Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Now before going into the second part of the case of Edward/Edmond Berry
and his wife Beatrice it should be noted that if Edward comes off as the heavy
in this story, Beatrice herself had been involved in some rather questionable
activity prior to their marriage.

To put it bluntly, Beatrice was not a saintly old lady.

Exhibit A would be an incident that occurred back during her first marriage
to the late William Cantlebury in which several members of the family were
involved in a fight with a neighbor woman:

"Bettres, wife of Willm. Canterbery, fined for provoking speeches to the wife
of John Rouden, calling her "lousie slutt," saying she had but one shift, and
giving strong suspicion of assaulting her person. Said Canterbery's wife, with
her daughter, were seen to go out with a stick and presently a great cry was
heard. A short time after, Rouden's wife showed the print of blows.

John Cantlebery fined for lying in wait and beating the wife of John Rouden,
coming from behind a bush when his mother and Rouden's wife were
"in combustion." His mother went away, and Benjamin Woodrow, being near,
heard Mrs. Rouden cry out, on the Lord's day. His father engaged to pay the fine.

Benjamin Woodrow to sit in the stocks for perjury in the trial of the foregoing complaint.

John Rouden's wife, of Salem, fined for fighting with and beating the wife of Wm.
Cantlebery on the Lord's day. Phill. Cromwell promised to pay the fine."
Nov 1656
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Volume II 1656-1662 (p10-11)

But the bad blood between the Rowdens and Cantelburys continued and next came to
a boil in a case involving pigs and peas:

"William Canterbery fined for beating Goodwife Rowdding.

John Rowden, for his wife's offence, fined and bound for her good behavior.

William Canterbery and John Rowden were bound to good behavior.

Rebbecca Cantlebery, aged twenty years, deposed that the day her father went
to tell John Rouden's wife of her swine that were in his pease, a short time after,
she came in an insulting manner and bade them prove them to be her swine;
whereupon deponent went and caught one of them and held it by the leg, her
father standing by. Rouden's wife took up a stone of two or three pound weight
and threw it with such force that if deponent had not fallen down, "it myght haue
spoyld me." Deponent further testified that she heard said Rowden's wife call
her father rogue, whelp and toad; and when her father was at work in his own
ground she had seen her sling stones at him with great violence, and they no
sooner let their cattle out of their yard but she was either hunting them with her
dogs or striking them with great sticks.

Thomas Goldthwtt testiffied that he saw Goody. Rowden violently oppose
William Caniterbury and she did strike his oxen with a stick in her hand in
the common field, Jun.10, 1657.

Elisabeth Walkut deposed that she, being sent on an errand to Goodwife Cantlebery,
found her abroad in her lot; the latter told deponent that her husband was gone to
give Goodwife Rowden notice of her swine that were then in his pease. Goodwife
Cantlebery, standing upon a tree, called deponent to her to behold how Goodwife
Rouden beat her husband. She saw Goodwife Rouden following Goodman Cantlebery
towards the fence with both her hands upon him divers times, thrusting him out of
her ground and throwing things at him. Sworn, 6: 11: 1657, before Wm. Hathorne.
Jun 1658 (p100-101)"

If the litigations between Edward Berry and the Haskells reminded me of "Dallas",
I'm afraid the fighting between the Cantelburys and the Rowdens reminds me
of the old "Benny Hill Show" with people jumping out from behind bushes with
clubs or throwing rocks, all to that wild saxophone music!

Exhibit B of Beatrice Cantlebury Plummer Berry's temperament will be covered
in the next post, and involves her hapless son in law Benjamin Woodrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009


When I first discovered the case files for the legal battle between the Haskell
family and Edward Berry, I checked to see if he were involved in any other
cases. I searched for both the names "Edward" and "Edmond" since he was
referred to under both names in the Haskell cases, and I came up with a
case involving an Edward Berry and his wife Betteris(Beatrice). I took a
quick scan of it and bookmarked it for later use. Then I found a follow-up
to that case and it raised a few interesting questions in my mind about "my"
Edward Berry and his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth Hardy.

Let's start with the first case, which was presented at Salem in July of 1676:

"Edward Berry and Betteris his wife, presented for not living
together as man and wife, were ordered to live together according
to God's ordinance within one fortnight upon penalty of 5li. fine.*

Betterice Berry's petition, concerning not living with her husband
Edmond Berry: "I can proue by Testimony verbally & also by writing
under his hand ye conditionall covent made Between us before or marriage,
ye wch Covent at ye Tyme of or marriage was acknowledged before ye
honored Major Hathorne; & likewise I can make proofe by John Glouer
whom he employed to come to me as a Friend to speake in his behalf; that
ye sd Edm. Berry desired nothing of my estate he desired nothing but my
person; but alas how he carried it to me afterwards I know ye Towne &
Country hath rung of it, & that it cannot otherwise be but yor worships must
of necessity haue heard of his base, brutish & Inhumane carriage to me being
truly such as was Impossible for any poore woman specially a woman of my
Age to liue with such a person & this I can bring proof of to ye honord Court'
that he did tell Jne Glouer that if I would not giue up ye writings that were
made between us he would make me weary of my life & so indeed I found it;
& so at Length with his consent we parted; & now I haue declared myself as
breifly as I could; & doe desire to ly at ye mercy of ye court, for what euer
I suffer I am not able to liue with such a Tyrant."

