Friday, December 23, 2011

Ruth True Baker

Ruth True Baker was the grandmother of Katherine Baker Thornton, see previous blog about Katherine.  Ruth was born on January 22, 1711, in Salisbury, Massachusetts, to John and Martha Merrill True.  The True family had lived in Salisbury since 1659 and must have seen a lot of changes in the almost 60 years that had passed since then.  The True family had played an important role in leadership both political and religious.  They lived through the terror of Indian attacks, which had occurred as recently as 1710, the Witch Trials of the 1690s, which were not limited to Salem, but occurred in many parts of the colony, and the general hardship of establishing a new society from scratch.  The Puritan hold over everyday life was beginning to relax and families were striking out to new lands as the first settlements became crowded. Although I cannot find much information about Ruth and her husband Benjamin, her family does have an interesting history which I hope to share.

Ruth's father was John True, third son of Henry True, Jr. and Jane Bradbury True.  According to the Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, Vol 2, John was born on February 23, 1679, in Salisbury.  He married 16 June 1702 Martha, daughter of Daniel and Sarah Clough Merrill, born 3 September 1683 in Newbury.  John and Martha had 10 children, they baptized the first 5 in 1710 when they were admitted to the Salisbury Church.  I will have to check on that, I'm not sure the Puritans baptized their children). John was a carpenter by trade and was elected a deacon in the church.  His name is not found in any records after 1736, his date of death is unknown.  John and Martha appear to have lived their entire lives in Salisbury.

Henry True, Jr.  was born on the 8th of the 1st month of 1644.  The first month according to the Puritan calendar was March.  He was born in Salem, Massachusetts. He moved with his family to Salisbury where he lived out his life.  In 1667 he married Jane Bradbury, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Perkins Bradbury.  Henry was, according to the Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire, Vol I, a carpenter.  He took the Freeman's Oath in 1675, became a member of the Salisbury Church in 1675, and on October 29th, 1696 was commissioned a Captain in the local militia. Henry was elected a Deacon of the church in 1700.  He also served as town clerk multiple times.  According to Mrs. Sarah Sprague Saunders Smith in her book Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Captain Henry True at the great age of 81 (in 1726) turned over his duties to his eldest son William.  Henry died September 18, 1735.  Jane, his wife died January 24, 1729. 

Thomas and Mary Perkins Bradbury were leading citizens in the Colony.  I copied the following from an tree, they did not post a source:

Thomas Bradbury came to Maine in 1634 to act as agent for his wife's uncle, Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Made a freeman in 1640. Constable, schoolmaster, town clerk, deputy to the court, and captain in the military. Veteran of King Philips War.

Thomas Bradbury, second son of Wymond and Elizabeth (Gill neeWhitgift) Bradbury, was baptized at Wicken-Bonant, Essex County, England, on the last day of Febuary, 1610-11, as appears by the parish register. Early in 1634 he appeared at Agamenticus, now York, Maine, as the agent or steward of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the proprietor of the Province of Maine. He was one of the original proprietors of the ancient town of Salisbury, Mass., one of the earliest settlers there, and was one of the foremost citizens for a period of more than half a century. He was made a freeman in 1640, held at various times the offices of schoolmaster of the town, town clerk, justice of the peace, deputy to the general court, county recorder, associate judge and captain of the military company, and always filled these important positions with credit to himself and satisfaction to the public. For a recording officer he was peculiarly fitted by his tastes and acquirements. He wrote an easy, graceful and legible hand, and had a clear and concise style of expression. His chirography may still be seen in numerous official documents on file in the archives of Essex County, Mass., and also at Exeter, N.H. In 1636, Mr. Bradbury became a grantee of Salisbury, and that year married Mary, daughter of John and Judith Perkins, of Ipswich.

Mary (Perkins) Bradbury and five other woman were tried and condemned for witchcraft on 9 September 1692. Mary and one of the other women, Dorcas Hoar, were not executed with the others on the following September 22nd. The reasons for their stay of execution, if ever recorded, have been lost to us but much has been written about their trial. Mary was charged even though her husband was a prominent man in the colony. "It seems strange to us that an aged person, whose whole life according to the testimony of her neighbors had been one of charity and kindness, of piety and acts of good will, should have been condemned for witchcraft (and on such unsubstantial evidence as) because 'physick' would not 'work', or butter became rancid at sea, or storms disable a vessel and caused it to leak, or a captain had visions of a woman while at sea, and men had seen a 'blue' boar." Charles Wesley True, Jr., Some Henry True Descendants on the Frontier, p. 25. Other testimony accused her of bewitching John Carr so that he became crazed and prematurely died.

