Thursday, August 29, 2013


When April 1671 came around, it brought yet another go-round in Court between the
Parker and Woodman factions. In this case two of the Parker supporters, Richard
Kent and Daniel Pierce presented the case against Edward Woodman and several
others. They named Archelaus Woodman(Edward's half-brother), Caleb Moody,
William Titcomb, Richard Bartlett, Samuel Plumer, and Stephen Greenleaf as
being "...guilty of promoting the disturbance of the church".
-A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 
to 1845
,  by Joshua Coffin & Joseph Bartlett  (Sameul G Drake, Boston, 1845) p91

Parker faction members gave testimony about Woodman's disruptive behavior:

TESTIMONY of Abiel Somerby. 'December 19, 1670. In the school house Mr. Woodman expressing himself highly, Mr. Parker said, soft, sir, your ways are ungodly, you neglect publick worship and withdraw from the communion of the church. Mr. Woodman said Mr. P.'s ways were ungodly. After further discourse Mr. Woodman began to call for witness of what Mr. Parker said. I said, Mr. Woodman, vou said Mr P.'s ways were ungodly, and therefore it is but quid pro quo. Who is that that saith so, Biel? I answered, you, sir. He broke forth with a strange expression, the Lord help us, or the Lord have mercy on us. A man had need to have a care what he speaks before such men.

Sworn to March twenty-eighth, 1671. 'I Abiel Somerby was present when my father in law Richard Knight asked Mr. Woodman for the church book. Mr. Woodman said that he would not let it go till the church sends for it. My father Knight said that Mr. Parker and the church had voted that he should come to fetch it. Mr. Woodman answered I do utterly disown such a church. My father Knight said, is this your answer? Mr. Woodman said yes, that is my answer, only I think you do very sinfully to hold with such a church. Sworn to April eighteenth, 1671.

'Henry Jaques affirmeth that on January twenty-ninth, 1671 when Mr. Woodman desired the church to stay, that he stayed, but it was not to joyne with them, and speaking to Mr. Woodman he said he thought it unreasonable that Mr. Woodman should desire a church meeting to deal with Mr. Parker, when there was more need for him to be dealt withal for his offences. He also affirmeth that he heard Mr. Woodman publickly affirm that Mr. Parker had broken three covenants already, and that no covenant would stand before him.
Sworn to, April eighteenth, 1671.

'Deposition of Tristram Coffin and John Knight.
'On the sixth of February in a publick meeting in the meeting house Mr. Woodman affirmed that when he went to deal with Mr. Parker according to rale and two brethren with him, that Mr. Parker refused to hear him, and told him his ways were ungodly. Tristram Coffin said, sir, you delude the people for those words were spoken the nineteenth of December on another account and it was that day fortnight that Mr. Woodman with others went to deal with Mr. Parker. Swom March twenty-eighth 1671.'

-Ibid pp98-99.

Of course there were statements and counter-charges made by Woodman, but for the
first time, the Court took a firm position as to who was to blame for ther uproar in
Newbury and decided that the Woodman group was ".... guilty of very great misdemeanors, though in different degrees, deserving severe punishment....the said Mr. Woodman and party adhering to him to pay the several lines under written with the charge of the witnesses and fees of court, and that they all stand committed till the said fines, charges and fees be satisfied and paid." - Ibid pp99-100

This is the list of those fined. My ancestors and relatives are in red:
"'Mr. Edward Woodman, twenty nobles. Mr. Richard Dummer, Richard Thorlay, Stephen Greenleaf, Richard Bartlet and William Titcomb four nobles each. Francis Plumer, John Emery senior, John Emery junior, John Merrill and Thomas Browne a mark each.f Nicholas Batt, Anthony Morse senior, Abraham Toppan, William Sawyer, Edward Woodman junior, William Pilsbury. Caleb Moody, John Poor senior, John Poor junior, John Webster, John Bartlet senior, John Bartlet junior.Joseph Plumer, Edward Richardson, Thomas Hale junior, Edmund Moores, Benjamin Lowle, Job Pilsbury, John Wells, William Ilsley, James Ordway, Francis Thorla, Abraham Merrill, John Bailey, Benjamin Rolf, Steven Swett, and Samuel Plumer. a noble each.' Robert Coker and William Moody were not fined. The whole number is forty-one.'
-Ibid p100

A footnote on the page says that :
"A noble is six shillings and eight-pence,
 A mark is thirteen shillings and fourpence."

So twenty nobles was a hefty fine.

This setback didn't deter Edward Woodman, who carried on his opposition to Rev.
Parker through a campaign of appeals to other churches for their support of his
faction. But thankfully, the dispute was nearing an end.

To be continued.

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