Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Yet another Essex County, Massachusetts court case involving my ancestors and  their
relatives. This one concerns my 9x great grandfather Nicholas Holt, his daughter Mary,
and her husband Thomas Johnson, all of Andover, Ma. Among the witnesses are my
ancestors Thomas Chandler, William Ballard, and John Lovejoy

Court held at Ipswich, Apr.18, 1671
Thomas Johnson, presented by the grand jury upon a common fame for selling strong waters to the Indians, pleading not guilty and putting himself upon trial by jury, whether he did sell or no. He was found guilty of selling two quarts to the Indians, and was sentenced to pay 8li. for selling. Also fined for perjury, bound to good behavior and disabled for giving evidence. John Perly and Edmond Bridges, jr., sureties.*

*Nicholas Holt, aged about sixty-three years, deposed that sometime in October or November last, hearing of a rumor in the town that his son-in-law Thomas Johnson had sold strong liquors to the Indians and had taken an oath to clear himself, he went to his house to speak with him about it, but he not being at home, deponent discoursed with his wife about it. He told her that he heard her husband carried bottles of liquor to the Indians. She replied that there was a great deal more made of it than there was cause, and that she knew of only two or three quarts that he sold them. Sworn, 11:2:1671, before Simon Bradstreete.t

Ens. Tho. Chandler, aged about forty-three years, deposed that about the time that Thomas Johnson was at Cambridge about his selling strong water to the Indians, deponent was speaking with John Johnson, father of said Thomas, who told him about what Thomas's wife Mary said. Also that Thomas told deponent that he carried up two bottles to the Indians, and that there was nothing in them, but he carried a bottle of liquor in his pocket and gave the Indians a dram and they gave him another. Sworn, 11:2:1671, before Simon Bradstreete,* assistant.

Jos. Ballard, aged about twenty-six years, deposed that if he gave a dram or two to the Indians, what was that to any man? Sworn, 12 :2 : 1671, before Simon Bradstreete.*

Joseph Wilson, aged about twenty-six years, deposed that some time the last harvest, he sold two bottles to some Indians whose names he knows not, which bottles they left at Thomas Johnson's. Some time after, deponent went to borrow a bottle of said Johnson, who lent him one of those bottles. He also gave deponent another "which his brother made to bring him some strong liquors from Ipswich, whither hee was goeing but getting noe liquors there, hee left one of the sd bottles wth his brother for his owne use, & there it remaines still for ought hee knowes the other hee sold to yong Tho. Burage att his returne Tho. Johnson was pvoked & angry that hee brought him no liqrs & sd hee should not haue had his horse but vpon yt acct the next day as hee thinks it was the said Johnson came to him to borrow a bottle & sd hee was in great want of it & must haue some, soe not haueing one of his owne hee lett him haue one of his Fathr Loveioyes & wth wch & another hee went to Newbury as hee sd to fetch liquors the next day hee mett him comeing home not farr from his shopp & being something in a sack behinde him knocked on the head of a bottle, wch hee pceiued was full & further sayeth yl one of the bottles found wth the Ind. & now brought to Andour is yt bottle w*h hee sent him." Sworn, 12 :2 :1671, before Simon Bradstreete,* assistant.

John Lovejoy, aged about forty-nine years, deposed that the said Johnson being very angry that he had brought him no liquors from Ipswich said it would be 40s. out of his way for they stayed for it, "cliping his words as it were in yl speech," etc. Sworn, 12 :2 : 1671, before Simon Bradstreet.*

Willm. Ballard, aged about fifty years, deposed that being at Mr. Hinchman's and discoursing about Tho. Johnson, said Hinchman said he did not question that he sold to the Indians, and sat upon and delivered to this deponent a bottle which he said he had from the Indians to see whether it would be owned at Andover. As yet he had found no owner, etc. Sworn, 12: 2 : 1671, before Simon Bradstreete.*

John Johnson, aged sixty-seven years, deposed that he never heard his daughter Mary Johnson say that her husband sold to the Indians, etc.

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1667-1671 (Google eBook) VOL IV, Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1914

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