Wednesday, January 30, 2013


My 4x great grandmother Betsey (Wiley) Hastings filed her affidavit to collect
a pension in October of 1838. Apparently her statement, and that of Amos
Gage were not sufficient evidence to qualify her for it. But she didn't give
up, or more likely one of her children didn't. Further documentation was
submitted, the first being proof of her marriage to my ancestor Amos

"Commonweatlh of Massachusetts
County of Essex SS: Town Clerk's Office, Haverhill. March 4th, 1839
Amos Hastings & Elizabeth Wiley} of Haverhill married September the tenth
one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight.
I hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the record with
the exception of the date,  which is expressed on the record in a fair
legible figures, as follows: "Sept:10:1778"
Leonard White Town Clerk

I Leonard White, above named depose and say, that I hold
the Office of Town Clerk in the Town, County, and State aforesaid,
and that the above is a true extract from the records of said Town
with the exception above named, as certified by me.
Leonard White Clerk of said Town of Haverhill.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Essex SS Haverhill March 5th 1839 then  Leonard White Town Clerk
Personally Appeared and Made Solemn Oath to the Truth of the
Above affidavit by him subscribed
before me Charles White Justice of the Peace"

The reason I think one or more of Betsey Hastings' children were involved in
the process is a simple one: Betsey was eighty two years old when she made
her affidavit in 1838. That was well past the average lifespan in the early 19th
century. Someone  would have had to either make the trip to her former
hometown of Haverhill, Ma. or carry out the correspondence with the Town
Clerk. But Betsey didn't sign her name to her affidavit, she "made her mark"
with an X. So I don't believe she could write. Either her children obtained the
marriage record or a lawyer was hired to do it for her.

In either case, things didn't go off as smoothly as the family might have hoped
as we shall see.


Betsey Hastings submitted a few more pieces of evidence along
with her statement. The first of them was this statement by Daniel
Gage, himself a veteran of the Revolutionary War:

"I, Daniel Gage, aged seventy seven years, of Bethel
in the County of Oxford on oath testify & say that I
am a United States Pensioner for services rendered by
me in the Revolutuinary War- that while I was
in the Service I became acquainted with the said
named Amost Hastings-it was at Saratoga at the
taking of Burgoyne-said Hastings at tnhat time told
me he was serving in Capt. Eaton's Company &
in Col. Gerrish's Regiment for six months- I saw
said Hastings twice there- and was well acquainted
with said Hastings ever afterwards up to the time of
his death-I had a brother belonging to the same
Company with said Amos Hastings, by the name of
Amos Gage- and after the war was over, we
often met and talked over the incidents of said cam-
pain- and I have no doubts said Amos
Hastings served faithfully the term of six months
in said company at said time, to wit in 1777-
Daniel Gage.

Sworn to & subscribed by the said
Daniel Gage, a credible witness,
the date & year  first written written
 Before Stephen Emery, Judge. "

I'll discuss the other documentation Betsey produced in the
next post.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


My 4x great grandfather Amos Hastings never applied for a Revolutionary
War pension before he passed away in 1829, probably for the simple
reason that he wasn't in in any financial difficulties. But nine years later
his widow, Elizabeth (Wiley) Hastings, known as Betsey, did look to
take advantage of a new Pension act:

State of Maine
Oxford County SS. On this nineteenth day of October
AD 1838 personally appeared before the Court of Probate
now sitting specially at Bethel in & for said County, Betsey
Hastings, a resident of Bethel in said County, aged
eighty two years, who being first duly sworn,acording(?) to
law, doth on her oath, make the following declaration
in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made
by the Act of congress passed July 7th 1838 entitled "An
Act granting help(?) pay & pensions to certain widows."

That she is the widow of Amos Hastings late of
said Bethel deceased who was a soldier of the United
States in the Revolutionary War. that she verily believes
that said Amos Hastings enlisted at the commencement
of said War for the term of eight months in Captain Timothy
Eaton's Company in  Col.Gerrish's Regiment at Winter's
Hill& in the vicinity of Boston- that he the said
Amos Hastings afterward served another term of six
months-under the same officers, in the year 1777, and
was present at the taking of Burgoyne-she has no
personal knowledge of these services, but states them from
what she has heard her said husband say & others- and
she prays that reference may be made to the rolls of the
army & to the annexed evidence in proof of his services.

