Thursday, October 01, 2009


Now that we've looked at Beatrice's own less than spotless past, let's
return to her predicament of her third marriage.

In June 1677 Edward/Edmund/Edmond Berry was brought up on
charges before the Court. Beatrice submitted a petition detailing
the cruel conditions in which she was forced to live which reads
like something straight out of Charles Dickens:

"Edmond Bery, for being distempered with drink and for abusive carriages
and speeches to his wife, was fined.

Bettorice Berry's petition: "It being not unknowne to this honored Court
how it hath bin with me in respect of my wofull condition with liueing
with my husband Edmond Berry, who in regard of his most bitter, Inhumane
& most ill becomeing carriage to me, as many of my neighbors can give
Testimony. I was compelled to goe away from him; liueing where I could
gett harbor. ye honord Court upon Information hereof, compelld me upon ye
penalty of Fiue pounds to Hue with him againe wch as ye Lord knowes to my
unexpressable sorrow hath bin now for about a Twelue month, as by
Testimony Sufficient may speake for me & what shall a poor woman doe in
the Case; if ye Lord doth not wonderfully help; as for matter of substance, I
haue nothing of him neither haue I euer had but a very small matter euer since
I was his wife, for such was & still is his absurd manner in eating his victualls,
as takeing his meat out of ye pickle; & broyleing it upon ye coales, & this he
would tell me I must eate or else I must fast so that if I had not reserved to my
self a Little of myne owne I must haue perisht; neither will he allow me any
necessary about house for decencey or that wch is absolutely needfull but am
compelled to borrow of my neighbors; by wch it is evident that he exactly goes
about to verifie what he hath reported; namely that he will haue my estate or
elce he will make me weary of my Life; now ye honord Major Hathorne
Knowes ye contract that was made between vs before marriage & acknowledgd
before him; howeuer in hopes of my more comfortable liueing with him was
willing to bring into ye house what I could, & did doe it; although to be sure ill
bestowed upon such a person, as you may please to Judge of him in part what
he is by one late Expression of his to me who when I brought to him a cup of
my owne Sugar & Beare (for he will allow me nothing of his owne) and dranke
to him useing these words) come husband lett all former differences be buried
& trod under Foote; why should we not Hue in Loue & unity as other Folks doe,
he replied to me againe, Thus; Thou old cheating Rogue; The Divell take thee i
f thou doest not bring me Forth this Court; but such like direfull expressing
towards me are not rare with him; wch although my hard portion & very Tedious
to beare, yet was rather willing to groane under it then to make a publique
discovery of his wicked; & brutish carriage to me; but surely ye Lord brings
him forth, & ye grand Jury had cognissance of his Impious behavior towards me
& by theire act is he now presented & it is but rationall that I should speake
something before yor worships for ye clearing up of myne owne Innocency, &
also since ye Thing is brought forth to lay open my grievances before you
althouth god knowes my mind was rather to haue borne my affection & haue
waited upon him who is ye perswader of ye heart, with my poor prayers to my
good god in hopes of ye worke of his grace upon his heart & soule; whereby
he might be brought to see ye evill of his waves & so to carry it to me as
becomes an honest man to his wife; but ye Lord in mercy Looke upon me; I
am now past hopes of him; & ye onely wise god direct you what to doe with
me in this my wofull case, for I am not onely continually abused by my husband,
with most vile, threatening & opprobrious speeches but also his son who lives
in howse with him hath in his Father's presence threatened me to throw me
downe head long downe ye staires; & not onely so but he hath broken up
my chest & taken away a part of that Little wch I had."

If anyone were skeptical of Beatrice's claims, she had the testimony of
several friends and neighbors to confirm them:

"Deborah Winter, aged about thirty-one years, testified that she had heard
Edmond Berry use very reproachful terms to his wife, as bad as possibly could
be spoken and when she was sick he would also then most terribly revile her.
He had said that he desired it for her good and he did not care if there were
a fire in the south field and she in the middle of it. Sworn in court.

Abigail White, aged about seventy-two years, testified that Berry called his
wife Jezebell, cheating rogue, etc., and told her that he could not abide her,
and bade her begone. Also that his wife had proffered to do what she could
for him, such as to dress his victuals, wind his quills, etc., and she would
entreat him to be quiet, but he was angry because she would not join her
estate to his. Also when she was sick, he said that she should have nothing
of him because he had nothing of hers. Deponent had tried to persuade him
to live quietly with his wife but he said it was too late. Sworn in court.

Abigail Gray, aged about twenty-one years, deposed that when his wife was
sick in bed and the nurse at the same time was in bed with her, Goodman
Berry asked for cider. The nurse said that she would rise and get him some.
Goody Berry said he had had enough already, and he replied that he would
have some more or he would pull her in pieces. Sworn in court.

Writ, dated 29 : 4 : 1677, signed by Hilliard Veren, cleric, and served by
Henery Skerry, marshal of Salem, by attachment of a table and a cupboard.
Also summons to Mr. Resolved White and wife Abigail, Abigail Gray and
Deborah Winter."
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County,
Vol VI 1675-1678 (pp297-298)

The absence of any testimony from her own children and stepchildren is
perhaps an indication of how bad her relationship with them was due to her
own actions.

This transcript is the last court record I've found online for Edward/Edmund/
Edmond Berry. It's quite possible there are more out there but there are only
8 volumes of the Essex County Court Records on Google books. What remains
now is the question of whether the Edward Berry of the Haskell case and the
man married to Beatrice were one and the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Thank you for posting this.
My ancestor, John Glover of Salem, was also mentioned by Beatrice. I wanted to let you know that there are nine volumes of the Quarterly Courts and they can be found here:

I wondered how John Glover knew Edward Berry but now I'm sorry he had anything to do with Edward! Yuk. hahaha

Thanks again.