Thursday, February 2, 2023

Roles of Men, Women and Children in 17th Century Puritan Massachusetts

In 17th century puritan Massachusetts, the roles of men, women and children were very clearly defined. Men were the breadwinners, while women were responsible for taking care of the home and children. Children were expected to obey their parents and help with household chores.

While women didn't have the same legal rights as men, they did have a lot of power within the home. They were responsible for raising the children in a religious environment and teaching them the values and beliefs of the puritans. Women also played a key role in the community, often leading religious ceremonies and acting as moral authorities.

For men, the main goal was to provide for their families. This meant working hard at their jobs and making sure that the family had enough money to survive. Men were also responsible for teaching their children how to be good puritans and how to live by the puritan values.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Mallory Saga – Books 1-3

The inspiration to write was, in the beginning, merely to see if I could do it.  I had written short pieces over the years but to tackle a full blown novel was a daunting prospect.  Once the seed was planted I came up with a rough idea of telling the story of three siblings living somewhere in colonial America.  Choosing that general locale was a natural fit for me as I’ve been a lifelong student of American history and I felt that if I was going to write a historical fiction novel, it might be prudent to choose a subject I knew a little about. I picked The French and Indian War as the starting point for what was now becoming a possible series of books that would follow the Mallory clan through the years.  That war intrigued me and I saw a chance to tell the story through the eyes of the Mallory family.  It also provided me with the opportunity to tell the plight of the Native Americans caught up in this conflict.  The French and Indian War paved the way for the colonies to push further west into the Ohio River area.  It also set the stage for the events of the 1770’s.  Britain incurred a huge debt winning that war and looked to the colonies for reimbursement in the form of new taxes and tariffs.  Well, we all know how those ungrateful colonists responded. 

As to the name Mallory – I have a photo hanging on my living room wall of my great grandfather, Harry Mallory.  I got to know him when I was a young boy and was always glad when we visited him.  He lived a good portion of his life in western Pennsylvania which is where much of Clash of Empires takes place.  So, as a gesture to my forebears, Mallory became the name of the family. 


Clash of Empires

In 1756, Britain and France are on a collision course for control of the North American continent that will turn into what can be described as the 1st world war, known as The Seven Year’s War in Europe and The French and Indian War in the colonies.  The Mallory family uproots from eastern PA and moves to the western frontier and find themselves in the middle of the war. It is a tale of the three Mallory siblings, Daniel. Liza and Liam and their involvement in the conflict; the emotional trauma of lost loved ones, the bravery they exhibit in battle situations.  The story focuses on historical events, such as, the two expeditions to seize Fort Duquesne from the French and the fighting around Forts Carillon and William Henry and includes the historical characters George Washington, Generals Braddock, Forbes and Amherst.  The book also includes the event known as Pontiac’s Rebellion in which the protagonists play important roles.  Clash of Empires is an exciting look at the precursor to the events of July 1776; events that will be chronicled in the second book, Paths to Freedom, as I follow the exploits and fate of the Mallory clan.

Paths to Freedom

In Paths to Freedom the children of the three Mallory siblings begin to make their presence known, especially Thomas, the oldest child of Liza and Henry Clarke (see right there, already another family line to follow), but Jack and Caleb, the twin sons of Liam and Rebecca along with Bowie, the son of Daniel and Deborah are beginning to get involved as well. The French and Indian War, the historical setting for book 1, was over, and the Mallory/Clarke clan is looking forward to settling and expanding their trading post village, Mallory Town, now that the frontier is at peace. And for a time they had peace, but the increasing discontent in the East, not so much toward the increasing rise in taxes, but the fact that Parliament was making these decisions without any input from the colonies, slowly made its way west to the frontier. Once again the Mallory/Clarke clan would be embroiled in another conflict.

Another facet of my saga is that the main characters are not always together in the same place or even the same event. In Paths my characters are spread out; some have gone East, some have gone West, some are sticking close to Mallory Town, so in effect there are three stories being told, and that means more plots, subplots, twists and surprises. 

