Captain JOHN PEASE, the 8th child of Robert and Margaret (King) Pease was born in 1608 in Great Baddow, Essex County, England (baptized Nov. 20, 1608 in St. Mary's church). He was born the year after Jamestown, VA was founded.
1608 - Quebec was founded.
1609 - Galileo demonstrated his first telescope to venetians.
1610 - Henry Hudson sails into Hudson Bay thinking he has sailed through the Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean.
1611 - the King James Bible was published. Shakespeare presents "The Tempest."
1614 - Pocahontas married John Rolfe
1618 - Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded.
1620 - the Mayflower sails to America.
1622 - James I disbands the English Parliament
1625 - Charles I becomes King.
1626 - The Dutch buy Manhattan Island from the Indians.
1628 - Puritans settle Salem, MA
1629 - Charles I dissolves Parliament, starting the Eleven Years Tyranny in which there was no parliament.
1630 - city of Boston founded.
1631 - Roger Williams emigrates to Boston.
1633 - Galileo on trial in Rome before the Inquisition for his view that the sun, not the earth, is the center of the universe.
[John Pease left a line of many descendants: among them is actress Raquel Welch (thru his daug Sarah)]
His father, Robert Pease Sr. "the locksmith", died in England in 1623, and his mother, Margaret, eventually followed her two sons, Robert and John, to America in 1639 and died in Salem in 1644.
April 10, 1634, when John was 27 years old he and his brother, Robert (and Robert's 3-year-old son, Robert), sailed for America on the ship "Francis," landing at Plymouth, Mass. in June, 1634. (Robert left his baby son, John, with the baby's grandmother, Margaret)
Essex County, England was a hotbed of Purtian activity and with 266 people sailing to America from 1620 to 1650, it was the 2nd highest county in the country for immigration. It's not sure exactly why they left, but this quote from Calendars of State Papers, American and Colonial Series, 1574-1660 (ed. by W. Noel Sainsbury. London, Longman & Green, 1860), p 111 gives the probably reason:
"On 4 February 1634 Henry Dade wrote from Ipswich, England, to the Archbishop of Canterbury that the ships FRANCIS and ELIZABETH with 60 men in each intend to sail for New England on about 10 March and he supposes they are debtors or persons disaffected with the established church. About 600 such men will go over shortly and he questions the effects of allowing such swarms to go. Mr. Ward of Ipswich has preached against the Book of Common Prayer thus causing this giddiness and desire to go to New England." [This is most likely Nathaniel Ward]
The charismatic Puritan minister, Thomas Hooker, had regularly preached in Essex County, including Great Baddow in the 1620s and early 1630s. "It seems that he was actively preaching in Essex sometime before the end of 1626, and entered into his lectureship [at St. Mary's in Chelmsford] toward the end of that year, for his daughter Anne was baptized at Great Baddow, a village near Chelmsford, on January 5, 1627. He moved his family to Chelmsford sometime in the following year..." [from: "Thomas Hooker 1586-1647" by Frank Shuffelton. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1977. p. 74]
New England Puritan preacher, Cotton Mather, wrote of his time at Chelmsford: "Hereby there was a great reformation wrought, not only in the town [Chelmsford,] but in the adjacent country, from all parts whereof they came to 'hear the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,' in his gospel, by this worthy man dispensed; and some of great quality among the rest, would often resort from far to his assembly...." [from: "Magnalia Christi Americana" by Cotton Mather. New York: Russell and Russell, 1967, volume I, p. 335.]
Later when his Bishop Laud removed him from his lectureship at St. Mary's in Chelmsford for not conforming to church teachings, Hooker moved to the nearby village of Little Baddow (just a few miles from Great Baddow) and set up a school there for children and another for ministers of the area who wanted to learn more from him of the Puritan way of the church.
In 1630 he had to flee to the Netherlands to escape Bishop Laud's condemnation. After two years, he secretly returned to England to prepare his family to sail for New England. In July of 1633 he and his family, along with John Cotton, boarded the Griffin at the Downs to sail for Massachusetts.
He first settled in Newtown (now Cambridge) with a group of people from Chelmsford. Three years later they moved to a site on the Connecticut River (Hartford, CT).
For sure the Pease family knew of Thomas Hooker and maybe were his followers. The Pease brothers came to Boston just a few months after Hooker. A large number of people from around Chelmsford left their home in England and came to America.
