A Visit to the Balch House, Beverly, Massachusetts
Friday, March 27, 2015
Monday, September 9, 2013
A Great Share from Heather Wilkinson Rojo and her blog, Nutfield Genealogy
Robert Wilson was born about 1630, and lived in Salem, Massachusetts. It is unknown where he came from before he arrived in New England, and it is unknown when he arrived. However, he left some very interesting, yet sad and sorrowful, records during his life.
His first wife was Deborah Buffum, daughter of Robert Buffum and Tamosen Ward. In 1662, as the mother of two infant children she professed to being a Quaker, which was dangerous in Puritan Salem, Massachusetts. Not only that, she went naked to the Puritan meetinghouse to protest the “spiritual nakedness”. She was sentenced to be tied to a cart and whipped until she came to her own house.
Daniel Rumball, the constable “was loathe to do it, but was ordered to do his duty. Robert Wilson (it may be presumed in collusion with Rumball, though neither was a Quaker) followed after, clapping his hat sometimes between the whip and his wife’s back.” (from the book The Peabody Story by John A. Wells, 1973, Essex Institute, Salem, MA, pages 136 -7)
Although kind hearted Robert Wilson helped his wife, she died soon after in 1668. Robert remarried to Anna Trask, the widow of Joseph Perry Foster, in 1674. They had one child together before he was called to join the Essex County militia with Captain Thomas Lothrop to protect Deerfield, Massachusetts. Seventy men, along with Robert Wilson, were killed at in a massacre at a brook near Deerfield on 18 September 1675. Only seven or eight men escaped this massacre. The brook was renamed “Bloody Brook”.
From the Essex Quarterly Court Records, volume 6, leaf 19
Administration upon the estate of Robert Wilson, intestate, was granted 28, 4m, 1681 unto Ann, the relict, who brought in an inventory amounting to about 150 pounds, and whereas there is some legacy or something of an estate of Tamosen Buffum's which of right is to belong to Robert and Deborah, children of the deceased, the court ordered that Ann should pay out of this estate into the inventory, to Robert the eldest son 14 pounds, and to Deborah aforesaid, children by his first wife, and to Anna, John, Mary and Elizabeth children by Ann, 7 pounds each, at age or marriage, the house and land to stand bound by security.
If you look at the genealogy below, you will notice a lot of Robert Wilsons, and the Essex County records are full of even more Robert Wilsons. How did I manage to figure out which Roberts belonged to what lines? Not without help! I was at the New England Historic Genealogical Society library one day, and when I had trouble finding a book on the shelves the librarian, David Dearborn, asked me which surname I was researching. When he heard I was looking for Salem, Massachusetts Wilsons he introduced me to a series of books written by researcher Ken Stevens of Walpole, New Hampshire. Ken Stevens wrote all his books about Wilsons from all over New England. I wrote to Mr. Stevens (it was before email) and he sent me all his research notes on the Salem Wilsons. He had not included these particular Wilsons in a book yet. He confirmed my line, too! The NEHGS library has his papers on Wilson research in their manuscript collection. Kenneth C. Stevens passed away in 2010.
My Wilson lineage (note the five Robert Wilsons and one Robert Wilson Wilkinson in the first eight generations!):
Generation 1: Robert Wilson, born about 1630, died on 18 September 1675 in Deerfield, Massachusetts at the Bloody Brook Massacre; married first to Deborah Buffum, daughter of Robert Buffum and Tamosen Ward, on 12 August 1658 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She was born about 1639 and died about 1668 and had two children including Robert Wilson, Jr. (see below). He married second to Anna Trask, daughter of Henry Trask and Mary Southwick, widow of Joseph Perry Foster, and had one child.
Generation 2: Robert Wilson, born about 1662, and died before 17 January 1717; married about 1685 to Elizabeth Cook, daughter of Isaac Cook and Elizabeth Buxton. Four children. He is listed in his grandmother’s will (Tamosine Buffum, Essex County Probate #30139). He was the first Wilson to own property near the Wilson Square area of what is now Peabody, Massachusetts.
Generation 3: Isaac Wilson, born about 1691; married Mary Stone, daughter of Samuel Stone and Mary Treadwell, on 9 January 1718 in Salem, Massachusetts. Six children. He was a carpenter.
Generation 4: Robert Wilson, born about 1724, died before 10 July 1782 in Danvers, Massachusetts (now Peabody); married to Elizabeth Southwick, daughter of John Southwick and Mary Trask on 26 May 1744 in Salem, Massachusetts. Four children. He was a prominent potter who lived where Route 114 now crosses Route 128 in Peabody. The Wilson family burial ground still exists there behind the Kappy’s Liquor Store. The Wilsons were known for black pottery that can be seen on exhibit at the Peabody Historical Society.
Generation 5: Robert Wilson born about 1746 and died 4 June 1797 in Danvers (now Peabody); married on 23 March 1775 in Danvers to Sarah Felton, daughter of Malachi Felton and Abigail Jacobs. Nine children. He is buried at the Wilson burial ground, and Sarah was buried in 1836, forty years later, across the street at the Felton burial ground.
Generation 6: Robert Wilson, born 5 September 1776 in Danvers, died on 9 November 1803 in Danvers; married on 8 May 1800 to Mary Southwick, daughter of George Southwick and Sarah Platts. Two children. Robert and Mary Wilson are buried at the Wilson burial ground.
