Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Protest in Amsterdam

Click to Enlarge
I was in Amsterdam this week and stumbled upon the “Occupy” protest in front of that city's Euronext stock exchange building. Regardless of a person’s political and social opinions, there is something exciting about being present at an event that you know will someday be part of history.

There was an intense energy among the crowd but it was honestly hard to tell who was protesting and who, like me, was observing the protesting. There were about 60 tents, several hundred people and hundreds of flyers, signs and handmade banners.

This being my first protest, I grabbed a few photos (you can click them if you want a larger view).

I can't remember protesting much other than my refusal to shop in a CVS drug store but watching all that protesting going down made me curious about my ancestors who may have been politically active so I looked back through my notes and ran across Bridgeman Joyner, my eighth great grandfather.

In October of 1677, Bridgeman and his brother Thomas Joyner Jr. were among 88 people from Isle of Wight County who signed a petition for the pardon of William West. I am not certain if they pitched tents or gathered anywhere to protest but Bridgeman was at least involved in a very interesting chapter in American History.

William West was a buddy of the Joyner brothers and they got very involved in trying to free him from prison.

William had been very active in Bacon's Rebellion, the uprising in 1676 in the Virginia Colony over the colonist’s anger at Virginia Governor William Berkeley for his friendly policies towards the Native Americans. The West family strongly opposed Governor Berkeley during Bacon's Rebellion, in part,  because Henry West, the family patriarch, had been murdered by Indians.

West led a rebel force to attack an English-loyal fort, but was captured on January 16, 1677. He was sentenced to death but before the verdict could be carried out, he escaped from prison. The petition for his reprieve was circulated in October of 1677.

Apparently their protest paid off and West was pardoned because in April 1708 he witnessed the will of Thomas Joyner Jr.

You can visit my Web site to find out more about the Joyner family.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I just found this blog post through a google search. I am a descendant of the above-mentioned William West, and I'd just like to say "Thank you" for your ancestor's part in the petition to pardon my ancestor. _Laura