Showing posts with label Hannah Phelps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hannah Phelps. Show all posts

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Quaker ancestors: A Story of the Early Quaker Trials

There is a people not so rigid as others are at Boston and there are great desires among them after the Truth. Some there are, as I hear, convinced who meet in silence at a place called Salem."-Henry Fell (in a letter dated 1656) June 27, 1658 

Sketch from History of Salem Sidney Perley Phelps Farm

      It was a warm, sunny morning. Three men made their way through Salem Woods to a Quaker meeting at the farm of Nicolas and Hannah Phelps, tucked away some five miles from the Puritan meeting house. Robert Adams of Newbury, familiar with the road, carefully led two men, William Ledra and William Brend, welcomed missionaries from the Barbados.
     Hannah and Nicolas Phelps arranged the meeting for the same hour as the Puritan church service in order to dodge any interruptions, and they had good reasons. The Quaker group was already under the watchful eyes of local officials who warned them to return to the true church. William Hathorne had recently issued an order to his deputies: “You are required by virtue hereof, to search all suspicious houses for private meetings, and if they refuse to open the doors you are to break open the door down upon them, and return all names to ye Court.”
     The brilliant rays of sun grew stronger and warmer as Robert and the two missionaries approached the generous, open landscape of the Phelps farm. Robert Adams surveyed the copasetic surroundings and smiled wryly - this place was the perfect gathering spot for the followers of the Light, just far enough from Hathorne and his colleagues.

     However, William Hathorne was interrupted during Sunday service that morning with news of a “disorderly meeting taking place.” The agitated magistrate immediately dispatched Edmund Batter, James Underwood, and John Smith to the Phelps home to interrogate the offenders. He leaned into Batter with a hard, directive tone. “Clean out those heretics and bring them to me. But Batter, not all at once … Cage a few, summons the rest for court.”
     Heavy hooves pounded with authority as the determined constables made tracks toward the Phelps house. The tranquil energy of the group shifted as the herd of intruders grew closer. Margaret let out a terrified shriek when she heard the loud command from outside.
     “Break it down.” It was her husband, John Smith. The axe worked fast and the splintered door flung open. Batter entered first, followed by his fellow ferreters. John Smith lunged toward Hannah like a rabid animal, but she did not flinch.
     Stepping back, she said, “Pray ye, John, what right have you to be here and lose thy temper quick, or do you mean to spoil God’s worship?” Smith, bug-eyed with fury, began shouting obscenities. Everyone stood motionless, everyone except Hannah, whose fiery spirit could not resist a verbal assault.
     They plunged into a hot spurred argument, but Batter feared that if he did not gain control quickly, the others would engage. He grabbed John and asserted, “Save her for later, Smith. She will soon be shackled in body and mouth.”
     Smith’s heated state began to temper, and he scanned the room for Margaret. “Get home, woman," he commanded. "You disobey me and God … I may not fix your unlawful state.”
     Batter speedily confined the rest of the group and ordered them to line up outside. He then carefully chose whom he would haul in, following Hathorne’s instructions. He knew maintaining order mandated a delicate formula, so he took nineteen to the jail and let the rest go with a summons to appear in court in two days' time.
     While the constables broke up the meeting, Adams skillfully shuffled the two Williams out the back door and cautiously led them to the stalls. From there, they managed to vanish into the thick woods, but the ride back to Newbury did not take them down the same majestic path on which they arrived. Instead, Adams chose a dense growth of unmarked forest that provided a safe fortress for a brief time.
     Hathorne sent orders to Captain William Gerrish, the elected townsmen in Newbury, to search the home of Robert Adams in order to apprehend Leddra and Brend. Gerrish was an excellent candidate for the job; he already had the trust and favor of Adams

Grave of Robert Adams in Newbury MA from Life from the Roots Barbara Poole 

     William Gerrish made his way to the Adams' home with Reverend Timothy Farrell. He intended to resolve the situation amicably. Gerrish had a congenial history with Adams - their wives were friends, their children played together, and they shared a good working relationship, both in private and public office. Gerrish knew Adams favored the Quaker faith, and he was not the only one - several folks in Newbury were dissatisfied with public worship. Thomas Parker, the former minister, was forced to resign, and Newbury had not yet appointed a replacement.
     As Gerrish approached the home, the playful laughter of Adams’ children echoed from the front yard all the way to the meadow marsh. Gerrish spotted Hannah and Elizabeth sitting on lawn, arranging fresh cut wild flowers. Gerrish waved and both women smiled.
     Gerrish felt anxious; he never thought he would be visiting Adams under such unwelcome circumstances. However, Gerrish was not weak. He knew he had a duty to uphold the law. As the men stepped up to the entryway, Eleanor cheerfully greeted them and then called for her husband, who was in the back room with Leddra and Brend. Robert received them and introductions were made.
     Gerrish reached into his pocket for the dreaded documents. “Robert, I have a summons for William Leddra and William Brend to appear tomorrow in Salem. I promise no harm will come to anyone, but we will need to have the minister here ask them some questions.”
     “What questions do you have? Please sit and I will have Eleanor bring some refreshments,” replied Robert.
     “That would be most welcome, Robert, and Mr. Leddra and Mr. Brend, do you agree to…”

     Raising his hand, the irritated minister interrupted Gerrish. “This is official business. These two men are well known Quakers and have come here to defy our ways and our God!”
     Robert ordered the minister out immediately, telling Gerrish he could stay, but only to confer with his guests. Gerrish realized that Robert would not cooperate as fully as he had hoped. Leddra and Brend quickly announced they would leave town, but when they attempted to go in peace, Gerrish followed, pleading that no harm would befall them if they turned themselves in. Gerrish was not aware that the Salem constables had already surrounded the Adams' home - he was merely a means to trap these men.

The Sentencing
"The hat choketh because it telleth tales. It telleth what people are; it marketh men for separatists; it is a blowing a trumpet, and visibly crossing the world; and this, the fear of man cannot abide. My hat, is plain. Thine is adorned with ribbons and feathers. The only difference between our religions lies in the ornaments which have been added to thine." - George Fox, Quaker June 29, 1658 - John Gendry Tavern, Salem

          The court magistrates assigned that day were Simon Bradstreet, General Dan Dennison, and Major William Hathorne. The men and women apprehended and summonsed at the alleged Quaker meeting arrived at Gendry's Tavern to face charges. As they entered, Robert Lord, Clerk of Courts, announced, “Persons who had attended a meeting on the preceding Sabbath, at the residence of Nicholas Phelps, in Salem, are brought before this County Court.” The men filed in wearing their hats according to Quaker custom. Edmund Batter forcefully removed their headwear, not about to entertain their unorthodox notions of equality.
      Simon Bradstreet, anxious to interrogate the instigators, signaled Robert Lord to bring Brend and Leddra before him. Lord announced them: “William Brend and William Leddra, who belonged to the Island of Barbados, but had come from England, approach.”
     Bradstreet began his inquiry. “Why and what for do you come to these parts?”
      Brend stepped forward and answered, “To seek a Godly seed that the Lord required, and to make passage to New England with the encouragement that our mission should be prospered.”
      From the back of the room, one of the accused, Samuel Shaddock, stood up and asked, "How might you know a Quaker?"
     Bradstreet replied, “Thou art one for coming with thy hat on.”
Shaddock responded indignantly, "It was a horrible thing to make such cruel laws, to whip and cut off ears, to bore fiery rods through the tongue, simply for not putting off their hat.”
     Leddra humbly approached the bench and requested permission to address the court. “You seem to be convinced we are evil criminals. Perhaps you should send some of these magistrates to our meetings, so that they might hear and give account of what is done and spoken, rather than draw conclusions about that which you are unfamiliar with." 

