Showing posts with label Salem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Salem. Show all posts

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Friends' Society Early Meetings Part 1

From Sketches of Lynn, Or, The Changes of Fifty Years by David Newhall Johnson

According to the sketch of the history of the Friends in Lynn, prepared by Samuel Boyce for Parsons Cooke's "Centuries," the first meeting of Friends in Lynn was held in a house on the old road to Salem, near the Lynn Mineral Spring Farm. Such, says Mr. Boyce, was the tradition, based upon a statement in "Neal's History," that about this time (1658) as many as twenty were taken at once from a meeting held at the house of Nicholas Phelps, "about five miles from Salem," and that Nicholas Phelps' house was about five miles from Salem--this house is not stated. This is a mistake.

In History of Salem Perely mentions the home of Nicholas and Hannah Phelps (location West Peabody) was around until Francis Phelps tore it down in 1856 but an oil painting was done and a Mrs Maria Hood of Danvers has it in her collection. 

The Historical Collection of the Essex Institute shows that the estate of Phelps was near the farms of Robert Moulton and Thomas James, in Salem, now West Peabody. A notice of a meeting held there June, 1658, is found in "Felt's Annals of Salem."
"At a monthly meeting held in Salem, the 28th of the twelfth month, 1688, it was concluded to have a meeting once a month settled at Lynn, for the ease of those Friends who are inhabitants there."
By the records of these meetings the first monthly meeting held in Lynn met at the house of Samuel Collins, May 18, 1689, when the following-named persons were present: Thomas Made, Daniel Southwick, John Blothen, William Williams, Samuel Gaskin, Jr., Samuel Collins, Thomas Graves, Edward Gaskin and James Goodridge.
Mr. Boyce savs: "By referring to the records of the meeting, it appears that Friends in Lynn suffered severely for many years by having their property taken from them by distrait for priests' wages, repairing meeting houses, and for military fines. Much of the property taken for priests' wages was for Jeremiah Shepard."
The numbers of Friends increasing in Lynn, they built (1678) a meeting house on what is now Broad Street, on a spot then known as Wolf Hill. This house stood a few rods east of Silsbee Street, andoccupied the land — until 1723 — in front of the present Friends' burying ground. The next was built near the front line of that enclosure, the front extending to the present road bed. Its dimensions were, forty feet in length, and thirty in width, besides an extension on the northeast side, used by the women of the society to transact their part of the business of the organization, according to the usages of this body. This house served the purposes of the society for ninety-three years, or until 1816, when, having outgrown its too narrow limits, a new house was built by the society, on the lot used by them as a burying ground, a few rods — in the rear — from the site of the old meeting house. It stood on this spot until 1852, when it was moved a short distance to its present location on Silsbee Street.

The old meeting house was bought by Thomas Rich, and moved a few rods to the westward and used by him several years as a warehouse for the sale of shoe stock. About 1830 it was used by Samuel Boyce as a shoe manufactory; and about five years later it was bought by James Breed, and moved near to his wharf, to be used as a lumber warehouse. It now stands on the same spot, at the corner of Broad and Beach streets, and is owned by Stephen N. Breed, son of James, above-named, who succeeded to his fathers business. Though it is now a hundred and fifty-seven years old, its stout oaken frame has kept its symmetry intact; white occasional repairs, and the art of the painter, have concealed its marks of age. The R extension" was bought by Nathan Alley, and moved to Exchange Street, opposite Exchange Block, and used by him as a dwelling. It now stands on Fayette Street, opposite the school house, near Collins Street. In 1835 there were about one hundred families belonging to the society in Lynn; and there was but little change during the next twenty years. At' present their numbers are somewhat less.

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

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

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gallows Hill: Where Were the Witches Hung Salem, Massachusetts

A Share from Daniel Boudillion 
The story of 18 people accused as witches in the 1692 Salem Witch Hysteria ends as victims at the end of a hangman’s rope on Gallows Hill, otherwise known as Witch Hill or Witchcraft Hill. You would think such a public and awful event at that spot would have made such a huge impression on people that the location would live forever if only in infamy. Yet today, the exact location of the hangings, and even which hill is Gallows Hill, is not precisely known.
The town of Salem did set aside a public park but there is still historical debate about the location of the site and the clues lead elsewhere. Let us see where those clues lead.