Christopher Waller, aged about fifty-seven years, deposed that having been in
discourse with Goodman Plummer, the former husband of Betterice Berry, he
told deponent that he lived as comfortably with her as a man could desire and
if he had sought all the world over he could not have had a better wife.
Deponent also knew that she lived comfortably with both husbands, but he heard
Edmond Berry say to her that she should never live a quiet hour with him unless
she burned the writings, etc. Sworn in court.

Elizabeth Price, aged about sixty years, and Elizabeth White, aged
about seventy years, testified that being at the house of Edward Berry
and being sensible of Goodwife Berry's want of help and conveniences,
they asked him whether he were willing that she should leave him and
go elsewhere. He replied yes, with all his heart."
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Vol VI 1675-1678 (pp194-195)

A little further research showed that Beatrice had been married and widowed
twice before she married Edward/Edmond Berry. When her first husband
William Cantlebury died, he left her in control of his estate, and when she
married her second husband he signed what sounds like a colonial pre-nuptial
agreement that let her retain control of what her first husband left her in his will.

Edward/Edmond Berry had signed a similar document before the marriage
but then changed his mind and now wanted Beatrice to destroy all the
papers, at which point she had left him, supposedly with his consent.
But now the Court ordered them to resume their relationship as
husband and wife. Failure to do so would cost them 5 pounds each,
so reluctantly Beatrice agreed.

Could this be the same Edward Berry who had fought the Haskells over
both the inheritance of his wife and that of the children of Roger Haskell?
If so, his subsequent behavior towards Beatrice might shed some light on
Elizabeth Berry's behavior.

To be continued...

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Okay, it's an hour late but here's my response to Randy Seaver's
"Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" for this week at Genea-Musings.
This week's challenge involves music:

"1. What is your all-time favorite song? Yep, number 1. It's hard
to choose sometimes. If you made your favorite all-time Top 40
music selections, what would be #1?

2. Tell us about it. Why is it a favorite? Do you have special
memories attached to this song?

3. Write your own blog post about it, or make a comment on this
post or on the Facebook entry."

I listed some of my all time favorites before here and after reviewing
that list, I have to say my all time favorite is "Good Lovin'" by the
Rascals. I know, not one of the top groups, but there's something about
that song that when I hear it I want to start tapping my feet. If I'm
driving, and it's warm weather, my driverside window is down and when
that song comes on, my arm is out the window rapping the beat out
on the car door or roof. If it's winter, I'm tapping the steering wheel as
I'm driving.

And the car radio volume is up.

And I'm singing along. Badly.

But "Good Lovin' " just does that to me, even at 61.

It makes me smile. And that's why I have to say it's my all time

Saturday, September 26, 2009


The latest chapter in the series of court battles between Edward Berry and
the Haskell family was about to conclude. But first, as in many dramas,
there was a look back at the past and some revelations.

The first involved the whereabouts of Roger Haskell's minor children even
before William Haskell was appointed their guardian:

"William Haskell, aged about fifty-eight years, and Mark Haskell, aged
twenty-six years, testified that seven years before the estate willed to the
children of Rodger Haskell was sued for by the guardian, Josiah had been
gone from Edward Bery seven years, Rodger five years and Samuell and
Sarah about one year and a half. The reason why they went from Bery was
because he would not bring them up as their mother by their father's will
was to do. Sworn in court."

So even though he wasn't yet their legal it's probable the children were already
living with William.

Next came testimony that harkened all the way back to the lawsuit between
Elizabeth (Hardy) Berry and Nicholas Woodbury:

"William Hascol, aged about fifty-eight years, and Samuel Gardner, aged
about forty-eight years, testified that upon the trial between Edward Berrey
and Nicholas Woodberry of Sallem, of an action of the title of four score
acres of land lying near Wenham Pond, they heard Elizabeth Berrey say in
open court that when her husband Rogger Hascol gave the abovesaid land
to his sons John and William Hascol, that he had her will and consent and
was also willing that Nicholas Woodbery should enjoy the land. Sworn in

But no mention seems to have been made of Elizabeth Berry's recantation of
that testimony. Wouldn't Edward Berry have mentioned it in rebuttal?

Finally, even though he wasn't able to bring up the Haskell children as their
father's will ordered, Berry still managed somehow to profit from the Haskell
estate while he still controlled it:

"William Dodg, jr., aged about thirty years, and William Dodg, 3d, aged about
thirty years, deposed that Edward Berry leased out the land and cattle that were
willed to the children to John Knight, sr., for less than half their worth and gave
him liberty to use timber and wood which he did to the amount of 10li., besides
about 12li. in cattle, etc. Sworn in court.

