Anthony MORSE (1607 – 1686) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather, one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line through his daughter Anne. He was also Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096 in that generation of the Shaw line through his daughter Hannah.
His brother was a key figure in the only recorded case of supposed witchcraft in Newbury that was ever subjected to a full legal investigation.
Anthony Morse was born 6 May 1607, at Marlborough, Wiltshire, England. His parents were Anthony MORSE Sr. and Christian [__?__]. He married Ann COX on 2 May 1629 at St Mary the Virgin, Marlborough, Wiltshire, England.
The family sailed to the Massachusetts colony aboard the ship James from London in April 5, 1635. Anthony’s brother William was also aboard and also listed as a shoemaker. Anthony died on 12 Oct 1686 at Newbury, Essex., Mass.
Ann Cox born about 1607 in Marlborough, Wiltshire, England. Her parents were Ambrose COX and Alice HEALE. Ann died 8 Mar 1680 in Newberry, Mass.
Some genealogies say Anthony second married Eliabeth Waldron (Waldro). This is a confusion of a cousin of the same name Anthony Morice who married An Waldro 27 Nov 1616 in St Mary’s, Marlborough, Wiltshire. They had six children between 1617 and 1628, all baptized at St Mary’s, Marlborough: Elizabeth,. Anthony, Margaret, William, John and Joseph. No burial of either appears so far as records published show.
Children of Anthony and Ann :
|1.||Robert Morse||27 Dec 1629 Marlborough Wiltshire, England||Anne Lewis
20 Oct 1654
|3 Feb 1700/01
|2.||Esther Morse||4 Dec 1630
|3.||Anthony Morse||29 Jan 1631/32
8 MAY 1660
10 Nov 1669 in Newberry, Essex, Mass
|25 Feb 1677/78
6 Feb 1633/34
5 Feb 1654/55
|5.||Richard Morse||6 Dec 1635|
|6.||Peter Morse||c 1636/37
|26 Oct 1701|
|7.||Joseph Morse||c 1637/38
1667 in Newbury, Essex, Mass
|15 Jan 1678/79
|8.||Benjamin Morse||28 Mar 1640
27 Aug 1667
|22 Jun 1714
|9.||Sarah Morse||1 May 1641
24 Jun 1663 Newbury
17 Dec 1684
|7 Dec 1711
|10.||Hannah MORSE||c 1644/45
8 Jun 1665
|11.||Lydia Morse||7 Oct 1647
|19 May 1648
|12.||Mary Morse||9 Apr 1649
|14 Jun 1662
|13.||Esther Morse||3 May 1651
26 Feb 1668/69 Newbury
25 Oct 1675 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass
|14.||Joshua Morse||24 Jul 1653
|Aft. Mar 1720/21 Newbury|
Anthony Morse Jr. settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635, and registered as a shoemaker. He built a house about a half mile south of the old cemetery in what is now called Newbury old town. He was admitted as a Freeman May 25, 1636. On a slight eminence in a field which was later owned by Michael Little, and which is still called Morse’s field; traces of his house are still visible a few rods from the road.
He and his wife were members of the Newbury, Mass, church in 1674. It states in one of the town records that Anthony Morse, Senior, is to keep the meeting house and ring the bell and “see that the house be cleane swept, and the glasse of the windows to be carefully look’t unto, if any should happen to be loosed with the wind, to be nailed close again.”
Mar 1649 – Anthony Morse was presented for digging a pit and not filling it up seasonably.’ In this pit Thomas Smith was drowned.
25 Dec 1665 – Anthony Morse was chosen to keep the Newbury meeting-house and ring the bell. Anthony Morse, senior, is to keep the meeting house and ring the bell, ‘ see that the house be cleane swept, and the glasse of the windows to be carefully look’t unto, if any should happen to be loosed with the wind, to be nailed close again.’
18 Aug 1680 – ‘ The selectmen ordered that Anthony Morse should every sabbath day go or send his boy to Mr. Richardson and tell him when he is going to ring the last bell every meeting
and for that service is to have ten shillings a year added to his former annuity.’ *
Parker- Woodman War
8 Apr 1646 – ‘ Mr. Henry Sewall, Mr. Edward WOODMAN, Henry Lunt, and Archelaus Woodman, were fyned twelve pence apiece, and Steven Kent for their absence from the generall towne meeting, to be gathered within ten dayes. In case the constable bring it not by that time, Anthony MORSE is appointed to distreyne on him for all the fynes.’
