Wednesday, April 04, 2007


In the list of witnesses called during the trial of Jonathan
Eames and his mother Elizabeth there is listed “Elizabeth,
wife of Richard Kimball.” There is a marriage between an
Elizabeth Secton or Seeton of Lunenberg and Richard Kimbal,
at Lunenberg, recorded in the Boxford Vital Records that took
place on 23 Jan 1750(1751). She would have been slightly older
than Ruth Perley Eames but closer in age to her than the senior
Mrs. Eames. It’s my guess she is the “Mrs. Kimball” who raised
the suspicions of the townsfolk over Ruth’s mysterious death.

As I’ve said previously, after their acquittal the Eames family
eventually sold their farm and left town. It must have been a
difficult time for Jonathan Eames Sr. who doesn’t seem to have
figured at all in the trial. I’ve been hunting around on the net the
past few nights but have yet to come up with where the family
eventually relocated.

So far I’ve been searching for any Essex County traces but they
might have gone further away than that. A few generations
before the children of the executed Mary Townes Estey had
moved either out of Essex County or left Massachusetts entirely.
Elizabeth Eames had a brother living in Farmington, Me. Perhaps
that was far enough away to escape the scandal’s shame?

The “not guilty” verdict would seem to be puzzling given the
apparent belief by their neighbors that Jonathan and Elizabeth
had murdered poor Ruth. But there was no solid physical evidence
to prove their guilt and perhaps memories of the innocents who’d
been sent to their deaths at Salem the century before might have
played a part. The Eames had been held up to public scrutiny and
afterwards were so shunned that they removed themselves from
the town.

In the end that would have to satisfy their accusers.

Finally, I do have to say that finding out that a relative, even a
distant one, was defended by John Adams …wow…how cool is that?


Becky Jamison said...

Bill, can you explain to me how you're related to Ruth Perley Ames? I'm not related, but am connected and have drawn up a diagram to show the connection. I just read about this story yesterday, so it's new to me! I've enjoyed reading your account of the trial!

Bill West said...

I'm related to her husband Jonathan, whose father Joseph was the son of Robert Ames and Rebecca Blake. I am
descended from another son, John Ames. Ruth Perley was the daughter of Jemima Hoyt, daughter of John Hoyt jr and Mary Barnes. I am descended from their son William Hoyt. So both Ruth and her husband Jonathan are my distant cousins.

karen mcnally said...

I believe the Eames family went to Hollis New Hampshire, I am a direct decendent of Joseph Eames son Nathan. whose mother is Jemima Hoyt , I dont think Ruth is the daughter of jemima Hoyt,,she was married to joseph , father of jonathan , that would make ruth and jonathan siblings