There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Knowing our roots is only half of what is needed to understand destiny. Both roots and wings are needed to ground us and take us beyond where we came from.
In discovering roots, we’ve been walking the path of rescuing lost stories. As a demonstration, I am taking you along with me as I record, research, and fill in some bank spots on a particular branch of my family tree, the Hoag-Mosher branch. In a previous post, I shared how this branch took me back to Strasbourg, France, which has significance in my life giving me previously unknown roots – all the way back to the 1500s.
But who provided the wings, that enabled my DNA to travel from Strasbourg to Jewell County Kansas? A major transfer point was through Ensign Hugh Mosher – the man who immigrated from Manchester England to the United States in about 1630. Of course, this was pre-USA, just a decade after the Mayflower landing.
Hugh Mosher would have been 2o years of age when the Mayflower made its voyage, launching the Great Puritan Migration. There is extensive research on this significant immigration period, but I was unable to locate the exact time or ship Hugh traveled on, until….
Roots And Wings Clues
An Ancestry member posted the following about our common ancestor Ensign Hugh Moser. His research is in italics, with my comments in bold. Notes for Ensign Hugh Mosher:
The earliest traditions of the Mosher family locate them in Alsace, France, about the year 1580. Their home was in the southern part of the province, near Strassburg. The name is compounded of two German words Mos and Herr, which when combined means Mosslord or ” Lord of the Moss.” This may be taken to imply that the founder of the family name was a man of prominence, and had his residence on a mossy mound or hill.
After Alsace was annexed to France, both the German and French languages were in use. The French spelled the name Mosier or Motier. In England, the German method of spelling the name prevailed, Mosher. In religion the family was Protestant, and, with many others fled to England to escape persecution.
It is supposed they went to England under the leadership of Hugh Mosher, prior to the year 1600. They located in Manchester, Chester, and London. The Manchester records show that five Mosher brothers were engaged in business in that city in 1616, partners and silk weavers. They were: John, William, Thomas, Stephen, and George. The American ancestor, Ensign Hugh, was a son of Stephen Mosher.
Ensign Hugh Mosher son of Stephen Mosher, sailed for America and reached Boston in 1636 ( have come across the date stating Hugh could have come to America as early as 1632 which would make sense because he had his first child in 1633 and it appears he didn’t marry until he got to America).
My research agrees with the 1632 date.
Another Hugh Mosher son of Thomas Mosher, settled in Maine. A third Hugh Mosher, son of John Mosher, was prominent in the East Indea Company, and died wealthy, without issue. It was his fortune that the Moshers of the United States tried unsuccessfully to obtain in recent years.
Hugh Mosher, son of Stephen first settled in Salem, Massachusetts, where he became a friend of Roger Williams, pastor of the Salem Church.
Rev. Roger Williams must have been a formidable character. Association with him surely carried some serious responsibility. The founder of the Baptist Church in America and the State of Rhode Island, it would have been difficult to stay in the political shadows of the day.
In 1669 Hugh Mosher was appointed ensign of a Military Company by the general court, and took part in King Philip’s war, during which two of his sons were killed. In 1674 he was ordained pastor of the Baptist Church in Dartsmouth, Ma., but always called by his military title Ensign Hugh Mosher. He Married Lydia Maxon.
Source: Taken from Early New York Families Archives Pg. 78-80
Children of Ensign Mosher and Lydia Maxon are:
1092i. Rev. Hugh Mosher, born 1633 in Providence, Rhode Island; died December 07, 1713 in Newport, RI; married (1) Sarah Butcher; married (2) Rebecca Maxon Herndell Herndall Abt. 1665. ii. James Mosher, born 1638. iii. John Mosher, born 1640. iv. Mary Mosher, born 1641. Clara Belle Hoag Miller is descended from the Rev. Hugh Mosher and his second wife, Rebecca Maxton Herndel (Herndall).
From Another Ancestry Researcher:
Hugh Mosier is on a list of people whose name is unconfirmed on ship lists. Specifically this: “Mosier, Hugh, from Cucklington, Somerset, aboard the James, bound for Portland, Newport & Portsmouth, RI. Ref: Banks Mss. 36 pg 141″ the reference citation on “36 pg 141: 36. “Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620 – 1650” by Charles Edwards Banks, Edited and Indexed by Elijah Ellsworth Brownell, Southern Book Company, Baltimore, 1957 (Lady Anne’s Library)
From this, we now know what ship Hugh Mosier (Mosher) probably arrived on: The James. Apparently, there were several ships with this popular name since King James I was the ruling monarch. Although records were good they were not perfect. There is no record of a James arriving at the new world in 1632. Some voyages had few or no surviving records.
Three Reasons For Both Roots And Wings
So from this what have I discovered about Ensign Hugh Mosher and his roots and wings:
First, his family migrated together. When his ancestors left Strasbourg, several brothers moved at the same time, taking the family business with them to England. Then when he traveled to the new world, at least three cousins came at about the same time.
Second, his associations in the new world were both stable and courageous. He did not necessarily make the comfortable under-the-radar life that would have been easy but chose a more visible company.
Third, the family line’s faith gave them both reason and courage to make significant leaps of geography – twice. Although there may have been economic and other reasons, it seems their faith under lied their actions.