Like the celebrities of TV's hit, "Who Do You Think You Are?" and untold millions of other Americans, Joseph Cone
was curious about his ancestors. But Cone is not a celebrity with a crew of assistants, so he went about digging up the past the old-fashioned way, doing painstaking research himself in libraries and archives.
Begun long before the current TV craze, Cone's labors bore fruit in a story of colonial New England that "still astonishes" him. His book, "A Man Named Daniel,"
tells the vivid story of Daniel Cone, a founder of Haddam and East Haddam, and the first of the Cone name in North America.
Cone, a Scottish prisoner of the final battle of the English Civil War who was deported to New
England in 1652, would most likely have been forever lost to history—like nearly all of his compatriot prisoners—if it were not that he became an indentured servant in one of the most notable and influential Puritan families, the Winthrops. As a result of about five years of service to John Winthrop Jr., governor of the Connecticut Colony, Cone is mentioned in a variety of documents associated with Winthrop, and from them, and Winthrop’s well-documented life, and other primary sources, the story of Daniel can be fleshed out.
The 169-page "Man Named Daniel" focuses on the tumultuous period in New England from 1645 to 1665, a time marked by the expansion of the first settlements of the Puritans beyond Massachusetts, the founding of and competition among nascent colonies of New Haven, New London, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and the attendant strife with native peoples.
The extraordinary challenges of uprooted individuals like Daniel of making a new life in New England comes alive against the powerful forces of the era: the English Civil Wars, the Puritan revolution, and the passions of their radical religion. Much more than an unexpected portrait of an obscure common man, Daniel reveals the culture and social structure of this seminal period in American history.
The career of Daniel from soldier, prisoner, and trusted servant, to freeman, husband and pioneer, is amply supported by 33 pages of endnotes and bibliograpy. A chronology and 23 illustrations are also provided.
Joseph Cone, a tenth generation descendant of Daniel, is a writer and documentary filmmaker, a
graduate of Yale and the University of Oregon, and a faculty member at Oregon State University.
Daniel follows publication of the non-fiction "Fire Under the Sea" (William Morrow) and "A Common Fate" (Henry Holt), and a screenplay, "Verdi’s Triumph" (Text & Context). "A Man Named Daniel" is available from Amazon.com or direct from the publisher at textandcontext.com. List price, $16.95.