Sunday, November 04, 2012


My 9x great grandfather John Emery Sr arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
in 1635 on-board the ship James with his brother Anthony Emery. I'm not sure if
his first wife Alice Grantham came over on that same ship or arrived later, but
I'm descended from their daughter Eleanor, one of four children born in England
before John's departure. Alice died sometime before 1647 when John remarried.
His second wife was Mary Shatswell, the widow of John Bishop.

One of the neat things about having ancestors who lived in early Essex County
Massachusetts, especially if they misbehaved, is that they might have ended
up being brought to court. I've found many interesting cases involving my
ancestors. John Emery was no different:

"John Emery, for his miscarriage with the wife of Henry Traverse, fined 3li. or
to be whipped, and pay witness fee to Christopher Bartlet. Bound to good
behavior and not to frequent the company of the wife of Henry Traverse."

Ironically. a few lines above that record is this entry:

"Inventory of John Webster's lands and goods sworn to by his widow, Mary
Webster, who is appointed administratrix"
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 
1636-1641 Vol1  (Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1911) p110

The date of their appearances was 29Sep 1646. I like to think they may have met
there waiting to have their names called and one thing led to another. At any rate,
they were married at Newbury on 29Oct 1647.

John and Mary would appear in court again several times, mostly for family
matters, but there were two cases that were a bit more serious. One involved
Quakers, and the other behavior that might be best described as bawdy. I'll
discuss them in the next few posts.

1 comment:

Pam Carter said...

Colonial court records are very entertaining!