Jonathan Morey and Mary Bartlett

Our ancestor, daughter Mary Bartlett finds husband Richard Foster and marries in Plymouth in September 1651. She was 17 at the time while husband Richard was 22. Richard and she will have one son Benjamin to whom her father Robert Bartlett establishes a “trust” (in 1659) for young Ben in the amount of eight pounds to be received when he turns 21. In the same agreement, Mary is to bring up young Ben who is four at the time. Husband Richard had died in 1657 at age 27 and Grandpa Robert Bartlett was trying to help out. Young widow Mary is not to be in mourning very long as on the same day as Grandpa Bartlett is establishing a legacy for his grandson, Mary enters into a marriage contract with Jonathan Morey. Evidently this quick move to secure a new husband came as no surprise to the community. Jonathan had been warned by the magistrate to not frequent the house of Richard and Mary while Richard wasn’t there. Evidently he wasted no time after Richard’s untimely death. No more is heard of young Benjamin.

Mary’s new husband, Jonathan Morey was the same age having been born in Salem in 1637. His father Roger arrived in Boston in 1631. He lived in Plymouth for several years before before moving to Salem where he lived from 1635 to 1649. Roger’s occupation while living in Salem was that of a Keeper of the Cattle Herd. His job was to open the gate at the town commons in the morning and take the cattle out to feed. He was paid 7 schillings per cow for the season by their owners.This relieved the owners of the cattle from this task. It is also during this period that son Jonathan was born and he developed a close friendship with Roger Williams. Williams was a believer in religious freedom and was unwelcome in a Puritan area where there was but one way to worship. He was for guilty of denying the right of civil authorities to rule in matters of conscience and was banished from the colony. Roger Mowey and wife Mary will follow Roger Williams to Rhode Island in 1649 where Roger will become an innkeeper in Providence. Roger dies in Providence in 1688.

Jonathan Morey at age 16 will remain behind in Salem as his parents head to Rhode Island.  At some point Jonathan changes the spelling of his last name to Morey. There is no record of why this occurred. He soon relocated to Plymouth. Being the son of a recognized dissident in Salem probably made it inviting to look elsewhere for a residence. Perhaps it was the appeal of the Mary Bartlett who had recently married Richard Foster. It appears that he became a farmer using rented land for in 1669 he is found guilty of not paying the town of Plymouth some twenty pounds for two years rent of town meadows and lands (a pound in 1650 would be worth around $200) or about $4,000 today. Despite his less than sterling reputation with widows and the public trust, he sat on a jury 1682 and declared a freeman of Plymouth in 1683. Jonathan and Mary will have three children Jonathan, John and Hannah.

Jonathan was able to expand his family holding 1672 with a purchase of Indian lands the Sachem Quachatassettheld in the following transaction: Sachem att Manamot, Sepitt of Manomot & Compaquasim alias Skippauge…for and in consideration of ye sum of eight pounds, ten shillings in currant pay in hand paid by Jonathan Mory of Plymouth….absolutely bargain & sell, unto ye aforesaid Jonathan Morey….. one parcel of upland and one parcel of marsh Meadow lying or being att a place called by the English Break heart hill & pond called by the Indians Comassakumkanit, the upland being by estimation three score acres be it more or less, and the meadow being by estimation two acres more or less bounded towards the Sea, Easterly by ye pond aforesaid Camassakumkanit or Salt Water Pond. January 7, 1672

Later in 1677 the Towne have granted unto Jonathan Morey three score acres of upland ground lying and being att the salt water pond by the way between Plymouth and Sandwich and six acres of meadowish ground by the said pond adjoyning or neare unto the upland for a place for him to build and settle on: provided he keepe two sufficient gates on the said land that soe notwithstanding this grant passengers may pass through the same as formerly.

We descend from their eldest son Jonathan born 1661. Jonathan Morey Sr. will finally pass away in 1708 at age 75  in Plymouth but not before seeing his beloved Mary die in 1692 (age 55). A recently widowed Hannah Witherell was ready to join the very recent widower Jonathan in 1693. For Hannah age 50 this was her third marriage. Born in Scituate, she had nine children by her first husbands but none by Jonathan. They will live out their lives in Plymouth where Jonathan will pass in 1708 at age 75. In probate he leaves to widow Hannah all her wearing cloth both lining [!] and wollen [!], also I give to her 2 oxen and 3 cows and 2 beds that she brought with her and also all the household stuff that she brought . . . and furthermore it is my wish that my wife may live in the improvement of all my housing and lands one year after my decease without disturbance or molestation. All the remainder of my estate both real and personal, my just debts and funeral charges being paid, to be equally divided into three parts: for my wife and my two children each one third, that is to say, my wife one third part, my son John Mory one third part, and my daughter Hannah Bumpas one third part, and it is my will and mind that my son Jonathan will pay in some convenient time after my decease the sum of 20 and 5 pounds in money, then he shall fully enjoy all ye remainder of my lands and meadows, which 5 and 20 pounds shall be equally divided to these three: my wife, my son John, and my daughter Hannah. He named his wife Hannah executrix. It appears that he was trying to be fair and give equal treatment to his children. 

One footnote worth mentioning is that while Jonathan was serving on a jury in 1682 he defended an Indian, William Connett, accused of trespass. The result was the jury concluded that the subject land was actually owned by the Indian Connett. Good for him.

One thought on “Jonathan Morey and Mary Bartlett

  1. Very ambitious and entertaining. Describing their lives in context really brings them to life as you read—very effective way to relate to your ancestors by more than just birth and death dates. Also, don’t you just love how they named their kids John, Johnathan, Jon….etc…and, of course, the father’s name was Johnathan, too? We have this in my Bob’s family, too, in early colonial VA and NC, only they became known by where they lived: Johnathan of Hereford, Johnathan of Dinwitty, and so on. It was a MESS to figure out. That’s why you have to keep a chart 🙂

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