17th Century Ipswich: Drama in the Day Family

Thomas Day married Ann Woodward

Thomas Day married Ann Woodward

Thomas Day, the son of Robert Day (immigrant ancestor who settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts) married Ann Woodward. Ann’s family seemed to constantly find themselves in the midst of drama and conflict. Perhaps the most interesting drama involved Ann’s sister, Sarah, who was the topic of discussion in court. Sarah Woodward was apparently unhappy in her marriage to William Rowe, and didn’t hide from others her ongoing attraction to former suitor, John Leigh. William Rowe, Sarah’s husband, finally said enough is enough, and on 28 March 1673, William brought suit against John Leigh “for insinuating dalliance and too much familiarity with his wife, drawing away her affections from her husband, to the great detriment both in his estate and the comfort of his life.” Thomas Day himself was witness to the ordeal, and on 19 June 1673 “Mary Sparke deposed that being at William Rowe’s house, together with Thomas Day and his wife one Sabbath day at night, arose a discourse between us about fishing….” A few days later, Ann (Woodward) Day’s aunt, Grace (Beamsley) Graves and husband Samuel Graves testified as follows:

…we speaking with Thomas Day our Cousin that married her sister about Sarah, He told us that when she was first married Sarah Carried well to her husband till John Lee frequented the House & her Company when her husband was abroad a fishing, & speaking of her husband Wm Roe he spoke of him in a deriding way of the disparagement of his person; & she answered, well why is he not as other men, If you had bene a sea man as long as hee you wold have had wrinkls in your forehead as well as hee excusing John Lee’s disparageing words…”

Not only did Leigh visit Sarah (Woodward) Rowe at her home, but Sarah was found at Leigh’s residence:

Samuel Hunt deposed that after Sarah Row was married he saw her in John Leigh’s house, where he asked her for some oil. Leigh replied that the town had given liberty to a company of ugly fishermen to come into town, but they were not any better for their coming but a hundred pounds worse. Leigh was very angry and walking to and fro, the woman sitting in a chair before the fire, weeping, etc.

Unfortunately, the court records do not mention Ann (Woodward) Day’s thoughts on her sister’s actions, and we only hear from her husband Thomas. However, Ann’s mother’s wisdom and somber advice to her daughter Sarah was revealed by Mary Fullar:

I hard Sarahs owne mother say to her Sarah have a care what you do: be sure you can loue him: if you can loue him tacke him: and do not say that I prswaded you: its you that must liue wth him and not I: therefor be sure you loue him and her mothr was very seariouse wth her.

Source:  Library of Congress

Source: Library of Congress

 

How refreshing to see such words of encouragement from our ancestress, who is ensuring her daughter is marrying for the right reasons. One must ponder why Sarah proceeded with the marriage when she clearly still had feelings for John Leigh. If only she had heeded her mother’s advice, much misery would have been avoided. Without it, however, we would not have been given Samuel and Grace (Beamsley) Grave’s deposition in which they state “Thomas Day our Cousin that married her sister,” a clue that there is likely a relationship between the Grave(s) family that had hailed from Stanstead Abbotts, Hertfordshire, the same place where Thomas’s father Robert had lived.


2 responses to “17th Century Ipswich: Drama in the Day Family

%d bloggers like this: