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Nasty women

I don’t know what was going on here, but it sounds like it was an interesting day. But first this prologue, from the Essex [England] Records Office:

25 April 1577

Richard Broke comes in his proper person and after a hearing of his indictment, complains that he has been greatly and unjustly troubled therby, pleads that it is insufficient in law, and declares he is not guilty, and puts himself on the country. And Gilbert Gerrard, Attorney General of the Queen, follows in this behalf etc.

And then the main event:

5 August 1577

Wistan Browne, esquire, sheriff, Henry Graye and James Morice, esquires, justices, had notice that certain malefactors were unlawfully assembled at “Burntwood” [Brentwood], and approaching the said place we found there many other malefactors assembled in our presence, and by virtue of the Act of 13 Henry IV we record that on the above day Thomasine Tyler, Ann Woodall, Margaret Baneter, Alice Greatheade, Priscilla Prior, Margaret Bayford, Mary Maye, Alcie Degon, Dorothy Woodall, Ann Scoffeild, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Rose Scoffield, Joan Pulley alias Homes, Katherine Mathie, Elizabeth Lumney, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixson, Joan Browne, Joan Hatter, Elizabeth Warner, Mary Cocke, Bridget Hatter, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysie, all of Burntwood aforesaid, spinsters, at the same, were unlawfully assembled in a certain place called Burntwood chapel and in the Steeple of the said chapel and around the churchyard of the same, and with force and arms they pulled a certain Richard Brooke, schoolmaster, out of the said chapel, and beat him, obstructing also the doors of the said chapel and locking themselves in the same, having and riotously useng and bearing against the servants of the said Wistan Browne and other the King’s subjects then present these arms, to wit, pitchforks, bills, a piked staff, two hot spits, three bows and nine arrows, one hatchet, one great hammer, hot water in two kettles, and a great sharp stone; and that they kept themselves in the said chapel until they were arrested and removed by us the sheriff and justices on the same day, and that afterwards the said Mary Cocke, Alice Greateheade, Mary Maye, Alice Degon, Katherine Kele, Margaret Gibson, Joan Bawsome, Elizabeth Collyn, Elizabeth Dixon, Agnes Nickson, Agnes Parker, Ann Hunt, Alice Hunt, Dorothy Ascue, Agnes Phipps alias Baysey, Elizabeth Warner and Bridget Hatter after the said arrest escaped so that they could not be committed to gaol; and further we the said sheriff and justices record that a certain John Mynto of Burntwood aforesaid, yeoman, being commanded by James Morice, one of the justices, to help in suppressing the aforesaid riotous persons, refused to do so; and moreover that wheareas we committed the said Thomasine Tyler to gaol as a riotous person, a certain Henry Dalley of Burntwood aofresaid, labourer, attempted in our presence to rescue the said Thomasine from our custody.
Each woman fined 4d.
Each man fined 2s.
Signed by Wistan Browne, Sheriff, and the Justices:- Henry Graye, Ja; Morice, John Dercy, Thomas Mildmay, Thomas Lucas, John Petre, Henry Capell, G. Nycolls, James Altham, Fra. Mildmay, Henrye Mdeley, Edward Ryche, Chr. Chiborne.

Looks like the women got a lot more for their money than the men did.

References: Q/SR 62/44 and Q/SR 64/46


Debt is forever

I finally took a deep breath and dug into the image archive at for documents relating to John Holmes of Ramsden Bellhouse. There are four there, plus another document listed (though no image) at the British National Archives. All five are suits for debt. John might not have been so good with money.

Here’s one of the items, the first, from 1512. 1512-debt-crop(Click for full size version.) If you’re not sure what language it’s in, you’re in good company. But squint hard and you’ll see the name “John Holme”— no final s — of “Ramston Bellous”, and according to the index it says he’s a tailor, though I sort of have to take the transcriber’s word for that.1512-debt-supercrop

In the other four documents the final s is there, though with some other variations: “John Holmes of Rammesdon Belhouse, tailor” in 1521, “John Holmes of Ramesdon Belhouse, yeoman” in 1529, and “John Holmys of Ramsdon Belhouse, yeoman” and “John Halmes of Ramsden Bellhouse” in 1531. Again according to whoever transcribed them; I can pick out the name of John and his village, and that’s about it.1521-debt-supercrop



Anyway, if you want your name to go down in history, borrow money.


The road not taken

And you know what else I missed, a stone’s throw from the Dinosaur Place?

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.44.19 AM

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No idea who this was named after. It’s not near the Oxoboxo River, so my guess is not Samuel.


Earlier Montville ancestors. Well, collaterals.

No way!

Four days after I get back from New England, this article appears, singling out five roadside attractions in the United States: Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA; the Gum Wall in Seattle, WA; the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK; Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, NJ… and the Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village in Montville, CT.

Northeastern roadtrippers will find 40 life-sized dinosaur figures on a 1.5-mile nature trail in The Dinosaur Place. And the best part is that they don’t have to worry about any real-life velociraptors.

