I wish the rocks and shoals of North Scituate Beach could speak. What tales they could tell of sailing ships and fishing vessels, military attacks and lovers strolling in the moonlight! Not far off the shore, a rocky ledge lies beneath the fickle waters of the Atlantic and holds even more secrets. Today, Collamore Ledge is a scenic spot for sport fishing, but the day my story begins, it was a death trap. A poetic narrative by Charles Otis Ellms (1831 – 1913) describes the event:
Off North Scituate Beach lies a ledge, where at time the breakers lash with dismal roar, leaving the sea white with foaming crests, as the nearby watch tower casts it's warning light. Then at times the water seems petrified like polished blue marble, tempting one to walk on its treacherous surface, as the billows softly roll with no hostile aspect towards a friendly shore. On the 16th day of December, 1693, Captain Anthony Collamore, with five persons, sailed from Scituate Harbor in a sloop laden with wood for Boston, and was cast away and all lost on this ledge, which has borne the name of Collamore ever since.Captain Anthony Collamer’s lumber-laden ship had barely taken off for Boston when a fierce snowstorm caught them by surprise. While blowing snow and sleet most likely decreased visibility and hid the jagged rocks below, and forceful gales made steering the ship difficult at best, what caused the ship to actually sink will forever be a matter of speculation. There were no survivors. Searchers recovered Captain Anthony’s body several days after his ship sank and his family buried him under arms in the First Parish Cemetery at Scituate Harbor.
So ended the life of my first direct line Collamore ancestor on the North American continent. A ship pilot by trade, Captain Anthony Collamore was the nephew of Peter Collamore, the first Collamore to come to North America, sometime before 1639 . According to tradition, the “Collamore” ancestors first lived in the north of France and crossed over into England from Normandy, with William the Conqueror, in about 1066 A.D.
Writing this story sparked a burning desire to record life histories for my parents and my one living grandmother while they are still here to share their perspective in their own words. What a joy it is to capture their voices describing their childhood, their triumphs, their trials and their conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The process has humbled me and strengthened my own testimony.
When asked what accomplishments he was most proud of, Dad Collamer said,
As he said this, he pointed at a huge sheet of tag board covered with hundreds of family names in a pedigree chart and shelves of binders with even more names and documentation. And that doesn't count the dozens of friends and family members he has helped seek out their heritage. He even helped one of my friends find his birth parents when their family needed access to important medical histories.
At Dad Newcomb's 75th birthday party, one of my daughters asked him if he had accomplished the things in this life that he wanted to and if so, what would those things be. Daddy said,
"Well, I know I accomplished some things I never dreamed of - like seeing 23 great-grandchildren. I do have one item on my bucket list. I want to live to see all of my grandchildren get married - especially in the temple. I would love to live long enough to see another generation - and have your Grandma Ellen witness the birth of a sixth generation. It's totally possible."
Neither of my fathers spoke about the degrees they earned or championships they won or their business successes. They spoke about family - both past, present and future. They spoke of Christ and their testimony of His Atonement. They showed me who I am, where I come from, and what it means when I read:
An he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. (Doctrine and Covenants 2:2 - see also Malachi 4:6; Doctrine and Covenants 98:16; 27:9 and 3Nephi 25:6)Do you know who you are? Do you know where you came from? Where is your heart? Take some time and visit http://www.familysearch.org or even http://www.mormon.org/values/family-history
I know you're curious. I dare you not to get hooked!