      Judge Dennison responded, "If you meet together without an ordained minister and sit in silence, we may still conclude that you speak blasphemy, for men of the cloth are God's voice and chosen leaders.” Denninson motioned for Leddra to sit down. “Now, Mr. Lord, I wish to see Nicholas Phelps.”
     Nicholas stood up and cautiously stepped up to the bench. Bradstreet read his charges. “Nicolas Phelps, you are charged for siding with the Quakers, possessing written material that denies the God-elected magistrates and ministers, holding a forbidden meeting, and absenting yourself from the public ordinances.”
     Nicholas nodded.
     Bradstreet then asked, “Mr. Phelps, do you now openly profess yourself a Quaker, as you had removed your hat when you came in here?’
     Nicholas shook his head affirmatively.
     Bradstreet continued his line of questioning. “I have here a pamphlet found in your home, advocating this said heresy. Is it yours?”
     Nicholas nodded and replied, “If you prosecute me for keeping on my hat, could not you bring yourself to come and join us as William Leddra asked of you, so you may make a decision after you witness our worship?”
     Dennison broke in and responded, “As I told you all before, you and we are not able to live together, and at present, the power is in our hands, and therefore you must bend to our will!”
     Provided Southwick stood up and traced the row of magistrates with an outstretched finger, shouting, “You are nothing more than a band of merciless persecutors!”
      Denninson pounded his fist on the table, his face flushed with anger. After scanning the room, he belted out, “You Quakers bring forth blasphemies at your meetings, and for these transgressions, will incur punishments far beyond fines and fees, unless you renounce your heretic ways and return to the true church, or move out of this jurisdiction. The court will now deliberate and resume shortly to deliver your sentences." 

     When the court reconvened, not one of the accused chose to renounce their newfound faith. Therefore, Robert Lord read the sentences as prepared by the magistrates. William Brend and William Leddra were to be confined at the Boston Gaol. Nicholas Phelps was fined 40 shillings for defending a Quaker writing and for holding the meeting at his house. He was also whipped for wearing his hat in court and sentenced to the House of Corrections in Ipswich for an indefinite period.
     Joshua Buffam, Samuel Gaskin, Lawrence Southwick, Samuel Shaddock, and Josiah Southwick were fined for absence from public ordinance, whipped for wearing their hats in court, and sent to the Boston Gaol. Cassandra Southwick was sentenced with the five men under the same charges, with the exception of the wearing of a hat, and was also whipped. 

     Daniel Southwick, Edward Wharton, Anthony Needham, Robert Buffum, Thomas Bracket, Joseph Pope, Mary Trask, John Hill, Margaret Smith, Hannah Page, and Tasman Buffum were all fined 25 shillings for each absence from public ordinances.
     Provided Southwick was fined 20 shillings for her absences and put in the stocks for one day for charging the magistrates as persecutors. She would also pay 5 shillings to cover the cost of her punishment in the stocks.
     Several of the accused did not appear in court that day, including Robert Adams, Henry Trask, Hannah Phelps, Gertrude Pope, Anne Needham, and Hannah Gardner; however, they were all fined for their absences. Additionally, Adams was fined for harboring Brend and Leddra in his home. 

A few of the court documents and records: 
From Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume 2 published on The University of Virginia site

Hannah Phelps hauled in for making statements against Higgenson. William Flint paid fine. Court 1658. 

From The Annals of Salem


Hannah Phelps is banished for attending Mary Dyer trial in 1659.
Phelps family connection with Hawthorne family Hawthorne in Salem
The earliest record of the Phelps family in Salem is when Eleanor Phelps married her second husband, Thomas Trusler. They were members of the first church of Salem in 1639. Trusler was in Salem by 1629 when a kiln for burning bricks and tiles was built, a business he operated until his death in 1654. Eleanor Trusler was taken to court, in April 1644, for her Gortonist opinions, saying "our teacher Mr. Norris taught the people lies."
Governor Winthrop was advised to bind her over to Boston Court as an example others might fear, lest "that heresiee doeth spread which at length may prove dangerous." At the Trusler trial, one Cassandra Southwick testified that Eleanor "did question the government ever since she came." 
Eleanor Trusler died in 1655, and her sons Henry and Nicholas Phelps inherited her farm in West Peabody, Massachusetts. The first meeting of the Friends (Quakers) was held in this house. Nicholas Phelps half of the house and lands were taken for the payment of fines. Batter, the treasurer, apparently turned it over to Nicholas brother, Henry, who owned the other half interest. Henry may have married Batter's sister. Henry sold the entire estate to Joseph Pope on 18 Jul 1664. Many years later, the place returned into the Phelps family and then remained in the family until Francis Phelps took the ancient house down in 1856.
    Brother of Henry and Nicholas, Edward Phelps married Elizabeth Adams, daughter of Robert Adams. They lived in Andover and granddaughter was part of the Salem Witch Trials see Sarah Phelps 

Quaker Cemetery, 1718, Essex Street at Pine Street, Salem, Massachusetts. It is adjacent to the former Quaker Meeting House.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Quaker Persecutions Colonial New England by Lucius M Sargent

 From Dealings with the Dead Volume 1 By Lucius Manlius Sargent (June 25, 1786 – June 2, 1867) author, antiquarian, and temperance advocate. Son of Daniel Sargent and Mary Turner--great granddaughter of John Turner of Salem who built what would become known as "The House of the Seven Gables."
From No. LXII. (note some spelling is not correct, but recorded as written)
Draco, I think, would have been perfectly satisfied with some portions of the primitive, colonial and town legislation of Massachusetts. Hutchinson, I 436, quotes the following decree— "Captain Stone, for abusing Mr. Ludlow, and calling him Justass, is fined an hundred pounds, and prohibited coming within the patent, without the Governor's leave, upon pain of death." 

