Thursday, January 15, 2015


Today's excerpt from the Essex County,  Massachusetts Court files concerns Elizabeth
(Hunter)Woodbury and a bothersome servant. Elizabeth was my 9x great grandmother
wife of my ancestor Humphrey Woodbury. It seems that she was accused of striking a
maid named Elizabeth Hiritton(Herndon?):

Presentments, dated 30 : 9 :1664, signed by Henery Skerey, sr.,f in the name of the rest:—

Elisabeth, wife of Umphery Woodbery, was presented for striking the maid of Mr. Hubbard, Elisabeth Hiritton, several times. She owned that she struck her, but it was by order of her master. Wit: Robert Morgane and wife, and Joseph Harie. She was also presented for denying that she struck her, but was acquitted. Wit: Joseph Haire, Mary Lovett and the wife of Captaine Lowthrupp.

 Bethiah Lowthroppf deposed that "Being called to witnesse what I heard goody woodbery Say concerning mr hubbards maid: I did hear her say that she did never strike the maid. the Blow was yet to give that ever she gave her either in the house or out of doore & this she said more then once or twice." Owned by the parties, 20 :12 :1664, before Hillyard Veren,f cleric

Robert Morgan* deposed, Dec. 17, 1664, that being cited before the grand jury at Salem, who told him that there was a matter of battery left to them by the former jury, concerning Eliz. Woodbery, which wanted proof, he said that she never saw Goody Woodbery strike Mr. Hubbard's maid, except once at his own house. Said Morgan and his wife affirmed that the maid never complained to them of any bad language to her from Eliz. Woodbery and that she was very loving and kind to her, etc.

Elizabeth (her mark) Herendone certified that Elizabeth Woodbery never struck her but two blows in her life, and those might have been given to a child of two years. She offered to strike her once at Mistress Gardenares house, but said Elizabeth kept it off with her hand. Wit: Elizabeth (her mark) Dickes and Sarah (her mark) Carpender. Arthur

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 (Google eBook)

 Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1913

So, the maid says Elizabeth only struck her twice, and not very hard. The witnesses agree.
Just what was this all about?

The answer is in a letter written by the people the maid actually worked for, and that will be
in the next blogpost.

To be continued. 

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