Saddle & Pillion Cemetery, Sandwich, MA
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EDMUND FREEMAN was baptized Jul. 25, 1596, at St. Mary's Church, Pulborough, West Sussex, England. He married first at Cowfold, West Sussex, England, Bennet Hodsoll. From that marriage there were six children before Bennett's death in 1630.
John Hudsoll, the father of EDMUND's first wife, died in 1617, leaving land to his daughter, Bennett and other family members. In January 1633/34, EDMUND brought suit in Chaucery Court in regard to the deposition of that land. The depostions taken show that EDMUND owned land at the time in both Pulborough and Billingshurst, and that he must have removed to Billingshurst about 1619/20 for a period of seven or eight years.
EDMUND then married a second time. There is no absolute evidence of the maiden name of EDMUND's second wife. Some researchers suggest she is ELIZABETH RAYMER, for whom records show married an EDMUND FREEMAN in Shipley, West Sussex, England, on Aug. 10, 1632. Shipley is a small village about 5 miles from each of the villages, Pulborough, Billingshurst and Cowfold..
EDMUND and his family came to America in 1635, aboard the ship Abigail, arriving at Lynn, Essex, MA. He was "of Saugus and Lynn, Mass, 1635", admitted freeman at Plymouth, Jan 23, 1637, and one of the original settlers, with nine others, of Sandwich, Barnstable, MA, 1637-38, where his portion of land was the largest in the divisions of land.
EDMUND was a Deputy Governor of Plymouth Colony under Governor William Bradford. His grave along with that of his second wife, ELIZABETH, are today sites of great importance in Sandwich.
|children of EDMUND FREEMAN and Bennett Hodsoll|
husband William Paddy
wife Rebecca Prence
wife Margaret Perry
husband Lt. John Ellis
wife Mercy Prence
|children of EDMUND FREEMAN and ELIZABETH RAYMER|
husband EDWARD PERRY
On Apr. 3, 1637, EDMOND FREEMAN was one of ten men from Saugus, in the Bay Colony, chosen to search out lands for sixty Saugus families to settle. The group also included THOMAS DEXTER. They chose an at Sandwich, at the beginning of Cape Cod. Another, probably smaller, group already had homes there. Mr. John Vincent, a Plymouth Colony resident before the grant to the Saugus group, was appointed constable for Sandwich on Mar. 6, 1637/38.
On Mar. 5, 1638/39, the Court of Plymouth ordered that meadow lands at Sandwich be divided "by equal porcions, according to eich mans estate," and that some of the townsmen join the commissioners in making the division. This would seem simple enough, but apparently there was sufficient dissension at Sandwich to make it quite a task, and finally Assistants Thomas Prence and JOHN ALDEN had to go and settle the disputes which arose. It was decided that Prence and five commissioners, EDMOND FREEMAN, Henry Feake, Edward Dillinghame, Richard Chadwell, and John Carman, would make the division, after considering "the quallyty & condicon of every pson." The results were the assignment of meadow land in amounts varying from one to forty-two acres (Mr. EDMOND FREEMAN obtaining the largest number) to some fifty-nine people, including several conditional grants to people who had not yet settled at Sandwich. The list of recipients not only gives us a good idea of who was at Sandwich at the time, but also provides a rather loose guide as to the "quallyty and condicon of every pson." The total number of men at Sandwich able to bear arms in 1643 was sixty-eight.
One study points out that Governor Bradford's account has to be our main guide, but unfortunately in writing about this particular topic, Bradford "is repetitious, sometimes confusing, and yet omits certain business details." To make matters more confused, the three partners in England now quarreled among themselves. Beauchamp and Andrews accused Sherley of receiving some £12,000 worth of furs from Plymouth, but refusing to give them an accounting of the proceeds. They went to court and Sherley won. Andrews turned over his part of the debt to have it paid in kind to the Bay Colony for the support of poor ministers and other godly men. The others still pressed for settlement of the debt. Businessmen already in the colony, John Atwood, WILLIAM COLLIER, and Beauchamp's brother-in-law EDMOND FREEMAN, were used as arbiters, and on Oct. 15, 1641 terms satisfactory to most were reached, with the Plymouth men promising to pay another £1,400 to the English partners in full payment of all debts. The final end to the debt did not come about until 1645, when Beauchamp, the last of the London men to hold out, settled his claim for £291 worth of lands in Plymouth, Rehoboth, and Marshfield. It is to their credit that in spite of all difficulties, including questionable practices on the part of their creditors, the Plymouth colonists did not repudiate their indebtedness for their original passage across the Atlantic and some subsequent sustenance, but, after repaying a considerable amount in valuable skins, negotiated a final settlement to which all concerned could agree.