On the Road with the Salem Witches
Many years ago as a young man I traveled the country for a year. With me I brought a number of books to keep me occupied, and included were several volumes on the Salem Witch Hysteria. These were fascinating accounts of the bitter land-feuds and ministerial issues that polarized Salem Village. This was to erupt in 1692, with a supernatural twist, into a seething cauldron of persecutions, accusations, and executions.
The entire drama captured my imagination and upon returning to New England, I visited Salem to see the locations of the many events.  High on my list was Gallows Hill.  Little did I realize it would be 20 years or more before I stood on the actual place where the hangings occurred. 
 Salem Town: Witches Old and New
Although I grew up in Middlesex County, I had never been to Salem in adjoining Essex County until I went on my pilgrimage there.  Driving in on Lowell Street from Peabody Center, I crossed into Salem at the Old South Cemetery.  Here a sign at the town line informed that I had entered The Witch City.  What were they trying to say by that, I wondered?
                          Door of Salem Police Car
By the time I got to Salem Common and had a walk around, I knew.  Salem had made a tourist trade off the Hysteria, even though virtually all the characters and action in 1692 took place in Salem Village, which was renamed Danvers about 50 years after the hangings.  Salem Common was a dangerous place.  It was where everyone walked their dogs, and back then there was no such thing as "scooping."  I quickly renamed the place Dog Poop Park, a name that has stuck long after the town bylaws have changed to address that situation.
Salem Common
Watch your step!

There was a terribly tacky Witch Museum in a wonderfully old gothic building.  I walked in and promptly walked out.  Around the corner was Laurie Cabot’s Crow Haven Corner.  In case you don’t know, Laurie Cabot is Salem’s official Witch.  It was an interesting little shop in a spooky old Colonial house.  The ambiance alone was worth every penny of the herbs I bought to be polite. 

Crow Haven Corner & Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Common and Pickering Wharf area were a co-mingling of historical Witch Hysteria sites, and modern Witch and New Age shops. 
   Is This Gallows Hill?
As delightfully "witchy" as the Salem Common area turned out to be, I directed my steps to Gallows Hill.  The directions I had led me to a park near Proctor Street, near the intersection of Boston and Bridge Streets.  The park was named Gallows Hill Park and a nearby water-tower had a large official witch riding a broomstick painted on the side. 

Salem water-tower with Witch Logo

This must be the place.  I walked up the hill to the official "hanging spot" and looked around.  The view was magnificent.  But although it was an impressive location, and even a satisfying one, it simply did not line up with the facts I had learned from my reading.
Official Hanging Place on Official Gallows Hill

For one thing, the hill was steep, and the thought of the accused being transported to the top in a cart, as it is known they were, seemed ludicrous upon having ascended the hill myself.  Also, I had learned that Benjamin Nurse had rowed a boat from a creek near the Nurse Homestead, out into the North River, and then to the base of Gallows Hill to recover his mother’s body.  It only took one look to see that there was no waterway contingent to the North River at the base of the hill I was standing on.  There was no water at or even near the base of the hill  The closest water was a canal over a quarter mile northeast. 

Sunrise at Official Gallows Hill

This left me confused.  In my opinion, the hill simply did not square with the historical record.  I left feeling misled and puzzled over it occasionally in the ensuing years, but with no better understanding. 
   Salvatore Trento Takes a Stab
Twenty years later I bought Salvatore Trento’s Field Guide to the Mysterious Places of Eastern North America and was intrigued about this once again.  Trento asserted that the official Gallows Hill was not the correct location, much as I had suspected.  He proposed a nearby hill as the site, complete with crevasse and gallows footing stones. 
So off I went in July of 2003 to locate this hill.  I found it easily enough south of the playing fields in Gallows Hill Park, and about 200 yards Southwest of the water tank.  It is a low grassy hill sloping down on its southern end.  The north end was a knoll with a crevasse just over the side (history tells us the bodies were dumped in such places).  The hill even had easy cart access up the south side from Colby Street, which looked liked it may have been a road back in the hanging times. 
Trento's Gallows Hill
I was pleased with this discovery, but the fact that this hill was even farther away from the closest waterway to North River was disconcerting.  It was over a half mile to the canal in fact.  I wondered how Trento reconciled this fact with the site’s location.

