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John Barnes

Male Abt 1610 - Bef 1671  (~ 61 years)


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  • Name John Barnes 
    Born Abt 1610  , , England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Bef 30 Aug 1671  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • John BARNES of Plymouth A Short Biographical Profile(1) by Trish Scott & Chip Cunningham University of Virginia, Anth 509, Summer 1996

      --------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------

      The Plymouth Colony Records cover thirty-eight years of the life of John Barnes, who lived out his life in the town of Plymouth from 1633-1671.


      "My deare Children. . ."(2)

      Barnes married Mary Plummer 12 Sept. 1633. She died eighteen years later,on 2 June 1651. By 1653 Barnes had married Joan, but to date no record as to who she was has been found. The only mention of children born to Barnes and Mary Plummer in the vital records of Plymouth Colony (marriages, births and deaths) are Lydia, b. 24 April 1647,and John, who died 25 Dec. 1648. It is clear from other references in the Records, and from the genealogical section of William T. Davis' Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth (1883)(3) that John was born in 1639, and so was nine when he died; that they had a son Jonathan, born in 1643, and two other daughters, Mary and Hannah. On 24 Aug. 1651, when Barnes drew up a deed of gift by which "some part" of his livestock was to be distributed to his children, "Jonathan, Mary, Hanna, and Lidia" were still living; Jonathan was eight years old and Lydia aged four. As Barnes was married to Joan by March of 1653, the deed of gift to his children would have been drawn up to protect their interests either in the event of his death, or of his remarriage. Following Barnes' death in 1671,Jonathan, who by then was 28 years of age, and his stepmother, Joan, were appointed by the Court as administrators of Barnes' estate.

      In John Barnes' last will and testament recorded by Nathaniel Morton, Secretary to the General Court, and "signed" by Barnes,who made his mark on the document on 6 March 1667/1668, Barnes referred to his daughter Lydia as "Now deceased." In 1659 his daughter Mary had married Robert Marshall,(4) and their eldest son, John Marshall,inherited outright from his grandfather "all my land lying Near to Road Island, "together with" ye silver dish yt I doe usually use to Eate in. "Barnes made further provision for his grandson, for in the event that Barnes' wife Joanforfeit her third share of Barnes' moveable estate(5)(the widow's legal portion), it would "ffall to Sonn, or grandson John Marshall". Furthermore, John would inherit Lydia's third should Barnes'son Jonathan not require it. Barnes then bequeathed the final third of his estate to his "gr[an]dchildren now being together wth my Kinswoman Ester Ricket, "each to receive an equal part of the third left to them, but there is no indication as to whether they were the children of his daughter Hannah or of Lydia.

      "Ester Ricket" was Hester Rickard, née Barnes. Davis identifies Hester Barnes as the eldest daughter of John and Mary Barnes, but to datenoprimary source evidence for this connection has beenfound."Kinswoman"to John Barnes is the only indication we have of her connection to Barnes. Robert C. Anderson(6) suggests that Hester was the daughter of a brother of John Barnes, Sr. of Plymouth, but can give no source for this. The vital records for Plymouth show that Hester Barnes married John Rickard, son of Gyles Rickard, Sr., on 31 October 1651.(7) According to Davis, the Rickards had three children: John, born in 1657,Mary, who married Isaac Cushman, and Lydia. (8) The only other Barnes mentioned inthe Records is a Thomas Barnes, who was apprenticed to John Barnes, but released by the Court from his indentures to serve Mr. Rocke of Boston in July 1666. (9)To date no more is known of his origins.


      "My housing, land's &c. . ."(10)

      On 30 August 1671, after the death of John Barnes, an inventory of his estate was drawn up and his possessions appraised. Unfortunately his houses and lands were not part of the appraisal which has survived, but the appraisers listed his possessions under the rooms in the house in which they were found. From this "room by room" inventory, the following are the rooms mentioned in the order in which they appear:


      Kitchen


      Parlour


      Leanto


      Chamber over the Parlour


      Cellar


      Middle Rome


      Chamber over the outer Rome


      little Rome att the South end of the house.

      From this it seems clear that Barnes owned an asymmetrical hall and parlor house, with a central chimney, typical of a rural English seventeenth century house type with which many settlers were familiar. The house would have comprised a kitchen and parlor on the first floor, with a chamber over the parlor and one over "the outer room" which can be read as another term for the kitchen. The design of his house, however, has a middle room, a feature which is less common in the Plymouth Colony probate inventories, listed by the appraisers, together with the cellar, between the chamber over the parlor and the chamber over the outer room.The position of the middle room can be assigned with some degree of confidence to the first floor.