She further declares she was married to the said
Amos Hastings on the Eleventh day of September in the year
of our Lord Seventeen hundred & seventy eight- that
her said husband the aforesaid Amos Hastings died on the
twenty eighth day of July AD eighteen hundred & twenty
nine-that she was not married to him prior to his
leaving the service, but the marriage took place before
the first of January Seventeen hundred & ninety four,
to wit at the time above stated.

Witness  S. Emery                        Betsey Hastings X her mark
Sworn to & subscribed by the said Betsey Hastings, the
day & year first(?) above written
Before Stephen Emery Judge.

Betsey sent along a few other documents and I'll discuss those next.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Before going into the Revolutionary War Pension File of my 4x great grandfather
Amos Hastings, I thought I'd first give some background of his life. Amos was a
leading citizen in the early history of Bethel, Maine. I found the following
information in William Lapham's book  History of Bethel: formerly Sudbury,
Canada, Oxford County, Maine, 1768-1890; with a brief sketch of Hanover and
family statistics (Google eBook)
Press of The Maine Farmer,  Augusta Maine

"Amos Hastings was born in the west parish of Haverhill, Mass. He was in
the affair at Concord and Lexington, and also in the battle of Bunker Hill.
He served several years and came out with the rank of captain. He married
Elizabeth Wiley, a sister of the wife of John Grover, and came here from
Fryeburg. He settled at first at Middle Interval and for many years his house
was the town house. Later he moved to a farm on the north side of the river.
He was early identified with the militia of the town and held office through
the various grades to that of Brigadier General. He was a man possessed of
sound judgment which was often utilized by the town when difficult questions
came up requiring careful investigation and adjustment. He may justly be
regarded as one of the fathers of the town"

Amos is also mentioned in connection with an entry on another early settler,
Benjamin Russell:
"Benj. Russell, Esq., came to Bethel from Fryeburg, with his family, in March,
1777. Himself and Gen. Amos Hastings, then living in Fryeburg, being mounted
on snow shoes, hauled on handsleds his wife and daughter, then fifteen years
old, and who afterwards became the wife of Lieut Segar. They traveled nearly
fifty miles in two days. They camped the first night near the mills at North
Finally, in the section on Bethel's families, there's this entry:
 "                        Hastings.
General Amos Hastings,4 an early settler in Bethel, married Sept. 10, 1778, at
Fryeburg, Elizabeth Wiley who was a sister of the wife of John Grover. He was
the son of John3 and Rebecca (Kelley) Hastings, grandson of John2 and Ednah
(Braley) Hastings and great grandson of Robert,1 and Elizabeth (Davis) Hastings,
and was born in Haverhill, Mass., Feb. 3, 1757. He was prominent in early Bethel
affairs, a frequent town officer, and a leading citizen generally. Children:

i Sally, b. , m. Samuel Kilgore of Newry.
ii Amos. b. . m. Deborah Howard; r. Fryeburg.
iii Lucinda, b. April 24, 1785, d. May 5, 1790.
iv Susanna, b. May 31, 1788, m. Joses Gay of Raymond.
v Timothy, b. Oct. 31,1790, m. Hannah Bean, d. Bethel, 1844.
vi Lucinda, b. April 7, 1794, m. Thomas Fletcher.
vii John. b. May 6, 1796, m. Abigail Straw.
viii Huldah, b. April 17, 1798, m. Nathaniel Barker of Newry."


Amos never filed for a Pension, either because he was well enough off not to
need the money, or because he died  on 28Jul 1829 before he could get around to
it. His wife Elizabeth (Betsey)filed for one as his widow, but that wasn't until 1838,
and as the next posts will show, encountered some problems when she did.