Top of Trento's Gallows Hill

So I went back to the books and refreshed my grasp of the known facts. Several things immediately invalidated the Trento site. First, he says the footing stones for the gallows are still visible. I have seen the stones he talks about, but the problem is that the accused were not hung on a gallows. Rather, they were hung from the branches of trees. Researchers have combed the meticulous records of the trial era, and not one mention was found of a gallows, and more tellingly, there is no record of the cost to purchase wood and construct such a gallows.

Correct and Incorrect Salem Witch Hanging Depictions

Also, the accused were brought to the top of the hill in a cart.  Although that is quite doable at the Trento site, the approach is from the Colby Street area, and it is known that the actual route went over Town Bridge at what is now the intersection of Boston Street and Bridge Street, and thence up the hill.  The Trento site does not fit with this fact either. 
Disappointed, I determined to find out once and for all the actual location. 
   Collective Amnesia
The more I researched and investigated, the more apparent it become that the official Gallows Hill site is only a probable site.  Rev. Charles Upham chose what is known today as Gallows Hill as the probable hanging site in his 1867 book Salem Witchcraft.  Historians and officials have followed his lead ever since, even though in Upham’s own words, "There is no contemporaneous nor immediately subsequent record that the executions took place on the spot." 

Upham's Gallows Hill

By the time of Upham’s writing, the actual site, wherever it was, had dropped from public consciousness.  The entire hanging episode was an acute embarrassment and shame to the community, and although the site was known to people, it was not publicly proclaimed or celebrated.  Rather, the subject, and therefore the location, was avoided and a kind of collective amnesia occurred in regards to the location.  People simply wanted to forget, and thus the location was "forgotten" too. 
However, it doesn’t help the tourist trade in modern Witch City to not have a true location of Gallows Hill.  Let the scholars argue as they will, but the hill that Upham chose has become the agreed-upon location for pragmatic ends, if nothing else. 
   The Perley Hypothesis
Fortunately, there are a number of scholars and researchers who have made a thorough examination of the facts and have come to conclusions more consistent with the historical record.
The most thorough and convincing presentation was made by Sidney Perley in 1921.  Like other researchers since, Perley was unable to "discover any tradition or other evidence which indicates that the alleged witches were executed on top of [Uphams’] Gallows Hill; and it is unreasonable in every aspect of consideration that they were." 
Perley did discover a number of important clues.  He was able to reconstruct the landscape and land ownership of Salem at the time of the hangings, making a number of maps.  A final and composite map of Salem circa 1700 drawn from his work was assembled by William Freeman and published in 1933. 
Freeman's 1933 map based on Perley of 1700 Salem showing actual Gallows Hill

Perley was also in possession of a letter written by Dr. Holyoke in 1791 with the following passage: "In the last month, there died a man in this town by the name of John Symonds, aged a hundred years lacking about six months, having been born in the famous ’92.  He has told me that his nurse had often told him, that while she was attending his mother at the time she lay in with him, she saw, from the chamber windows, those unhappy people hanging on Gallows Hill, who were executed for witches by the delusion of the times." 
Perley was able to locate the house Symonds was born in and found that it was impossible to see the supposed hanging site on the southern end of the hill, let alone Gallows Hill.  Ledge Hill completely blocks the view.  However, a nearer lower hill that better fits the facts of the circumstance was well in view.
Pearly's map showing actual Gallows Hill and Symonds sightlines
click for same map oriented to north

