Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm not sure exactly how many days elapsed between William Haskell's victory
in Ipswich Court over Edward Berry and the start of John Haskell's own lawsuit
in Salem against his stepfather but both took place in July 1675. John's issue
seemed to be that he felt his father Roger had intended to increase his inheritance
and that it had not been done:

"John Hascall, son of Roger Hascall v. Edw. Berry, late husband of Elizabeth
Hascall, who was formerly the wife of Roger Hascall, deceased, and executrix
of the said Roger's will. For withholding a legacy. Wm. Hascall engaged himself
in court as security for said John.

Writ, dated Apr. 3, 1675, signed by Samuell Hardie, for the court, and served by
William Rayment, constable of Beverly, by attachment of Draper's point, belonging
to defendant.

Ed. Berry's bill of cost, 11s."

So despite the fact that the writ for his case had been filed first, John had waited
for the other case to be decided. It's interesting that Uncle William once
more stood as security for John. Could John have been having financial difficulties?
He'd inherited several tracts of property from his father, yet he could not put one of
them up as surety. Either the land titles had been tied up during the lawsuits or
John had not managed ownership of his property very well. (It's also interesting that
the other William Haskell, John's brother, didn't take part in any of these lawsuits.)

Testifying on behalf of John were his uncle and brother-in-law:

"Willem Hascoll, aged about fifty-five years, deposed that he was at Salem court
when his brother's will was proved and desired the court to consider his cousin John,
as he was the eldest son, and had not been given as much as intended by will. When
Mister Broadstreete viewed the will he told deponent's sister that she must consider
her son John, which she agreed to do. Sworn in court

Wilem Dodge, aged about thirty years, deposed that he heard his mother Hascol say
some time after his father-in-law's will was proved, that she was to pay 40li. to John,
etc. Sworn in court."

Elizabeth (Haskell) Dodge likewise testified that she'd heard her mother mention giving
John more money.

But after a copy of the will was entered, and despite the testimony, John Haskell lost
his case.

John didn't accept the verdict. He filed his case again at Salem Court Sept 1675 and it
came to trial in November:

"John Hascall, son of Roger Hascall v. Edward Berry, late husband of Eliza. Haskall
and executrix of the estate of Roger Hascall, deceased. Review of a case tried at
Salem court.

Copy of the record and files of Ipswich court of Mar. 30, 1675, and of Salem court
of July 22, 1675, concerning a similar action, made by Hilliard Veren, cleric.

Ed. Berry's bill of cost, 14s.

Willyham Haskeles bill of cost, 18s. 6d."

John Haskell lost his case again and since I haven't found further mention of legal
action by him seems to have stopped pursuing the matter in the courts.

More importantly, there is no mention of his mother, Elizabeth (Hardy) Haskell giving
testimony for one side or the other. Everything I've found so far says that she died in
1676. Yet in both cases, which were heard in 1675, Edward Berry is described as her
"late husband". We're all familiar with the confusion in years caused by the calendar
change. I believe it's quite possible that Elizabeth Berry died in 1675, not 1676.

One last battle would be played out before the struggle over the Haskell inheritance
would end.

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