An Inheritance of Ghosts

James Mattocks and Mary [Spoore?]

Posted in James Mattocks, Mary ([Spoore?]) Mattocks, Mary [Spoore?] by Gregg Mattocks on 25 January 2009

James Mattocks [2048]

Father: unknown [4096]

Mother: unknown [4097]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry

Mary [Spoore?] [2049]

Father: unknown [4098]

Mother: unknown [4099]

Mattocks Family Heritage entry


James Mattocks [2048], immigrant, while in Boston, Massachusetts, had a life that, while not auspicious, was not altogether obscure, and many records there give indications of his activities and his character.  Unfortunately, it is only after his arrival in Boston that he can be confidently traced.  One can assume that he and his family came from England.  Nearly all of the early settlers in Boston were from there.  The name “Mattocks” is of Welsh derivation and was common throughout England.  But since James’ Old World origins have not been determined, there is no convincing record of his parentage, birth, childhood, marriage, or of the births of his children.

James’ birth date can only be approximated from the little information that exists.  Since James had arrived in Boston by at least 1638, and since it is probable that his three children were born by then (there is no record of their births in Boston), James was very likely at least 25 years old in that year, having  been born by 1613 at the latest.  The age of his wife, Mary [Spoore?] [2049], would be calculated similarly.  In her will, written in 1681, she described herself as “aged,” and she would have probably been at least 67 years old.  Indeed, her characterization of herself as “aged” and her death in 1682 suggest that she may have been nearer to 80 years old in 1681, placing her birth (as well as her husband’s) nearer 1600.

There is reason to believe that James and Mary’s daughter Alice was widowed of her first husband, Mr. Bishop, before the family’s arrival in 1638.  No records have been located chronicling either their marriage or his death.  If it were true that Alice was widowed by 1638, her parents would probably have been born by 1600.

There is the further evidence of James’ reputed brother-in-law, John Spoore, who was in Boston by 20° (1°)1637 [20 March 1638] when his daughter Mary was born.  John Spoore and his wife, Elizabeth, had children through 1650, suggesting that John and Elizabeth were born around 1610.  This would place them in the same generation as James and Mary Mattocks.

Finally, there is statistical evidence.  The median age of death for male emigrants to New England was 71 years which — since we know James died in 1667 — would place his birth about 1596.  Female emigrants died at a median age of 67 years which, with Mary’s death in 1682, would put her birth at about 1615.  By these calculations, about nineteen years would have separated the ages of James and Mary.  It is likely then that James may have been born somewhat later and Mary somewhat earlier than these figures suggest.  The average age of husbands at the time of emigration was 37 years, which would place James’ birth at about 1600.

The evidence suggests that James and Mary were most likely born some time between 1600 and 1610.  James’ profession provides some reason for placing his birth earlier rather than later.  As a cooper, James probably endured a period of apprenticeship, during which time he likely was forbidden to marry.  Apprenticeships commonly began at the age of fourteen and lasted for seven years, implying that James would not have married until the age of 21 at the earliest.

Genealogist James Savage claimed that James came to Boston from Bristol.  I have found no records to explain from where this assertion came, but it is interesting that John Farmer and Samuel G. Drake mentioned a James Maddox who came from Bristol and settled at Newbury, Massachusetts.

James Maddox of Newbury was said to have been the brother of John Maddox of Lynn, Salem, and Newbury, Massachusetts.  In 1634, John, a sawyer, came to America aboard the ship Planter, sailing from Stepney Parish, county Middlesex.  The incongruity that John was from Stepney while his brother James came from Bristol, Farmer and Drake did not explain.  I have been unable, in my research, to verify the existence of James Maddox of Newbury.  His brother John, however, may have a link with the Mattocks family of Boston.  On the first day of the 4th mo 1641 [4 June 1641], at a quarter court of the Assistants of Massachusetts, “Rob’t Lewis & John Madox were discharged the p’sentmt being mistaken, their answer being judged reasonable.”  In Salem, John worked with Robert Lewis on the ship Sara for Richard Hollingsworth, shipbuilder, “who gave them an order for the money” 19 August 1641.  Robert Lewis may have been related to John Lewis, a one-time Salem resident, who married James Mattocks’ daughter, Alice, in 1659.  John Maddox, born about 1591, died 22 April 1643.  His estate was inventoried 6 (5) 1644 [6 July 1644].

John and Walter Mattocks in their 1885 ancestral study maintained that James came from Totnes, county Devon.  As eighth-generation descendants of James Mattocks, they may have had reason to know of the English roots of their family.  John and Walter did not provide documentation for their work however, so their assertion remains only an assertion.  Nevertheless, a James Maddicke was born in the area of Totnes in 1603, and a few church records speak of that family.

On 20 February 1603, at Brixham, county Devon, James, son of Lewis Maddicke, was baptized.  A Lewis Maddicke had married, 26 May 1589, at Brixham, Joan Cole.  On 24 June 1597, a Lewis Maddicke, son of Lewis, was baptized at Brixham.  After the birth of this James, the setting changes from Brixham to nearby Churston Ferrers, county Devon, where several church records mention a Madicke family.   A John Madicke married there, 29 September 1593, Edythe Gill.  This John may have been Lewis’ brother, as he apparently had a son named after his brother.  Apparently James’ mother died and Lewis married next, 3 February 1611, Jone Emmyte.  Marrye, daughter of Lewis, was baptized 15 August 1613.  William, son of Lewis, was baptized 24 August 1616.  Lewis died, and was buried at Churston Ferrers, 1 March 1618.  Edythe Maddocke, probably the wife of John, was buried there 17 November 1624.  Mary Maddocke, presumably James’ half-sister, married, 1 February 1639, James Lame.

So here is a family for our James: a father Lewis, a mother Joan, an uncle John, an aunt Edith, a stepmother Jone, a half-sister Mary, a half-brother William, and a brother-in-law James Lame.  Lewis, father of James, died when the boy was only fifteen.  James’ marriage to Mary is not recorded at Churston Ferrers.  Nor is there mention of a sister Elizabeth, who could have provided John Spoore with a wife, and explained the reference to Spoore as James Mattocks’ “brother.”  But a Maria Spoore, daughter of “Roberti,” was baptized 16 April 1601 at Ugborough, county Devon.  The name of Robert Spoore appears early in Massachusetts; that Robert was probably a son of John Spoore, perhaps named after his grandfather.

Interestingly, Totnes, Brixham, Churston Ferrers, Clapton, and Bristol are all located in the Western Country of England, conveniently near Wales where the surname “Mattocks” originated.  It is conceivable that James lived in more than one of these West Country locations, being born in Brixham or Churston Ferrers for instance.  The county of Devon would have had little to entice young James to stay.

On its miles and miles of waste lands and vast moors, the peasants had become a pastoral people; even though the flocks were not as large as those in other counties, John Hooker thought Devon contained more sheep.  Elsewhere the landscape was divided into small, irregular fields, often no more than one acre, enclosed by hedgerows, and between the rows, traversing the countryside, ran a network of country lanes.  As early as 1599, a fine apple cider produced from the fruit of the many orchards was preferred to beer for long voyages into southern waters: it kept better and was cheaper than wine.  In general, however, farming did not prove remunerative.

In Devon’s cider industry, James could have found usefulness as a cooper.  Instead, he may have removed to Clapton as a youth, perhaps shortly after the death of his father Lewis.  The county of Somerset, where Clapton is located, was a land of grazing sheep and fields of grain.  It is there that James might have encountered husbandman John Spoore, and more important, he might have met and wooed Mary Spoore.  No proof has been found that Spoore had a sister Mary, but if he did, and if she and James were married, then Spoore’s mystery reference to his “brother” James Mattocks would be resolved.  The reference to John Spoore as the “brother” of James Mattocks, I have sought to explain by assuming the term meant “brother-in-law.”  Other possible interpretations can be imagined.  John and James might have been stepbrothers or half-brothers, or the designation might simply have referred to their “fraternity” in the Church.

If James did live in Clapton, it seems likely that he would have embarked on his journey to America from the nearby seaport of Bristol.  Most of the emigrants to America during this period lived within forty miles of their port of departure.  If James lived in Devon just before his departure for New England, it seems likely that he would have sailed from Plymouth or Torquay.

James might have lived in Bristol for a time.  In the early seventeenth century, economic upheavals motivated many young Englishmen to migrate from the countryside to nearby urban areas, seeking positions as servants or apprentices.  If James’ father died when the boy was fifteen, relatives might have decided the best thing to do with the lad would be to send him to town to learn a trade.  Opportunities for a cooper would have been good in the bustling harbor at Bristol in an era of expanding world trade.  With a population of 10,549 in 1607, Bristol was attracting workers from the adjacent counties and even further away to serve apprenticeships.  In 1639, Peter Mundy reported that “Bristoll is even a little London for Merchants, shipping, and great and well furnished Marketts, etts., and I think second to it in the kingdom of England for these perticulars and others.”  A Boston friend of James, Samuel Bitfield, who was born in Somerset, served as a cooper’s apprentice in Bristol from 1616 to 1622. Perhaps James came to Bristol with Samuel, and worked with Samuel as an apprentice.

Around the age of fourteen, many youths would be bound as apprentices to learn a trade or craft.

During the apprenticeship, the apprentice received food, clothing, lodging and education, in particular an education in the “mystery” of the master’s trade.  During these years the apprentice was forbidden to contract a marriage (or fornicate), frequent alehouses or taverns, or engage in games of chance with cards and dice.  At the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice received two suits of clothing, a sum of money, and/or a set of tools.

The uniform of an apprentice typically was of russet cloth.  In the summer a blue cloak was worn, in the winter a blue gown, with breeches and stockings of white broadcloth, and a flat cap.  The youth’s life was strictly regulated.  In addition to the restrictions mentioned above, an apprentice was expected to be at his master’s service night and day including holidays, to provide two days service for each day missed, to report to his master anything “to the prejudice of his master’s goods or good name,” and was not allowed to swear, stay out late, or to carry any weapon except a knife.  “If he ran away he was cried and forcibly brought back, often ill if not brutally treated as an indoor servant, with a poor diet and obliged to sleep in the workshop.”  James’ master may have seen to his education, giving James the literacy required to make his own signature as well as serve as an “attorney” in later years.  After seven years of training, during most of which time the apprentice was exploited as cheap labor, a youth would be tested by a guild to determine his worthiness to become a journeyman.

Undoubtedly after his apprenticeship, James married Mary.  She probably gave birth to their three children in England.  Daughter Alice evidently was the oldest child, since she likely had married her first husband by 1638, and certainly had been widowed of that husband by 1659 when she remarried.  That Alice was mentioned prior to her sister Mary in the wills of their parents suggests that Alice was the older sister.  Son Samuel was likely the second-born child, as he married before his sister Mary.  Daughter Mary then was the last born, and may have been quite young when the family sailed to the New World.  Of course, other children may have been born and either died in childhood or remained in England.

Presumably James worked as a cooper, and likely made an adequate living.  The children grew and Alice, it would seem, married a Mr. Bishop.  At some point, the family resolved to emigrate to Massachusetts.  Undoubtedly some explanation for this decision existed.  Was the family, like so many others, being persecuted for its religious beliefs?  Was someone in the family in “trouble” with the law?  Did James sense that better economic opportunities beckoned overseas?  Had his services as a cooper been solicited from the new colony so hungry for skilled labor?  Or was a combination of factors at work?  It has been said that no one ever moves unless they are unhappy with their present home.  Whatever the answer, the motivation to leave must have been strong.  A perilous journey into an uncertain future lay ahead.

Genealogist James Savage was apparently responsible for the oft-repeated claim that James Mattocks came to Massachusetts before 1635.  Savage’s statement was based on the assumption that Alice was the wife of Nathaniel Bishop, who had come to New England by 1635.  Evidence shows that Alice Mattocks could not have been the wife of Nathaniel Bishop, and therefore the family probably arrived later.

In 1637 or 1638, it would seem, the Mattocks family sold off whatever real estate they owned and packed a few belongings, including coopers’ tools.  If not already there, the family, doubtless accompanied by John and Elizabeth Spoore, journeyed to the port of Bristol.  Perhaps Alice’s husband, Mr. Bishop, was still alive, and boarded the ship with them.  If so, he may have died on the voyage, a not uncommon fate for many would-be immigrants.  James would have already arranged for payment for their passage and freight.  A family of four could have expected to pay £25, about one-fourth of the value of the personal property owned by many urban artisans.  Emigrants were encouraged to bring enough provisions to see them through their first year in the New World.  Ships bound for the New England typically embarked in March or April.

The Mattocks and Spoore families typified the average travelers to New England.  Nearly nine-tenths of the immigrants traveled in family groups.  Adult brothers and sisters frequently sailed together.  Most married couples were in their thirties, had been married for about a decade, and had three or more children.

Passengers were generally required to deliver their baggage to the ship ten days prior to the scheduled departure date, at which time they paid off their freight costs.  Before leaving, the king’s searchers administered the oath of allegiance to the adult emigrants and examined the certificates, which the passengers had obtained from their parish ministers, attesting to the prospective traveler’s religious conformity.  Once approved, the searchers issued “Licenses under their handes and seales, to passe the seas.”  The anxious members of the Mattocks party, crowding onto a small ship which they could expect to occupy for two or three months, or even longer, set sail on an unforgiving ocean, bound for the New World where they would begin a new chapter in their lives.

When James Mattocks made his “small step” onto the anonymous ship bound across the Atlantic, presumably around 1638, he was taking a “giant leap” of faith which would alter forever the fate of his descendants.  Whether New England, in subsequent years, fulfilled the hopes and promises that had motivated him to bring his small family hither, is unknown.  That he stayed in Boston for the rest of his years suggests that to some degree he was satisfied with his family’s momentous decision to emigrate, for he was undoubtedly affluent enough to return to the homeland if he had been compelled to do so.

