Saturday, November 10, 2012


The first records I found were from the March 31, 1663 court session held
at Ipswich , Massachusetts. The spelling and grammar are those used in
the period. You'll notice that the spelling of names change back and forth.

 The story starts with this entry. The asterik at the end denotes a footnote.:

"Henry Greeland was charged with several times soliciting Mary, wife of John 

Roffe, to adultery, especially on one night when he came into her own house to 
bed with her to her great affright. Said Greeleland desired to be tried by a jury,
which request was granted, and they found him guilty. Court sentenced him to 
prison to remain until the next session of court and then to be whipped, unless 
he pay a fine of thirty pounds. Greeland was bound to good behavior. Capt. 
Walter Barfoote and George Gouldwire, sureties.*"

Then follows the footnote, which is a letter concerning the sureties that was 
sent to the court the following August:

"Mr. Greenland hauing his wife come over is desirous to withdraw his appeale, 
& yet is not willing to endanger the forfeiture of his bond especially his sureties, 
I told him if he did submit to the sentence of Ipswich court, and could procure 
the consent of the Judge of that court to withdraw his appeale I did suppose he 
might save the forfeiture of his bond he desired me to signify my opinion to 
yourselfe that so if you & Mr Woodman are like minded, he may have that 
assurance that may direct him how to act, he will more fully impart his desires 
& reasons then is necessary for me to doe, hastily I rest
Yrs "Daniel Denison.
"Ips: Aug. 26, 1663.
"I assent to what is above written
August 26th, 1663 Samuel Symonds.

"I do likewise Asent to what is Above written, Auguste 27th 1663
"p Edward Woodman."

So Henry Greenland was accused and convicted of what might be
described as hanky-panky with Mary Rolfe.  He was released pending
his appeal but apparently wanted to drop it by August because of the
arrival of his wife from England.

But back in March, before the case proceeded and the various
witness statements were given, Mary Rolfe petitioned the court:

 Letter addressed: "For the Honord Mr Samuel Symonds, these."

Mary Rofe's petition:

"I would desier the honord Court to here me a few words. I am a poor young 

woman and in an aflicted Condition. My husband not being with me: he Litl 
knowing the trubls I haue met with: being a verie Louing husband to me as
 anie young woman Can Expect and provided for me in his absenc that I might 
liue Cherfully as he thought and want for nothing therefor he went unto John 
Emeris house and got John Emeri and his wife to be willing to let ther daughter 
Elizabeth Webster to Com and liue with me and to lye with me untill he Cam 
whom again: but by the prouidenc of god this fel out to be hurtfull to me: she 
was to worke for hir self and diat hir selfe: and by this means I was occasioned
to go often with hir to hir father Emeris house about his victualls and John 
Emerie promist to be || as || a father to me and a frend and Called me daughter 
and I him father: and I was often merily disposed as young persons use to be 
genrally but no uncivell Carig as goodman Emerie and his wife have both 

But so it fell out in the Intrim this Mr grenland Com to live in John Emeris

house: and this becam a snare to me and Cordin likewise frequenting grenlands 
Companie at that house: and I haue bin a salted by them and not only so: but 
grenland have Labored with manie of my naibours to posesse them that I am 
as guiltie as he and sais he can proue it. I hope it may apeer to the honored 
Court that not on of my naibors in all the toune nether neer nor further of 
Can say they saw anie uncivell Carridg or hurt by me in ther liues: and what 
wittnesses he will bring I know not: what so Euer thay be this is my Comfortt 
that I Can say in the psents of god and before his peopl with a good Concienc 
that nether grenland nor Cordin nor anie other Man in the world . . . what Euer
Aspercions haue bin Cast upon me it is the hand of god that is upon me and I 
desier to be willing to bere it and I hope It shall be a warning to me in what 
Companie I com in to henc forward."
mary (her mark) Rofe.

It seemed to me that Mary was a bit nervous about what her neighbors from
Newbury were going to say about her own part in the affair and wanted to get
her side of the story heard first.

I'll conclude this post with the very practical statement of  Constable Henry

.""My Charg for Bringen Mr Greenland before the magstrat and for looken 
for him is tweleue shilens henry Jaques Constabl neubry"

To be continued.

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