Hazard, Hist. Coll. I 630, has preserved a law against the Quakers, published in Boston, by beat of drum. It bears date Oct. 14th, 1656. The preamble is couched, in rather strong language—" Whereas there is a cursed sect of heretics lately risen up in the world, which are commonly called Quakers, who take upon them to be immediately sent of God," &c. The statute inflicts a fine of .£100 upon any person, who brings one of them into any harbor, creek, or cove, compels him to carry such Quaker away—the Quaker to be put in the house of correction, and severely whipped; no person to speak to him. £5 penalty, for importing, dispersing, or concealing any book, containing their "devilish opinions;" 40 shillings for maintaining such opinions. £4 for persisting. House of correction and banishment, for still persisting.
The poor Quakers gave our intolerant ancestors complete vexation. Hazard, II 589, gives an extract from a law, for the special punishment of two of these unhappy people, Peter Pierson and Judah Brown—" That they shall, by the constable of Boston, be forthwith taken out of the prison, and stripped from the girdle upwards, by the executioner, tied to the cart's tail, and whipped through the town, with twenty stripes; and then carried to Roxbury, and delivered to the constable there, who is also to tie them, or cause them to be tied, in like manner, to the cart's tail, and again whip them through the town with ten stripes; and then carried to Dedham, and delivered to the constable there, who is again, in like manner, to cause them to be tied to the cart's tail, and whipped, with ten stripes, through the town, and thence they are immediately to depart the jurisdiction, at their peril."
The legislative designation of the Quakers was Quaker rogues, heretics, accursed rantors, and vagabonds.
In 1657, according to Hutchinson, I 197, "an additional law was made, by which all persons were subjected to the penalty of 40 shillings, for every hour's entertainment, given to a known Quaker, and every Quaker, after the first conviction, if a man, was to lose an ear, and a second time the other; a woman, each time, to be severely whipped; and the third time, man or woman, to have their tongues bored through, with a red-hot iron." In 1658, 10 shillings fine were levied, on every person, present at a Quaker meeting, and £5 for speaking at such meeting. In October of that year, the punishment of death was decreed against all Quakers, returning into the Colony, after banishment. Bishop, in his "New England Judged," says, that the ears of Holden, Copeland, and Rous, three Quakers, were cut off in prison. June 1, 1660, Mary Dyer was hanged for returning, after banishment. Seven persons were fined, some of them .£10 apiece, for harboring, and Edward Wharton whipped, twenty stripes, for piloting the Quakers. Several persons were brought to trial—" for adhering to the cursed sect of Quakers, not disowning themselves to be such, refusing to give civit respect, leaving their families and relations, and running from place to place, vagabond-like." Daniel Gold and Robert Harper were sentenced to be whipped, and, with Alice Courland, Mary Scott, and Hope Clifford, banished, under pain of death. William Kingsmill, Margaret Smith, Mary Trask, and Provided Southwick were sentenced to be whipped, and Hannah Phelps admonished.
Sundry others were whipped and banished, that year. John Chamberlain came to trial, with his hat on, and refused to answer. The verdict of the jury, as recorded, was—" much inclining to the cursed opinions of the Quakers." Wendlock Christopherson was sentenced to death, but suffered to fly the jurisdiction. March 14, 1660.—William Ledea, "a cursed Quaker," was hanged. Some of these Quakers, I apprehend, were determined to exhibit the naked truth to our Puritan fathers. "Deborah Wilson," says Hutchinson, I 204, "went through the streets of Salem, naked as she came into the world, for which she was well whipped." At length, Sept. 9, 1661, an order came from the King, prohibiting the capital, and even corporal, punishment of the Quakers. 

Oct. 13, 1657.—Benedict Arnold, William Baulston, Randall Howldon, Arthur Fenner, and William Feild, the Government of Rhode Island, addressed a letter, on the subject of this persecution, to the General Court of Massachusetts, in reply to one, received from them. This letter is highly creditable to the good sense and discretion of the writers—" And as concerning these Quakers, (so called)" say they, "which are now among us, we have no law, whereby to punish any, for only declaring by words, dec., their minds and understandings concerning the things and ways of God, as to salvation and an eternal condition. And we moreover finde that in those places, where these people aforesaid, in this Coloney, are most of all suffered to declare themselves freely, and are only opposed by arguments in discourse, there they least of all desire to come; and we are informed they begin to loath this place, for that they arc not opposed by the civil authority, but with all patience and meekness are suffered to sayover their pretended revelations and admonitions, nor are they like or able to gain many here to their way; and surely we find that they delight to be persecuted by the civil powers, and when they are soe, they are like to gain more adherents by the conseyte of-their patient sufferings than by consent to their pernicious sayings." 
One is taken rather by surprise, upon meeting with such a sample of admirable common sense, in an adjoining Colony, and on such a subject, at that early day—so opposite withal to those principles of action, which prevailed in Massachusetts.
The laws of the Colony, enacted from year to year, were first collected together, and ratified by the General Court, in 1648. Hutchinson, I 437, says, "Mr. Bellingham of the magistrates, and Mr. Cotton of the clergy, had the greatest share in this work."

This code was framed, by Bellingham and Cotton, with a particular regard to Moses and the tables, and a singular piece of mosaic it was. "Murder, sodomy, witchcraft, arson, and rape of a child, under ten years of age," says Hutchinson, I 440, "were the only crimes made capital in the Colony, which were capital in England." Rape, in the general sense, not being a capital offense, by the Jewish law, was not made a capital offense, in the Colony, for many years. High treason is not even named. The worship of false gods, was punished with death, with an exception, in favor of the Indians, who were fined £5 a piece, for powowing.

