Tuesday, April 08, 2014


There's a total of eight pages of testimony in Thomas Robbin's case against my
ancestor William Pinson for verbal and physical abuse. I've picked out some
passages from them

Rebecca Bligh. aged about forty-three years, testified that she had often come into
the house of her father Robbins where she heard her mother complain of the abuse by
William Pynson by his frequent bawling and railing in the house. Her mother told her
that she would rather die than live in such a place where there was continual scolding
and such contention and disturbance in the family, said Pynson usurping such authority
over them. Sworn, Feb.14 , 1684-85 before John Hathorne, assistant.
Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Volume IX Published and Copyrighted by the Essex Institute 1975 
From  John Bligh Jr, grandson of Thomas Robbins tyme some Indians being
there drinking Pynsons wife came in & fetcht away ye skillett, reproueing him for
doeing so, he said he would rather drinkwith them then with her for he said he was
sure that Peter ye Indians squaw was handsomer then shee..
. p482

Thomas Robbins aged about sixty-eight years, testified that three years ago, the
night before Thanksgiving, Pynson threatened to have his own wife whipped and
deponent objected to  his treating his cousin, Pynson's wife, in such a manner and struck him on the head with his shoe, although his hands were lame.Pynson through

 the shoe into the fire and tried to throw him in also.... He ordered his wife to kill some cocks before he went into the woods and when he came home and found them, he cursed her until she cried bitterly and said if he didn't kill the other two cocks before he slept, he would cut his own throat."But as yet he hath neither cutt his own throate nor killed ye Cocks" p483

George Thomas, aged about forty-eight years, testified that when Robbins lay very sick
upon a low bed, he was a witness to the writing and Robbins was not capapble of
knowing what he did, and had to be helped in guiding his hand. Sworn June 29 1685
before John Hathorne, assistant
. p484

Once again the question was raised whether the document giving William Pinson control
of Thomas Robbins' estate was legitimate. And what of the Blighs? In that land transaction
Robbins had stated that his niece Rebecca Pinson was his only heir, yet it seems he had
a daughter and grandson as well.

So, what was the final verdict given in the case against William Pinson, who celebrated
Christmas, drank with Indians, who behaved abominably to his wife and her elderly
uncle and aunt, and who may have tricked an old sick man into signing over all his

William Pinson, presented for cursing and swearing, was admonished, it not being
proved that it occurred within the year. Tho. Robbins declared he went in fear of his
life and court sentenced  Pinson to give bond for good behavior

I have to admit, I was astonished by this. What did the Court know that could possibly
justify letting off William Pinson so lightly? This is not the first time I wish that there had
been some sort of commentary included that explains the ruling in a case.

But still, it's a fascination story. And I love that aside about "But as yet he hath neither cutt his own throate nor killed ye Cocks"

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