When telling the story of Our Ripley Family, I think that we would all have a better understanding of our ancestors if we knew a little bit more about them, the route they took to Michigan, and maybe some speculation on why they chose to go west.
Our story must start in 1620 with the arrival of the Mayflower in what was to become known as Boston Harbor, now in the State of Massachusetts. It was through navigation errors that the Mayflower made landfall far north of its intended destination of The Virgina Colony. Word arrived back in England of the new colony in Massachusetts.
Our story now moves ahead 18 years to 1638 where in the southeast of England in the little Village of Wymondham, William Ripley and his family depart for their new home in a new land. We can only imagine how difficult the decision was for William Ripley, to pack up and leave the land of their birth and head off into a voyage to a far away land, from which maybe all of them would perish before even reaching their destination. What would drive them to risk all they had?
It was then on August 10, 1638, the ship "Diligent" arrived at Boston from England, bearing 133 people, one of which was William Ripley and his family. They immediately set out on foot from Boston, going south about 13 miles to Hingham, which had been first settled in about 1633. This was the first Ripley trek across part of America that would end up in the State of Michigan, 199 years later.
The next three generations of Ripley's all stayed in the area of Hingham, Massachusetts. There was William's son John, who had been born in England on January 1, 1621/22. Next in our line was John's first born son, again John, born March 2, 1656/57 in Hingham, Mass. This John's second born son was Hezekiah, born March 29, 1693 in Hingham, Mass. Hezekiah married Sarah Garnet, in Hingham, on February 16, 1715/16. The third born son of this union was John Ripley, born February 14, 1720, in Hingham. John's father died at the age of 43, in June of 1736, and his mother Sarah, remarried to John Pratt, in September of 1737. John was only 16 years old at the time and it's possible that he did not get along with his new stepfather. In any case, young John set out to find his own way in life, probably between 1737 and 1739, and headed for the land of new religous freedom, Rhode Island. John most probably traveled by ship on this journey, possibly working on the ship to pay his way, as it is doubtful that he had any money at the age of 16.
From the birth of John's first child, we know that he must have arrived in Rhode Island by at least April of 1739, nine months before his first childs birth. He married Meribeth Lee who was born in Rhode Island in 1718. All 10 of John's children were born in Kent County, Rhode Island.
John later moved to New York State, probably between June 1775 when his daughter Jane was married in Warwick, Rhode Island and before 1777 when his son Asa became a militia volunteer in the Revolutionary War, from New Canaan in 1777. In later military records, Asa stated that he was staying at his parents home in 1778, at New Canaan, Columbia County, New York. Asa was John's 10th and last born child and the next in our line. From what we have been able to piece together, Asa was a Fifer in the military, an important position at that time along with the drummer.
We know that Asa and Mary Polly, his wife, started out in New Canaan, New York where they were married. By 1800 Asa and Mary were living in Washington County, in more upstate New York, already with 2 boys and 4 girls.
Asa's 2nd born son was Asa, Junior, born March 26, 1784 in Washington County, New York.