29 May 1671 – Anthony was fined one noble [six shillings and eight-pence] for his part in the Parker-Woodman War.
For many years the church in Newbury had been divided, almost equally, between the original pastor, Reverend Thomas Parker, and Mr. Edward WOODMAN, of whom the noted historian Joshua Coffin wrote: “He was a man of influence, decision and energy, and opposed with great zeal the attempt made by the Rev. Thomas Parker to change the mode of Church government from Congregationalism to something like Presbytarianism.” This divison of the town was not due to a great difference of theology, but of church governemt.
As early as 1645 the Rev. Parker and his party maintained the church should be governed by the pastor, his assistants, and a ruling elder. Mr. Woodman’s party believed it was the right of the members of the church, and government should be by the congretation. In a letter to the church council, Mr. Edward stated, “As for our controversy it is whether God hath placed the power in the elder, or in the whole church, to judge between truth and error, right and wrong, brother and brother, and all things of church concernment.” These ecclesiastical problems, which grew more violent and partisan each year, plagued the town for over 25 yearsand became known throughout New England as the “Parker-Woodmam War.”
By 1669 difference of opinion had grown to such proportions that an appeal was made to the civil authorities. the court proceedings began March 13th at Ipswich and continued on and off for over two years. The decision of the court, on May 29, 1671, found in favor of Rev. Parker’s part and levied fines against the members of Mr. Woodman’s party. Edward Woodman was fined 20 nobles. [ A noble is six shillings and eight-pence so Edward’s fine was a little more than 13 pounds]
Mr. Richard Dummer , Richard THORLAY (THURLOW), Stephen Greenleaf [son of Edmund GREENLEAF], Richard Bartlet and William Titcomg, fined 4 nobles each. Francis Plummer, John Emery, Sr., John Emery, Jr., John Merrill and Thomas Browne, a Mark each. [A mark is thirteen shillings and fourpence. ]
All others Nicholas Batt, Anthony MORSE Sr, Abraham Toppan, William Sawyer, Edward Woodman junior, William Pilsbury, Caleb Moody, John Poor Sr, John Poor Jr, John Webster, John Bartlet Sr., John Bartlet Jr, Joseph Plumer, Edward Richardson, Thomas Hale Jr., Edmund Moores, Benjamin LOWLE (LOWELL), Job Pilsbury, John Wells, William Ilsley, James Ordway, Francis THORLA (THORLAY), Abraham Merrill, John Bailey, Benjamin Rolf, Steven Swett, and Samuel Plumer, a noble each. However, the judgement of the court did not bring an end to the controversy, and the conflict continued for several years. Note: For a complete chronology, see pages 72-112 of Joshua Coffin’s History of Newbury.
Newbury Witch Trial
Anthony’s brother William Morse [1614-1683] was a key figure in the only recorded case of supposed witchcraft in Newbury that was ever subjected to a full legal investigation. The principal sufferer was William’s wife Elizabeth who resided with him in a house at the head of Market St. [later actually in Newburyport] across from St. Paul’s Church for which William had received in the lot in 1645.
William was then 65 years of age, a very worthy, but credulous and unsuspecting man who consequently was very easy prey to the taunting antics of a very roguish grandson who lived with them. Not suspecting any deception, the good man readily attributed all his troubles and strange afflictions to the supernatural instead of carefully analyzing the actions of those around him. With a belief in witchcraft almost universal at the time, it afforded a ready solution to anything strange and mysterious.
The only person to have suspected the boy as the author of the mischief was a seaman Caleb Powell who visited the house frequently enough to suspect that the Morse’s troubles had human, rather than supernatural, origins. Caleb informed Goodman Morse that he believed he could readily find and the source of the trouble and solve it. To add credibility to his claims, he hinted that in his many travels he had gained an extensive knowledge of astrology and astronomy. That claim, however innocently intended, led to Caleb being accused of dealing in the black arts himself–he was tried and narrowly escaped with his own life. Anthony Morse gave the following testimony about the strange goings-on at his brother’s house on Dec 8, 1679:
“I Anthony Mors ocationlly being att my brother Morse’s hous, my brother showed me a pece of a brick which had several tims come down the chimne. I sitting in the cornar towck the pece of brik in my hand. Within a littel spas of tiem the pece of brik was gon from me I know not by what meanes. Quickly aftar, the pece of brik came down the chimne. Also in the chimny corar I saw a hamar on the ground. Their being no person near the hamar it was soddenly gone; by what means I know not, but within a littel spas after, the hamar came down the chimny and within a littell spas of tiem aftar that, came a pece of woud, about a fute loung, and within a littell after that came down a fiar brand, the fiar being out.”