As I said in the previous post about the Affidavits of Death for Amos Hastings
and his wife Rebecca (also known as Eliabeth or Betsey), I asked my genealogy
friends on Facebook what the purpose of such a document might be. It was
after that when I discovered that Abigail Hastings who filed the Affidavit was
the wife of Amos and Elizabeth's son John Hastings. That reminded me of
something in another file

Waaaaaaay back in July of 2007 I'd read on Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings
blog that the website was offering free
access to it's Revolutionary War collection for seven days to celebrate
Independence Day. So I checked it out and found the records for many of
my ancestors, most of whose particpation in the war I hadn't known about.
Among those documents were Pension Files, including one for my 4x great
grandfather Amos Hastings.

But that file differed from most of the other Pension Files I downloaded
from in that it wasn't Amos himself applying for the Pension,
it was first his widow Elizabeth and then youngest son John. And this image
of a document from the Oxford County Probate Court is the last one in the file.
You can see the form has been altered with some words and one phrase
("was a Pensioner of the United States, and that he ..")crossed out.

Here's my transcription:

Oxford County,ss.

Be it Known, That on this sixteenth day of
September 1851 it has been satisfactorily proven in open Court,
being a Court of Record,
That Amos Hastings
late of Bethel in said County, died at said Bethel
on the twenty eighth day of July 1829.-
And left a widow Rebecca Hastings
who died on the twelveth day of May 1846
and that Amos Hastings, Jonas Hastings, Betsey Russell, Lucinda 

Fletcher, Huldah Barker and John Hastings
are the only surviving children of the said Rebecca Hastings
an that she was not married after the death of her
husband aforesaid.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto affixed the seal of said Court, 
and subscribed my name this sixteenth day of September in the
Geo. K Shaw
Register of Probate for Oxford County."

Notice the date: 16 September 1851. That's the same date as the day on
which the Affidavits of Death were filed in the same Probate Court.
It's my belief that the Affidavits of Death were filed to provide John
Hastings with documentation of his parents' deaths for his claim on the
Revolutionary War Pension. I don't believe John was successful. While
a surviving minor age child might receive the Pension for a deceased
father, John was born in 1796 and was 55 years old at the time all this
took place.

I'll go more into that Pension file next.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Six years ago today I started this West in New England blog, and as has become
tradition on my blogiversary I'm posting the story of its beginnng:

"."Yes, now it can be told. My first geneablog was a failure. I was new
to this whole idea and started out enthusiastically and wrote
five posts within a few days for my blog which I'd named
West of New England. But when I went to add a new post a day
or so later, I discovered I couldn't recall the password for the blog.
After about a half an hour I gave up and just recreated the blog.
I'd saved what I'd written so I created a new blogger account
and started a new geneablog, West in New England. And that's why
the first five posts are all dated Jan 23,2007."

And that's also how I learned the first rule of blogging, "Don't forget
your password!" "

During these six years I've had 130,169 page views and written
1300 posts. The top five most viewed posts were:

Dec 20, 2010, 17 comments
Feb 9, 2012, 4 comments
Mar 20, 2011, 6 comments
But I don't worry about how many people view West in New 
England or about making the "Best of" lists because what makes 
it enjoyable for me is sharing what I've found in researching my
family, especially with the relatives who've found me through 
this blog.

I want to thank all those who've read the blog and left comments,
those who've taken part in the memes and Challenges over the
years, and those who've provided suggestions and answers 
when I've been puzzled by something or other I've discovered 
along the way,
I'm still having fun writing about what I find researching my family
history, and I hope you all enjoy reading about it as much as I do
the writing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


While I've been working on my family genealogy for about ten years now
there are still many thngs I don't know yet, and I'm not afraid to admit it.
I'm also not afraid to ask my fellow genealogists for their help and opinions
when I run into something that puzzles me. That's what I did with the
question of what the purpose of filing an Affidavit of Death might be.

I posed the following question over on Facebook:
"A question for my genealogy friends: why would someone have to file a
statement for a proof of death of a relative in a probate court? There are
no other documents in the file, no will or probate documents."

I got some interesting responses back from some very knowledgeable
people, all of which made perfect sense and could be the reason that
Abigail Hastings filed that Affidavit of Death. I'm sharing them with you  
with the consent of the writers:

"Lucie Marie Consentino
Perhaps to sell property if no will existed..when there is no will everything
goes through probate.