      Barnes was a merchant, and profits in the merchant trade were large. The colony ran on credit, and Barnes was part of the merchant chai nwhich linked Plymouth to Boston, and Boston to England.(11) He earned his living through trading cattle, raising crops, and through owning, trading with, and at times selling boats, as well as through various land deals. His land leases, purchases and deals were most prolific in the 1630s and 1640s; a typical example of his trading shows that he made 6 pounds on one land deal in 1642, but lost 16 pounds on another the same year. The volume of Barnes' trading in land, boats, and livestock puts him into the high trading bracket enjoyed by a fair number of individuals in Plymouth. At numerous times in the Records, we see where people are in debt to Barnes or where Barnes has lent financial backing or sureties to individuals. His inventory lists a wide range of trade goods as well as agricultural implements. Plymouth colony was essentially agrarian,and dairy, slaughter house and barn show him to be as deeply tied in to the soil as to his mercantile activities. Over all, the records suggest that Barnes was fairly well off in pecuniary terms.


      "My trusty and wellbeloued frinds,"(12) neighbors, & servants

      It is logical that through Barnes' multitude of land acquisitions, he would also accumulate a number of neighbors. Though we cannot say exactly where these neighbors were in relation to Barnes' properties, nor the specific time frame that they occupied these properties, we can speculate, by means of the Records, that during his lifetime Barnes shared proximity with Richard Wright, Gyles Rickard, Sr., and Thomas Pope; and probably the same is true for Thomas Prence, Samuel Jenney, and John Dotey (although the Records are not specific for these three). In addition, it appears that Josiah Cooke and Edward Holman shared a hayfield with Barnes at Gurnet's Nose. While Barnes seems to have had an amicable relationship with Rickard, Wright, and Prence, the record shows a boundary struggle later in Barnes' life in which he was vehemently and, in once case, violently opposed to Pope, Jenney, and Dotey. Although the Court settled the matter by remeasuring the boundaries, "badblood" remained among these men.

      Barnes' association with Gyles Rickard Sr., whose son John was married to Barnes' kinswoman Hester Barnes, appears to have been a congenial relationship. The Records make reference to the two together in several places, beyond mere coincidence, it would appear. They seem to have entered into business deals with one another, though one account in the Records evolves into a suit in which Barnes complained against Rickard over a deal involving a parcel of silk. Evidently, this argument did not affect a lasting friendship, as the strongest contacts in the record come later, when on two accounts Barnes is fined for drinking after being inthe company of Rickard. The Records also show that Barnes was infrequent connection with Edward Holman. This seems to have been a purely business relationship, one which starts off in an amicable nature,but quickly spirals downward. It appears that Barnes and Holman were in similar businesses, and one could speculate that rivalry could have caused a downfall between the two. The last reference to the two together is a complaint by Barnes against Holman for entertaining his servant without Barnes' permission.

      Barnes employed servants at various times. In addition to Thomas Barnes,there are references to servants John Rouse and Richard Willis in an exchange of servants between John Barnes and Thomas Prence,the Governor. There are new indentured servants acquired, including Elizabeth Billington, the six year old daughter of Francis and Christine Billington, bound to Barnes until she was twenty years old; Simon Trott,who was to serve Barnes until he was twenty-three years of age (but who was later sent to Thomas Clark); and Edmond Edwards, a former indenture of Henry Feake, of Sandwich. There is also the record of Barnes "neager maide seruant," (13) of particular interest as records of slaves, of whom she was probably one, are not frequently found in the Records.


      "The Court appoints. . ."

      Barnes is recorded as being a freeman in 1633. The freemen of towns in Plymouth Colony elected the Governor, Assistants and Constable at the General Court which comprised the full body of freemen.(14)Barnes did his stint of public duties at intervals from 1636 through 1667. These included serving with several others to decide how best to enlarge the Greens Harbor cutting to make it navigable by boat (1636), and to survey land on both sides of Plymouth in order to set aside a highway and passage for cattle, so that the remaining land could be granted to those in need (1642). He was appointed Constable for Plymouth with Thomas Southwood in 1642, an important position in the town. According to Davis, the appointment of Plymouth's first constable in 1633, Joshua Pratt, constituted the first recognition of the town's establishment, apart from the colony.(15) Although Davis indicates that the duties of the constable had changed somewhat and become more numerous by 1642 when Barnes was appointed, they must still have contained some of the earlier responsibilities which had included attendance of "the General Court and the Court of Assistants, to act as keeper of the jail, to execute punishment, to give warnings of such marriages as shall be approved by authority, to seal weights and measures, and measure out such land as shall be ordered by the governor or government." (16) By 1640,with the development of the town of Plymouth and the number of new roads which were being made, a board of road surveyors came into being. Barnes was appointed Supervisor of the Highways for Plymouth with Richard Sparrow in 1647, and reappointed the following year, 1648, with a title change to "Surveyor" of the Highways for Plymouth, this time with three others. From this we deduce that by 1648 the population growth had continued, putting pressure on road building and maintenance. He held this office again fifteen years later in 1664, and then once more in 1667. Barnes also served on five juries in 1637/1638.