One of the aspects of the lead up to The Revolutionary War was the attempt by the British to ensure cooperation with the Native Americans, especially the Iroquois Confederation. The British had proclaimed that they would keep the colonies from encroaching on tribal lands, a strong inducement indeed. However, some tribes, like The Oneida, had established a good relationship with the colonists. I knew right away when I started book 2 that the relationship between the Mallory’s and the tribes would be part of it. Among the historical Native Americans who take part in Paths are the Shawnee Chiefs; Catecahassa (Black Hoof), Hokoleskwa (Cornstalk), Pucksinwah (father of Tecumseh), and the Mingo leader Soyechtowa (Logan).

I also realized that I needed to get someone to Boston, and the Sons of Liberty. Thomas Clarke, the eighteen year old son of Liza and Henry, was the perfect choice for the assignment (mainly because he was the only child old enough at the time). Through him we meet the luminaries of the Boston contingent of rebels, Paul Revere, Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock, and the firebrand of the bunch, Sam Adams. Plenty of history fodder to be had…British raid in Salem…Tea Party…the famous midnight rides…culminating with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. Oh yes, plenty of opportunities for Thomas.

An untenable situation arises in Mallory Town resulting in Liam and his two companions, Wahta and Mulhern, finding themselves on a journey to the shores of Lake Michigan and beyond. Driven by his restless buffalo spirit, Liam has his share of adventures; encountering a duplicitous British commander, meeting many new native tribes, some friendly, some not so much. A spiritual journey in a land not seen by many white men.

I ended Paths with the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the first shots of The Revolutionary War. The flint has been struck; the tinder has taken the spark. Soon the flames of war will engulf the land, and the Mallory clan will feel the heat in the third book, Crucible of Rebellion. 

Crucible of Rebellion

The timeline for Crucible is 1775 – 1778. I decided to split the Revolutionary War into two books, mainly because there is so much more action as opposed to The French & Indian War…and because as I was writing, my characters insisted on some scenes I hadn’t previously thought of. Book 4 of the saga is in the planning stages. Tentative title – A Nation Born.

The three Mallory siblings, Daniel, Liza, and Liam play important parts in CoR, but it is their children who begin to make their marks on the saga. Their youngest son, Ethan, and their daughter Abigail, of Daniel and Deborah travel with their parents to Boonesborough, and reside there with Daniel Boone. The war reaches even this remote frontier, prompting Daniel and Deborah to move further west in search of peace. However, the banks of The Wabash River prove not to be immune to conflict.

Their eldest son, Bo accompanies Liam’s twins, Jack and Cal, first to Fort Ticonderoga, then to Boston with a load of cannon for General Washington’s siege of Boston (the Noble Train of Artillery with Colonel/General Henry Knox). In Boston they meet up with Liza and Henry’s son Thomas, who is no longer a prisoner (can’t say more than that) , Marguerite, and Samuel Webb. 

General Washington has plans for the Mallory boys…plans which see some of them in a few of the more important battles of the war… the escape from Long Island, the surprise attack at Trenton, the turning point battles at Saratoga NY, as well as taking part in numerous guerilla type skirmishes. 

A long ways away from the conflict Liam, with Wahta, are living with the Crow along the Bighorn River. Liza and Henry made the trip to Boonesborough with Daniel and Deborah, but do not go with them to The Wabash….they have their own adventures.

Although I write fiction tales, the historical aspect of the saga provides the backdrop. History is often overlooked, or is taught with a certain amount of nationalistic pride, whitewashing controversial events, much to the detriment of humankind. So I hope that what I write might help broaden the reader’s horizon a bit, that what they learned in school isn’t necessarily the whole story. Two main historical topics in the story of America that frequent The Mallory Saga are slavery, and the plight of the indigenous people who have lived here since before the founding of Rome; two historical topics that linger still in America’s story. Entertainment and elucidation; lofty goals for a humble scribe telling a tale.

