Bewitched Sister, Fornication, Revengeful, Vandal, and Malt Maker; He was one of the most distinguished citizens of Hampton, New Hampshire.
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It has been a week since I have blogged and twenty-two days since I have written about an ancestor. After watering and doing some gardening before the heat set in, I made myself go into my Ancestry to see if an ancestor would pop out at me. Yes, I felt in a rut and needed something to grab me. So, I found Abigail Marston. My tree ended with her line, meaning I didn’t show parents for her. I figured I would see if I could find them. In my search, I kept seeing her as having different birthdates and variations of her name as “Abia” and “Abiel”. I did more research making sure I had the same person. Then it hit me. There are two women with the same name and same father, born 20 years apart. I just had to find proof that I was correct.
Usually, when two children have the same name it was because the first child died young, so the next time the couple had a child of the same gender they would name him or her the same name. But, not this time. In this incidence, Abigail married someone her parents did not approve of and she was disowned. This is stated in the “History of the Town of Hampton“. But, why? Was it because of her husband, John Green? Or, was it for some other reason.
It was time to do more digging. I happened on an article at Seacoastonline.com written by Cheryl Lassiter. In it, she speaks of the history of Hampton and Ephraim’s role in it. Do you know Eunice “Goody” Cole? She was the first woman in New Hampshire to be convicted of witchcraft. Evidently, she turned one of Ephraim’s siblings into an ape that led to the child’s death. (“Goody” was a way to refer to married Puritan women.)
From the Hampton Lane Memorial Library (http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/goodymarshall.htm):
Goody Marston and Goodwife Palmer against Eunice Cole
The deposition of Goody Marston and Goodwife Susannah Palmer — who being sworn saith that Goodwife Cole said that she was sure there was a witch in the town, and she knew where he dwelt and who they are and that thirteen years ago she knew one bewitched as Goodwife Marston’s child was and she said she was sure that party was bewitched, for it told her so and it was changed from a man to an ape as Goody Marston’s child was and she had prayed this thirteen years that God would discover that witch and farther that deponent saith not. Taken upon oath before the commissioners of Hampton the 8th of the 2d month: 1656 William Fuller Henry Dow. Vera Copia per me Thomas Bradbury.
Sworn in court September 4, 1656, per Edward Rawson Secretary.
Source: MA 135:2.
Ephraim was twenty-one when he married Abiel Sanborn, aged eighteen, on February 19, 1677. One month later their daughter, Abiel was born. Yes, that’s right, one month later. In October of that year, the court convicted Ephraim and his wife of fornication (then defined as sex before marriage). The standard punishment was a public whipping, but in their case only a fine, to be paid in corn, was ordered. Was this why her father disowned her? Because she was pregnant before she married?
Could be, or it could be because of her husband’s grandfather, Justice Henry Green. In the 1680s, Justice Green assisted the royal government in Portsmouth in its scheme to seize the land of dozens of townsmen like Sanborn.
From the History of the Town of Hampton Falls, New Hampshire from the time …, Volume 1
By Warren Brown
They sure did keep it in the family.
Day Of Action
Edward Gove undoubtedly expected that when his arrest was attempted, there would be resistance and then a general uprising. It didn’t happen. He returned to Hampton Saturday, Jan. 27, 1683.
He and 11 other rebels, all on horseback, moved in two lines into the tiny colonial village on the New Hampshire Seacoast, shouting, “Freemen, come out and stand for your liberties.” Led by Gove, they were nearly all from Hampton, with their leader waving his sword and the trumpeter sounding their arrival with a military medley. Gove, seeing no demonstration in his favor at his appearance, lay down his arms and gave himself up to the authorities of the town, as did the others. They were taken into custody by the militia, except the trumpeter, who escaped.
That house arrest didn’t hold the men long and they were soon on the dirt road again where Henry Green, a justice of the peace, saw them. Gove threatened him with his gun.
