In the Register of the Parish of St. Andrew, Plymouth, Devon, England, is the entry: “Ambrose Hunniwell and Jane Homes were married on the first day of November, 1659” (Hunnewell, Chiefly Six Generations in Massachusetts, by James Frothingham Hunnewell, 1900).
Two years later the name Ambrose is found in New England. “In 1661, Ambrose Hunnewell from whom the point at the Fort takes its name, resided at the lower end of Sagadahock.” (Me. Hist. Soc. II, 193) June 25, 1662, he bought land on the Sagadahock river (indenture). About 1671 he was living on an islet called Hunnewell’s Point (deposition).
This “Hunnewell’s Point” on the western shore of the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine appears to be the land first associated with the Ambrose Hunnewell family. Here was the first considerable attempt at settlement, that of Popham colony in August, 1607. It was called “Sabino” by the Indians, but on the earliest maps of the period by the English name of “Hunnewell’s Point.”
Ambrose Hunnewell was possibly a close relative of Roger Hunnewell, founder of a majority of the American Honeywell/Hunnewell line, but the connection has never been proven.
Back to Top
“Hunnewell’s Point” is an area now more well known as the fishing and tourist village of Popham Beach, Maine. Fort Popham dominates the tip of Hunnewell Point. It is an ante bellum, unfinished stone fort guarding the entrance to the Kennebec River. Hunnewell Beach is a large beach just south of the village of Popham Beach.
Tourists flock to the summer cottages in the area. Route 216 leads from Bath, then route 209 ends at the Point. A State Park watches over part of Hunnewell Beach.
The Hunnewell Beach Coast Guard Station was closed in 1971 and sold to local interests. It is now the Popham Beach Bed & Breakfast, run by Peggy Johannessen. It commands magnificent views of the Kennebec River, historic Fort Popham, and the quaint fishing village. One can watch the seals, cormorants and ospreys from the watch tower.
A short walk from the village brings you to the home of Jane Stevens, author of a charming glass- plate photography book showing the history of the area over the last 100 years. As we sat on her porch with a fantastic view of the village, Fort and the sea, she got out a copy of The Descendants of Roger and Ambrose Hunnewell and proved she was well aware of the area’s earliest settler. She now also has a complete set of Honeywell Heritage newsletters. Just past Jane’s house is a small parking lot and a short path leading to Fort Baldwin, a WW I era defensive set of gun emplacements.
A visit to Popham Beach, Hunnewell’s Point, and Hunnewell Beach will richly reward the avid family history buff. Stop at the quaint village and have a lobster roll, visit the Fort, check out the small library, bed down and breakfast at the old Hunnewell Beach Coast Guard Station, and try to soak up the feeling of what it must have been like 335 years ago.
Back to Top
A popular family name
The records of Honeywell Family Association show 16 persons bearing the given name Rice. The first was Rice Honeywell (Vol. 2 No. 3) of Revolutionary War fame, who moved to Canada after the War. All following him were born in Canada. All living are called by the name Rice, even if a middle name.
I’m trying to come down from the “high” of the reunion, but I’m having trouble getting my feet on the ground. For me my first Honeywell Reunion was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to contacting the people I met and talked with. I don’t know if you realize what you have begun, but you have fused new life into many in this family, and I think we cannot see what the results of this is going to be, but I’m confident it’s going to be good! It must be satisfying to you to see so much happen in the past year. Roy Devere Honeywell (C10)(IS), Baldwinsville, NY (Yes, thanks to people like you). Ed.
A member takes up the challenge
When I read the Winter 1995 issue of the Honeywell Heritage, a brief article on “Farms of Devonshire grabbed my attention. I thought it would be quite an adventure to try to find any of the five ancient farms that were identified in the 1932 book, The Place Names of Devon. In June my wife, Beverly, and I went to England and Scotland to visit the areas of our ancestors.
Adventure, indeed! The land of Devonshire is much more rugged and beautiful than we had imagined. Roadways as steep as 25%, narrow country roads bordered with high hedges, directional signs nearly non-existent, and unfamiliar car and driving rules provided challenges galore.
But with the use of the current Ordinance Survey Motoring Atlas and with the aid of geological survey maps, we found the ancient Honeywell farms at Marwood and Ilsington. We believe that other research trips may uncover the other three farms listed in 1249 as being at Halwell, Luppitt, and Kingsteighton (see Vol. 2 No. 1, Farms of Devonshire).
The Marwood farm is located near the top of Hewish Down, elevation about 850 feet, the highest point in the immediate vicinity. We had no doubts we had the right place when we arrived at the driveway off a dirt road, for there on the top of a prominent stone gate post was the name “HONEYWELL”. Even though Honeywells no longer live there, nearly all farms are identified with their ancient names.
Unfortunately, no one was home when we visited. But we did look around enough to see the old house, now stuccoed, stone barns that show their age, as well as a newer corrugated metal dairy barn. Modern tractors and heavy-duty equipment indicated that a large amount of land, sowed in mostly hay, but some wheat or oats, kept the current owners hard at work. After snooping around and taking pictures and feeling like real trespassers, we left with lasting memories of the first sighting of my name on the Motherland.