The Humble Scribe

I am a retired (recently) data center professional. Not that I started out thinking I would spend nearly 50 years working in mainframe computer environments. My major interests, scholastically, in high school, and college were history, and anthropology. The Cuban missile crisis, Bay of Pigs, assassinations, Vietnam, Watergate, etc., were some of the events that shaped me, forming the basis for my cynical view of government. One of the results of this “hippie attitude” was that I quit school, and my job, taking a year and a half off to travel a bit, and enjoy life. During that period I began composing the odd poem or song lyric, but I knew in my heart, and from experience writing school term papers, final exams, and the like, that I was a prose writer. My favorite fantasy for my future at the time was to become a forest ranger sitting in some fire watch tower writing the great American novel. Life intervened, however, and I put that dream aside to marry, and raise a family, which meant I needed to be employed, thus decades of staring at computer screens ensued. As time went on, I began writing about the golf trips I took with my buddies. At first they were humor laced travelogues, but now they are fictional tales of my friends; the golf becoming a vehicle for creating a story. Then in 2013, I started writing book reviews, and communicating with authors about the process of writing a novel. My dream to write the great American novel returned.

Well I hope I’ve piqued your interest in American historical fiction, and in particular The Mallory Saga. If so moved, the buy links are below. Crucible of Rebellion paperback will be out soon. Follow the progress of The Mallory Saga here:

Facebook Page

Mallory Saga Wordpress Blog

Clash buy link



Paths buy links



Crucible buy links


Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Heron: Coming April 2021 / A sample


I'm happy to announce that my next book, The Heron, will be published by Black Rose Writing on 15 April 2021. The story is a time-slip/paranormal mystery with a strong historical fiction element. The period is split between modern day and the 1690s and the setting is Oyster River, New Hampshire. Like Blood in the Valley and Weave a Web of Witchcraft it was genealogy that led me to this story and several of my ancestors play bit parts. I hope you enjoy this sample and that I can tempt you to read more.

First Encounter
7 July 2019
Oyster River, New Hampshire

Thoughts of murder crossed her mind. Her fingers itched to wrap themselves around the woman’s throat, cutting off her endless stream of words. They’d catch her, she’d never get off the plane undiscovered. She’d die in jail. Might be worth it. Abbey pictured the headlines. College Professor Throttles Obnoxious Seatmate On Flight From Hell. Through gritted teeth, she smiled at the unsuspecting, garrulous woman beside her. The seatbelt sign dinged and flashed on. Relief flooded her mind. Thank you, Sweet Jesus. 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are beginning our final descent.” The now chipper attendant spieled off instructions to the turbulence weary passengers crammed aboard the long-delayed flight from Houston. “Welcome to Portsmouth International Airport.”

Saved by the bell, hallelujah. The woman would live and Abbey spared life in prison. Good thing. Orange was her least favorite color. Abbey gathered her belongings and peered sideways at her seatmate. Poor dear. The anxiety-ridden flight brought out the worst in all of them, herself included. She took a deep breath and centered her mind, putting her brutal day behind her. The hours spent sitting on the tarmac, the stomach churning turbulence, the endless nervous chatter, it was coming to an end. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts. She glanced down at the card stuck in her book as a placeholder. An invitation, handwritten in beautiful calligraphy, on thick cream stock. She read it for the millionth time. 

Doctor Abigail Coote,

It is with immense pleasure I write to inform you that you are the recipient of the Pine Tree House Award for Academic Excellence in the field of American History. This letter entitles you to two weeks accommodation at our recognized historic home, Pine Tree House. Local excursions and access to knowledgeable historians included. All meals prepared by a world class chef. 

Please contact us with your travel plans, ASAP, so we can prepare the house for your arrival. Congratulations and we look forward to serving you soon.

