Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Sometimes when looking up ancestors in the Essex County Court case files I
find stories with very little information that leaves me wondering about the
circumstances behind them. That is what happened the other day when I was
checking on 10x great grandfather John Bartoll. The first thing I found was this
entry for the court session held at Salem, Ma. on 5Jul 1645

John Bartoll and wife v. Alice, wife of John Peach, jr. Defamation. John Peach, the husband, had gone to sea, when the process was served. Wit : Richard Cook and wife of Marblehead, Goody Tompson, Mr. Moses Maverik, John Devoreux and wife Abraham Whitheire and wife. They mention that John Bartall had his child (also " barne") in his arms. Goody Devereux called John Peach a wittall. P62

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1636-1656 Vol I
Essex Institute, Salem, Ma.1911

Apparently there was a continuance until John Peach came back into port because three days
later the Bartols and Peaches were back in court on 8Jul:

John Bartoll v. Alice, wife of Jno. Peach, jr. Defamation. Saying that plaintiff's wife, Parnell Bartoll, committed adultery with the boatswain of the ship Sampson in the cabin of Parnell Bar-' toll, about four years ago, etc.*

John Bartoll v. Richard Cook. Same cause
.-p78 ibid

This had to be hard for my ancestor to swallow, that his wife Parnell was accused of adultery
by two people. The verdict, however, must have been devastating:

Wit : John Stuedly (also Stugly), David (also Davie) Thomas, Jno. Foker, Thomas Bowen, Tristram Dallebar and Lieft. Torie of Weighmoth. One witness came from Nantasket at a cost of 8s. for two men and a boat two days to bring him. The defendant proved the truth of her assertion.P78 ibid

I haven't been able to find any record about how the court punished Parnell Baroll as of yet.
But I do know that the Bartolls did not divorce. John lived for another twenty years in
Marblehead, many of them serving in various offices in the town government. But in
November of 1664 his life came to an end:

Edmond Batter,* Moses Mavericke,* James Brading,* John Del,* Willm. Pitt,* Willm. (his mark) Nick, Tho. (his mark) Pitman, Arther (his mark) Sanden, Michael Coumes,* Samwell Ward,* Jno. (his mark) Waldron and Christopher (his mark) Latimer, jury of inquest appointed, Apr. 1, 1664, by the constable of Marblehead, to view the body of Jno. Bartoll, which was taken up dead out of the sea, reported that they found that he was the cause of his own death, because they found his "murmurd Cape" bound down about his neck and throat with his neckcloth, and he had been heard to let fall many discontented, troubled words about the time that he was lost. p223

Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts: 1662-1667 Vol III (Google eBook), Essex Institute, Salem, Ma. 1913
I'm not sure what a "murmurd Cape" is but I think it might have been a cape made from
the fur of marmots, a species of rodent related to woodchucks and beavers. And what
did "the time that he was lost" mean? when and where did that happen? The cause of
death seems strange to me as well. It seems the inquest's jury decided he'd hung
himself, yet the body was found in the sea. Did they mean he had drowned himself?
I wish there was more information!!

John Bartoll died intestate, leaving his widow Parnell to administer what was left of
the estate. Despite the court conviction for adultery, the Hodsolls had remained
married for the two decades afterward.

As I said earlier, some stories leave me wondering.

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