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Home: Surnames: Tooker Family Genealogy Forum

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the Tooker story, Elizabathtown, NJ
Posted by: Richard Brezet (ID *****5603) Date: February 24, 2005 at 20:07:47
In Reply to: Re: another cousin ? by Linda of 231

Hi again Linda:

Hope you are settled by now in Alaska.

This is an answer to your mom's letter to me of a year ago.
I was going to answer her right away, then I got very busy at work and it just did not happen.

I found the letter very interesting because it has a lot of info that is the same as my Tooker line. But that is to be expected because we are "cousins" after all.

Please tell your mom to feel free to write to me anytime she wants, and if she has a photo or a writeup from some of the Tooker lines, I would be very interested to get a copy of something like that.

When you are in touch with your mom the next time, tell her 'thanks' for the story of the Tooker's coming to the USA and then to NS. I wanted to point out to her some facts of history that are not what was in this family story.

King Charles I was b. in 1600 and became King in 1625 when James I died. James and Charles were both Catholics in a country that had broken away from the Catholic Church when Henry VIII could not get a divorce by the Pope from his first wife Katherine of Aragon (of Spain) so he could marry Ann Boleyn, who became the mother of Elizabeth I but was later beheaded.

Charles I was beheaded by Parliament in 1649 when he refused to bow to the will of the people. His son Charles II was born in 1630 and died in 1685. He was about 19 when his father lost his head, and he went to France during the 11 years (1649-1660) that Oliver Cromwell was the so-called
'Protector' of England. This was the time of the English Civil War, and being on the wrong side of politics or religion could be very dangerous for your head!

Charles II ruled as King between 1660 until he died in 1685 (this was known as the 'Restoration' period, meaning the king nad been restored to the throne). Even though Charles II was a Catholic, he was more easy going than his father had been, so he got along much better with Parliament and ended up dying in bed! It was Charles II who gave large grants of land to groups of men who brought new settlers to the American Colonies in the 1660's and 1670's. Many of these agents of the King became very rich by subdividing this land and selling small lots to the settlers.

I am mentioning all this because it is the reason why so many of our ancestors left the Old World to come to the New World - they wanted to get away from all the wars and famine and death because of religious intolerance. I was at the Atlantic Ocean end of Long Island, NY last May 2004 and found it to be such a quiet restful place where the land is still farmed like it was in the 1600's. I found lots of interesting info about the early Tooker people who settled eastern L.I. way back then. They were related somehow to the ones in Elizabethtown, NJ.

I also went with the people from the NY Historical Society on an all-day bus tour to Staten Island, part of NYC just south of Manhattan, to look at the very old houses and places where the first Protestant French settlers came in the 1600's. It was only a 20-minute drive from downtown NYC, but it was just like being in a small town in the country - very quiet and peaceful. Sadly, the bus took us past the site of the World Trade Centre, and also right past the place on Staten Island where the debris from the buildings was dumped.

Staten Island was where our Jacob Tooker had a farm during the Revolution - it was still under the control of England, just like Manhattan. Jacob had grown up in Elizabethtown, NJ but was thrown into jail a few times in 1777 because he would not give up his loyalty to England. He escaped to Staten Island (just a few miles away) and in 1783 he and his family were among those who sailed from NYC to Nova Scotia where they settled in Tusket, just outside Yarmouth.

It's interesting to read George W. Tooker's notes that the first Tooker in Elizabeth Town, NJ, got 5000 acres of land. That was a huge amount of land in those days (most people were thankful to get 10 or 20 acres). To me this means these people were very high in society in England at the time, and they must have had close connections either with King Charles I or somebody in very high society. Charles I was King in 1634 when they landed in New Jersey, so I think our Tucker people had a lot of influence with somebody in the court of Charles I. These Tooker folks must have been very rich.

The note that your mom mentioned in the Tooker dictionary seems to say that the American colonists were 'Tories' and that 'the Tories won the war with England'. In fact, Tories were the name given by the American colonists to the Loyalists (or Royalists) who wanted to stay loyal to the King of England. During the American Revolution (1776-1783), many families were divided between loyalty to the new USA or England. There are all kinds of stories about members of a family leaving to start a new life in Canada, the West Indies, or sometimes in England or France or some other places. Lots of Americans who cannot trace their family members after 1783 have forgotten that up to 100,000 people moved away from the USA because of the American Revolution.

The note that talks about the 'book on the City of Yarmouth 1821 to 1890 showing a lot of Tooker families in Canada' sounds very interesting. I would love to have a photocopy of that if possible.

Linda, sorry for going on and on like this, but if your mom could go to a family member or next-door neighbor or maybe to a library in Yakima and get them to send me a scanned copy of these names, that would be great. I could do some research on these people in my home area and let you know more about them.

The best e-mail address to send me something like this is - richardbrezet@yahoo.com -

I have one more question - I was going to try to phone your mom some day soon, and I noticed in the phone listings there is a Walker on the same street as her in Yakima (Linda, I think maybe this ia a brother or cousin of yours ?). Anyway, I will try that number and will leave a message for your mom.

I have been out west a couple of times. I don't know if I will be going back any time soon, but I would like to talk to your mom. She seems to have lots of interesting stories to tell about the Tookers.

Richard Brezet
Yarmouth, NS



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