Miss Miriam Foss
General Manager, Pine Tree House

Abbey had yet to discover the culprit who’d submitted her name for consideration. No one at the university admitted to it. Her chief suspect was Cassandra, her best friend, who knew the intimate details of Abbey’s recent tragic accident and encouraged her to leave town for a well-deserved break, so here she was, winging her way to New Hampshire. She was grateful to abandon the Texas heat and humidity for a cool New England summer. But more than that, she craved distraction from her inner turmoil. As the plane touched down, Abbey slipped the paper into her purse.

The airport was tiny and compared to Houston Hobby, easy to navigate. Abbey glanced at her watch. Four o’clock, four hours late thanks to thunderstorms and ground delays. As she wheeled her suitcase through the arrivals area, the stress of the flight dissipated, and her excitement grew. The blue-haired chatterbox, surrounded by a bevy of grandchildren, waved from across the baggage claim carousel. Abbey gave her a magnanimous salute. She couldn’t help but grin at the kids’ evident pleasure, clamoring for their Gran’s attention. 

 Entering the pickup area, she spotted her name in calligraphy, held aloft on a rectangular piece of cardboard. The sight of the man holding the placard caused a pause in her step and a slight lift of an eyebrow. Tall, blond and slender, he was drop dead gorgeous. An immediate stab of guilt pierced her pleasant mood as her battered emotions fought for the higher ground. Jesus girl, get a grip, he’s a cute cab driver, you’ll never see him again. You’re allowed to look. She took a deep breath, plastered a weak smile on her face and hurried over to the sign-wielding hottie. 

“Hello there, I’m Abigail Coote.”

The man gave her a noncommittal once over and made a slight old-fashioned bow. “Good afternoon, Doctor Coote. I hope your flight was uneventful, despite your delays.” His tone was serious, like a butler speaking to his employer. 

“It was. Thank you.” A bemused smile danced on her lips. She couldn’t tell if he was joking. Perhaps he’s an aspiring actor, practicing a part. 

He reached out and grabbed her carry-on bag, slinging the strap across his shoulder. “The car is just outside. It’s a quick drive to Pine Tree House.” He strode off in front of her but glanced back. “My name is Jeremiah.”

He has the most beautiful blue eyes. Stop it, Abbey.

The automatic doors slid open with a pneumatic hiss; Abbey glided into a glorious New England afternoon. She lifted her face to a cloudless sky and inhaled, filling her lungs. There was a familiar briny tang to the air, not unlike the Gulf Coast, but the temperature was cool perfection. She trailed Jeremiah a short distance to a discreet black Mercedes sedan, thankful it was not a flashy stretch limo. The engine purred to life, and before she knew it they exited the compact airport and headed west. From the back seat, she caught glimpses of trees and water through the tinted glass. Her driver hummed a melodic tune under his breath. 

As the car sped across a large bridge, Jeremiah pointed to the left. “That’s Maine, just over the river. The Piscataqua. On the right, smack in the middle of the river, lies Goat Island. The finger of land that juts into Little Bay is Fox Point, named by the original settlers.” His eyes caught hers in the rear-view mirror. “We have to drive into the town of Durham to cross the Oyster River and head back in this direction.” 

Abbey nodded, half-listening to his commentary on the unfolding landscape. Traffic was light. They soon crossed a smaller bridge and turned onto a narrow tree-lined road. “Do you mind if I open the window?”

“No, go right ahead.” 

Abbey lowered the glass halfway; the sharp scent of pine teased her nose. She rested her head against the seat and smiled in pleasure. The vehicle slowed, veering onto a gravel drive. A quarter-mile later, the car burst free of the trees and rolled to a stop some distance from a range of buildings. 

“I thought you’d like to see the house from this vantage point.” Jeremiah exited the auto and opened her door. She refused his hand as she clambered out, excited for her first view. Her jaw dropped in amazement as she beheld the rambling building. It was austere and elegant, and she fell in love on sight. 