The long, dull journey across the ocean, which usually averaged eight to ten weeks, must have been a time of worry, fear, and regret, as well as a time of hope and anticipation.  James, his wife Mary, his daughters Alice and Mary, and his son Samuel, probably shared in frequent and fervent prayers for a safe passage, and security and prosperity in the new land.  Seasickness, smallpox, scurvy, and other maladies, along with inclement weather, icebergs, cramped quarters, lack of privacy, and sheer boredom, would have made the voyage tedious if not dangerous, but periods of joy and tranquility would not have been uncommon.  The ship provided a new community, strangers drawn together by the same irresistible force.  Together they shared the daily chores of making meals, cleaning, tending children and livestock, fishing, and comforting the ill.  Undoubtedly they worshiped, fasted, and feasted together.  They viewed, in huddled groups, the unfamiliar wonders of the vast ocean, and shared with each other their life stories and their aspirations for the future.  And, while of deep and lasting significance to the passengers, “[t]he ocean passage, above all else, identified New England’s founding generation, distinguishing its members from ancestors and descendants alike.”

In 1638, Boston was still a young town.  John Winthrop’s fleet of eleven ships holding “some seven hundred passengers” had sailed into Boston Harbor in 1630.  Like the “Pilgrims” who had settled in nearby Plymouth in 1620, Winthrop and his followers were attempting to escape the religious woes of England.  These “Puritans” had received permission, through the commercial charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company, to settle in the territory, and Winthrop had been appointed as their governor.  The first years of the colony were difficult, not only with disease and danger, but with the necessity of establishing a viable community with government, commerce, and religion.

But by 1634 the difficulties of the first years — exaggerated reports of which had served to dissuade persons from emigrating — had been largely overcome, while the Laudian attempt to reform the English churches was well underway, driving non-conforming ministers and their most faithful followers to seek a haven overseas.

During the decade of the 1630’s, more than 13,000 people made the journey to Massachusetts.  In 1637 some fifteen hundred immigrants arrived in Massachusetts, and the following year a record three thousand newcomers brought the population of the Bay to more than eleven thousand.  In that year, the town of Boston achieved a population of more than one thousand.

Boston was situated on a small peninsula, at that time only two miles long and one mile wide, comprising 783 acres.  The town was joined to the mainland by a long, low-lying neck.  Three hills dominated the town, Windmill (Copp’s) Hill, Fort Hill, and Tramount (Beacon Hill).  On the eastern side of the peninsula were “South Cove between Fort Hill and the mainland, and ‘the great cove’ between Fort Hill and Windmill Hill, with Town Cove at its head.”  Boston’s central position in the Bay put it in an ideal position to be the nucleus of travel and trade for the surrounding area.  As the capital of the Massachusetts commonwealth, it had “a vitality and excitement, a wealth and prosperity which other towns lacked.”  On the peninsula, a few unpaved roads and lanes meandered.  Most of the homes were modest, built close together, with “unpainted weather-beaten clapboard and fence,” but efforts were made to keep the town clean and orderly.  An open Common had been set aside for the grazing of cattle and sheep, and various “fields” were available for the inhabitants to cultivate.  A windmill creaked away on Windmill Hill and, after 1642, another was located atop Fort Hill.  A beacon dominated Tramount.  Most of the inhabitants lived near Town Cove where market, meeting house, school, and dock were near at hand, and where the church bell was frequently heard.  Tanners, wheelwrights, carpenters, shipwrights, ropemakers, and blacksmiths were at work in the town.

The first order of business for James, upon arriving in Boston, was to secure shelter for his family, even if only on a temporary basis.  At first, the family may have stayed at an inn.  A romanticist might be inclined to believe that the family found accommodations at the establishment of Richard Fairbanks, and that there the young Samuel Mattocks might have first laid eyes on Constance, the innkeeper’s infant daughter, who would grow up to marry Samuel.  At the inn, the newcomers would have been likely to hear gossip about the recent Pequot War, which had required the colony to send an army to Connecticut to put down an Indian uprising.  Another subject of careful conversation would have been the controversy surrounding Anne Hutchinson, leader of a heretical religious faction.

The original policy of the Massachusetts Bay Company was to provide house lots, gardens, and farm land to all new settlers.  Unfortunately, as the immigrants poured in and as available property on the peninsula became scarce, the government was unable to keep up with the demand.  Many of the newcomers found it easier and more desirable to purchase property from the townspeople.  A town ordinance of 1635 required “the approval of the town’s authorities for any sale of land from an established settler to a ‘stranger.’”  Accordingly we find in Boston’s Town Record on 18 (4) 1638 [18 June 1638], that the Boston selectmen allowed “John Spoor late of Clapton, in Somersetshire, to buy Mr. [William] Wilke’s house and ground, and that his brother, James Mattocke, a cooper, shall have liberty to live with him or in some other place in this town.”  William Wilkes, who came to Boston in 1633, had removed to New Haven, Connecticut, by 1639.

The ambiguity of this record allows us to speculate that John Spoore, who was in Boston by March 1638, had preceded his “brother” to Boston, and that James was to arrive later.  But it is more probable — especially considering the suspicious atmosphere following the Hutchinsonian debacle — that the selectmen would have personally screened James prior to consenting to his settlement in the town, and that James had arrived in Boston at the same time as John.  The selectmen carefully observed and regulated the private affairs of the populace, from designating appropriate dress to prohibiting profanity and excessive drinking.  In an effort to promote a harmonious and godly community, undesirables were discouraged, even banned, from settling in Boston.  Like all newcomers, James would have been scrutinized by the authorities.  Since he had been granted permission to live in the town, the selectmen must have been reasonably satisfied with his decency and devotion.

Why did James not purchase his own home?  Several possible explanations suggest themselves.  Perhaps James had not yet made up his mind to permanently settle in Boston.  He might have been too poor to afford his own home and therefore needed to live with his “brother.”  Perhaps John Spoore had better connections in Boston which allowed him to more easily acquire property.  John might have been the “leader” of the little group, taking their care on his shoulders.  This would suggest that John possessed qualities which made him more fit to provide for the two families.  Despite contrary  evidence, John may have been older than James.  If James were temporarily disabled or ill, perhaps from the recent voyage, he might have been unable to pursue his own accommodations.  Perhaps it was just sheer luck that John found a home first.  Interestingly, the record states that James had permission to live, if not with John, “in some other place in this town,” so that the two families may not have shared a home at all.  If the eight did live together, it must have been regarded as a short term situation until James could find a home for his immediate family.  The eight members of the household would have been James Mattocks, wife Mary, daughters Alice and Mary, son Samuel, John Spoore, his wife Elizabeth, and their daughter Mary.  John and Elizabeth Spoore may also have had a son Robert, for a Robert Spoore was in Dorchester, Massachusetts, by 1658.  The crowded home may have been the same as the house and garden owned by John Spoore about 1644.  This property was located on the north side of Fort (later Milk) Street, just west of where it crossed Shelter Creek.

While America later gained fame for its revolutionary concept of separation of religion and government, seventeenth-century Boston’s government to all intents and purposes was the property of the church.  Only one church existed, the Congregational Church, and it ruled the colony with severity and sobriety.  Disdaining the “popish” extravagances of the official religion of England, the founders of Boston created their own “Puritan” ways of worship, and their own moral code.  The Congregationalists chose to limit their church to those who visibly demonstrated their piety and publicly professed their faith and willingness to abide by the church’s covenant.

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Obedience to His holy will, and Divine Ordinaunce

Wee whose names are hereunder written, being by His most wise, and good Providence brought together into this part of America in the Bay of Massachusetts, and desirous to unite our selves into one Congreagation, or Church, under the Lord Jesus Christ our Head, in such sort as becometh all whom He hath Redeemed, and Sanctifyed to Himselfe, doe hereby solemnly, and religiously (as in His most holy Proesence) Promisse, and bind our selves, to walke in all our ways according to the Rule of the Gospell, and in all sincere Conformity to His holy Ordinaunces, and in mutuall love, and respect each to other, so neere as God shall give us grace.

The members of the congregation vested themselves with the power to determine their own affairs.  They elected the church’s officers and together made decisions affecting the church and its members.  This was quite different from the power structure of the Anglican church, which dictated most matters to its parishioners.  Yet, for all its democracy, the Congregational church was strict and unforgiving.  Glorifying God meant being humble and obedient.  Colorful clothes were forbidden, idleness and sports were punished, and on the Sabbath one was expected to be quiet and reflective.

Despite its asceticism, there were some who thought that even the Congregational Church was too “popish” and lax.  Anne Hutchinson, initially a devoted follower of Boston’s Reverend John Cotton, came to question many of the church’s practices.  In her religious zeal, she gathered together a few of the women of the town to discuss church issues.  In time, her meetings came to be attended by both men and women.  Soon, a movement was afoot which disrupted and threatened the Congregational Church.  “Finally, the more vocal Hutchinsonians were brought to trial before the General Court.”  Anne herself was convicted and exiled.  Stunned by the whole incident, the Boston church was reluctant to admit new members who might espouse equally disturbing views.  From 9 January 1637 until 29 December 1638, no communicants were added.  Through the end of 1639, only 76 new members were admitted, during a period “when more than 1,000 people poured into the town.”

Today, it might seem surprising that anyone would have wanted to join the strict Congregationalist church.  But to people of early Boston, “religious and moral teaching was an indispensable part of life and a necessary preparation for death.”  The church was the center of social life as well as the doorway to political and economic influence.  Even if one did not wholly embrace the church, it was certainly disadvantageous to remain entirely out of it.

On the evening of the 24th day of the 12th month 1638 [24 February 1639], James came to the First Church in Boston, where, after the services, he publicly confessed his faith.  He was offered and he accepted the “right hand of friendship,” and agreed to abide by the covenant of the church, thereby gaining admittance to the congregation.  Were it not for the Hutchinsonian controversy, he might have been admitted to the church even earlier.  There is no record that James’ wife, Mary, was ever admitted.  Perhaps she had somehow been tainted by the controversy surrounding Anne Hutchinson.  Or perhaps she and James thought it immodest for a woman to so publicly confess her faith.  Nevertheless, it seems incongruous that she did not join the church while her husband, and John and Elizabeth Spoore, were all admitted.  Of course, Mary presumably attended the congregation’s meetings, for non-members were not excluded from being present.

Morning and afternoon on a Sabbath (at nine and two) the people gathered in the meetinghouse to the tolling of the town bell.  Pastor [John] Wilson standing “above all people in a pulpit of wood, and the Elders on both sides,” opened the morning service with a “solemn prayer” of a quarter-hour or more, followed by Teacher [John] Cotton reading and expounding upon a chapter of Scripture, then a psalm, the congregation singing unaccompanied ….  In the stillness following the last phrases of the tune, the pastor rose again to begin the sermon.  Sometimes Wilson would add an exhortation based on recent happenings in the town; sometimes he would call on a visiting minister to speak.  A final prayer by the teacher, a blessing, and the congregation filed out.  Once a month, however, the morning session was extended as the Lord’s Supper was celebrated.  The non-members having withdrawn, a table was brought to the center of the meeting and the ministers and ruling elders took seats around it; the bread was broken and laid on a “charger” and the wine poured into a chalice, Cotton and Wilson alternating the service.  As the people watched — standing on their seats and crowding the aisle — first the bread, then the wine were consecrated and passed around the table to the seated elders.  Later they were circulated by the deacons to the people as one of the ministers droned on in prayer.  A psalm  …  and a blessing ended the service.

In the afternoon, the meetinghouse was filled again.  The worship was shorter, an opening prayer, a psalm, and Cotton’s sermon.  But the meeting ran on into the evening, for the business of the church had to be taken care of.  Baptisms followed the sermon ….  As the minister finished, one of the three deacons rose: “Brethren of the congregation, now there is time left for contribution, wherefore as God hath prospered you, so freely offer….”  [The people] filed down the aisle to bring their offerings to the deacon’s seat, putting money into a wooden box set out for the purpose, or, if they brought goods, laying them down before the deacons.  The admission of new members and the disciplining of those who had slid from righteousness, together with the resolution of various church problems followed and continued on until dusk ….  If time allowed … the congregation joined in a final psalm, Pastor Wilson prayed, and the meeting broke up with a final blessing on all.

It is tempting to view the Church of Boston as prudish and repressed.  Yet, a record  exists, relating that, among other marital offenses, James Mattock “denyed Coniugall fellowship unto his wife for the space of 2 years together upon pretence of taking Revenge upon himself for his abusing of her before marryage.”  The matter was taken up by the members of his congregation at the First Church of Boston.  After an open discussion of the subject, James was excommunicated.  I have been unable to determine the particulars of this story, and since the versions I have encountered are undated, it is possible that this incident occurred later in the colonial era, to another James Mattocks.  The matter suggests a view of the immigrant ancestor that is not as heroic as one might hope.  One is left with the impression that this was not a particularly happy marriage, neither at its beginning, nor at the time of this Boston scandal.  It is unclear what the exact nature of the abuse was.  Was Mary physically or verbally assaulted, or the victim of an unfaithful suitor?  And was James truly repentant, or had he a less noble motivation for neglecting his wife?  We have no record of James being active in church affairs after 1639, so his permanent expulsion from the church seems plausible.

To Massachusetts’ freemen was given the power to “make, ordeine, and establishe all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, lawes, statutes, and ordinances, directions, and instructions” for the commonwealth.  One did not automatically become a freeman, but rather was admitted as a full citizen by the existing freemen after making an oath of allegiance to the government.  Only free male church members, with property or wealth amounting to at least two hundred pounds, were to be admitted.  At the Easter meeting of the Commonwealth’s General Court, the freemen elected a governor, a deputy governor, and a court of eighteen assistants.  On this day, Boston had the spirit of a circus, with freemen from all parts of the Bay arriving to cast their votes.  Responsibility for town government was also vested in Boston’s freemen.  While the entire body of Boston’s freemen met only sporadically, most of the town’s concerns were addressed by an executive committee elected by the freemen.  The position of the freeman was one of both privilege and duty.

On 13 March 1638/9, James made the oath of allegiance and became a freeman:

I … [James Mattocks] … being by Gods providence, an Inhabitant, and Freeman, within the Jurisdiction of this Commonwealth; do freely acknowledge my self to be subject to the Government thereof: And therefore do here swear by the great and dreadful Name of the Ever-living God, that I will be true and faithfull to the same, and will accordingly yield assistance & support thereunto, with my person and estate, as in equity I am bound; and will also truly endeavor to maintain and preserve all the liberties and priviledges thereof, submitting my self to the wholesome Lawes & Orders made and established by the same.  And further, that I will not plot or practice any evill against it, or consent to any that shall do so; but will timely discover and reveal the same to lawfull Authority now here established, for the speedy preventing thereof.

