Anthony Eames was born circa 1595 in Fordington Dorset, the youngest of five children of Thomas & Millicent Eames. He emigrated to America in 1633 and this an account of the facts that have survived to come down to us about him and his immediate family. His ancestry has been extensively researched in America over many years and there is some variance in information recorded by different descendants so I have chosen to work from original documentation and concentrate upon his life before emigration where I have greater expertise.
Few records survive for Fordington from this period and unfortunately the parish registers were all destroyed in antiquity. We do however have some badly damaged bishops transcripts (2) from which it is clear that the family was well established in the parish in the 16th century. The paucity of original records at this date make it impossible to be sure but the snippets that survive do offer some grounds for speculation. Anthony's grandparents are said to be John Eames and his wife Joan but the only evidence I have so far been able to locate to support this is the burial of a ‘Jone Emes’ in Fordington on 7th June 1588 when she was described as ‘a widow’ and an ‘olde woman’. John & Joan are given as the parents of Thomas Eames who was almost certainly born in Fordington around the year 1549 well before our records commence. There were undoubtedly other members of the family in Fordington, most notably a Richard Eames who had a son Thomas (whom I will call junior) baptised there in 1605. Richard was probably a younger brother to Thomas and Richard's son Thomas (junior) also raised a family in Fordington of which records survive for three children. Significantly they were named Joane Eames, possibly named after Richards mother (born in 1635) Grace (born in 1637), and a son John Eames possibly named after Richards father who was baptised in Fordington on 13th January 1638/9 . Unfortunately he died at the age of 36 as far as we know unmarried and was buried in Fordington on 15 Sep 1675. Nothing else is known about descendants from this side of the family.
Thomas (c1549-1618) & Millicent (c1551-1614) Eames (3)
The marriage of Anthony's parents predates the start of the Fordington marriage register which begins late in the year 1577 (4) the year Francis Drake began his famous circumnavigation of the globe. There is plenty of evidence however to prove that Thomas & Millicent Eames raised a family of at least five children in Fordington between 1578 and 1595. Other children were no doubt born to the marriage, particularly between the birth of Alice and John, but either they died or left no visible trace among the surviving records. The absence of children named after themselves might mean Alice was not their first child but again the lack of evidence of their presence in subsequent years where more records survive has led me to assume that Thomas and Millicent probably married around the year 1576. A clue as to how the family lived and their social class comes surprisingly from Letters of Administration granted on the death of their son John Eames. This is significant as John was Thomas & Millicent's eldest son and would therefore have inherited his estate from his father. The Letters of Administration were issued by the Court to "Jonathan Emes of Fordington in the County of Dorset Yeoman". He was John's only son and heir. When John died an inventory of all his household goods, chattels and other possessions was drawn up for the Court by John's nephew Edward Eames and this makes it clear that John was also a Yeoman. See notes below on John (1586/7-1662) with a link to the transcribed record. A Yeoman had a distinct social position at this date. It rested below that of a 'gentleman' who employed servants to carry out all the work of running the household and attending to the land. A yeoman and his wife would put their own hands to running their house and holdings which would be larger and more prosperous than those of a general husbandman but often still be prosperous enough to employ a servant(s). The standing of Yeomen is reflected in the use of the word for the local volunteer force where they were mounted on their own horses, as distinct from the militia (i.e. infantry).
The inventory apart from personal possessions reflects this standing. For example in one room we have a standing bed and a half bed; in another a feather bed and fluke bed; in a third another standing bed followed by a fluke bed which was possibly for a servant. As such we have a house with a number of distinct rooms far above the general run of the mill houses for husbandmen. He also had 3 horses, 3 cows and a heifer and was in possession of 6 acres of wheat and nine acres of Barley in the common field as well as other small areas of land under cultivation. This wealth and social standing almost certainly came from his father Thomas.
With this information to hand the lives and subsequent events surrounding their children begin to make much better sense. We know from the bishops transcripts that 'Mellysent' was buried in Fordington in the year 1614 followed by her husband Thomas in 1618 which of course is when John would have inherited his estate.
(b) Jonathan Eames (1628-1702) bap Fordington 14 Sep 1628 buried there 6 May 1702
Unfortunately, from our point of view, John Eames died in the year 1662 as the parish records have not survived for that and surrounding years. It was of course the year of the 'great ejectment' following the 'Act of Uniformity' when over 2,000 clergymen lost their living. Dorchester with its history of non-conformity was affected more than most with not only Rev. Joshua Churchill the rector of St Georges church, but also Rev. George Hammond, the rector of Holy Trinity and St Peters in Dorchester and the Rev William Benn the rector of All Saints, all being ejected. Luckily the Letters of Administration over John Eames estate have survived (8) and I have placed a transcription on this site. Administration was granted in October 1662 and an Inventory drawn up by his nephew Edward Eames and presented to the court on the 17th November 1662. As outlined above this shows a comfortable standard of living for the times and administration of his estate went to his son and heir Jonathan. Lucy EAMES was buried in Fordington on 11 May 1665, an inventory of her wearing apparel drawn up on the death of her husband and Letters of Administration of her estate given to her son Jonathan in July 1665 have also been transcribed.