Jeremiah moved to her side. “Do you like it?”

She glanced over at him, surprised by the pride that wreathed his handsome face. “It’s fantastic.” It occurred to her; he was not just a driver. His pleased look piqued her curiosity. “Do you work here?”

He nodded in the affirmative. “Yes. I’m the chauffeur, chef, handyman and tour guide, rolled into one.”

“Humph. Good to know.” Abbey stifled a wicked grin and turned to give the house her full attention. The sun, on its western descent, bathed the gray, weathered timbers in a warm light which glinted off the water in the distance. The website photos failed to do the place justice. Two chimney stacks rose from opposite ends of the house with a third stack rising from the center. The home appeared to have evolved over the centuries. Abbey watched a curtain twitch in an upstairs diamond-paned window. She glimpsed a pretty face, framed by white-blond hair, another guest perhaps.

Jeremiah stood beside her and pointed at the house. “Do you see the box-shaped portion of the house in the middle? That’s the original family home with its central chimney stack.” Two gabled additions flanked either side with a small gabled porch added to the entrance. He pivoted his arm. “To the right is a modern garage and staff house. A barn stood here centuries ago; it burned in a fire. Over there is the summer kitchen, now a store room slash garden shed. The funky building on your left is the privy, built circa 1750.”

“A privy, what fun.” Abbey sniggered like a naughty schoolgirl. “When did you get indoor plumbing?”

“Who said we have?” Jeremiah replied, straight-faced, as they walked towards the entrance.

Abbey, her eyes fixated on the sprawling house, stumbled on an unseen pothole but caught herself before she fell. God, how embarrassing. As she raised her head, the scene before her wavered. The wings of the house melted away, leaving the original small wooden box standing alone. A curl of smoke rose from the chimney, climbing high into the deep blue sky. A strangled cry issued from her mouth. What the hell!

“Dr. Coote. Are you okay?” Abbey’s eyes flew over to her chauffeur, his face concerned. His hand hovered over her shoulder as if unsure if he should touch her. She blinked and shook her head; the world returned to normal. “Ah, yeah. Just a dizzy spell.” 

Marking it down to an overactive imagination, Abbey brushed off the incident and turned her attention to the view. Day lilies, in bloom, lined the walls of the outbuildings. Bright yellow flowers, bobbing in the warm breeze, softened their edges. The principal house stood unadorned as if it shunned unnecessary decorations, preferring its own stark elegance. 

As they approached the entrance, the front door opened, and a diminutive woman hurried outside, shielding her eyes from the glittering sun. A smile lit her face. “Doctor Coote, Welcome to Pine Tree House. I am Miriam Foss.”

Abbey edged forward and shook her hand. “Hello, Miriam. I’m thrilled to be here, but please, call me Abbey. This place is spectacular. I can’t wait to see the interior.” 

Her host moved aside and waved Abbey forward. She stepped across a thick slate slab, noting the ancient oak door with hand-wrought metal fixtures. A shiver of anticipation zipped up her spine as she crossed the threshold. The entrance hall was utilitarian, the well-worn floor the same gray material. A vintage coat rack occupied most of the gloomy space. Her jaw dropped as she entered the first room. “It’s like a time machine has transported me into the past. This is amazing.”

Miriam glowed at the praise; house proud. She paused next to the enormous hearth that filled an inside wall. “This is the oldest portion of the building, a first-period colonial house, constructed in 1658. A family of ten lived here.” She pointed up at the low-beamed ceiling, stained from centuries of smoke. “In its original state, it had a loft for storage and sleeping, the full second story came two decades later.” 

Abbey, admiring the antique furniture, ran a finger across a gleaming sideboard. A pewter vase held yellow and white wildflowers and lent a pop of vibrant color to the shadowy space. “Authentic?”

“It’s English, produced circa 1650. I won it at auction three years ago.” Her host moved to the center of the room, hands resting on a Windsor chair. “This beauty is American made, best guess around 1725. Would you care to see the rest of the house?”