      "In an action of trespas. . ."(17)


      "For non paiment of a debt. . ."(18)

      Between 1640 and 1667, a period of twenty-seven years, Barnes sued different people for damages at least nineteen times and was in turn sued by three people. He won fourteen of the nineteen cases, three were resolved or withdrawn without costs, and he lost two. In the cases where he was sued, in one (vs. Samuel Allin for slander) he had to give a public written apology, and two were withdrawn. It would seem that this pattern of resolving disputes was not atypical of citizens in Plymouth. The majority of cases were over the non-payments of debts,or for trespass. One of the most interesting is that of Barnes vs. Robert Ransom (1662), for neglecting to give him adequate security for the payment of a horse Barnes sold to him, as it shows us the high value set on horses in the colony. The Court ordered Ransom to give Barnes security of fifteen acres of meadow in the township of Plymouth, three acres of upland and the house on it at Lakenham, plus five or six acres of meadow belonging to it, and to pay Barnes a barrel of tar to cover the court charges.


      "For his frequent and abominable drunkenes. . ."(19)

      The biggest problem Barnes had was excessive drinking, and all his court appearances other than in suits for and against various people, are in this connection, with one exception, when in 1636 he was fined 30s forbreaking the Sabbath and had to sit in the stocks for an hour. The earliest reference his drinking is 1643, and at this stage it was not anything more than a fine of 5s. In May 1648 Barnes was permitted by the Court to brew and sell beer to all visitors to Plymouth, but in December was presented to the Court "for inordinate drinking about four months since". He was again fined for being drunk in June of 1650. In March 1652/1653, Barnes, "having been divers times presented to the Court for drunkenness, and censured for the same, now coming drunk to court, "had to find sureties for his good behavior. He was also guilty at this time of "opprobrious speech" to Timothy Hatherley, a member of the Court of Assistants. (20) It cannot be without connection that John Barnes' pattern of heavy drinking followed the death of his wife Mary Plummer in June of 1651, and his marriage to the contentious Joan Barnes who brought "an action of slander and defamation" against John Bower in March1 653,(21)and who, at the same Court, "for frequently slaundering and defameing the children of Captaine Willet and the daughter of Gorge Watson," was sentenced "to sitt in the stockes during the Courts pleasure, and a paper wheron her facte written in capitall letters, to bee made fast unto her hatt".(22)

      Barnes seems to have broken his bond for good behavior, but there is no reference to the Court taking action against him. His continued drinking comes up in an accusation made by Barnes' "neager maide servant" against John Smith, where it is mentioned in passing that "John Barnes drank so much liquor at the house of John Ricard that when he reached the house of Samuel Dunham he was unable to light his pipe."(23)Possibly this took place before the March meeting, and so did not count, for no further mention is made of Barnes' being drunk until five years later, in March 1658, when he is again before the Court "for the frequent abusing himself in drunkenness", and is fined 5 ounds. This must have been regarded as a lapse, but not a serious one, since a year later, in March 1659, the Court granted Barnes a license to keep an ordinary at Plymouth. Gyles Rickard was granted a license to keep an ordinary himself, at the same time. However, by June of 1659 notice was given that four freemen of Plymouth Colony were to lose their status, and be disenfranchised. One was John Barnes. In October he was disenfranchised "for his frequent and abominable" drinking.

      In June 1661 the ordinary keepers of Plymouth were prohibited from letting Barnes have any liquors, wine, strong drink, at any time, within doors or without, on penalty of a 50s fine if found to do so. This seemed to work, and the last reference to his being found drunk is in October 1665, four years later, and at the house of Gyles Ricard, who was fined 5s.


      "How wee judge hee came by his death. . ."(24)

      John Barnes's death was recorded on 5 March 1671/1672, and the jury appointed to inquire into the cause of death gave the following verdict:

      Wee, whose names are underwritten, being summond together by order from the Gou to view the corpes of Mr. John Barnes, and to give in a verdict how wee judge hee came by his death, doe judge, that being before his barne door inthe street, standing stroakeing or feeling of his bull, the said bull suddenly turned about upon him and gave him a great wound with his horne on his right thigh, neare eight inches longe, in which his flesh was torne both broad and deep, as wee judge; of which wound, together with his wrinch of his necke or paine thereof, (of which hee complained) hee immediately languished; after about 32 hours after hee died. Unto the truth wherof we have subscribed our hands.(25)

      The names of the jury included Samuel Dunham and Gyles Rickard, Snr.