Moreover, I doe solemnly bind my self in the sight of God, that when I shal be called to give my voyce touching any such matter of this State, in which Freemen are to deal, I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in mine own conscience may best conduce and tend to the publike weal of the body, So help me God in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because land on the peninsula was so limited, Bostonians were allotted additional property for agriculture in outlying areas.  Approximately 64 per cent of the population owned outlying land in 1639.  After 1636, most of the newcomers received their lots at Mount Wollaston on the south shore of the Bay.  An attempt had been made to set up a separate church at Mount Wollaston, with the Reverend John Wheelwright serving as pastor.  This plan was foiled when Wheelwright became embroiled in the Hutchinsonian debate, leading to his expulsion from the Commonwealth.  It was not until November 1639 that a church was finally established at the Mount.  It is precisely at this time, on 24 (9) 1639 (24 November 1639), that James was dismissed to the church at Mt. Wollaston for “ye winter season.”  His affiliation with this church was to be only temporary, and his sojourn there during the winter months of 1639-40 begs explanation.

Wood was a scarce commodity in the town.  Indeed, Winthrop wrote during the winter of 1637-38 that “we at Boston were almoste readye to breake up for want of wood.”  In the winter, many of the inhabitants would take a boat to their property in Mount Wollaston and camp out there in temporary shelters for a week or two.  Those who came for timber would “cut wood, sometimes piling it up to be brought into town during the slack summer months, sometimes sledding it in over the snow or, in those winters when the river and occasionally the inner harbor itself froze over, across the ice.”  Perhaps this was James’ purpose in removing to the church at the Mount.  James would need wood not only for heating his home, but also for constructing the barrels and other items of his trade.  James may have had better accommodations than most while at Mount Wollaston, for his friend Samuel Bitfield was residing in Mount Wollaston in the winter of 1639-40.  Indeed, Bitfield’s presence may be the real explanation behind James’ time at the Mount.  It should be noted that I have found no records which indicate that James was granted or sold land at Mount Wollaston.  He did not bequeath such property in his will.  Nonetheless, James apparently removed there for at least one winter.  Since he does not appear in Boston records again until December 1644, he and his family may have lived at the Mount for some time.

While becoming a freeman was usually contingent upon property ownership, there is no record that James bought any property of his own until he purchased the northerly half of Anthony Stoddard’s houselot on 28 (10) 1644 (28 December 1644).

Anthonie Stoddard of Boston granted vnto James Mattock of the same a house lott being seventy foote in front, scituat betwe[    ] Anthony Stoddard on the South mr John Wilson on the west & Wm Francklin on the north & this was by an absolute deed of sale dat[    ] the 28°. (10°) 1644

Acknowledged                      A hand & seale:

before mr Winthropp deput Governr.

[         ] 1644.

Stoddard’s property was located on the northwest corner of Great Street (now State Street) and the “new street” (Exchange Street), adjoining the home of the Reverend John Wilson.  The portion purchased by James fronted on the new street, which ran a short distance from Great Street to the shore line adjoining the Town Dock.  In 1644, Stoddard, a linendraper, had been “suffered to open his ‘shop window board’ two feet into the street” at this location.  It does not seem that James lived on, or otherwise used, this property, for James immediately sold the lot to John Synderland.

James Mattock of Boston granted vnto John Synderland of Boston one house & house lott in the new streete scituat betweene the howse of Anthonie Stoddard on the South mr John Wilson on the west & William Francklin on the North being seventy foote in front.  And this was by an absolute deed of sale dated the 30th of decembr 1644

Acknowledged before                A hand & seale.

mr Winthropp deput: Governor:

the 28° (10) 1644.

In 1641, Valentine Hill, Edward Bendall, and a group of associates received from the town the use of a large tract of “wast ground” extending from the wharf built earlier on Town Cove northeastward to the marshes dividing the bulk of the peninsula from the North End.  In the succeeding five years they expended 818li 13s 4d improving the harborside, turning the cove into “Town Dock,” obscuring the shoreline with pilings and planks.  Their profit — until the property reverted to the town in 1649 — came from wharfage and tonnage charged to all who used the facilities, and from the sale of lots carved out of the grant.

In 1646, James purchased a portion of this land.  James’ lot was one of at least twelve that Hill had sold.  It was here, on what is now North Street, between the old Mill Creek and Cross Street, that the Mattocks family apparently made their home.  Whether a house pre-existed on the lot, or was constructed after the purchase is unknown.  In the neighborhood lived John Mylom, John Phillips, John Turrell, David Phippen, Arthur Perry, Robert Nanny, John Peirce, John Oliver, John Knight, Thomas Marshall, and Joshua Scottow.  Next-door neighbor Barnabas Fawer was responsible for maintaining “a cart-way by the wharf before his door.”  Mill Creek had recently been widened and deepened, and the adjacent marshy land had been drained.  A grist mill, powered by the flowing of the tide, was located on the creek near James’ home.  At the mouth of the creek was a drawbridge leading to the nearby Town Dock, and this bridge “was designated as the only place from which butchers might case ‘their beasts entralls and garbidg’ without penalty of a fine.”  In spite of the entrails, James must have been pleased with the location of his home.  What better place for a cooper to transact his business?  And the rest of the family must also have welcomed the proximity of the market, Church, school, and dock, the protection of the nearby fort, and the view of the harbor which greeted them each day.

“The appearance of the houses as they grew up on the line of the Town Cove was very agreeable from the water.”  The Mattocks home was probably, like most homes then, an unpainted frame house, possibly of two stories, without a porch, and covered with clapboard.  Small leaded windows would have had shutters to keep out the cold.  It seems likely that a wall divided the east and west ends of the house, as Mary, in her will, bequeathed the west end to her daughter Alice and the east end to daughter Mary.  A brick fireplace and chimney probably dominated each end of the home.  A picturesque garden patch might have adjoined the house, possibly with a small orchard.  James likely set up his cooper shop at his home, and a painted sign would have swung in front announcing his trade.  He had his own private wharf, and the house itself may have been built on pilings.

Colonial New England was only too eager to welcome to its shores the skilled craftsmen who could provide the fledgling society with the products it most needed.  The artisan “who, with apparent ease, skillfully synchronized mind, eye, and hand,” molded the necessities of life was a man respected and valued.  He was an artist, but he was also one who labored long and hard to earn his livelihood.  As such, the craftsman enjoyed a superior position in the class structure of colonial America, comparable to that of the yeoman farmer.  “He was independent, self-sufficient, respected; and, in New England, he enjoyed the local franchise, participated in town meetings, and was elected to such town offices as sealer of leather, inspector of casks, or culler of staves.”

Although some craftsmen managed to consort with the upper class, the overwhelming majority of master artisans took their station with the “middling sort,” who embraced most of the population in colonial cities.  Where a tradesman was ranged in this large group depended somewhat upon the particular trade he practiced — whether it stood high or low in the accepted ranking of crafts; but principally it hinged upon the master’s worldly success.  Well-established tradesmen who owned their shops, the land upon which these stood, other tangible property, and who possessed an education beyond the mere capacity to read and write were known as “respectable” or “reputable tradesmen” and, in northern communities, were looked upon from above with aristocratic approval.

Character also helped determine an artisan’s status, as noted by Benjamin Franklin, who began his adult life in the printing trade:

In order to secure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary.  I dressed plainly; I was seen at no places of idle diversion.  I never went out a-fishing or shooting.

A large percentage — perhaps most — of the early settlers of Massachusetts had been craftsmen in the Old World.

The settlers had left a land where labor was plentiful and cheap, whereas land was both scarce (relative to population) and dear, only to arrive in a place where that traditional economic relationship was inverted.  Colonial land supplies seemed limitless — towns actually gave it away free to their inhabitants — whereas the scarcity of laborers pushed wages to disconcertingly high levels.  Easy access to land created an overwhelmingly agricultural economy, more so than that of England itself.  Although wage rates were high and certain kinds of skilled labor were in considerable demand, circumstances peculiar to the colonial setting dictated that few craftsmen would be able to take advantage of these conditions to grow wealthy at the practice of their trades.  Outside of Boston, perhaps, no community was populous enough to employ its artisans full-time.  Moreover, the chronic scarcity of currency in early New England hampered the development of a vigorous market economy.

While other factors, such as the preference for a local minister or a reluctance to settle in the wilderness, may have influenced the decision of some to remain in large, established towns, the craftsmen who wished to practice their trade full-time would have “found the relatively more populous port towns, with their constant incoming streams of emigrants through the 1630s, the most congenial setting for the practice of their trades.”  Most artisans worked at farming as well as manufacturing.

[E]ven in Boston, early New England’s largest — indeed only — “urban” area, the occupational structure was highly idiosyncratic, with craftsmen concentrated in trades concerned with processing agricultural produce (e.g., as butchers, millers, brewers), with servicing the emerging shipping industry (e.g., as coopers and shipbuilders), and with construction.

When James Mattocks arrived in Boston (about 1638), he was but a small part of a massive migration.  “These immigrants made business brisk in Boston; they brought articles that the colonists needed, and they made a market for all that the colonists produced.”

As long as hundreds of emigrant families disembarked at New England ports each year, the region’s economic survival seemed assured.  The newcomers’ stores of goods, reserves of cash, and lines of credit with English merchants added wealth to a colonial economy that could not depend upon the lucrative staple crops that supported British settlements in other parts of North America.  Thus New England’s early prosperity was intimately tied to the annual appearance of emigrant ships; inhabitants regularly flocked to port towns in order to exchange their small agricultural surpluses for whatever scarce manufactured goods and even scarcer currency newcomers willingly relinquished.  Once emigration ceased with the coming of the English Civil War, however, the precariousness of such economic arrangements was fully revealed and New England suffered its first economic depression.  The flow of specie dried up, and prices for all sorts of local commodities — particularly land, cattle, and corn — plummeted.

However, Boston soon found a solution to its economic problems.  Although the demand for New England products in the home country was disappointingly low, merchants in Boston soon discovered markets for the region’s products, “first to the Azores, Canaries, the Iberian coast, and subsequently to the islands of the Caribbean.”  The profits from this trade allowed the importation of English manufactured goods, and thus an elaborate network emerged.

Boston wheat, for example, might be exchanged in Barbados for sugar delivered in London and credited against an earlier purchase of cloth and metal goods made on the promise of delivering the wheat in Barbados.  The same ties involved the Bostonians as factors for English houses in the carrying trade of fish from the settlements northward from Cape Ann to southern Europe.

Boston, with its central position in the commonwealth, and located on a deep bay that could accommodate the largest of sea vessels, “yet shallow enough along the shoreline of the Great Cove to allow easy construction of wharves and piers,” was an ideal place for a commercial center. “It hath pleased God so to dispose that o[u]r Towne chiefly consists of Trade, … a mart to the Countrie through the resort of Artificers of all sorts, and the accesse of shipping.”  Ships arriving in port “made repairs, provisioned themselves, and fitted out for their journeys, creating more work for Boston’s artisans and sales for her shopkeepers.”  The Congregational Church noticed with alarm that the economic opportunities “were bringing men to think less of heaven” and more of  “material gain.”  By 1687, a Frenchman was able to say of Boston that:

The trade was great with the American islands and with Spain.  To the islands the ships carried salted beef, pork, codfish, salmon, oysters, and mackerel, and brought back sugar, molasses, indigo, and sago; while with Spain dried fish was exchanged for oils, wine and brandy, all of which, however, was taken by way of London, where the duty demanded by the navigation laws was paid.

Such a busy commercial world could have only been a boon to the cooper, whose barrels were needed for the transportation of virtually all products.  From the beginning, the mystery of cooperage was one of the crafts indispensable to the settlers of New England.  The organizers of the Mayflower expedition packed coopers’ tools on board and employed the services of cooper John Alden.  Indeed, “New England conditions particularly favored those artisans who worked in wood….  [T]he raw materials used in their work were readily available.”

One of the most important forest products was the lowly barrel stave, which could be split from red or white oak and smoothed and shaped with a minimum of skill.  Making barrel or pipe staves, as they were generally called (from the word “pipe” meaning a wine cask), provided employment for countless men and boys throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Wooden barrels had many uses, and without them commerce would have come to a standstill.  Ships had to have barrels to hold supplies of water and beer.  Barrels were needed in the wine-making countries, for without barrels they could not store and ship their wines.  Barrels were needed in the West Indies for the sugar and molasses trade.  Indeed, practically all foodstuffs and many other products were stored and shipped in barrels…. Thus the makings for barrels were extremely important, and colonial traders developed a profitable market for them in the West Indies and the “Wine Islands” of Madeira and the Canaries.

The 1881 Book of Trades drew a thorough picture of the cooperage trade:

A cooper manufactures casks, tubs of all sizes, pails, and sundry other articles useful in domestic concerns.  These are made with oak timber, a great part of which comes from America, cut up into narrow pieces called staves; they are sometimes bent, and for other sorts of work they are straight.  For tubs, pails, &c. the bottoms of which are less than the tops, the staves are wider at top than they are at the bottom.  After the staves are dressed and ready to be arranged, the cooper without attempting any great nicety in sloping or bevilling them, so that the whole surface of the edge may touch in every point, brings them into contact only at the inner surface, and then by drawing the hoops hard (tight) he can make a closer joint than could be done by sloping the stave from the outer to the inner side.  These staves are kept together by means of hoops, which are made of hazel and ash; but some articles require iron hoops.  To make them hold water or other liquids, the cooper places between each stave from top to bottom split flags, which swell with moisture, and effectually prevent the vessel from leaking….

The tools required by the cooper are numerous, some of which are peculiar to his art; but most of them are common both to him and the carpenter.

In making a hogshead, the cooper holds, in his left hand, a flat piece of wood, which he lays on the edge of the hoop, while he strikes it with the hammer in his right hand.  To make the hoops stick, he takes the precaution to chalk the staves before he begins this part of the operation.  The tops and bottoms he puts together by means of wooden pegs.

The cooper uses various tools such as saws, axes, spoke-shaves, stocks and bits, adzes, augers &c.  The structure and uses of the saw and the axe are too well known to stand in need of description.

Spoke-shaves are of different kinds; they are intended for uses similar to those for which the carpenter adapts his planes.

The stock-and-bit make but one instrument.  The stock is the handle, and the bit is a sort of piercer that fits into the bottom of the stock: bits of various sorts are adapted to the same stock; of course, the bit is always moveable, and may instantly be replaced by one of a different bore.