“I’d love too.” 

Miriam glanced back towards the entrance where Jeremiah waited with quiet patience. “Jeremiah, would you deliver Dr. Coote’s luggage to her suite, please?” 

“Yes, Ma’am.” He turned and disappeared. Abbey heard his footsteps recede as he climbed an unseen staircase. She followed Miriam, who entered the adjoining room, a mirror image in size and shape to the hall. Miriam flipped a hidden switch to illuminate the sunless chamber with recessed lights.

“This is the parlor. Here the family would display pewter dishes, silver cups, candlesticks and their finest linens. The parents slept here in the best bed, hung with the richest fabrics.”

With a tentative hand, Abbey reached out to touch the beautiful paneled wall. The tips of her fingers grazed the mellow pine boards. At once, the room darkened, only the flickering firelight illuminated the space. There was no fire. She shivered as a ribbon of icy air enveloped her. Abbey searched the gloom for her host. The sound of weeping filled the space; her spine crawled with dread. As Abbey’s eyes adjusted to the dim light, a woman appeared, her features obscured, crouched in the corner near the hearth. Bare-headed, her blond hair clung to her sweat-soaked face. Clad in a thin linen shift, a puddle of blood spread out around her bare feet. The hair on Abbey’s arms rose, her entire body tingled. She reared back in shocked surprise and sucked in her breath. Jesus Christ, what is happening? ........

I hope you enjoyed this short sample and want to read more. I've included a link to Amazon. The official release date is 15 April 2021.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Richard Ingram (1600-1683) England to Northampton, MA Internet Errors

This one in a series of internet errors I've come across in relation to Great Migration Immigrants to New England. 

The origins of Richard Ingram of Northampton, Massachusetts are unknown. 

He is not the son of Arthur Ingram and Jane Mallory or Arthur Ingram and Lady Eleanor Slingsby.

Richard was born about 1600, probably in England. He married twice. His first wife was Elizabeth___ and his second the widow Jane Rockwell Baker. He first is found in Salem (Marblehead) then made moves to Reheboth before ending up in Northampton in Hampshire County. Elizabeth is not Elizabeth Wignall as shown by Robert Charles Anderson of the Great Migration Project, nor was he married in Barrowby in 1628. 

See his wikitree page for more information.

This is from Ingram researcher Larry Chesebro (do check out his webpage for further info):

Richard's ancestry simply is unknown and all claims to his Royal ancestry cannot be accepted! He's NOT the son of Jane Mallory and Arthur Ingram, esq. Neither is he the son of Jane Mallory, daughter of Sir William Mallory and wife of Thomas Lascelles.

I, as many others, have tried to link Richard to Sir Arthur Ingram, II born ca 1598 and Eleanor Slingsby through Sir Arthur Ingram, I and Jane Mallory, and even directly, but cannot! My research has found Ingram, Mallory and Slingsby records eliminating their families as ancestors of Richard. I have maintained our information for the rich Slingsby and Mallory history and because both families have other links to the Chesebro' family. And, there is always the possibility that Sir Arthur's father, Sir Arthur, II, or grandfather, Hugh, could be related in some other way than directly to Richard.

My extensive and documented data is online at where you can search for Hugh Ingram in the Family Files and then view tree information for the Ingram/Ingraham descendants and their Slingsby and Mallory connections with their tree information.


Photo by Johannes Plenio - Just because it's beautiful

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Captain Nicholas Simpkins of London, England and Boston, Massachusetts (1600-1654) Internet Errors

This is a short blurb, which will be one of many about errors I've come across while checking on the Puritan Great Migration feed for Wikitree. The subject is Captain Nicholas Simpkins. According to his featured bio in RCA's Great Migration series, Nicholas arrived in Boston by 1635. He was from London, where he married Isabel Saule. Isabel's father was a tailor as was Nicholas. It is possible that he was an apprentice, but that is not proven. 