They left Ipswich, a seaport town not far from Great Baddow, April 10, 1634 and landed in Boston (or Plymouth) in June. By 1637 they had moved to Salem, Mass. (Salem had been established in 1626 as the first settlement in Massachusetts. Plymouth, established in 1620, was not a part of Massachusetts at that time.)
John Pease's In-law problems
John married about 1635 (probably in Salem) to Lucy, the daughter of Margaret & Francis Weston, who had all come over with Wintrop in 1630 and were in Salem, Mass. by 1635. [Once source says that Lucy was Francis' step-daughter and that her father's name was Reeves.] Francis Weston's sister was probably the mother of Richard Harcourt of Warwick, RI, then Long Island, making him Lucy's cousin.
It appears that John almost immediately had trouble with his mother-in-law. From History of Martha's Vineyard, "Annals of Edgartown": "Court record dated Nov. 3, 1635: 'Ordered that John Pease shalbe whipt & bound to his good behaviour for strikeing his mother (in law) Mrs. Weston & deryding of her & for dyvers other misdemeanors & other evill carriages.'
[It is doubtless that Margaret Weston was a little off balance, but it was against the law to be rebellious toward your parents (and maybe that included in-laws). Several people in Massachusetts were fined or whipped by the court for being rude or abusive to their parents; some of these "children" were in the forties at the time. (from The Annals Of Salem: From Its First Settlement , p74-75, see book in right-hand column)]
"...Francis Weston was an early settler at Salem, originally a friend and supporter of Roger Williams, whom he followed in exile to Rhode Island. He was unfortunate, however, in his second marriage, as Mrs. Margaret Weston was afflicted with one of the religious whimsies of the period, and incurred the opposition of the authorities, not then famed for charity and tolerance, and she was made to sit in the bilboes for her schismatic 'notions.' The particular doctrines she imbibed were those promulgated by Samuel Gorton, for which he and others suffered persecution and were driven from Salem to seek an asylum in Rhode Island.
"...In a few years Weston himself became a disciple of Gorton, and his step-daughter, Lucy Pease, likewise joined the sect, all of which was doubtless to the disadvantage of John Pease, socially and commercially, in orthodox Salem. In addition to this Mrs. Weston was undoubtedly unbalanced mentally, and later became of hopelessly unsound mind. We are thus enabled to see the environment of John Pease, and considering the stress of the times and the religious intolerance of the period may not harshly judge his unlawful chastisement of his mother-in-law. Doubtless she deserved forcible repression, and invited it by her actions. "Weston was banished in March, 1638, from the jurisdiction of Massachusetts for promulgating the tabooed Gortonian doctrines, and took up his residence at Shawomet, Rhode Island, whence he continued to spread them by whatever means he could employ."
[I believe this is from a history book of Edgartown, MS]
Lucy's mother and step-father were finally banished from Mass. in 1638 for religious differences:
Francis Weston was at first a follower of Anne Hutchison, but his 2nd wife Margaret followed Samuel Gorton, who had arrived in Boston in 1637. By 1638, Francis had joined his wife in supporting Gorton. In 1638 Gorton found himself in trouble by defending in court a girl who had been caught "smiling in congregation." He was fined and banished from the colony in the middle of a raging blizzard (probably in Jan or Feb).
Pictured ar right is the Gortonites attemping to escape from Massachusetts Bay Colony soldiers, wading into the sea to board a boat to safety.
Gorton and his followers traveled to the Narragansett Bay area, where Roger Williams in 1636 had founded Providence, Rhode Island.
"In August of 1638, the people of Providence Plantation approved the first public document establishing government without interference in religious matters" (America in Crimson Red, p. 13). Twelve men signed this document committing themselves to submit to the government "only in civil things" (p 13). Francis Weston was one of the men who signed this document
But eventually Gorton became unpopular there also. Later, even Roger Williams complained about him having foul opinions of all ministers, particularly that Gorton thought ministers were unnecessary. They also disagreed over style of government.
In 1642 Gorton and his followers bought some land from the Indians in a place called Pawtuxet, about 5 miles south of Providence. A neighboring English family (the Arnolds) didn't like the group and appealed to Massachusetts to get rid of them by making accusations of their behavior. So Gorton and 12 families (including the Westons) moved farther south. They bought a piece of land called Shawomet.
