Harke Luce

Recapping: Harke Luse was named on a list of men able to bear arms at Scituate, Massachusetts in 1643 (Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, ed., Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England (1857), 191). Beyond this nothing is known. Everything else stated in various sources in speculative.

Charles Banks’ Theory

Banks speculated the name “Harke” might have been a copyist’s error for “Darke”; that he might have been an otherwise undocumented son of Abraham Luce and Cicely (Darke) Luce, of Horton, Gloucestershire; and that he might have been the father of immigrant Henry Luce who appeared in Scituate 20 years later.

The Internet has confidently mangled Banks’ theory in various ways. It’s worth looking at what he actually said.

“The name of Luce in this country is confined exclusively to the descendants of Henry Luce of Tisbury and with one exception, no other person of the name Luce settled in New England prior of 1750. That exception exists in the person of one “Harke” Luce who was a resident of Scituate in 1643, twenty years before the appearance of our Henry Luce in the same town. This singular baptismal name of “Harke”, which the author now believes to have been a copyist’s error for a similar name, has proven to be a clue to an English family of the name of Luce living in the west of England in 1600 near the border of Wales. The name of “Harke” Luce appears but once in the records of Scituate in a list of those able to bear arms in 1643, and an examination of thousands of English documents fails to disclose it, or one near enough like it to be mistaken for it except Harker or Hawke. In the county of England the family name of Luce has been found, namely: Gloucestershire, which borders on Wales and whose chief city Bristol, the great seaport from which so many emigrants sailed for the future homes in New England. [*”The author during recent visits to England found Luce families in Cornwall, Devon and Kent, all of them having Henry as a Christian name. Scituate, Mass. was largely settled by emigrants from Kent and in the parish of Lyminge that county is recorded in 1616 the marriage of a Henry Luce. It is here note as a reference for future investigators, but the family in Gloucestershire seems to offer the more probable solution.] A family of Luce lived in the parish of Horton, county of Gloucester, as early as 1550 and they are found there and in a number of surrounding parishes for a century and a half afterwards. Of this Horton family one Abraham Luce married 8 Oct. 1604 Cicely Darke, and this name is believe by the author to be the name originally copied in the Scituate records as “Harke”, and Darke Luce of 1643 is offered as the possible progenitor [emphasis added] of Henry Luce of the same town in 1666. If not, he was a probable near relative who influenced the migration of Henry Luce and all the surrounding circumstances make this the nearest probable origin of the Vineyard family in the matter of their English home. It should be stated, however, that Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce had no child named Darke and the name of Darke does not occur on the parish records of Horton. The similarity of the names, Harke and Darke, is too great to be ignored when combined with the rare name of Luce, and while other researches so far made have failed to uncover a Henry Luce in the parish of Horton, the adjoining parishes still unsearched may reveal the lost record of his baptism.” (Charles E. Banks, History of Martha’s Vineyard (1925, reprinted 1966), 3:247-48.)

To summarize: Banks noticed another Luce, a man named Harke Luce, in Scituate, Massachusetts (1643) a generation before Henry Luce appeared there (1666). This is the only mention of Harke and the first mention of Henry. Banks’ speculated Henry might have been a son of Harke, then further speculated that Harke might have been a previously unknown Darke Luce, hypothetical son of Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce, of Horton. Banks believed his theory was strengthened, first by a family tradition that immigrant Henry Luce came from Wales, and Gloucestershire is on the Welsh border; and secondly by the rarity of the surname Luce and the coincidence of the names Darke and Harke appearing in connection with the name Luce.

The down side of his theory, as Banks readily admits, is that there is no proof of any person named Darke Luce. Nevertheless, a Darke Luce could have been born at Horton in the period 1624-1653, for which there are no records. Harke Luce had to be at least 16 in 1643 to be able to bear arms, That would place his birth in or before 1627. Therefore, if there was a Darke Luce and if he was born in Horton, we would put his birth between 1624 and 1627. No other dating will work.

Banks’ theories have been treated in different ways by Internet genealogists. Immigrant Henry Luce is usually presented as a son of Israel Luce, as if that were proven fact.

In support of this identification, Henry named his second son Israel, and had two grandsons named Israel. However, these children might derive their names from Israel Peakes, half-brother of Henry’s wife. The case for Henry’s birth at Horton is supported by Banks’ theory that Arthur Bevan, who settled at West Tisbury in 1677, and was Henry’s neighbor there, came from Yate, four miles from Horton. However, this identification rests reciprocally on Henry being from Horton.

Leslie Pine, a noted English genealogist, has said in a letter to the author he believes Henry Luce probably came from the same family as the Luces of Pucklechurch.

