Saturday, August 22, 2015

Henry True and Jane Bradbury of Salisbury, MA

Henry True, son of Henry True and Israel Pike, was born in Salem, Massachusetts  on 8 March 1646. His father was a mariner by trade. He died when Henry was about thirteen years old. The date and circumstances of Henry Sr.'s death are unknown, but it would most likely have occurred in the fall of 1659. Israel and her family were living in Salisbury on land purchased by Henry in 1657 when she sold the house and property he owned in Salem. The deed of sale was recorded in November of 1659 and Henry's estate was inventoried in early 1660. The estate was not large and Israel still had small children to raise so, she did what most widows did to survive, she married. In June of 1660,  forty year old Israel married twenty four year old Joseph Fletcher, also of Salisbury. Joseph was recorded in 1653 as the servant of Samuel Hall, nothing else is known about his origins, how or when he arrived in Massachusetts.

So, here's a lady of middling age, with young children, marrying a 'toyboy' nobody, about seven months after her husbands death. If this happened today she'd be the talk of the town and her kids would be in therapy for years. But Israel had to do what was necessary to survive and most widows with young children remarried rapidly in order to secure their future. And, it seems that Joseph formed a close bond with the True children and that he cared deeply for Henry, his brother Joseph and their sister Jemima, the only True siblings to survive to adulthood.

miscarriages before marriage
Joseph Fletcher was the Salisbury Constable in 1668. He was responsible for distributing warrants and summons to court, presenting the accused to the court, collecting fines and taxes. In October of 1668 his son in law, Henry True and his wife Jane Bradbury True were presented in court for the crime of "miscarriage before marriage". What was a miscarriage before marriage you ask. Henry and Jane were married on 15 March 1668 and they welcomed a baby daughter on 30 May 1668, about two and a half months after their wedding. Miscarriages is a Puritan euphemism for premarital sex.

warning: personal opinions ahead
Jane probably knew she was pregnant by late 1667. Premarital pregnancy in the 1600s was not as rare an occurrence as you might think. Some young couple who thought, or knew, that their parents would not approve of the match, deliberately got pregnant in order to force a marriage. Jane came from a prominent Salisbury family. Her parents, Thomas and Mary Bradbury, were upstanding citizens, her father was a leader of the community. It is possible that they might not have thought Henry a suitable match for their daughter. Jane may have been afraid to tell them about the pregnancy or maybe they knew and hoped she'd miscarry or many Jane wouldn't name the father. In any event they cut it pretty close.

Jane gave birth to her daughter Mary in Hampton, New Hampshire and not in her hometown of Salisbury. Why? I cannot find anything that would lead me to believe that Henry ever lived in Hampton. But, Jane had a married sister, Mary Stanyon, who did. I think it was likely that Jane was shipped up to Hampton to deliver the baby out of shame or embarrassment to the Bradbury family. Henry and Jane spent the rest of their lives in Salisbury.

back to salisbury
Back to the court story, Henry and Jane were both fined for the pregnancy. He had to pay 3 pounds and Jane 40 shillings, which was two pounds, which was quite a bit a money in those days. In October 1668 Henry True, house carpenter, bought land and rights to the cow common for 21 pounds. The rights were for four cows and included four acres of meadow and thirty acres of upland. I'm not sure where they lived, did they have their own house or did they live with family. In any case they were back on the road to respectability.

1673 fight for salem land
Henry's mother Israel had sold the family house and land in Salem shortly after Henry Sr's death. But, Henry Sr. had been allotted forty acres, in 1649, that had never been laid out. In 1673 Henry Jr, Joseph and Israel Fletcher and the other surviving children of Henry True Sr., Joseph and Jemima, went to court in a case against the town of Salem in an effort to recover the land. Israel had gone to court in Hampton in 1659, showing that she was the administrator of Henry's estate, including the allotted land. The family lost their suit, the town of Salem had apparently warned everyone with an interest in the land that they had to claim it by 1661 or lose it forever. The last remaining tie to his birthplace was gone.

social climbing
By 1676 any lingering stink from Henry and Jane's youthful shenanigans was long gone. In May of that  year Henry took the Freemans Oath. In November he was selected for the Jury of Trials.  He accomplished the ultimate Puritan distinction in 1677 by becoming a full member of the Church of Salisbury. Everyone was required to go to church, but to become a full member required a soul baring confession that many men and women balked at. His mother, Mrs. Fletcher, and his wife Jane were also full members, but his step-father Joseph was not.

