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From Pinco to Pynchon


The invasion of England. In William the Conqueror's army, a certain 'Pinco', from the St-Malo region (Normandy). This Pinchon family still exists, mainly in Brittany and Normandy, under the names of 'Pinçon' or 'Pinchon'. There is a 300 m (1,200 ft) hill in the Calvados region called Mont Pinçon, taken by the British after heavy fights on August 6, 1944. The name is not unusual in France: in Louis-Ferdinand Céline's Journey to the End of the Night (1932) figures a rather nasty army officer called Pinçon.


Nicholas Pinchon (1498-1534) is elected one of the two London sheriffs. This Pynchon is the oldest to be mentioned in Joseph Charles Pynchon's family record. His great-grandson William will be the first Pynchon on American soil. The family settles in and around Writtle, Essex.

The Old Pynchon House

(March, 29) John Winthrop, gouvernour of the Massachusetts Bay Colony leaves England for the American east coast. In his company, William Pynchon (1590-1662) from Springfield, Essex. Being a shareholder and patentee, William Pynchon will become eventually treasurer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He is the founder of both Roxbury (1630, 2 miles south of Boston at the time) and Springfield (1636).

William Pinchion

William Pynchon publishes The Meritorious Price Of Our Redemption, considered heretical and therefore banned and burnt in Boston. It is the first case of book burning in the new world.


William's son John grows rich as a fur tradesman. He took the initiative in founding several outposts. He is also a magistrate in Springfield, as his father before him. His records as a magistrate are preserved, as is a part of his correspondence. The Pynchon family is at its most influential now --local Indians call the immigrants 'Pynchon's men'. After John's death, the political influence will gradually diminish (as well as the family's economic power; most of the Pynchon men became lawyers, doctors or merchantmen).


William Pynchon returns to England after handing over his business and properties to his son John. He keeps on defending himself and publishes several other theological books. He dies in October 1662 in Writtle, Essex.

1760 (ca.)

Yale alumnus Joseph Pynchon becomes a merchant in Guilford, and eventually in New York. He is a tory, opposing the movement towards independence in Connecticut. He marries a Sarah Ruggles. Since their son was born, there have been at least 6 persons called Thomas Ruggles Pynchon. The first one is a doctor who dies at 36 (he fell off a horse).


(January, 25) The Federal Arsenal (built in Springfield in 1777) is attacked during Daniel Shays' rebellion. William Pynchon (1740-1818) served as a major in the federal army that ended Shays's rebellion. He was the last one to live in the Old Pynchon House.


Nathaniel Hawthorne publishes The House of the Seven Gables. Reverend Thomas Ruggles Pynchon III (1823-1904) writes the author a letter, complaining about the 'abuse' of the 'Pyncheon' name. This rev. Thomas Ruggles Pynchon will become the ninth president of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., where he teaches science and religion.In 1881 he publishes an Introduction to Chemical Physics. His brother/nephew (?) William H.C. Pynchon (April 16, 1867 - Jan. 2, 1910), first an instructor at Trinity, later founds an engineering company in Oyster Bay, NY; he is the great-grandfather of author Thomas Pynchon.


Publication of Joseph Charles Pynchon's Record of the Pynchon Family in England and America (revised by W. F. Adams in 1898).


William Pynchon (the Reverend's nephew, and W.H.C. Pynchon's son) settles in East Norwich. He was a surveyor and worked mainly on what was to become Jones Beach. He's the grandfather of our author. His son Thomas was born on March 19, 1907.


One of the main Wall Street stockbroker firms is Pynchon & Company. Active on the New York Stock Exchange, they invest mainly in technology (aviation — electric utilities) and motion pictures (Fox).  The firm has several publications on investment opportunities: in 1929 they have a publication on The Aviation Industry. After the 1929 Wall Street crash, the firm will be put into receivership with the Irving Trust Company.