An adze is a cutting tool of the axe kind, having its blade made very thin and arching: it is used chiefly for taking off thin chips, and for cutting the hollow side of boards, &c.

Augers, or, as they are sometimes spelt, awgres, are used for boring large holes: they are a kind of large gimlet, consisting of a wooden handle, and an iron blade which is terminated with a steel-bit.

The trade of the cooper was formerly among the cries of London: “Any work for the cooper?” is now heard in many parts of the country.  A travelling cooper carries with him a few hoops of different sizes, some iron rivets, and wooden pegs, his hammer, adze, and stock-and-bit.  With these few instruments he can repair all washing and brewing utensils, besides the churns and wooden vessels made use of in dairies.  An ingenious working cooper will in his peregrinations readily perform sundry jobs that belong to the carpenter, in villages which are too small to support a person in that trade.  A journeyman cooper, who works for a master, will earn from three to five shillings per day.

Every custom-house and excise-office has an officer called the king’s cooper; and every large ship has a cooper on board, whose business is to look after all the casks intended for water, beer, and spirits.

This trade has to boast of a considerable antiquity; the operations of the cooper are referred to, 2000 years ago by the Roman writers on rural economy.

In 1630, 748 barrels of oil “of New England fishing” were shipped from Boston to Amsterdam.  Shortly thereafter two shipments to London of 144 barrels and 152 barrels of whale oil were recorded.  Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop noted the departure in the fall of 1642 of six ships “laden with pipe staves and other commodities of this country.”  A ship bound for the West Indies included in its manifest “1,900 staves, … 11 barrels of fish, 7 barrels of apples, [and] 1,700 pounds of cheese.”  In 1650, the ship John put into Boston harbor to prepare for a journey from the West Indies to Africa for slaves, and paid “9s 6d ‘to goodman Barlow for caske.’”  In 1653, a cargo of staves was valued at £265.  The manifest for another shipment from New England included, “80 hogsheads, 6 barrels and 3 tierces of rum, containing 8,220 gallons; 19 barrels of flour; 4 tierces of rice; 2 barrels of snuff; 20 barrels of tar; 3 barrels of loaf sugar; 4 barrels of brown sugar; 7 quarter-casks of wine; 1 barrel of coffee; 1 barrel of vinegar; 20 firkins of tallow; 10 barrels of pork; 15 half-barrels of pork; 4 kegs of pickles; 2 barrels of fish; 1 barrel of hams; 12 casks of bread; 4 casks of tobacco; as well as 3,000 staves, hoops and heading boards.”  It has been noted that “[c]oopers were especially numerous in Boston where their services were greatly in demand for making barrels and casks for fish and salt pork.”  Coopers were frequently employed on board the ships, “making the bungs, heads, etc., on the outward trip, to be set up, together with Taunton staves and Narragansett hoops, into barrels and hogsheads when port was reached.”

The list of products that were stored and shipped in barrels was practically limitless: beef, mutton, pork, fish, grain, flour, bread, wine, brandy, rum, beer, cider, water, vinegar, sugar, molasses, syrups, apples, pickles, cheese, butter, soap, candles, whale oil, tar, turpentine, furs, crockery, nails, gunpowder, paint, seeds, and even shoes and money.  Barrels were referred to as casks, kegs, tuns, pipes, and hogsheads, depending on their size and use.

While the overseas trade provided ample employment for the average cooper, a domestic market also existed for many of his products.  He was engaged in the construction of “Bathing-Tubs, Coolers, Casks, and Kegs of all Sizes, Butter Churns, Pails, Piggins [small, scooplike buckets with one longer stave as a handle], Ships Buckets, Nun Buoys, Mess Cans, Etc.”  “Every household, for example, had its ‘caggs for butter,’ and several barrels for storing away salted fish and meats, wine casks, beer and rain-water barrels.”  Laundry tubs, powder buckets, and handbarrows were also made and sold.  Of course, the making of “tight” containers for liquids required more precision than “slack” containers for solids.  Old “tight” barrels were often used as “slack” barrels.  “[T]he repair of household containers … was a not unimportant part of his [the cooper’s] business.”

The forests of New England provided the cooper with the materials of his trade.  White oak was best for wine casks because of the flavor it imparted to the beverage.  Red oak was preferred for sugar and molasses barrels.  Pliable willow branches provided the material for the hoops which bound the barrel staves together.  Hoops could also be made of iron or brass.  No more than two or three barrels would be completed in a day.  Making barrels remained a hand operation until the nineteenth century.

To make a barrel, the wood was first split into billets of approximately the correct size.  These were shaved down using first an ax, then a draw knife and shaving bench or draw bench, and finally tapered with an ax and jointer plane.  The inside was hollowed with curved draw knives.  The entire process was done by eye.  All the staves were assembled in hoops up to half height, then a fire was built inside the cask to soften the resin and allow the other half to be drawn in to shape.  A retaining hoop was placed on, then final hoops.  The top and bottom were grooved with a router and the lids installed.  The barrel was finished.

The construction of the wooden barrel is worked out, not by accidental methods, but along scientific lines and embodying engineering principles.  The principal [sic] of the arch, formed by the stave accurately listed or shaped to conform to a given circle, is the first fundamental in barrel construction.  As each stave rests in a set position and all are bound by external hoop pressure, the entire assembly of staves and heads becomes a compact and single unit.  The staves are so listed that the lines of the joints, when projected toward the center, meet and form a series of acute angles.  Due to this construction, any external impact or shock is automatically transmitted throughout every unit of material, and the resiliency thus afforded the barrel modifies the force of such impact.

A master cooper frequently employed one or more journeymen and apprentices.  No record exists of James Mattocks having any “employees,” although it is very probable that his son Samuel, who became a cooper himself, assisted his father in his shop.  The shop itself probably adjoined the house, and may have been little more than a shed, perhaps with a hanging sign in front, with a picture advertising the business.  In addition to producing his goods, James had to market them.  “Most articles that artisans made were what were known as ‘spoken’ or ‘bespoke goods’; that is, made to order for a customer…. [I]n the cities and larger towns where the market was greater many artisans made up and kept on display various modes and styles .”  A modest but respectable living was made in the cooper’s trade.  In 1670, a cooper’s daily earnings were calculated to be about 2s.8d. (the price for a 32-gallon barrel).  In 1639, pipe staves were valued at the “extraordinary price” of £18 per thousand.  As supplies increased, the price lowered and, in 1659, one thousand barrel staves were valued at £2 in the inventory of Henry Dow’s estate.  In 1694, staves brought £1 10s. per thousand.  Since money was scarce in the New World, “goods or services usually took the place of cash payments.”

Some settlers, such as Henry Dow of Hampton, fashioned wood into barrel staves, which would either be bundled and shipped to West Indian sugar producers or sold to coopers and made into hogsheads to hold other New England goods for export.

In 1647, James Mattocks, along with his “brother” John Spoore, and neighbor, Barnabas Fawer, entered into a contract with the Bristol merchants Joseph Jackson and Hugh Browne.  The three Bostonians agreed to supply sixty thousand oak pipe staves, to be delivered to the waterfront for shipping by the first of September, in exchange “for so much linnen cloth & woollen cloth as shall amount to one hundd threescore & eight pounds & fifteene shillings.”  Mattocks, Spoore, and Fawer probably intended to sell the cloth, a manufactured item in short supply in the New World.

26. (2) 1651           rabam ffawer de Boston in Nova Anglia Tailor.   [Original probably mutilated.]  —tock de Boston pr dict Cowp et Johanne Spoore de Boston pred     man teneri et firmiter obligari Joseph Jackson et Hugoni Browne de Civit Bristoll mercatoribs in trecent libr bene et legalis monete Angl solvend eidem Joseph Jackson et Hugoni Browne aut eoru alteri sen eox vol alterius eop certo Atturnat execut vol Administrat eox sine alterius eox Ad quam quidem solutionem bene et fideliter faciend obligamus nos et quem libet urum p se p toto et in solido, heredes execut uros firmiter prsentes.  Sigillis nris Sigillat Dat primo die Martij: Ano regni Dni nri Carol nunc regis Angl &c. vicesimo secundo Annoq Dni 1646.

The Condition of this obligacon is such that if the above bounden Barnabas ffower James Mattock & John Spoore or either of them theire Executors or Assignes or any of them doe & shall at or before the first day of Septembr next ensueing the Date hereof well & truly Deliver or cause to be dd unto the above named Joseph Jackson & hugh Browne theire factors or Assignes cleare of all charges the full number of three score thousand of good & merchantable white oake pipestaves at or neere the waterside at Boston aforesaid in such place & places there where the same may be conveniently laden & taken aboard such shipp or shipps or other vessells as shalbe sent by the sd Joseph Jackson & Hugh Browne for the receiving thereof: & if the sd shipp or shipps or other vessells wch shalbe first sent by the sd Joseph Jackson & Hugh Browne for the receiving of the sd pipestaves shall happen to miscarry before the sd pipestaves shalbe laden aboard her: then if the sd Barnabas fflower James Mattocks & John Spoore or either of them theire Execut. or Assignes or any of them doe or shall deliver or cause to be dd unto the sd Joseph Jackson & Hugh Browne theire ffactors or Assignes (cleare of all charges) all the sd number of three score thousand pipestaves in good & merchantable condition at the place or places aforesd immediately uppon demand thereof made by the ffactors or Assignes of the sd Joseph Jackson & Hugh Browne that then this obligation to be void or els to stand in full force and vertue

Sigillat et Delibed in pntia        Barnabas ffawer

Johannis Hartwell.             James Mattocke

Rich: Orchard servi            John Spoore.

Georg. Hartwell No pubco:

Copia vera concodans cum originali examinat sexto die Januarij 1647.

p me ffra: Yeamans Notrij publ

matth. Wolfe   servi

de Notdrio. publ.

Indorsed thus

md   It is the true intent & meaning of the pties wthin named & of the obligacon & condicon wthin written & it is agreed betweene the sd pties before then sealeing hereof that the threescore thousand of pipestaves wthin mentioned to be dd shall & are to be in liew & satisfaction of & for so much linnen cloth & woollen cloth as shall amount to one hundd threescore & eight pounds & fifteene shillings wch the wthin named Joseph Jackson & Hugh Browne are bound by bond to Deliver in Boston to the wthin bounden Barnabas ffawer James Mattock & John Spoore.     Witness hereunto.

John Hartwell & Richard Orchard.

Examinat eliam p

ffran: Yeamans notrij publ

et matth: Wolfe.

This was a Copie of the bond so attested whereon was indorsed as followeth.

The 6th of June 1648.

I Wm Stratton of the Citty of Bristol Mariner do acknowledg to have received of Barnabas ffawer James Mattock & John Spoore the quantity of sixty thousand of merchantable white oake pipe staves according to the wthin mentioned covenant by vertue of a tre of Attur: given to mee beareing Date the 7th of January 1647.. Under theire bands & seales; & by this receipte the above sd Barnabas ffawer & Compa: are discharged of all obligcons whatsoever that are belonging to this ingagement, as witnes my hand the above sd Date of the 6th of June 1648.

Witnes us                P me William Stratton.

Rich: Russell

Nathaniel Sowther.

Yet another indication of James’ involvement in the Atlantic trade, was the sealing of a bond on 29 (2) 1650 [29 April 1650] “of James Mattock & John Synderland of 40li for paymt of 20li Nicholas Meredith 31 (3). [31 May] next in Bristoll or 25li to Rich. Russell 31(3) 1651. [31 May 1651] in mercht. dry cod fish price current.”  This is the second mention of James and Synderland having engaged in a business transaction together, and a friendship between the two is suggested.

The fishing industry of New England outstripped in importance all other commercial activities in the first century of settlement.  And of the fish taken, the codfish was by far the most valuable because it could be cured and dried with salt and then sold at a good price in southern Europe.  Protestant New England supplied much of the fish that Catholic Italy, Spain, and Portugal consumed on fish days.

As James settled into the Boston community, he made the acquaintance of the town’s other coopers.  There was John Mylam, who had arrived in Boston by 1635.  By combining his cooperage business with land speculation and trade, Mylam rose from being “one of the poorer sort” to one of the area’s wealthier citizens.  There was Thomas Venner, “a wine cooper,” who was in New England by 1638.  Venner, after causing some trouble in Massachusetts, returned to England, and engaged in a notorious and murderous career as one of the leaders of the Fifth-Monarchy movement.  There was also Samuel Bitfield, whom James may have known in England.

“Among the master craftsmen who worked in close proximity with their fellows daily, there emerged an incipient professional spirit that fused with the age-old desire for exclusiveness (or monopoly), impelling them to form various organizations for mutual benefit.”  The professional coopers looked askance at the abuses they saw perpetrated by the “amateurs” in their trade.  Like the carpenters, the coopers might have noticed that their craft was “so profitable that many youths … did not even wait to finish their training before embarking on their careers.”  “Casks of false sizes, made of green staves, were often worked off on unsuspecting purchasers.”  Remembering the guilds which had protected their trade in England, the professional coopers of the colony, led by Thomas Venner, soon were petitioning the commonwealth “about being a company.”

On 14 May 1645, it was ordered “yt ye coopers of othr townes be sent to, yt such as desire to ioyne wth ye coops of Boston, about being a company, & invested wth powr to regulate things in yir trade, may come into ye next session of ys Cort, & give their advice, or signify their thoughts hereabouts.”

Two separate entries in the Records of the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England speak of the formation of a corporation of coopers on 18 October 1648:

At a Session of the Generall Court of Election, held at Boston, the 18th of the 8th Moth: [October] 1648.

