Saturday, November 7, 2009

Are you having a Ruhamah Day???

It is with great relief that I report that I'm not a blood descendant of Ruhamah Jones Nickerson.  I am, however, a direct-line descendant of her father-in-law, William Nickerson.  But he's a topic for another Black Sheep Sunday.

Ruhamah was born about 1650, and married Joseph Nickerson, and they lived in Massachusetts.  The Nickerson family is well known there; Joseph's father William (mentioned above) having founded the town of Chatham.  But Ruhamah was well-known in her own right.

While described as being a beautiful woman, she was also known as being, according to the Nickerson Family Association, "of a disagreeable nature," to put it mildly.  She *lived* for harassing people.  She was not burdened with the constraints of manners or polite social behavior.  Both the Indians and her white neighbors alike were afraid of her, and went out of their way to avoid making her angry.  If anyone provoked her, she would "play havoc with their washing, their choice plants, and the fruits of their harvest."  Any time, day or night, Ruhamah was Ready To Rumble, and never backed down from a confrontation. Oddly enough, Edward Bangs, an early colonist and a direct-line ancestor of mine, once argued with her, and his barn burned down a short time later.

Ruhamah outlived her husband, and another family took her in, while the townspeople were ordered to pay them for her support.  No matter what the compensation, I'm sure it wasn't enough!  She lived to a ripe old age, and had spent so many years sitting that when she died, it was "thought best to bury her in the same crooked position".  And they did.  Perhaps their way of getting the last laugh?

Sometimes we all have a Ruhamah Day, and would love uproot the tomato plants of the $#*()!! who just cut us off in traffic.  It's okay to savor the thought.  You aren't grumpy, you're just Getting In Touch With Your Inner Ruhamah.  Think about it all you like, just don't do it, or people might be remembering you, too, some 400+ years later!


  1. Are you sure that wasn't my mother you were researching? She is remembered for being "difficult", too.

  2. One doesn't very often hear the name Ruhamah, but it sounded familiar to me. Ah, yes (and perhaps you already know all this). It's from the O.T. prophet Hosea and the name (accent on the last sylable) actually means "having obtained mercy." So, difficult as she may have been, perhaps....
    I like your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sorry for the typo in the last comment. Should have typed "syllable."

  4. I did not know the origins of "Ruhamah" - interesting! Thanks!

  5. Great post, Karen.
    I love stories about the ladies in colonial time. They were not all wall flowers, as some histories would suggest. THANKS!

    Keep telling those ancestor stories!

    Bill ;-)

  6. Hey there - coming into this a couple of years late, but I am related to Rahumah's mother, who has the same name. The name, while also biblical, is actually Native American as well. Her mother was Native American and married Teague Jones. Rumors have it she was the daughter of Samoset (not sure how accurate that is), who was the native american who introduced himself to the Pilgrims and also introduced them to Squanto. So, I guess we have some Thanksgiving blood in our veins...

    1. I am also related to Rahumah's mother, Rahumah who married Teague Jones. whereisscott I would love to chat and maybe she what information you have on the family