On another day we arrived at Ilsington, located within the Dartmoor National Park, a generally round area of some 25 square miles, noted for its wide open moors, dramatic tors (rock out- croppings), wooded valleys and rushing rivers. The constant-blooming Dartmoor heather is an attraction for the honey bee, and honey has been an important part of the local economy for many centuries, the monks of nearby Buckfast Abbey specializing in its production (Honey-well? Ed.).
The Philips family, current owners of the ancient Honeywell farm, were busy with sheep shearing, so conversations were necessarily minimal. Mr. Philips told us their large, three-story thatched-roof farm house was over 400 years old and stands where its predecessor stood for 300 years. That fits the information we had that the farm was on the assessment rolls in 1249. The 200 acre farm, while primarily a sheep farm, is also operated as a bed and breakfast inn. I could not help remembering my growing up years on an Ohio farm where I helped my father shear our flock of sheep. I left this ancient Honeywell farm with a fleeting vision of an unknown ancestor living and working in much the same way the Philips are today. by Roy Devere Honeywell (C10)(JO)
Your editor had the unique opportunity this summer to visit the Surrey, BC home of Hugh Rice and Helen Grace (Spicer) Honeywell (C77) (IS). Nestled in the sea-side suburbs of Vancouver, they provided several days of hospitality for Lois and me and driveway parking for our motorhome.
Both Rice and Helen are musicians. Helen acts and teaches piano and voice in her home studio, and Rice is the leader of a traditional Dixieland jazz band, Red Beans and Rice. Rice also has a home studio where he experiments with the latest in electronic keyboards connected to MIDI computers. Rice and Helen operated a music store in Toronto specializing in organs before moving to the Vancouver area. Now, Rice consults for a local music store between gigs with his “Red Beans.” Helen may be seen in the movie “Golddiggers”, due out soon.
Their children are MeriDai (107), Woodbridge, Ontario; James Bruce, Vancouver, BC; William Rice, Surrey, BC; Wilfred Keith, Medicine Hat, Alberta; and Stephen Roger, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. All are talented in their own right as would be expected in this gifted family. At a family gathering we were served Helen’s own superb recipe for - guess what? - red beans and rice.
At their urging, we are now also considering a July 4th, 1996 West Coast Honeywell Family Association reunion in Vancouver. Are you interested?
I entered through the side porch door of the old pre-reformation church at Ashton, England, repeating the pilgrimage of James Frothingham Hunnewell (AM-64) in 1900. There in the central aisle floor was a grave stone with a brass plate:
I was strangely thrilled to see the inscription. Because the brass has been walked on for almost 400 years and is well-worn, I immediately wanted to make a rubbing. Having looked for paper and pencil but finding none, I told my story to a man trimming a hedge across the road. His first words were, “That is extraordinary.” After some time I was able to understand why he was so amazed at my request.
He is Mr. Henry E. Yale, a new member of the church’s historical preservation committee. He recounted how just the week before he had prevailed in a discussion with other churchmen about how the plaque should be preserved. He had made the recommendation that it should be left as it is so that visitors can make rubbings. I was his first customer. He is in every way an English gentleman, and invited us into his lovely home so as to provide us the necessary materials. He was amazed to learn for the first time how the grave and marker had come about and was stunned that I had found such information in a book in America.
I have hopes that this 1995 vacation contact will lead to further Honeywell family knowledge. by Roy Devere Honeywell (C10)(JO)
Eighty-six members of the Honeywell Family Association enjoyed a beautiful Summer’s day and each other’s company at the second annual reunion August 26 at Wilson’s Hyde Lake Campground, Theresa, New York.
Several campers arrived the day before, with the hospitable Wilsons (Roger, Geraldine, Neil, and Betty) finding space in their lovely campground. This campground was part of the farm owned by their parents, Alferd and Margaret (Honeywell) Wilson. As families arrived, Rich Honeywell greeted guests while James Parks (JP) Honeywell made “Honeywell Heritage Picnic ‘95" souvenir name badges.
Honeywell Heritage Editor, A. Parks Honeywell, began the assembly with a prayer and by reading a letter of greetings received from President Bill Clinton. A brief business meeting followed.
Family members avidly listened to a recap by Roy Devere Honeywell of his visit to two Honeywell farms in Devonshire, England (see this issue).
A picnic lunch was provided by ‘Chef’ Al and Mary Jane Honeywell, ably assisted by son Steve Honeywell and cousins Jim and Margo (Honeywell) Fowler. Hot dogs, coneys, hamburgers, salt potatoes, corn, and drinks were served all afternoon.
The younger Honeywells swam with their cousins at Hyde Lake as the rest of us discussed family. Background music was provided by the singing of Helen Honeywell and guitar of Ed Honeywell.
This page, and all contents, are copyright © 1996 Honeywell Family Association.