(b) Hannah Rose (1622-?) Baptised Fordington 20 Oct 1622
(c) Lydia Rose (1625-1631) Baptised Fordington 5 Mar 1625/6 she was buried there on 12 Apr 1631 her death being recorded in the Bishops Transcripts by Anthony Eames who was churchwarden then.
(d) Thomas Rose (1630/1- ?) named in memory of his younger brother who died in 1628 he was baptised in Fordington on 23 January 1630/1
I have carried out a separate study of this family and the summary of the evidence assembled about them strongly suggests that they emigrated to New England with Anthony Eames arriving in Charlestown about 1633 and settling in what is now called Scituate. The two families continued to live close to one another with two of Anthony's daughters marrying and settling in Scituate(5). See Pilgrims from Fordington - The ROSE Family
Churchwarden 1622, 1627, 1631 & Constable of Fordington Manor 1630
We know from his age at death that Anthony Eames was born in 1595. Nearly all the Bishops Transcripts for Fordington for the period 1589 to the end of the decade were among those that perished in the great fire at Blandford in 1731. A few water damaged pages survive which relate mainly to 1592 and the second half of 1594 but none for 1595 so we are unlikely to ever locate his baptism. Nor do I have any references to his education. As the son of a Yeoman he would not have attended university and this seems to be confirmed by the absence of any of the Eames family in the University Alumni. What we do know is that he was educated to a good standard and rapidly gained respect and trust within the tight knit community in Dorchester. He was appointed for example as churchwarden of St Georges on several occasions. There were always two churchwardens and these were rotated, one being appointed by the vicar (The Rev Edward Pele) and the other by the parishioners. In either case it was a vote of confidence. One of his tasks, apart from levying rates, would have been to act as a witness on the transcribed parish registers for each year that the Rector had to submit to the Bishop and his name appears on records that survive for the years 1622, 1627, and 1631. The first two returns seem to be in the handwriting of the Rev Edward Pele and the third by the Rev Robert Turchin example signatures given below being taken from the 1627 return but I have added images of all three returns to the baptism transcriptions as the signature on the 1622 return appears to be different.
So if he was not educated at University where would he have gone. At this date there was only one main school in Dorchester where the sons of the more wealthy traders and yeomen were sent and that was the Dorchester 'Free School'. William Whiteway the diarist was born in 1599 and attended the school from 1606 to 1615 which I would suggest was typical of the time so Anthony probably attended between 1602 and 1611. Another reason I think Anthony was there was the fact that the schoolmaster was the Rev Robert Cheeke who soon became firm friends with the Rev John White when he arrived in 1606; Anthony was then at an impressionable age of around 11. He was still only about 18 when the school was destroyed along with most of Dorchester in the great fire of 1613 and we know from William Whiteway what an impression that event made upon everybody that witnessed it, so he would have experienced at first hand John White and Robert Cheeke's efforts at creating a new godly community. With Rev. Robert Cheek as his schoolmaster, Rev. Edward Pele his rector, and the Rev. John White the Patriarch we have three of the main drivers behind the formation of the Dorchester Company and emigration to New England. They were closely involved with one another and as churchwarden he would have been involved with them on a regular basis. It is easy to see how as the youngest son of a Yeoman who needed to establish himself, he would have been swept up in their enthusiasm and drawn into emigration.
Lets not get ahead of ourselves. Anthony is said to have married a Margery Pierce (12 ) about the year 1616. Unfortunately Bishops Transcripts for Fordington are missing for 1616 and 1617 but they are said to have had 8 children between 1616 and 1632. Again records are intermittent, but I can clearly identify at least five of these children in the Fordington Baptism Registers (John baptised 24 Jan 1618/9; Persis bap: 28 Oct 1621; Elizabeth bap: 13 Jun 1624; Justus bap: 29 Apr 1627 and Margery bap: 5 Dec 1630), and I give more detail about these and their other children at the end of this biography.
Anthony was about 23 years old when his father died and his eldest brother John inherited his estate in the year 1618. As I mentioned above I think his sister Alice died young and Anne married to Thomas Rose just seven months after his fathers death securing her future. His elder brother Richard was already established and married to Alice Sprague who gave birth to Edward Eames in December of that year (1618).
Another example of Anthony's standing in the community was when he was sworn in as Constable for the Manor of Fordington at the Quarter Sessions held in Sherborne from the 6th to 8th April 1630. Two of the eight justices sitting at the sessions and before whom Anthony was sworn in were Sir Francis Ashley (1569-1635) and John Brown JP (1582-1659), both of which invested in the Dorchester Company.
