Thursday, November 15, 2012


So far most of the depositions in the case against John Greenland seem to
show that Mary Rolfe was not an unwilling target of his advances. Now her
mother, Rebecca Bishop, stepped forward with testimony supporting her
daughter. It also casts my ancestor John Emery in a somewhat unflattering

I believe the "G:" is an abbreviation for "Goodman":

"Rebbecca Bishop deposed, Mar. 30, 1663, that about Jan. 14, last, "my daughter
Sarah told mee shee being at meeting shee saw her sister Mary Rolf sadd &
mallencholly her eyes swoln with crying, sighed. Shee asked her what was the
matter? Shee wept & saide, shee was so troubled & haunted with Greenland
that shee could not tell what to doe. The next day at night Greenland came to
my house, (wherfore, I know not) I knowing nothing did kindly entertaine him
& haveing a little before Received some kindnes from him I invited him to supper;
After supper hee told stories & drank liker till near midnight, & then went away.
My daughter Sarah desired mee to let her goe to her sister Mary y* night, I asked
her why shee would goe? Shee saide, I am afraide this man will goe thither to
night for shee have been much troubled with him: I told her shee should not goe,
But I would Goe my self to morrow, which I did. When I came neer the house I
mett her boy with a glass, hee told mee hee was going for licker for the doctour
I asked where the doctor was, hee saide hee was within. When I came in, my
daughter & both looked saddly. The maids Mother sent for her, & the old man
my daughters uncle went forth, I staied neer two houres & Greenland did not
goe away: I had no Oppertunity to speak with my Daughter till at length I calld
her forth & saide; what is the Reason this man come hither? She saide I know
not I would he came Less. I told her I heard things were not well; Shee seemed
to feare to tell mee all, But saide, hee had often with many Arguments inticed
her to the act of uncleanes but god had hitherto helped her to resist him &
hoped still hee would. She had told him one word is as good as a thousand,
The Sinn was odious to her and shee would never be unfaithful! to her husband.
I said; will you venture to lay under these temptations & concealed wickednes,
you may Provoak God to Leave you & then you will come under Great Blame.
Shee answered Mother I know not what to doe; Hee is in Creditt in the Towne
some take him to be godly & say hee hath grace in his face, he have an honest
looke, he have such a carriage that he deceiue many: It is saide hee is in Credditt
with those that are in Authority in the Country: It is saide the Gouerner sent
him a letter Counting it a mercy such an Instrument was in the Country, and
what shall such a pore young woman as I doe in such a case, my husband beeing
not at home. Betty & I have promised to bee faithfull to each other & to help
one another. 

Apparently the old man mentioned in earlier testimony was an older
uncle of Mary Rolfe.What's interesting in that first part is that Henry Greenland
was a respected man, despite his behavior, and Mary told her mother that she
was afraid she might not be believed if she brought a complaint against him.

"I asked her if shee had told her uncle that so hee might bee
within. Shee saide if I should tell my uncle it would bee publique I have spoken
to him to bee within and will speake more to him with this I was somthing
aunswered at present & went away. A little while after I came againe &
Greenland was gone, And then my Daughter & the maide told mee all. I
beeing much troubled saide; These things are not to bee kept private, wee
may Justly Prouoake God, y* further mischeife may follow & then wee shall
come under Great Blame: Beside the trouble that will bee to my conscience as
long as I live. Shee saide, Mother, I have told you, & Goodman Emery, and hee
have promised to bee a father to mee, & hee saith it is best to keep it private
seeing there is no harm done, & that hee will looke to him, watch him, & lock
him upp at night. I went home much troubled, And knowing Greenland knew
it was Revealed I was afraide hee would have done some mischiefe that
night. The same night I sent a young man & my daughter Sarah & bade her
tell her sister y* these things were not [to] bee kept private, y* Goodman
Emery beeing grand Jury-man must present them. In the morning my
Daughter Sarah came home and told mee, that Goodman Emery & his wife
desired  y* I would pass it by this time & they would warrant no more harm
should bee done, & if there were they would send mee word, & that their
owne Childe was in as great danger. I saide can G: Emery pass it by. Shee
told mee  G: Emery was coming to satisfy mee about it.

"I Going to my Daughters mett G: Emery, & wee fell into discourse about it,
Hee Advised to keep it Close & warranted there should bee no more harm
done. I asked him how hee could satisfy mee soe? Hee told mee hee would
lock him up at night, & lock the lickers from him, that hee should not bee
drunk. I saide if hee had been drunk hee would have kept his bedd. Hee
told mee thet hee was halfe drunk & then he was worse then dead drunk.
I told him hee might come upon them & spoile them both. Hee answered,
That was true, I then asked Goodman Emery how hee could dispence with
his oath beeing Grandjuryman. He answered, That I cann doe very well, I
see no harm in none of them. This discourse was as we were going toward
G: Emery's house. Hee desired mee not to speak with Greenland, I told
him I did not intend it. When wee came to his house, meeting with Goody
Emery, Shee & I fell into discourse about the buisynes. When Shee
understood it Shee seemed to bee much troubled, & wished hee had never
come to her house, & if they were paide for what hee had shee would hee
were gone shee & I went to our daughters & examined them & found the
matter more gross than at first. more over Goody Emery told mee that hee
saide if Betty . . . shee might lay it to the hatter: I told Goody Emery I dare
not keep such things as these private upon my owne head, Shee wished mee
to doe wisely. I desyring God to direct mee, That night I Revealed all to a
wise man in y* Towne desyring his Advice, who did set mee in a way to bring
it where now it is.'' Sworn in court."

So everyone except Rebecca Bishop wanted to keep things quiet. Even John
Emery, a grand juryman feels that way and tells Rebecca  he sees no harm
in what has happened. That statement that Rebecca "found  the matter more 
gross than at first"  seems to hint that Betty Webster had been intimate
with Greenland. 

There are two more short depositions, and then I'll discuss the fallout.

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