Mark Haskell, aged about twenty-six years, and William Dodg, 3d, aged about
thirty years, deposed that Edward Bery had 33li. out of the children's father's
estate for payment of debts, and also that before deponent's uncle William Haskel
was appointed guardian, said Berry sent word to said uncle by deponent that he
could not keep the children of Rodger Hascol any longer and for him to take
away deponent's brother Josiah. Sworn in court."

If the goal of this lawsuit for Edward Berry was some sort of financial compensation
he was unsuccessful. The court ruled in favor of William Haskell. Perhaps the fact
that he'd willingly gave up the children after profiting off their inheritance worked
against him.
So that is where the online transcriptions of the lawsuits over the Haskell inheritance
ends; perhaps there was another agreement made outside of court. Edward Berry's
death in 1682 would have of course brought an end to all of his disputes with the
Haskell family. It's easy to conclude that he was the "evil stepfather" but then again,
Elizabeth Berry's testimony about her former brother-in-law William Haskell hardly
puts him in a favorable light.

So who, if anyone, was the villain here?

While this might be all I could find about the Haskell cases, I did find other records
of an Edward Berry that might be the same person. If so, they give a clearer
picture of his character.

I'll post those next, but this concludes the Haskell Inheritance story.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Although Edward Berry had apparently filed a countersuit at the time that
he was being sued by his stepson John Haskell, he withdrew it, probably
because he'd been the victor in the first case. But in March 1677 the two
sides were once more back at it in court.

I have to admit I'm not sure what Edward's claim was in this one. It seems
he and William Haskell had finally reached an agreement concerning Draper's
Point, the property that had figured in most of the previous legal battles:

"Edward Berry, who married the wife of Roger Hascall v. Wm. Hascall,
guardian for the children of Roger Hascall. Review.

Writ, dated Mar. 15, 1676-7, signed by Hilliard Veren, for the court, and
served by Henery Skerry, marshal of Salem, by attachment of farm, house
and land of William Haskell of Gloster.

Jefferie Massey certified on Mar. 30, 166[5?] that about twenty-eight or
thirty years ago, he with others laid out about forty acres of land near Beaver
pond to John Hardi or Roger Hascall, but he thought it was to John Hardi.

Agreement, dated Nov. 13, 1676, between Edward Berry, of Salem and
William Hascole of Jabackow, guardian of the children of Roger Hascole,
deceased, concerning dividing a parcel of land called Draper's point "the
eastersaid from the path which the orchard belongs to: fals to the saide
Edward: and the saide Edword in consideration of Is to pay to the said
william: ore his asignes tinn: pounds: at or before in selver: the last of may:
which will be in the yeare of our lord god won thousand six hendard seventy
seven: and the said willim: is fully satisfied of a Judgment past against the
said edward for severell catell and mars: at a court past in Salem the
yeare seventy fiue: for the payment of the aboue said som." Wit:
William Balkwill and William Rayment. Owned in court by Edward Berry."

So Edward Berry and William Haskell had agreed to divide the property and
Edward was to pay 10 pounds in silver before May, 1677. I must say that out
of all the record transcription concerning the Haskell, this one has some of the
more unique misspellings. And as for Jabackow, I've been unable to find any
other mention of such a place.

Next several documents surfaced that weren't mentioned in the earlier trials,
if they were even brought forth at the time:

"Deed, dated Sept. 26, 1653, given by Gervas Garford of Salem, gentleman, to
Elizabeth Hardee of Salem, widow, in consideration of a dwelling house and ten
acres of land and six acres and a quarter of meadow lying near Draper's point
upon Bass river, adjoining Goodman Stone's land on the east and toward the
west to Francis Skerry's land; also his farm of four score acres of land lying
between Lord's hill and Birt's plain on Basse river side within the precincts of
Salem. Wit: Em. Downinge and John Mitter. Sworn, Sept. 26, 1653, before
Jo. Endecott, Govr.

William Haskell, aged about fifty-eight years, deposed that the widow Hardy
told him that her son Rodger Haskell by agreement with her was to have half
the house and land purchased of Mr. Gafford lying at Draper's point and was to
pay part of the money to Gafford for the land. Also deponent's brother Roger
Haskell, etc. Sworn in court.