In Dorset at this time Constables were selected by the Manor Court and it was a compulsory appointment. Once they had been summoned they had to appear at the next Court for their area (Sherborne) and, unless they had a solid excuse such as being infirm, they were sworn in to serve for 12 months. In a busy township like Fordington which often had to deal with events spilling over from Dorchester it could be quite an onerous and time consuming task. They had to report, and take action, on a great many matters. Among them felonies committed, escaped prisoners, riots, disputes and unlawful assemblies, non attendance at church, commercial irregularities, licensing of ale houses, compiling Juror’s lists, drunkenness etc. They would normally have had assistants who would have dealt with unauthorised building of additional cottages or dovecots, vagabonds, intruders, militia Muster Rolls, taking lewd women to court and detaining refractory fathers of bastards.
The position of Constable therefore required someone of good standing and well respected in the community. In looking at the selection lists before the Courts they often seem to have chosen Churchwardens. The constables for Dorchester were not appointed by the JP's but by the Corporation, but a good working relationship would have been necessary given their close proximity and because many people lived in Dorchester but worked or frequented the Inns in Fordington or vice versa. Over a third of all the issues dealt with by the Constables of Fordington and Dorchester were drink related which is not surprising given the fact that nobody drank water because of the risk of infection. Even the children drank a weaker ale. According to David Underdown in his book 'Fire from Heaven' in 1629 there were thirteen licenced ale sellers in the town, a number that grew to around twenty over the next ten years. Some of them kept large and impressive establishments like the 'George' the Antelope, the Crown and the Rose. The Ship kept by William Wilson, was somewhat less respectable to judge by the number of reports of disorders there, but such things were not unknown even at the George. Some ale housekeepers were respectable men like Robert Lawrence and Matthew Swaffield. The book gives much more detail but the cheaper less respectable alehouses were often in Fordington. In addition to these were a number of illegal establishments. Sir Arthur Ashley's casebook records for example all manner of problems with Nicholas Hellier of Fordington in the period up to 1618 (when he appears to have been imprisoned) as it was a base for poaching (even of swans and herons) and for many other kinds of iniquity. The crossover between Dorchester & Fordington is perhaps illustrated by the respectable Robert Lawrence. He was a shoemaker by trade but ran his alehouse from his house in Dorchester. His son Christopher Lawrence was to become rector of Langton Matravers in 1656-8 and Winterbourne Came from 1658 until ejected for non-conformity in 1662. Roberts other son John Lawrence however was a respectable yeoman who lived in Fordington but was also a licenced ale keeper there.
The three Churches for Dorchester and that of Fordington have always worked closely together and we have already heard about his relationship with Edward Pele and John White. In 1629 into this mix arrived a real firebrand of a Minister in the shape of the Rev. William BENN a new Rector for All Saints Church. As can be seen from John Speeds map of 1611 the parish of All Saints adjoined that of Fordington so as constable & churchwarden he would have known Benn and had to deal with the many issues that would have arisen between them. Apart from anything else the town goal was in All Saints parish so he would have known and committed prisoners to Thomas Devenish the keeper of the goal to await trial.
It was at this juncture that Anthony decided to emigrate. We already know of his close involvement with not only the Rev John White but other enthusiastic supporters of emigration, like Robert Cheeke and the Rev Edward Pele. Anthony was well informed about the settlement and the opportunities that were arising there from letters sent back to his sister-in-law Alice from her three brothers who went in 1628. He would have known for example that Ralph Sprague had been selected to sit on the first ever Jury empanelled in Charlestown and that he and his brother Richard were both made 'Freemen' in 1631. Just how close this relationship was is evident from the third brother William Sprague's subsequent marriage to his daughter in 1635 only a year after he was to arrive in Charlestown. I also believe that another big incentive for Anthony was that settlers were being promised ownership of land. Although the Eames Family were Yeomen and well established in Fordington there is no mention of any of them actually owning land in England. This would have been rented which is why it does not appear as an asset in the inventory of their possessions raised following his brothers death. The ruling class in Dorchester, apart from the clergy, were gentlemen who owned land around Dorchester. As Yeomen none of them ever appeared in the list of 'Freemen' of Dorchester let alone broke through to become a 'Capital Burgess' or 'Alderman' who ran the town. Emigration therefore afforded a much greater and more rapid opportunity to own large amounts of land and take part at the highest level within these newly forming communities.
We can be absolutely sure about when Anthony, his wife Margery and their children emigrated as we have consistent and definitive information in the lead up to his departure. For example their daughter Margery Eames was baptised in St Georges Church in Fordington on 5th December 1630. We also know that Anthony served as Constable of Fordington Manor that year and his term of office was completed in April 1631. He was churchwarden of St Georges that year acting as witness to the Bishops Transcripts return completed at the end of the year (i.e. 25 March 1631/2). As an aside on that return under the date of 14th January 1631/2 there is recorded the baptism of a bastard child to Agnes Watts and as constable for Fordington Manor he was probably responsible for the order against Thomas Hunt which was later appealed by him as Thomas Tizar was the father. Anthony & Margery's final child Abigail is said to have been born in Fordington about 1632 but unfortunately baptism registers for that year (and 1634) have not survived.
Genealogists in America maintain that they have located documents about a tithe case held on 12 April 1632 when Anthony declared himself ‘to be of Fordington in Dorset, a Yeoman, where he had lived from infancy, born there and aged about 40 or thereabouts’ (13). I have not so far located the original source in England for this record but its importance stems from the fact that it adds confirmation that Anthony and his family were still in Fordington at that date and that he is referred to as a 'Yeoman' which is the same occupation as his brother John.
