Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Friday, February 01, 2008

There's a Thief Among Us . . .

When I was browsing Google Books, I ran across a snippet view book that contained information on my Perkins family. The snippet appeared to be pretty interesting so I decided to order the book via interlibrary loan. The book was Richard P. Gildrie's The Profane, the Civil, & the Godly: The Reformation of Manners in Orthodox New England, 1679-1749 (University Park, Penn.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994). What I found on pages 40-42 was a very interesting story about the wife of my seventh great grand uncle. Her father-in-law John Perkins, quartermaster, ran one of the two licensed taverns in Ipswich. By the late 1670s, he was "retirement age" as we'd say now so he'd turned the operations of the tavern over to his son Abraham and the farm to his son Luke. Luke's wife was named Elizabeth. Her maiden name is usually seen as Jaquith or Jaques. She had quite the reputation (or lack of it). Apparently she didn't really care that much for her in-laws. She had quite a tongue and used it against her mother-in-law as often as she could. [You can find an account of one trial and some of the comments in Dow's Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts via Google Books beginning around page 89 of the March 1681 proceedings.] Luke's wife Elizabeth apparently spent quite a bit of time around the inn and tavern. She gained a reputation for paying more attention to other men in the community than to her own husband. However, the thing that really caught my attention was that in September 1683, she "stole three pounds in cash and goods" from the room of a Boston trader who was staying at the inn. She must have had tastes for the finer things in life as most of the items she took involved either silk or lace. Some of the items listed were "satin ribbons, stockings, a silk hood, a lace handkerchief, a lace cap, a silk neckcloth, and a pair of "fall" [hairpieces]." She did serve a brief prison term before being released after paying a hefty fine, court costs, and damages. It makes you wonder how many of the inn's guests over the years had items go missing during their stay.

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  • Lori - What a great find! I guess one never knows what might be out there.

    By Blogger Chery, at 4:27 AM  

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