Copy of will of Elizabeth (her mark) Hardinge, dated 7 : 6 : 1654, and proved,
1 : 10 : 1654, in Salem court: "Item I Bequeath to my sone Joseph Harding my
now dwelling house and the two acres of Land together with the ten acres of
vplandin south feild that which was mr skelltons together with the one halfe of
the Catch Called the Guift that the said Joseph is now in prvided that he pay to
mr Gafford twenty fower pounds starlinge Item I Giue my sone Joseph the
table board and forme in the parlor I giue to my son Joseph Hardinge one Cow.
Item I giue unto my daughter Elizabeth Hascall that pt of house and Land I
bought of mr Garford to be at her proper disposing without haueing any
Relation to her Husbands Leauein it and one Cow according to the donation of
house and land as abouesaid and I giue to my son in law Roger two Cowes
Item I giue to my daughter Elizabeth Hascall the standing bedsteed and bed
and all furniture be longinge thereunto according to the donation of house and
Land as abouesayd together with a fetherbed and two small Ruggs at the
house of Roger her son and one great Chest

"It. I giue to Joseph Swasy one heafer Calfe. It. to the wife of Joseph Swasy
I giue one old ewe sheep It. I giue to Roger Haskall his chilldren two ewes.
It. I giue to my son Joseph Harding's Chilldren two ewes. It. I giue my two
Ram Lambs to the Chilldren of my son Joseph to be equally diuided It. I giue
my weather sheep unto Nathaniell Pickman. It. I giue to John Hascall one
Steere It I giue the Remainder of all my Estate within the house and without
to my son Joseph & to my daughter Elizabeth & son Roger to be equally diuided
only to pay twenty shillings to Mr Samuell Sharpe which I giue him out of my
Estate And I appoynt sergent John Porter to be in the Roome and steed of a
feoffe for my daughter Elizabeth for the land and Goods giuen to her And I
appoint Sergeant Porter and Jeffrey Massey to be ouerseers." Wit:
Edmond Batter and Nathaniell Pickman. Copy made by Hilliard Veren cleric."

So there is Elizabeth Hardy's will, bequeathing land and a house to her daughter
Elizabeth Haskell(later Berry) that she could keep or dispose of without her
husband Roger Haskell having a say in the matter. But what I think is the key there
is "that pt" other words, that part. That would seem to verify all the testimony
that Elizabeth Hardy and Roger Haskell had bought it together.

There were a few more statements to be made before the verdict was finally handed

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I hadn't heard about this until today when several people posted
links about it on Facebook. Of course Bill Sparkman's death has
already become yet another issue in which the fringe liberals
and conservatives are spewing vitriol at each other. My sympathies
go out to his son and other family and friends who will be the
collateral victims of this firefight.

Politics aside, I'm dismayed with what else I found about recent
events involving the Federal Census. I knew about the ACORN
controversy but I wasn't fully aware of other issues, that there
were actually people and groups out there advocating that people
refuse to participate in the Federal Census and from both sides of
the political spectrum. Latino groups are saying that unless legal
status is given millions of illegal immigrants Latinos should refuse
to fill out the census. A conservative Congresswoman claims that
she won't answer anything else other than the number of people
in her household because the other questions are invasions of

My question is: What the HELL is going on here? Now I'm sure that
political games have been played with the Census in the past, but I'm
not sure they were ever played with such a high level of anger and
misinformation about what a census is and what use it is put to by
the government. It seems to me that both far right and far left are
intent in "cutting off their nose to spite their face" to quote an old

As a genealogist who's learned a lot about my family from their
census records I hope that calmer heads will prevail and the
2010 Census is accurate and successful so that future generations
will be able to learn as well about their ancestors.

But on the other hand, I do know that I'd think twice about working
as a census taker given the present political climate.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I'll post the next part of "The Haskell Inheritance" on Tuesday night but
while re-reading the last part I was struck again on how many spelling
variations there were on a name. This time it wasn't the Haskell family
name but the name "William".

Since that is my own first name, I tend to notice such things.

At any rate, just in the court records I quoted in the last section, William was
spelled as "Willem", "Wilem", and my personal favorite "Willyham". Now
the books I've found these court records in are transcriptions of the originals
so I can only guess that in each case the depositions and testimonies were
written down by an assortment of clerks with varying degrees of education.

While I get a grin out of the spelling, one thing that frustrates me when it occurs
are the entries that read something like "John Smith age 52 testified that his sister,
etc." ....and that's all there is to that!


Etc. WHAT? What bit of knowledge is hidden away behind that etc.?

Ah well. Maybe someday I'll see the originals of one of them and find out!

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.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's time for Randy Seaver's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" over at his Genea-Musings
blog. This is this week's challenge:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music,

1) How old is your father now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this
number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the
person with that number in your ahnentafel. Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or
as a comment on this blog post.

Alright, then:

1) Dad was born in 1924, which would make him 85 if he were still living today.
85 divided by 4=21.25. which rounds off to 22.

2) Person No. 22 on my Ahnentafel chart is my maternal great great grandfather
Amos Hastings Barker. He was born on 19Nov 1828 in Rumford, Me. and
his parents were Nathaniel Barker and Huldah Hastings. He was married
to Betsy Jane Moore (date unknown) and died on 7Nov 1907.

Three Facts:
1) On the 1900 Federal Census for Albany, Oxford, Me. he was 72 and his
occupation was listed as Farmer.

2)He also went by the name Hastings A. Barker, which is how he is listed on the
1880 census. Probably he did this because there were other Amos Barkers in the
same region.

3) He and his wife were the parents of 12 children.