On the internet, Nicholas is said to be from Burcote, Northamptonshire, son of Nicholas Simpkins and Katherine Ann Harris. Katherine is said to have been from Gloucestershire. 

None of these claims are accompanied by sources. A red flag is the distance between Burcote and Gloucestershire. 

Nicholas and Isabel had four children, three daughters and one son. Efam was baptised at St. Gabriel in London, the church were her parents were married. She is not mentioned further. Other children were daughters Deborah and Rebecca and son Pilgrim. 


Great Migration 1634-1635, R-S. (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2012.) Originally published as: The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume VI, R-S, by Robert Charles Anderson. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009.

Monday, November 9, 2020

William Pillsbury and his wife Dorothy Crosby of Dorchester and Newbury


English Origins

William Pillsbury, name spelled variously, is possibly from Leek, Staffordshire. Two genealogies published in the late 19th/ early 20th centuries on the family offered two wills, one for a Thomas Pillsbury of Leek who died in 1622 and a William of Heaton whose will was probated in 1640. Both of these men had sons named William that were born about 1605. Heaton and Leek are only 5 miles apart and it's possible that the two were related. One nod in William's favor is that he was a husbandman and Thomas a blacksmith. As William the immigrant was also a husbandman seems to fit more closely. 

That being said, neither Mary Lovering Holman, noted genealogist of the Pillsbury Family, nor Robert Charles Anderson, confirm any ancestry for William. There is nothing, other than the rarity of the name, to tie William to either man. 

William's possible mother, is dependent on the father. If William Pilsbury of Heaton was the father then  his mother was Agnes (Stodderd) Pilsbury. If Thomas Pilsburie of Leek was the father his mother was Elizabeth (Unknown) Pilsburie. If the father of this profile is neither William Pilsberie of Heaton nor Thomas Pilsburie of Leek, then his mother is unknown.

William's age is based on a 1676 deposition in which he said he was about 71 years old. 

Coming to America

William's name is first found in the records of New England when he and Dorothy Crosby appeared before the Quarterly Court in Boston on 1 June 1641. Both were bound for their good behavior. He was
'enjoined to work with Goodman Wisswell two days of the week and Goodman one day in the week for five years. Their bond was set at £10.00.

They next appeared in court on 29 July 1641, this time a married couple. He was censured to be whipped for defiling his masters house as was she. Clearly, both William and Dorothy were indentured servants, in separate houses, and have gotten themselves into a romantic relationship. Their marriage was not recorded, so where exactly they were living is unknown. Their daughter, Dorothy, was born in Dorchester, so it is possible that that is where they resided at the time. 


Deborah, b. April 16, 1642 in Dorchester, m. _______ Ewens

Job, b. October 16, 1643 in Dorchester, m. April 5, 1677 Katherine Gavett in Newbury d. September 10, 1716 in Newbury

Moses, b. about 1645, m. March 1668 Susanna Worth, d. before November 3, 1701 (probate of will)

Abel, b. 1652 in Newbury, m. about 1675 Mary _______, d. before 1697

Caleb, b. January 28, 1653/4 in Newbury, never married, d. July 4, 1680 in Newbury

William, b. July 27, 1656 in Newbury, m. December 13, 1677 Mary Kenny, d. October 28, 1734 in Salisbury. 

Experience, b. April 10, 1658 in Newbury, d. August 4, 1708 in Newbury

Increase, b. October 10, 1660 in Newbury, d. 1690 (drowned off Cape Breton, N.S. in Sir William Phips' expedition)

Thankful, b. April 22, 1662 in Newbury, living and unmarried in 1686

Life in Massachusetts

It is not know for who or for how long William was indentured, but he seems to have been a free man when next he is mentioned in the Dorchester town records in 1648. In 1651 William purchased the home lot of Edward Rawson of Newbury. From 1653 onward, William's name appears in the Newbury records where he bought and sold land. He was a yeoman/husbandman or planter. In otherwords, he was a farmer.

