Showing posts with label Peaslee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peaslee. Show all posts

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Thomas Macy and George Peaslee Powow preacher spats with Puritans

My story in Newburyport News with added news clips and pictures

Powow preacher spats with Puritans
During preparations for a visit to the Macy-Colby house in Amesbury next month, research led to some intriguing court documents that divulge the spiritual squabbles surrounding Thomas Macy, the first to occupy the dwelling in 1649.

Although listed in early deeds as a “merchant” and “Clothier,” Macy’s “great energy and determined will” earned him multiple positions of rank including that of town clerk, deputy to the General Court, and overseer of highways and schools. Macy also received a grant for a sawmill on “the west side of the Powow, with the privilege of using all the timber on the common.”

By all accounts, Macy appeared to be a golden boy with the Puritan power heads, except on matters of prayer. In fact, he openly defied them by preaching with Joseph Peaslee in separate assembly from the authorized Sabbath. This did not go over well with Puritan officials, who deemed it “unfit preaching” and charged the two provocateurs with “exhorting the people on the Sabbath in the absence of an ordained minister.” The General Court had passed a law in prohibiting preaching “except by leave of the authorities.”

Since Master Macy was not the sort of fellow to be trifled with, he made it very clear that his faith would not be dictated to him and “Brother Peaslee, brave confessor” was not about to rob followers of “gifted” sermons. This surge of passion animated another pet of the Puritan fold, Robert Pike, who held high public offices.  Picture of Pike below

Pike spoke out against “restraining unfit persons from constant preaching” and engaged on a crusade against the civil tribunal, asserting they “had violated their oaths as freeman; that their act was against the liberty of the country, both civil and ecclesiastical, and that he stood ready to make his declaration good.”

The provoked court arraigned the “culprit who thus dared to insult their majesty.” A series of petitions were filed to release Pike from his charges. Notables from several towns signed, and the court ordered commissioners to gather “incorrigibles” to give reason on why they were “induced to subscribe” to such a defiance. Pike waged on, accusing the leaders of “assailing magisterial authority and dignity.”

Certain commissioners who sided with Pike, such as Thomas Bradbury and William Gerrish, retracted to avoid trouble with the boss-men magistrates. Most became “refractory spirits” and were fined for turning on God’s chosen officials, but 15 men stood their ground after the officials finished their hunt.

Here are a few of the loyal souls who held up their conviction to the court: John Bishop “desired to go to the meeting house and turned his back and went away” (QC 1:367). John Emery and John Bond refusing to comply and did so in “a bold, flouting manner.” Benjamin Swett replied, “Every free subject hath liberty to petition for any that had been in esteem, without offence to any; and the petition itself hath answer in itself sufficient.” John Wolott agreed if he “be called to [a higher] power to answer, he will then answer and so went away very highly” (368).

In 1657, Macy found himself in further turmoil for sheltering traveling Quakers in his barn during a fierce rain storm. For this brief hour of gracious harbor he was ordered to appear in court, but he sent the officials a letter instead.

In 1658, “certain inhabitants” (Macy and Peaslee) filed a petition to break off from the official church of Reverend Worcester, but it was denied. The court demanded attendance to the true fellowship, and fines were issued to the flock of dissenters for “slighting and neglecting the order” and “disorderly practices.” However, Peaslee preached on as the “Come-outer,” and Pike, “the moral and fearless hero of New England,” fought injustice against Quakers and accused witches.

Macy sought religious refuge on a voyage recalled in Whittier’s poem, “The Exiles.” Macy legend states that his wife, Sarah, pleaded with him above the cries of their five tots to curtail his warrior spirit and sail away from an evil storm brewing, but he just replied, “Woman, go below and seek thy God. I fear not the witches on earth, nor the devils in hell.”

The crew made it to safety to Nantucket, where Macy took an active role in negotiating the purchase of the island.

Thomas Mayhew sold it for 30 pounds sterling and two beaver hats.

