Wednesday, June 24, 2009


As I said in a previous post, my ancestor Captain William Gerrish had more
than one court battle with Thomas Woodbridge. Gerrish had already sued
Woodbridge for slander but the case had been withdrawn for some reason or
another that I've yet to discover. Apparently something happened to make the
Captain refile his suit, and at first it appears he won:

"Capt. Wm. Gerish v. Mr. Thomas Woodbridge. Defamation or slander.
Verdict for plaintiff. To pay a fine unless he acknowledge his offence
before the court in saying that the Capt. had cheated him and lied, and also
make a like acknowledgment at Newbery on a lecture day within five weeks,
openly in the meeting house before the congregation. Appealed to the next
Court of Assistants. Mr. Thomas Woodbridge bound, with Mr. Dudly Bradstreet
and Thomas Chandler as sureties.*

*Writ, dated 19 : 4 : 1676, signed by Hilliard Veren, for the court, and served
by Joseph Webb, marshal of Boston. Bond of Tho. Woodbridge.

Bill of cost, 3li. 13s. 4d.

Daniell Luntt, aged about thirty-four years, deposed concerning what Woodbridge
said about Gerrish, etc. Sworn, 24 : 4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant

Robert Lord, sr., aged about seventy-five years, deposed concerning a bill which
Capt. Gerrish acknowledged and then denied, etc. Sworn, June 23, 1676, before
Daniel Denison.

Henry Jaques, aged about fifty-six years, testified that he was one of the jury in the
action of defamation brought by Capt. William Gerrish against Mr. Thos. Woodbridge,

and their verdict against Gerrish was given on account of the contradictory and untrue statements of said Gerrish. Wit: John Wells and Dudley Bradstreet. Abraham Perkins
testified to the same. Sworn, June 26, 1676, before Daniel Denison."

But Thomas Woodbridge would not give up so easily, and did appeal the

"Mr. Thomas Woodbridge v. Capt. Wm. Gerrish. Review of a case tried at
the last Ipswich court. Verdict for defendant. Appealed to the next Court of
Assistants. Said Woodbridge bound, with Mr. Dudly Bradstreet and Ensign Tho. Chandler
as sureties.*

*Writ, dated June 17, 1676, signed by Dudley Bradstreet,for the court, and served
by Joseph Pike, constable of Newbery, by attachment of a dwelling house, land,
shed, ten acres of upland between Mr. Jno. Woodbridg's and Mr. Perses land,
belonging to defendant, also his part of the bark of which Daniell Lunt is commander,
sixteen or twenty acres of marsh and meadow, eastward of and near Newbery mill at
the little river, six or eight acres between Ant. Morse's house and Richard Brown's
pasture, also seven cows, a dung-fork, two yokes and a chain at Capt. Gerrish's usual
dwelling place, a cupboard, a great chair, table and a dog.

Bill of cost, 4s.

John Knight and Thomas Knight deposed that there were many particulars behind for
which Woodbridge had not given the Captain credit, and upon Woodbridge demanding
what they were, John Knight replied that cousin Thomas Noyce's 11li. 10s. was one
and the old bark of Badger's which he sold for 10li., was another and the third
was an interest in Sterling's vessel, all of which Woodbridge owned.
Thomas Noyce testified that the 11li. 10s. was to be paid in barley at his father
Peirce's, etc. Sworn, 26 :4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant.

Tristram Coffine, aged forty-four years, testified concerning the accounts. Sworn in

Richard Dole, aged fifty-two years, deposed concerning the ossenbrige purchased,
etc. Sworn in court.

Daniel Lunt, aged about thirty-five years, testified concerning taking on his boat to Boston ninety-eight bushels of malt worth 3s. 6d. per bushel which he delivered to
Mr. Thomas Woodbridg. Sworn, 24 :4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant.

Ricd. Dole, aged fifty-two years, testified concerning discussion of the account at
Hugh Marches house. Sworn in court.

Nicholas Noyes deposed. Sworn in court.

Henery Tuckexbury, aged about fifty years, deposed that he being indebted to Capt.
Gerrish for 5li., Woodbridge desired him to work about a "wessel" which he had
building, he agreed to pay the 5li. to Gerrish, etc. Sworn, 26 : 4 : 1676, before
Simon Bradstreet.

Jno. Dole, aged about twenty-seven years, deposed concerning witnessing the
payment of goods by Mr. Woodbridge to Capt. Gerrish. Sworn in court.

Tristram Coffin, aged forty-four years, deposed. Sworn in court.

Caleb Moody deposed that by order of Capt. Gerish he paid malt to Goodman Cbease
of Hamton, boatman, to the value of 20s. or 30s. for freight of a parcel of goods,
which Gerish told him were Woodbridge's goods. This was two years ago the last
spring. Sworn, 27 : 4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant.

Richard Dole, aged about fifty-two years, deposed. Sworn m court.

Hugh March, aged about fifty-four years, deposed. Sworn, 26 : 4 : 1676, before
Wm. Hathorne, assistant.

John Atkisson, aged about forty years, deposed that the malt delivered at Boston
was sold by Mr. Woodbridge to Mr. John Viall. Sworn in court.

Richard Dole, aged fifty-two years, deposed. Mr. Deane and Mr. Dudley Bradstreet
mentioned. Sworn in court.

Joseph Gerrish testified that his father paid him 36s. in money for Mr. Thomas
Woodbridge which he said Woodbridge owed deponent on account of a horse.
Sworn, 27 : 4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne, assistant.

Moses Gerrish, aged twenty years, deposed that Woodbridge had 3li. of powder
of his father, etc. Sworn, 26 : 4 : 1676, before Wm. Hathorne,f assistant.

Tho. Woodbridge's order to Capt. Gerrish, May 4, 1674, to let Goodman Sawer
have eight thousand shingle nails and two thousand board nails, and Will. Sayear's
receipt. Sworn in court.

Tho. Woodbridge'sf order to Capt. Gerrish, May 2, 1674, to let Joshua Boynton
have 1 M. shingle nails and 1 M. board nails. Sworn in court.

Nails delivered by Wm. Gerrish,f on order of Woodbridge, Mar. 1673-4, to Samuell Mody, Goodman Somersby, Joseph Bointon, Wm. Sayre, Mr. Pearce, Thomas
Rogers, Ensign Greinleife, Mr. Dumer, John Indian. Sworn in court.

Tho. Woodbridge's order to Capt. Gerrish to let Goodman Somerbee have 3 M
shingle nails and 1 M board nails, with Anthony Somerby's receipt.
Sworn in court."

The list of attached items was particularly interesting to me. They certainly were efficient,
even including a "dung-fork" and a dog!

So it seems Captain Gerrish had won out over his adversary. Thomas Woodbridge would
have to make a public apology, and that would be an end to it.

Or would it?

To be continued....

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