Harke Luce is pushed to the side, when he is presented at all. WikiTree, for example, assigns Harke a birthdate about 1628 in Horton and a death date of 1718, despite the absence of supporting evidence. The birthdate seems calculated to modify Banks’ theory by making Harke a grandson rather than son of Abraham and Cicely (Darke) Luce (married 1604), and an older brother rather than father of Henry Luce the immigrant. This strategy allows Henry to be son of an Israel Luce, as in a family tradition cited by Banks (Banks, 3:246).

Geni.com also puts Harke’s birth about 1628 in Horton but more accurately places his death as “after 1643”. His profile there has a curator note that Harke’s parents are unknown, while simultaneously linking him as a son of Israel Luce and Israel’s speculative wife Remember Munson. Caveat emptor.

Caroline Lewis Kardell’s Theory

Caroline Lewis Kardell, sometime Historian General of the Society of Mayflower Descendants, had a different idea. She thought Harke Luce was probably an otherwise unknown Archelaus Lewis (Caroline Lewis Kardell, letter to Mrs. James E. McCourt, reproduced in Martha E. McCourt and Thomas Luce, The American Descendants of Henry Luce (1991), 10A).

Quoting: “As for the name Harke Luce at Scituate, Harke is almost certainly a nickname for Archelaus. Because of the aspirated “H” as pronounced in some parts of England, Earle became Hearle, Archelaus became Harkelas, Hercules, etc. I believe that “Hare Luce” was Archelaus Luis. John Lewis (Luis) of Dartmouth and Rochester named his eldest son Archelaus. John was a descendant of George Lewis of Scituate and Barnstable. This particular line from George were all sea-farers. I think George of Scituate has a brother Harke (Archelaus) who was a mariner and came over to Scituate as Captain or crewman on one of the early ships. Scituate records gave George Lewis two full shares. All of the other settlers received one full share. Perhaps George received a second share to hold for his brother “Harke” or “Arck”. Because he was a mariner, he may never have returned from a voyage and so, [sic] disappears from the records. . . .

“My suspicions regarding the name Luce are two-fold. First, it is so uncommon a name that it is almost certainly not the original surname, but a variant. For instance, the name Bigelow is only traced to one immigrant to Watertown, MA. The name does not exist in England or anywhere else in that form, except for the descendants of the Watertown man. It was Baguley, etc, [sic] in England, but ended up as Bigelow here. Secondly, the name Lewis was written (and pronounced) in several ways in the early records. Two men named Lewis, George and his brother John, certainly were at Scituate and probably a third brother Harke or Archelaus was there for a very short period. I believe your Henry was perhaps a nephew or cousin of the early Lewis, Luis, Lews family of Scituate and Barnstable. It is worth investigating, anyway.”

Summarizing: Kardell’s idea was that Harke Luce was a brother of George and John Lewis, and Henry Luce the immigrant a nephew or cousin.

Kardell doesn’t make it explicit, but George Lewis’ double share would not have been for himself and brother John. John Lewis received his own share, a single share.

In support of Kardell’s theory, Banks himself notes Scituate “was largely settled by emigrants from Kent” (see above; Banks, 3:347n.). Further, the same list that contains the name Harke Luse also contains the name John Lewes. George Lewes’ name also appears on a 1643 list of men able to bear arms, but at Barnstable rather than Scituate.

Thomas Luce, of Charleston

It might be worth mentioning, if only in passing, another theory regarding the parents of immigrant Henry Luce commonly found–he was a merchant and farmer born 1630 in Gloucester to Thomas Luce (1600-1670?) and Sally Monson. This information comes in part from Wilford Litchfield but no proof is offered. Litchfield says Remember Litchfield married about 1670 “Henry Luce (sometimes Lucy), who may have been a son of Thomas Luce of Charleston” (Wilford J. Litchfield, The Litchfield Family in America 1630-1900 (1901), 34).

Savage, citing Farmer, names a Thomas Luce at Charleston, whose son Samuel was born in 1644 (James Savage, Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England (1861), 3:127). Banks says, “It is probable that this was Lewis” (Banks (1911), 2:55n.2). Banks seems to dismiss this clue only because he building a case for Henry’s relationship with Harke Luse. The possibility of a connection with Thomas Luce should be examined more closely.


The Internet has widely adopted the theories of Charles Banks, modified a bit, and ignored those of Caroline Kardell, probably because Banks’ theories were published and have been therefore more accessible. However, there is no obvious reason to choose one theory over the other.

It should be noted the Luce yDNA Project at Family Tree DNA takes the official position that the ancestry of immigrant Henry Luce is unknown. One day DNA might help us choose. The male-line descendants will ultimately match a Luce or Lewis family in England, and we’ll have our bearings.