The final and most conclusive piece of information comes from the excellent “John Winthrop Society” in America as this includes lists of passengers of some of the pilgrim ships with details of the ports and sailing dates. Anthony Eames is shown to have embarked on the ship “Recovery” [also referred to as the ‘Recovery of London’] which sailed from Weymouth on 31st March 1633 for New England. We can be confident about the authenticity of this entry as the information comes from the Records of the Exchequer held at the National Archives at Kew in London [Ref: PRO:E190/875/8]. These were the “Port Books” completed by the Kings Remembrancer and they recorded the head of each group that embarked(36). Anthony Eames name appears on roll 20. The Master of the vessel was Gabriel Cornish, and his passengers were recorded as ‘Planters carrying with them household goods, clothing and provisions for themselves, their wives, children and servants, valued at £920 and allowed to pass free of customs by His Majesty's patent [Ref Coldham pg 107].
Here again we have an example of the extent to which John Whites vision was affecting the lives of everybody around him. The information I have already placed on line about the 119 investors in the Dorchester Company shows the extent and ease with which he moved through the very top echelons of Dorchester Society and how he galvanised the wealthy to share and invest in his vision. It is the way he systematically set out to bring it about however that is just as impressive. The transportation of settlers, although always carrying some risk in the 17th century, was no rash adventure. It was not chance that formed his partnership with Richard Bushrod who had for many years been operating a successful fishing business from Cape Cod as this brought hard practical experience to the proceedings. The third, and arguably the most important ingredient, however was the people he sent and it was Yeomen like the Eames family that he turned to as a means of ensuring that the new community had within it men who were self sufficient, educated, godly and had hard practical experience of the land, raising livestock and making a success of a smallholding.
Charlestown - New England - 1633
Their Journey to New England would have taken about 3 months(14) so they probably arrived in July 1633. They settled initially in Charlestown in what is now Massachusetts and quickly re-established their relationship with the Sprague brothers. Several American genealogical works refer to him as a 'proprietor' of Charlestown so it would appear that he was granted land there in 1634(15). The first documentary evidence of their presence in Charlestown occurs on the 10th February 1634/5 when Anthony signed the “Selectmen Government Agreement” along with Richard & William Sprague(30). This agreement effectively set down the means by which 'Freemen Citizens' of Charlestown were to select their representatives for Government. (29)
Another individual to arrive in Charlestown in 1633 was Edmund Hobart (c1570-1646) a native of Hingham in Norfolk who arrived with his wife and sons Edmund, Joshua and Thomas Hobart.(16) By 1635 the steady stream of settlers arriving meant expansion into nearby areas. On the 8th June 1635 Edmund Hobart was joined by another of his sons the Rev Peter Hobart (1604-1679) who had with him his wife and 4 children. (27) Edmund and his four sons together with many of the settlers from their own town in Norfolk, and others that had arrived in Charlestown, decided in 1635 to establish their own settlement and moved permanently 19 miles south east from the Charles River to an area where they had already made a temporary settlement called 'Bare Cove' which they promptly renamed Hingham after their home town in Norfolk. Here Edmund and each of his four sons were granted land.(16) As can be seen from this link Peter Hobart is credited as the founder of Hingham Massachusetts where he established a congregational church and according to his gravestone served as its Minister for 44 years before his death at the age of 75 on 20th January 1679. One of Peter Hobart's mentors back in Norfolk had been the Rector of Hingham the Rev Robert Peck (1579/80-1656). He was a staunch puritan who had graduated at St Catharine's College Cambridge (17) in 1598/9 but transferred to Magdalene College in 1603 before being ordained deacon and priest at Norwich on 24 February 1604/5. After serving as curate of Oulton in Norfolk he was appointed Rector of Hingham in Norfolk a post he held until emigration in 1638. Peter Hobart had also graduated at Magdalene College in 1629 and following the establishment of their settlement in 1635 and being aware of difficulties in England he wrote back to Robert Peck inviting others to join them.
Meanwhile Anthony’s eldest daughter Millicent Eames was engaged to William Sprague the youngest of the three brothers and they married when she was 5 months pregnant in Charlestown on 26th May 1635. She duly produced the first of their 11 children, a boy, whom they named Anthony Sprague after her father and had him baptised in Charlestown on the 2nd September 1635. Anthony's wife Margery Eames is formerly recorded as being admitted to the Charlestown Church 13 days later,(18) but the family were soon encouraged to move to Hingham where in 1636 a plot of land was granted to them on the lower plain.(16) From the outset Anthony appears to have been one of the foremost citizens of Hingham. He was admitted a 'Freeman', on 9th March 1636/7, was frequently a town officer, and represented the town in the general court in the years 1637 to 1639 and 1643 to 1644. The representative in the years 1639,1640 and 1642 was Edmund Hobart.
