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Author's re-creation of the mark of James Rumneymarsh Wiser from the James Printer Deed

Mark of James Rumneymarsh Wiser
from the James Printer Deed

by Robert Raymond

As a descendent of James Rumneymarsh Wiser, imagine my delight when I came across an original document at the Fruitlands Museums (near Harvard, Massachusetts) that my 7g-grandfather had marked with his own hand, over 300 years ago! To the left is my re-creation of his mark.


Mark of James Rumneymarsh Wiser
Mark of James Rumneymarsh.
© Copyright 2000, the Fruitlands MuseumsThis link exits to a different website. Click Back to return.. Used by permission.
The document, the James Printer Deed, is a deed dated the 25th of August 1686, between nine English settlers and eleven American Indians, including James Rumneymarsh. The curator of the Fruitlands Museum has graciously provided me with an image of the deed and an image of James' mark. Please respect their copyright by not making copies of their images.

The image to the right is a closeup of the deed showing James' mark in the middle. Someone has written on either side of the mark, "James Rumnymarsh [sic] / his marke."

It was not until 2004 that—glancing at his mark—I saw a four-legged, possibly-horned animal! I realized I had probably re-created James' mark in a rotated position. If this is the case, then James, unfamiliar with the English language, could have held the deed sideways as he signed. In the image to the left, I've rotated the mark, darkened his pen strokes, and enhanced the brightness and contrast. See if you agree with me that James' mark was a pictograph of a deer, antelope, or other animal.


Text of the James Printer Deed
as transcribed by Nancy Reifenstein of the Fruitlands Museums, August 1998

Article of Agreement Indented made and concluded the twenty-fifth Day of August Anno Dom' One Thousand Six hundred and Eighty and Sixth in the Second Year of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Lord King James the Second of England Scotland and France and Ireland Defens: of the Faith re Between Edward Pratt of Moneham in New England, Planter, George Danson of Boston in New England aforesaid Baker John Hayward of said Boston Notary John Comer of said Boston Pewterer, Joshua Hows of said Boston Cordinainer William Mumford of said Boston Stone Cutter, John Pillom of said Boston Yeoman, John Jackson of said Boston Henewright, and Prudence Harrison of said Boston Widdow, Assignees of said Edward Pratt late of St. Paul's Shadwell London and John Blake late of Sandwich and now Wrentham in New England or one, or both of them Execute, or Executes and Assignee or Assignees of John Wampus Als White an Indian Late belonging to Assanamescock in New England in the behalfe of themselves and partners on the one part. And Thomas Tray uncle to the said John Wampus, Simon Sassonmett, James Rumney Marsh Peter Ephraim, Samuel Amosamog Zachary Abraham, John Printer George Manimeaskan, Benjamin Tray, and Joseph Roberts, all Indians and proprietors Together with the said Wampus their Cheife and Principle in Certaine Lands Lying att Assanamescock, in the Nipmugg Country in New England aforesaid, in behalfe of themselves and all others the Proprietors and Inhabitants of Assanamescock aforesaid, on the other part: are as following

Imp's. That Whereas there hath beene Long Differences and Debates between the said Partyes relateing to the title and settlement of the bounds of Land att Assanamescock aforesaid: They the said Partyes and each and every of them, for a full and finall End, and Isshue of all Differences and Controversyes Relateing as well to the title of said land as the bounds thereof with Rights Priviledges here dilaments and appurtinances there of and there unto belonging: It is hereby Covenanted concluded and freely Condecended unto by and betweene the said partyes to these presents and each persons herein mentioned and all others concerned that all former Differences relateing to the said Lands shall have their Isshue and finall determination according to the Articles here underwritten.

2. That Edward Pratt George Danson, John Hayward, John Comer, Joshua Hows, William Mumford, John Pillom, John Jackson, and Prudence Harrison: Have and hereby doe Remise Release and forever Quitt Claims unto the said Thomas Tray uncle to the said John Wampus, Simon Sassonmett, James Rumnimarsh, Peter Ephraim, Samuel Amosamog, Zachary Abraham, James Printer, George Manimeaskan, Benjamin Tray, and Joseph Roberts, Indians into their full and peaceable possession and sovren, [writing below,] and to their heirs forever all his Estate, Right title, Intrest and demand whatsoever which they this said Edward Pratt, George Danson, John Hayward, John Comer Joshua Hows, William Mumford, John Pillom, John Jackson, and Prudence Harrison, ever had, now have, or ought to have, of in and to a Certaine parcell of Land in his aforesaid Nipmug Country Scittuate lyeing and being in the Middle of Assonamescock Lands, containing four Miles square, and is bounded on each and every side by Marked trees and other bound marks which divide betweene the said four Miles square of Land and the Land of Edward Pratt, George Danson, John Hayward, John Comer, Joshua Hows William Mumford John Pillom John Jackson and Prudence Harrison and partners and also one Thousand Acres of Land lyeing at or neare unto the Westermost corner of the Land and betweene the said foure Mile square of Land and Quossicomog Pond, with free liberty of fishing in said pond att all times forever. And also all that parcell of Assanamescock Land that lye betweene the Land of the said Edward Pratt George Danson John Hayward John Comer Joshua Hows, William Mumford, John Pillom, John Jackson Prudence Harrison and Partners, and the bound line of the Township of Natick as the said parcells of Land shall be hereafter sett out and marked by a Surveyor and the plott thereof affixed to our gramne upon the backside of these present Articles.