The known route from Salem to the hanging site is from Prison Lane (now St. Peter Street), then the long ride down Essex Street, thence a short ride on Bridge Street (now Boston Street), and over Town Bridge and then left to the hill. 
Town Bridge (now the Junction of Boston and Bridge Streets) was the recognized limit of the town in 1692.  The Sheriff of Salem, George Corwin, was given the authority to choose the execution location, the only stipulation being that it be done outside of town.  Immediately upon crossing Town Bridge, the lands to the left (including the official Gallows Hill) were all Common Lands.  Salem was built on a peninsula of land.  The only road out of town at the time was over Town Bridge.  Thus Corwin would have taken the condemned at least over Town Bridge.  Perley believes that Corwin did so, but no further.  Perley believes that Corwin took the immediate left after the bridge onto Proctor Street, at that time only a cart road skirting a low hill, and deposited the condemned at this little hill for execution. 
This site fits all the known facts.  First, it is over the town line.  Second, it is easily accessible by cart.  Third, the hill was of sufficient height that Salem was observable from it, a noted fact.  Forth, at the time, the North River extended in a large bay all the way to Town Bridge.  The modern canal is simply all that is left of the bay after it was filled in.  In 1692 the Town Bridge crossed a small arm of the North River bay called Bickford’s Pond.  Bickford’s Pond abutted the small hill.  This fits with the story that Benjamin Nurse was able to row his boat all the way to the base of the hill.  Fifth, the small hill supported substantial trees, whereas Upham reports of the official Gallows Hill site that the "scattered patches of soil are too thin to tempt cultivation."  Thus no trees, and recall that there is no evidence of an actual gallows erected - so how were they hung, then?  Sixth, the hill may be plainly seen from John Symonds’s birthplace, exactly as his nurse said. 
   Evidence of the Locust Trees
In 1747 locust trees had been planted in the area.  According to President John Adams, who visited "Witchcraft Hill" in 1766, "Somebody within a few years has planted a number of locust trees over the graves, as a memorial." 

Perley's sketch of actual Gallows Hill

Adams was incorrect about them being a memorial, however the clue of the locust trees led Perley to inquire of the owner of the small hill if locust trees had ever grown there.  Indeed they had, although recently cut down.  No locust trees or memory of locust trees were found on Upham’s choice of Gallows Hill.
   The Witch Tree
An interesting side note is that there was a so-called "Witch Tree" on the Perley site as late as 1793.  This tree was not connected with the hangings, but was rather of an odd shape.  It divided a foot or two above the ground into two trunks that then grew wildly apart, only to reunite into a single trunk several feet higher.  It was the custom among some Salem residents sometime after the hysteria to pass new-born babies through the hole to protect them from witches. 


Nurse family tradition is that when Rebecca Nurse was hanged on July 19, 1692, that her youngest son Benjamin, then 26 years old, rowed his boat under cover of darkness from the Nurse homestead to Gallows Hill to retrieve her body.  This is not as impossible as it might seem, even though it was a 6 mile one-way trip.  For one thing, it was not unusual for Salem Village farmers to row into Salem Town. 

The route Benjamin would have taken started from Crane Brook on their property, passing east under Hadlock’s Bridge, then further east under the Crane River Bridge on Ipswich Road, and out into the Crane River proper, a tidal bay.  He would have continued rowing east to where the Crane River joined the Wooleston River, another tidal bay.  He would have turned South into the North River near Skerry’s Point in Salem Town were they original lived before buying the farm in Salem Village.  Down the North River, a tidal bay, he rowed, then under Town Bridge and into Bickford’s Pond. 

Crane Brook behind the Rebecca Nurse House

Proctor Street occupied the 20 foot wide flat between the pond and the hanging hill, which rose about 30 feet high.  Rebecca’s body was dumped in a crevasse on the face of the hill.  He would have retrieved her body from the crevasse and rowed back to the homestead where his older brother Samuel (who had adjoining property) and father Francis buried her in an unmarked grave. 

