Friday, October 02, 2009


So was the Edward Berry who married Beatrice the widower of Elizabeth

If my theory that Elizabeth's death occurred earlier that 1677 is correct, it's
certainly possible. It wasn't uncommon in that period for a man to remarry
quickly after the death of a wife. I checked the "Early Vital Records of
Massachusetts" website and couldn't find records for either marriage
or the deaths of all three people. I also googled for Berry under the
three first names "Edward", "Edmund", and "Edmond" since both men
are referred to with all three names in the court records. I found genealogy
and family history web site entries for each but nothing to indicate they
were really the same man

I did, however, find this:

"Edward Berry married Beatrice (Burt), who married, first, William Cantlebury of Salem; second, Francis Plumer of Newbury Nov. 29, 1665; he died Jan. 17, 1672-3 ; and she married, third, Edward Berry; they lived in Salem Village; and she died in 1683, aged eighty-three. William Sibley called her "mother," and claimed to have maintained her for eight years prior to her death. Her inventory amounted to ^181l, 18 s. She was formerly of Frampton, Dorset, England. Edward Berry, a seaman and weaver, lived in Salem, 1668-1689 , married Elizabeth, widow of Roger Haskell, before 1668; she was Mrs. Berry in 1677; he removed to Marblehead in 1678, and was there in 1679. He was deceased in 1693. He had a son Edward, who came to Salem from Painton, Devon, England about 1676, being a weaver and seaman, and of Salem, 1677-1706." —Records
-Sydney Perley Essex Antiquarian v 9 p88

It would seem that they are two different men, but Beatrice did mention that
her husband's son had abused her as well. So there's still a possibility it's the
same Edward Berry.

I'm aware I'm reaching here. But what if they were the same man? Did Edward
Berry have a pattern of marrying wealthy widows and then bullying them into
handing over control of their estate to him? It might explain Elizabeth Berry's
recanting of her first testimony and why her children apparently had already
moved out of the home even before William Haskell was granted legal custody.
And given the outcome of Haskell case, a frustrated Edward might have used
harsher tactics when his new wife Beatrice didn't cave into his demands to
negate their prenuptial agreement.

Of course, he should have known from her past history that Beatrice was no
shrinking violet!

And with that, I'll conclude my posts about Edward Berry. He wasn't my direct
relative but he certainly figured prominently in the lives of those who were.


Susi's Quarter said...

I am sure interested in the fact of whether he could have been kin to Richard Berry. Let me say Berry's always were stirring the pot, sometimes good some times not. Interesting men to read about.

Claudia's thoughts said...

I think he reason that people married soon after the death of a spouse was financial. About 30% of the women died in childbirth. (That is what the current c-section rate is today)

The man would have needed someone to take care of the house and his children. The woman would have needed someone to support her financially, since there were no programs to give aid at that time.

Bill West said...

Susi-I agree. Edward Berry was certainly a piece of work. Or two
if there were two of them!

Claudia-I think what arouses my
suspicions about Edward Berry in
both cases is that he had no children needing a mother and both
women had property in their own right.Sure is fun to speculate, though, isn't it?

Thank you both for the comments!

Stephanie said...

Hi there. I just stumbled upon your blog while researching Edward Berry (married to Elizabeth Hardy) - my 10th great grandfather! Yikes! Your posting is certainly food for thought! I will bookmark your site and read more. Thank you!