"A fourth plantation was established on the western shore of Narragansett Bay, twelve miles from Providence, by Samuel Gorton, an able but eccentric person who combined unconventional religious opinions with a combativeness of temperament that delighted in opposing accepted views. He, therefore, became the center of a violent controversy wherever he went. He had been expelled from Plymouth and Portsmouth and his views had aroused serious antagonism in Providence and Boston. Gorton probably realized that his pronounced individualism would always be at odds with the ruling class in settled communities, and that he could feel at home only on the frontier, for he bought land from the Indians and started a settlement at Shawomet, which he later called Warwick, in honor of the Earl of Warwick" who helped him get the charter for this land. [from A History of Colonial America, p. 132]
"The magistrates of the Massachusetts colony tolerated Gorton's defiance for 5 years, and then determined to silence him [Gorton], by forcible measures if necessary, and place him under arrest for teaching heretical doctrines.
"John Pease heard of this in the fall of 1643 at Salem, and undertook to give his wife's father a warning of the approaching danger. The following account of this affair, written by Samuel Gorton himself, discloses John Pease in a highly favorable light considering all the circumstances. A letter dated Shawomet, Sept. 26, 1643, signed by Gorton and others of his sectaries, addressed to the military emissaries of Massachusetts, was sent by the hand 'of one John Peise who lived amongst them in the Massachusetts, who having a father-in-law amongst us was willing to come and declare unto his father, out of the tenderness towards him, of the nearness of the soldiers approach, and as near as he could the end of their coming, to persuade his said father to escape for his life.'... "This expedition resulted in the seizure and return of Weston as a prisoner to Boston, where he suffered incarceration with hard labor in the Dorchester jail." [History of Martha's Vineyard, chapter: "Annals of Edgartown"]
When John Pease traveled to warn his father-in-law of his impending arrest, he probably took his ship south around Massachusetts and Cape Cod and up Narragansett Bay to Shawomet since the trip overland would have been a difficult 70 miles: south to Boston, SW to Providence, and south to Shawomet/Warwick.
On Oct. 8, 1643 the Massachusetts guard attacks the settlement. The Gortonites held out for over a week, enduring shots fired at their barricade and attempts to set it on fire. They returned very few shots and only at night into the air. Finally the Gortonites were captured, but only by being given false promises of being treated as free men. When they surrendered they were locked in chains, taken to Boston, and tried for heresy. They were given prison with hard labor. Francis Weston was put in jail in Dorchester. He died 2 years later (1645) probably as a result of his harsh treatment. [See story of Weston's involvement with Gorton in Annals of Salem, p575, 578; also see book in right-hand column.]
This surely caused Lucy Pease to consider her own safety, and very shortly after her husband's return from his trip to Shawomet (about the date of her step-father's trial) she was hauled into court where she recanted her heretical views, as appears by the following record:
'Luce Pease the wife of ... Pease, p'fessing that she doth abhor & renounce Gortons opinions & confessing her fault in bloting out some things in the booke wch she bought & in showing the same before shee delivered it & p'fessing shee was sorry for it, shee was dismissed for the p'sent to appear when she shall bee called for (17 October 1643).'
"From these facts and resulting conditions we are now able to explain why John Pease left Salem to seek a home elsewhere outside the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. The religious atmosphere was too threatening and his wife would be constantly menaced with the fear of arrest, being held under bonds by the court for the future determination of her case. Consequently, he sold his property and that of his father-in-law in the summer of 1644, and left Salem forever." [History of Martha's Vineyard, chapter: "Annals of Edgartown"]
After hearing that the Gortonites had been captured, Roger Williams quickly left for England to try to obtain a royal charter. In 1644 he returned from England with a charter from the English Parliament for the Providence Plantations, finally freeing them from interference of the Massachusetts authorities. Gorton and his followers had been released before Williams returned from England and he returned to Rhode Island where he became a popular supporter of religious freedom. When Massachusetts challenged the charter Williams had received, Gorton and two other men made another trip to England to get confirmation from the Earl of Warwick. The Earl also ordered Massachusetts Bay to return Shawoment to the Gortonites. They renamed their settlement Warwick.
[Roger Williams had come to Salem from England in 1631, 3 years before John & Robert Pease arrived. He moved southwest and founded Providence in 1636, the first settlement in Rhode Island. The four settlements of Providence, Portsmouth, Newport and Warwick were united in 1644 as the Providence Plantations.]
John was involved in the maritime business of trading, from which he earned the title 'captain', and was often gone from home. He may have returned to England in 1638-39 to bring his mother, Margaret, and his nephew Abraham Page back to Salem. Sept 1, 1644, Margaret died in Salem. John's brother, Robert also died in 1644 in Salem. [An Isabel West(on) also died in Salem in 1644. Perhaps there was a connection to Lucy.]
