Sunday, August 23, 2020

Henry Robie of Castle Donington and Hampton, New Hampshire



English Origins

Henry Robie is believed to the son of Thomas and Mary Coxon Robie of Castle Donington, Leicestershire, England. If so, he was baptized on 12 February 1618. His family ancestry can be reliable traced for several generations and the family name is found in local records for centuries. 

Coming to America

The ship and date of sailing are unknown, but Henry's name is found in the Dorchester records by 1639. He didn't stay long in Massachusetts and by 1640 he was in Exeter, New Hampshire and later by 1650, he removed to Hampton, where he spent the remainder of his life. Like all upstanding citizens, Henry performed his civic duties, he acted as constable for the year 1661 and was chosen to be a selectman in 1656. He served as a justice of the peace for many years as well as that of judge of the court of sessions. 

Exeter was known as a lumber town and while there, Henry joined in the building of a sawmill. Later in life he was an innkeeper. 

Family

Henry married three times. [1] Ruth Moore who died 5 May 1673
                                            [2] Elizabeth (Philbrick)(Chase) Garland who died 11 Feb 1677
                                            [3] Sarah (Unknown) who died 23 Jan 1703 

Children: Mary, b. abt. 1644, m. 1663, Samuel Folsom, named in fathers will
                Thomas b. 1 March 1645/6, d. 1689 Falmouth
                 John b. 2 Feb 1648 my ancestor
                 Judith had an illegitimate child, named in fathers will
                 Ruth b. 3 March 1654, named in father's will
                 Deliverance b. 22 March 1657, m. Nathaniel Haseltine, not in father's will
                 Samuel b. 4 August 1659
                 Icabod b. 26 November 1664
                 Sarah b. 19 April 1679, not named in father's will

Life in Exeter and Hampton

Much of what we know about Henry Roby comes from the records of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County of which Exeter and Hampton were a part. I'm not sure when I last saw a name mentioned quite so many times as our Henry. Beginning in 1643 his name is found year in year out. He took the oath of fidelity in 1648. The following year he was made Clerk of the Market, and in 1650 he was a sworn commissioner for Exeter. 

Henry was sued by his neighbor and sued them in return. He once sued the very contentious Edward Colcord for suing him too much. Henry was also in court representing clients as their attorney. He was the town attorney for Hampton for several years. 

Henry seems to have been something of a hot head and was admonished in court in 1664 for reproaching the minister in reviling speeches concerning the ordinance of baptism. At the time there was huge dissent over the act of baptism, which caused hard feelings on both sides. Henry's wife, Elizabeth was ordered to be sent to jail in Boston for her 'contemptuous carriages' in court. She apologized and avoid prison. 

In 1647 in Exeter, Henry was fined for 'drawing wine and beer without a license'. In 1670 in Hampton he was granted a license, which was renew for many years. The court ruled he could keep an Ordinary but was bound not to let the town's children and servants 'lie tippling in his house'. This order was reinforced in 1679 when the court reminded him that the Ordinary was for travelers only, no townfolk could be served. Henry apparently like to serve himself. He was excommunicated from the church of Hampton by Rev. Moody for being a common drunkard. 

Henry's daughter Judith found her way into the court records when she had a child out of wedlock. The court ordered John Young, the father, to pay maintenance for the child. Apparently the couple never married and the Robys were often in court seeking payment. 

Henry died in 1688. The Reverend Cotton said of him, 'he would not have so honorable a burial as an ass'. This seems to be the case and it is said that 'when dead, his body was taken and thrown in a hole near the great rock in the rear of the old meeting house sometime in the night'. This was to avoid his creditors putting a lien on the body. 

Henry left a lengthy will and codicil. The inventory was extensive and include a 'looking glass that was bought in England'. He was evidently a successful businessman, despite his drinking. 


Sources: 


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