Obviously there's a lot of things I don't know about Amos H. But I look forward to
learning more about him.

4) And this blog post takes care of the 4th step!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I had a sudden thought at work the other day.

I took a phone call from a customer who needed a copy of Hawthorne's
House of Seven Gables and after I'd found it for her and I walked back to
the desk, I realized i'd never read the book. This made me wonder if I should
make time to read it now. After all, it's about Salem, where many of my own
ancestors knew Hawthorne's ancestors. Perhaps reading it might give me fresh
insight into my family?

For that matter, should I now reread The Scarlet Letter? Now that gave me
pause. I hadn't particularly cared for that novel when we'd read it in high
school. It wasn't that I disliked the writing style of 19th century literature.
I'd devoured the Cooper novels, and was a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes
stories. I liked Hawthorne's short stories too, as a matter of fact. But
The Scarlet Letter had bored me. A lot.

Of course I'm nearly fifty years older now and more mature...sort of...and it
might very well be that with my adult perspective I might now enjoy both
Hawthorne novels. I'll have to think a bit more about this one.

On another slightly related matter I've run across references to the
genealogy of Edgar Rice Burroughs that seem to show he is a relative
albeit very distant. Now there's somebody whose books I enjoyed reading.
Maybe I'll dig out my old copies of the John Carter of Mars series and
read those!

Too bad he didn't write The Scarlet Letter!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


In March of 1675 William Haskell appeared in Ipswich Court along with his two youngest
nephews: Roger Haskell was 17 years old, and Josiah was 16. At that time, the boys chose
William as their guardian. At the same time the Court appointed him to also be the guardian
of 18 year old Samuel and 20 year old Sarah and bound him "for the payment of the estate
to the four children of his brother when they come of age."

The only mention of Edward Berry is a lawsuit in April that was dropped for the moment:
"John Hasscall having attached Edward Berry to this court and not prosecuting,
was allowed costs." In other words, oldest son John had to pay his stepfather's
court costs.

There is no mention of the children's mother, Elizabeth Hardy Berry.

Perhaps John had postponed the court case until after his uncle had the chance to evaluate
the value of the estate. It doesn't seem as though William was able to reach an amenable
agreement with Edward Berry for the two of them were once more in Ipswich Court in

"William Hascall, as guardian for the children of Roger Hascall, deceased v. Edw.
Berry, who married Elizabeth, relict of said Roger.

Writ, dated June 22, 1675, signed by Robert Lord, for the court, and served by
Phillip Fouler, deputy for Robert Lord,marshal of Ipswich, by attachment of
houses of defendant. William Hascal's bill of cost, lli. 10s."

Two men had appraised the condition of the Roger Haskell's estate and their
report indicated that Berry was not the best of stewards in caring for the

"Henry Bayley and Henry Herrick certified, 20 : 5 : 1675, that they had viewed the
estate lately Roger Hascoll's, deceased, in Beverly, and judged "that the decay of
the housinge and fences and stroy and waste made by cuttinge and fallinge of Timber
vppon the Land," amounted to 60li. Sworn in court."

The case concluded with a copy of the papers giving William the guardianship of his
niece and nephews being entered into the record.

The verdict in the case was a bit unusual in that the judge made a ruling to decide the
case before the jury had a chance to bring in their decision. As it turned out the two verdicts
agreed with each other:

"Court found for plaintiff. The defendant was to deliver the children's portions. The jury
brought in a special verdict which should have been entered before the courts' judgment.
If the committing of an estate of legacy or inheritance by will of deceased to any person
for the bringing up of the legatees notwithstanding the person to whom such estate was
committed by will is deceased, and the legatees left to and brought up by a guardian,
will by law keep such estate from their guardian, they find for defendant; if not, for
plaintiff, to chave the estate that is willed unto Roger, Josiah, Samuell and Sarah Haskall
by their father Roger Hascall, deceased."

But of course it wasn't going to be done that easily. There was still the matter of John
Haskell's inheritance to be considered by the Court a few days later.

As I read about William being appointed guardian of Roger's children, I was struck by
the fact that Elizabeth Hardy Berry had not raised any objections. Considering her
previous testimony against her former brother in law, I would have thought she might
have spoken against it. So why didn't she?

I found an explanation in the details of John Haskell's suit against Edward Berry.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Before we move onto the further court battles between the Haskell family and Edward
Berry, let's look at his estate and heirs.

As far as I've been able to determine so far, Roger Haskell and Elizabeth Hardy had
at least 9 children. These are their names and probable years of birth:

John 1639/1640
William 1645
Elizabeth 1651
Sarah 1654
Hannah 1655
Mark 1656
Samuel 1657
Roger 1658
Josiah 1659

John and William were in their twenties when their father died and Elizabeth had married
William Dodge. Hannah and Mark are not mentioned in any of the court cases so they
might have died young.

Roger's will is interesting for its mention of Mr. Gafford's land which would be fought over.
and for the way Roger lists the various farm animals by name. I like to think it shows he had
some affection for them.