In 1643 the settlements in Connecticut and Massachusetts joined to form the New England Confederation (Rhode Island was not invited). The name of the union was "The United Colonies of New England" and though it lost much of its power in a dispute in 1653 over the amount of power Massachusetts would have, it continued on until 1684 when Charles II revoked its charter. By 1643 there were 14,000 to 16,000 people in Massachusetts, probably as much as all the rest of British America put together.
On June 18, 1644, John Pease sold to Richard Ingersoll of Salem "one house and 75 acres of land adjoyning to the fearme wheron the said Richard dwelleth." and moved with his wife and 2 sons, James and John, to Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard Island (then a Dutch colony). The fanatical beliefs of his in-laws were probably too much for him, and he may have decided to distance himself from them.
This turned out to be a fortunate move for the family, however, since they thus escaped the Salem witch trials of the 1690's [Sarah Pease (daughter-in-law of his brother, Robert) was prosecuted for witchcraft at Salem in 1692 and imprisoned, but not executed]
After selling his land in Salem, John went to Norwich, CT where he bought land that he kept until his death, leaving it to his son, John Jr. He then went to Martha's Vineyard before 1653, when he was appoint a constable there. He settled at a place still known as Pease's Point.
The move to Martha's Vineyard
There is an interesting legend of the family's move to Martha's Vineyard which was printed in the Nantucket Gazette and the Albany Journal in 1838. This account has no historical proof, and the dates are surely wrong, but being a family story, it might have some truth to it:
"In the fall of 1632, or a year or two later, a vessel bound from England to South Virginia, fell in with the south shoal of Nantucket, came up through the Vineyard sound and anchored off Cape Poge on account of a distemper which, like a plague, raged among the passengers and crew, twenty-five of whom died. "
There was a book written in 1847 by Frederick Pease called, "An Account of the Descendants of John Pease: Who Landed at Martha's Vineyard in the year 1632." This book is no longer available, but it does give some credence to the 1632 landing at Martha's Vineyard. Maybe John did land at Martha's Vineyard, but then later made his way up to Salem, coming back to the Vineyard 10 years later.
Or according to another account, scarcity of provisions was the cause. Four men with their families, requested to be put on shore, preferring to take their chance with the natives, than to pursue the voyage under such distressing circumstances.
"They landed at the spot since called Pease's Point or Edgartown. Their names were John Pease, Thomas Vincent, ___ Trapp and ___ Browning or Norton. A red coat, presented on landing, by Pease to the Chief or Sachem, secured at once the good offices of the tribe; and they were treated with hospitality. In order to shelter themselves from the approaching winter, Pease and his company made excavations in the side of a hill near the water, whence they could command a full view of the harbor and adjacent bay...."
Local tradition says there were families living there by the name of Pease, Vincent, Trapp, and Stone before 1640. The story goes that these settlers were on their way to join the Jamestown colony, but were driven into Edgartown harbor for shelter. They remained here after spending their first winter in a dugout at "Green Hollow," near what is now known as Tower Hill.
On Martha's Vineyard "John Pease lived at first at Mattakeset and later, when the home lots were distributed, he drew the first in present-day Edgartown situated at the north end of the town of Great Harbor. John owned a house lot of ten acres of upland and two acres of meadow at the north end at a place now known as Pease's Point, and a street to the south of this land is Pease Point Way.
John's wife, Lucy, died about 1648 (or maybe as early as 1646). Where she died and is buried is not known.
On Mar 23, 1647 John Pease sold 'a parcell of land about 10 acres & two acres of meadow' at Mattakeeset to Mr. John Bland and moved to Norwich, CT. Here he purchased land that he retained until his death, bequeathing it to John Pease Jr.: "all that was given to me at Mohegin, with that frame of a house." [from his will]
"... About 1645-50 the new settlements at Saybrook, New London, & New Haven [Connecticut] were being founded and were attracting hundreds from the old towns in Massachusetts and probably John Pease was prospecting and trying his fortune on the mainland...."
He married his second wife, Mary Browning, about 1648. Mary was much younger than John, probably born about 1630. She was the daughter of Malachi Browning (b 1595 in England; d Nov 27, 1653 at the home of his friend, Robert Scott in Boston, MA) & Mary Collier (b in Edgartown). Malachi was the owner of a large book shop in Boston.
In 1650 John was still in New London, Ct. but before March 5, 1653 he had moved back to the Island, when he was involved in a land suit. He was elected Constable Nov. 7, 1653, the only office he is known to have held in the town. His nephew, Robert Pease, moved to Edgartown by 1656 to be the town weaver, but had moved away by 1660.