Blasphemy and reproaching religion were capital offenses. Adultery with a married woman, whether the man were married or single, was punished with the death of both parties; but, if the woman were single, whether the man were married or single, it was not a capital offense, in either. Man-stealing was a capital offense. So was willful perjury, with intent to take away another's life. Cursing or smiting a parent, by a child over sixteen years of age, unless in self-defense, or provoked by cruelty, or having been " unchristianly neglected in its education," was a capital offense. A stubborn, rebellious son was punished with death. There was a conviction under this law; "but the offender," says Hutchinson, ibid. 442, "was rescued from the gallows, by the King's commissioners, in 1665." The return of a "cursed Quaker," or a Romish priest, after banishment, and the denial of either of the books, of the Old or New Testament, were punished with banishment or death, at the discretion of the court. The jurisdiction of the Colony was extended, by the code of Parson Cotton and Mr. Bellingham, over the ocean; for they decreed the same punishment, for the last-named offense, when committed upon the high seas, and the General Court ratified this law. Burglary, and theft, in a house, or in the fields, on the Lord's day, were, upon a third conviction, made capital crimes. The distinction, between grand and petty larceny, which was recognized in England, till 1827, 7th and 8th. Geo. IV., ch. 29, was abolished, by the code of Cotton and Bellingham, in 1648; and theft, without limitation of value, was made punishable, by fine or whipping, and restitution of treble value. In some cases, only double. Thus, ibid. 436, we have the following entry—" Josias Plaistowe, for stealing four baskets of corn from the Indians, is ordered to return them eight baskets, to be fined five pounds, and hereafter to be called by the name of Josias, and not Mr., as formerly he used to be."
This lenity, in regard to larceny, Mr. Cotton seems to have been willing to counterbalance, by a terrible severity, on some other occasions.
Mr. Hutchinson, ibid. 442, states, that he has seen the first drought of this code, in the hand-writing of Mr. Cotton, in which there are named six offenses, made punishable with death, all which are altered, in the hand of Gov. Winthrop, and the death penalty stricken out. The six offenses were—" Profaning the Lord's day, in a careless or scornful neglect or contempt thereof— Reviling the magistrates in the highest rank, viz., the Governor and Council—Defiling a woman espoused—Incest within the Leviticus degrees—The pollution, mentioned in Leviticus xx. 13 to 16—Lying with a maid in her father's house, and keeping secret, till she is married to another." Mr. Cotton would have punished all these offenses with death.
On the subject of divorce, the code of 1648 differed from that of the present day, with us, essentially. Adultery in the wife was held to be sufficient cause, for divorce a vinculo: "but male adultery," says Hutchinson, i. 445, " after some debate and consultation with the elders, was judged not sufficient." The principle, which directed their decision, was, doubtless, the same, referred to and recognized, by Lord Chancellor Eldon, in the House of Lords, in 1801, as reported by Mr. Twain, in his Memoirs, vol. I p. 383.

MORE ON L M SARGENT & his ancestors Visit the Sargent House Museum in Gloucester MA 
From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society By Massachusetts Historical Society By Edward J Lowell

William Sargent, the great-grandfather of the subject of this notice, was born in England,1 being the son of William Sargent and Mary, his wife, whose maiden name was Epes. He was educated at Barbadoes, and moved to Gloucester in Massachusetts about the year 1678, where he acquired two acres of land on Eastern Point and built him a house.
William Sargent married, on the 21st of June, 1678, Mary, daughter of Peter Duncan, by whom he had thirteen children.' Of these the sixth was Epes Sargent, whose first wife's maiden name was Esther Macarty. Her seventh child was Daniel, born on the 18th of March, 1731, who married, on the 3d of February, 1763, Mary, daughter of the Hon. John Turner, of Salem. Below Mrs. Daniel Sargent (Mary Turner Sargent)

Daniel Sargent moved to Boston between 1770 and 1780, and occupied a store on Long Wharf, and a house in Atkinson Street (now Congress Street), near the corner of Cow Lane (now High Street). There is nothing now left in Boston to recall the old wooden houses such as this, with their gables toward the street, and their gardens where old-fashioned flowers filled the beds and where pear-trees shaded the rather ragged grass of the days when lawn-mowers were not invented. At the end of the garden was the summer-house, decorated in this case with a landscape by the hand of one of the children of the family, who had gone to England to study under Sir Benjamin West. But it must have been before this work of art was begun that, on the 25th of June, 1786, the subject of this notice, Lucius Manlius Sargent, was born. Here he lived until 1794, when the house was burnt down, and his father moved first to Fort Hill, and afterwards to the corner of Essex and Lincoln Streets.
Mr. Daniel Sargent must have been a rich man; for when he died in 1806, he left each of his six surviving children with at least a competency. He had been interested in the fisheries, and had had many dealings with the fishermen of the coast. After his death a package was found among his effects, with the following inscription: "Notes, due bills, and accounts against sundry persons along shore. Some of them may be got by suit or severe dunning: but the people are poor; most of them have had fisherman's luck. My children will do as they think best. Perhaps they will think with me, that it is best to burn the package entire." It is to the credit of Mr. Sargent's sons that they adopted his suggestion, and that all the contents of the package went into the fire. A list was first made of the evidences of debt thus destroyed, the amount exceeding thirty-two thousand dollars. The story of the occurrence and of the joy of one of the forgiven debtors is touchingly but anonymously told in the fifty-fifth number of "Dealings with the Dead."

