Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Now before going into the second part of the case of Edward/Edmond Berry
and his wife Beatrice it should be noted that if Edward comes off as the heavy
in this story, Beatrice herself had been involved in some rather questionable
activity prior to their marriage.

To put it bluntly, Beatrice was not a saintly old lady.

Exhibit A would be an incident that occurred back during her first marriage
to the late William Cantlebury in which several members of the family were
involved in a fight with a neighbor woman:

"Bettres, wife of Willm. Canterbery, fined for provoking speeches to the wife
of John Rouden, calling her "lousie slutt," saying she had but one shift, and
giving strong suspicion of assaulting her person. Said Canterbery's wife, with
her daughter, were seen to go out with a stick and presently a great cry was
heard. A short time after, Rouden's wife showed the print of blows.

John Cantlebery fined for lying in wait and beating the wife of John Rouden,
coming from behind a bush when his mother and Rouden's wife were
"in combustion." His mother went away, and Benjamin Woodrow, being near,
heard Mrs. Rouden cry out, on the Lord's day. His father engaged to pay the fine.

Benjamin Woodrow to sit in the stocks for perjury in the trial of the foregoing complaint.

John Rouden's wife, of Salem, fined for fighting with and beating the wife of Wm.
Cantlebery on the Lord's day. Phill. Cromwell promised to pay the fine."
Nov 1656
-Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts
Volume II 1656-1662 (p10-11)

But the bad blood between the Rowdens and Cantelburys continued and next came to
a boil in a case involving pigs and peas:

"William Canterbery fined for beating Goodwife Rowdding.

John Rowden, for his wife's offence, fined and bound for her good behavior.

William Canterbery and John Rowden were bound to good behavior.

Rebbecca Cantlebery, aged twenty years, deposed that the day her father went
to tell John Rouden's wife of her swine that were in his pease, a short time after,
she came in an insulting manner and bade them prove them to be her swine;
whereupon deponent went and caught one of them and held it by the leg, her
father standing by. Rouden's wife took up a stone of two or three pound weight
and threw it with such force that if deponent had not fallen down, "it myght haue
spoyld me." Deponent further testified that she heard said Rowden's wife call
her father rogue, whelp and toad; and when her father was at work in his own
ground she had seen her sling stones at him with great violence, and they no
sooner let their cattle out of their yard but she was either hunting them with her
dogs or striking them with great sticks.

Thomas Goldthwtt testiffied that he saw Goody. Rowden violently oppose
William Caniterbury and she did strike his oxen with a stick in her hand in
the common field, Jun.10, 1657.

Elisabeth Walkut deposed that she, being sent on an errand to Goodwife Cantlebery,
found her abroad in her lot; the latter told deponent that her husband was gone to
give Goodwife Rowden notice of her swine that were then in his pease. Goodwife
Cantlebery, standing upon a tree, called deponent to her to behold how Goodwife
Rouden beat her husband. She saw Goodwife Rouden following Goodman Cantlebery
towards the fence with both her hands upon him divers times, thrusting him out of
her ground and throwing things at him. Sworn, 6: 11: 1657, before Wm. Hathorne.
Jun 1658 (p100-101)"

If the litigations between Edward Berry and the Haskells reminded me of "Dallas",
I'm afraid the fighting between the Cantelburys and the Rowdens reminds me
of the old "Benny Hill Show" with people jumping out from behind bushes with
clubs or throwing rocks, all to that wild saxophone music!

Exhibit B of Beatrice Cantlebury Plummer Berry's temperament will be covered
in the next post, and involves her hapless son in law Benjamin Woodrow.


Apple said...

It does read like a soap opera and a bad one at that!

Bill West said...

Doesn't it? Although the
testimony of Edward and Beatrice
could be something right out of
one of the Dicken's novels shows
on Masterpiece Theatre!