William Marston, the local constable, armed with the governor’s warrant, soon arrived at Gove’s home and made a diligent search, but he could not find him. Returning homeward in the nighttime, when he could not plainly see, he heard the trumpet as Gove and the trumpeter galloped past them. The constable immediately returned to the Gove homestead. By the time they arrived back at the rebel’s door, the latch string was pulled in, but Gove said, “open the door” and defiantly stood before the constable with his sword or cutlass drawn, pointing towards the assembled gathering.
“Hands off,” he said. “I know your business as well as yourself. I will not be taken in my house.”
Nathaniel Ladd, the trumpeter, stepped to him to assist him with his sword drawn toward the constable’s breast. Marston’s mouth dropped open, his eyes popped out and in an instant, he knew what to do — secure more assistance.
Returning to Gove’s home, the Constable saw Edward Gove, Nathaniel Ladd, John Gove, and William Hely quickly mount and ride away.
Ephraim was actively involved in Hampton’s civic life and military affairs. Often called upon to give testimony on important issues affecting the town and province, he served as selectman, boundary and road surveyor, constable, and a sergeant in the militia.
In 1693, the officials voted against the private fencing of common land. The law was being ignored, with only warnings being given. In 1704, Ephraim and several armed men set out to enforce the law. Their first stop was to Edward Roby’s farm where “in a hostile manner with force and armes etc. to the great Terror and Afrighting of her Majesties good subjects, [the posse] violently maliciously riotously & randomly did throw down burne and destroye a great quantity” of the fencing that Edward Roby had placed around his orchard trees and vines.
The men moved to Francis Jenness’ farm, “pulling downe and destroying a considerable quantitie of his fence.” They also wrecked his son’s fence “to the indaingering” of his corn crop. The farmers sued Ephraim and the others for the damage to their property, but the jury found the defendants not guilty.
From 1691-1703, Love Sherburne ran the only tavern in Hampton after her husband was killed by Indians at Maquoit Bay. Captain Sherburne and his militia were loading their ship to return home on August 4 when they were attacked. Samuel Sherburne had run the tavern since 1678. He left behind a pregnant Love and eight children.
Henry Dow, the marshall at the time, kept a diary. In it, he wrote often of the Sherburne Tavern as he frequented it quite often. He drank tavern-brewed beer “made with malt from local maltster Ephraim Marston, rum, hard cider, Madeira wine, burnt wine (brandy), and flip (a belly-warming mixture of eggs, sugar, rum, and beer heated with a red-hot loggerhead). He also bought “raysons” and cherry bounce (a cordial of brandy, cherries, and sugar) at the tavern.”
In 1703, Love retired from the tavern and Ephraim was approved for a license. He and his family ran the tavern for the next ten years. In 1712, the town granted him a 1/4 acre of land “by the fort in the [Ring] swamp to set a malt-house on.” (As a guard against Indian attacks, this fort had been built up around the meeting house during the period 1689-1692). Ephraim and his heirs were to “enjoy the same” as long as they would malt barley, used in beer making, for the town.
Ephraim had a lot of real estate. He was one of the most distinguished citizens of Hampton. He was a Representative to General Court for several years, was a Government Contractor, a took a prominent part in public affairs; his name appears twenty-two times in the provincial public documents.
He had nine children. Ephraim deeded each of his sons a farm and made sure they were settled for life.
By 1731 Ephraim’s “beloved son” Jeremiah was running the malt house, which had grown to an extensive operation that paid a yearly tax of three pounds. In 1736 Ephraim deeded the malt house to Jeremiah, in recognition of his son’s “immediate care of ye management of my outward affairs.” It was said that the malt house “stood there many years,” and was within the memory of the old-timers of the mid-nineteenth century.
Unfortunately, Jeremiah was killed in the French and Indian War on 13 February 1745. He had eight children.
Ephraim died from cancer in October of 1742. He was 88. Abiel died less than a year later at age 90. At some point, he must have forgiven his daughter because he left her one feather bed and 4 pounds (equal to $865.00 today). At the end of his will, he states “Now the reason I have given my several children no more is because I have given them considerable during my lifetime.” Dated January 17, 1729.
As always, please let me know if you see any errors or have any questions.