Marian-Pierre Louis
Sounds to me like no death certificate was presented when it was requested
and therefore a special request had been made.

I would imagine that all probate documents must start with proof of death
before the process can continue. Similar to how today, proof of death must
be established (in most cases) from a funeral home (or other authority)
before a newspaper will print an obituary. It's to prevent obits from being
printed for living people. Yes, people get up to that kind of stuff!

Laurie Pratt Sisk
The last part of your question makes it intriguing. If someone is missing and
presumed dead they have to be legally declared dead but I wonder why the
need for the statement when it appears no further legal action took place.

Colleen McHugh
Not sure if this will play into it or not, but at least in Arizona, if an adult is filing
for legal guardianship of an incapacitated adult (say an adult with severe 

cognitive disabilities that render him/her unable to make independent decisions on
medical care, finances etc), they petition for the guardianship in Probate Court.
Therefore, not all transactions in Probate Court relate to a death. ????

Bill West
Ok, I think I may have an answer. The statement was by an Abigail Hastings about
the death of my 4x great grandfather Amos Hastings. Now do far I've only paid
attention to his daughter Huldah, my 3x great grandmother and her brother
John who was applying for Amos' Rev.War. Pension benefits after Amos died.
It turns out Abigail was John's wife, Abigail(Straw) Hastings. I think maybe that
may be why she filed the statement on Amos' death.

Kevin Shue
Excellent question, Bill! In Pennsylvania there are, "Death Affidavits." They are
part of the probate court records. Every probate or any other legal record,
records part of a legal process.

Most of the time, death affidavits were recorded for individuals with wills, but
also sometimes for intestate proceedings.

The affidavits were not used in every instance, so I don't think it was a legal 

requirement just based on the fact there was a probate action.

It may also be because of a certain valuation of the estate legal requirement.
For example, required for all estates valued over a certain amount which would
then would be taxed or non-taxed, hence the need to document and attest to the

Laurie Pratt Sisk
 Bill, yours is a perfectly reasonable explanation. If I understand this correctly,
Abigail was the sister-in-law of Amos and thus could come forward to make the
statement having no financial interest in the claim.

Pat Richley-Erickson
Submitting proof of death concerning an heir is part of an administrator or 
executor's responsibility when calculating how the remains of an estate should 
be distributed.

Bill West
Thanks for all the input, folks. Laurie, Abigail was Amos' daughter in law. Pat, the
affidavit was made in 1851, 22 years after Amos' death and 5 years after the death of
his wife Elizabeth, (aka Rebecca).

For those genealogists who might be sceptical about whether Facebook is of
any use to their research, I can tell you it's been a great help to me not only as a
place to ask questions and seek help, but also as a way to establish friendships
with genealogists from the world over.

As I said in the above conversation, I think I found part of the answer to what purpose
that Affidavit was meant to serve and I'll discuss that next.

Monday, January 21, 2013


The shortest document I found in the Maine, Oxford County, Probate
Estate Files, 1805-1915
was quite puzzling at first. The cover of the file
simply says

"Amos and Rebecca Hastings
1829 & 1846 Affidavits of Death"

There's no will, no probate records at all, simply two statements, one
from a Moses Mason, the other from an Abigail Hastings. Hers reads:    

I Abigail Hastings of Bethel, County of Oxford,
having been sworn do testify and say
I was present at the  of Amos
Hastings, He died in Bethel on the
28th day of July 1829 & the name (?) of his
death made as about the time it took
place now remains upon the Bible of
the family and which I have now examined
and which is recorded as having taken
place July 28, 1829.
Rebecca Hastings died at Bethel the
twelveth day of May 1846.
Abigail Hastings

Oxford Co. Sept 16 1851 Abigail Hastings made
oath as to the truth of the above statement by
this subscribed(?) this day
Before me
          D. R. Hastings } Justice of the Peace.