Although Macy was accused of skirting the Mass Bay despots, this sturdy pioneer preacher consciously chose not to accept laws that openly engaged in religious persecution.

With that said, no one could accuse this pulpiteer of missing his true calling where “charity and freedom dwell,” so “Let the dim shadows of the past” be a reminder for today.

Links and sources to check out
History of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches, Volume 1 edited by Duane Hamilton
Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Nantucket Historical Association 
Thoughts and Experiences in and Out of School By John Bradley Peaslee
The New England Magazine, Volume 22Genealogy of the Maulsby Family for Five Generations, 1699-1902: Compiled by Careful Research Among Quaker, Government and Family Records by Patty Payne
The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 8 edited by Sidney Perley
Genealogy of the Macy Family from 1635-1868 By Silvanus J. Macy
Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and Its People, 1602-1890 By Nathaniel Philbrick
The Successful American, Volume 1, Part 1 - Volume 2, Part 1
The Coffin Family: The Life of Tristram Coffyn, of Nantucket, Mass., Founder of the Family Line in America; Together with Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Some of His Numerous Descendants, and Some Historical Information Concerning the Ancient Families Named Coffyn
Nantucket Genealogies By Alexander Starbuck
The New Puritan: New England Two Hundred Years Ago: Some Account of the Life By James Shepherd Pike
Early Settlers of Nantucket: Their Associates and Descendants edited by Lydia Swain Mitchell HinchmanGenealogical and Personal Memoirs
The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts By David Webster Hoyt
The Churchman, Volume 39
Nantucket Historical Commission
Miner Descent 
Pike Family
Coffin Family Story
Coffin Family History
Lucrtia Mott Coffin


The Settlement Of Nantucket

Date: Saturday, December 31, 1831
Paper: Nantucket Inquirer (Nantucket, MA)
Page: 2 


200 Years Old but Nantucket Celebrates Its Centennial Only Island T Own En Fete a Notable Program of Addresses

Date: Wednesday, July 10, 1895
Paper: Worcester Daily Spy (Worcester, MA)
Page: 3, 1 

Nantucket Island
Date: Monday, August 4, 1873 Paper: Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA)
Volume: LXXV    Issue: 113 Page: 2

From Saturday, July 9, 1836 Paper: Norfolk Advertiser (Dedham, MA)
Volume: VI   Issue: 28 Page: 1

The First White Settler in Nantucket

Date: Tuesday, August 23, 1842
Paper: Boston Evening Transcript (Boston, MA)
Volume: XIII   Issue: 3705 Page: 2 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Peaslee family Quaker Roots

The American family was founded in Massachusetts about 1635 and from there has spread to every state and territory in the Union. Many distinguished men have borne the name or inherited the blood through intermarriage. One of the latter is John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet. Two governors of New Hampshire have borne the name, a chief justice of the Massachusetts supreme court and several members of congress. Few men have attained higher honor in the medical profession than Dr. Edmund Randolph Peaslee 1814-1878, of New York City, while judges, clergymen, lawyers, physicians, educators, eminent business men and farmers may be named without number. The family furnished its full quota of soldiers to the revolutionary army (although many were Quakers), and in the "Anti Rent" war that raged in the counties of the Mohawk valley.  Provincial and State Papers, Volume 13

Thomas Peaslee was a strong, fearless leader and to his wise council and grim determination to never yield may be largely attributed the successful result of the strife in Schoharie county. See home picture above.

Whoever opens for examination the old book of town records of Haverhill, Massachusetts, will find on one of its first pages, "Joseph Peasley and Mary, Joseph, born September 9, 1641," and further search will disclose repeated mention of Joseph Peasley, father and son, through the records of three-quarters of a century. Joseph Peaslee, the emigrant ancestor, came to this country about 1635. Prior to the emigration he married, in Wales, Mary Johnson, daughter of a well-to-do farmer who lived near the river Severn, in the western part of England, near the Wales line. The first mention of Joseph Peaslee in Massachusetts is in the records of Newbury, in 1641. He took the freeman's oath, June 22, 1642. He was granted land in Haverhill, March 14, 1645, and subsequent allotments up to 1656. He was a farmer, eminently respectable, of strong character, a self-educated physician, and often mentioned in old records as a "preacher and gifted brother.'' His descendant, the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, speaks of him as the "brave confessor." He was a commissioner of claims and selectman of Haverhill, 1649-50-53. He removed from Haverhill to Salisbury, Massachusetts, to the part called Newtown, now Amesbury.