Nurse family Cemetery

   Will the Real Gallows Hill Please Stand Up
I had a feeling years ago that something was not right with the official Gallows Hill location.  It didn’t square with the facts as I knew them.  The alternative location that Trento proposed had even more historical problems.  It wasn’t until I worked on Perley’s material that I felt a proposed location fit the known facts.  It’s my opinion that Perley is the only one so far that has produced a location for Gallows Hill that is convincing.  Perley’s work seems historical proof enough, certainly more then Upham’s, but it has no official recognition.  Perhaps because a Walgreens occupies the site and it’s not a very tourist friendly location. 
   Witchcraft Hill
On November 19, 2006, I visited the Perley site.  It is located at the junction of Boston, Bridge, and Proctor Streets.  This intersection was actually Town Bridge three hundred years ago.  From here, turn onto Proctor Street.  Today Proctor Street curves up behind the hill, but back in 1692 it curved in front of the hill.  In any event, the hill is behind the Walgreens and the parking lot butts up against it.  Proctor Street used to curve along it face between the hill and the pond.  Walgreens is where the pond used to be.  The Witch Hill GPS coordinates are: 42.5180N, -70.9100W.
Walgreens at the Corner of Bridge & Proctor
GoogleEarth Image

You will notice that the face of the hill behind Walgreens is steep and rocky.  This is due to a since-removed railway that was put through along the base of the hill in the 1870’s. 

Base of hill behind Walgreens where the railroad was.

The digging and blasting changed the face of the hill from a smooth grassy slope to the current bedrock and steep ledge. 
The hangings took place on the flat of the hill directly behind and overlooking the parking lot near the hill’s northeast end.  This area is now a small grove of young trees in a Proctor Street resident’s backyards. 

The hangings were on the top of this knoll, in the center of the picture.
Here is the same location seen from the extreme far left of the above picture:

Actual Gallows Hill location from Perley's History of Sale Note the "official" Gallows Hill high above in the upper left side of picture (photo courtesy of Eric Lawison)
The crevasse is further down the length of the hill, near where Pope Street turns left past the Walgreens parking lot.  The actual location appears to be in someone’s side yard.
Crevasse in Perley's History of Salem (1924) and in 2009 by Eric Lewson
Photograph courtesy of Eric Lewison

View From Where the Witches were Hung
Photograph courtesy of Eric Lewison

At first appearance it is not an obviously spectacular or evocative location.  But the little tangle of oddly twisted trees at the top is a witch’s woods of sorts. 

The hangings were here in this "witch's woods."

Some quiet moments I spent there in early morning contemplation were revealing, however.  I had no sense of the deaths that occurred here, however, I had a sense of the collective amnesia of the place.  It is a place hidden, forgotten, and shunned.  An embarrassment and shame of a community.  There will be no markers placed here.   All it wants is to be forgotten.
If you visit, say a prayer for the accusers, not the accused, it’s their pain that lingers here. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lucretia Derby: Feisty formidable and ahead of her time

Great article by Brigid Alverson Photos by Barbara Poole
 Among ancient court records in the Philips Library, Emily Murphy has discovered a bit of human drama, a story that she calls "'Law and Order,' 17th-century style" about a woman who went after justice as methodically as any TV detective.

Lucretia Derby would probably have been remarkable in any era, but in the late 17th century she was truly unusual. Lucretia Derby's descendants are much better known than she is. The Derbys of the 18th century were prosperous merchants in Salem. Her great-grandson, Elias Hasket Derby, was the first millionaire in America.

Murphy, a graduate student at Boston University, is writing her dissertation on the Derby family, but was frustrated that there were so few female voices, partly because no personal papers have survived from the 18th century.

"The one thing I was really hoping to find was a strong woman's voice," said Murphy, who also works as a ranger at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, "and when I flipped open those court records, I said 'Wow, there she is.'"

Lucretia Hillman and Roger Derby were married in 1668 in Wessex, England, and immigrated to New England in 1671, when Lucretia was expecting their second child. They spent a few months exploring the countryside, then bought a plot of land in Ipswich.

The fact that the Derbys could do that so soon after their arrival suggests they had some money before they came. Another clue is that just three years later, in 1674, Lucretia offered all her silver as surety for a neighbor, Samuel Hunt, so he would not go to jail in a legal dispute.

"Having silver in one's house was an important way of displaying your social status in 17th-century British culture," said Murphy. "They either had enough money that they could come to America without selling off their plate, or started acquiring it soon after they came to America."

