- GIVN: Michael
- SURN: Powell
- Sex: M
- Born: 28 Dec 1605 in , , , England
- Died: 28 Jan 1673 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Buried: 31 Jan 1673 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
- AFN: 4RLX-90
- _UID: F6CB58592A0111DAB9B700A0CC5D9B65C1BC
- Baptised LDS: 23 Sep 1933 4 Oct 1933
- Record last updated: 30 Nov 2013
- TIME: 11:39
HISTORY OF MICHAEL POWELL, 1605-1673
Randall S. Hulet
Hulet Family Organization, about 1975
Michael Powell was born December 28, 1605, in England. The surname Powell is a common Welsh name.
Abigail, his wife, is from the London area of England and it is believed that they were married there and that their oldest child Sarah was born there. His name first appears on the records in New England as one who among others on Aug 18, 1636, signed the covenant sent to the General Court for an application for a town at Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, which is a few miles southeast of Boston.
Michael Powell was permitted on November 29, 1639 to purchase the town lot originally granted to Mr. Dalton. Along with this lot was granted twenty acres of land across the Charles River which Michael sold January 15, 1651.
Michael was chosen to keep the minutes of the town meetings of Dedham and was later chosen as the Deputy sent to the General Court Election in Boston May 10, 1648. He was granted a license to keep an ordinary (general store), and to sell wine in Dedham, May 6, 1646.
He moved to Boston before 1650, and was responsible in part for the establishment of the Second Church of Boston, which had its first meeting the 5th day of June 1650 with Michael Powell the first of the seven to sign the covenant uniting the members.
Quoting from the History of the Second Church, "It is worthy of remark that this covenant was not doctrinal, but practical; not a declaration of belief, but an obligation to Christian duty." It is evident by some of the early writings that the first building that housed the Second Church of Boston had walls of adobe bricks with a thatched roof with private pews belonging to the family without outside doors on each pew. They could be sold to other families if the family were to move.
The first sermon was given by Samuel Mather, who stayed with the church only two months. In the next few years the church tried without success to get a minister. Michael Powell served as minister when none could be found to fill the pulpit. To best illustrate the history let us quote from Michael Powell's appeal to the General Court September 6, 1653, after being asked by the congregation to fill the position of minister:
"To the Honoured Govenour and Magistrates" Michael Powell, your humble servant, desires you of your clemency to read these few lines.
When the providence of Almighty settled me in Boston, I intended to join with that Church; but finding that myself and wife did give offence in crowding into their seats that were of the former inhabitants, I endeavoured by the elders to be directed where we might sit without offence; but they not finding any spare room and the new meeting house being built, and myself being invited to join with others to gather a church, which was done at the advice and approbation of Rev. Mr. Cot and Mr. Wilson; we all not doubting but Mr. Samuel Mather would have joined in office with us, as he pretended; but failing us, we were not wanting to seek for supply elsewhere, as your worships know. Meanwhile, finding that it was burthensome to the elders constantly to supply the place, and oft the place was not supplied, myself (unworthy) being called of the brethren, thought I was called of God to improve my one talent, -- with this promise to the church, that I would supply the place but when or till we could not be better supplied otherwise, which we still endeavoured.
Now, honoured in the Lord, I, finding assist and acceptation far beyond deserts or expectation, went on, my chief encouragement being some fruit that some professed they reaped by my poor labors. Now the brethren being out of other hopes, motioned calling me to the office, a strange motion to me. So they gave me the call." (There is much more to the letter but felt this was enough to give one a picture of the situation.)
In October 19, 1652, the General Court had decreed that Mr. Michael Powell was "illiterate as to academical education", that they would not suffer an unlearned man to be called to the teaching office "in such a place as Boston." "He might have talents and a fine spirit" they argued, "and still not be competent to instruct the educated, explain the Scriptures, and convince the unbelieving"; also "that it tended to discourage learning." It was one of the orders of the General Court that no minister be called without their approval.
One may judge Michael Powell's character and humility a great deal by the letter written by him to the Governor and Magistrates. In answering his appeal the 10th of September 1653 the "Court conceives the Church may call Mr. Powell to the office of ruleinge elder, and then they may enjoy all the ordenance of Christ amongst them save the sacrament, which they are supplied with in Boston; and their wayting till the Lord shall send them an able minister of the gosple."
This they did until a minister was ordained Nov. 9, 1655, after being without a minister for over four years. Michael continued to serve as ruling Elder with the pay of 15 shillings per week until he became disabled by an attack of paralysis and through sickness reduced to poverty. By the account of the treasurer of the Church that paid for Michael's funeral, Michael Powell was buried the thirty-first of January 1673. The funeral customs of the period were that, though the whole cost of the funeral was ten pounds four shillings, only six shillings were paid for the grave, and six shillings for the coffin, while three pounds and seventeen shillings were spent for wine for the sacrament, and five pounds fifteen shillings for gloves.
Michael's inventory dated March 20, 1673, listed everything of value including five worn shirts, bedding, kitchen utensils, bed warmers, tablecloths and napkins. The total was valued at Seventy-two pounds fifteen shillings. Abigail C. Powell's inventory, April 21, 1677, includes furniture, personal items, clothing, and included a great Bible and a small one. Her inventory, which included the house and land was valued at three hundred four pounds and five shillings of which eight pounds ten shillings were to go to funeral charges.
Michael Powell must have had some schooling in England as a youth as he showed signs of being well educated, and this opportunity could only be afforded by those of the upper class of people. He lived in the northern part of Boston where the better homes were built. Most of the daughters married into prominent families of that day. Elizabeth's third marriage was to Governor Robert Treat; Mary, to Jacob Eliot, Jr. nephew of John Eliot, early minister of the First Church of Boston and the famed missionary to the Indians, and the youngest, Abigail, to our Great Grandfather, John Howlett.
Family 1: Abigail Bedle
- Married: in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States 28 Jan 1952 8 Nov 2008
- Sarah Powell, b. 1633-1635 in , , , England
- Mary Powell, b. 1637 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Elizabeth Powell, b. 10 Jun 1641 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Dorothy Powell, b. 2 Jul 1643 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Michael Powell, b. 12 Oct 1645 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Margaret Powell, b. 6 Apr 1648 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Margaret Powell, b. 6 Jun 1649 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
- Abigail Powell, b. 1651 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Please send corrections, additions or comments to Carl T Cox
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