Vppon the petition of the shoomakers of Boston, & in consideration of of the complaynts which haue bin made of the damag which the country sustaynes by occasion of bad ware made by some of that trade, for redresse hereof, its ordred, & the Court doth hereby graunt libtie & powre vnto Richard Webb, James Euerill, Robt Turner, Edmund Jackson, & the rest of the shoomakers inhabiting & howskeepers in Boston, or the greatest number of them, vppo due notice giuen to the rest, to assemble & meete together in Boston, at such time & times as they shall appoynt, who beinge so assembled, they, or the greater number of them, shall haue powre to chuse a master, & two wardens, with fowre or six associats, a clarke, a sealer, a searcher, & a beadle, with such other officers as they shall find nessessarie; & these officers & ministers, as afforesd, every yeare or oftener, in case of death or departure out of this jurisdiction, or remoueall for default, &c, which officers & ministers shall each of them take an oath sutable to theire places before the Goûnor or some of the magists, the same beinge pscribed or allowed by this Court; & the sd shoomakers beinge so assembled as before, or at any other meettinge or assembly to be appoynted from time to time by the master & wardens, or master or wardens with two of the associats, shall haue power to make orders for the well gouerninge of theire company, in the mannaginge of theire trade & all the affayres therevnto belonging, & to change & reforme the same as occasion shall require, & to añex reasonable pennalties for the breach of the same; provided, that none of theire sd orders, nor any alteration therein, shalbe of force before they shalbe pvsed & allowed of by the Court of that county, or by the Court of Assistants.  And for the better executing such orders, the sd master & wardens, or any two of them with 4 or 6 associats, or any three of them, shall haue power to heare & determine all offences agaynst any of theire sd orders, & may inflict the pennalties pscribed as aforesd, & assesse fines to the vallew of forty shillings or vnder for one offence, & the clarke shall giue warrent in writinge to the beadle to leuie the same, who shall haue power therevppon to leuie the same by distresse, as is vsed in other cases; & all the sd fines & forfeitures shalbe imployd to the benefit of the sd company of shoomakers in generall, & to no other vse.  And vppon the complaynt of the sd master & wardens, or theire atturny or advocate, in the County Court, of any pson or psons who shall vse the art or trade of a shoomaker, or any pt thereof, not beinge approued of by the officers of ye sd shomakers to be a sufficient workman, the sd Court shall haue power to send for such psons, & suppresse them; provided also, that the prioritie of theire graunt shall not giue them precedency of other companies that may be graunted; but that poynt to be determined by this Court when there shalbe occasiô therof; provided also, that no vnlawfull combination be made at any time by the sd company of shoomakers for inhancinge the prices of shooes, bootes, or wages, whereby either or owne people may suffer; provided also, that in cases of dificultie, the sd officers & associats doe not pceede to determine the cause but by the advice of the judges of that county; provided, that no shoomaker shall refuse to make shooes for any inhabitant, at reasonable rates, of theire owne leather, for the vse of themselues & families, only if they be required therevnto; provided, lastly, that if any pson shall find himselfe greiued by such excessiue fines or other illegall pceedinges of the sd officers, he may complayne thereof at the next Court of that county, who may heare & determine the cause.  This commission to continue & be of force for three yeares, & no longer, vnles the Court shall see cause to continue the same.

The same comission, verbatim, with the same libtie & power for the same ends, vpon the like grounds, is giuen vnto Thomas Venner, John Millum, Samuel Bidfeild, James Mattocks, Wm Cutter, Bartholomew Barlow, & the rest of the coops of Boston & Charlstowne, for the pventing abuses in theire trade.  To continue only for three yars, as the former, mutatis mutandis.

Upon the petition of the cowpers, inhabiting in Boston & Charlstowne, & upon consideration of many complaintes made of the great damage the country hath sustained by occasion of defective & insufficient caske, for redresse hereof,—

It is ordered, & the Corte doth hereby graunt liberty & power to Thomas Venner, John Mileham, Samuell Bidfeild, James Mattuck, Willi: Cutter, Bartholo: Barlow, & the rest of the cowpers of Boston & Charlestowne, or the greater number of them, (upon due notice given to the rest,) to meete together, & to appoint a certeine time & place, to wch they shall call together all the cowpers, being housekeepers, & inhabiting wthin this iurisdiction, who being so assembled, they, or the greater number of them, shall have power to choose a mr & two wardens, foure or six ass[istants], a clarke, a gager, a sealer, a packer, a searcher, & a beadle, wth such other officers as they shall find necessary, & these officers & ministers shalbe chosen, as aforesaid, every yeare, or oftner, in case of death, or departure out of the iurisdiction, or removeall for default, &c; wch officers & ministers shall, each of them, take an oath, suitable to his place, before the Governor, or some of the magistrats, the same being pscribed, or alowed, by this Corte; & the said cowpers, so assembled, as before, or at any other meeting or assembly, to be appointed from time to time, by the mr and wardens, or the mr or wardens, wth two of the associats, shall have power to make orders for the well ordering of their company, in the managing of their trade, & all the affaires thereunto belonging, & to change & reforme the same, as occasion shall require, & to annex reasonable poenantyes for breach of the same:

Provided, that none of their said orders, nor any alteration therein, shalbe in force before they shall have bene pused & alowed by the Corte of that county where they shall be made, or by the Corte of Assistants.

And for the better executing of such orders, the said mr, wardens, or any two of them, wth four or six associats, or any three of them, shall have power to heare & determine all offences against any of their said orders, & may inflict the poenalties pscribed as aforesaid, & assease fines to the value of forty shillings or under for one offence; & the clarke shall give warrant in writing to the beadle to levy the same by distresse, as is used in other cases; and all the said fines & forfeitures shall be implied to the benefit of the said company of cowpers, & to no other use; and upon complaint of the said mr & wardens, or their atturny or advocate, in the County Corte, of any pson or psons who shall use the arte or trade of cowper, or any pt thereof, not being appved by the officers of the said cowpers to be a sufficient workman, the said Corte shall have power to send for such psons, & suppresse them.  Provided, alwayes, that no unlawfull combination be made at any time by the said company of cowpers for inhancing the prices of caske or wages, whereby either our owne people or strangers may suffer.  Pvided, also, that in cases of difficulty the said officers and associats do not pceed to determine the cause but wth the advice of the iudges of that county, where the said cause doth first arise.

Provided, that the priority of their grant shall not give them precedency of other companies that may hereafter be granted, but that point to be determined by this Corte when the[re] shalbe occasion thereof.

Provided, lastly, that if any pson shall find himselfe greived [by] excessive fines or other illegall pceedings of the said officers, he may complaine thereof at the next Corte of the county, who may heare & determine the cause.

This comission to continue & be of force for the space of three yeares, & no longer, except this Courte shall see cause to continue the same.

The shoemakers and coopers thus formed the first labor unions in America.  Though often accused of merely being greedy, and resented by the country artisans who felt Boston’s craftsmen unfairly dominated the market, the members of the coopers’ organization professed that they wished to improve their craft by discouraging such part-time coopers as Joseph Coleman, who also worked as a farmer and shoemaker, and Anthony Thacher, who, in addition to barrel-making, was employed as a farmer, tailor, Indian trader, and surgeon.

The commonwealth was aware of the abuses practiced by many craftsmen.  “The high demand for their services conferred economic advantages on these workmen that worried colonial officials.”  Wage and price controls were instigated to keep “the earnings of New Englanders within familiar bounds.”  The commonwealth also regulated trade and apprenticeships, and placed “upon the towns the responsibility of providing themselves with ‘common measures and waights’ calibrated to sealed instruments kept by the governor.”  Town officers were appointed, such as the gauger of casks in 1642, “who measured all containers used for ‘liquor, fish, or other commodities to bee put to sale’ to see that they were of the required ‘London assize.’”  Approved vessels were marked with the gauger’s mark.  Also commissioned were “sealers and viewers of fish, lumber, [and] pipestaves.”

One of the first actions of the new guild was to complain of the fishermen and merchants dealing in fish.  “‘It is the order in England,’ they wrote, that ‘no  fisherman was to pake his fish for the marcht: they pakt them at sea to save them, but when they come to be pakt for the Marcht or for a market, ther were coopers sworne for that service: and non but accounted merchantable but such as they pak; and her[e] both marchants and seamen compley much of abus in this kind amongst us.’”  Apparently, Boston was responsive to this complaint, for at a town meeting of 12 March 1654/5, James Mattock, Sr., and William Dinsdale were appointed “Packers of Flesh and Fish.”  While his experience as a barrel-maker certainly helped qualify him for this position, the appointment also suggests that James was a respected citizen who could be entrusted with such a responsibility.

It is not clear why James was referred to as “James Mattock, Sr.” in the above record, as it suggests the existence of a younger James Mattocks in Boston.  This may be one of several instances where James’ son Samuel was mistaken for “James Mattocks.”  Some of the old records referred to James as the husband of Constance, and it seems clear that “Samuel” was intended.

Legislation governing the packing of meat was passed on 7 May 1651.

For preventing the deceipt of any person in the packing of fish, beife, and porke, to be putt to sajle in this and other jurisdictions, itt is therefore ordered by this Courte and the authoitje thereof, that in euery towne wthin this jurisdiccon where any such goods are packt vp for sale, the gager of that toune, or of the toune wherein it is putt to sale, or shipt, shall see that it be well and orderly perfourmed; that is to say, beife and porke, the whole halfe or quarter together, and so proportionably, that the best be not left out; and for fish, that they be packt all of one kinde, and that all caske so packt be full, and sound, and well seasoned, setting his seale on all caskes so packt, for which he shall receive of the owners, for so packing and sealing, fower shillings p tunne; but if the gager doe only vejw them, and find them good and sufficjent, he shall sett his seale vppon them, and have one shilling p tunne for so doing; and if such goods so packt shall be putt to sale packt vp in caske without the gagers marke, he shall forfeite the sajd goods so put to sale, the one halfe to the informer, the other halfe to the countrje treasury.  And whereas notwthstanding the former lawe provided, tit Caske and Coopers, page the sixth, much damage is still sustajned by marchants and men of trade through the insufficjencje and vndue assize of caske, itt is therefore further ordered by the authoritje of this Courte, that wheresoeuer any new caske are found putt to sale, being defective either in workmanship, timber, or assize, as in that lawe is provided, vppon due proofe made before any one magistrate, the sajd caske shallbe forfeited to the informer, and the workeman for his default shall pay tenn shillings a tunn forthwith, to the use of the countrje, and so proportionable for all greater or lesser caske; and becawse there maybe no neglect in the chojce of a gager to prevent the abuses exprest in this or any other lawe, itt is further ordered by the authorjtje aforesajd, that euery towne within this jurisdiccon wherein any caske are made shall yeerely make chojce of one fitt man for that worke and implojment, who, being presented by the counstable within one weeke after the chojce made, before any one magistrate, shall there take the oath belonging to his place, which if he shall refuse, he shall pay the some of forty shillings, and another to be chosen in his roome; as also the toune or counstable shall either of them suffer the like pœnaltje for the neglect of this order, any other lawe, custome, or order to the contrary notwithstanding.

The commonwealth provided additional legislation on 19 October 1652.

Vppon information of soundry abuses which may arise, and thereby reproach redound to the countrje, by packeing vp beife, porke, and other things in caske that is not full gage, although the packer doe carefully fill the same, as the lawe provides, it is therefore ordered by this Court, that henceforth euery packer shall see that all caske he packs any beife, porke, mackerill, fish, or any other goods in, comitted to his care, be of true and full assize and gage, and that he packes the same in no other caske whatsoeuer, on pœnaltje of tenn shillings for euery caske by him packed that is or shallbe defective in that respect, one halfe to the informer, and the other halfe to the countrje.  This order to be the next day published, and posted vp in Boston and Charles Toune, and, by the first opportunitje, in Salem and Ipswich.

The oath for packers of beife, &c.

Whereas you, A B, are chosen a packer of beife, porke, and other things for the toune of B:, yow doe heere sweare, by the living God, that yow will well and truely packe all beife, porke, and other things, when yow shallbe thereunto required; yow shall packe no kinde of goods but such as are good and sound, nor any goods in any caske that is not of a just and full gage; yow shall also sett your particular marke vppon all caske packed by yow; and in all things propper to the place of a packer yow shall faithfully discharge the same, from tjme to tjme, according to your best judgment & consjence.  So helpe yow God.

It is unknown how long the cooper’s union flourished, though its initial license was for only three years.  Colonial conditions, which kept labor at a premium, worked against guilds, and eventually made it impossible for the medieval system to survive.

By the time of the arrival of James and Mary, Boston was evolving from a smattering of “wigwams, huts, and hovels” on the fringe of a hostile world, to a busy seaport presaging “some sumptuous city” yet to come.

It was “the Center Towne and Metropolis of this Wildernesse worke,” a “City-like Towne” “crowded on the Sea-bankes and wharfed out with great industry and cost.”  Its major buildings were “beautifull and large, some fairely set forth with Brick, Tile, Stone and Slate,” its streets lined with “good shopps well furnished with all kind of  Merchandize,” noisy, busy, “full of Girles and Boys sporting up and downe, with a continued concourse of people.”

Indeed, by 1649, about 315 houses, more than 350 buildings in all, lined the busy lanes of Boston.

In contrast to farmers, the everyday lives of townspeople differed little from what they had known in England.  They walked to and from work, for every port town clung close to the waterfront.  The church bell resounded in their ears throughout the week.  Market day occurred regularly as it had in England, and fairs, too, became fixtures on the calendar.  Houses were jammed close together and no one who desired it wanted for companionship.  The hogs that ran wild in the streets evoked no comment, nor did the stench from accumulated garbage, nor in summer the tormenting mosquitoes or the clouds of flies that blackened uncovered food.  Townspeople lived their days amid the noise of clanging hammers, the rumblings of carts and wagons, the squalling of children — all of which sounded like music after a trip to the country, where only twittering birds relieved the silence.  At night, raucous sailors rolling through town on shore leave, heading toward local brothels — even puritanical Boston had its share — were minor irritants to a daily life filled with tension, perhaps, but also with endless variety.

A French refugee, describing Boston in 1687, found good and bad inhabitants, “though the good preponderated; and there were all kinds of life and manners.”  Tradition and habit would undoubtedly have guided the lives of all good citizens.  Religion and law would have dictated men’s actions.  So would the need to cooperate in a society whose very existence was threatened by the untamed world just beyond the peninsula.  Though that early epoch of exploration and settlement was a time for heroes and geniuses, it was also a time for the common man.  It was for him and by him that this new “paradise” was created.

The founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were careful to create an orderly culture in which the public interest was paramount.  They required citizens, in various ways, to contribute and conform.  “[T]hose who challenged the status quo in any way were branded as sinners against God, doomed to the fires of hell.”  A prison and gallows were erected in Boston to punish the wayward.  Long hair was forbidden as “a thing uncivil and unmanly; fit only for Russians and barbarous Indians.”  Regulations governed the wearing of veils, gold and silver lace, girdles, hatbands, embroidered caps, and large sleeves.  Laws against tobacco use were enacted.  The minutest details of the daily life of the populace were overseen.  “They were wakened from sleep in the morning at half-past four o’clock by the sounding of the public bell, and the curfew bid them to cover their coals and retire at nine in the evening.”