New mtDNA Test

I decided recently to have a Full mtDNA test at Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). This is something I’ve been putting off. I had the HVR1 test at Oxford Ancestors in 1998, and another at FTDNA in 2007. In between, I also donated a blood sample to BYU. Those results ended up at the now defunct Sorenson Molecular Genetics (SMGF).

I don’t have enough matches to make this more detailed test useful. No one is going to make a genealogical breakthrough by comparing results with me. I belong to Haplogroup V2, a common British group, perhaps with origins in Doggerland.

This full test gave me nothing new. I was (predicted) V2 at FTDNA, now I’m confirmed. But I was already confirmed V2 at SMGF. No new subgroup. I got a few new matches, that’s it.

But, I might need to back off a bit. I have my DNA results uploaded at WikiTree. They have mangled my maternal line–and they’ve been quite insulting about it. I probably need to pull my results so the link isn’t leading other researchers astray. What part of no evidence means no evidence? WikiTree does a hard sales pitch about requiring evidence. It’s even in the Honor Code. But when it comes to unsourced and inaccurate data, nothing can be done. They just shrug. Oh well. It’s not like evidence matters in genealogy.

All Things Cosy

I’m intrigued by this article I found on BBC. “How did a bucolic dreamland became the perfect escape from real life? Anita Rao Kashi explores a whimsical world of nostalgia, tranquillity and folksy mysticism. A few weeks into lockdowns everywhere, a curious thing happened on Instagram feeds. More and more, they filled with images of pretty cottages adorned with climbers and flower-laden trellises . . . .”

Much like Scandinavian concepts hygge and friluftsliv, the pastoral aesthetic of cottagecore is striking a chord.

Nothing new here. We re-discover a romanticized nostalgia when life gets hard. Or, so it seems to me. When I was in college at Boulder in the mid-1970s, I was surrounded by a back-to-nature aesthetic. That’s the time in life I began wearing jeans and hiking boots. It wasn’t just the local zeitgeist; it was even stronger in Utah. There, the Mormon pioneer nostalgia is always a part of everyday life. Years later, I was still on the fringes of it. Missey and I looked at buying a property in Cedar Fort, where we wanted to build a cabin.

I’m not surprised to see nostalgia surging in this time of Trump’s virus but the fashion can be overstated. The kernel is an aesthetic of slowing down to live more deliberately. Here in Denver, we were locked down for 6 weeks. Life was deliberately slowed. I spent much of that time sorting and disposing books and bric-a-brac. I could look at that period and find signs of a nostalgia for rural life. However, that was only an erratic component. The stronger drive for me and for many others I know has been looking for a simpler life.

Mari Kondo more than Mother Earth News.

Becoming Indian

I’ve been chuckling about this video for a few days now.

  • the1491s. “I’m An Indian Too“. YouTube <youtube.com>. Sep 21, 2012, retrieved Dec. 12, 2020.

So then. When the laughing subsides for a bit, I’m ready to go on with some more reading around this topic. There’s a particularly active faux Red community on Geni.com. I have a long standing interest in the subject of racial identity, but these folx really lit my interest. A wide variety of pipe carriers, and vision warriors, and chiefs of various standing. They couldn’t bear to hear that they might not be as NDN as they want.

I remember reading a few years ago about White folx with a tiny bit of Indian ancestry weighing in on whether the Washington Redskins name is racist. Invariably, they’d (a) assert their claim to Indian ancestry, then (b) say they aren’t offended by the name. Can people be less self-aware than that? I don’t think so.

I was pulled back to this issue recently by Darryl Leroux (no surprise there) and his latest article about indigenization.

There are also these older articles, still on my radar:

In other words, some people are making a very basic mistake of confusing ancestry and identity. It doesn’t have to be this hard–I have Swedish ancestry but I am not a Swede. So simple and obvious but it might be easy to lose your bearings if the only culture you know is your own.

Ultimately, this approach acquires an ersatz legitimacy from a related debate about the U.S. government using blood quantum rather than culture as a determinant of Indian identity. I wrote about that a few years ago. It should take only a few moments of reflection to see the difference between saying if you have the culture blood shouldn’t matter, versus saying if you have the blood you can claim the culture.

I’ll be watching to see where this goes. From the resistance I’ve encountered personally, I’d bet the ranch that rationality loses this round, this generation. There’s a powerful undercurrent in the dominant settler culture of wanting to be indigenized, some way, some how.

Update: Now here’s a book for my reading list: Circe Sturm, Becoming Indian: The struggle over Cherokee identity in the twenty-first century (2011). Looks like it’s still available from UNM Press for $27, but twice that used. Should be half that. Something hinkey, there. I’ll put it on my want list and wait for the market to play out.

Slaver Profits in Scotland

There has been a flurry of activity around a new study linking the Atlantic slave trade to the Highland clearances. 18th and 19th centuries. Fascinating stuff.