William Vassall, one of the original Bay Colony Assistants in 1630, returned to England, but later came back to New England, this time residing at Scituate in Plymouth Colony. His brother in England was a member of the Commission for Foreign Plantations. Without question Vassall was aware of the way Gorton was twisting the Bay Colony tail and of the inherent weakness in the governments of the New England colonies, which ruled as if they were de facto independent countries. Though Vassall is known for behind-the-scenes involvement in the famous 1646 Bay Colony remonstrance, he was earlier the chief participant in a related incident which occurred in Plymouth Colony in 1645, an incident completely unknown in official records, but which was fortunately recorded in a letter Edward Winslow sent to Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop. In 1645 Vassall initiated a petition to the Plymouth General Court asking for full religious toleration for all well-behaving men. The division in court on this petition interestingly gives us an indication of the liberal-conservative split that existed there. Many of the town deputies, plus Assistants John Browne, EDMOND FREEMAN, Timothy Hatherly, and Myles Standish, were in favor of the Vassall petition. Governor Bradford and Assistants WILLIAM COLLIER, Thomas Prence, and Edward Winslow were the opposition. It could have passed, but for arbitrary action by Bradford, which gave the conservative side time to maneuver effectively against it. Winslow happily commented in his letter to Winthrop on its defeat, "You would have admired to have seen how sweet this carrion relished to the palate of most of the deputies."
The number of people charged and fined for Quaker activity, or for refusing to take the Oath of Fidelity, which in most cases at this time amounted to the same thing, multiplied without cease. Though Sandwich seemed to be the home of the greatest number, converts were made in all towns. Repressive measures did not stop them, but seemed to aid their growth. On Oct. 2, 1660, twenty-four people were fined ten shillings each for being at Quaker meetings, and these included John Soule of Duxbury, Rodulphus Elmes of Scituate, and John and Deborah Smith and Lydia Hickes of Plymouth. On June 1, 1658 the General Court appointed a special marshal for Sandwich, George Barlow, with jurisdiction also at Barnstable and Yarmouth, to assist the county marshal, meaning to see that the laws against Quakers were kept. On Oct. 2, 1660 the court further spelled out Barlow's responsibilities and expanded his jurisdiction, ordering that "marshal Gorge Barlow shall have libertie to apprehend any forraigne Quaker or Quakers in any pte of this Jurisdiction and to be procecuted according to order provided in that case."
arlow carried out his functions apparently with relish, and a number of claims were made against him, such as on 13 June 1660 when Thomas Clarke "affeirmed in open Court, that Gorg Barlow is such an one that hee is a shame and reproach to all his masters; and that hee, the said Barlow, stands convicted and recorded of a lye att Newberry." A number of men were fined for refusing to assist Barlow in the execution of his office, including Sandwich's eminent citizen, Mr. Edmond Freeman, who was fined ten shillings on Oct. 6, 1659.
Following the death of Governor Prence in 1673, Josias Winslow, son of Mayflower passenger Edward Winslow, became the new Plymouth governor. He had been born in the colony around 1628, and he grew up in that second generation which was assuming leadership more and more. He had been an Assistant from 1657 to 1673, became governor in 1673, and in 1675, at the start of King Philip's War, he governed with the aid of Assistants JOHN ALDEN, now a senior statesman; William Bradford, born in the colony, a son of the late governor; Thomas Hinckley, who had arrived in the colony with his parents as a young boy and was rapidly rising in importance; John Freeman, who had also arrived as a young boy, the son of the late Assistant Mr. EDMOND FREEMAN, and the husband of Mercy Prence, daughter of Governor Prence and granddaughter of Elder Brewster; CONSTANT SOUTHWORTH, Bradford's stepson who had served in a number of important positions; James Browne, son of the late Mr. John Browne, who had been one of the more liberal Assistants; and James Cudworth, another liberal leader who had once failed to get reelected as an Assistant because of his tolerant views toward Quakers, and had even been disenfranchised for a number of years. Josias Winslow was also the major of the colony's militia, and he had been commander-in-chief of a military expedition ordered in 1671 to convince the Indian tribes under the squaw sachem Awashuncks and others at Saconnet to surrender their arms and continue peaceful relations. <>
Thus, the general policy of admission to freeman rank, at least in the beginning, was on the whole quite liberal, and most of the male Old Comers achieved freeman status. The Leiden group and the non-Leiden group seemed roughly evenly matched. Bradford dominated the government, but under him the majority of the leadership seemed to consist of non-Leiden men, as can be seen in 1633 (the first year for which we have records showing all seven Assistants), when Edward Winslow was governor, and the Assistants were William Bradford, Myles Standish, John Howland, JOHN ALDEN, JOHN DOANE, STEPHEN HOPKINS, and William Gilson. Of these, only Winslow and Bradford had definitely been of the Leiden group (Standish had spent time in Leiden, but he never became a member of the Separatist Church). John Doane, who became a deacon in the Plymouth Church, was probably a Separationist, for church membership and Separationism went hand in hand. Many of the non-Leiden group (ALDEN and Howland for instance) very early became pillars of the Plymouth community. Hopkins, frequently an Assistant, was known to be independent minded and would not have been considered a Separationist. We see a balance here, and our view of this balance is strengthened by our knowledge that Standish voted against Bradford, Prince, and Winslow in the 1645 Vassall dispute, and also by later Quaker charges that Alden had betrayed his past moderate reputation. Too, the inclusion of such people as James Cudworth, Timothy Hatherly, John Browne, and EDMOND FREEMAN in the government at various times shows why Plymouth Colony had more moderate policies than the Bay. These policies never reached the live-and-let-live policies of Rhode Island, and, as stated before, the Plymouth Church was probably as conservative as the Bay churches, but there existed a balance of political power from the very early years in Plymouth that determined its course of forced moderation.