Lucius Manlius Sargent went to several schools in Boston and its neighborhood, ending with the Phillips Academy at Exeter, where he remained about three years. He then entered Harvard College in the class that graduated in 1808. He left college, however, before finishing his course. He is described by a classmate as being at this time tall, handsomely proportioned, and very muscular, and as having a fine Roman cast of countenance. He was a good horseman, whether in the saddle or with the reins, a strong swimmer, and a good fencer with the broadsword. He was considered the best Latin scholar in college, and his witty sayings were quoted in his class.
After leaving college Mr. Sargent studied law in the office of Mr. Samuel Dexter. He was admitted to the bar on the 14th of March, 1815, but he never practiced. Mr. Sargent married, on the 3d of April, 1816, Mary, daughter of Mr. Barnabas Binney, of Philadelphia. By her he had three children, — Mary Turner, who died unmarried in 1841; Horace Binney, afterwards Colonel Sargent, who is still living; and Manlius, who died in infancy. Mrs. Sargent died in 1824, and in 1825 Mr. Sargent married Sarah Cutter Dunn, daughter of Mr. Samuel Dunn, of Boston. Her only child was Lucius Manlius Sargent, who served his country in the late Civil War, first as a surgeon, and then as a captain of cavalry, and who was mortally wounded at Weldon on the 9th of December, 1864.
Mr. Sargent was elected a member of the New England Historic, Genealogical Society in 1850, and a Resident Member of this Society in 1856. He died on the 2d of June, 1867, in the eighty-first year of his age. His widow, one son, and seven grandchildren survived him.
Mr. Sargent's numerous writings first appeared in newspapers and magazines, but several of them have been collected and published in more permanent forms. A volume of verse from his pen appeared in 1813, under the title of " Hubert and Ellen, with other Poems." The style is flowing, the versification good; and what is more rare, the poems are eminently readable.
About twenty years after the publication of these poems Mr. Sargent became deeply interested in the temperance reform. He delivered numerous addresses on the subject, several of which have been published. About temperance in drinking few persons deeply interested can speak temperately. The evils of drunkenness are so great that a warm-hearted or excitable man who observes them loses his head, and is almost necessarily drawn into exaggeration. Mr. Sargent did not wholly escape this danger; but his addresses were pointed, clear, and eloquent. He wrote, moreover, a series of temperance tales, which passed through several editions, and which were so well thought of that a hundred thousand copies of one of them was printed for distribution by a gentleman of New York.
But the papers which are most interesting to this Society, and to which Mr. Sargent probably owed his election here, form a series which appeared in the "Transcript" from 1847 or 1848 to 1856, and which was published in the latter year in two volumes, with the title " Dealings with the Dead by a Sexton of the Old School." The book is made up of a hundred and sixty articles, or essays, full of archaeology, criticism, and anecdote. The author was unfortunate in the character which he assumed, and we read altogether too much in his pages of tombs, graves, cremation, and undertakers. But with all this there is much that is interesting, much that is instructive. In spite of the lugubrious title, the style of the work is sufficiently lively. As is natural with a book made up of articles from a newspaper, it is better to dip into the "Dealings " than to undertake to read them consecutively.
1. William Sargent, of Exeter, in England; m. Mary Epes; went from Exeter to Bridgetown, Barbadoes, and returned to England. His son,
2. William Sargent (called the second) born in Exeter, England, came to Gloucester previous to 1678, for he m. June 21, 1677, Mary, dau. of Peter Duncan and granddaughter of Samuel Symonds. She died Feb. 28, 1724, aged G6; he died before June, 1707. They had: 1. Fitz William, b. Jan. 6, 1678; d. Jan. 28, 1699.
2. Peter, . b. May 27, 1680; d. Feb. 11, 1724. 3. Mary, b. Dec. 29, 1681 ; m. Herrick, of Beverly. 4. Daniel, b. Oct. 31,-1685; d. July 20, 1713. Struck by lightning. 5. Jordan, b. Jan. 22,1687; d. 1689.
6. Epes, b. July 12, 1690; d. Dec. 6, 1762, aged 72. 7. Ann, b. 1692; d. Oct. 8, 1782; m. Nat. Ellery, Feb. 16, 1720 ; they had children and gr. children. 8. Andrew, b. Aug. 21, 1693. 9. Samuel, b. 1694; d. Oct. 11, 1699. 10. Fitz John, b. 1696 ; d. Jan. 20, 1697. 11. Machani, b. April 9, 1699; d. day of birth. 12. Jabez, b. Jan. 30. 1700, d. day after birth. 13. Fitz William, b. Oct. 21, 1701; d. in N. Hampshire, a "bachelor," D.S. 14. Winthrop, b. March 11, 1703.
There is much obscurity touching the birthplace of William Sargent, second. Mr. L. M. Sargent, in Ms diary (page 3), observes: "William Sargent, my great grandfather, was born in Gloucester, and married Mary Duncan, daughter of Peter Duncan, June 21, 1677, and her grandfather; Deputy Governor, performed the ceremony." If William were born in . Gloucester, it is singular that no trace of it can be found. How far the following anecdote may throw any light on the place of his nativity, the reader may judge:
"I have heard my eldest brother, Daniel, and my cousin, also much older than myself, Mr. Epes Sargent, speak of a tradition, which is extremely interesting, if true, and a very pleasant story, if false.
"William Sargent, my gr. gr. grandfather, having made his runaway match with Mary Epes, came over and settled in Gape Ann, i. e. Gloucester, Mass, having no intercourse with his family in England, who after many years, supposing him dead, gave the same name to another son, born in his absence. This other now came as mate of a brig to Cape Ann, and there met his brother. They are said to have met upon the shore, the older brother assisting to haul in the boat, as she came to land from the brig. As an Englishman he welcomed them from the old country. His interest was increased when he discovered the young man to be his fellow townsman. This led to more particular inquiries. 'Do you know an old man by the name of Sargent?' 'I have good reason to know him; he is my father.' 'Then you are my brother.'" [Diary, page 1.]

Col. Epes Sargent grandfather of L. M. Sargent. "I recollect," said an aged and respectable citizen of Gloucester, B. K. Hough, Esq. (to L. M. Sargent), " when a boy, of seeing your uncle Epes Sargent. He was a good friend to my widowed mother, and took two of my brothers aad brought them up. He died of smallpox in the old war."

  Paul Dudley Sargent entered the army of the Revolution, April, 1775, and continued therein about three years. He was present in several engagements, and was wounded at the battle of Bunker Hill. After leaving the army he resided in Salem, and engaged in navigation. In 1783 he removed to Boston and continued in the same business, but unsuccessfully; and meeting with heavy losses. he removed to Sullivan, Me. When the country was organized, he received, at one time, three commissions from Gov. Hancock—as Justice of the Peace, Judge of Probate, and Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He was the first post-master in Sullivan, and held the office till he resigned in favor of his son. For above and other particulars, Mr. L. M. S. refers to a letter of June 2, 1845, from his granddaughter, Mrs. M. W. Wilkinson. He commanded a regiment in July, 1776, under Gen. Ward at Cambridge. [See Sparks's Washington, vol. iii. p. 456.]

Daniel Sargent (Epes,3 William,3 William1), b. March 18, 1731; m. Feb. 3, 17G3, by Rev. Mr. Barnard, to Mary, dau. of John and Mary Turner. They had seven children:
1. Daniel,5 b. Juno 15, 1764; d. April 2, 1842, aged 78.
2. Ignatius, b. Nov. 1, 1765; d. Jan. 18, 1821, aged 56.
3. John Turner, b. March 27, 1769: d. Feb. 10,1813, aged 44.
4. Henry, b. 1770; d. Feb. 21, 1845, aged 74.
5. Mary Osborne, b. Sept. 30, 1780; d. Sept. 12, 1761, aged 1.
6. Winthrop, b. Jan. 31, 1783 ; d. Jan. 11, 1808, aged 25.
7. Lucius Manlius,b. June 25, 1786; d. June 2, 1867. 
Lucius Manlius8 Sargent (Daniel Epes,3 William,3 William1), b. June 25, 1786; d. June 2, 1807; m. Mary Binney, dan. of Barnabas and Mary Binney, of Phila., April 3, 181G, by whom he had three children. She died Feb. 3, 1824.
1. Mary Turner, b. June 28, 1818; d. Aug. 2, 1811. 
2. Horace Binney, b. June 30, 1821.
3. Manlius, b. Jan. 27, 1824; d. July 3, 1825.
He m. second, Sarah Cutler, dau. of Samuel and Sarah Dunn, of Boston, July 14, 1825. 
She died Aug. 8,  1868. They had one child:
    1. Lucius Manlius, b. in Boston Sept. 15, 1820 a physician killed in battle 1864 

                                    "Camp near Falmouth, Va." by Lucius Manlius Sargent.

This drawing, from 1863, is part of a letter to Sargent's young son, George; he wrote, I shall try and get leave to come home one of these days. I hope you will be glad to see me when I come. If you are not glad, I shall be very sorry, I can tell you. I have not got anything to love here. All that I've got to love in this world is in Jamaica Plains.