The court record of Roger Haskell's will and estate is as follows:

"Elizabeth, widow of Roger Hascall, deceased, presented his will which was proved upon
of Thomas Pickton and John Hill and allowed. Said Elizabeth was appointed executrix.

Will of Roger Haskell, dated May 27, 1667. He bequeathed "to my wife too Cowes the one
being at our son in law William dodges & one at home named Coll I likewise doe bequeth
giue to my three youngest sons Roger Josiah & Samuell three other Cowes as yong whiteface, velvet & Colley likewise I giue to my daughters hannah & Sarah 2 heifers a
Red one named
Cherry to hannah & a black one Caled gentle to Sarah I likewise giue to my son marke a yoke of oxen named black & Butter & the horse I had of nehemiah grouer I likewise giue to my son John a lyned oxe I likewise giue to my sister Jone a heifer as soone
as the Calfe is taken off I
likewise giue my son marke my black horse & to Roger my Roaned horse & to my son Josiah & Samuell my too mares likewise I giue to my wife a yearling & to my daughter Elizabeth the Browne yearling & a yearling to my 3 yongest sonns likewise I leaue my sheep to my wife & Children to pt them as they thinke fit I likewise giue to my
three yongest sonns all my lands
& houses wheare I now liue to be equally divided when
they Come to age out of the same land
my will is that they pay to my too daughters hannah
& Sarah ten pounds sterling apeice

"I likewise giue to my son marke my Barne Cloase with that medow that Joyne to it out of
which my will is that this my son is to pay to hannah & Sarah ten pound sterling when they come of age I likewise bequeth & giue to my sons John & William forty akers of land a peece behinde the great pond; & likewise that land at drapers pointe Called Mr Gerfords
with the medow my
will is that my wife shall haue the one halfe & my 3 sons Roger Josiah
& Samuell the other
halfe & my meadow at Bunkares to be diuided equally betweene my
too sons John & William
as likewise my meadow at wenham meadow either of them an
equall pportion likewise my
will is that my son william dodge shall haue halfe my meadow
at the great pond & John &
william the other halfe likewise my will is that william dodg
shall haue ten ackers of land most
Convenient for him neere his now dwelling & my too daughters hannah & sarah twelve acres a peice out of the same land & the Rest of that
land to be equally diuided amongst my 3 yongest
sons puided that the way may still
Remaine out of that land to my now dwelling I likewise giue
Roger my steere Called
golding & Josiah a steere caled galent my son marke to him I giue what
land my father
in law John Stone liue vpon after his desease I likewise giue to my wife one
Roome which
she pleese & that my wife shall haue the disposing of this my estate till my sons

& daughters come to age & upon the same shee is to bring them up in the feare of god & to
pvide for them & my desire is that my Brothers william & marke haskell be the ouerseers
to see this my will truely pformed. Roger (his mark) Haskall. Wit: Thomas Pickton and

Inventory of the estate of Roger Hascall, taken June 11, 1667, by John Rayment, Hugh Woodbery and John Dodge, and allowed 25 : 4 :1667, at Salem court: Howsing and the
land lieing to it in
fence, 160li.; 100 Acres of land on the Rocks adjoining, 60li.; 80 Acres of land at Lord's hill, 80li.; 4 Acres of medoe at Buncar's, 16li; 2 acres of medoe in wenham medoe, 5li.; a parsell of medoe by wenham pownd, 6li.; the barne Close and medoe, 50li.;
one halfe of that was Mr. Gafford's,
50li.; neat Cattell, 53li. 18s.; horses, 25li. 5s.; sheepe,
10li.; graine on the ground, 24li.; beedinge,
15li.; wearing Clothes, 14li.; Armes, 6li.; pewter and a warming pane, 2li.; severall particular of howsholld stufe, 7li. 10s.; bookes, 10s.; severall Iron toolls, 2li.; severall things and plow gears, 15li. 5s.; swine, 2li. 10s.; gessed 80 bushells of endian Corne, 12li.; total, 616li. 18s."
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Vol 3,
1662-1667 (pp427-728)

(The thought now strikes me that the William Haskell involved in the sale of land to Nicholas
Woodbury may have been Roger's son and not his brother.)

So this was the estate Roger Haskell left his wife and children. Roger's instructions as to
how his widow was to raise his children would have importance when the question of guardianship came to court.