Between 1635 and 1638 Robert Peck's position in England became untenable. He is described by Bloomfield in his history of Norfolk as " a man with a violent schismatic spirit who led a movement within the church of St Andrew in Hingham in opposition to the established Anglicanism of the day". When things finally came to a head with Bishop Wrenn he knew he was about to be removed and he and a number of his parishioners decided on emigration. On 10th August 1638 the ship 'Diligent' arrived in New England from Ipswich carrying over 100 settlers mainly from Hingham under Robert Peck's leadership. Also on board was an individual called Bozoan (or Bozoun) Allen (c1617-1652) and his wife Anne who originated from Lynn in Norfolk. This brought the population of the town to about four hundred with over half originating from Norfolk. The Cambridge Alumni then records Peck as being "Teacher of the church at Hingham Massachusetts from 1638 to 1641.
On the 13th of January 1638 Anthony Eames was one of the Deputies of the General Court who signed the charter granted by Winthrop for the 'Military Company of Massachusetts' that was later renamed the 'Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company', the third oldest chartered military organisation in the world. Another important character that settled in Charlestown in 1635 was Robert Sedgwick a successful merchant from Woburn in Bedfordshire and he was made captain of the Charlestown Militia in 1640 whilst Anthony Eames was appointed as a Lieutenant in the Hingham 'Train Band' (i.e. Militia).
The phrase 'train band' comes directly from Elizabeth I and her concern for the defence of England. In 1558 two Acts were passed revising each mans responsibilities for providing arms, armour and horses. The men of the nation were divided into ten groups, Those with incomes of £5-£10 per year had to have a coat of plated armour, a steel cap, a longbow with arrows, and either a bill or a halberd. Men with an annual income of £10-£20 had to find the same, but with a harquebus instead of a bill or halberd, and a morion instead of a cap. Additional armour had to be supplied by the gentry, and the scale of requirements went on up to the men worth £1000 per year or more, who had to provide 16 horses, 80 suits of light armour, 40 pikes, 30 longbows, 20 bills, or halberds, 20 harquebuses and 50 steel caps or helmets. From time to time, all men liable for service were called, with their arms, to musters; and from 1570, men who were both fit and keen underwent regular training in small units. Consequently it became the custom to distinguish in muster certificates between trained and untrained men and so arose the term 'Trained Bands' .
From 18 April 1588 in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, service in the militia became the responsibility of the Duke of Bedford and as can be seen from the preceding link was well organised. Anthony's appointment as a Lieutenant in New England would have been a natural development of using his experience gained in England from his service with the militia. Because of his rank in society and annual income he would have been required to provide his own horse and served in what was later to be called the Yeomanry to distinguish it from the infantry. Whether he held a command in England we will probably never know but he would have served and understood the way in which citizens were organised for the defence of the nation and local communities.In 1641 Anthony also assisted in laying out the boundary line between Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth Colonies.(19) and on 12th June 1643 he entered into a partnership to operate the first ever Corn Mill near the cove in Hingham for the use of the town. They were granted permission on condition that they paid for any damage which might be caused by' flowage'. His partners were Samuel Ward and Bozoan Allen who had arrived on the 'Dilient'.. Samuel Ward (c1593-1682)(20) was another settler from England that had received substantial grants of land on the lower plain at Hingham and had been elected 'Freemen' and 'Deputy to the General Court' in 1637.
John Winthrop 1588-1649
In the year 1645 Anthony Eames was involved in a local incident in Hingham which was to not only shatter the existing harmony within the settlement and result in long lasting divisions in the community but escalate into a major confrontation between his opponents and the authorities in Boston and end with what later became known as the 'impeachment of John Winthrop' a magistrate and that year Deputy Governor of the Colony. It is not my intention to add to this debate only relate that Anthony was involved at the beginning so I have drawn the following account from "The History of Boston inc Suffolk County Massachusetts 1630-1880 .(22 & 23) there is a much longer account in the History of Hingham Plymouth County Massachusetts by Solomon Lincoln junior published Hingham Caleb Gill jnr, Farmer & Brown 1827 which is out of copyright and freely available to view on google Books. For ease of reference I have appended as a separate document the relevant pages for those who wish to know more.
But the most signal event of this year (1645) was what has sometimes been called "the impeachment of Winthrop." The story is told so well by Dr. Palfry, in his History of New England that we are unwilling to give it any other words than his:-
"A dispute, local in its origin, and apparently of slight importance for a time, but finally engaging at once the military, the religious, and the civil authorities of the colony, was bequeathed by Endicott (1st Governor of the Colony) to his successor. The train-band of the town of Hingham, having chosen Anthony Eames to be their captain, 'presented him to the Standing Council for their allowance.' While the business was in this stage, the soldiers altered their minds, and in a second election gave the place to Bozoun Allen. The magistrates, thinking that an injustice and affront had been offered to Eames, determined that the former election should be held valid until the Court should take further order. The company would not obey their captain, and mutinied. He was summoned before the church of his town, under a charge of having made misrepresentations to the magistrates. He went to Boston and laid his case before them. They 'sent warrant to the constable to attach some of the principal offenders [Peter Hobart, minister of Hingham, being one] to appear before them at Boston, to find sureties for their appearance at the next Court.'