I confess I haven't done much research on my Hastings ancestors siblings.
Amos Hastings and his wife Elizabeth(Wiley) Hastings were my 4x great
grandparents. For some reason Elizabeth is often listed as Rebecca, maybe
because her mother's name was also Eliabeth. Using Rebecca might have
been the way the family differentiated between mother and daughter.
I know of their daughter Huldah, my 3x great grandmother, and their son
John because I've run across his name in Amos' Revolutionary War Veteran
Pension File, but so far I haven't researched the rest of their eleven children.
So I wasn't sure how Abigail Hastings was related to them, nor, for that
matter, who D.R. Hastings was either.

it turns out Abigail was Amos and Elizabeth's daughter in law, Abigail (Straw)
Hastings, the wife of John  Hastings, and D.R.Hastings was David Robinson
Hastings, John & Abigail's son, who had graduated from Bowdoin College in
1844 and was studying law with a Bethel, Maine law firm.

So now I knew who had filed the affidavit of death. Now I needed to figure out
the why,

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I had another lucky break in late 2012 that I haven't had the chance to blog
about yet. In November FamilySearch posted a new file, the Maine, Oxford
County, Probate Estate Files, 1805-1915.
My Dad was from Oxford County and
many of my ancestors lived there, so I was hoping to find some of their wills
among the images.  I did better than I thought I would. Even though I didn't
find any images for my  direct West ancestors I found them for other families.
I'll be posting the transcriptions  here along with whatever observations
and thoughts occur to me in the process.

I found images for the following:

5x great grandfather John Ames, d. 1833
great grandfather Frank W, Barker, d.1905
4x great grandfather Moses Coburn, d.1848
4x great grandfather John Ellingwood, d.1847
5x great grandfather Samuel Haskell, d.1825
5x great grandfather Amos Hastings, d. 1794
3x great grandfather Cyrus Moore, d. 1846
2x great granduncle Asa A West, d.1909
2x great granduncle Hiram F West, d. 1914

That should keep me in blogging material for a bit!

Friday, January 18, 2013


I've been mulling over the usual "Best Blogposts of the Year" post for this
blog in 2012. Last year was my least productive year for West in New
with the fewest blogposts since I began writing here, and much
of what I posted reposts from earlier years.(I hope to do less of that this
year.) I also gladly participated in the 1940 Federal Census Indexing
project which cut a bit into both my blogging and researching time (but I'd
do it again!).

Looking back, though, I found blogposts that reminded me just how great
a genealogy year I had in 2012.  When you see my list, I think you'll agree:   

1. Meeting My White Family Cousins.
In December I was contacted by a cousin who's related to me through my
maternal grandfather Edward F White Sr.  My grandparents divorced when my
Mom was four years old and there had been no contact between her and her
father since before I was born. My cousin found me through this blog and sent
me a picture of my great grandmother. I've since met his father and hope to
someday meet him  as well.
2, "Devil in The Shape of a Horse" 
My ancestress Rebecca Eames/Ames was accused of witchcraft at Salem in
1692. I found her confession and posted this transcript.

3."Exsedingly Tormented"...Benjamin Abbott vs Martha Carrier  
I also had an ancestor, Benjamin Abbott who testified against his neighbor
Martha Carrier This was the transcription I did of his testimony.

4 The War of 1812 Pension File of Nathaniel Barker- 
Last fall Fold3 started posting images of the pension files of War of 1812
veterans. That's how I found out for the first time that my 3x great grandfather
Nathaniel Barker was one of them. This was the first post in a series about
his file.

5 Down Mexico(Maine) Way- 
In September I found a newspaper clipping online that told about a trip my
aging 2x great granduncles Asa A West and Hiram F West took on horseback
across Maine, sort of a "Last Hurrah" I think.

6. Visiting the  Harlow Old Fort House -
In June I visited the Plymouth, Ma. home of my 8x great grandparents
William Harlow and Mary Faunce. I took some pictures.

The Second New England Geneablogger Bash -
In May I attended a get together of New England geneabloggers and enjoyed
meeting people I'd only known online. Thanks again Erica Voolich for the
ride! Again, I took pictures!