William Morse was also asked to give testimony on the same day and reported instances of being in bed and hearing stones and sticks being thrown against the roof or house with great violence, finding a large hog in the house after midnight, and many strange objects being dropped down the chimney. Items in the barn were mysteriously overturned or out-of-place, shoes unexpectedly seemed to fly through the air as if thrown, and doors unexpectedly would open or close.
The handwritten testimony concludes with the telling statement:
“A mate of of a ship coming often to me [ie: Caleb Powell] said he much grefed for me and said the boye [William’s grandson] was the cause of all my truble and my wife was much Ronged, and was no wich, and if I would let him have the boye but one day, he would warrant me no more truble. I being persuaded to it, he Com the nex day at the brek of day, and the boy was with him untel night and I had not any truble since.” When Caleb was finally acquitted, the judges looked for some other person guilty “of being instigated by the devil” for accomplishing such pranks, and for some reason selected Elizabeth Morse , William’s wife, as the culprit. [Elizabeth often served as a town midwife, and perhaps had incurred some male or professional’ jealousies?]
At a Court of Assistants held at Boston on May 20, 1680, Elizabeth Morse was indicted as “having familiarity with the Divil contrary to the peace of our sovereign lord the King” and the laws of God. In spite of her protesting her complete innocense, she was found guilty and sentenced by the governor on May 27th as follows:
“Elizabeth MORSE, you are to goe from hence to the place from when you came and thence to the place of execution and there to be hanged by the neck, till you be dead, and the Lord have mercy on your soul.”
Then, for an unexplained reason, Elizabeth was granted a reprieve on June 1, 1680 by Governor Bradstreet. The deputies of the local court did not agree with the decision, however, and complained in Nov 1680 to have the case reopened. Testimony was again heard in the general court through May 1681.
William sent several petitions pleading his wife’s innocence and attempting to answer the hysterical allegations of 17 Newbury residents who submitted testimony in writing offering their reasons why they had concluded that Goody Morse must be a witch and should be hung according to old Mosaic law. Reading the list of “reasons” today quickly strikes the 20th century mind as a dredging up of every petty annoyance, every grudge or neighborhood misunderstanding the townspeople could think of from sick cows to being snubbed in public.
It was owing to the firmness of Gov. Bradstreet in his initial decision that the life of Elizabeth Morse was saved and the town of Newbury prevented from offering the first victim in Essex County to the witchcraft hysteria. Later town records and other contemporary sources fail to record what happened to the “vile and roguish” grandson whose attempts to torment his elderly grandparents nearly resulted in his grandmother’s untimely death.
“This last Will and Testament of Anthony Morse of Newbury, Mass.
I anthony Morse of Newbury in the name of god amen i being sensible of my own frality and mortality being of parfit memory due make this as my last Will and testament cominding my sole to god that gaue it and my body to the dust in hope of a joyful rasurixtion and as for my wourly goods I dispose of as foloieth,
“I gue and bequeth to my son Joshua Morse making him my lawful eaire all lmy housing and lands both upland and meddow alweais provided that if the town of Newbury dou fivifr any part of the common lands that then the on half part of that land which belongeth to me which cometh by uartu of my freehould shall be the lawful inheritance of my son benieman morse all so I geue to my son Joshua morse all my carte wheles dung pot plow harrow youkes chains houes forkes shovel spad grin stone yt as allso on father bed which he lieth on with a boulster and pillo and a pair of blinkets and courlitt and tou pair of shetes a bed sted and mat a pot and a brass cetell the best of tou cettels and a belmetell scillet and tou platars and a paringer and a drinking pot and tou spoons and the water pails and barils and tobes all these about named I geue to my son Joshua and his eaires of his own body begoten lawfully than then all aboue geuen to my son Joshua shall Return to the Rest of my children upon the peayment on good peay to my sons widow besides what estates she att any time brought to her husband she the said widdo shall injoy the houl estate one half year before she shall surrender—–
also I geue to my son Robert Norse Eighteen pounds or his children to my son Peter morse or children £3. to my son Anthony morse children I geue £3 to my son Joseph morses children I geue £12 to my son Benieman Morse or children I geue £12 to my dafter Thorlo or children £12 to my dafter Stickney or children I geue £12 to my dafter Newman children I geue £12 to my dafter Smith or children I gieu £12. to my grand son Richard Thorlo I geue an sheep to my grandson Robard Homs I gieu Fieu pounds allso I geue the Remainder of my housall which is not in partikelar geuen to my son Joshua in the former part of this my will to all my children equally to be devided between them and my grand children hous parents are dead, namely anthonys children. Josephs children hanahs children, allso I dou by this my last will allow and geue loberty to my son Joshua morse hou is my Eaire to make sail and dispose of that land by the pine swamp which I had of Benieman lacon of that pece of land by John Akisons hous if he see Resan so to do. allso I du by this will apoynt my son Joshus morse to be my sole executor to peay all debtes and legacies by this will geuen and to Receue all debtes allso I dou apoynt my louing and crisian friends Cap danil Pears and Tristram Coffin and thomas noyes to be oversers of this my last Will Allso I dou apoynt my Exicutor to peay my son Robard and son peter within on yeare after my death on the other to be peaid within three years the plas of peayment to be newbury my will is that my son beieman shal haue the on half of all common lands when devided as aboue said in witness therof I anthony morse have hearunto set my hand and seall this 28 Aprell, 1680.