That no one was above the law can be seen in the 1636 conviction of STEPHEN HOPKINS, who was at the time an Assistant and magistrate himself, but still was fined £5 for battery against John Tisdale, the court observing that HOPKINS should have especially been one to observe the king's peace. On Mar. 7, 1636/37 the court awarded Francis Cooke, a Mayflower passenger who was never high in government position, £3 damages in a civil case against Mr. John Browne, who had just been an Assistant and magistrate the previous year, and would be so again. When Browne did not pay fast enough, on June 7, 1637 the court reaffirmed its verdict and ordered him to pay. On Oct. 2, 1637 William Gilson, who had been an Assistant and magistrate in 1633, was fined twenty shillings for not appearing to serve on the grand jury (the fine was later remitted). On 3 June 1640 Mr. James Cudworth was presented by the grand jury for selling wine contrary to order. On Mar. 1, 1641/42 Mr. EDMOND FREEMAN, leading resident of Sandwich, was presented by the grand jury for lending a gun to an Indian. On 1 December 1640 Kenelm Winslow, brother to Edward Winslow who had already been governor twice, was fined ten shillings for neglecting his position as surveyor of the highways. In 1645, the year after his brother had served his third term as governor, Kenelm Winslow complained to the court that he could not get justice in his suit against John Maynard, and a committee appointed by the court, consisting of Myles Standish, William Paddy, Edmond Eddenden, Edward Case, ANTHONY ANNABLE, Anthony Thacher, and Thomas Tupper, determined that "the sayde charge of injustice is altogether untrue." On Mar. 3, 1645/46, Roger Chandler successfully sued Kenelm Winslow in court, and Winslow was ordered to return to Chandler's daughter (who apparently had been his maid) her clothes which he had retained. On the same day Winslow was committed to prison for uttering opprobrious words against the church at Marshfield, saying they were all liars.
Barnes was not the biggest real estate dealer in Plymouth, and his holdings were probably not very significant compared to some of the large possessions of Timothy Hatherly or John Browne. William Bradford, EDMOND FREEMAN, Robert Hicks, Thomas Prence, Joseph Tilden, and Edward Winslow, among many others, had a considerable number of land transactions. In chapter 11 it is shown that the promise of land grants was an important inducement in attracting servants to Plymouth Colony, and some of these servants eventually acquired considerable land holdings. In the beginning a servant coming out of servitude would be given an individual lot in some place assigned by the court, but in 1661 the court provided for a collective purchase of lands at Saconett for former servants. In general, the earlier one arrived at Plymouth, the easier it was to get free land grants. Most of the Purchasers did quite well, but even people arriving in the 1630s were sometimes included under the heading "ancient freemen" to whom numerous land grants were made. In fact, a perusal of court records shows the court handing out grants as if land were one of the world's cheaper commodities, a procedure which could not continue indefinitely.
hough towns still had some undivided holdings from earlier grants by the court, the division of lands at Mount Hope after King Philip's War marked a realistic end to large scale distributions. The abandonment of primogeniture from the beginning guaranteed that holdings would on the average get smaller as a number of sons inherited from a father. By the end of the colony period, free grants become fewer and fewer, but sales of land from one individual to another continued to be a marked feature of the colony, so that land transactions in Plymouth resembled those in the places from which the immigrants came, and if nothing else, they were still trading land.
As can be seen from the above, the penalties were decreasing as the number of cases increased. And in
fact, when there was a previous contract of marriage between the accused couple, the penalty was often
less. When the father was unknown, it was customary for midwives at the time of childbirth to get the
mother in her weakness to disclose the name of the father. Efforts were made to get the father to marry
the mother, and this was not just a matter of morals, but also of economics, so as to prevent the mother
and child from becoming public charges. Such a marriage did not always take place, though, as when
Elizabeth Warren, a granddaughter of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren, accused Joseph Doty, a son of
Mayflower passenger Edward Doty, of fathering her child. Doty put up a bond of £80 on Oct. 27, 1674 to
ensure his answering the charges, but no more appears about it in the records; however, Doty was
apparently married at the time, and Elizabeth Warren later married William Green. Doty married Deborah
Ellis, whose parents, Lt. John Ellis and Elizabeth Freeman, daughter of Sandwich's leading citizen,
EDMOND FREEMAN, are mentioned above as being fined themselves for fornication before marriage. In a
similar case, Elizabeth Soule, daughter of Mayflower passenger George Soule, and Nathaniel Church,
grandson of Mayflower passenger Richard Warren, were fined on Mar. 3, 1662/63 £5 for fornication, and on
Oct. 5, 1663, Elizabeth Soule sued Nathaniel Church for £200 for failing to marry her, with the court
awarding her £10. On Jul 2, 1667, Elizabeth was in court again "for comitting fornication the second
time," and this time she was sentenced to suffer corporal punishment by being whipped at the post.