And I somehow missed it. Passed about three miles from it not knowing it was there. Tragic!Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 9.33.50 AM


Stomping here, stomping there

I spent the past week on the Massachusetts North Shore, for reasons. On Wednesday I had some time, not really enough time to drive down to Plymouth and back, but I did anyway. I’d been there once as a small child, and near there a couple times in the early 1990s, but not since learning about my Plymouth roots.

I ended up with only an hour and a half or so in Plymouth, of which 52 minutes was spent sitting in a parking lot on the phone with my lawyer. Not much time to look around! That parking lot, though, was this one:IMG_0747Maybe you recognize it from the Google Maps link in this post. This is Plymouth Plaza, a strip mall built on or quite close to the location of the “Reed Pond” referred to in the old Plymouth records. These include the first mention of John Holmes in Plymouth, in 1632, when he bought a house and six acres of land adjoining Reed Pond. In Stratton’s article on John Holmes he also writes: “On 7 August 1638 Mr. John Holmes asked to be granted 10 or 12 acres adjoining his lot, and also a small parcel of meadow at Reed Pond.” In 1667 John Holmes, presumably the son of the immigrant, was granted “A privilidge of grasse or sedge… att the Reed pond in case hee can make meddow of the whole pond or any pte therof it is to be his owne”.

A short walk away is Nelson Memorial Park, on the water, from which you can get a glimpse of the Mayflower II.IMG_0751Further south on Court Street is the building addition on the location where John’s son Nathaniel built a house which may have been standing as recently as the 1990s.
IMG_0752 North of that building is an old brick wall. I suspect it was once part of Nathaniel’s house, though not an original part.IMG_0753 And north of Plymouth Plaza, here’s Holmes Terrace, named for, well, someone named Holmes.IMG_0754

So much for Plymouth; I had to get back to Gloucester.

This morning I left for home, but with a diversion to the south:IMG_1455_crop That’s the Post Office in Montville, CT, if you can’t read it.

I don’t know where Samuel Holmes lived. About all I know is that he had property on the “Sawmill Brook”. From what I’ve read this seems likely to be what’s now called the Oxoboxo River or Oxoboxo Brook. It flows very near that post office, though “flows” isn’t really the word, at least in this dry summer: it looked more like a wet piece of ground than a stream: IMG_1441 So Samuel might have lived close to that point, or not…

It was a somewhat longer drive than I’d expected to get to the neighboring town of Salem where, in the Wesley Brown Cemetery, Samuel’s wife Lucretia is buried. Daughter in law Lucy and (I think) grandson William share the gravestone with her:IMG_1460

So I’ve now been to the birthplaces of eleven consecutive generations of Holmeses: Newport News, VA (my son); Boston, MA (me); Schodack Center, NY (my father); Hamilton, NY (Clarence and Jerome); Montville, CT (Hiram and Nathan); and Plymouth, MA (Samuel, Elisha, Elisha, and Nathaniel). The ATM is planning on a trip to England in 2018, so maybe I can add Colchester (John, Thomas, and Thomas) and Ramsden Bellhouse (Thomas and perhaps John) to the list then.

Some signatures (and a mark)

Here’s the signature of Clarence E. Holmes (1875–1955):Signature Clarence

Clarence’s father, Jerome Holmes (1834–1912):Signature Jerome

Jerome’s father, Hiram Holmes (1804–1864):Signature Hiram

Hiram’s father, Nathan Holmes (ca. 1766–1850), or his brother, Nathan Holmes (ca. 1811–1856):Nathan Holmes signature in book - S00000

Nathan’s father, Samuel Holmes (1722–1774), wrote a will, but I don’t have a copy, nor of any other documents with his signature.

Samuel’s father, Elisha Holmes (1698–1779):Signature Elisha (Jr)

Elisha’s father, Elisha Holmes (1670–ca. 1753), wrote a will but the original doesn’t seem to be in the Plymouth probate files, nor do I have any other documents with his signature.

Elisha’s father, Nathaniel Holmes (ca. 1643–1727):Mark Nathaniel

There are no known signatures for Nathaniel’s father, John Holmes (1630–aft. 1651).

John’s father, Thomas Holmes (ca 1567–aft. 1637):Signature Thomasand that’s as far back as I have.

Dancing for descendants

I spent last week with the American Travelling Morrice, doing morris dance performances in the area around Hillsdale, NY, from the Hudson to western Massachusetts. Thursday we were in the town of Chatham, starting at the Old Chatham Country Store & Café in Old Chatham. I met there some people who said they had ancestors from Chatham.

As do I: My mother was born in Chatham, on her grandfather Hanson’s farm. The Hansons (or Hansens) came over from Denmark around 1888, but on my maternal grandmother’s side there’s ancestry in that general area (mostly in Nassau, several miles north) back into the 18th century.

We compared some surnames but didn’t find any connections on my mother’s side. Turns out, though, they were on their way to Plymouth, MA to attend the Alden Kindred’s annual meeting on August 1. So we were related, but on my father’s side.

Next year the ATM will begin on the first weekend in August and will likely be somewhere in eastern Massachusetts. Maybe I’ll make a stop in Plymouth and meet some more Alden descendants.

But this year on August 1, I was dancing in Hillsdale, Copake, and Philmont. It would have been my mother’s 98th birthday.