ANTHONY MORSE (seal)
1. Robert Morse
Robert’s first wife Elizabeth was born in England, Elizabeth died in 1644 in Newbury, Essex, Mass, just a year after their marriage.
Robert’s second wife Anne Lewis was born 1631 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Robert Lewis and Elizabeth [__?__]. Anne died 1686 in Elizabethtown, Essex, Mass
3. Anthony Morse
Anthony’s wife Elizabeth Knight was born 8 May 1639 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Richard Knight and Agnes Coffley. Elizabeth died 29 Jul 1667 in Newbury, Essex, Mass
Anthony’s second wife Mary Barnard was born 22 Sep 1645 in Sailsbury, Essex, Mass. After Anthony died she married 22 Aug 1678 in Haverhill, Essex, Mass to Philip Eastman (b. 20 Oct 1644 in Salisbury, Mass – d. 20 Oct 1714 in Woodstock, Windham, CT). Mary died 11 Jun 1724 in Woodstock, Windham, CT.
4. Anne MORSE (See Francis THURLOW‘s page)
7. Joseph Morse
Joseph’s wife Mary Woodhouse was born on 14 Jan 1638/39 in Boston, Suffolk, Mass. Her parents were Richard Woodhouse and Mary [__?__]. She first married in 1659 to George Pierce. After George died, she married in 1667 in Newbury, Essex Co, MA to Joseph Morse Finally, she married Francis BROWN I on 31 Dec 1678 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Mary died 30 Sep 1679 in Boston at the age of 40.
Joseph was a blacksmith with shops at Newbury, Mass and Piscataqua New Hampshire. He was constable in Portsmouth, NH. 1666/67 Chosen for Trial Jury, 1670/71 and 1675/76 Elected as Surveyor of Highways, 1674/75 – Elected to Grand Jur
8. Benjamin Morse
Benjamin’s wife Ruth Sawyer was born 16 Sep 1648 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Her parents were William Sawyer and Ruth Bitfield. Ruth died 22 Nov 1707 in Newbury, Essex, Mass
9. Sarah Morse
Sarah’s first husband Amos Stickney was born 1635 in Cottingham, Yorkshire, England. His parents were William Stickney and Elizabeth Dawson. Amos died 29 Aug 1678 in Newbury, Essex, Mass
Sarah’s second husband Stephen Ackerman was born 1635 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Stephen died in 1692 in Newbury, Mass
10. Hannah MORSE (See Thomas NEWMAN‘s page)
13. Esther Morse
Esther’s first husband Robert Holmes was born in 26 Feb 1647/48 in Newbury, Essex, Mass. Robert died 18 Sep 1673 in Newbury, Essex, Mass.
Esther’s second husband Thomas Smith was born 1656 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were Robert Smith and Mary French. Thomas died 25 Feb 1725 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.
14. Joshua Morse
Joshua’s wife Joanna Kimball was born 27 Jan 1661 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. Her parents were Henry Kimball and [__?__]. Joanna died 10 Apr 1691 in Newbury, Essex, Mas
Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury (1938) By Holman, Mary Lovering, 1868-1947; Pillsbury, Helen Pendleton Winston, 1878-1957
A sketch of the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, from 1635 to 1845 (1845) By Coffin, Joshua, 1792-1864; Bartlett, Joseph, 1686-1754