He was made a "townsman" there July 17, 1656, and granted land; later grants were made in 1657 and 1658. The inhabitants of "Newtown" neglected to attend church worship in the "Old Town" and failed to contribute to the support of the minister. They held meetings for worship in private houses, and having no minister. Joseph Peaslee and Thomas Macy officiated as such; this soon coming to the notice of the general court, who decreed that all the inhabitants of "New Town" should attend church in "Old Town" and also contribute to the support of the minister. All who did not obey were to be fined five shillings unless they had a reasonable excuse. Under the leadership of Peaslee and Macy the people did not heed the "decree" of the general court, nor did the leaders cease preaching although a special fine of five shillings was to be imposed on them for each offense. See Powow Preacher spats with Puritans

In 1658 the general court ordered Joseph Peaslee and Thomas Macy to appear before the next term of said court to answer for their disobedience. This mandate was also unheeded, and Joseph Peaslee continued to preach, with the result that he was fined five shillings per week. While there is no evidence to show that Joseph Peaslee joined the Society of Friends, his friend, Thomas Macy, was prosecuted and fined for allowing four of that sect to take shelter in his house one rainy day for three-quarters of an hour. There was no society of "Friends" organized in New England prior to his death, the early comers being cruelly persecuted and sent back to England. Joseph was opposed to the Puritan church in his religious convictions, hence his disregard of the orders from the court to conform to the state church. He died December 5, 1660, leaving his wife, Mary, executrix of his estate that was appraised at three hundred and sixty-four pounds. In 1662 she was granted one hundred and eight acres of land in Salisbury. She died in Haverhill in 1694.

Children: Jane, married, December 10, 1646, John Davis, and settled at Oyster river. New Hampshire (now Durham). 2. Mary, married a lawyer, Joseph Whittier, and lived at Newbury. 3. Elizabeth, no record of her ever having married. 4. Sarah, married Thomas Barnard (2), April 12, 1664; lived at Amesbury. 5. Joseph.From Records--- Joseph Peasley Sen. died in 1660. Joseph Peasley Jr. was not of age in 1666. He was granted a "township '' in Amesbury in 1660, but lived in Haverhill after he became of age. November 1660: The last Will and Testament of Josef Peasly is that my debts shall be payedout of my Estate and the remainder estate----my debts being payed I doo give and bequeath unto Mary my wife During her life and I doo my daffter Sara all my hous and lands that I have at Salisbury and I doo give unto Josef my sonne all my land that I have upon the plain at Haverhil and doo give unto Josef my sonne all my medo ling in East medo at Haverhil and doo give unto Josef my sonne five shares of the common rites that doo belong to me on the plain. I doo give unto my daffter Elizabeth my fourty fower acres of upland ling westwards of Haverhil and doo give unto my dattfer Elizabeth fower acres and a half of medo ling in the---- at Haverhil and doo allso give my daffter Elizabeth fower of the common rites that doo belong to the plain and doo give unto daffter Jean fower shillings and to my daffter Mary Fower shillings. I doo give unto Sara Saier my grandchild my upland and medo ling in -----medo.
And I doo give unto my sonne Josef all the remainder of my land at Haverhil which is not herein disposed of. I doo allso make Mary my wiff my Soule executrer and doo allso leave Josef my sonne and the estate I have given him to my wiff to poss on till Josef my sonne be twenty years of age."
"Joseph Peaslee, called 'Junior', was but twelve years old when his father died. He and his family lived in the "eastern part of the town near the head of what is now (1977) East Broadway on the side towards the Merrimack River". The house he erected prior to 1675 on the County Bridge road This house became known as the "Peaslee Garrison" 790 East Broadway, Haverhill. It was used as a sort of armory at one time and was constructed with bricks imported from England. (An interesting sidenote is that Robert Hastings , the mason who built the house, had a daughter, Elisabeth, who later married Joseph's son, Joseph.) The house is 2 stories high and has 3 rooms upstairs and 3 rooms downstairs. A chimney is located at each end of the house. During King Philip's War the home was used as a garrison house where soldiers were stationed and people could flee if need be.

