When he left England in 1630 in search of religious freedom and opportunity during the Great Migration to the New World, pilgrim Edward Fitz Randolph Jr. could never have imagined the vast impact his descendants would have on the creation of America.
Originally settling in Plymouth Colony, he later moved his family to New Jersey after the Puritan theocracy denied the very freedom he had sought.
In 1669 the Fitz Randolphs became a founding family of New Jersey. Edward and his sons were farmers and major landowners who quickly became leaders in the development of the province, holding offices in both the local and provincial governments.
Some Fitz Randolph family members were Quakers and early leaders of the movement to abolish slavery in the pre-Revolutionary War period. Another helped establish Princeton University.
During the Revolutionary War some were heroes on the battlefield. Afterwards Fitz Randolphs were vanguards of the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th and 20th centuries they were architects, prominent physicians, bankers, social activists, judges, authors and members of Congress.
Four relatives of Edward Fitz Randolph Jr. and his wife, Elizabeth Blossom, became presidents of the United States.
Other Fitz Randolph family members transformed a mid-19th-century manufacturing company into what is now the ten-billion-dollar- plus Wawa corporation by the beginning of the 21st century.
Thousands of pilgrims migrated to the New World seeking religious freedom and opportunity in the 17th century.
Millions of immigrants followed over the next four centuries.
In these faltering times their story is an inspiration for all immigrants seeking refuge and hope in America today.
“Unfaltering Trust” is published by iUniverse.
PHOTO CAP: Roy Ziegler