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Saturday, August 24, 2013

TROUBLE IN PARADISE PT6

When the church in Newbury, Ma, was first established, Rev, Parker was
assisted by another minister, the Rev, James Noyse, who shared Parker's
Presbyterianism viewpoint. However,  Noyes died in 1656 and was eventually
replaced in 1663 by John Woodbridge, Rev, Parker's nephew. This seemed to
fan the flames of discontent among  those who agreed with Edward Woodman
about how the church should be run, to say nothing about how it angered
Woodman himself. It all finally broke out into the open and ended up in court
in 1669:

'To the honored court now sitting at Ipswich, March thirtieth, 1669.'

'We whose names are underwritten, for ourselves and others the inhabitants
of Newbury, doe humbly present, though to our great grief, that Mr. Edward
Woodman spake in a town assembly before strangers publiquely on March first,
1669, that Mr. John Woodbridge was an intruder, brought in by craft and subtilty,
and so kept in, notwithstanding he was voated out twice, which we know to be
untrue, and look upon as scandalous. Also he said to Mr. Parker that he was an
apostate and backslider from the truth, that he would set up a prelacy, and have
more power than the pope, for the pope had his council of cardinals, that his
practice or actings did not tend to peace or salvation, that he was the cause of
all our contention and misery. That you are an apostate and backslider.'

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) p74

It was apparently at this point that my ancestor Captain William Gerrish spoke
out against Woodman. We don't have a record of what Gerrish said, but we do
have one of how Woodman replied:

'Also he said to captain Gerrish that he was no lover of the truth, that his 
gray hairs would stand where captain Gerrish his bald pate would, all which
we humbly conceive tends not only to the reproach of the parties concerned, 
but to the great disturbance of our peace both civil and ecclesiastical, and 
therefore leave it to the serious consideration of this honored court for some 
suitable redress as they shall think meet.
Richard Kent. 

Henry Short.
Anthony Somerby


Witnesses:
Nicholas Noyes. .
Ensign John Knight.
Tristram Coffin.
Thomas Hale, senior.
Joseph Muzzey.
Nathaniel Clarke.'

Ibid p74

So, thanks to the Newbury Church dispute nearly 350 years ago, I now know
that my 9x great grandfather William Gerrish was bald at the age of 52 in
the year 1669!

To be continued.

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