In 1692, he was granted "the privilege of erecting a sawmill at the head of east meadow river upon the stream by or near Brandy Row." The mill was built in 1693 and the site later became known as ‘Peaslees Mills’. A ‘Peaslee’ occupied it until 1860. Joseph sold 25% of the mill to Simon Wainwright in 1693/4 for 110 pounds.
'Junior' was said to have been a physician and was called 'Doctor'. He was known locally as a ‘physician’ who had much knowledge of herbs and roots and used them to aid people medically.The amount of property enumerated in his will would constitute a well-to-do man, even of today. He also had a second wife, a Mary Tucker, the widow of Stephen Davis. His daughter, Mary, became the grandmother of John Greenleaf Whittier, a famous American poet.

More info from William Richard Cutter Genealogical and Family History of Western New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation, Volume 1

Dr. Joseph Peaslee, was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, September 9, 1646, died there March 21, 1734. Prior to his father's death in 1660 he was granted "Children's Land" and October 10, 1660, a "township," the latter a term used to indicate prospective rights. About 1673 he built his house in East Haverhill near "Rocks Bridge," spanning the Merrimac. using bricks brought from England. It was of two stories with a wing and was widely known as the "Peaslee Garrison House." The building is yet in a good state of repair, one of the landmarks of the Merrimac valley and of great interest to antiquarians. The house famed in prose and poetry was originally built by Dr. Peaslee as a refuge for women and children from the Indians, and was used as a garrison house in the French and Indian and King Philip's wars. The first Quaker meetings in that part of the country were held at this house, Dr. Peaslee becoming a convert and joining the meeting. This was in 1699 after the town had refused them the use of the meeting house. In 1687 he was chosen constable, having taken the oath of fidelity and allegiance in 1677.

In 1692 he was granted the privilege of erecting a sawmill. The mill was built the next year and for one hundred and fifty years thereafter was owned wholly or in part in the Peaslee name. He was a large landowner, by grants, inheritance and purchase. He was noted as a physician, was selectman of Haverhill, 1689-90 and in 1721 was again chosen constable.

He married, January 21, 1671, Ruth, born October 16, 1651, died November 5, 1723, daughter of Thomas and Eleanor M. Barnard. Her father, one of the first settlers of Amesbury, was killed by the Indians in 1677. Dr. Peaslee married (second) Widow Mary (Tucker) Davis, daughter of Morris and Elizabeth (Gill) Tucker, and widow of Stephen Davis. Children of first wife: 1. Mary, born July 14, 1672; married, May 24, 1694, Joseph Whittier, youngest son of Thomas and Ruth (Green) Whittier. Joseph and Mary are the great-grandparents of John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet. 2. Joseph, born July 19, 1674: married Elizabeth Hastings, and settled in Salem, New Hampshire. 3. Robert, born February 3, 1677; married (first) Alice Currier: (second) Ann Sargeant. He lived on the old homestead and was prominent in church and town. 4. John, of further mention. 5. Nathaniel, born June 25, 1682. He and Robert Peaslee were members of the famous "land syndicate" of four hundred members, whose transactions and lawsuits would fill many volumes; was for nine years a representative in the Massachusetts house of assembly and for many years held the highest office in the town of Haverhill. He married (first) Judith Kimball: (second) Mrs. Abraham Swan; (third) Mrs. Martha Hutchins. 6. Ruth, torn February 25, 1684. 7. Ebenezer, died young. 8. Sarah, born August 15, 1690.