William became a freeman of the Massachusetts Colony in 1668.

William Pillsbury of Newbury wrote his will on 22 April 1686. He named in his will, wife Dorothy, children: Job, Moses, Abel, William, Increase, married daughter Deborah Ewens, Experience and Thankful. William died on 19 June 1686 and buried the next day. His death was noted by diarist Samuel Sewall. 

Sabbath-day Morn. Goodman Pilsbury was buried just after the ringing of the second Bell. Grave dugg over night. Mr. Richardson Preached from I Cor. 3, 21.22, going something out of 's Order by reason of the occasion, and singling out those Words Or Death.

The inventory of William's estate was taken on July 7, 1686 by his son Job and was appraised at over £317, including £190 in land, £45 in livestock, and £12 for a man servant.

His will was probated on September 10, 1686.

Dorothy Crosby was born about 1622 in England. Nothing is known about her ancestry. Her death, after that of her husband, was not recorded. 

My ancestor is their son William who married Mary Kinne, daughter of Henry and Ann Kinne.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

John Robie of Haverhill 1648-1691 and Ann Corliss

John, the last of my Robie line, was born in Hampton, New Hampshire in 1648, son of Henry Robie and Ruth Moore. John settled just over the Massachusetts line in a town called Haverhill. John married Anne Corliss, daughter of George Corliss on 1 November 1677. Little is known about the couple and their daily lives, but we do know that they ended in tragedy.

children: all recorded in Haverhill

Ruth: b. 14 October 1678 m. 10 Dec 1701, d. 19 April 1753 Hampton, NH
Icabod: b. 15 Jan 1679 
Henry: b. 12 Mar 1680/1 d. 17 Mar 1680/1
Johanna: b. 5 Mar 1681/2
Sarah: b. 6 Mar 1683/4
Deliverance: b. 17 Feb 1685
John 25 Mar 1688

From the Haverhill records we know that John Robie built a house there between 1675 and 1677. He had been a soldier during the 1675 King Philip's War, a brutal bloody fight between the Native Americans and the English colonist. The English narrowly defeated the Natives who all but pushed them into the ocean. 

Once married, John's family rapidly expanded. Ann gave birth every year or two. They lost their infant son Henry in March of 1680. In 1679 John requested additional land from the town and in 1680 he was granted 5 or 6 acres more. He also purchased meadow land from a neighbor Thomas Davis.

Despite winning King Philip's war, the colonies were not at peace with the Native Americans. With French Canadian allies raiding parties swept across the land with lightening quick strikes. 1690 saw the beginning of what is known as King William's War. New Hampshire suffered multiple attacks including the 1689 attack on Cocheco Falls, 1690 attack on Salmon Falls, the 1691 massacre at Brackett Lane, near Sandy Beach. Massachusetts was not spared from these attacks. My ancestor Phillip Rowell was killed in July 1690 in Amesbury. In 1694 the residents of Oyster River were wiped out, including my ancestors John and Remembrance Rand.

In the midst of these tense times, Anne Corliss Robie died on 1 June 1691, leaving six children, the eldest was thirteen the youngest three. Word reached John of a threat of impending danger of attack. he packed up his children and took them to a 'house of refuge', possibly a garrison house, for protection. Leaving them, he was returning to his house with his eldest son Icabod when he was killed by a musket ball. His son was taken captive by the attackers, but he later escaped. 

John's estate and his children were given over to his brother Thomas Robie. An inventory was taken of his possessions which valued about £309.00. It included all the accouterments typical of a farm life including cows, pigs, horses and oxen.

Many ancestor, his daughter Ruth Robie, was taken to Hampton, where she later married and raised her family. 

In my upcoming novel, The Heron, I explore the experience of living under the constant threat of attack and include many of my own ancestors and minor characters, bringing their world to life. Look for it April 2021. See The Book's Delight for details. 

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