Saturday, April 28, 2007

Interesting Colonial Portsmouth RI town records

I posted the other day about my lucky (or good?) find of the printed colonial Portsmouth (RI) town records on microfilm (FHL 0,945,382). My eye caught several interesting "social" items in these records. To wit:

Page 71 (handwritten, transcribed on page 66 in print):

"At a towne meetinge of the Inhabitants of Portsmouth march the third (1654)

"In respect of severall inconveniences that have hapined in this towne It is ordered that no man signe any writinge as a bill of divorce unlesse the seperation be alowed by the Collonie he that shall offend in this case shall forfeit tenn pounds Sterling; and any that shall sett to there hand as wittness to any writinge of this natuer not alowed by the Colonie shall forfeit tenn pounds Sterlinge.

"It is further ordered that no man shall detaine or harbor another mans wife after warninge forbiding he that shall offend in this respect shall forfeit five pound Sterlinge for every night of offendinge; every forfetuer in these respects aforesayed shalbe taken by the Sargiant of the towne."

Inquiring minds wonder just who this decision was aimed at. I should review the succeeding pages to see if anyone was brought before the Town Council and fined for these offenses. I wonder if any of my ancestors are involved?

And on page 93 (handwritten, transcribed on page 88 in print):

"At a meting of the Fre habitants of Portsmouth this 16: of February 1658

"wheras there is presented to this present meeting A lickelyhood of Charge that may fall on the towne, by A child which is said by the mother of it beinge Mathew Greenell wife to be Jacob Mots Chyld, upon which occasion this meetinge wass Called and is mett together: uppon the afore-said bussnis the Towne doe juge that the officers have not acted according to ther Comision and Authority, to keep the towne from charge Therfore the town doe order and declare trheir Result, which is that thay are noe way ingadged, to be at any charge on account of that chyld which is to say Mathew Greenells wife chyld aforesayd."

So the town is most concerned about avoiding having to support this child of Mathew Greenell's wife, ostensibly fathered by Jacob Mott.

My interest is in Jacob Mott (1636-1711, son of Adam Mott and Sarah --?--) - he is one of my ancestors. My data shows that he didn't marry Joanna Slocum until about 1661 in Portsmouth, so he was single when this liaison with Mathew Greenell's wife occurred. A little research at the WorldConnect database shows that Mary --?-- was Mathew's wife's name, and that a Daniel Greenell was born in about 1655. I wonder if anybody is descended from this Daniel Greenell? There is a line in the WorldConnect database.

It will be interesting to see if a Daniel Greenell/Grinnell descendant has a Y-DNA test result that matches a Greenell/Grinnell Y-DNA test result of another Mathew Greenell/Grinnell descendant. Somehow I doubt it!

I am not descended from the Greenell/Grinnell line as far as I know.

I will add this town record to my file on Jacob Mott also!

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