Lucius Manlius Sargent JR (1826-1864) 1857 graduate of Harvard Medical School, was an accomplished draughtsman and was appointed the first artist of the Massachusetts General Hospital. At the beginning of the war, he became a surgeon with the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers, then joined the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry in October, 1861, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

                                                       Mrs. Lucius M Sargent

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hannah (Baskel) Phelps Phelps Hill - A Quaker Woman and Her Offspring

Gwen Boyer Bjorkman is a genealogical researcher. This article first appeared in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, v 75 no 4 (Dec 1987). It won the 1987 Family-History Writing Contest of the National Genealogical Society. It is usually difficult to document the lives of colonial women. As a category, they left few legal documents. Yet through sundry records, it is possible to reconstruct the life of one remarkable woman - Hannah (Baskel) Phelps Phelps Hill. One does not read about Hannah in standard histories of early America, yet she held the first Quaker meeting in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in her home in Salem and later opened her home to the first Quaker meeting in the Albemarle settlement of Carolina. She was truly the Proverbs 31 Lady. After all these years “her children (will now) rise up and bless her saying: ‘Many daughters have done noble, But you excel them all!’ Despite her accomplishments, however, Hannah did not set out to be a noble heroine. She emerges in history as a young woman - human and alone, as far as family is concerned. The search for Hannah began in the records that men have left to chronicle the past. Before 1652, she came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England. An undated deposition of one Jane Johnson provides the only record of Hannah’s maiden name, Baskel. It reveals that, at the time of the deposition, Hannah was the wife of Nicholas Phelps but at the date of “coming over on the ship,” she was in the company of his brother, Henry. The document labels her a “strumpet.” Obviously, Hannah was a woman of independent mind not inclined to conform to the dictates of convention. This trait was to her blessing, scorn, and persecution. 
 "'Deposition of Jane Johnson: Saith yt: coming ov’ in the ship with Henry Phelps and Hannah the now wife of Nich: Phelps: Henry Phelps going ashore the ship lying at the Downes: Hannah wept till shee made herselve sick because mr Fackner would not suffer her to goe ashore with Henry Phelps: and Henry came aboard late in the night, the next morning mr Falckner Chid Henry Phelps and Hannah and said was it not enough for y’ to let Hannah lay her head in y’ lapp but must shee ly in ye Cabbin to and called Hannah Strumpet and this deponent saith farther yt she saw Henry Phelps ly in his Cabbin. Y when he was smocking in the Cook roome tobacco Hannah tooke the pip out of his mouth, etc., etc.'
One Henry Phelps arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 on the ship Hercules, under John Kiddey, Master. His destination was said to be Salem. However, the Phelps family may have been in Salem before this date. It is known that Eleanor Phelps, mother of Henry and Nicholas Phelps, had married Thomas Trusler of Salem and that they were members of the first church in Salem in 1639. One historian holds that Trusler probably came to Salem in 1629, when a kiln for the burning of bricks and tiles was built, and that he continued this business until his death in 1654. There has been found no record of a previous wife or children for Trusler in Salem, so it is possible that Eleanor married him in England and came to the Bay Colony with him and her five Phelps children. Eleanor mentions in her 1655 will 'the legacy bequeathed by my Late husband to his Daughter in England.' Trusler’s will has been lost. The inventory of his estate has been preserved.”