3. That the said Thomas Tray uncle to the said John Wampus, Simon Sassonmett, James Rumnimarsh, Peter Ephraim, Samuel Amosamog, Zachary Abraham, James Printer, George Manimeaskan, Benjamin Tray and Joseph Roberts Indians in the behalf of themselves, and all other the proprietors and Inhabitants of said Assanamescock Lands, as well for Consideration before mentioned as for other valluable Considerations them hereunto moveing Have granted Remised, Released Enfeoffed Quittclaimed and Confirmed and by these presents Doe fully freely clearly and absolutely grant Remise Release Enfeoffe Quittclaime and Confirme, unto the said Edwd Pratt, George Danson, John Hayward, John Comer Joshua How William Mumford John Pillom John Jackson Prudence Harrison and partners into their full and peaceable possession and sovran, and to their heires and assignes forever, all such Right title Intrest claims property and Demand whatsoever which they the said Thomas Tray uncle to the said Wampus Simon Sassonmett James Rumnimarsh Peter Ephraim, Samuel Amosamog Zachary Abraham James Printer George Manimeaskan Benjamin Tray And Joseph Roberts Indians or any other Indian or Indians appertaineing to or Inhabiting in Assanamescock Lands, ever had, now have, may, might, should, or in any wise ought to have, or claim, of, in, or to, all that peece or parcell of Land Lyeing and being at Assanamescock aforesaid containeing two Miles square on each and every side of the said four Miles square of Land aforementioned, and adjoyneing thereunto, on each and every side, according to the plott that is speedily to be taken thereof and annexed to, or drawne upon the backside of these present Articles as afforesaid (Excepting only the Thousand Acres of Land afforementioned and all good to the said Indians for wayes, to the said Quissicomogg Ponds) which said two Miles square of Lands was formerly granted, and requested, by the said Wampus in his lifetime, unto the said Edward Pratt and John Blake as by writeinge their Hand Seale doe and many applare, with all woods trees underwoods Land and meadows marshes Rivers Ponds Waters Watercourses Profitts Priviledges Rights Comodityes Hard Ditamonts and appurtinances whatsoever to the said parcell of Land or any part thereof belonging or in any wise appertaineing, to have and to hold the said parcell of Land being bounded, and containeing, as aforesaid together with all other the above grantes promisses with their appurtinances unto the said Edward Pratt, George Damon, John Hayward, John Corner, Joshua How, William Mumford, John Pillom John Jackson Prudence Harrison and their partners their heires and assignes forever so that neither the said Indians nor their heires nor any other person or persons shall or may by any meanes hereafter have challenge or demand any Right or interest in or to the promisses or any part there of; But from all Right and Interest in and to the promisses any every part there of they and even and every of them shall be attony Excluded and forever debarred by these present.

4. It Is, Mutually agreed by and betweene the said partyes to these presents that there shall be a just and Exact survey, make of all the p'ersses, in the month of October next ensueing the Date hereof and shall drawne of the same, and that the charge thereof shall be borne and paid by the said partyes in equall halves.

5. That these present Articles shall be acknowledged and Recorded at the charge of the English and one true coppie' there of Legally Attested shall be given to the Indians or one of them when requested.

6. It Is mutually agreed by and betweene the said partyes to these presents that none of the abovementioned Land shall be sold Leased or otherwise Conveyed by the Indians but by the joynt consent of said English and Indians/

7. And Lastly for the true performance of all and singular the Covenants grants and Articles above Exprest the said partys have bound and hereby doe bind themselves their heirs do execute And Promise of each unto the other firmely by these presents In witness whereof the partyes abovenamed have hereunto set their hands and Seales the day and yeare abovewritten.

William Mumford
John Jackson
Prudence Harrison
Edward Pratt
John Pillom
George Danson
    his marke [X]
John Hayward
John Comer
Joshua Hows
Zachary Abraham
    his marke [X]
James Printer
George Manimeaskan
    his marke [X]
Benjamin Tray
    his marke [X]
Joseph Roberts
    his marke [X]
Joseph Abraham
    his marke [X]
Thomas Tray
    his marke [X]
Simon Sassonmett
    his marke [X]
James Rumnimarsh
    his marke [X]
Peter Ephraim
    his marke [X]
Sam'l Amosamog
    his marke [X]

The image below, shows the full deed. The box near the lower-right corner shows the area enlarged and enhanced above.

James Printer Deed with mark of James Rumneymarsh Wiser
James Printer Deed with the mark of James Rumneymarsh Wiser.
© Copyright 2000, the Fruitlands Museums, 102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard, MA 01451.
Email: mvolmar@fruitlands.org  Web: www.fruitlands.org This link exits to a different website. Click Back to return. The images copyrighted by the Fruitlands Museums on this page are used by permission. Such permission "does not include or imply permission to use, modify and redistribute these images in any other media format including other websites, video and printed material."
Friday, 01-Oct-2004 21:44:06 MDT