Tuesday, April 17, 2018


The estate of John Barnes was submitted to the Court five months after his death by
the four men appointed to take the inventory. (One of them was  Samuel Dunham, another
of my ancestors.) John was successful merchant and his belongings reflect that fact. It's
a long list and I won't go through the whole thing here, but here's a section from the
beginning of it. It certainly is more proof that much of our culture's view of Pilgrim
culture is incorrect. The stereotype is that the male Plymouth colonists all dressed
in black with those tall buckled hats, and in fact there are some black ("sadcolored") items
in John's wardrobe. But there are also red "wascoates" (waistcoats), silver buttons, and
a beaver trimmed ("demicastor" ) hat.

There were a few terms I had never encountered before and had trouble finding defintions
for when I Googled them. So I asked my friends over on Facebook if anyone had any
idea what they meant and several were able to help me out.

Ernie Wallace and Pamela Wile found that a "Parropus coat" was a coat made from
Peropus which was a double layer of camlet fabric. Camlet was made from camel's
hair and silk and originated in Asia.      

Drew Smith and Jennifer Zinck told me that a "Carsey suite"  was made of a woolen
cloth whose name is usually spelled as "kersey".

My thanks to all of them for the assistance!


A true Inventory of the estate of Mr John Barnes lately deceased taken and aprised by us whose names are underwritten this 30th day of August Anno Dom 1671 as followeth

Impr*. his apparell one [Parropus] Coate 00-15-00

Item a sadcullered Carsey suite 01-15-00

Item a broadcloth Coate 01-00-00

It. a serge heire Cullered suite 01-05-00

It. a gray serge Coate 01-00-00

It. a broadcloth suite and a troopers Coate all of them worne 01-10-00

It. a great Russed Cloth Coate 01-05-00

It. 2 old troopers Coates and an old paire of briches 01-05-00

It. 3 Red wascoates 00-18-00

It. 4 paire of drawers 00-18-00

Ite. a night uper garment and a tufted fustian wascoate 00-07-00

Item 3 old dubletts 00-12-00

Item 3 paire of wosted stockens 00-10-00

Item 6 paire of stockens 1 of them holland 00-10-00 /. s. d.

Item a black demicaster of the new fashion; & 1 old satten capp . . 00-12-00

Item 2 Cullerd hatts 00-06-00

Itm 4 old hatts 00-04-00

Item 2 new Cullered hatts 00-10-00

Item 1 hatt more 00-02-06

Item 5 blacke silke hatt bands 00-03-00

Item 2 paire of Cotton gloves and 2 paire of lether gloves fringed . 00-07-00

Item 1 Remnant of sad cullered cloth in bitts and one pair of gater lashes 00-05-00

Item a paire of mittens and a paire of blacke Garters 00-01-00

Item 2 dowlis shirts almost new 00-16-00

Item 2 shirts more 00-16-00

Ite. 2 shirts more 00-10-00

Ite: half a dozen of bands and band stringes and an old wrought capp. . 00-12-00
Item a silk neckcloth.
His cash.

Item io* sent into the bay by George Watson and by him Returned: . . 00-10-00

Item in cash more which we find exstant 05-08-07

Item a set of silver buttons and a silver thimble 00-06-00

Item 7 whole silver spoones and 2 broken ones 03-04-00

Item a silver bason 03-00-00

Item a silver beer bowle 03-00-00

Item a silver dram cupp:& 2 other small peeces of broken silver . 00-16-00

Item a smale psell of Gould and silver case 00-03-00

Item a knot of silver buttons 00-03-00

Item 2 bibles one English and another Indian 01-00-00

Ite old Psalme booke and 2 other old bookes 00-01-06

Nathaniel : Morton
John Morton
Gyles Rickard Senor
Samuell donham 

- "The Plymouth scrap book: the oldest original documents extant in Plymouth archives, printed verbatim (Google eBook)"  by Charles Henry Pope (C. E. Goodspeed & company,  1918 Boston, Ma.) p102

The Inventory goes on and on, counting livestock, armor, weapons, and more clothes. The Estate was valued at  226 pounds, 18 shillings, 8 pence.

John Barnes left behind a sizable estate for his era and place. Despite his bouts of drunkenness he'd
been a productive and valued member of the Plymouth Colony.

Still, I can't help feeling that there may have been some in the Plymouth Colony government who might have been relieved that they no longer had to deal with the problem of John Barnes. 

1 comment:

deb probert said...