Black Sheep Sunday – John Emery

Yesterday I was filling in some more of my family group sheets and something caught my eye.

John Emery was born about 1599 in England. He was christened on my birthday of March 29th. When John was 21 he married Mary or Alice in England. In 1635 they traveled to the New World on board the ship James with his brother Anthony and their families. They arrived in Boston on June 3rd 1635. John was an innkeeper in Newbury, Mass. He and his wife had four children before she passed away before 1646.

In 1646 John was fined for paying too much attention to a married woman. That woman was Bridget, wife of Henry Travers. He was “bound not to frequent her company”. I haven’t been able to find anything else about this case. I am interested in what he actually did. What was considered “too much attention”?

In 1647 John married Mary Shatswell the widow of John Webster. I am a descendant from a child of John Emery and his first wife as well as Mary Shatswell and John Webster. In fact it was Emery’s daughter that married her step-brother, the child of Mary and Webster. The children got married after the parents. Not sure how I feel about that just yet.

John’s court appearances were not over just quite. In 1663, he was fined £4 for entertaining Quakers in his house. Up until this point I didn’t know it was bad to be associated with Quakers. I would love to find out more about this case as well.

Mr. Emery’s life might not scream black sheep to a lot of people but he’s becoming one of the more interesting people in my tree. He seems like a normal guy that loved the ladies and enjoyed having a good time with the wrong people. What’s so bad about that?


11 responses

  1. Just because it is taboo today to marry first cousins, that was not always the case. I have several New England lines in which first cousins married, and second, and third…also have examples of step-siblings marrying too.
    How wonderful to have found court evidence for your ancestor! What resource did you find these court cases in?

    1. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you on my sources. I had to find them again because to be honest, my database and books are a huge mess right now. I found these court records in “Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts” both Vol 1, and 3.

  2. Don’t worry about it! We all get busy. And honestly, I don’t know anyone who has their database and books in order all the time. 🙂
    Thanks for the source info! I do have a couple branches of my family (and a couple friends’ families) who moved through Essex county so I really should try looking into that. I had an ancestor who was a policeman in Lynn, Massachusetts for a few years. It would be interesting to see what cases his name shows up on.

  3. I’m glad I found your blog because I’m a descendant of John Emery’s brother, Anthony (1601 – 1680). I’m also a descendant of Mary Shatswell, from her first marriage with John Webster (through her son Stephen Webster (1637 – 1694). Small world. I know several people have blogged about these court records, so you ‘ll find more blogger cousin connections our there in the blogosphere!

    1. That’s awesome! I love finding cousins! 🙂

  4. I, too, am descended from John Emery. However, may I suggest you read 2 articles in The American Genealogist. Re: John Emery’s 1st wife. She was Alice Grantham, TAG 65:211-13 or the article on John Emery in Vol 12 of the Great Migration Newsletter. About his son John, he did not marry his step sister – see TAG 17:96-99 or the same volume of the Newsletter.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I will have to check those out. I’m not sure if it was John’s son that married his step-daughter I don’t’ have my tree with me but I’m pretty sure that one of the step siblings married another. I’ll have to wait to get back to my computer to tell you what sources I have for it.

      1. Yes, it was John’s son John who supposedly married his step sister. However that was apparently a supposition published by someone years ago and it has continued to be cited as fact – a fact that cannot be proven.

      2. Or I guess I should say, who was John Jr’s wife as it’s possible that he’s the son I’m related through.

      3. According to Robert Charles Anderson(who wrote “The Great Migration” series), her surname is unknown. I will have to go back and find the TAG article I mentioned, but that was the evidence Mr. Anderson cited and he is one of the most credible genealogists of our age.

      4. Who did she marry then?

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