To be continued.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Elizabeth Hardy Berry had testified already that she had given her deceased husband
Roger Haskell all her rights over the land she'd inherited from her mother, Elizabeth
Hardy. Then suddenly she submitted a petition to the Court which contradicted her
previous statement:

"Petition of Elizabeth, wife of Edward Berry: "I had disposed my mind to my husband
that now Is Conserninge the sute of law he had with mr Nicholas Woodbury about the
land which my mother gaue to me which is my Reight I thoft I should haue Noe busines
theare at Court But my Brother In law William Haskoll found me out and perswaded me
with these words, will you giue away your Estate to such a Husband that saith you are a
baud And such like prouokations If he Recouer the Land he will sell It & make a bag of
mony and shew you a Leight pare of heels whare uppon I went to the Court when I Came
thare Maior dinison sayed to me, Come good woman you gaue Consent to your husbands
will did you not, In my fury I did say It Sir: But I haue Considered since I haue don my
selfe great wrong in spekeinge that word which was not truth for I doe protest before god
that I neuer gaue free consent to Roger Haskolls will which was my former Husband. This
man Haskel after his brother Roger was dead the Court was a fortnight after or thereabout,
the sd Haskell Remeaned with me most of the tyme night and day using many arguments
& prouocations with me to haue me goe to that Court to haue the will proued when I was
very full of trouble, knew not what I did being so short a tyme I did I knew not yt but
did by his Aduise." Sworn before Wm. Hathorne, assistant."

In other words, Elizabeth Berry said her previous statement was a lie, brought about by
the wheedling of her former brother-in-law William Haskell and the questioning of Major
Denison. This must have caused a bit of disapproval from the Court and the onlookers
alike. By recanting her previous words, she not only repudiated William Haskell, she did
the same to her own son John who'd taken part if the sale to Nicholas Woodbury. And there
may have been doubts as to the veracity of her new version of events. Could Edward Berry
have forced his wife into changing her story?

Two more witnesses were heard from:

"Edeth Herick, aged about sixty years, deposed that she often heard her father Hugh
say that William Haskoll was half purchaser with his brother Roger Haskoll
in the farm
which her father sold them and that said William possessed and enjoyed
the same some
tune before my father went away, which is about twenty-five years.
Sworn in court.

John Grover, aged about forty-five years, deposed that William Haskoll, sr., kept the
about seven years until such time as he went away, and then Goodman Herrick
came in
upon his right. Sworn in court."

"Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Vol 5 1672-74" pp111-112. (Nov 1672)

So the Court had heard several witnesses state they had knowledge Roger Haskell
and the late Elizabeth Hardy had been partners in the purchase of Mr. Gafford's
land which was then sold to Nicholas Woodbury by William and John Haskell. And
despite Elizabeth Berry changing her story about giving over her rights, she didn't
change the part about how her mother and husband had been equal partners in
purchasing the Gafford land.

The Court ruled in favor of Nicholas Woodbury and the transaction was upheld.
I've yet to find a record as to whether Elizabeth Berry was ever punished for lying
in court. Perhaps the members of the jury took pity on her.

Perhaps they felt marriage to Edward Berry was punishment enough?

At any rate, the Haskells and the Berrys would be back in court three years later
in the first of several lawsuits concerning the children of Roger Haskell.

To be continued.


The dispute between Edward Berry and the Haskells seems to have begun in Nov 1672
when he sued Nicholas Woodbury in Salem Court over ownership of a piece of land.
Remember that Berry had married Elizabeth Hardy Haskell, widow of Roger Haskell.
Elizabeth had inherited land of her own from her mother and then apparently allowed
her husband to dispose of part of it.

Or had she?

This is how it played out as recorded in "Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of
Essex County, Massachusetts Vol 5 1672-74" :

"Edward Berry and Elizabeth, his wife v. Nicholas Woodbery. Review of a case tried at
the last Salem court

Writ, dated 12:9:1672, signed by Hilliard Veren, for the court, and served by Henry
Skerry, marshal of Salem. Bond of Nicolas Woodbery.

Nicholas Woodberrey's bill of cost, 14s. 6d.

Copy of the will of Roger Haskall, taken from the Salem court records
of 26 : 4 : 1667, by Hilliard Veren, cleric.

William Hascoll, aged about fifty-five years, and Samuel Gardner, aged about forty-five
years, testified that at the time of the sitting of Salem court in June, 1672, they went to
Edmond Berrey's house to call his wife to court. She told them that she had freely given
up all her right in that land to her former husband Rogger Hascol before his death, and
wished her children to enjoy it. Also she was unwilling for her present husband to sue for it.
She said that her husband Roger Hascall was half purchaser with her mother Hardy of all
the land they bought of Mr. Geffard, that is, of Garfard's point and the four score acres in
controversy. Sworn, 18 : 9 : 1672, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant, and also sworn in court.

Jacob Barney, sr. and William Dodg, agents for Mr. Gervis Garford, testified that they laid
out to Roger Hascoll eighty acres lying between Lord's hill and Burch plain, and that said
Dodge saw William and John Haskall deliver it to Nicholas Woodbery by turf and twig.
Copy made by Hilliard Veren, cleric. Sworn in court."

So far it seems a fairly straight forward case. Elizabeth Berry had testified that she'd given
her deceased first husband Roger Haskell her rights over the land in question and that he'd
been a partner with her late mother in buying the four acres from Mr. Gafford. Two men
employed by Mr Gafford swore to having handled a sale of 80 acres to Roger Haskell, and
then witnessed it sold to Nicholas Woodbury by "turf and twig".