At her trial, Mrs. Bradbury was defended by Major Robert Pike, uncle by marriage, and answered the charges declaring her innocence, her husband bore testimony on her behalf, and her minister, James Allin, and members of the Pike family gave testimony of her good character. The testimony of John Carr's brother, William, in Mary's defense, went to show that his brother, John, fell in love with Jemima True, but the proposed match was opposed and broken off by young Carr's father on account of his youth. John became melancholy and at times insane. William stated that he took care of his brother in his last illness and his brother died peaceably and quietly, and never spoke anything of the harm of Mrs. Bradbury or anyone else. One hundred and eighteen of Mary's acquaintances, consisting of both men and women, some having known her for fifty years, gave evidence of her good, peaceful, and Christian life. I imagine it took great courage in such perilous times to sign this declaration and was pleased to note that over a dozen of our own ancestors signed in her behalf.

The witch trial of Mary Bradbury must have been a terrifying ordeal for Jane her daughter and the True family.  Mary had been a successful businesswoman, a rarity at that time in the colonies.  She made butter and sold it to seagoing ships. Luckily she escaped with the help of friends and family and lived until 1700. Her husband Thomas died in 1695. Jemima True, whose engagement to John Carr was called off, was the sister of Henry True, Jr.

Henry True Jr.'s parents were Henry True, Sr. and Israel Pike True.  Henry Sr. spelled his last name Trew. Henry Trew was born in England. Some sources say that he was from Huddersfield in Yorkshire.  However, there was a Henry Trew, born 1591 in Caistor-Next-Yarmouth, near Filby, Norfolk, who seems to be a better candidate.  This Henry was the son of John and Jane Garret Trewe, who married 16 June 1590 in Caistor by the Sea, Norfolk.  It is believed that Henry was a seaman, possibly owning his own boat. This would fit with a man from the coastal region of Norfolk more so than inland Huddersfield, Yorkshire. I found the following on a message board for mariners: 

Henry is first recorded in America in Salem, MA, by the purchase of a house according to a deed dated 16 August 1644: "I, Edward Gibens, doe acknowleg Deed or Bill of Sale to have Received of Henry Trew of Salem fower pound for the house in Salem, which was Mr. Strattons; and by this payment doe give him fulle perseion of the said house; to him and his forever." This deed is recorded in the first volume of Records at Salem, MA. Henry was granted forty acres of land in 1649. He had a lot in "Southfield" in 1653 and a lot on South River in 1658.

Several accounts have Henry True and his family moving to Salisbury, MA, ca. 1657. He bought a house and land in Salisbury from a Richard North in 1657. His widow refers to herself as "of Salsibury" in 1659 which might indicate that the family had moved there before that time.

Henry True was a mariner and continued sailing for his living after emigrating to America. This is supported by the fact that it is recorded on 18 September 1656, that the ketch Returne, Henry Trew, Master, is "sailing from Barbados, being then on Carlisle Bay, bound for Boston with Molasses."

No written record of Henry's death has been found but it is generally believed he died at sea while on an expedition to Canada in 1659. There must have been some proof of Henry's death because in a deed on record we find that, "Israel Trew of the town of Salem now of Salisbury in the county of Essex, widow administrator to the estate of Henry Trew my husband, late deceased..." conveyed a house and land in Salem, MA, to a George Gardner on "22nd of 9th month 1659." (According to the calendar then in use in England and the colonies, the ninth month would have been November.) Also, an inventory of Henry's estate was allowed to be filed April 10, 1660. 

His widow married 18 June 1660 Joseph Fletcher of Salisbury, MA, and had one daughter by him. It is believed that all of the True children and his own daughter were treated as his own children by Joseph Fletcher and that they grew up together as one family. This impression is brought about by the reading of Joseph's will, made the 2nd day of February, 1679, in which he left everything divided just about equally among the three True children who reached adulthood and his own daughter. Joseph recovered from the illness he had when he made out his will and outlived his daughter. He disposed of his property during his lifetime by deed to his surviving step-children, Henry, Joseph, and Jemima True. The source for the above is Paul Nicols of San Diego.

Major Robert Pike
Brother of Israel 
Henry True, Sr. was married to Israel, daughter of John Pike. According to Anderson in the Great Migration, John Pike was born by 1587 in Wiltshire, England.  He married Dorothy Day, daughter of Thomas and Joan Morris Day at the White Parish, Wiltshire on 17 January 1612/13.  Based on her parents wills, Dorothy died between the date of her fathers death in 1631 and that of her mother in 1632. (She was named in the first will, but not in the second) 

John Pike came to America in 1635 aboard "The James".  He was first in Ipswich and then in Newbury.  He was in Salisbury by 1654.  In a 1965 article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register he was described as an educated man who served on juries and gave counsel to his neighbors.  He was fined for being absent and for being disruptive in town meetings.  He died in 1654. His son, Major Robert Pike, was an influential leader, both political and military, in the colony.

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