From the beginning of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, all able bodied men from age 16 to 60 were required to train for their local militia. Henry rose through the ranks to eventually become a Captain in the militia. Other than the psychological trauma, Salisbury was not affected physically by King Philip's War in 1676. The later wars brought the violence of Indian attack closer to home. In late 1689 Indians attacked and killed many residents of Dover and other coastal towns in New Hampshire. In a November meeting of the Essex County Court, Lt. Henry True, his brother Sgt. Joseph True and the other members of the Salisbury Militia were ordered to "range about the outskirts" of the town of Salisbury.  They were to report and suspicious activity. Robert Pike, Henry and Joseph's uncle, was Captain of the Troop and Henry's father in law, Thomas Bradbury, was Captain of the Fort. Joseph Fletcher was also a member of the militia at that time and called upon to safeguard their town.

On 4 July 1706   the Indian Wars were practically on Salisbury's door step. The neighboring town of Amesbury, which was an off shoot of Salisbury, was attacked and quite a few men, women and children were killed. A report of the event was sent to Captain Henry True. In 1710 the men of Salisbury were called on to come to the relief of the New Hampshire town of Exeter. Although some say that Henry True was sent, it seems to me as if it was his son as the name is listed as Corporal Henry True. In any case the True family men did their duty in the defense of their town and Colony.

children of henry and jane
1. Mary b. 30 May 1668 Hampton, NH, m. 5 Feb 1688/9 Ephraim Eaton (Ephraim d. 8 June 1723 not Mary, she is mention in father's 1723 will)
2. William b. 6 June 1670, m. Eleanor Stephens, d. 18 March 1733/34 age 64
3. Henry b. 6 Jan 1673,m. 20 Dec 1699 Abigail French, d. 1  Nov 1722 age 49
4. Jane b. 5 Dec 1676, m. 16 June 1702 Edward French, d. 24 March 1715 age 39 
5. John b. 23 Feb 1678, m. 16 June 1702 Martha Merrill, living in 1736
6. Jemima b. 16 March 1681, m. 30 Oct 1700 Thomas Bradbury, d. 5 Dec 1700 age 21
7. Jabez b. 19 Feb 1682/3, d. before 1685
8. Jabez b. 6 Oct 1685, m. 8 Jan 1707/8 Sarah Tappan, d. 22 May 1749 age 64

rip jane and henry
Jane and Henry both lived long lives. She died on 24 Jan 1729/30. Henry lived a further five years dying at the age of 90 on 8 September 1735. Henry was survived by only two son and possibly one daughter. The reward for living a long life was to bury most of  your children. Henry and Jane raised their children to be upstanding citizens. Their sons, William, John and Jabez, all became Deacons in the church.

In June of 1723 Henry wrote a deed/will. He divided his estate between his three living sons, William, John and Jabez and his daughter Mary True Eaton. Mary's husband Ephraim died the next month, she was mentioned in his will. Her death was not recorded and if she remarried, the marriage was also not recorded. However, Ephraim Eaton willed land in Haverhill to his son Samuel. In 1727 a Samuel Eaton sold land in Haverhill, the deed was co-signed by his mother; Mary Easton Marsh. Was this Mary True Eaton?

 In 1736, John, Jabez and the sons of the then deceased William, divided the last of the property of Captain Henry True.