Roger Derby was a soapmaker, which was a lucrative business in the 17th and 18th century because soapmakers often made candles, as well. However, soap and candles can only be manufactured in cool weather, so it made sense for the Derbys to have a second source of income.

"Ipswich had a waterfront and, therefore, easy access to trade with Salem and Boston," explained Murphy, adding that it was Lucretia, not Roger, who took advantage of that opportunity by running a shop at a time when women had no legal rights and could not enter into contracts.

From the descriptions of the goods Lucretia sold, Murphy concluded that this was not a small trade between women, but a true general store. Her inventory included ribbons, blue linen, ivory combs, paper, three dozen bone-shaft knives and a barrel of smoking pipes - goods that would have been bought by men, as well as women.

Lucretia was not serving as a "deputy husband," as many wives did when their husbands went to sea. Roger wasn't at sea; he was right in the house, making soap. Nor did Lucretia simply work behind the counter in her husband's store. The records make it clear that she was the one who traveled to Boston to choose the goods to be sold.

We have a catastrophe to thank for that part of Lucretia's story.

"In 1679, there was a dreadful fire in Boston," explained Murphy. "The Derbys had two bales of goods and an iron furnace in a warehouse awaiting shipment to Ipswich."

In the court case that followed, the goods were referred to as Lucretia's and the furnace as Roger's. Lucretia had contracted with brothers John and Samuel Dutch to transport the goods from the Boston warehouse to Ipswich.

After the fire, Lucretia and Roger traveled to Boston to survey the damage.

"Lucretia was not about to stay at home doing laundry while her husband saw to business affairs," said Murphy. "She was actively occupied in this business."

The warehouse owner's slave, Mingo, told the Derbys all their goods had been saved, but the Dutches claimed that one bale and part of another had been lost.

Lucretia wasn't buying that account. The Derbys found a pair of lamps at Samuel Dutch's house. Suspiciously, Samuel Dutch refused to let Lucretia look inside his chest.

At that point, Lucretia started going house to house, asking people where they had bought their handkerchiefs and lace, her suspicion growing as people produced items just like the ones of which she was awaiting delivery.

There was circumstantial evidence, as well: "Since the fire at Boston, [the Dutches] have risen mightily and have been able to pay their debts long due, and supply their family with good and new things," testified Lucretia.

In his deposition, one John Hadly describes Lucretia catching Samuel Dutch in an apparent lie.

"Lucretia Derby said 'Sam, you have been taken notice of that, since the fire, you have risen very much and have sold several goods as silver lace. Prithee, Sam, tell me where hadst thee that silver lace that is so much talked of.' Samuel Dutch answered that he Bought it at Boston & thought it was on ye book still. 'So, Samuel, thy wife said today that you had it of a woman at Passadaway in an old Debt & could get nothing else,' said Lucretia Derby."

Dutch then threatened to "trounce" Lucretia unless she dropped the case, but she retorted, "No, Samuel, I shall never doe that ... "

Despite Lucretia's detective work, the court only found that Dutch could not account for some fine English linen, and fined him 54 shillings.

"So many people posed possible origins [for the goods], the court said there was no positive evidence they had stolen them," said Murphy.

Moving to Salem

The Derbys also show up in the Ipswich court records for quite another reason. Nearly every year they were summoned to court for not attending "meeting."

They were fined more than 100 pounds in all, and threatened with prison. In 1677, the court seized four acres of their land, which suggests a certain stubbornness on their part.

Not only did they lose land and money, but without certification that he was a churchgoer, Roger could not vote.

While other researchers have concluded from this that the Derbys were Quakers, Murphy is not convinced.

"The laws on the books were very specific about Quakerism," she said, "and the Derbys are never directly prosecuted for Quakerism."

They may have been members of another dissenting sect, or they simply may not have liked the local minister, Thomas Cobbett, a sternly orthodox Puritan.

Maybe they were simply ahead of their time.