Admonitions against excess apparel did not mean that settlers were expected to dress somberly.  The “best clothes” donned for Sunday and formal occasions might be of dark material, but daily garb ran the spectrum of colors.  Russet was favored, at least in New England, but reds, yellows, blues, and greens were also common.  For daily wear men wore a doublet, or close-fitting jacket, over a linen shirt, breeches that came down below the knees, long heavy stockings and, depending on the season and weather, either moccasins or laced leather boots.  A woman’s daily gown consisted, as John Demos describes it, “of three separate parts: a skirt, a bodice, and a pair of sleeves which were tied into the bodice armholes and covered by shoulder pieces called ‘wings.’”  Undergarments could number up to five, again depending on the weather and season.  Children were dressed as “miniature adults” from about the time they could walk.

Inhabitants were expected to provide both taxes and services.  Taxes were paid to commonwealth, town, and church.  The taxes funded streets, fences, forts, militia, poor relief, and schools.

In 1641 the town gathered to undertake street maintenance, “the Richer sort” being required to supply “three dayes’ worke of one man,” the “men of middle estate, two dayes,” the “poorer sort, one day.”  The richer sort and those of middle estate undoubtedly sent their servants to do the work, but as before the poorer inhabitants went themselves.

Perhaps these were the Bostonians who, in 1641, were pressed into service to form six work companies to build a road from Winnisimmet to Lynn.

Wood construction and thatched roofs made fires both an “omnipresent fear” and a common reality.  Town ordinances required citizens to maintain buckets and ladders outside the meeting house, and householders were to have a ladder “that shall rech to the ridge of the house” and “a pole of about 12 foot long, with a good large swab at the end of it, to rech the rofe of his house to quench fire.”  The whole town would turn out when they heard the cry of “fire.”  A 1679 Boston conflagration destroyed some 150 buildings.

Land had to be carefully regulated on the tiny peninsula upon which Boston was located.

[T]he inhabitants had established their right to harvest fodder and thatch from the marshes rimming the peninsula, to cut wood on town lands and in those areas on the mainland and harbor islands assigned them by the commonwealth for the purpose, and finally, to run livestock on the uncultivated lands of the peninsula.

Despite the authoritarian nature of the government and church, Bostonians enjoyed the privilege of playing a part in their society.  Voting, town meetings, and courts were all institutions used to empower citizens.

The only restrictions were that those admitted to town suffrage must have taken the “oath of fidelity to this government,” must have reached the age of … twenty-one … , and that they must not be under sentence “for any evil carriage against the government, or commonwealth, or churches.”

Bostonians voted to elect the town committee and deputies to the General Court, and to ratify important actions.  These privileges had existed since the inception of the Massachusetts Bay Company.

The freemen, or stockholders, of the company were to meet together four times a year as “one greate, generall, and solemne Assemblie” to admit additional freemen and to “make, ordeine, and establishe all manner of wholesome and reasonable orders, lawes, statutes, and ordinances, directions, and instructions” for the colony to be established.

[By September 1, 1634], the town records indicate that a standing committee, “the 10 to manage the affaires of the towne,” was operating as an executive body for the community, while the assembling of the town for business in “a general meetinge upon public notice” was a regular procedure.

The meetinghouse also served originally as the community church since “[t]hings civic were identical with things spiritual.”  The typical meetinghouse of the Colony was a plain square structure lacking a “popish” steeple.  Inside the unheated building — initially on the present State Street near the corner of Devonshire — attendees sat in backless wooden benches.  On the meetinghouse door, the town constable posted the new laws for the citizens’ perusal.  In 1640 a new structure, which stood on Washington Street, replaced the original meetinghouse.  The new building boasted a balcony to hold the town’s youngsters.

In 1646, it was agreed that a general town meeting would convene annually on the second of March, coinciding with the spring session of the General Court.  At this time, the freemen elected governor, deputy governor, and a court of eighteen assistants “to take care for the best disposeing and ordering of the general buysines and affaires of … the said landes and premisses … and the government of the people there.”  This annual event was as much a social event as a political affair, a time when all citizens gathered.  It was at this “Easter Court” that the crowds witnessed the election sermon, “a high point of the year’s oratory.”

Despite the sermons of the preachers, the day quickly took on a distinctly unreligious tone.  One minister complained that it had become an occasion when men gathered “to smoke, carouse, and swagger, and dishonor God with greater bravery.”  In some communities a special beer was brewed for the occasion.  In others, it was the custom for housewives to bake a particular kind of election cake.

Perhaps some of the visitors and townsmen were already drifting away as the day’s last act was played, the new governor rising to deliver a short speech, and the successful candidates who were present being solemnly inaugurated into their offices….  The spring dusk would be settling as the last oaths were administered, for the voting, beginning about noon, was a lengthy process; quickly what was left of the crowd would disperse, some to their homes, others to the taverns, the leaders to a traditional supper at the old governor’s.

Boston was the site of the General Court, the legislative and judicial body of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The General Court, first called the “Court of Assistants” then becoming known as the “Great Quarter Court,” met in March, June, September, and December, sometimes more frequently.  This Court had “jurisdiction in cases in which justice could not be obtained ‘in any other Court.’”  While the General Court was in session, the town was filled with “members, petitioners, litigants, and witnesses.”  Jurymen, who were compensated for their expenditures, were drawn from all the towns to sit in judgment on cases before the Court.  As counties emerged in the 1640’s, the “Boston” or “County” or “Quarter Court” served Suffolk County.  Grand juries convened twice a year at Boston.

On 4-10 mo, 1654 (4 December 1654), James was called to serve on a jury of inquest for Suffolk County.  Many friends and neighbors were also jurists, including Samuel Bitfield, Barnabas Fawer (who died 19th of the 10th moth 1654 [19 December 1654]), John Phillips, James Everill, and Daniel Turrell.  The case involved the alleged murder of Matthew Cannedge at “rugged” Monhegan Island in Maine.  “Monhegan Island lies about ten miles out to sea from Port Clyde and Boothbay Harbor, Maine, surrounded by some of the East Coast’s finest fishing and lobstering grounds….  On the eastern side of Monhegan, ruggedly beautiful headlands rise more than 150 feet.  On the westward side, the island slopes gently to the harbor, flanked by the companion island of Manana.”  Maine, to the chagrin of its inhabitants, had been annexed to the Bay Colony in 1652.  In 1654, Massachusetts was still attempting to assert its power over Maine.  “From Puritanical Boston, Maine’s salty settlements were indeed far removed in religious philosophy, of which they proudly had little, and in political thinking.  Here each man did as he would, or that was the idea.”  The settlers “were almost as fearful of the heavy-handed nabobs” of Boston “and of their repressive theological controls as they were terrified by the native attacks.”  The case of Matthew Cannedge illustrates Massachusetts’ attempt at authority in the newly acquired territory.

[I]t appears that Matthew Cannedge had a house and was master of a fishing boat at Monhegan, and his boat’s crew consisted of Gregory Cassell, John Short and John Barker, the latter called shoreman or headsman.  In the middle of October 1654 Cassell’s alleged assault on Cannedge occurred at Monhegan.  The island had no constable until nineteen years later (1673), when John Dollen, fisherman and dealer in liquors, was appointed.  Cannedge’s death on the 4th of 10th month (December) 1654 occurred seven weeks after the assault.  Whether or not Dr. Comfort Starr and Dr. John Clarke meanwhile went to Monhegan to attend Cannedge and dress his wounds before he finally came to Boston is not known.

The following return of the jury of inquest in No. 270 is on file in Suffolk Court House:

“4-10 mo, 1654

“We whose names ar vnder ritten; being Called to veue the Body of Mathew Kehnige and to make inQiuery of the suddinnes of his Deth and the cause ther of —- by serching of his body we finde on his heade on the left side, a wounde wich wounde we sawe oppenned and ther was corupt blude: and towe small holes out of wich Blude Eissude forth and by what we sawe and by the witnesses Brought in on oth we finde that that wounde on his head as neare as we can Judge was a cause of his Deth

James Euerill

Samuell Bidfield         danil Turell

Nathaneel Wales                       his

Barnabas Ffawer        Samuell S Sendall

John Phillips                          marke

James Mattocke                         his

hugh Drury                  Godfrey A Armitage [of Lynn]

his                                       marke

Peter P Pl[ace]           Henry Blague”.


Of the several witnesses to the assault by Gregory Cassell on Matthew Cannedge (Cenig, Cannege, etc.) only one, John Barker, actually saw the assault.  Another witness, named John Short, who saw it, did not testify.  The assault occurred on or about 15 Oct. 1654, and Cannedge’s death occurred about seven weeks later, on 4 Dec. 1654.

In the “Chamberlain Collection” is the deposition of “John Barker, aged 27 yrs or thereabout”, who testifies that “Gregory Cassell and John Short were the boates crewe and this deponent was Headman to the boate”, and that he was witness of the attack on Matthew Cannege “about the middle of october last [1654] (John Short also being present)” did strike said Cannege with the butt end of a “Hamer” a strong blow, and that the “old man bled about tow quarts”.  The deposition was sworn to 6 Dec. 1654 before Richard Bellingham, Governor.  Barker and Short, by this deposition, saw the assault.

In Boston, annual events provided diversions and marked the passage of the seasons.  Commencement Day at Harvard College became one of the most important holidays of the year, a Friday filled with sermons, matriculating exercises, feasting, and frolicking.  Even more festive was the annual Training or Muster Day.

A frontier society had to maintain a militia ready to repel attacks from Indians or marauders from the sea.  At intervals, the militia, composed of all able-bodied citizens of a certain age, had to be called together for drills.  The amount of training was negligible.  After going through the manual of arms, marching up and down the town common or the village green, and firing their muskets a time or two, the formal muster was over, but the celebrating had just begun.  Contests of marksmanship were usual on these occasions, and prizes were offered for the best shots.  The targets might be live turkeys or ducks, for our ancestors were not squeamish.  Before the day was over the participants had consumed vast quantities of beer and rum and engaged in more than one impromptu wrestling match and fist fight.

In Boston, the militia rehearsed on a tract of  “common” pasture, a tract of land between Tramount and Colborne’s End that the town had purchased for thirty pounds sterling.

All adult males, including servants but excluding certain officeholders, were members of the Boston company or, after 1639, of the Artillery Company, an elite group of prominent townsmen from the various harbor communities organized independently of the general militia structure in emulation of London’s famed Artillery Company and largely self-regulated.  The command structure of the militia stretched from the town company upward to the regiment — organized in 1636 when Boston’s company under Captain John Underhill was joined with those of Roxbury, Dorchester, Weymouth, and Hingham as the South Regiment, commanded by “colonel” John Winthrop — and to the various agencies of commonwealth defense.  But the average militiaman’s gaze did not extend farther than the company.  Periodically the Bostonians trudged out to the Common to drill with matchlock and pike under the watchful eyes of their officers and the approving smiles of their wives and children.  Into a company treasury, they paid fines for non-attendance, tardiness, or failure to have the requisite weapons, the money to be expended for company drums, banners, and other impedimenta.  After 1637 they had the right to nominate their own officers from among the town’s freemen, the General Court almost without exception appointing their choices.  Their town government was itself involved in the militia organization, being required to maintain a watch house for the militiamen, to build facilities for the production of saltpeter, and to maintain a store of powder and extra weapons, the meetinghouse serving as the town “armoury.”

The Bostonians were not always good soldiers.  On the training field they wounded each other … ; they stumbled over each other … ; they argued….  They missed training days and failed to keep up either their weapons or their discipline.  But they guarded the town, maintaining posts on Beacon Hill and at Town Gate with militiamen from other towns.  They kept watch and ward on the village streets.

Originally an annual event, but after 1648 occurring twice a year, fairs were gatherings where citizens bartered and sold goods.  Boston’s second fair was exclusively “for Cattle to make provisions both for our selves and shipping.”  Like Election Day and Muster Day, fairs were occasions of mirth and excess.  By the end of the century, Benjamin Franklin claimed that fairs were gatherings that “corrupt the morals and destroy the innocence of our youth.”

Holidays were not as common or as festive as they are now.  The Puritan elite particularly discouraged the observation of Christmas as “a relic of ‘popish superstition’ and it was a wicked waste of time better spent in doing something useful.”  The feast days of the Anglican Church were generally not observed, although frequently colonists privately noted these days in their journals.  Lady’s Day, March 25, Midsummer, June 24, and Michaelmas, September 29, were remarked upon.  Candlemas, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Whitsunweek were also recorded.   Children were observed wasting time playing jokes on April Fool’s Day.  Valentine’s Day was observed, and the Reverend John Cotton ruled that “valentines themselves were not wicked, but that for girls to draw the names of young men, written on valentines, out of a hat was a lottery or game of chance, and this was equivalent to asking God to engage in a piece of frivolity.”

Shrove Tuesday, which had a long tradition of boisterous celebration in England, was observed in some localities with similar outbursts on the part of apprentices and other unruly youths.  Judge Sewall of Boston complained in his Diary for February 15, 1687, about the ancient custom of “cock-skailing” on Shrove Tuesday: “Jos. Maylem carries a cock at his back, with a bell in his hand, in the Main Street; several follow him blindfold, and under pretence of striking him or his cock, with great cart-whips strike passengers, and make great disturbance.”

Another holiday that lent itself to boisterous misbehavior was November 5, Guy Fawkes Day.  Guy Fawkes was the leader of a Catholic conspiracy that, in the reign of King James I, had plotted to blow up the English Houses of Parliament.  The discovery of the Gunpowder Plot in the nick of time has been commemorated in England ever since.  In the colonies the anniversary provided an opportunity for young people to organize parades with an effigy of Guy Fawkes, or of the Pope, which they carried through the streets and then burned on a great bonfire.  In some Puritan communities Guy Fawkes Day was called Pope’s Day.

Thanksgiving Day was not a regularly fixed day until modern times, though various colonies proclaimed a day of thanksgiving whenever it suited them.  Sometimes more than one day of thanksgiving was observed with feasting and good cheer; occasionally the day of feasting was followed by a day of fasting — a not unwise provision.

