into the Iriquois tribe.  Some of the early missionaries from Jamestown reached that area and took some of the tribe to upper New England to be Christianized.  Tradition says that Jane was a Christianized Indian, and this could explain how she would have been in Georgeana, Maine (now known as York) when Steven Flanders arrived to America.

There are several reasons to believe that Jane was an Indian princess. Colonial records indicate that she had an excellent command of the English language, causing questions to arise as to her origins.  On the other hand, she was recorded as being an exceptionally fierce and violent woman, characteristics not usually associated with Puritan female colonists:
 
She was referred to by colonist William Osgood as “a foresworn wretch.”
 
A complaint to Salisbury court brought by Goodwife Flanders against Samuel Gachall and his wife for calling her vile names: 
"She and her daughter went into Gachell’s field to see where their cattle had broken in and Goodwife Gachell met them and asked if they had come to steal their corn. I said no, I haue no need of yor corn; then shee said  ‘Geet of my ground thou pennycoinquick –  I am sheure you are com to stell my corn.’ Shee had a pumkeng in har hand.  She held it up & said shee woold staue my hed wth it. Then I said if my Cattell haue stooid your corne your piggs haue stooyd mine wheat.  Then shee said ‘Com doun St Donstone to heare how the Deuill lies’ & Likewise good man Gacheall doe often prouocke mee by calling my Children Deuills etc .”

The epithet “pennycoinquick” that Goodwife Gachall hurled at Jane Flanders, when Jane and her daughter allegedly entered the neighbor’s cornfield in search of the Flanders’ cows, is a mystery. It sounds like it could be an Indian word, but could also be some obscure English insult. There was a prison at ”Pennycomequick” near Plymouth, England. “Pennycomequick” comes from the old Celtic name “Pen y cwm coet, meaning “the head of a wooded valley”, or “Pen y cwm gwyk, referring to a nearby creek.
 
On October 16, 1649, Jane was also brought before the local Court for abusing her husband and neighbors.
Excerpt from The Flanders Family: From Europe To America (2nd ed. volume I) by Stephen M. Flanders (2000): “Jane Sandusky, was purported to be of Indian descent. This is a tradition in the family; however, there has never been a tribe of Sandusky Indians in the region of New England which she was found in. However, there has not been enough evidence found to refute it either.

She had “A ready tongue, together with no hesitancy to use it, and these attributes of hers could not pass unrecorded in a community of Puritans, who tolerated nothing. After reading the old court records, one."
  
It was common during that time to press civil charges against individuals who displayed rudeness, aggression, and unkindness. It would make sense for a woman of Indian background to be somewhat wild compared to the Puritans, as well as to struggle with the harsh Puritan code of living. Puritan life would have taken away a more free lifestyle she had previously known.  Plus, they had a constant struggle against hardships of deprivations in this new land, as well as cultural and language differences.
 
There was an old GEDCOM listing for a “Jane ‘Sandusky’, Indian”, who married Stephen Flanders, which is documented. It says that she was Iroquois of Sandusky descent. It quotes as sources: Eunice Allen, genealogist, Mary Parrish, Genealogy Files of Mary Parish, Columbus, Wisconsin and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Ancestral File.
 
According to Henry Howe, an early Ohio historian, the origin and meaning of the name “Sandusky” was also a matter of some dispute. However, William Walker, principal Chief of the Sandusky Wyandot tribe living at Upper Sandusky, Ohio in 1835-36, claimed that it meant, “at the cold water,” and should be pronounced “San-doos-tee.”

Jane “Sandusky” Flanders died on November 19, 1683 at about age 61 at Salisbury, Massachusetts.
 

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