Hobart came and remonstrated so intemperately that 'some of the magistrates told him that, were it not for respect for his ministry, they would commit him'. Two of those arraigned with him refused to give bonds, and Winthrop sent them to jail.
"So the affair stood at the time of Dudley's accession [Thomas Dudley took over from Endicott as Govenor of the Colony in 1645]. Hobart and some eighty of his friends petitioned for a hearing before the General Court upon the lawfulness of the committal 'by some of the magistrates, for words spoken concerning the power of the General Court, and their liberties, and the liberties of the church'. The deputies on their part complied with the request, and sent a vote accordingly to the magistrates for their concurrence. The magistrates 'returned answer that they were willing the cause should be heard, so as the petitioners would name the magistrates whom they intended, and the matter they would lay to their charge. The petitioners agents who were then deputies of the court thereupon singled out the Deputy Governor [Winthrop], and two of the petitioners undertook the prosecution'. The magistrates were loath to sanction so irregular a proceeding; but Winthrop desired to make his vindication, and the petitioners were permitted to have their way.
"The day appointed (14th of May 1645) being come, the Court assembled in the meeting house at Boston, Divers of the elders were present, and a great assembly of people. The Deputy Governor [Winthrop] coming in with the rest of the magistrates placed himself beneath and within the bar, and so sat uncovered'. At this 'many both Court and the assembly were grieved'. But he said that had he taken what was the fit place for an accused person and that if he were upon the bench, it would be a great disadvantage to him, for he could not take the liberty to plead the cause which he ought to be allowed at the bar.'
In the full argument that followed, the Deputy Governor 'justified all the particulars laid to his charge; as that upon credible information of such a mutinous practice and open disturbance of the peace and slighting of authority, the offenders were sent for, the principal by warrant to the constable to bring them and others by summons, and that some were bound over to the next Court of Assistants, and others , that refused to be bound, were committed; and all this according to the equity of the laws established, and custom and laws of England and our constant practice these fifteen years'".
The matter was under debate, says Palfry, for more than seven weeks, with only one weeks intermission, and was at length adjusted by an agreement on all hands for a complete acquittal of Winthrop, and for the punishment of all the petitioners by fines, the largest of which was twenty pounds, and that of the minister two pounds.
The people of Hingham returned home as divided as when they went to the trial. Anthony also returned to Hingham and took office as Captain in the Militia. Bozoun Allen left Hingham for Boston where he ran a successful business until his death in 14th Sep 1652. Anthony also moved again (24), this time to Marshfield Hills in Plymouth Colony when on 10th December 1651 he and his son Mark bought a house and 100 acres of land lying upon the North River from Francis Godfrey. Godfrey had bought the land from the Southworth brothers (Constant and Thomas) in 1648, who were orphaned when their mother fell from the Mayflower and drowned and were then raised by Governor Bradford. For many generations the Eames family continued to live there. Anthony was deputy to the general court at Plymouth from 1653 to 1658 and again in 1661 and became a member of the council of war. He was admitted freeman in the Plymouth Colony on 7 Jun 1653 and served the town as moderator.
His wife Margery died in Marshfield and was buried on the last day of the year 1662. Anthony lived another 24 years by which time he was 91 years old. He was also buried at Marshfield on the 6 October 1686.
Their 8 Children:-[Note:- regarding Hannah Eames also being a child of theirs - see genealogical note 32 below]
Their children were all born in Fordington and emigrated with their parents to America arriving about July 1633. Apart from the five children for which we have baptism records there is documentary evidence in America about three others as detailed below (32).
1. Millicent (Millisaint) Eames (c1616-1695/6) The eldest of their children was named after her paternal grandmother. Her baptism appears to have occurred when Parish Registers for Fordington are missing and is estimated to be c1616 (as per genealogical note 32 below). She married in Charlestown Suffolk Colony Massachusetts on 26 May 1635 (the year after their arrival) to William Sprague (1609-1675) (24) the youngest of the three brothers from Upwey Dorset. He had been in New England since 1628 and was then thought to be about 26, only a year shy of the average for men to marry in England.
Millicent had known the Sprague family all her life as her fathers elder brother Richard Eames (1589/90-c1634) had married Alice Sprague (1597-1668) from Upwey, and they had settled in Fordington in 1615. Alice Sprague’s younger brother Ralph Sprague (1599-1650) also married and settled there when Millicent was about seven so she grew up with their children. In some accounts of the family Millicent is said to have been betrothed to William Sprague in England but this seems unlikely to me as William emigrated with two brothers to America arriving in Salem on the ship Abigail in 1628 when Millicent, still in England, would have been only 12. They did however marry within 12 months of her arrival in New England when she was still only about 19 and we know letters were carried back and forth to New England in the Pilgrim Ships, so perhaps they did reach an understanding.