Attempts by the population to engage in merriment were frequently met with resistance.  Card play was condemned.  Dancing was not altogether discouraged, as “pious folk had danced before the Lord,” but the church forbade “lascivious dancing to wanton ditties, and in amorous gestures and wanton dalliances, especially after great feasts.”  Despite the asceticism of his culture, a Puritan might occasionally be found playing football, stoolball (a kind of croquet), billiards, shuffleboard and bowling.

The General Court of Massachusetts Bay in 1646 heard a complaint, for instance, about “the use of games of shuffleboard and bowling, in and about houses of common entertainment, whereby much precious time is spent unprofitably, and much waste of wine and beer occasioned.”  In consideration of this waste, the General Court forbade both shuffleboard and bowling.

Frivolity was always frowned upon, but on the weekly observance of the Sabbath life assumed an especially serious tone.  The Scriptures were interpreted to mean that the Sabbath began Saturday night and lasted through Sunday.  Work and waste were forbidden.  There were to be no games, no frivolous behavior, no loud or raucous laughter, no fast walking or driving, no loitering outside the Church.  “There was to be no unreasonable walking in the streets or the fields, no digging of graves or making of coffins, no funerals; two or three persons who might meet on the street by accident were not permitted to stop to talk; they might not walk down to the water-side on hot summer days, nor take air on the Common; nor could they be entertained in taverns except in emergencies.”  After March 1635, church attendance was made mandatory upon pain of fine or imprisonment.  However, it seems unlikely that all Bostonians regularly attended church.  The four to five hundred communicants of the 1640’s could not have been accommodated in the Boston meetinghouse, although the building was large for the time.  Tithingmen were responsible for walking about enforcing the Sabbath observance and reporting violations.  A contemporary visitor wrote that on “Saturday evening the constable goes round into all the taverns of the city for the purpose of stopping all noise and debauchery, which frequently causes him to stop his search before his search causes the debauchery to stop.”

Twice each Sunday the drum-call summoned the townspeople to the meeting-house, where the men took their places on one side, and the women on the other, the boys being relegated to the supervision of a special officer charged with the by no means unimportant duty of keeping them in order through the long sermon.  Below the high pulpit, and just in front of it, sat the elders, and still nearer the body of the people were the deacons, both groups looking over the demure assembly.  The men of the congregation were armed, as if in fear of interruption by the Indians.

Churchgoers would not only engage in pious devotions, but would also discuss the common problems of the community.

If Sunday were the day of the week when Bostonians’ features were at their sternest, then Thursday was the day when smiles were most likely to be encountered on the townspeople’s rugged faces.  Thursday was Lecture Day, when the public gathered in the forenoon to hear the Reverend John Cotton expound upon the Bible.  In 1634, the Court of Assistants approved a weekly market to be held in conjunction with Lecture Day.  The open air market on Great Street attracted “farmers, sailors, townspeople and visiting Indians.”

Marketplaces were also created anytime a ship full of goods arrived in port.

During the summer months there were often as many as a dozen ships in the harbor…. Whenever a ship was seen to be coming in, the town crier, beating his drum, went all over town announcing the news.  Then people — men, women and children — hurried to the waterside and stood there talking, laughing and running around in high spirits while the boats from the ships rowed ashore.

Each sail entering the harbor was a signal, and would-be purchasers crammed into dories and lighters, racing to be among the first aboard to enter a bid for needed items from the ship’s inventory.  Periodically the government tried to curb the chaos of the scene, aghast at the “loss of time, and drunkeness … people’s running to the ships, and the excessive price of commodities” resulting from the open bidding.

The ships were loaded with fabrics, ironware, furniture, household implements and tools, nails, plows, glass windowpanes, paint, carpets, curtains, blankets, looking glasses, writing paper, pewter dishes, pots and pans, liquor, oranges, nutmeg and ginger, “but they also carried newspapers, journals, books, and travelers bursting with gossip.”  The resulting imbalance of trade caused a chronic shortage of money in New England.  The inhabitants therefore resorted to bartering and the use of various commodities as currency.  Beginning in 1652, the minting of the Pine Tree Shilling by a Boston silversmith helped relieve the problem.

Though they purchased some exotic foods from trading ships, the townspeople produced most of their comestibles locally.  Each householder kept a garden and sometimes a small orchard.  Many families raised cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and chickens, cultivated corn, beans, peas, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips, onions, cabbage, carrots, apples, peaches, strawberries, grapes, chestnuts, hazelnuts, barley, oats, wheat, rye, flour, parsley, thyme, marjoram, beef, mutton, pork, chicken, milk, cheese, codfish, salmon, oysters, and mackerel, and imported sugar, salt, pepper, molasses, oils, wine, and brandy.  Despite the variety of foods available to the colonists, most settlers ate a “dull and tasteless” diet.  Many of them found vegetables distasteful.

Events other than those of a cyclic nature infiltrated the lives of James and Mary Mattocks.  Twice James was engaged to serve as another’s attorney.  This suggests not so much that James had a deep knowledge of the law, but simply that he was literate.  The literacy level in New England in 1660 has been estimated at 60 percent among adult white males.  James signed his will with his signature, not with the ubiquitous “X” of many.  The responsibilities asked of James by those who appointed him as their attorney were specific and simple, but probably required an individual who could read and write.  The first document was dated 12 (10) 1646 [12 December 1646].

Edward Hall of Linne Carpenter constituted James Mattock of Boston his Atturney to Receive certaine Legacies given him by the last will and testamts of Edward Hall of Amsbury in Glocestrshire, his ffather, Ellenor Hall of Hill in the same shire & John Moore of Stapleton in the same shire, & of the Receipt to give acquitt: &c: wth power to substitute wm or Jane Palmer wth like or limited power.

Since Edward Hall lived in distant Lynn, Massachusetts, he may have needed a Boston agent to pursue his legacies.  It is unknown if James and Edward Hall were further acquainted.  Perhaps James’ services were wanted because he was familiar with Gloucestershire, maybe even known to the English people mentioned in the contract.  It is possible that James made a trip to England at this time, and Hall may have assigned his rights so that James could act for him in the old country.  Limited research has not revealed a William and Jane Palmer residing in Massachusetts.  Perhaps they were residents of the Gloucester area whom James would encounter there.  If James did go to England, he either made a very quick trip, or left after the contract he made to provide pipe staves in 1647.

Interestingly, no record has been found of James’ wife and children before the date of this power of attorney.  Is it possible that James made a transatlantic journey at this time to retrieve his family from England?  Had he been separated from them for the preceding eight years?  James apparently alluded to “harming” his wife in some way.  Had he abandoned her and the children, fleeing to New England in 1638?  Had he at last repented and determined to bring his family to join him in Boston?  Or had he hesitated to retrieve them until he had at last established a sound footing in the New World?  These questions are mere speculation.  The absence of wives and children from early colonial records is not unusual.  I think that noting that other possibilities exist is important.  This new scenario, despite its unwieldiness, does simplify a problem that otherwise begs explanation.  James’ daughter, Alice, had married a Mr. Bishop, and he had died by November 1659.  No Massachusetts record has been found to suggest who this Mr. Bishop was, when he married Alice, or when he died.  One could conjecture that Alice had married before her departure from England, and that Mr. Bishop had died before Alice’s arrival in America.  This would explain his absence from Boston records.  If Alice had married before 1638 (when her father arrived in Boston), she would have married much earlier than either her brother or sister.  If, however, Alice did not journey across the Atlantic until some eight years later, her first marriage in England would have more closely approximated the dates of marriage of her siblings (Samuel in 1653, and Mary in 1661).

James was in Boston on 2 (8) 1649 [2 October 1649] when he was again assigned power of attorney.

Robt Willington did constitute James Mattock of Boston Coop his true & lawfull Attr. to take & receive all share or shares due to him or that may hereafter grow due out of the Sugar priz or any other & to receive all debts dues & accounts from any pson or psons what soevr wth power to compound sue implead arrest acquitt, & power to substitute one Attr or more.

We can guess that the “Sugar priz” was a merchant boat, perhaps named after the valuable commodity that was a source of so much trade with the West Indies.  That Willington was owner and captain of the Sugar seems probable.  Apparently he was based in Boston and needed someone to handle his affairs in his absence.  Willington’s shares may have come from a trading company, which offered them to him in exchange for his services.

On 18 January 1652 (perhaps 1653), Captain William Tyng died, leaving a larger estate “than any in the country of that day.”  An inventory of his estate made 25. 3. 1653 [25 May 1653] included “houses, warehouses, etc. cattle at the Farme at Brantree called Salter’s Farme, at Goodman Mattocks, at George Speres Farme,” etc.  Tyng possessed substantial acreage at Braintree, the village at Mount Wollaston.  John Read had rented his property at Salter’s Farm.  While it is possible that Tyng had “houses, warehouses, etc. cattle” on property belonging to James Mattocks, it seems more likely that the “Goodman Mattocks” referred to was David Mattocks, a resident of Braintree, who may have rented land from Tyng, or raised Tyng’s cattle on his property.  I have established no relationship between David and James Mattocks.

On 30: 1: 53 [30 March 1653], James’ son Samuel married Constance Fairbanks.  A confusing series of land transactions was recorded at this time.  On 25 April 1653, James is said to have purchased a house and land from Samuel Barnes, a solicitor who was returning to England.

To all people to whom theis pnts shall Come Samuell Barnes of London in the Comon wealth of England Marchant Tayler sendeth greeting Whereas Arthur Perry of Boston Newe England Taylor deceased by his deede beareing date the Second day of May which was in the yere of our Lord One Thousand six hundred fforty and Eight for & in Consideracon. Of the some of Three score pounds and Tenne shillings sterling by him the said Samuell Barnes paid vnto the said Arthur Perry hee the said Arthur did thereby graunt bargaine sell alliene enfeoffe and Confirme vnto the said Samuell Barnes his heires and assignes All that messuage or Tent with the apprtenncs scittuate & being in Boston aforesaid and then in the tenure or occupacon of the said Arthur Perry or his assignes withall yards gardens backsides void ground and wharfes therevnto belonging with the Reuersion and Reuersions remainder & Remainders yerely Rents & all other profitts of all and singuler the prmisses and euery or any part thereoff.  To haue and to hold the said Messuage or Tent and all and singuler other the prmisses vnto the said Samuell Barnes his heires & assignes for euer To the onely Vse and behoofe of him the said Samuell Barnes his heires and assignes for euer vnder a Prouisoe for the Repaymt of the said Threescore pounds and Tenne shillings at certaine dayes and tymes lymitted & expressed in the said Indenture which dayes & tymes are long since expired and the said paymts nor any pte thereof are not paid  And the said Arthure Perry hath therefore by his deede beareing date the Tenth day of December in the yere of our Lord One thousand six hundred ffifty and Two remised released and dischardged vnto the said Samuell Barnes his heires and assignes all his right title & interrest clayme & demand of & into the said bargained prmisses with their apprtenncs as in and by the said deede or deedes it doth or may more plainely appeare./  And whereas the said Samuell Barnes by his Warrant of Attorney vnder his hand & seale beareing date in the month of Aprill in the yere of our Lord One thousand six hundred ffifty and Two Ordained and Authorized Mr Edward Tinge of Boston his very true and lawfull Attorney for him and in his name to sett & lett bargaine sell conclude enfeoffe and Confirme the said house & premisses vnto any pson or psons for such valluable Consideracon as they are worth to be paid to the said Attorney for the vse of the said Samuell Barnes his heires executors administrators or assignes./  Nowe Knowe yee that the said Edward Tinge by vertue of the said Warrant of Attorney and for & on the part and behalf of the said Samuell Barnes and for and in Consideracon of satisfaccon for the some of Three score pounds sterl in hand recd of James Mattocke of Boston Cowper for the vse of the said Samuell Barnes and there of and of euery part and pcell thereof doth exonerate acquit and discharge the said James Mattocke his heires executors & aministrators for euer by theis pnts Hath graunted bargained sold enfeoffed and confirmed and by theis pnts doth graunt bargaine sell enfeoffe and confirme vnto the said James Mattocks his heires and assignes for euer the aboue said Messuage or dwelling house Wth the buildings Orchards gardens lands and Wharfe therevnto adjoyning scittuate in Boston aforesaid and lying betwixt the lands of the said James Mattocke on the Easterly side and the lands of Robt Nanney on the westerly side and the lands nowe or late in the disposall or occupacon of Robt Wright Northerly a short Lane or high way of six foote broade lying bewixt and faceing vpon the Sea Southerly withall & singuler the apprtenncs to the said premisses belonging and appertayning and nowe or late in the tenure and occupacon of John ffrancklin of Boston Cooper with whome the said James mattock hath Compounded and agreed for a Cowpers shopp he built vpon the said prmisses And all the right title & interrest claime and demand of the said Samuell Barnes of and into the siad premisses with their apprtenncs./  To haue and to hold the said Messuage or dwelling house buildings Orchards gardens lands and Wharfe therevnto belonging vnto the said James Mattocke his heires and assignes for euer and to the onely proper vse and behoofe of the said James Mattocke his heires and assignes for euer to be holden in free and Comon Soccage and not in Capitie nor by Knights seruice And the said Edward Tinge for and on the part and behalf of the said Samuell Barnes his heires & assignes doth Covennt pmise and graunt to and wth the said James Mattocke his heires & assignes That hee the said Samuel Barnes is the proper owner of the said bargained prmisses at the tyme of the bargaine & sale thereof and that the said bargained premisses are free and cleare and freely and clearely acquitted exonerated & dischardged of for and from all & all maner of former bargaines sales guifts graunts titles Mortgages Accons suits Judgmts dowers & incumbrances whatsoeuer from the worlds begining vntill the date hereof and shall & will deliu or Cause to be dliued vnto the said James Mattocke his heires & assignes all deeds wrightings Euidences Escripts and Muniments concerning the prmisses faire and Vncancelled./  And the said Edward Tinge for & on the pte and behalf of the said Samuell Barnes his heires and assignes doth Covennt promise and graunt to & wth the said James Mattocke his heires and assignes all & singuler the said bargained prmisses wth their apprtenncs to warrant acquit and defend vnot the said James Mattocke his heires & assignes against all psons from by or vnder him the said Samu[    ] Barnes claymeing any right title of and into the same or any part thereof for euer by theis pnts  And that it shall and may be lawfull to & for the said James Mattocke his heires or assignes to record & enrole or cause to be recorded and enrolled the title & tenor of theis pnts according to the true intent & meaneing and purport thereof and according to the vscuall Order and maner of recording & enroleing deeds and euidences in such Case made & provided./  In Witnes whereof the said Edward Tinge as Attorney vnto the said Samuell Barnes hath for and on the part and behalf of the said Samuell Barnes hath put to his hand & Seale the Twentith day of Aprill in the yere  of our Lord One thousand six hundred ffifty & Three./        Edward Tinge & a seale.