Now the "turf and twig" ceremony used for the sale dates from medieval England. The seller
would hand the purchaser a piece of sod and a branch from a tree or bush on the property
to signify the transfer of ownership from one to the other. This was usually done before
witnesses as was done in this case. The sellers were William Haskell, Roger's brother,
and John Haskell, Roger's oldest son while one of Mr Gafford's agents was William Dodge,
Roger's son-in-law.

So it would seem that everything was on the up and up in the sale to Nicholas Woodbury.
Elizabeth Berry had even testified to that.

So why was she suing Nicholas Woodbury? The answer would come in a petition to the
court which included an astonishing admission.

To be continued...

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Tonight's "Saturday Night Genealogy Fun" over at Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings
blog was inspired by fellow geneablogger Sheri Fenley:

" For this weeks challenge, please go read Sheri Fenley's blog (The Educated Genealogist) post Trading Cards, Get Your Trading Cards and then: 1) Make your own Trading Card(s) on . It's easy to do, but you need a head shot photo of your subject. 2) Post your Trading Card on your web site, your blog, or on your Facebook account (or some other account where you can upload a JPG file). 3) Can you think of other uses for these trading cards? If so, tell us about it!"

So, here's mine! Click on the image so you can read what it says easier:

Friday, September 11, 2009


Sept 11th 2001 I was on my way to work at the bookstore which opens
at 9:00. As usual I was listening to WBZ AM, the Boston news radio
station and was somewhere on Rte 37 in Braintree when the news
bulletin came about the first plane hitting the South Tower of the
World Trade Center in New York. At first I thought it was some
terrible accident as I listened to the report. I remember at one traffic
stop the light turned green and the first car in line didn't move right
away. Nobody honked their horn at the driver. They were all listening
to the news.

I was running a few minutes late already and so I was just pulling into
a parking space when news came at 9:02 of the second crash. Now I
and the rest of America knew the first crash had not been a mistake.
We were under attack. I went into the store and punched in, then
knocked on the Cash Office door, where Linda, the office manager
at the time, was listening to the radio. Given that there had been a
previous attack on the Twin Towers by terrorists we realized this must
be another by the same group or another like it and talked about it for
a few minutes but the store was about to open and I needed to be out
on the sales floor.

It was a surreal day. Linda would relay the news to the staff about the
collapse of the Towers and the other two planes crashing into the
Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania. We heard that the planes had
come from our own Logan Airport and had many New Englanders
aboard them, which made it even harder to hear. But work went on,
as it did for so many other Americans that day, even though our
minds and hearts weren't into doing our jobs.

That night when I got home, the networks kept showing the same
image over and over of the planes crashing, the Towers falling and
of the people running ahead of the looming cloud. I was angry at
whoever had done this to so many innocent people, and I wanted
them caught and punished for it.

Today, it's a different world. September 11th changed it forever.

And I still wait for Osama bin Laden to be caught and punished.


My ancestor Roger Haskell went to meet his Maker on 16Jun, 1667. (At least I
hope that was the case. But if he went to meet Satan, he at least had experience in
wielding a pitchfork already.) At first the events afterward seemed to follow
the normal course after the death of a husband and father in colonial times: his
widow remarried and her new husband became the guardian of Roger Haskell's
children and their inheritance. But all was not as it seemed, and a few years later,
the Haskell family became embroiled in a series of lawsuits that sound like
something out of a prime time soap opera like "Dallas." (only this one would be
called "Salem"!)

First, let's have a look at our cast of characters:

Elizabeth (Hardy) Haskell, the widow who made a startling statement in court.

Edward Berry, Elizabeth's second husband, accused of mismanaging the inheritance
of the Haskell children.

William Haskell(another ancestor), brother to Roger and uncle to the Haskell
children. Did he have more than the childrens' welfare in mind?

John Haskell, Roger's grown son who sued Edward Berry for what he felt was rightfully

Roger, Josiah, Samuel and Sarah, the younger Haskell children,

and lastly,

William Dodge, son in law of Roger Haskell and Elizabeth (Hardy) Haskell, married to
Elizabeth Haskell the younger.

But while the inheritance of the children was one bone of contention between Edward Berry
and the Haskell family, another was the land that their mother had inherited herself, and the
first court case would be over that, as we'll see next.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Alright, after an absence of a few weeks I'm back online. To say I missed
the Internet is an understatement. Browsing the Web for stories about
my ancestors has become a nightly routine for me and I missed it. I did
manage to compensate for it a little by entering information on my Barker
line into PAF and then a little Ellingwood as well. There's still more work to be
done on each should I hit a dry spell.

I had to do a little belt tightening and I'm now using dialup once again so
things load a bit slower. But it's better than nothing and it lets me do what
I like to do, which is researching and writing about my ancestors.

I'll be posting a story about the Roger Haskell children and their inheritance
in the next day or so.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Due to circumstances, I'll be away from the Net for a bit.

I'll be back as soon as I can.