Nicholas Phelps House. From Sidney Perley's The History of Salem Massachusetts, Vol. II.
What did Hannah find in her new home in Salem? She found independent-minded people who, like herself, were interested in change. She also found others who rigorously opposed any thought contrary to theirs. Since all political and social life was centered in the church, religion was the arena for the excitement of dissent. Roger Williams had a short pastorate in Salem, around 1634, before being banished to Rhode Island. Robert Moulton, a Phelps neighbor, has been excommunicated from the Salem church in 1637 for antinomian heresy during the Wheelwright controversy. Between 1638 and 1650, nine people from Salem were tried at Quarterly Court for heretical opinions, and five of the nine were women. Lady Deborah Moody, a church member since 1640, was charged with Anabaptism in 1642; rather than recant, she moved to Long Island. Samuel Gorton was tried in Boston, jailed there, and sent to Rhode Island for his Separatists beliefs. Eleanor Trusler also was taken to court, in April 1644, for her Gortonist opinions, saying, “our teacher Mr. Norris taught the people lies.” Governor Winthrop was advised to bind her over to Boston Court as an example others might fear, lest 'That heresie doeth spread which at length may prove dangerous.' At the Trusler trial, one Casandra Southwick testified that Eleanor “did question the government ever since she came. This was Salem in Hannah’s day.The shipboard romance alleged between Hannah and Henry Phelps did not result in their immediate marriage. Instead, Henry married (or had been married) to another woman, by whom he had a son, John (born about 1645), while Hannah married his brother Nicholas. Historians have not always treated the latter kindly - he has been called “a weak man, and one whose back was crooked” - but it can be argued that he had a strong spirit much akin to Hannah’s. They had two children (Jonathan, born about 1652, and Hannah, born about 1654) with whom they lived on the Trusler farm in “the woods” about five miles from the meetinghouse in Salem. Situated at the site of the modern town of West Peabody, the farm had been devised to Nicholas and Henry jointly, in 1655, by their mother. It was in the late 1650’s that the Phelps became involved in Quakerism. The Society of Friends, or Quakers, had been founded in England in 1648 by George Fox; and its teaching were brought to Boston, in July 1656, by two female missionaries. However, it is believed that books and tracts by Fox and other Quakers might have been brought to the colony in earlier years. In 1657 William Marston, a Hampton-Salem boatman, was cited by having Quaker pamphlets in his possession. There is a passage in a letter written in 1656 from Barbados by Henry Fell, which provides the earliest mention of Quakerism in Salem. In Plimouth patent, there is a people not so ridged as the others at Boston and there are great desires among them after the Truth. Some there are, as I hear, convinced who meet in silence at a place called Salem.” Another passage bearing on this Salem group is found in Cotton Mathers Magnalia: “I can tell the world that the first Quakers that ever were in the world were certain fanaticks here in our town of Salem, who held forth almost all the fancies and whimsies which a few years after were broached by them that were so called in England, with whom yet none of ours had the least communication.”
       In 1657, the invasion of Massachusetts by Quakers began when visiting Friends from England landed in Boston Harbor and were immediately imprisoned. If the group at Salem had been meeting quietly for several years, they went public when - on Sunday, 27 June 1658 - a meeting was held at the home of Nicholas and Hannah Phelps. This was the first Quaker meeting of record in the colony. Two visiting Friends at that meeting, William Brend and William Leddera acknowledged that they were Quakers and were sent to prison with six Salem residents who were also in attendance. Nicholas and Hannah were fined.
            Quaker meetings continued to be held regularly at the Phelps home in defiance of the law. In September 1658, Samuel Shattock, Nicholas Phelps, and Joshua Buffum were arrested and sentenced by the court to prison, where Nicholas was “cruelly whipped” three times in five days for refusing to work. Within months, Nicholas and six neighbors were called before the court again. This time they were banished on pain of death with two weeks being allowed to settle their affairs. It was at the end of May 1658, that Phelps and Shattock sailed for Barbados with the intention of continuing on to England to present the matter before parliament. However, because of the unsettled state of affairs in England they were not to return until late 1661.
            In the meanwhile, Hannah was left in Salem with the care of the farm and their two small children. The Quaker meetings continued to be held at her home, and she was fined every year from 1658 to 1663 for nonattendance at the Salem Church. In the fall of 1659 she with five others from Salem went to Boston to give comfort to two visiting Friends from England who had been sentenced to death for their faith and defiance of the laws of the colony. She and her group were arrested and imprisoned also. On 12 Nov, two weeks after the execution of the five condemned Friends, the Salem party was brought forth to be sentenced for 'adherence to the cursed sect of the Quakers' and “theire disorderly practises and vagabond like life in absenting themselves from theire family relations and runing from place to place without any just reason.” They were admonished, whipped, and sent home.
           Upon Hannah’s return, her house and land were seized by the Salem Court in payment of the fines levied against her and Nicholas. Henry came to the rescue of his sister-in-law, arguing that the court could take only the half of the property belonging to Nicholas. He managed to obtain control of the entire farm and allowed Hannah and the children to remain there. Did Henry now become interested in his sister-in-law, since his brother was in England, or did he now become interested in the Quaker teachings? There are no records of Henry’s being fined for Quaker leanings. One thing is clear from the records: where Henry had once been a respected part of the community, he was now suspected. At the Quarterly Court of 26 June 1660, Major William Hawthorn was ordered to inquire after the misuse of John Phelps by his father. Henry Phelps of Salem, was complained of at the county court at Boston, July 31, 1660, for beating his son, John Phelps, and forcing him to work carrying dung and mending a hogshead on the Lord’s day, also for intimacy with his brother’s wife and for entertaining Quakers. It was ordered that John Phelps, son, be given over to his uncle, Mr. Edmond Batter, to take care of him and place him out to some religious family as an apprentice, said Henry, the father, to pay to Mr. Batter what the boy’s grandmother left him, to be improved to said John Phelps’ best advantage. Said Henry Phelps was ordered to give bond for his good behavior until the next Salem court, and especially not to be found in the company of Nicholas Phelps’ wife, and to answer at that time concerning the entertaining of Quakers. The testimony seems to imply that Henry Phelps was living with his brother’s wife and holding Quaker meetings. The charges were expressed even more bluntly at the November 1660 Quarterly Court: Henry Phelps, being bound to this court to answer a complaint for keeping company or in the house with his brother’s wife, and appearing, was released of his bond. Upon further consideration and examination of some witnesses, which the court did not see meet for the present to bring forth in public (Was this when the deposition of Jane Johnson was taken?), and the wife of Nicholas Phelps not appearing, said Phelps was bound to the next court at Salem. He was ordered meanwhile to keep from the company of his brother Nicholas Phelps’ wife. Hannah had final say on the subject. At Salem Court, 28 June 1661, Thomas Flint and John Upton testified that, coming into Henry Phelps’ house on a Sabbath-day evening, they heard Hannah say that 'Higgeson had set the wolves apace.' John Upton asked her if Mr. Higgeson sent the wolves amongst them to kill their creatures and she answered, “The bloodhounds, to catch the sheep and lambs.” She was sentenced to be fined or whipped, and one William Flint promised to pay the fine. Political events soon eased the Phelps’ persecution - albeit slightly. The days of Cromwell and the Puritans were over in England in 1660. A new parliament proclaimed the banished Prince Charles as king, invited him to return from exile, and placed him on the throne of his father. As Charles II, he read - and sympathized with - the petition of those Quakers in England who had been banished from Massachusetts. That document contained a list of the sufferings of 'the people called Quakers,' and Number 15 stated, “One inhabitant of Salem, since banished on pain of death, had one-half of his house and land seized. On 9 September 1661, Charles II issued an order to the Bay Colony to cease the persecution of Quakers and appointed Samuel Shattock to bear the “King’s Missive” to Boston. No mention was made of Nicholas Phelps’ return at that time, although the historian Perley claimed “they returned together, but Mr. Phelps, being weak in body after some time died” It is known that Nicholas and Hannah were together again in Salem by June 1662 when, at the Quarterly Court, “Nicholas Phelpes and his wife were presented for frequent absence from meeting on the Sabbath Day. Hannah was fined alone in 1663. On 18 July 1664, Henry Phelps sold the property that he and his brother had inherited from their mother in 1655, and he, Hannah, and the children left Massachusetts. Many of their friends had departed already for Long Island or Rhode Island, but some had journeyed to far-off Carolina, where a new settlement was beginning on Albemarle Sound. It was the latter colony to which Henry and Hannah headed. Preseumably they married in a Quaker meeting before setting off by ship with what possessions they had left. In 1660 a few Virigians had crossed into the Albemarle region, then