Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The Woodbury family seems to have had trouble finding good help. Elizabeth (Hunter)
Woodbury had been brought up on charges of slapping a relative's maid. But her son,
Thomas Woodbury, would face a more serious charge in March of 1674 at the Ipswich, Ma.Quarterly Court:

In the complaint against Thomas Woodberry, putting himself for trial upon a jury, the jury found him not guilty.f

As always, the juicy details of the case are in the footnotes(it always pays to read the footnotes!):

fWarrant, dated 5 : 11 :1673, addressed to Henry Skery, marshal of Salem, for apprehension of Thomas Woodbury of Beverly, at Mr. Gardner's, to answer the complaint of NicholasManning, and his wife and daughter, signed by Wm. Hathorne,* assistant. On the reverse: "Thomas Woodbery coming to me sayd nicklas manning tould him of this bisenes: & sayd he had bine with y* mager: & he tould him he had giuen a warrant to apprehend him to y* marshall & that I might take ball of my brother or Goodman Massey: & I did then serue y* warrant vpon his body he tendred to me & took his father Woodbery with himselfe" on the bond; signed by Humphery (his mark) Woodbery and Thomas Woodberey.*

Mary Thorndike, aged about twenty-five years, deposed that she lived in the house of Thomas Woodbery about half a year, he being at home about half the time, and she never saw any evil, lascivious or wanton behavior by him in all her life, neither did she hear him use any "vaine or frothy speeches." Sworn, 30 : 1 : 1674, before Wm. Hathorne,* assistant.

Peter Woolf, aged about seventy-three years, deposed that his meadow was near Thomas Woodberey's, and he had never seen him making hay with Hannah Gray, but his children used to make hay there daily. Sworn, Mar. 17, 1673, before Samuel Sympnds,* Dep. Gov.

Elizabeth Fowler deposed that about two years since she nursed the wife of Thomas Woodberry. There was a girl who dwelt there named Hanah Gray, who was a lying girl, and several times in the night when deponent waked, she missed her and heard her laughing and giggling at the boys' bed which was in the same room. Further deponent had known Thomas Woodberry a great while and while his wife was sick did not require the girl to get any victuals for him, etc. Sworn in court.


Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Volume 5 (Google eBook) Essex Institute, Salem Ma. 1916

What it boils down to was that Thomas Woodbury was being accused of lascivious behavior with a maid named Hannah Gray while Thomas' wife was ill.

Reading this, I had questions:

Why did the Manning family bring the charges against Thomas? Were they somehow related
to Hannah Gray, or just busy bodies?

Given the testimony by Peter Woolf about his meadow, was "making hay" an euphemism
for "making whoopee"?

And if Thomas was found not guilty, what happened to Hannah Gray?

While I don't have answers to all the questions, I do have an answer for the last one.

To be continued....

1 comment:

Pam Carter said...

Fun stuff! I love these kinds of finds!