Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wonder Woman and Me

Every once in a while I get the chance to read advanced copies of books. Recently that included The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, due for publication next month. As an uncorrected proof, I can’t quote from the book, so I won’t. In the opening chapter she discusses the lineage of the creator of the Wonder Woman comics, William Moulton Marston, who published them under the name Charles Moulton.
It’s not well known that William Moulton Marston was the inventor of the lie detector test, called the polygraph machine. But those fans of the superhero, with her magical lasso of truth, will not find it hard to imagine his real life world spilling into his imagined one.
Wonder Woman is a hero of mine, but especially was when I was growing up. I wore my underoos, like a lot of kids my age, every night to bed. I used to wear them under my bathrobe while watching the television show starring Lynda Carter. My parents fashioned me feminum bracelets by cutting the bottoms out of Dixie cups and slitting them up the side to make a cuff. On the television, when Diana Prince spun around, transforming into Wonder Woman, I would twirl with her, throwing off my robe and exposing my outfit.
I have so much to thank William Moulton Marston for. Where would my childhood have been without such a strong female superhero? Marston’s grandfather, Henry W. Moulton of Boston scribed the Moulton Annals, which traced his family lineage back to the Battle of Hastings, 1066.
It just so happens that, on my mother’s side, I am also descended from the Moulton who fought at the Battle of Hastings, alongside William the Conqueror. I’m not sure exactly where our lines merge. I come from the Moultons of Salem. It’s likely that he comes from the Moultons of Boston, but somewhere, on one side of the ocean, we have a common ancestor. [In a writer’s world, where our characters are our creations, I am totally okay with saying that Wonder Woman, as the child of Marston, is my very distant cousin.]

All Moulton lines trace back to one man…
  • Thomas de Multon was a Norman who fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. He was rewarded with tracts of land in Lincolnshire. The surname derived from their place of residence, which was Meules, Calvados, Lisieux, Orbec, Normandy. In England, they were under tenants of Baldwin FitzGilbert. Sheriff of Devon.
  • In 1100, the town of Moulton was granted a deed for public markets (important to a town’s growth).

Another Moulton of note a few years down the line…
  • Thomas de Multon of Gillesland in Cumberland, attended Richard I in his crusades from 1189-1199. He is a prominent figure in Sir Walter Scott’s tale The Talisman (Tales of the Crusaders).

Another man of on record…
  • The name of Thomas Moulton appears on the Magna Charta granted by King John in 1215.

The one who moved from Moulton, England to Ormesby, England…
  • 17x: John Moulton (1415-1494) and wife unknown
  • 16x: Robert Moulton (1465-1516) and wife unknown
  • 15x: John Moulton (1490-1549) and Agnes Dowwife (1490-1549)
  • 14x: Robert Moulton (1500-1535) and Margaret Wattes (1491-1549)

Living in Scratsby and Hemsby, England…
  • 13x: Thomas Moulton (1535-1587) and Joanna Green (1532-1589)
  • 12x: Robert Moulton (1565-1633) and Mary Smith (1579-1636)

The one who crossed an ocean to Salem, Massachusetts…
  • 11x: Robert Moulton (1590-1655) and Deborah Edwards (1599-1656)

In Salem, Massachusetts…
  • 10x: Robert Moulton (1616-1665) and Abigail Goode (1619-1666)
  • 9x: Robert Moulton (1644-1731) and Mary Cooke (1649-1732)
  • 8x: Robert Moulton (1675-1756) and Hannah Groves (1676-1764)

Elsewhere in MA…
  • 7x: Freeborn Moulton (1717–1792) and Rebekah Walker (1717-1802)

And marrying an immigrant from Ireland…
  • 6x: Rebekah Moulton (b.1742) and Thomas Ridel (1739-1809)

            My 9x Great-Grandfather Robert Moulton, and his son, were living in Salem during the Witch Trials that-were-not-about-actual-witches-but-about-independent-women-and-land-ownership. Before the trials, he had stood before the village with some case against Giles Corey. Indeed, from most accounts in the city transcripts, Giles Corey was a difficult man. But it is important for me to note that Robert Moulton is on record testifying that he knew one of the girls accusing others of witchcraft was lying.              
           The idea of truth is important to me. From a man in Salem standing against a false accuser to a man creating a polygraph for psychological purposes to study the ways people’s brains could lie to themselves, to a woman striving to write stories from a place of emotional vulnerability, I take seriously the path my ancestors and I have been on.

            May I stand behind the words I say. May my words be honest and kind. May that kindness help my heart open to grace. May that grace be expressed in the face I show the world. May I walk the world with steady footing, that I may stand behind the words I say.
My desk, 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.