called Chowan. By charters of 1663 and 1665, Charles II granted to eight proprietors a tract of land which was to lie between the present states of Virginia and Florida, a vast tract that was named Carolina, and colony which had already spring up there was designated Albemarle County. Another settlement was begun at Cape Fear in 1664 by a group from Barbados and New England; their area became the county of Clarendon. By 1664, however, the latter group had deserted the Cape and moved to Albemarle. Fittingly, the first record found of Hannah in Carolina spotlights her religious activities. In 1653 one William Edmundson converted to Quakerism in England; and from 1661 he was recognized as leader of the Irish Quakers. He first visited America with George Fox as a traveling Friend in 1672. While Fox went to New England, Edmundson traversed Virginia; about the first of May 1672, he ventured down into Carolina. Two Friends from Virginia accompanied him as guides but became lost, saying they had “gone past the place where we intended.” Edmundson found a path that “brought us to the place where we intended, viz. Henry Phillips’ (Phelps) House by Albemarle River. It is Edmundson who accounts for the life of Henry and Hannah during the years in which legal records are silent. “He (Phelps) and his wife had been convinced of the truth in New England, and came there to live, who having not seen a Friend for seven years before, they wept for joy to see us.” Some scholars have interpreted this passage in Edmundson’s journal to mean that Henry and Hannah were the only Quaker family in Albemarle in 1672. However, evidence does exist of another couple, Christopher and Hannah (Rednap) Nicholson who had become Quakers and had been persecuted in Massachusetts. The Nicholsons had arrived in Albemarle Sound, probably by 1663, and were neighbors of Henry and Hannah Phelps. (See Nicholson Family-Part II) It is also known that Isaac and Damaris (Shattuck) Page came to Albemarle from Salem, after both had been fined as Quakers. Edmundson’s journal also reveals that the first recorded Quaker meeting in Albemarle was held at the Phelps’ home, just as the first recorded Quaker meeting at Salem had been sponsored by Nicholas and Hannah. Edmundson said, “it being on a first day morning when we got there. I desired them to send to the people there-a way to come to a meeting about the middle of the day.” Hannah opened her home yet again to the “Lord’s testimony,” as brought by the visiting Friends. Following the visit of Edmundson, Fox himself came to Albemarle in November 1672, stopping first at Joseph Scott’s home by Perquimans River, where he held a meeting, and then “we passed by water four miles to Henry Phillips (Phelps) house” and held a meeting there. Edmundson returned to Albemarle in 1676, and again the faithful Hannah appears in his journal.
He took our journey through the wilderness, and in two days came well to Carolina, first to James Hall’s (Hill’s) house, who went from Ireland to Virginia with his family. His wife died there, and he had married the widow Phillips (Phelps) at Carolina, and lived there; but he had not heard that I was in those parts of the world. When I came into the House, I saw only a woman servant. I asked for her master. She said he was sick. I asked for her mistress, she said she was gone abroad. so I went into the room, where he was laid on the bed, sick of an ague with his face to the wall. I called him by his name, and said no more; he turned himself, and looked earnestly at me a pretty time, and amazed; at last he asked if that was William? I said yes.
Between Edmundson’s journeys of 1672 and 1676, Henry died and Hannah married James Hill. James was probably a convert of Edmundson in Ireland or Virginia, since they knew each other by first name. In November 1676, The Lords Proprietors had issued commissions to men designated as deputies in Albemarle. James Hill, Esq, was deputy of the Duke of Albemarle. During Culpeper’s Rebellion in 1677, Hill and one Thomas Miller escaped, and a guard of soldiers was put at his house. Promptly on his return from Virginia, he, along with Francis Jones and Christopher Nicholson, was arrested. Hannah Phelps Hill was again in the thick of conflict.
The Quakers drew up a “Remonstrance” to the proprietors protesting their treatment, outlining the above acts, and declaring they were “a peaceable people.” It was signed on 13 September 1679 by twenty-one Quakers, including Jones and Nicholson, together with Joseph Scott, Isaac Page, and Jonathan Phelps, son of Nicholas and Hannah. Under their signatures, it was written that most of the subscribers “have been Inhabitants in Carolina since the years 1663 and 1664. The Quakers had not been persecuted in Carolina previous to this time, but it is recorded in the minutes of Perquimans Monthly Meeting that about the fourth or fifth month of 1680, nine Friends were fined and put into prison for refusing to bear arms in the muster field. Among those nine were five of the signers of the 1679 remonstrance - including Jonathan Phelps and Samuel Hill, son of James.
Hannah’s devotion to religion did not prompt her to neglect her family, however. She appears again in court records to champion the cause of her grandchildren. In the intervening years, her daughter Hannah had twice wed - first to James Perisho and second, in 1697, to George Castleton. On 30 March 1680, it was ordered by the Lords Proprietors that one hundred acres of land be laid out, for “James Perishaws Orphants,” for the transportation of two persons, namely their parents “James and Hannah Perishaw.” However, complications arose involving this second husband, Castleton; and Hannah Phelps Hill went to court to protect her grandson’s property.
The first hint of the family troubles appears in the court records of October 1685:“Wheras George Castleton hath absented himself from the County and Imbezled the estate belonging to the Orphans of James Perisho deceased. It is therefore ordered that no person or persons buy any cattle belonging to the said orphans or any part of the estate of the said Castleton and that Jonathan Phelps gather the corne and measure the same and deliver the one half to Hannah Castleton and secure the other half til further order.”
Castleton apparently returned to the county and problems continued. In October 1687 the court ordered “that Hannah Castleton the wife of George Castleton doe repaire home to her husband and live with him and that if she departs from him any more it is ordered that the majestrates doe forthwith use such meanes as may cause her to live with her husband.”
The younger Hannah apparently did not live long past this point; she is not mentioned at attending the wedding of her daughter on 5 August 1689, although the grandmother Hannah did. In October of that year, the older Hannah appeared in court, concerned for the welfare of Hannah, Jr.’s son by her first husband.
At a Court Holden for the precinct of Pequimins at the house of Mary Scot on the first Monday being the 7th of October 1689. Hannah Hill Grandmother to James Perishaw hath petitioned this Court to have the management of the stock belonginge to the sd. James Perishaw, It is therefore Ordered that after the last of this instant October the sd. Hannah Hill take into her custodie the Stock belonginge to James Perishaw, and manage the same for the childs Care, putting in security for the same.”
For his proprietary land rights, Hannah’s son Jonathan took out a patent in 1684, covering four hundred acres near Robert Wilson on the west side of the Perquimans River. In his will written in 1688, he gave this four hundred acres (where he lived) to his son Samuel. In 1692, Robert Wilson and John Lilly, executors of Jonathan Phelps, went to court to divide the property. The suit was continued in 1693, when Hannah Hill petitioned for “hur Halfe of ye plantation”; and it was ordered that “Shee be posesed with it.” This patent was renewed by Samuel Phelps as son and heir in 1695.
All of Albemarle’s early land records have not survived. However, it is commonly accepted in the history of Perquimans County that the land Henry Phelps lived on, when Edmundson paid him the visit in 1672, was the land on the narrows of the Perquimans River that was granted to his grandson, Jonathan Phelps, in 1694 - and that part of this grant became the town Hertford. This should be partly true. It was Hannah Phelps’ grandson, Jonathan Phelps, who became owner of the property; but without recorded wills or deeds, the details of the property’s transfer are cloudy.
Since Hannah was the only one of the original family still living in 1694, it was she who proved rights for fifteen persons transported into the county of Albemarle. They were: “Henry Phelps (her second husband), Hannah his Wife (herself), John Phelps (Henry’s son). Jonathan Phelps (her son), Hannah Phelps junr (her daughter), Robt. Pane, James Hill (her 3rd Husband), Saml. Hill (son of James Hill), Mary Hill, Nathanl. Spivey and his wife Judity, John Spivey, Sarah Spivey, Anne Spivey, (and) Jonathan Phelps his freedom.”
This document implies one other situation not otherwise documented: After the death of Nicholas, Hannah’s son by him was apparently bound to his uncle - and her second husband - Henry. Once Jonathan’s servitude expired, in North Carolina, he was eligible for his own grant. The fifteen rights named in the forgoing document amounted to 750 acres. At the time of the survey in 1694, Hannah assigned the first six rights to her grandson, Jonathan Phelps, who was then seven years old, eight rights to her grandson, Samuel Phelps, age ten, and the last right to Robert Wilson, the executor of the estate of her son Jonathan.
Hannah, who outlived her three husbands and her two children, had now provided for her grandchildren. She had seen the establishment of the Quaker meetings and Quaker life in Albemarle.
"A 1709 letter of Mr. Gordon, a Church of England missionary, stated that the Quakers then numbered “about the tenth part of the inhabitants” of Carolina. And in Perquimans Precinct, he said, they “are very numerous, extremely ignorant, insufferable proud and ambitious, and consequently ungovernable.” It is because she was proud, ambitious, and ungovernable that one is now able to document the life of Hannah and her children.