William & Millicent had the first of their 11 children (Anthony Sprague) baptised in Charlestown 2 Sep 1636 before they moved, along with her father Anthony Eames, to Hingham where they were granted land. William is known to have visited Hingham by boat as early as 1629 so may well have been the main architect behind both families relocation. His house lot according to the 'Sprague genealogy' was on Union Street 'over the river' and one of the pleasantest in Hingham.(33) Throughout the period 1636 to 1647 the 'Old Grant Book' of Hingham records many parcels of land and meadow being granted to him by the town. William was elected as a 'Selectman of Hingham' in 1645 and about 1650 his father-in-law Anthony Eames moved to Marshfield. The following year on March 28th 1651 he purchased from Thomas Hammond 'Planter' a dwelling house with 5 acres of land adjoining his own homestead together with other lands in that locality. Also 20 acres on the opposite side of the river against the end of Thomas Hammond's dwelling house. He was made Constable of Hingham and collector of the town rates in 1662 (18 & 26) and died in 1675 leaving a very detailed Will, making his wife executrix. Millicent lived another 20 years and was buried in Hingham on 8th February 1695/96 when she would have been close to 80.
2. Mark Eames (c1617-1693) Mark was born in Fordington about 1617(32) when baptism registers are missing. He emigrated in 1633 with his parents to Charlestown moving with them to Hingham in 1636. He and his father were granted land in Hingham in 1645. He was married there on the 26 May 1648 to Elizabeth Andrews and they had their first child John Eames baptised in Marshfield Plymouth Colony on 6th September 1649. The following year he bought a house there with his father and on 1st January 1652/3 he is recorded as an appraiser of the estate of Robert Waterman of Marshfield. He and his father were also witnesses to the Will of a John Rogers of Marshfield on 1st February 1660/1. Mark became a Deputy to the General Court in 1662 and held this post for fourteen of the next 20 years. He also appraised the estate of a Thomas Little on 1st July 1672 and was witness to the Will of William Ford of Marshfield which was sworn before Josiah Winslow the Governor on 30 Oct 1676. More importantly he is specifically mentioned in his sisters (Persis) Will where she refers to him as her brother, so there is plenty of documentation substantiating his place in the family
He served as an ensign and later as a lieutenant in the militia during King Philip’s Indian War (1675-1676) and was second in command under Captain Peregrine White whom history books credit as being the first white child to be born in New England, having been born on the Mayflower a month after the ship arrived.
Mark and Elizabeth appear to have had 11 children in all which i have not researched, although 5 are mentioned in his will. Mark died in Marshfield Massachusetts shortly after his Will was written on 12th Jul 1693 and he named Elizabeth as his executor. Administration papers however issued 19th October that year show that she died a few days before Mark.
3. John Eames (1618-1641) baptism appears in Fordington Parish Registers on 24th January 1618/19. He died at the age of 22 being buried in Hingham on 3rd November 1641. Unlike several other members of the family there is no mention of violence surrounding his death which was well before the Indian War, so I suspect this was from some form of sickness.
4. Persis Eames (1621- 1662) (25) She was baptised in Fordington in St George’s church on 28th Oct 1621. The name Persis is unusual and comes from the Bible, perhaps another indication of the importance of religion in their lives. In the Bible Persis was a Christian woman in Rome whom St Paul salutes as “beloved and as having laboured much in the Lord” . Persis married a Michael Pierce (?-1676) in 1645 at Scituate Plymouth Massachusetts and they purchased land there at Conihassett in 1647. Their house was on the Cohasset Road one mile from the north meeting house at the well known place where Elijah Pierce of the sixth generation was still living in 1831(25). Scituate was also where Thomas Rose and his family were living since before 1640. On 28th May 1659 in answer to a Court Petition her father Anthony Eames refers to "his sonne in lawe Michaell Pearse." (Ref X1) Michael & Persis had 13 children between 1645 and 1662, the first (which died) and the last were both named Persis after her. Her death is recorded in the Journal of Rev. Peter Hobart, in Hingham Plymouth Colony Massachusetts "Dec. 31, 1662, Michaell Perces wife dyed."
Her husband remarried in 1663 to an Anna and was commissioned as a Captain by the Colony Court in 1669. Unfortunately he was ambushed and killed on 26th March 1676 at Pawtucket by Canonchet Indians at Attlebro Gore during King Philip’s war. There are a number of accounts of this famous battle referred to as ‘Pierces Fight’ when he was slain with 51 soldiers and 11 friendly Indians. Thomas Rose's grandson John Rose was one of the slain. His Will dated 15th Jan 1675 was proved on 22nd July 1676 and starts with 'Being, by the appointment of my God, going out to war against the Indians, I do ordain this my last Will and Testament’
5. Elizabeth Eames (1624-1692) She was baptised in Fordington St Georges Church on 13 Jun 1624. After emigration to Charlestown she moved with her parents to live in Hingham in 1636 where she married a farmer called Edward Wilder on 1 Apr 1651. Edward was the son of the widow Martha Wilder whose father died in Shiplock Oxfordshire shortly before Martha and her children emigrated to New England. He was 5 years older than Elizabeth and they had 11 children in Hingham (Elizabeth 1651/2; John 1653; Ephraim 1655; Isaac 1656; Jabez 1657/8; Abia 1659; Mehitable 1661; Abigail 1662; Anna 1664; Hannah 1665/6; Mary 1668) . In the History of Hingham written in 1893 it says that Edward and Elizabeth were the ancestors of all who bear that name in Hingham and the vicinity. Edward had his first grant of 10 acres of land at Hingham on 8th October 1637 so like the Eames family he was an early settler and he would have known Elizabeth since she was 12 or 13. He subsequently received other grants of land from the town including a tract situated next to that given to his mother in 1638 which was located at or near the junction of Main and Pleasant Street. He also owned all the land between Tower's bridge and Wilder's bridge
Elizabeth's seventh child was Mehitable Wilder born in 1661. Mehitable is another biblical name [original spelling Mehetabel] which means “Favoured by God”. She married in 1692 to Joseph Warren, a grandson of Richard Warren that had sailed on the Mayflower, but Joseph died in 1696 leaving Mehitable a young widow. It needs to be remembered that the famous Salem Witchcraft Trials were in 1692.