Generation 7: Mercy F. Wilson, born 17 June 1803 in Peabody, died on 9 October 1883 in Peabody; married on 23 June 1829 in Danvers to Aaron Wilkinson, son of William Wilkinson and Mercy Nason, born in South Berwick, Maine on 22 February 1802, and died on 25 November 1879 in Peabody, Massachusetts. Eleven children.
Generation 8: Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe
Generation 9: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 10: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)
This Wilson family has not been written up in any compiled genealogy or articles in any genealogical journals. Ken Stevens had notes on this lineage, but had not finished his research on the other lines of the Salem/Danvers/Peabody Wilsons for a book or article. Most of what I put together here was gleaned from vital records and probate. There is a bit of information on the Wilson potters to be found in books on the subject, such as this excerpt fromEarly New England Potters and Their Wares by Lura Woodside Watkins, Harvard University Press, 1950, pages 65-66.
"The Wilsons were a prominent family of artisans. Their homestead included the land near 141 Andover Street and eastward where 128 now crosses it. The first two potting Wilsons were sons of Robert, a farmer. They were Robert, known as Robert, Jr. who remained in Danvers, and Joseph, who went to Dedham and thence to Providence, Rhode Island. When Robert, Jr., died in 1782, he left property worth 627 pounds, including six lots of land, his house, barn, potter's shop, and cornhouse, a riding chair, and a large personal estate. He seems to have done well in his trade. His son Robert, known as Robert 2d, and a younger son Job were potters. By an order of the court, Robert 3d, as administrator of his father's estate, was obliged to sell a large part of the elder Robert's property to pay certain debts. This was not done until April 9, 1793, when two thirds of the land and buildings, and an interest in the business was aquired by Isaac Wilson 3d. He, too, was a craftsman in clay. The three Wilsons ran the shop together for a time, but Robert 3d, and Job both passed away before 1800, while Robert's son Robert, who had worked but a short time as a potter, died three years later at the age of twenty-seven. Upon Isaac's decease in 1809, this early pottery must have come to an end."
Click Link fo more information on Robert Wilson’swife, Deborah, and her “Naked Protest”
For more information on the Wilson Burial Ground in Peabody, see this link:
Sunday, July 14, 2013
A Love Story Too Sad for Valentine’s Day - Deborah Wilson, a Quaker in very Puritan Salem Village by Heather Rojo
Deborah Buffum was born in 1639 in Salem, Massachusetts. Her family was the Quaker Buffum family, headed by her father Robert, who was regularly fined for non-attendance at the Puritan meetings. She married Robert Wilson in Marblehead in 1658, and had at least two children, a Deborah and a Robert.
The records describe Deborah as a Quaker like her parents, and the town History “The Peabody Story” describes her as very young, modest and retiring. One day in June 1662 she walked towards the meeting house stark naked in order to “call attention to the bareness of the religion of the accepted church which all were compelled to attend.”
Deborah was arrested before she got to the meeting house, and the court records say that for “barbarous and unhuman going naked through the town, is sentenced to be tied at a cart tail with her body naked downward to her waist, and whipped…till she come to her own house, not exceeding thirty stripes, and her mother Buffum and her sister Smith, that were abetted to her, etc, to be tied on either side of her at the cart tail naked to their shifts to the waist and accompany her…”
Her husband, Robert Wilson, was not a Quaker, but he obviously loved his wife. He walked beside the cart, putting his hat between the whip and his wife. I imagine it was one of those large brimmed, black Puritan style hats. Perhaps it was a hat like you see in Pilgrim cartoons. One of those hats would have made some sort of cushion from the whip.
According to the “Annals of Salem,” the constable sentenced to execute the punishment was Daniel Rumdel, who had “bowels of compassion” for his victim. He “on purpose” made his whippings miss or land lightly. Some accounts of this story have the constable sparing her with his own hat, and one account I read imagined a love story between the constable and the Quaker wife. However, the town histories state that the husband, Robert Wilson, put his own hand and hat between the whip and his wife. I’m sure that this kind hearted constable allowed the husband to walk there, and looked the other way at the “clapping [of] his hat sometimes between the whip and her back.”
After this Deborah was fined for non-attendance at the meeting house, until the court was informed she was “distempered in the head.” I suppose she was suffering from some sort of mental illness that perhaps began before the whipping incident. There are no more records on Deborah. She died in 1668, at about 30 years old.
Robert Wilson, her husband, remarried to Anna Trask. They had one child, Anna, born in 1674. Only one year later Robert was killed by the Indians at a massacre in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on 18 September 1675. Sixty four men from Essex County died in the attack, and were buried in one mass grave. Robert Wilson was about 45 years old. Cotton Mather wrote “In this black and fatal day… six and twenty children made orphans, all in one little plantation.” The site of the massacre was renamed “Bloody Brook.”
Deborah and Robert Wilson were my 9x great grandparents. For a family tree, please see my posting on September 21, 2009 at http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/09/buried-at-mall.html
For more information:
“Annals of Salem, Massachusetts” by Joseph B. Felt, 1827
“The Peabody Story” by John A. Wells, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, 1973, pages 136-7.
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo