Showing posts with label Buswell Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buswell Family. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


As I've previously posted, Susannah Buswell's husband, Isaac Buswell, Jr. apparently
died before her first appearance in court in 1677 at which time she was described as his
relict or widow. She was charged with theft and burglary and I've speculated that this might
have been caused by a dispute over her late husband's estate. I think this from the Salem
court records of April 1679 bears this theory out:

"Susanna Buswell, relict of Isaac Buswell, jr., was appointed administratrix of the estate
of Isaac Buswell, and was ordered to bring in an inventory to the next Hampton court
to take good care for the maintenance of the children."

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts Vol VII
1678-1680 (p 195)

There's no record I can find online as to what exactly happened next. Perhaps it was the
ordered inventory that was the cause of a dispute now between Susannah and her father-
in-law Isaac Buswell Sr. Whatever the exact cause, we do know that it all ended up again in court:

"Ephraim Winsley deposed that he was desired by old Goodman Buswell to go with
him to hear some discourse between Buswell and his daughter-in-law Susana Buswell
concerning some estate of Buswell's that she challenged as belonging to her and her
children, it being due to her husband Isack Buswell. Isack Perkins and his wife, Samll.
Felloes and Joseph Dow were also present and the agreement was that Isack was to
take the two eldest daughters of Susana Buswell, pay for their bringing up, pay all debts
of his son Isack, pay Susana 201i. and to the daughters of Isack Buswell 301i. at the age
of sixteen years. Susana gave up her right in the house and land of Isack, also her half
of eleven or twelve bushels of barley, and she was to have the household stuff of her
husband, two cows, a colt and two swine. This was done about July 13, 1679. The wife
of Isack Perkins desired old Goodman Buswell to let Susana stay in that house two or
three days or a week until they could bring her to Hampton, and then he would take her
to his house and she should not trouble him nor his any more. Sworn, Nov. 13, 1679,
before Nath. Saltonstall, assistant.

Samuell Fellows, aged about sixty-one years, testified that Joseph Dow was there to
write the agreement but he did not write it as it was concluded. Deponent was a witness.
Sworn, Nov. 11, 1679, before Nath. Saltonstall, assistant." (p 279)

And so the eighty year old Isaac Buswell finally brought an end to the turmoil caused by
his daughter in law. True to his word, he did take in his son's two oldest daughters, and
provided for them and the third girl in his will.

As for Susannah, she wasn't home with her parents for long. She married William Fuller
of Ipswich on 29Jun,1680 and they had a daughter Abigail.

Looking at the individual mentions of Susannah in the court records, it would seem that she
was a troublemaker and perhaps a scandal in the eyes of her contemporaries. But from a
modern prospective, it might also be put forth that she was a woman struggling against the
restraints of Puritan society on her rights to control her own finances.

But I think it is safe to say things were at least never dull around Susannah Perkins

Monday, August 03, 2009


Isaac Buswell Sr. arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony sometime around 1639,
took the oath of freeman 9Oct 1640 and was one of the first settlers of the town Salisbury
in Essex County. He was married twice, his first wife having died on 29 Sep 1642 and his
second on 31Mar 1676 or 1677. Isaac himself died in 1683 and was over 90 years old at
the time. He had at least five children, among whom was Isaac Jr.

Isaac Buswell Jr was 23 years old when he married Susannah Perkins on 12May 1673. The
couple had three daughters but apparently Isaac Jr. died sometime before April 1677 court
session in which Susannah was described as his relict or widow and convicted of burglary
and lying. What could have caused her to steal six shillings from her brother in law
William and then apparently lie about doing it?

Perhaps a clue lies in a ruling cited after her case in which William is named administrator
of the estate of a local widow. Could William have been appointed an administrator of his
dead brother's estate? Perhaps Susannah needed money which William was reluctant to
give her and the theft was the culmination of an argument? It seems to me that her
punishment was comparatively light in an era where penalties were often harsh. If this
was seen by the court as a family squabble that had gone too far, that might explain the
leniency shown towards Susannah.

It's another one of those things I may never know because I've yet to find more information
on this incident.

Things seemed to not go very well afterward for Susannah. In January 1677 she was fined
for excessive drinking to which she admitted. Then in the Oct 1678 records is this footnote:

"From Samuel Dalton's Commissioner Records. See ante, vol. V, p. 235.
Wm. Allin, sr. v. Sarah Taylor; for going from his service in a disorderly way and for
accusing his wife of cruelly beating her; judgment, that the girl went away disorderly
and she was found guilty of many contrary tales. that she had met with evil counsellors
which was the main trouble, and that in the complaint against Goodwife Allin for cruel
correction, there was found no legal conviction but considering the poverty of the girl's
relatives, each party was to pay his own charges, also that Ann Person, the girl's mother,
take care of her in the future to see that she be placed out in some godly family, and in
the meantime to refrain from the company of Goodwife Houldredg and Susan

-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts Vol VI
1675-1678 (p340 )

So now Susannah was considered an "evil counselor". Was it because of her drinking, or
because she'd encouraged Sarah Taylor to leave a cruel mistress? After all, although
the accusation of "cruel correction" against Goodwife Allin was dismissed, the court
recommended Sarah Taylor next be placed out with some "godly family".

At any rate, Susannah Buswell's own future seemed very much in doubt.
(to be continued)

Sunday, August 02, 2009


First day of vacation!

I'm looking forward to the trip up to Maine and the Ellingwood family reunion
at the end of the week. Meanwhile I'll try to keep myself occupied and out of trouble
until then.

I spent sometime reading the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture 14th edition
over at Colleen Johnson's CMJ Office blog and enjoyed a vicarious trip to Ireland!

I've held off on posting the next part of my series on Susannah since I think
I'm one generation off on how we're related. The William Buswell I'm descended
from was born in 1692 and too young to be Captain William Buswell of the court
case. There's several Williams and Isaacs in the family around that time so I'm
doublechecking who was who and should have the next part of the series available
either tonight or tomorrow.

Something to keep myself occupied, right?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


One of the fun things about researching family history is finding new stories about
my ancestors. Lately, with all the information I've found on Google Books there's
been a lot of new stories most of which I've shared here on this blog. Some of them
have been about people who weren't my direct ancestors, but the stories were
so fascinating to me that I investigated and wrote about them anyway. The stories
of Levi Ames and of Daniel Ellingwood come to mind , for example.

The other night I was googling my Buswell ancestors and when I searched "William
Buswell", I got the following hit from the Essex County Court Records for April,

"Whereas Susannah Buswell, wife of Isaac Buswell, jr., was convicted of burglary
and lying, court ordered" that she pay to Ensign Wm. Buswell 6s. which he lost,
also to sit in the meeting house in lecture time about the middle of the alley with a
paper pinned upon her head written with these words "FOR BURGLARY & LYING"
in capital letters."
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex, Massachusetts volume VI 1675-1678
Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1917 (p265)

Now William Buswell's father was Isaac Buswell, Sr. It would seem that Susannah was
married to Isaac Buswell Jr and so was William Buswell's sister in law.

So what could drive a young woman of that period of history to turn to thievery and
from her own family, no less?

We'll be investigating that mystery over the next few blog posts.