Salem Witch Trials 1692
Mehitable after the death of her husband returned to Hingham and there came under the charge of being a witch, but was saved from the usual consequences of the unjust accusation by the interposition of some sixty of her neighbours who subscribed to the following:
‘whereas we under-written, have heard that there are scandalous Reports of the widow Mehitable Warren of Plymouth, we knowing that she was brought up in this place, & in her younger time had been a person of great affection before she was married, and hath lived in this town divers years in her widowhood & we never have had any thought or suspicion, nor have never heard that any amongst us have had the least suspicion that ever she was guilty of the sin of being a witch or anything that may occasion such suspicion of her’.
‘I having had knowledge this eleven years of the above named Mehitable Warren being her physician do know that she has been a woman of great afftiction by reason of many distempers of body but never heard of bad thought that ever she was guilty of any such thing as above but contrary wise did and do believe that God gave her a sanctifled improvement of his afflicative hand to her’ - Nathaniel Hall & Ann Hall
Elizabeth's eleventh child was Mary Wilder born 5th April 1668 in Hingham Plymouth Massachusetts. She married her 1st husband Francis Le Baron 6th Sep 1695. There is also an interesting account about him as follows:-
Elizabeth's husband Edward Wilder died intestate on 18th Oct 1680 from a malignant fever. Elizabeth was 68 when she died on 9 Jun 1692 in Plymouth Massachusetts.
6. Justus Eames (1627-1706) He was baptised in Fordington, St Georges Church, on 29 Apr 1627 and he married a Mehitabell [Mehitable] Chillingworth on 20 May 1661 in Marshfield Plymouth (26). She was the daughter of Thomas Chillingworth and Joane Hampton. His father Anthony Eames acknowledged a deed of land to his son Justus Eames on Jun. 28, 1670. I have not investigated their 8 children, the first 4 with the names Anthony, Millicent, Margery and John. His Will is dated 27 May 1697 at Marshfield Massachusetts (Lysander Salmon Richards, History of Marshfield, Memorial Press, Plymouth, 1901.) and refers to the last 5 of his children. Although I have not seen the transcript done on 15 August 1923 by Eames Sawyer it is reported to state that his estate was not proved until 20 May 1706 in Plymouth County MA so I have used this date for his death.
7. Margery Eames (1630-1659) Named after her mother she was baptised in Fordington, St Georges Church, on 5 Dec 1630. She married on October 20, 1653 to a John Jacobs (26) the son of Nicholas Jacobs and Mary Gilmer who had been born in Hingham on 26th Feb 1629/30. They had 4 children before Margery died on 7 Apr 1659 at Hingham. Their first child called John Jacob junior was born on 20th Oct 1654 but slain by the Indians near their house on the 19th April 1676 during King Phillip’s War (see comments under Abigail Eames below).
John remarried to a Mary Russell on 3rd Jan 1661 and had another 11 children. John was a Selectman in Hingham in the years 1662;1665;1683;1686;and 1689. He contributed towards a new meeting house there and was a member of the Ancient & Honourable Artillery Co being an officer in 1682. John died 18th Sep 1693.
8. Abigail Eames (c1632-1709/10) No record of her exists in England but she is said to have been born in Fordington about 1632. Twenty Five years old was the average age of marriage for women in England in the 17th century and is certainly possible as baptism records for that year have not survived. Her mother Margery seems to have generally had over 30 months between births, perhaps suggesting that she was born later in 1633. They sailed from Weymouth on 31st March 1633 so its even possible that she was born during the voyage. Another reason this might have happened is that she appears to have been named after the ship ‘Abigail’ in which Ralph, Richard and William Sprague (together with the 1st ever Governor of the Colony John Endicott) had sailed to the New World in 1628. [The Winthrop society refers to the 'Arbella' but the memorial plaque at Weymouth harbour to commemorate the sailing refers to the Abigail. Their expedition carried all the hopes of the puritans for a new and better future and as they were sailing to join them perhaps a birth on board the 'Recovery of London' held special significance for them. This is all however speculation.