      The following is purely the speculation of one of there searchers, some based on fact, and some based on wild imagination. This should not be used for purposes of reference or research:

      Given to both "civil" and "less civil" interactions, John Barnes dealt with all walks of life in Plymouth Colony. He was a businessman in the truest sense, even in today's terms. He had enough gumption and gall to poison a snake, and still have some left over to pass around the room (who else would "pet" a bull; granted, the bull "stroked" him back). When refinement was demanded, Barnes was there to muddle through, but he was also a man given to the "darker by ways" of colony life,(26) a lover of drink and pipe. Barnes gives us a glimpse at a Plymouth reality that our eyes have not been trained to see.


      --------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------

      1. Written by Trish Scott and Chip Cunningham, based on references to John Barnes in the Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England, ed. by Nathaniel B. Shurtleff and David Pulsifer (Boston: William White,1855-61;New York: AMS Press, 1968), v. 1-12. The Records are cited as PCR. Other sources cited are Barnes Deed of Gift , 21 Aug. 1651, to his"deare Children, videlecct Jonathan Mary Hanna and Lidia," PCR12:214-15,and to his "Last will & Testament," 6 Mar. 1667/1668, and Probate Inventory (Plymouth Colony Wills & Inventories 3(1):31-36).

      2. Deed of Gift, 21 Aug. 1651, PCR 12:214.

      3. William T. Davis, Ancient Landmarks of Plymouth (Boston: A. Williams,1883), Section II, "Genealogical Register of Plymouth Families,"p. 12.

      4. Davis 1883, II: 184. Robert Marshall was the son of John Marshall of Duxbury and Mary Partrich. His maternal grandfather was the Rev. Ralph Partrich of Duxbury. After their marriage in 1659, Robert and Mary Marshall had two sons, John and Robert, and possibly a third, Samuel. After John Barnes' death, his widow Joan Barnes advised the General Court that she was no longer able to care for Robert Marshall's children, from which we can infer that Mary had died by this date,although Robert was still alive as the Court summoned him to Plymouthtotake care of hischildren (PCR 5:85). In 1681 the Court appointedSamuelSaberry ofDuxbury as guardian to Robert Marshall, "son of Robert Marshall deceased, a poor orphen left at Plymouth, his frinds many of them being deceased" (PCR 6:66). Robert Jr. was eighteen at this date. John Marshall, his elder brother, had been "put out to learning of a trad[e]" in June1673, fifteen months after Joan Barnes had complained that she could no longer care for John Barnes' grandsons (PCR 5:117).

      5. The Records show Joan Barnes as being highly contentious, and in an apparent effort it seems to put a curb on her relations with his neighbors, Barnes' 1667/1668 will reads: "I doe Bequeath my moveable Estate as follow's one third to my wife for Ever in Case she shall not molest any pson to whome I have fformerly sould any Land's unto in Case she shall soe doe, yn it shall ffall to Sonn, or grandson John Marshall".

      6. Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England 1620-1633 (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995), v. 1: 110.

      7. PCR 8:13.

      8. Davis (1883) II: 213.

      9. PCR 4:133.

      10. Plymouth Colony Wills & Inventories 3(1):31.

      11. Darrett B. Rutman, Husbandmen of Plymouth: Farms and Villages in the Old Colony, 1620-1692 (Boston: Beacon Pres for Plimoth Plantation, 1967), pp. 20-21, discusses Plymouth merchants and the way in which trade operated, goods often being paid for in "country pay", mostly grain and livestock.

      12. PCR 12: 214.

      13. 3 May 1653, PCR 3:27.

      14. Davis (1883) I: 70.

      15. Davis (1883) I: 76-80.

      16. Davis (1883) I: 77-78.

      17. 1 Mar. 1652, John Barnes vs. John Bower, PCR 7:63.

      18. 3 Oct. 1654, John Barnes vs. Robert Barker, PCR 7:72.

      19. 6 Oct. 1659, PCR 3:176.

      20. 1 Mar. 1652/1653, PCR 3:22.

      21. 1 Mar. 1652/1653, PCR 7:63.

      22. 1 Mar. 1652/1653, PCR 3:23.

      23. 3 May 1653, PCR 3: 27.

      24. 5 Mar. 1671/1672, PCR 5:89.

      25. PCR 5: 89.

      26. See John Demos, A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony (London: Oxford University Press, 1970).

      **********************************************************************

      The Great Migration Begins

      JOHN BARNES

      ORIGIN: Unknown

      MIGRATION: 1632

      FIRST RESIDENCE: Plymouth

      OCCUPATION: Yeoman, merchant.

