Is wonderful picture has been in our family for as long as I can remember. The photograph is my husband’s grandfather William Thomas Jordan, born November 1891 in Ramsgate, Kent, so the picture must have been taken that year, or very early in 1892. He is the son of William and Susan Jordan nee Kelley. The lady holding William is, I believe, his grandmother Maria Kelley nee Tozer, although she just might be his great-aunt. The Jordan, Kelley and Tozer families all lived in the Ramsgate area. Certainly the Kelleys and Tozers came from lic sermon he gave at St Mary le Bow Church in London in April 1622. It is ironic that as Patrick preached on the opportunities and safety of the fledgling colony, settlers were being massacred by the Indians; a blow from which the school in the colony he was promoting never recovered.
He settled in Bermuda in 1626, taking the colony’s first silver communion chalice; he opened a school, married and had a family. Although respected in Bermuda, the religious climate in England and his unwillingness to compromise his beliefs led first to his house arrest and then to exile when he and his fellow independents fled to Eleuthera in the Bahamas, where they hoped to found another settlement with complete religious freedom. He died on the island in 1650 aged 80.
Diane and I couldn’t resist the temptation to visit his last resting place. From Nassau in the Bahamas we forayed across the Caribbean, returning every few days to check our discoveries against the records in the National Archives.
We were also looking for traces of James Jones who had been a salt dealer in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the 1800s. What had once been the home of James Jones’ son, Rev. James Copeland Lea Jones, and my Grandfather, Arthur Cleveland Cox Jones, has been beautifully restored and is now the Islands’ National Museum. Armed with a faded 1920s photograph of the house in the town of Grand Turk, we managed to find it by matching up the veranda railings and a now much larger tree by the front gate. The unfailingly helpful museum manager, Brian Riggs, delved into the archives and introduced us to the places and descendants of the people mentioned in grandfather’s letters. Grand Turk seems to have changed very little since his time.
After our visits to the Turks and Caicos Islands we began to track down Patrick Copeland. A small boat took us to our next port of call and lodgings on the small island of St George’s Cay, more usually called Spanish Wells. This was the closest we could get to the island where, in the 1640s, Patrick was shipwrecked on his voyage to Eleuthera. Spanish Wells got its name because it was the last watering place for the treasure ships setting off back across the Atlantic on their return to Spain.
We chartered a local boatman to take us out to the cave (still known locally as Preacher’s Cave) and stood below the altar stone used by my ancestor. Somewhere in this cave the 80-year-old Patrick Copeland is believed to be buried.
Despite the hazards of the trip Diane agreed that to be able to stand on the spot where my 10xgreat-grandfather landed all those years ago was an unforgettable moment.