8 The Question of Lizzie Ellingwood Blanchard -
Also in June I received an email from a lady who'd found some hidden letters
while remodeling a house in New Hampshire. They were written by the
children and relatives of one of my distant Ellingwood family cousins, and
this was the first post in the series I did about them.

9 My First Genealogy Conference-
 In March I attended  the 2012 New England Family History Conference
where I met among others Lucie LeBlanc Consentino,  Marian
Pierre-Louis, and Alice Kane. I took pictures! 

10. In Sunshine or in Shadow -
The other big revelation about my Mom's side of the family last year also
came from having a McFarland cousin find my blog. Information he shared
led to the discovery of two great granduncles I never knew about, one of
whom died in a horrible accident.

11 Thomas, a Slave -
I knew as a historian that there had been African American slaves in colonial
Massachusetts but never suspected any of my ancestors had owned slaves.
In my research last January I found that that had been the case in two of my
family lines, the Uptons and the Mavericks.

Finally, along with all these, there were the three Challenges I hosted , the
Genealogist's Time Capsule, the Second American Civil War, and the
Fourth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenges.

So I had some firsts, made some new family connections and found out
things I hadn't known before. It was one HECK of a year!

It's going to be hard to have a better year than I did last year!

Monday, January 14, 2013


John Rolfe won his case against Henry Greenland. Unfortunately, I haven't
been able to find out what reparations Greenland was ordered to make for
his advances to Mary Rolfe. It wasn't jail time because Greenland was involved
in other lawsuits, mainly over money owed him for his medical services.
After a few years he left Newbury for Maine where he had several scrapes with
the authorities, one involving a charge of mutiny. Somehow he managed to
stay out of jail and eventually left New England to settle in New Jersey with his
wife and raise a family near Piscataway.

 John and Mary Rolfe removed to Nantucket for a few years, then to Cambridge.
They too raised a family  but John died in Newbury in 1681 at his brother's house.
Oddly enough he had purchased land in Woodbridge New Jersey shortly before
his death, and Mary moved there with most of their children. I wonder is she
and Henry Greenland ever met again.

In time my 9x great grandfather John Emery regained his seat on the Grand Jury.
I am of the opinion it was his entertaining Quakers in his house rather than
his involvement in the Greenland case that had caused him to lose it in the
first place. He died in Newbury on 3Nov 1683.

The story of Mary Rolfe and Henry Greenland has been cited in three books
about women and the social history of colonial America.In writing about it
myself I was more interested in the actual events and how my ancestor and
his family were involved. I will say the whole thing reinforces my belief that
we can't judge our ancestors by modern standards,  I believe that "when a
woman says no, she means no!" and that her decision should be respected. 
But in this case, it's hard to know if Mary Rolfe really meant "NO!",  given
the testimony from witnesses.

Certainly the reaction of the neighbors and townspeople of Newbury wasn't
what we'd expect today. Here's a woman who had a man climb through a
window and into her bed, had another man chase her ardously around a barn
in the dark, and spent the night with a third man, a hatter. Other than a bit of
gossiping, nothing much was done about it until her mother complained to the

Another point this story illustrated is that life for our New England ancestors
was not the stereotyped image many have of the dour pious Puritans. It was
more of a mix of "Merry Old England" with Puritanism, There were periods
when one or the other would be in ascendancy, such as the religious
hysteria of the Witch Trial period but then the pendulum would swing back
the other way, In short, our ancestors weren't saints. Occasionally, they
fought, or cheated, or stole, sometimes to such an extent they woud
end up in court.

I'm glad they did, because there are records for me to find, and stories such
as that of John Emery, the Rolfes, and Henry Greenland for me to share with

Monday, January 07, 2013


The testimony continued in John Rolfe's lawsuit against Henry Greenland
over the latter's advances on Mary Rolfe. My ancestor John Emery and his
stepdaughter Betty once more figure in the case:

"Grenland sent Betie to Mary Rolfe to meet him in the barn and asked her
to mitigate her charges, saying that if she would do so, he would bring no
evidence against her. "I tould him I could not Do it I Could not go bac from
 anie thing I had said he asked me why I said it being nothing but the truth
 and given upon oath: he said I might because it was not sworn before the
bench and yet he would leve it upon my Consideration and meet him and
give him an answer: but I would not meet him but sent him word the next
day I Could not for I would not go from what I had said nor meet him anie