      FREEMAN: In "1633" list of freemen, among those admitted between 1 January 1633/4 and 1 January 1634/5 [PCR 1:4]. In list of freemen dated 7 March 1636/7 [PCR 1:52].

      EDUCATION: Inventory includes "2 bibles 1 English and another Indian" valued at œ1 and "an old psalm book and 2 other old books" valued at 1s. 6d." Signed his deeds and his will by mark.

      OFFICES: Colony committee to regulate wages, 5 January 1635/6 [PCR 1:36]; Plymouth jury, 2 January 1637/8, 6 March 1637/8 [PCR 7:7, 8]; coroner's jury on death of John England, 5 June 1638 [PCR 1:88]; Plymouth representative to colony committee on repair of highways, 5 March 1638/9 [PCR 1:117]; committee on construction of the prison, 3 March 1639/40 [PCR 1:142]; committee to survey meadows, 5 May 1640 [PCR 1:152].

      Plymouth (town) surveyor of highways, 7 March 1642/3, 5 June 1644, 1 June 1647, 7 June 1648, 8 June 1664, 2 June 1667 [PCR 2:53, 72, 116, 124, 4:61, 149]. Committee on bounds between land of Nathaniel Warren and Robert Bartlett, 1 June 1658 [PCR 3:142].

      ESTATE: Assessed 9s. in Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633, and 18s. in list of 27 March 1634 [PCR 1:10, 28].

      On 10 January 1633/4 Edward Holman sold to John Barnes for œ20 one shallop and one dwelling house with twenty acres of land (for which Holman acknowledged payment on 6 May 1635) and Barnes shall "possess the said Edw: Holman of 20 acres of land in some convenient place in Scituate" [PCR 1:24]. On 13 January 1633/4 John Barnes sold to Richard Higgins the dwelling house and twenty acres of land which Barnes had recently bought of Edward Holman, and Higgins is to pay Barnes œ10 and "shall possess the said John & his heirs of 20 acres of land at Scituate" [PCR 1:24].

      On 20 October 1634 Edmund Chandler sold to John Rogers a lot "which the said Edward [sic] bought of John Barnes" [PCR 1:31].

      On 4 December 1637 John Barnes was granted seven acres of land "lying on the north side ... to lie to his house at Plymouth & not to be sold from it" [PCR 1:71]. On 1 June 1640 he was granted "one hundred acres of upland and ten acres of meadow next beyond the Six Mile Brook in the way to Namascutte" [PCR 1:154, 7:78-79].

      On 23 June 1639 John Winslow of Plymouth, yeoman, sold to John Barnes of the same town, yeoman, for œ8 four acres of meadow at the High Pines, and on 20 July 1639 Barnes sold to Mr. Robert Hicks of Plymouth for œ9 15s. the same four acres [PCR 12:45-46].

      On 7 November 1639 Edward Holman sold to John Barnes for 40s. two acres of meadow at Turkey Point [PCR 1:167, 12:49].

      On 5 August 1640 John Combe, gent., and Phineas Pratt, joiner, sold to John Barnes for œ3 two acres which they had of "Godbert Godbertson in marriage with their wives" [PCLR 1:101]. On 15 January 1640 Mr. Thomas Hill sold to John Barnes for œ20 "all that his house & garden and lands thereunto belonging lying on the northside of Wellingsly Brook" [PCLR 1:119]. On 30 December 1642 John Barnes sold to Edward Edwards for œ16 the above two parcels; on 30 October 1644 Edwards assigned this land to "Thomas Whitney" with further payments to be made to Barnes, and on 27 October 1647 Barnes released "Thomas Whitten" from all debts [PCLR 1:154].

      On 5 October 1640 Josias Winslow sold to John Barnes for œ52 "all that his house, messuage and outhouses and garden place with the upland belonging to the said house in Plymouth aforesaid and the two acres of marsh meadow lying at the Wood Island" [PCLR 1:105].

      On 27 November 1640 Mark Mendlove sold to John Barnes for œ12 "all that his house and land lying at the fishing point upon the Eele River" [PCLR 1:109]. On 10 February 1640 Barnes sold this land to William Baker for œ18 [PCLR 1:119], but on 5 April 1641 John Barnes leased to William Baker the house and lands at Eel River which he had lately bought of Mark Mendlove, the sale having fallen through [PCR 2:13].

      On 24 August 1651 and on 14 October 1651 John Barnes of Plymouth made deeds of gift of livestock to his children "Jonathan, Mary, Hanna and Lidia" [PCR 12:214-15; note that the first wife of John Barnes had died on 2 June 1651].

