Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Allen line: John Eddy, Immigrant and Octogenarian 1597-1684

First, a disclaimer:  There may or may not be a weak link in this lineage.  John Eddy had a daughter Mary, and she is claimed in many sources to have married Robert Ashley.  She is also claimed in many sources to have married Thomas Orton or Horton.  I have not completely reconciled this.  There is a court record where Widow Horton, on October 9, 1640, was called to explain why she had loaned or sold her late husband's gun to an Indian.  So apparently she was widowed by that time and thus was free to marry Robert Ashley on December 24, 1641 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

But wait!  There's more!  In John Eddy's will, he refers to her as "Marie Orton", which could be the confusion of an old man.  Or, since Robert Ashley had died the previous year, perhaps she had been using her first husband's name.  Except that, Plymouth Plantations website says that Thomas Orton died in 1687. So someone is certainly confused, and that's me!  If someone can help straighten this out, I'd be most grateful.

So, John Eddy's sketch is written with the advisory comment that not everyone agrees with the lineage.  I tend to go with the Robert Ashley marriage, and that is why I'm writing this sketch about John Eddy.

John Eddy was born in March of 1596/1597, the son of Rev. William Eddy and Mary Fosten.  (We have descents through the William Eddy line that go down into the Holbrook line, so somewhere along the line, distant cousins married distant cousins.)  He grew up in the home of his parents until Mary died in 1611, and then his father married a widow, Sarah Taylor in 1613/14, so he may have had step siblings as well as his own brothers and sisters.  The home seems to have been relatively prosperous, judging Rev. Eddy's inventory.

Whether it was for economic reasons or for religious reasons, John Eddy left home and came to Plymouth Colony in 1630, on the Handmaid, with his brother Samuel.  The ship left London August 10 and arrived at Plymouth on October 29, 1630.  It was not an easy voyage, but the brothers survived it.  They are termed "gentlemen" by Governor Winthrop, whom they went to visit in company with Miles Standish and Captain Grant.  Many "gentlemen" did not survive the early years in the colony but these two me did.

Within one or two years, John was a settler of Watertown, where he lived his life. John had married Amy Doggett, daughter of John Doggett and Dorothy Fay, in 1619, but we don't know when Amy and the children arrived in Plymouth.  It's unclear whether the family traveled together, or whether some children may have come with John and the rest later, with their mother.  It appears that the first four children were born in England and the last six were born in Watertown. In going from Plymouth to Watertown, John and Amy had left Plymouth Colony to become part of Massachusetts Bay Colony, where the people were Puritans but not Separatists.)

John Eddy is reported as being a juryman and a selectman, but little else is known of him.  He apparently had some sort of episode in 1633, possibly a mental health issue, and Governor Winthrop later reported that "He recovered his understanding again in good measure, and lived very orderly, but would, now and then, be a little distempered." He was made a freeman shortly before this incident.

I've not found much about John during the next 40 years or so of his life. His wife Amy died sometime after 1647 and he married Johanna, widow of gabriel Meade, after May 12,1666.  She died in August of 1683, although Eddy's will refers to his "well beloved wife," who was apparently left a separate bequest or gift.  In 1673 and 1674, when he was 76 and 77 years of age, he requested to be excused from military training, so apparently he had been part of the train band up until that time.  It's possible that in 1673 he was excused for a year, hoping that he would be able to recover from his ailments by the next year, and then in 1674 it was made a permanent exemption.

John wrote his will January 11, 1677 and it was proved December 16, 1684.  He left bequests to his two sons and four daughters, one of whom is the Mary or Marie Horton which confuses me.  His inventory included four parcels of land, valued at 216 pounds, and another 30 pounds, 7 shillings in personal property, including a "parcel of books."  We an assume that he learned to read and write in his childhood, since he was the son of a vicar.

So ends the story of John Eddy, who may or may not be our ancestor.  I'm posting this in hopes that someone can shed some light on the question of Mary Eddy Horton or Orton Ashley, or tell me whether these are two separate women and what the proof is, either way.  If I get a response, or figure this out myself, I will do an update to this post.

The supposed line of descent is:

John Eddy-Amy Doggett
Mary Eddy-Robert Ashley
Mary Ashley-John Root
John Root-Sarah Stebbins
Sarah Root-Thomas Noble
Stephen Noble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Update:  I now believe that Robert Ashley's wife was likely not Mary Eddy, and I'm embarrassed that I didn't place closer attention to dates and places when I wrote this.  Mary who married Robert Ashley, the widow of William Horton, was a widow who had two small children in 1640, so the chances that she was the Mary Eddy born in 625 to John Eddy are slim indeed.  Also, John Eddy's will refers to Marie Orton, not Horton.  Similarities in name must have led to the confusion.  However, now we get the fun of trying to figure out who William Horton was, where he was from, and who he married.  Does anyone have any ideas?