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After you die, is it any consolation to have a street named after you? Can the dead can appreciate the honor if it’s bestowed posthumously?

The three regicides of Charles the First, who fled to New England to hide from Charles the Second’s efforts to avenge his father, have streets named for them in various places. In New Haven, Connecticut there is an intersection near Yale University where all three are honored.

I like that the traffic lights are green in my photo, giving the go to three men who stopped tyranny in its tracks by serving as judges in the impeachment of a king. I wonder if it was Ezra Stiles, who wrote a gushy book about the three in the 1790’s while he was the president of Yale College, who encouraged the city of New Haven to name three streets after those men.

Edward Whalley and William Goffe arrived in New England in 1660, five years before John Dixwell. By the time Dixwell arrived, Whalley and Goffe were being hidden in the new frontier town of Hadley, Massachusetts. The Reverend John Russell kept them safe in his house for years in the full knowledge that the whole town could have been severely punished if the king had discovered their secret.

There are streets named for Whalley and Goffe in today’s Hadley, two tiny streets truncated in the 19th century by the arrival of train tracks, now just a few blocks from Dunkin’ Donuts. Note that each street intersects with the street named for the minister who protected them.

Yesterday I had fun googling up a storm to see if there are Dixwell streets elsewhere in this country. And how! I found one in the states of New York, Iowa and Ohio and I’m sure would have found many more if I’d taken the time to look. There is even one in Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston, where the regicide’s son John Dixwell worked as a silversmith.

What distant Dixwell relatives wound up in those places, and when, and why?


Posted on: Jan. 20, 2022

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