Sealed & deliued in the pnce of vs./

John ffrankling,   Joseph Arnall

Nathaniel Sowther  Not publ./

Memorand the twenty fifth day of Aprill 1653 that full & peaceable possession and seizin was giuen by Edward Tinge Attorney of the said Samuell Barnes vnto the said James Mattocke in their owne proper psons of all the prenisses wthin menconed in the pnce of John ffrankling Joseph Arnall Joshua ffoote:/

Nathaniel Sowther  Not. publ./

This deede of Sale made by Mr Edward Tinge to the vse of James Mattock was acknowledged by the said Mr Tinge this 18th of the 5th mo 1653 before mee./

William Hibbins.

Entred & Recorded the 27th of July 1653.

P Edward Rawson Recordr

James reportedly deeded this property over to his son Samuel on 27 April 1653.

To all people to Whome theis pnts shall Come James Mattock of Boston Newe England Cooper sendeth greeting Knowe yee that I the said James Mattocke for and in consideracon of the fatherly Loue & affeccon that I bare vnto my naturall sonne Samuell Mattocke and for & in Consideracon of a Marriage solempnized betwixt the said Samuell and Constance the daughter of Richard ffairebancks of Boston Haue giuen graunted enfeoffed & confirmed and by theis pnts doe freely and absolutely giue graunt enfeoffe & confirme vnto the said Samuell Mattocke & Constance his wife All that messuage or dwelling house with the buildings Orchards gardens lands & wharfe there vnto adioyning with the Shopp lately built vpon the said lands by John ffranckling scittuate in Boston aforesaid and standing lying and being betwixt the lands of the said James Mattocke on the Easterly side and the lands of Robt Nanney on the westerly side and the lands nowe or late in the tenure or occupacon of Robt Wright of Boston Husbandman and faceth towards the Sea Southerly, late purchased of Mr Samuell Barnes of London mrchant Taylor by Mr Edward Tinge his Attorney wth all and singuler the Apprtenncs therevnto belonging and all my right title & interrest of and into the said prmisses and euery part & pcell thereof To haue & to hold the said dwelling house or Messuage wth all the buildings Orchards gardens lands and wharfe adioyning wth the Shopp built vpon the said wharfe And all and singuler the apprtenncs therevnto belonging vnto the said Samuell mattocke and Constance his wife and the heires of their bodies lawfully begotten for euer  And to the onely proper vse and behoofe of the said Samuell Mattocke and Constance his wife the heires of their bodies lawfully begotten for euer as it is nowe in the possession and occupacon of the said Samuell Mattocke or his assignes free and cleare and freely & clearely exonerated acquitted & dischardged of for & from all other former bargaines sales guifts graunts titles Mortgages actions suits executions Judgemts dowers and incumbrances whatsoeuer from the begining of the world vntill the day of the date hereof.  And the said James Mattocke doth covennt pmise and graunt by theis pnts all & singuler the said premisses with their appurtenncs and euy pt & pcell thereof to Warrant acquitt and defend against all psons whatsoeuer cclaymeing any right title dower or interrest whatsoeuer vnto the said Samuell mattocke and Constance his wife & their heires & assignes for euer by theis prsents  In witnes whereof I the said James Mattocke haue herevnto sett my hand & Seale the Twenty fift day of Aprill in the yere of our Lord One thousand Six hundred ffifty and Three

James Mattocke & a Seale

Sealed and deliued in the pnce of vs./

Edward Tinge :  John ffranckling

Joseph Arnall

Nathaniell Sowther Not public

Memorand that vpon the twenty fift day of April 1653 full and peaceable possession & seizen of the within written prmisses were deliued by the wthin named James Mattocke vnto the wthin named Samuell Mattocke and Constance his wife in their owne pper psons in the pnce of vs:  John ffranckling: Joseph Arnall Joshua ffoote Nathaniell Sowther Not publ:

This pnt wrighting graunt of ffeoffemt made by James Mattocke vn[    ] Samuell Mattocke his sonne & constance his sonns wife was acknowledged to be his Act & deede to their vise aboue said this 18th of the 5th mo 1653 before mee

Willm Hibbins./

Entred & Recorded the 27th of July 1653

P Edward Rawson Re[       ]

Family historian Carl Mattocks wrote that this property was allegedly deeded back to James on the same date.  “The reason for doing this is not certain but it is believed the former owner had specified a business restriction until the property had changed hands three times.”  Alfred W. Little, in his study on the Mattocks family, stated that, on 27 July 1653, James “was deeded from the Samuel Barnes estate a house, buildings, land, and a wharf facing the sea.”  The same day James deeded to son Samuel and his wife Constance “a house, buildings, land and wharf in Boston, with shop lately built, adjoining to the west land of said James Mattock; facing the sea.”  I have not had the opportunity to peruse the Suffolk County Deed Book where these transactions are said to have been recorded.  The similarity of  transactions and of dates leads me to believe that the transactions have been confused.  It seems likely that James would have provided Samuel and his new bride with a home.  Constance’s parents may have even insisted upon the gift as a condition of the marriage.  Charles Henry Pope claimed that James gave this property to his son.  The description of the property sold by Samuel and Constance Mattocks in 1678 matches exactly with the tract described by Little as having been deeded to them in 1653.

Parental wisdom was to be trusted in the business of choosing a mate, as in that of discerning a calling.  Of course parents did not undertake to win a sweetheart for their son — but they frequently determined what lady he should address, and they almost always determined what young man should be given the chance to court their daughter.

[I]n most first marriages the parents fought out the sordid pecuniary details while the children were left to the business of knitting their affections to each other.  The latter process, however, was usually supposed to follow rather than precede the financial agreement.  Parental consent was legally required for a first marriage, and parental consent usually depended upon the attainment of a satisfactory bargain with the parents of the other party, each side endeavoring to persuade the other to give a larger portion to the young couple.

In the inventory of the estate of Captain Bozone Allen, taken 22 September 1652, a “Mr. Maddocks” was enumerated as one who had “Debts to pd out of the estate.”  In colonial times, the title “Mr.” was reserved for gentlemen of the highest social standing, so that this reference may not be to James but to another of the handful of Boston men with the last name of Mattocks or Maddocks.  On 25 October 1653, James was listed as a creditor in the inventory of James Astwood’s estate.  Also named as a creditor was Ed Mattux, believed not to be related to James Mattocks.  On 1 Feb 1653 [1 February 1654], “all persons clayming ought from sd [Astwood’s] estate are to appeare before Mr Anthony Stoddard & Mr Edward Ting at ye Anchor Tauerne, ye 10th Feb. & make due proof of their debts.”  Evidently, payments were made to Edward Maduck and James Madocke on 2. Feb. 1654 [2 February 1655].

Edward Tyng appears in another record concerning James Mattocks.  This record was transcribed by the author from an entry on James from the Internet website  Apparently, some of the data was inadvertently erased from this site.

… of Boston gave Power of Attorney to Edward Tying to sell [Arthur?] Perry Building deeds to James Mattocks: orchards, gardens, wharf and building betweenland of Mattocks on the east and Robert Nanney on the west, Robert Wright to the north and six foot lane separating it from the sea.

Other fragments at the website were even more indecipherable.  One says only “… to Edward Tying, brewer.”  One complete statement is that “John Franklin had a cooper’s ship on the premises built by James Mattocks.”

On 22 August 1663, James witnessed the will of his neighbor Robert Nanny.

By early 1667, James may have had some foreshadowing that his end was near.  Though “of perfect memory,” he may have suffered from ill health.  Dr. Comfort Starr’s book of accounts, which principally enumerated doctor’s bills, showed that James owed Starr 00.15.00.  This author did not note the date of this entry, though we know that Starr died in 1659.  “The tortures of the medical and surgical practice of those days were fearful for endurance.”  James may have met Starr while serving on the inquest of Matthew Cannedge.  He may also have known Starr through his son-in-law, John Lewis.  Both Lewis and Starr had come to Massachusetts from Kent, England, and had traveled to the New World together aboard the Hercules.  On 21 January 1666/7, James Mattocks composed his last will and testament, adding a codicil on 28 January 1666/7.

I, James Mattock, of Boston, Cooper, being of perfect memory, do make this my last will.  Debts to be paid.  I Giue to my Sone, Samuel Mattock, 20s; to my dau. Alice, now the wife of John Lewes, 20s; to my dau. Mary, now the wife of Samuell Browne, 20s.  I ordain my wife, Mary Mattock, to be my executrix.  Inasmuch as my Children respectively have had portions of my estate, if any or either of my Children Do make any Sute, Demand, to the trouble & vexation of my wife, for any part of my estate in land, goods or debts otherwise then according to this my Will, That then either of them so Doing shall clearly loose such legacy by me given, & that my bequeath to him or her shall be clearly void as if the same had never been to him or her given or made.  Jan 28, in the yeare above written.

In the presence of                                                                James Mattocke.

Richard Collacott, William Pearse scr.

It is unknown what “portions” of the estate James had already granted to Alice and Mary, but Samuel had probably received his home as a gift from his father.  His appended warning to his children not to give “trouble & vexation” to their mother implies that he might have anticipated that such a disturbance might occur.

The early New England funeral, more than the wedding, was a public, even a social, event, an occasion for the gathering of the neighborhood and clan.  A minister provided over a brief, stark ceremony.  After the burial, however, the mourners returned to the house where they shared a meal and spiced drinks in a more convivial atmosphere.  The grave of the deceased was more often than not located on family land and marked by an unadorned stone slab.  All this changed as the century progressed.  Cemeteries, though often overgrown with weeds, materialized somewhere near the meetinghouse.  Elaborately carved stones marked the graves.  The funeral itself became an even more social event, one of the few formal rituals that New England accepted.  The once modest meal after the service became a feast.  The well-to-do and even those who could not afford it passed out costly gifts to those who attended — scarves, gloves, even gold rings.

James had died by 1 August 1667, when his will was proved by William Pearse.  It has been suggested that James was buried at Copps Ancient Burial Grounds, which had been established in 1660 and serving the North End of Boston.  The Granary Burying Ground, also established in 1660 and serving the central area and South End, seems another possible quarter for the final rest of James Mattocks.  Thomas Lake and Joseph How took the inventory on James’ estate on 12: 4: 1667 [12 June 1667].  The estate was valued at £277.15.05.  It would be interesting to know what items were in James’ estate.  “The numerous inventories left to us of household goods, of farm implements, and of apparel, are often amusing illustrations of simple thrift, and of the frugality, paucity, and rudeness of their furnishings, which still were of such relative value as to be carefully appraised.”  Mary Mattocks, now a widow, deposed to her husband’s will on 15 August 1667.  Her feelings at the death of her longtime husband are not recorded, but her mourning was likely subdued.

When a widow or widower showed immoderate grief, he showed that he had not kept his love within bounds.  He showed that he had valued a creature too highly.  Therefore, although the minister urged married couples to love each other above everything and everybody else in the world, he always warned them to “let this caution be minded, that they dont love inordinately, because death will soon part them.”

Mary had probably passed the preceding years like most wives of the time.  Women were expected to support and obey their husbands.  Although allowed a muted church membership, women were excluded from the business of the town.  Their lives were filled with cooking, washing, sewing, spinning, and tending to children and animals.

In seventeenth-century New England no respectable person questioned that woman’s place was in the home.  By the laws of Massachusetts as by those of England a married woman could hold no property of her own.  When she became a wife, she gave up everything to her husband and devoted herself exclusively to managing his household.  Henceforth her duty was to “keep at home, educating of her children, keeping and improving what is got by the industry of the man.”  She was “to see that nothing be wasted, or prodigally spent; that all have what is suitable in due season.”  What the husband provided she distributed and transformed to supply the everyday necessities of the family.  She turned flour into bread and wool into cloth and stretched the pennies to purchase what she could not make.  Sometimes she even took care of the family finances.

Elizabeth Bitfield, widow of Samuel Bitfield, died by 20 7m 1669 [20 September 1669].  Her will had been written nearly six years earlier, on “the 13th of the 11th month, 1663” [13 January 1664].  In her will, Elizabeth had left £3 to James Mattock.  Of course, James did not receive the bequest because he had predeceased Elizabeth.

On 20 December 1678 Samuel and Constance Mattocks sold their “Shop Land” and a wharf, adjoining the “land of the Widow Mattocks,” to Edward Budd.

Widow Mary composed her will on 8 January 1680/1.  In it, she bequeathed land for life to her son Samuel.  Daughter Alice How was left the west end of the house for life, while daughter Mary Bishop was to receive the east end for life.  The two daughters also inherited the “movables.”  To grandson James Mattocks, Mary left the wharf and other property, and entrusted him to pay to his brother Samuel when he should turn twenty-one, £30.  Mary instructed her grandson John Mattocks to pay £5 each to his sisters, Constance, Mehitable, Elizabeth, and Mary Mattocks, and to his cousin Samuel Lewis.  Mary directed  her grandson Zacheus Mattocks to give £5 each to grandchildren Joseph Lewis, James, Mary, and Samuel Browne, and Hannah Bishop.  Mary Mattocks named her son Samuel executor.  She had died by 11 April 1682 when her will was proved at Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Mary’s death marked the passing of the first generation of the Mattocks family in America.  Her children, Alice, Samuel, and Mary, were now to grapple with the challenges of this forbidding yet promising country.  The adversities faced by Boston’s second generation were of a less heroic and momentous nature than those of the Founding Fathers.  Still, they were no less real or difficult.

Children of James and Mary ([Spoore?]) Mattocks:

+    2048.1.  Alice, reportedly born about 1616.

+    2048.2.  Samuel [1024], born about 1625 to 1630.

+    2048.3.  Mary, born perhaps about 1627.


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