John, fourth child and third son of Dr. Joseph (2) and Ruth (Barnard) Peaslee, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, February 25, 1679, died in Newton, New Hampshire, in 1752. He moved from Haverhill to Newton, New Hampshire, about 1715, settling in the southern part nf the town. The first "Friends meeting" in Newton was held in John Peaslee's home, later a meeting house was built, and a burying ground located near by. He and his numerous family were all members of the Newton meeting. He was a prominent man in town and church affairs and highly respected. He married (first), March 1, 1705, Mary Martin, at the house of Thomas Barnard, "where a meeting was held for the occasion." Mary was a daughter of John, son of George and Susanna (North) Martin. Susanna North Martin, after the death of her husband, George Martin, was arrested for witchcraft, April 30, 1692, tried at Salem, June 29, and executed July 19, 1692. The story of the grief and suffering of her daughter is told by Whittier in his poem "The Witch's Daughter." A full account of the trial is found in "Merrill's History of Amesbury." John Peaslee married (second), August 18, 1745, Mary Newbegin, a widow, of Hampton, New Hampshire, and a minister of the society of Friends.

Children of first wife: 1. Joseph, born March 7, 170—; married Martha Hoag; twelve children. 2. John, born December 9, 1707; married Lydia ;ten children. 3. Sarah, born February 30, 1708-09; married Peter Morrill. 4. Mary, married, August 1, 1745. Fliphalet Hoyte. 5. Jacob, born May 1, 1710: married Hulda Brown; one child. 6. Nathan, born September 20,1711; married Lydia Gove; nine children. 7. Ruth, born 1712. 8. David, born April 3, 1713; married Rachel Straw: eleven children. 9. Moses, born 1714: married Mary Gove; ten children. 10. James, born 1715; married Abigail Johnson; seven children, it. Ebenezer, the founder of the family in New York state. This large family all married and had children. Various records give names and dates of the birth of ninetyeight grandchildren, while the sons of John Peaslee had two hundred and eighty-four grandchildren. The daughters had twenty-nine children, but there is no record kept of their grandchildren.

Ebenezer, youngest child of John and Mary (Martin) Peaslee, was born about 1717. He settled first in Newton, New Hampshire, later removing to New York state, settling near Quaker Hill, Dutchess county, about four miles east of Pawling station on the Harlem railroad. Here, in the large Quaker burying ground, he is buried with his wife. His removal from the Hampton, New Hampshire, (Newton) meeting is shown by his removal  More info Harvard Quaker History

John B. Peaslee

Benjamin Dodge Peaslee Physician. Hillsborough Bridge born in Weare, New Hampshire, April 18, 1857, son of Robert and Persis Boardman (Dodge) Peaslee. He is a descendant of Joseph and Mary Peaslee, who came from England in 1638 and settled in Newbury, Massachusetts. He pursued his professional studies in the Boston University Medical School, in the Pulte Medical College, Cincinnati, Ohio, and in the New York Ophthalmic College and Hospital. In 1879, he began practice at Meredith, New Hampshire, and practiced for a time in Bradford and Concord, New Hampshire, and Melrose, Massachusetts. For two years he was Superintendent of the dry-goods house of Houghton & Dutton, Boston, Massachusetts. Owing to ill health, he was obliged to give up active practice and business life, and now resides in Hillsborough Hridge, and devotes his time to special work of the eye and ear, being obliged to spend" the winters in the South. He is a lover of fine horses and of all outdoor sports, especially trout fishing, and is well acquainted with all the brooks in the vicinity. He is a member of Melrose Club, of Melrose, Massachusetts, and of the New Hampshire Medical Society. He is a Mason, a member of Harmony Lodge No. 38, and of Woods Chapter No. 14. Royal Arch Masons. Dr. Peaslee was married February 11, 1880, to Alice M. Hammond, and June 1 1. 1889, to Hattie Dutton. He has one son: Karl Hammond Peaslee, born January 7, 1881.

Amos Peaslee

Haverhill History