"Looking forward to the 18th century," said Murphy, "the Derbys seemed to personify the rising merchant class that really didn't place much emphasis on churchgoing or the rights of franchise that churchgoing would bring, instead relying on gaining wealth and marrying into the best families."
In 1679, the Derbys moved to Salem, buying a plot of land near the current site of the Salem Public Library. Salem was more tolerant of religious dissenters, so the Derbys may have felt more comfortable there.

There were no more summonses for non-attendance, and Roger Derby was elected constable in 1689. He was also a surveyor, looking over the local roads and arranging repairs. Meanwhile, Lucretia ran her business as before.

The Derbys were no strangers to the local courts, however, mainly because of their run-ins with Quaker merchant Thomas Maule. The first incident was Lucretia's complaint that he was abusing his Irish maidservant, Joan, beating her and forcing her to work on Sunday.

Lucretia and Roger found someone who was willing to buy Joan's indenture, but Maule would not sell, so the Derbys took him to court.

"I had to do with her as she was a stranger and my fellow creature, seeing her so much wronged," said Lucretia.

Messy business

In 1685, the tensions between Maule and the Derbys came to a head with a defamation-of-character suit Murphy describes as "spectacular."

It is impossible to say whether the problems arose because Lucretia's business was more successful than Maule's, or because of her willingness to speak her mind or, perhaps, because the Derby's children were among a group who threw stones at Maule's house and called him names.Whatever the cause, Maule brought six separate actions against the Derbys, asking a total of 3,000 pounds in damages. That was an enormous amount, at the time, more than six times the Derbys' net worth.
In the suit, Maule accused the Derbys of calling him a cheater and a "secret devil" and claimed their accusations forced him to move. One action was for the Derbys calling Maule a rogue and crying out on the street, "There goes the rogue!"

Another, which was only for five pounds, was leveled at Roger "for beating said Maule in front of the magistrate."

Maule also claimed that the Derbys accused him of behaving improperly with Joan, the Irish maid.
"While the accusation that he 'had to do' with Joan was probably gossip," explained Murphy, "others were about Maule's character." The "secret devil" accusation, she added, hinted at something more unsavory.

Because he could not put up surety for the 3,000 pounds, Roger Derby spent nine days in jail. The matter then went to arbitration but, according to Maule, the Derbys refused to follow the arbitrator's decision.

"For Roger, the issue is not the fact that he was imprisoned, but that Maule was boasting to others that he would use this action to ruin their reputation and, therefore, their business," said Murphy.
A good reputation was as important as good credit to a tradesman, and the Derbys did not take this insult lightly. In 1686, they sued Maule, saying they were losing money because of him. The court found in the Derbys' favor this time, but the records do not show much Maule had to pay in damages.

Women's place

Lucretia died in 1689, at the age of 46, leaving Roger with the care of the family's six children. Two years later, he married Elizabeth Hasket, a widow, with two children, who had also run a business. Roger and Lucretia's son, Richard, also went into business, and he became the father and grandfather of the better-known Derbys of Salem.

Murphy's research touches on a field that is starting to get more attention from historians - the true place of women in early American society.

"Lucretia is taken seriously as a shopkeeper, even to the extent of making contracts with merchants and shippers in Boston, which, in theory, she was forbidden to do," said Murphy.

On the other hand, because of her protected status as a woman, Maule had to sue both the Derbys.
"It's difficult to accuse a woman alone for anything less than a capital offense," said Murphy.While the conventions of 17th-century society held that women had no place in the private sphere, the reality was somewhat different and, as more women became active, there was a backlash.

"I think the backlash was beginning," said Murphy. "I think you can see it in the Maule case. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if she had lived through the witchcraft trials."
Murphy's research brings to life a time that was different in some ways, not so different in others.
"It's not just numbers," she said, "it's people and life and death and trying to make a living. The exact same struggles we're dealing with today, they were dealing with in the 1670s, except they had no central heating, no bathrooms, no antibiotics ... So in addition to having to make ends meet, they also had so much less control over the world than we do today.

"Once people get to understand the similarities, then we can start to look at the differences and, hopefully, make people appreciate what it was that has built the American character from the 17th century, and how we reached where we are today."

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.