Henry True and Israel Pike

Hoyt, David Webster. The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich, and Hampton, and of York County, Maine. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1982. Print.
The Essex Antiquarian. Salem, MA: The Essex Antiquarian, 13 vols. 1897-1909. (Online database: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.)
Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, MA: S. Perley, 1924. Print.
Hambleton, Else L. Daughters of Eve: Pregnant Brides and Unwed Mothers in Seventeenth-century Massachusetts, (New York: Routledge, 2004). 
Learn to do a better job citing your sources with this handy Quicksheet by Elizabeth Shown Mills available at

Monday, August 10, 2015

Henry and Israel Pike True of Salem and Salisbury, MA

You know, there's nothing better than going down the rabbit hole and actually coming up with the rabbit. Today, I went down rabbit hole and came up empty handed. This post is about Henry True of Salem and Salisbury. My elusive bunny; his English ancestry. Sure there is reams of stuff written about his ancestry, but I was looking for facts to back up the stories written about him. The two main storylines are:

huddersfield, yorkshire

Henry was from Huddersfield, Yorkshire and came with Sir Richard Saltonstall to New England in 1635. This seems to have been the first ancestry written about Henry and is included in many of the old pre 1900's genealogy compilations  written about immigrants to New England. No proof was supplied to explain why he was thought to be from Yorkshire.

In his book on the descendants of Henry True, Charles Wesley True, wrote that Henry was born in 1629 in Huddersfield and immigrated in 1633. He also says that Henry settled first in Salisbury and then was given land in Salem in 1649.  He goes on to say that Henry was the "first of that name", meaning True, to immigrate. Something about that information should jump right out at you as really wrong.

A quick search of shows a Henry True living in a village called Augton near Selby, some 40 odd miles from Huddersfield. But it appears that he might still be living and having children in Augton in 1640. So, what does this information give us. Nothing. So there was a man named Henry True in Yorkshire, there is no way to connect him with our Henry.

The second main storyline about Henry's ancestry is centered on the Norfolk County coastline. There is a concentration of the name True/Trew in this area. This theory is popular because Henry was a mariner and it would make sense that he might have coastal origins. Parish records show a marriage of John Trew and Jane Garrett on 16 June 1590 in a small village called Caister by the Sea. A Henry Trew, parents John and Jane, was baptized at Caister next Yarmouth on 30 May 1591. This Henry is the one that many people say was the immigrant to Massachusetts.

A Henry Trew married Marie Newale on 23 July 1615 in Filby, Norfolk, England. Filby is only 3.6 miles from Caister. The internet narrative says that Henry sailed to Barbados with his wife and a daughter named Ann, but arrived in Salem a childless widower. I can't find a birth/baptism for a child Ann, but what I did find was a burial for Marie True, wife of Henry in Jan of 1631. She was buried at Rollesby, a mere two miles from Filby. On 15 Dec 1631 Henry True, widower, married Mary Collings in Rollesby.

Here's another tickler for you. On 17 July 1639, Jane Trew, daughter of Henry and Mary Trew, was baptized at Great Yarmouth. John Trew, son of Henry and Mary Trew, was baptized in the same location in 1642. Were these the children of Henry True and Mary Collings?  Were they the grandchildren of John and Jane Trew? It's also possible that Henry and Mary Newale had a son Henry and he was the one to immigrate, unfortunately this is just speculation.

my personal conclusions
If Henry True, born 1591, was the husband of 24 year old Israel Pike, he was 54 years old when they married. The Henry who married Marie Newale seems, to me, to be the man who married Mary Collings. Was he the man who fathered Jane and John? If he was in Great Yarmouth, just a few miles from Filby, in 1642, what happened to his family? There is no way of knowing, at this time. One big problem is that we have no clue as to when  Henry True of Salem was born. He left no clues to his age, such as in a court deposition. If we don't know when he was born, than it is impossible to say who he was and where he was from. Was he a mature middle aged man or was  he closer in age to his wife Israel? From a genealogical standpoint, I don't think we can make any claim to his English ancestry. So, what do we know about Henry True, glad you asked.


No mention of Henry is found in Massachusetts prior to 1644. A deed of sale was written August 16, 1644 signed by Edward Gibbons of Salem.  Henry Trew of Salem was the proud owner of a house and some land. The house lot was on the South River and came with about 1/2 acre of land. According to the Perley map it would most likely have been somewhere along modern day Derby Street. Henry was later given a 10 acre lot in the South Field of Salem.

