Since we have been able to obtain some data about the Slawson Family, the ancestors of Martha Slawson, that is being included also. We trust it will be of interest. Appreciation is due The Rev. Stephen Dibble, a descendant of Samuel and Martha (Slawson) Callender for supplying some of this information.
At the outset it must be stated that the family name has been spelled fourteen different ways, and these variations frequently appear in the same records. The most common spellings have been: Slason, Slauson, Slawson, and Slosson. Families in the Connecticut area have all four spellings of the name. A Slason of Lynn, Massachusetts was the first of, that name in this country.
George Slawson, Martha's great-great-grandfather, came to Sandwich, Massachusetts from Southwark, England about 1636 and was one of its founders. According to Hinman's, "The First Puritan Settlers", he was "a firm Puritan, and a good man." The name of his first wife, the mother of his children, is not known. From Sandwich he moved in 1642 to Western Connecticut, the Stamford Area, where he held positions of public trust. On three occasions he represented the settlers in signing treaties with the Indians. He sat in the Legislature which met in New Haven, and was prominent in church life.
John Slawson, son of George, married Miss Sarah Tuttle, a daughter of William and Elizabeth Tuttle of New Haven, Connecticut. Her parents were both born in England, and William Tuttle was listed as a passenger on the ship "Planter" on April 2, 1635. John and Sarah (Tuttle) Slawson had a son, Jonathan. By his second wife, Elizabeth Benedict, he had three children: Mary, Thomas, and Hannah.Jonathan Slawson was married twice. His first wife, Mary Waterbury by whom he had three children, Passed away in 1710 and the following year he married Rose Stevens, daughter of Obadiah and Rebecca (Rose) Stevens of Stamford, and to them were born six children, among whom was David, the father of Martha Slawson.
David Slawson and wife, Eunice Scofield, whom he married in 1735, lived in the eastern part of the town of Stamford, now Darien, Connecticut. They were doubtless members of the Congregational Church there as they were recommended to the church in New Canaan on Nov. 14, 1758 by its pastor, Rev. Mr. Mather of Darien, who served the church from 1744 until 1806.
Martha Slawson was the youngest of eight children born to David and Eunice (Scofield) Slawson. Her two brothers, David and Jonathan, served in the American Revolution. We do not know which brother befriended Samuel Callender and took him to his home where he met and wooed their young sister, Martha. At the 1889 Callender Reunion, Rev. Nathan Callender read the following as part of his "Reminiscence of Samuel Callender":
"Our Virginia soldier got attached to one of the Connecticut boys named Slasson. As Providence ordained it, our Virginia boy visited the home of Slasson in 'Yanky Land'. How many sisters Slasson had we are not told, but we know he had one whose name was Martha. How the Parties negotiated this momentous contract during revolutionary conflict, must remain untold."
In his seventieth year, Nathan Callender, grandson of Martha and Samuel, wrote down his memories of his grandparents. He described his grandmother as a remarkable combination of rigid virtue and and disposition. "How persistently she watched our morals! Every slang word was always reproved. No unkind word or look of hers is remembered by me. I think she seldom frowned." Her grandson spoke of her as "The dear grandmother", and "From this precious woman we got our very first conception of God."
Speaking at the dedication of the family monument in Montdale, Nathan said of Martha, "As her sacred dust is here, and her name and age on this shaft, it is fitting to here pay her this just tribute. My father's mother was in many ways my mother. One of her faults, if faults she had, was perhaps in too much indulgence to her pet grandson."
From between the lines of Nathan Callender's pious Victorian prose, and from her New England background, emerges the Yankee goodwife, Martha Slawson Callender. Plain, unselfish, Christian, gentle, she was typical of the pioneer woman who pitted their strength in the great push westward, cutting through wilderness to clear and settle the land, and to people this vast continent in a few short years.
THE REVEREND NATHAN CALLENDER
Rev. Willard D. Callender
(1902 - 1987)
Created by David Burman