Saturday, October 13, 2012


Stephen Gates, my 10th grandfather, was a resident of Lancaster Ma when he
ran into a dispute with neighbor John Whitcombe and Witcombe's three sons
over some swine Steven owned. I found the original ruling and John Whitcombe's
rather colorful appeal in  William J Coulter's The Early Records of Lancaster,
Massachusetts. 1643-1725
, p.63 :

"1658. John Whettcombe for and in consideration of three swine killed and 
spoiled by his three sonnes, doth hereby promise to pay vnto Steven Gates 
the sume of forty fiue shill. in wheate within a week after michael tyde next 
1658 to be paid at his house in Sudbury the sd Steven allowinge for the 
carriage of the wheate tenn shill 6d.

Dat apr 2, 1658 John Whetcom

28,,10, 58 Jno. Whetcombe owned this bill in Court to be his act.

Tho: Dane: Recordr

To the honorer County Court at Charlestown. The humble Petison of Jno. Whetcome
humbly sheweth. That whereas yor Petitioner hath set his hand to a note to pay
fortie and fiue shillings to Stephen Gates of Sudbury. It was through my age and
weakness that I did not consider of it that 1 had no right to pay anything to him,
before he did duly make it apeare that I had damnified him, he did complaine
before the deputie Govr his worship, that I or my Sonnes had killed and spoyled
three of his swine in the woods, And made as if we stole them & with many threats
which did somewhat amaze yor petitioner so that I could not declare my case which
is such as I have now gotten to be drawne vpp fairly in wrighting, by which it may
appeare to this honor'd Court that I had not wronged Stephen Gates nor was 

indebted to him anything for wch I should agree to pay him anything. Wherefore 
yor petitioner being aged & weak and mean in estate hath wronged himselfe and 
family in loss of so much, besides by this means of giueing satisfaction there is an 
imputation of theft cast vppon mee and the family of yor petitioner (to yr great 
Greef being inoscent in that respect) and we are much defamed in our names and 
creditt. and therefore do humbly request this honored Court that our case may be 
considered, and my bill may be suspended vntill the next County Court and that 
then the case may be fully heard on both sides and determined accordinge to 
euidenc and equtie and yor petitionr shal be redy and willing freely to yeald vnto
 what is right and shall thankfully remain
Yor worthy- humble servant

John Whetcombe

[Middlesex Court Records.] The court decided that the bill must be paid."

While Stephen won his case, he left Lancaster shortly afterwards and died in
Cambridge, Ma. in 1662.

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