Thursday, September 17, 2009


In March of 1675 William Haskell appeared in Ipswich Court along with his two youngest
nephews: Roger Haskell was 17 years old, and Josiah was 16. At that time, the boys chose
William as their guardian. At the same time the Court appointed him to also be the guardian
of 18 year old Samuel and 20 year old Sarah and bound him "for the payment of the estate
to the four children of his brother when they come of age."

The only mention of Edward Berry is a lawsuit in April that was dropped for the moment:
"John Hasscall having attached Edward Berry to this court and not prosecuting,
was allowed costs." In other words, oldest son John had to pay his stepfather's
court costs.

There is no mention of the children's mother, Elizabeth Hardy Berry.

Perhaps John had postponed the court case until after his uncle had the chance to evaluate
the value of the estate. It doesn't seem as though William was able to reach an amenable
agreement with Edward Berry for the two of them were once more in Ipswich Court in

"William Hascall, as guardian for the children of Roger Hascall, deceased v. Edw.
Berry, who married Elizabeth, relict of said Roger.

Writ, dated June 22, 1675, signed by Robert Lord, for the court, and served by
Phillip Fouler, deputy for Robert Lord,marshal of Ipswich, by attachment of
houses of defendant. William Hascal's bill of cost, lli. 10s."

Two men had appraised the condition of the Roger Haskell's estate and their
report indicated that Berry was not the best of stewards in caring for the

"Henry Bayley and Henry Herrick certified, 20 : 5 : 1675, that they had viewed the
estate lately Roger Hascoll's, deceased, in Beverly, and judged "that the decay of
the housinge and fences and stroy and waste made by cuttinge and fallinge of Timber
vppon the Land," amounted to 60li. Sworn in court."

The case concluded with a copy of the papers giving William the guardianship of his
niece and nephews being entered into the record.

The verdict in the case was a bit unusual in that the judge made a ruling to decide the
case before the jury had a chance to bring in their decision. As it turned out the two verdicts
agreed with each other:

"Court found for plaintiff. The defendant was to deliver the children's portions. The jury
brought in a special verdict which should have been entered before the courts' judgment.
If the committing of an estate of legacy or inheritance by will of deceased to any person
for the bringing up of the legatees notwithstanding the person to whom such estate was
committed by will is deceased, and the legatees left to and brought up by a guardian,
will by law keep such estate from their guardian, they find for defendant; if not, for
plaintiff, to chave the estate that is willed unto Roger, Josiah, Samuell and Sarah Haskall
by their father Roger Hascall, deceased."

But of course it wasn't going to be done that easily. There was still the matter of John
Haskell's inheritance to be considered by the Court a few days later.

As I read about William being appointed guardian of Roger's children, I was struck by
the fact that Elizabeth Hardy Berry had not raised any objections. Considering her
previous testimony against her former brother in law, I would have thought she might
have spoken against it. So why didn't she?

I found an explanation in the details of John Haskell's suit against Edward Berry.

To be continued...

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