Tuesday, December 30, 2014


My 8x great grandfather John Acie seems to have been one of those people you
either love or hate. I've found several cases in the Essex County Court files in which
he figures either as plaintiff or defendant. In the following case he is the plaintiff,
trying to protect his good(cough) name. Interesting that the initial verdict was for
the defendant, but apparently the judge wasn't happy with the jury and sent them
out to rethink the verdict. When they came back, the found in favor of Acie.

One of the fun things about these court files is how the statements given by
witnesses sometimes wander hither and yon, throwing in bits of information that
that tells several stories. In this case. there's a love story involved:

John Acie v. John Pickerd. Defamation. Verdict for defendant. After being sent out
again, the jury brought in a verdict for plaintiff.*

*Writ: John Acie v. John Pickerd; defamation; for basely and reproachfully reviling him in a public town meeting at Rowley in falsely asserting that he had ruined four persons already, naming the persons; dated Mar. 22, 1674-5; signed by Tho. Leaver,f clerk; and served by Jeremiah Elsworth,f constable of Rowley, by attachment of the house and land of defendant.

John Acie's bill of cost.

Thomas Remington and Mehittabell, his wife, deposed that he, being named as one whom Acie had ruined, denied the charge. Sworn in court.

James Baly, sr., Joseph Trumble and John Hopkinson deposed that at the town meeting last winter Mr. Jeremiah Sheppard came in and was arguing with some persons. John Acie then present argued on his side. Jno. Pickard, sr., being there desired to speak a word to Mr. Sheppard and said that John Acie standing on his side would not make for his advantage, for said Acie had ruined Josuah Bradley, Doctor Crosbie, Hannah Palmer and Thomas Remington. Sworn in court.

Richard Swann, aged about sixty-eight years, deposed that he was at the Generall Court where there was a case about Capt. Marshall's marrying two persons too privately, and he spoke to Major Pike about them, Josuah Bradley and Judeth Lum, whom he married at Rowley, "which John Pickard I told him was much trobled att: and also that John Acie had some hand in it; he replyed he was much trobled at it when he heard of it; & he sayd he hoped it should be a warning to him for the future." Deponent saw Josuah Bradley and John Acie riding to town together the day of the marriage. Sworn in court.

Joseph Trumble, aged about twenty-seven years, deposed that being related to John Hopkinson, he knew about his proceedings in love which he made to Hannah, daughter of Jno. Palmer of Rowley, and was at Palmer's house when there was a discussion concerning breaking off the marriage. John Acie, Hannah's uncle, was there, and Hannah was in a melancholy frame of mind. Acie asked her if Hopkinson had given her any tokens of his love and she said he had, but refused to show them, saying those were the only comforts she had in his absence. Finally being importuned by Acie she gave them to him, he promising to return them to her in a week's time. Later she told deponent that Acie had returned the tokens to Hopkinson and had promised to give her ten pounds upon her marriage, if she would break off the match with Hopkinson. So John Acie broke off the match and gave Hannah a coat on that account. Both Hannah and John were much dejected, etc. Sworn in court.

John Pallmor and Margaret Pallmor deposed that they never heard their daughter Hannah say anything against John Acie, her uncle, ''and that we doe beleiue that any good that he could doe her by night or by day he would redily and willingly haue done it," etc. Sworn in court.

Mary Pearson, aged about twenty-four years, deposed that a while before Josuah Bradley went from Rowley, she heard him and his wife say that their reason for going was because they could never have any peace since Josuah had given in a testimony against Acie and the latter was enraged. Sworn in court.

Abell Platts, aged about twenty-five years, deposed that in the case between Thomas Remington and John Johnson, he heard John Acie say to Johnson that he would spend his estate before Johnson should have the gate* and a quarter again, etc. Sworn in court.

•gate, i. e. term used in Rowley to indicate a right to pasturage 

Thomas Wood, aged about forty years, deposed that being desired by his brother Todd to get hay from the meadow that he took from Dr. Crosbie by execution, they went and found Acie there who spoke threatening words and struck several persons, etc. John Todd testified to the same. Sworn in court.


Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume VI (Google eBook) 1675-1678, Essex Institute, Salem Ma 191t

The testimony shows two sides of Acie: loyal to his friends and family, but not a person you
wanted to have angry with you.

In the next part we get more testimony, including a statement from John Hopkinson, the
other half of the star-crossed lovers.

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