      On 28 December 1653 John Jourdaine of Plymouth, tailor, sold to John Barnes for 5s. "a small parcel of upland ground being about two pole and an half in length ... and I do hereby also acknowledge that I sold the said parcel of land unto John Barnes in the year one thousand six hundred and forty two, although not until now acknowledged and confirmed" [MD 5:93-94, citing PCLR 2:1:95]. On 26 February 1654 Josias Hallott of Barnstable sold to John Barnes for œ15 "an hundred acres of upland and twenty acres of meadow"; Mary Hallott relinquished her right in the land on 3 March 1654 and noted that the marsh was at "Swan Pond River, the upland lying between Barnstable and Yarmouth" [MD 9:232-33, citing PCLR 2:1:153].

      On 27 March 1660 Stephen Bryant of Plymouth sold to John Barnes for a valuable sum his quarter part or share in purchase land at Dartmouth which came to him from his father-in-law John Shaw Sr. [MD 14:143-44, citing PCLR 2:2:32]. On the same day Bryant sold to Barnes for a valuable sum his share as a townsman of Plymouth in the land at Punckatesett [MD 14:144-45, citing PCLR 2:2:33].

      On 10 November 1661 John Barnes sold to John Haward of Acushena for a valuable sum the quarter share at Dartmouth which he had purchased from Stephen Bryant [MD 16:181-82, citing PCLR 2:2:71]. On 26 November 1661 John Barnes sold to Jone Tilson, widow, for œ13 "one half of his farm land at the place or village commonly called and known by the name of Lakenham near the town of Plymouth ... the whole said farm ... containing one hundred acres of upland and ten acres of meadow ..." [MD 16:183-84, citing PCLR 2:2:73].

      On 24 March 1661[/2?] William Palmer of Accushenah, cooper, sold to Mr. John Barnes of Plymouth, yeoman, for œ15 "all that his home lot lying and being at Accushenah aforesaid containing twenty-five acres of upland with all the house, housing and fences thereon with three acres of meadow as yet unlaid out," but not including right of commonage [PCLR 2:2:86]. On 10 August 1666 Barnes exchanged this land with Benjamin Bartlett of Plymouth, receiving in return an eleven acre parcel lying on the southside of Plymouth [PCLR 3:74].

      On 7 August 1666 John Barnes of Plymouth, yeoman, sold to Hugh Cole of Plymouth, shipcarpenter, for a valuable consideration "all that my share of land lying and being at Taunton or Teticutt River being the twenty-sixth part of all the uplands and meadow," being the twenty-second lot [PCLR 3:68].

      In his will, dated 6 March 1667/8 and proved 29 October 1671, John Barnes bequeathed to wife Joan Barnes one half the housing and lands for life; to son Jonathan the other half of the housing and lands forever (unless he forfeit it based on conditions stated later); to grandson John Marshall land lying near Rhode Island; to "my cousin the wife of Henery Samso[n]" 40s.; to wife one-third of movables forever (on certain conditions); to son Jonathan one-third of movables "in case he do not demand any part of that estate that formerly I gave to my daughter Lyddyah now deceased, in case he shall so do then third shall fall unto my grandson John Marshall"; to "my grandchildren now in being together with my kinswoman Ester Ricket" one-third of movables; wife Joan Barnes and son Jonathan Barnes to be executors [MD 4:98-100, citing PCPR 3:1:31; PCR 5:81; Stratton 447-49].

      The inventory of "Mr. John Barnes lately deceased", taken 30 August 1671, was lengthy, and totalled œ226 18s. 8d. [MD 19:61-62; PCPR 3:1:32-36; Stratton 449-56].

      On 5 March 1671/2 the court "ordered, that notice be given to Mr. Robert Marshall, that forasmuch as Mistress Jone Barnes complaineth that she can not provide for his children, now in her custody, that he, within one month or six weeks after the date thereof, take care to provide for his said children, viz: John Marshall and Robert Marshall, or otherwise the Court will take course for the disposal of them" [PCR 5:85]. On 8 March 1682/3 the court ordered the Plymouth selectmen to "inquire after and use means that what appertains to Robert Marshall may be delivered to him, and also to take into their custody whatsoever appertains to the widow, Mistress Jone Barnes, and to improve it for her support as she shall or may stand in need thereof" [PCR 6:103].

      BIRTH: By about 1608 based on date of marriage.

      DEATH: Died between 6 March 1667/8 (date of will) and 30 August 1671 (date of inventory), and certainly closer to the latter date. (In an undated report to the Plymouth court of 5 March 1671/2 a coroner's jury viewed "the corpes of Mr. John Barnes" and stated that "being before his barn door in the street, standing stroking or feeling of his bull, the said bull suddenly turned about upon him and gave him a great wound with his horn on his right thigh, near eight inches long, in which his flesh was torn both broad and deep, as we judge; of which wound, together with his wrench of his neck or pain thereof (of which he complained) he immediately languished; after about 32 hours after he died" [PCR 5:88].)