"Thomas Silver deposed that a day or two before he heard of the uncivil
behavior of Mr. Greenland toward Mary Rolfe reported about the town,
Goody Bishop, being at Mary Rolf's was very angry with deponent for
reporting that Mary Rolf entertained company that was to his disturbance.
She further said that he might have taken an axe and knocked one of her
cows in the head as to take away her daughter's good name. Goodman
Emery, sr., came in also and spoke in commendation of Mary Rolfe and
said that for his part he knew no hurt by her and threatened to present
deponent as an eavesdropper for reporting such a thing of her. Deponent
answered that he reported nothing but what he heard in his own house."

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
, Volume 3 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, 1913 p88-90

Another piece of testimony puzzled me at first.

"Peter Cheney of Newbery, aged about twenty-five years, deposed that
Mary Rofe, wife of John Rofe, late of Newbery, told him that one evening
the last winter John Adkins came to her house; that said Mary and Elizabeth
 Webster were together in the house and said Adkins tarried there until
very late, so that Mary and Elizabeth went to bed, etc. Sworn in court."

So there was a third male pursuing Mary Rolfe. Then I recalled that in the
testimony submitted against Greenland the previous Spring Mary had
testified that apparently one of her encounters with Greenland had resulted
in some bruising and he'd said to blame it on "the hatter". Could this
John Adkins be that hatter?

I searched the rest of Volume 3, and found this a few pages later:
"John Attkinson bound his house and land for his appearance at the next
Ipswich court for further examination about his presentment.

Elisabeth Webster, aged twenty-one years, deposed that when she was at
John Rofe's house, about last Feb., 1662, John Adkinson, hatter, living in
Newberie, came there and sat talking with Marie Rofe until late in the night.
Deponent went to bed and, being awakened, she heard Marie Rolf tell said
Adkinson to go away, but he did not go, when it was daylight, he dressed,
and not being able to find his stocking, Marie said she must lend him one
of her uncle's stockings, which she did. Then said Adkinson went away.
Elizabeth Webster affirmed to the truth of the foregoing, before Robert
Lord, cleric."


So what am I to make of all this, and what happened to the people involved

I'll discuss that next in the final post about the case

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Before the holidays I left off my examination of my ancestor John Emery
and the scandalous events involving his family, their neighbor Mary Rolfe,
and the amorous Richard Greenland. At that point I had gotten as far as the
return of Mary's husband John from Martha's Vineyard and his hiring a
lawyer to sue Richard Greenland. The case was brought to court in Ipswich,
Massachusetts in September of 1663:

"John Roffe v. Mr. Henry Greenland. For coming into the house of said Roffe
in the night season, Roffe being not at home and attempting his wife's
chastity in a foul manner. 

John Rof's bill of cost, 1li. 15s. 11d.

Writ, dated June 26, 1663, signed by Anthony Somerby, for the court, and
served by Steven Grenleff, constable."

Next came a statement from the selectmen of Newbury about what they
had learned about the situation after being goaded into action by Goody
Bishop. While much of it is information given in previous testimony,
there;s a few new nuggets:

"John Bishop's wife comeing unto us being selectmen by way of complaint
against one mr Greeneland, a phisition which is newly come into our Towne,
for offering violent and uncivell cariage unto hir daughter mary Roffe the
wife of John Roffe, which is gone vnto nantuckett, and we haveing examined
 the woman we find from her testimony, that this mr Greenland have offered
grosse and shamfull abuse vnto her, The first time the woman being at John
Emeryes house where this man soiornes, had ocation to lay hir on the bed to
sleepe and lay downe by it; this Mr. Greenland came up into the chamber and
offered to abuse hir there.