In 1673 he and 19 others of the leading residents of the Vineyard signed the celebrated appeal to Massachusetts for annexation, and joined in the 'Dutch Rebellion' of that and the following year. He was one of the first to be attacked in reprisal, 5 days after the petition was dated:
"John Peas being by the Govournour by his officer warned to appear to answer his misdemeanour for committing a riott at Edgartown the Marshall returneth answer that the warrant was by the said Peas his wife taken him and therefore he cannot return his warrant; the said Peas appearing before the Govournour is both person and estate bound to answer at the next sessions of triall held upon the Duke his highness province and Territories for the said riott committed and his wife for forcibly taking the warrant of the marshalls hands." [from "History of Martha's Vineyard"]
This incident probably had something to do with the second Dutch War of 1672. (The first Dutch War was in 1664 when the English took over New Netherland and it became New York.)
"It is not known when John Pease died. The last mention of him in the record is on Sept. 25, 1677, when he served as a juror, at which time he was 70 years old and had already executed his last will and testament."
Will of John Pease (Dukes Deeds, I, 340):
"March the 4th, 1674. The last will and testament of me, John Peas, husbandman and inhabitant uppon Martins Vineyard in the Town called Edgartown,
I John Peas having upon good consideration and being now in some measure in good health and perfect understanding and memory though I am striken in years and Crasy in respect of what formerly, I having had two wives one formerly deceased and by her have yet two sons surviving, James Peas, & John Peas and these two sonnes James the Elder, God hath been pleased to bless him in his labours & indeavours and I have been helpfull to him so that he is verry well to pass in his Estate farre beyond myself: I do therefore in this my last will and testament give to my eldest Son James Peas twelve pence; My second son John Peas I have alreddy given unto and do hereby give unto him all that was given unto me at Mohegin [Connecticut], with that frame of a house I set up uppon some part of that land; I say I give it unto my son John Peas & his heirs forever:
I having by my now living wife Mary Peas, four sonnes & four Daughters, my Sonnes Thomas Peas Jonathan, Samuell, and David and my Daughters Abygaill Peas, Mary, Rebecca, and Sarah Peas unto these my four Sonnes and four Daughters I doe give all my landes and houseing that I have upon this Iland Martins Vineyard to be either equally devided or valued or sold or exchanged and the price thereof Equally devided to everyone of them alike and this to be performed at convenient age of them: or as my now living wife Mary shall see meet whome I make my full and whole Executrix to performe all this my last will and testament; and I give unto whatsoever I have more or less for her use and comfort and helpfulness in bringing up my children at her disposing for Ever. In witness hereunto my hand and seal. JOHN PEAS.
Further I give and bequeath unto my second son John Peas twelve pence. Wee whose names are underwritten are witnesses to this will and testament. Thomas Birchard, Kathrin Birchard, Thomas Trappe."
John died sometime between Sept. 1677 and June 3, 1689 in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
By June 3, 1689 his widow had remarried to ? Creber [probably Captain Thomas Creber of Portsmouth, N.H., master of the ketch "John & Mary," engaged in coastwise trading. The name of this boat seems to imply that it had belonged to and was named by John Pease].
Mary moved to Portsmouth, NH with Creber and there was a widow again in 1695.
1. "An Account of The Descendants of John Pease", by Frederick S. Pease of Albany, NY, 1849. Copied from an old book (name lost)
2. "History of Martha's Vineyard," chapter: "Annals of Edgartown"
3. "A History of Colonial America," p. 132
Back to Pease Family page
Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a Cultural History) -
Fascinating book on how 4 strains of English immigration has imprinted American culture. In other words, why we developed into an English-culture nation even though we had early immigrants from all over Europe.
The Annals Of Salem: From Its First Settlement
This is a record of events in Salem and has info on John Pease's in-laws, the Westons, and their involvement with Gorton.
There have been several books written on the family of John Pease, but none of them are currently available for purchase. However, there are some copies available in libraries.
1. A Genealogical and Historical Record of the Descendants of John Pease, Sen, Last of Enfield, Conn., by David & Austin Pease, 1869
2. An Account of the Descendants of John Pease: Who Landed at Martha's Vineyard in the Year 1632, by Frederick S. Pease, 1847.
*3. Pease Family History, by Philip J. Rice, 1982
4. Pease Family History, by Alfred H. Pease, 1980