      MARRIAGE: (1) Plymouth 12 September 1633 MARY PLUMMER [PCR 1:16]; she died Plymouth 2 June 1651 [PCR 8:13].

      (2) before 1 March 1652/3 Joan _____ (who on that day was presented at Court for "slandering and defaming the children of Captain Willett and the daughter of George Watson" [PCR 3:23]); living on 8 March 1682/3 [PCR 6:103].

      CHILDREN:
      i MARY, b. say 1640; m. Plymouth in 1660 [day and month lost] Robert Marshall [PCR 8:22].
      ii JONATHAN, b. say 1642; m. Plymouth 4 January 1665 Elizabeth Hedges [PCR 8:31]. (Savage claims a birthdate of 3 June 1643, but the evidence for this is not seen.)
      iii HANNAH, b. say 1644; received deeds of gift from father 24 August 1651 and 14 October 1651; no further record.
      iv JOHN, b. say 1646; d. Plymouth 25 December 1648 [PCR 8:5].
      v LYDIA, b. Plymouth 24 April 1648 [PCR 8:4, 290]; in his will John Barnes enjoined his son Jonathan from demanding "any part of that estate that formerly I gave to my daughter Lyddyah now deceased," which may simply refer to the cattle which she had received after her mother's death; there is no indication that she married or had children.

      ASSOCIATIONS: In his will John Barnes makes bequests to "my cousin the wife of Henery Samso[n]" and to "my kinswoman Ester Ricket." John Barnes had married on 12 September 1633 Mary Plummer, and HENRY SAMSON had married 6 February 1635/6 ANNE PLUMMER [PCR 1:16, 36]. There is no Plummer family in Plymouth Colony this early, and so Mary and Anne may have come on their own or, more likely, as part of some family of a different surname. Given the dates of marriage, they would seem to be of the same age, and so one might expect that they were sisters, but in that case Barnes should refer to Anne (Plummer) Samson as his sister and not cousin. Thus, Anne and Mary Plummer may have themselves been cousins, or, less likely, they may have been aunt and niece; other more distant relationships are also possible.

      On 31 October 1651 at Plymouth John Rickard married Hester Barnes [PCR 8:13]. As Hester was about the same age as the children of John Barnes, the likeliest suggestion is that she was the daughter of a brother of John Barnes. On 5 July 1666 John Barnes had a servant named Thomas Barnes [PCR 4:133], also a likely candidate to be a relative, and possibly a brother of Hester. If Hester and Thomas were siblings, and if John Barnes was their uncle, there is no evidence that their father came to New England. (See NEHGR 112:154.)

      COMMENTS: John Barnes appeared in the court records constantly, giving us a detailed view of a complicated personality. He was a man of high social standing, for he was frequently referred to as "Mr.," and he was a man of wealth who engaged in mercantile activity. But there was a dark side to his character, which placed him constantly at odds with the authorities, and prevented him from taking the place in Plymouth society which should have been his based on his wealth and social standing.

      His trading activities are seen on occasion as the records of normal transactions [e.g., PCR 1:9, 13, 138, 2:31, 54], but more frequently when he engaged in some practice which the General Court deemed illegal, or at least unfair. On 1 December 1640 John Barnes was presented "for exaction in taking rye at four shillings per bushel, and selling it again for five without adventure or long forbearance in one and the same place"; he was found not guilty [PCR 2:5]. On 2 March 1640/1 he was presented "for selling black & brown threads at five shillings, four pence per lb."; he was found not guilty [PCR 2:12]. (See also PCR 1:34, 167-68 and, for a case which goes into great detail, PCR 7:120-22.)

      John Barnes was also in court frequently as either plaintiff or defendant in civil suits, usually over debts arising from his business activities. These cases cover a period of thirty years, from 1636 to 1667 [PCR 1:42, 168; 2:50, 108; 3:203; 4:9, 12, 79, 89, 158; 7:16, 19, 28, 29, 63, 69, 72, 76, 93, 103, 113, 117, 124, 127, 137].

      Aside from these legal disputes over business activities, Barnes was occasionally in court under accusation of having slandered one of his neighbors. On 9 June 1653 he was presented for having accused Winifred Whitney of lying, but was unable to bring forth proof and ac~knowledged his fault in making the accusations [PCR 3:38]. On 1 March 1663/4 Samuel Allin complained that Barnes had defamed him by stating that he was one of three men who might have been the father of the child of William Newland's daughter; Barnes wrote an apology, explaining that he was merely passing on a rumor [PCR 7:114].