I read the Smithsonian article first. “Sure,” I thought, “we knew this already.” Or at least some of us could easily guess. If you read history, at some point you start to notice bits and pieces that aren’t being highlighted. One of those pieces is likely to be the prominence of Scots in the north Atlantic trade, and, of course, the slave trade. As soon as someone says the profits went back home, for example, to estates in Scotland, you think, “Of course. That’s exactly how it would be.”

Between roughly 1750 and 1860, wealthy landowners forcibly evicted thousands of Scottish Highlanders in order to create large-scale sheep farms. Known today as the Highland Clearances, this era of drastic depopulation sparked the collapse of the traditional clan system and the mass migration of Scotland’s northernmost residents to other parts of the world.” McGreevy.

OK, sure. But the surprising part isn’t the connection. It’s that the connection matters today.

The research is presented as a “discussion paper on land reform” for Community Land Scotland (“We believe that we cannot create a more socially just Scotland without tackling land ownership. Half of the country’s privately owned land is held by just 432 owners and a mere 16 owners hold 10% of Scotland (Wightman 2013) – we want to see more of Scotland’s land in the hands of more of Scotland’s people“).

The real meat here is in the Bella Caledonia article. “It’s likely that somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 acres of the western and northern Highlands today are in the hands of families which have benefitted from the profits of slavery.

Scottish Land and Estates, “a representative body for large landowners and country businesses,” brushes off the research as irrelevant: “it is a bit of a stretch to leap from a review of social history and ancient connections to slavery as being a reason why communities should own land today. (Ooo, this is getting good.)

I like the response: “Landlords consistently seek to benefit from the historical traditions and stories associated with their land and with their houses and castles. Past connections are readily, and understandably, utilized by Scottish Land and Estates to enable heritage tourism and generate a particular version of the Highlands and indeed Scotland in general. Dismissing one element of the past as irrelevant while promoting and deploying another version as key to the contemporary economic and revenue basis of many landed estates is not conducive to a fully informed and effective discussion of land, land use and community in the Highlands.

This is an issue that should interest the American and Canadian descendants of Scots who lost their homes in the Clearances, as well as any potential heritage tourists looking forward to visiting romantic Scotland with its castles and kilts.

I’ll never look at any of it the same way.

More Gunns

I’ve written about the Gunns before: Recovering the Gunn Lineage (Jan. 31, 2019), so we already know I’m an admirer of Alastair Gunn and his work putting the Gunn lineage on a firmer footing. I still haven’t done the work of cleaning up my own notes. Some day. Soon. I promise.

I saw recently on the Facebook page for Clan Gunn that Alastair Gunn has published The real history of (Clan) Gunn. It’s an abridged version — 59 pages, a very quick read — of his earlier The Gunns: History, Myths and Genealogy. I didn’t know about that one either, until now.

Summary: “Gunns are the original, non-related inhabitants of northern mainland Scotland.  They have no Orkney islands origin. Gunns are not a Clan as they had no founding father and nor did they have historic Chiefs. The first Gunn known was Coroner Gunn of Caithness (often wrongly called Crowner Gunn) who died around 1450. His eldest son started the MacHamish Gunns of Killernan line which still exists today and whose line is explored in detail in this book.

I love this stuff. Any time someone does the work to firm up the facts, they have my heart.

So, I grabbed the chance to ask Mr. Gunn how his theory makes the Gunns any different from other Celtic tribes that coalesced around a chiefly family. In other words, why aren’t the MacHamish Gunns just as chiefly as any other Highland family? If the Gunns are, as he argues, the unrelated “people of the country”, doesn’t that mean they the old tribe gathered around and adopting the surname of a leading family?

I’m broadly interested in the various ideas of this subject. I’m often asked to give my opinion about why this family or that doesn’t match the yDNA signature of the clan whose name they bear. It’s a difficult question to answer, not because the answer is unclear, but because the answer contradicts beloved myths. The question is frequently a prelude to a complicated and highly speculative DNA scenario.

The answer I would give, nearly always, is that clans were “artificial” groups. More like our modern notion of tribes than like families. But God help anyone who uses the word artificial in a context where it can be misinterpreted to mean fake. So, mostly I waffle.

Alastair Gunn responded to my question by writing a new piece on his blog, “DNA testing and Scottish families / Clans.‘Clan Gunn’ history or, more accurately, Gunn history <https://clangunn1.blogspot.com/>. Nov. 20, 2020.

The meat of his answer is this. “[T]he majority of people who lived in a Clan area – or drifted into such an area – simply accepted the Clan name for convenience. This is different for the Gunns who had their surname applied to them by outsiders.

I like that answer. It’s a subtle distinction, and no doubt he will elaborate in future posts, but for now it’s short and easy to understand.