Monday, January 25, 2016


Over the years I've found some of the best stories about my ancestors in the free Googlebooks
editions of the colonial Essex County, Ma. court records. The other day I googled my Phelps
family and found this fascinating story. It's strange because it isn't part of a case, just a deposition
that doesn't match up with anything else on the page. It involves the two brothers of my 9x great grandfather Edward Phelps, and is from the Hampton Quarterly Court held on 28Sep 1652:

Deposition of Jane Johnson: "Saith yt: coming our in the ship with Henry Phelps & Hannah the now wife of Nich: Phelps: Henry Phelps going ashore the ship lying at the Downes: Hannah wept till shee made ||her|| selue sicke because mr Fackler would not suffer her to goe ashore with Henry Phelps : & Henry came aboard late in the night, the next morning mr Falckner Chid Henry Phelps & Hannah & said was it not enough for yw to let Hannah lay her head in yr lape but must shee ly in ye Cabbin to & called Hannah Strumpet & this deponent saith farther yet she saw Henry Phelps ly in his Cabbin & Hannah Baskel the now wife of Nick Phelps came & lay down her head by him & pull her head up again often as he lay in his Cabbin: & when he was smocking in the Cook roome tobaca Hannah tooke the pip out of his mouth" pp267-268

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County ..., Volume 1 Essex Institute,  Salem, Ma 1911

"Chid" is a misspelling of chide, I believe.

So, Jane Johnson seems to be saying that my 9x great granduncle Henry Phelps was engaged with a
bit of "hanky-panky" with a woman named Hannah Baskel, who would eventually marry his brother
Nicholas. Jane doesn't say how long ago the incident occurred, but it could have happened as early as 1634 if the brothers came over from England with their father Henry Phelps Sr. Why was Jane
bringing up something that took place years ago?

There were no further details in Volume One of the Records and Files. I decided to search Volume

To be continued

1 comment:

Amy Johnson Crow said...

It isn't nice to leave us hanging like that, Bill ;-)