"The second time this man came unto his house and used many arguments to
hir tending to wickedness, first that he would have hir goe with him to nevis,
or Jemeco, or some other place, and that it was free that men might have many
wives, she answered then shee should sinn ags' God, and abuse hir husband &
hir selfe and his wife, he answered he had meanes enough, he could maintain
them both, another time being att John Emeryes house, and when she was to
come home she was afraide he would come after hir, and as she thought slipt
out of the house, and he came after hir, and overtooke hir & would goe home
with hir, and then she could not gett him away, although she spoke to him and
then she spake vnto hir uncle liveing in the house that he would not goe to bed
before he was gone, and would not warme his bed, the ould man eayd it was
time for all to goe to bed, he sayd he would stay till the morning but the ould
man should be a bed before he would goe, but by much pswading he did,
another time worse than the former, mr Greeneland came to her house, late
in the night and knocked at the window, shee being in feare mad noe answere
along time he continued calling bettye bettye, and desired her to lett him come
in and asked why she would let him stand there and starve with could, she
answered they weare abed and would not lett him in, and weare afraide of him,
then he still earnestly desired hir wishing great wishes upon himselfe that he
would doe them noe hirt, but desired to smoke a pipe of tobacco; soe she lett
him in (this bettye is John Emeryes wives daughter which keepes with John
Roffes wife), soe goody Roffe being in hir bed spoke to the mayd to make a
fire to give some light, and while the mayd was makeing of a fire . . . she
swounded away, and as the mayd saide was dead & very could, and gave hir
some strong liquours to comfort hir.

"att last, she came to hir selfe againe ... he bid hir lye still for there was one
without knocked at the dore and now there would be two witnesses, and now
 we shall be tryed for our lives . . . but the youth that was at the dore, came in
... and sayd he heard mr Greenlands tongue before he came in while he was
at the dore." Mary Roffe and Elizabeth Webster testified to the foregoing,
Jan. 24, 1662, before Daniell Denison. Copy made, Sept. 25, 1663, by Robert
Lord, cleric."

- Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
, Volume 3 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, 1913 p88-90

I'm still bemused with the image of Richard Greenland knocking at a married
woman's window begging to be let in so he could "light his pipe". But Richard
Greenland seems to have been a smooth talker, even though he failed to tempt
Mary to run  off the Caribbean  islands of "nevis,  or Jemeco".

Whether Mary told her husband  all that had transpired in his absence, or he
heard the details from the selectmen or Goody Bishop, I don't know. But  one
way or another, he took action:

"John Rolfe, jr., of Newbury, on June 20, 1663, appointed Hugh March of 
Newbury his attorney to prosecute against Mr. Henry Greenland and John 
Emery, sr. Wit: Henry Jaques and Richard Dole."

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


 A new year, and another new list of genealogy goals. They're pretty much
the same goals as always, although there is one new one (#7). At least I'm
consistent in my goals.

1. Work more on my maternal lines
Plan: Thanks to being contacted by two of my White cousins I now know
more than I did last year. There still are some blanks I need to fill in yet
on the family tree.

2. Continue researching my paternal lines
Plan: I should finish working on the Ellingwood collateral lines by Spring.
I'll move on to the Houghtons and Barkers next.

3. Break down that John Cutter West brick wall!
Plan: Hope springs eternal!

4. Join a local genealogy or historical society.
Plan: I need to get this done. Actually attending any meetings will
have to wait until I get a car, though.

5. Continue with Find A Grave activities
Plan: Cemetery visits are curtailed until I get a car. However I still have
quite a backlog of photos from last Spring and Summer that need to be uploaded.

6. Trim My Tree
Plan: I need to be more agressive about this. I have too many multiple entries
for people.

7. Do some more indexing for FamilySearch

Plan: I enjoyed indexing the 1940 Census. I'd like to work on another project. I just
need to find the time.

8. Write more.
Plan: I should do better with this compared to last year since I don't have the
1940 Census to distract me. I've already posted more posts(2) than I did all
last year on The Old Colony Graveyard Rabbit. Here on West in New England, I
need to  write at least one more blogpost for each month than I did last year,

9. Organize, Organize, ORGANIZE!!
Plan: Same as last year: JUST DO IT!

10. Scan, scan, SCAN!
Plan:  See #9
And as I say each year, the number  one priority about doing all of the above is to
have fun doing it!