Monday, June 17, 2013
JOSEPH ROGERS: MESSING WITH MERCY TUBBS
Mayflower Joseph Rogers is my ancestor, and one of his children was
likewise named Joseph. But I don't think that they are the Joseph Rogers
who is the subject of this story. Joseph was a man in his late fifties by 1663,
and his son Joseph Jr. had died before then. Most likely this Joseph was a
nephew. However he is related to me, he was in a lot of trouble with the
authorities of Plymouth Colony, as these entries in Volume 4 of the Plymouth
Court Records shows :
The Court being enformed that Josepth Rogers, of Namassakeesett, hath
frequently and from time kept companie with Mercye, the wife of William
Tubbs, in a way and after such a manor as hat giuen cause att least to suspect
that there hath bine laciuiouse actes comitted by them, the Court sees cause
and have required the said Josepth Rogers to remove his dwelling from
Namassakeesett aforesaid by the twentieth day of this instant June, and haue
alsoe delcared vnto him that if att any time hee shall bee taken att the house
of the said Tubbs, or in the companie of the said Mercye Tubbs alone in any
place, that then hee shall forth with bee taken and severly whipt ; and the
said William Tubbs was by the Court strictly charged not to tollarate him to
come to his house or where hee hath to doe att any time, as hee will answare
the same att his pill.
The aforesaid Josepth Rogers, for his contentious departing from the Court held
at Plymouth the last March without licence, being bound to appeer and attend
the said Court to answare for matter of fact, is fined fiue pounds to the collonies
This astonished me. There doesn't seem to be any solid evidence that Joseph and
Mercy had been misbehaving, or at least if there was, it wasn't recorded in the
Court proceedings. And yet the Court had come down hard on them. Joseph was
ordered to leave his home within twenty days, pay a fine of five pounds, and to stay
away from Mercy under pain of a severe whipping!
But the Pilgrim Fathers weren't done yet:
Marcye Tubbs acknowlidgeth to owe unto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00
William Tubbs the sume of 10:00:00
The condition, that if the said Marcye Tubbs bee of good behauior towards our sou
lord the Kinge and all his leich people, and appeer att the Court to bee holden att
Plymouth the first Tuesday in March next, and not depart the said Court without
lycence ; that then , &c.
Josepth Rogers acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our sou lord the Kinge the sume of 20:00:00
William Randall the sume of 10:00:00
The condition, that if the said Josepth Rogers bee of good behauior towards our sou
lord the Kinge, and appeer att the Court to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tuesday
in March next, and not depart the Court without lycence ; that then, &c.
The abouesaid Marcye Tubbs and Josepth Rogers, for theire absean and lacious behauior
each with other, wenre centanced by the Court to find sureties for their good behauior
as abouseaid, and fined each fifty shillings for the vse of the collonie pp46-47
So Joseph was fined 25 pounds 50 shillings total. He seems to have taken the hint and
stayed away from Mercy. Actually, Mercy had taken matters into her own hands. Not only
was she staying away from Joseph, she was staying clear of her husband as well.
She ran away to Rhode Island colony.
By the following spring William Tubbs had had enough and hired a lawyer to isssue
a divorce for him. The only problem was it wasn't a legal divorce since they'd cut out
the part about appearing in a Court to have a divorce granted:
William Paybody, for makeing a writing for the seperating of William Tubbs from
Marcye, his wife, in reference vnto theire marriage bond, is fined by the Court the
sume of fiue pounds ; and Leiftenant Nash and John Sprague, for subscribing as
witnesses to the said writing, are fined each three pounds.
Att this Court a protest was openly published, att the request of William Tubbs,
against Mercye, his wife, as disowneing all debts that shee shall make vnto any
from this time forward, as not intended to pay any of them to any pson whatsoeuer.
Four years later, after Mercy Tubbs had ignored Plymouth Colony's written requests
for her return to Plymouth, the Court granted William Tubbs his divrce.
I don't know if Joseph Rogers ever saw her again.