By Katherine Dimancescu
Denizens recounts stories and events deeply rooted in the past. The seeds of this compelling narrative were sown on battlefields during the English Civil War, the Pequot War, and King Philip’s War as well on some of the earliest colonial farms in southern New England which are still in operation today. It builds upon the historical and genealogical research Ms. Dimancescu presented in her first book. Among its intriguing true stories are some which focus on leading early English ministers in southern New England such as Reverend John Eliot who established Praying Indian villages and her ancestor Reverend Thomas Shepard who found a way for corn to ensure Harvard College’s financial survival. Via land and sea Ms. Dimancescu traversed a research route which led to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and to her Winthrop ancestors as well as to The Bay Psalm Book, and then to Roxbury where she learned about maternal ancestors who settled there during the Great Migration. This narrative also transports readers back to a time centuries before the popular farm to table movement when the author’s ancestors established farms in southern New England and created orchards in which they cultivated what have become heirloom apples. This is simultaneously a chronicle of the daily lives of her ancestors and their contemporaries in times of peace and war as well as her search for who they really were outside of family stories passed down the generations and Victorian accounts of their lives. This narrative creates a strong connection to the past while fostering an appreciation in the present of the courage, fortitude, and indomitable resolve of the native denizens and their European contemporaries who shaped early colonial New England’s colonies and communities.