The recording of vital statistics was not always a priority for town clerks, and some records have been lost through the years. Henry's marriage if recorded cannot be found today. But we know that Henry was married by 1644 to Israel Pike, daughter of John Pike and Dorothy Day. She was born about 1620 in Langford, England. Torrey says they were married in 1645, but their first child, John, was baptized 13-5-1645. Their next child arrived a little over a year later. In court records Henry says that his son Henry was born the 8th day of the 1st month in the year 1646. They had at least seven children. All of the children were baptized in the first church of Salem. Oddly, there is no entry for Mary True in the transcript of their records. This make me wonder if they had a daughter named Mary. Their children were:

1. John bp. 13-5-1645, d. before 1679
2. Henry b. 8 March 1646
3. Mary b. or bp. 14 March 1646/7, d. before 1679
4. Lydia b. or bp. 4 Feb 1648/9, d. before 1679
5. Joseph b. or bp. 8 Feb. 1651/2 m. 20 April 1675 Ruth Whittier
6. Benjamin b. or bp. 19 Feb 1653/4, d. before 1679
7. Jemimi b. or bp. 26 April 1657, m. 1 Oct 1679 John March

the return
Henry was a farmer and mariner by occupation. He may have sailed part of the time and farmed when he was back home in Salem. On 18 September 1656 Henry was the master, or ship captain, of a ketch called the Returne. He was anchored in Carlisle Bay, Barbados. The ships cargo was molasses, bound for Boston and destined to be made into Rum. He may have delivered a cargo of salt cod, a staple in the diet of the African slaves in the islands. A ketch was a small two masted ship. It was used for fishing and for trade. It is important to note that Henry did not own this boat, he was one of many men hired to sail it.


In 1657 Henry bought a house in Salisbury some forty miles to the north. Why? Maybe he wanted to settle down and farm. Salisbury, while close to the coast was not a shipping center. Maybe he was ready to give up sailing and settled down with his growing family. If he was the Henry born in 1591 than he was sixty six years old and rapidly approaching old age. It is not known when or if Henry moved to Salisbury, but Israel is known to have been there in November of 1659.

rip henry
Our Henry was a real man of mystery, we don't know all that much about him, including when and where he died. There is speculation that he died at sea, some say up near Canada, I say, how do you know that! He could just as well died in his bed. All we do know is that Israel was selling the Salem property in November of 1659.

An inventory of his estate was done in March of 1660 and included both the land in Salem and in Salisbury. He also owned cows, pigs, a horse I think, the clerk had terrible handwriting. Henry also owned not one but two bibles. The total estate was only worth a very modest 175 pounds.

Henry's death left Israel a widow at the age of  forty. We don't know how many of her children were living but her youngest was only about 3 years old. What choices did she have, very few. On 18 June 1660 she married twenty four year old Joseph Fletcher. In 1662 she gave birth to her last child, a daughter named Mary.

Apparently in 1679 Joseph had a serious health scare which frightened him enough to write a will. I have never seen a copy of the will and not sure if it still exists. Author David Hoyt wrote about it in his bio of Joseph in his book "The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury". He wrote that Joseph split his estate between the three surviving True children and his daughter Mary. Joseph survived his illness and went on to live another twenty years. Unfortunately his and Israel's daughter Mary died at age twenty.

rip israel and joseph
Israel died on the 12th of March 1699/1700. Her husband of almost thirty years, Joseph followed her to the grave three days later on the 15th. In his journal, The Reverend John Pike, said that his Aunt died after forty hours of sickness. He recorded that his Uncle Fletcher died of the same distemper. Both suffered first from a cold shivering which progressed to a strong fever which carried them both off.

They were married twice as long as Israel and Henry. In 1695 Joseph gave given all his possessions to his dearly loved sons in law, Henry Jr. and Joseph True. Of Israel's eight children, only three remained alive to see her into her grave.


Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts. Vol. 1. Salem, MA: S. Perley, 1924. Print.

Perley, Sidney. The History of Salem, Massachusetts. Vol. 2. Salem, MA: S. Perley, 1926. Print.

England Birth and Christenings 1538-1975 

England Marriages 1538-1973

Hoyt, David Webster. The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts: With Some Related Families of Newbury, Haverhill, Ipswich and Hampton. Providence, RI: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1897. Print.

Pike, John, and Alonzo Hall. Quint. Journal of the Rev. John Pike, of Dover, N.H. Cambridge: Press of J. Wilson and Son, 1876. Print.

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