      Evidence for his wealth may also be seen in the frequency with which he was acquiring the time of servants from other men, or otherwise involved in disputes over his servants. On 26 August 1634 "John Rouse, the servant of the said Thomas Prince, having a desire to forsake the service of his master, and to dwell with the forementioned John Barnes the remainder of his time; and also Richard Willis, servant of John Barnes aforesaid, having inclination to dwell with the said Thomas Prince," the parties so agreed [PCR 1:30]. On 4 August 1638, for œ6 10s. and twenty bushels of Indian corn, John Barnes assigned to Robert Bartlett the remaining term of service of Thomas Shreive (being three years from the first day of August instant), Robert Bartlett also paying Shreive œ3 6s. 8d., and Shreive agreeing to serve an additional year for another œ5 [PCR 12:32]. Especially suggestive is the court case of 5 July 1666 in which "Thomas Barnes, servant unto Mr. John Barnes of Plymouth," complained of some problem in the agreement between the two parties; some kinship relation between the two men seems likely [PCR 4:133]. (See also PCR 1:129, 132; 2:38; 3:27, 39, 126.)

      Another side of John Barnes may be seen in the frequency with which he was called on by others to stand surety for them when they had problems, as on 16 April 1639 when he posted bond of œ20 for Richard Derby when he was accused of poisoning John Dunford [PCR 1:121.] (See also PCR 1:19, 75, 105; 2:73, 107; 3:159, 177].

      The worst of the difficulties encountered by Barnes were the frequent occasions when he was presented at court for drunkenness. The first occasion of record was on 4 December 1638 when John Barnes was "presented for inordinate drinking about four months since, and in regard the evidence thereof was not adjudged sufficient evidence, it was remitted to better proof" [PCR 1:107]. On 7 November 1643 "John Barnes, proved to be drunken, both in the Bay and at Scituate ... is fined œ5" [PCR 2:66]. On 5 June 1650 "We present John Barnes, of Plymouth, for being drunk. Cleared by paying the fine" [PCR 2:156].

      This problem became so serious that on 1 March 1652/3 John Barnes, having been accused of drunkenness and then having come into court drunk was fined œ10 and ordered to post an additional œ40 bond for his good behavior [PCR 3:22-23]. This penalty clearly had little effect, for on 6 October 1659 John Barnes was disfranchised for "frequent and abominable drunkenness" [PCR 3:167, 176]. Still John Barnes did not alter his behavior, for on 10 June 1661 the Court ordered that the "ordinary keepers of the town of Plymouth are hereby prohibited to let John Barnes have any liquors, wine, or strong drink at any time," under penalty of 50s. fine [PCR 3:219]. (See also PCR 3:5, 129, 4:106.)

      There may be some humor, however, in a few other court occurrences related to the excessive drinking. On 2 October 1637 he was to testify against a number of servants and others who were drinking at the home of Stephen Hopkins on the sabbath [PCR 1:68]. On 2 May 1648 "John Barnes, of Plimouth, is allowed by the Court to brew and sell beer unto comers and goers until the Court shall see reason to the contrary in regard of his intent to bake biscake, and for that otherwise it would be prejudicial unto him" [PCR 2:122]. On 14 September 1666 John Barnes was recorded as having brought fifty gallons of rum into Yarmouth for Elisha Hedge [PCR 4:152]; this may be the source of the false claim that Barnes had resided for some time at Yarmouth.

      For other estimations of the character of John Barnes see Stratton [240-41, 447-56] and Darrett B. Rutman, Husbandmen of Plymouth: Farms and Villages in the Old Colony, 1620-1692 (Boston 1967). [1]
    Person ID I596155  7_families
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2006 

    Family 1 Mary Plummer,   b. Abt 1614, , , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 2 Jun 1651, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 37 years) 
    Married 12 Sep 1633  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Children 
     1. Esther Barnes,   b. Abt 1637, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     2. John Barnes,   b. 1639, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Dec 1648, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 9 years)
     3. Mary Barnes,   b. Abt 1640-1650, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    +4. Jonathan Barnes,   b. 3 Jun 1643, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Aug 1714, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
     5. Hannah Barnes,   b. Abt 1644-1649, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Lydia Barnes,   b. 24 Aug 1647-1648, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2006 
    Family ID F216231  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Mrs. Jane Barnes,   b. Abt 1630, Of, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1653  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2006 
    Family ID F216232  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1610 - , , England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 12 Sep 1633 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - Abt 1653 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Bef 30 Aug 1671 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S7707] Great Migration Begins, Robert Charles Anderson, (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, c1995), CD containing all volumes..

    2. [S401] Genealogical register of Plymouth families, William T. Davis, (Baltimore : Genealogical Publishing, 1977), 13 (Reliability: 3).