My last post was about Nicholas Wallington, whose life ended mysteriously at sea in the early 1680s. He had left behind many children and his wife, Sarah Travers. But this wasn’t Sarah’s first mysterious loss in her family, as we shall see.
Sarah’s parents were Henry Travers and Bridget _____ (believed – but unproven – to be Fitts). Henry was born in England sometime before 1610. After March 24, 1634, he traveled aboard the Mary and John and ended up in Agawam (now Ipswich), Massachusetts. By 1635 Henry was living in Newbury, where I assume he married Bridget*. They ended up having two children:
- Sarah, born 1636; married Nicholas Wallington on August 30, 1654 in Newbury.
- James, born April 28, 1645; married Mercy Pearce on April 8, 1667 in Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts; died before 1717. (At some point, James started using the surname “Travis”.)
There seemed to be some trouble in Henry and Bridget’s marriage: on September 29, 1646, John Emery (another collateral relative of mine) was fined or “to be whipped” for “his miscarriage with the wife of Henry Traverse”, and he was “bound to good behavior and not to frequent the company of the wife of Henry Traverse. Brigett Traverse fined 10s for her misdemeanors”. What?! How long was that going on, I wonder! And I have to note that John was married as well.
Not two years later, on July 26, 1658, Henry drew up his will. He ominously stated that he was going “to sea and know not whether I shall live to Com againe”. He and Bridget must have kept up some sort of correspondence, for she later stated that she last heard from Henry in 1650. At that point, daughter Sarah was only fourteen and son James was five.
Snippet of the beginning of Henry Travers’ 1648 will. Don’t you just love the handwriting? Courtesy AmericanAncestors.org.
This is where Bridget’s story ramps up. In 1655 (a year after Sarah got married), she petitioned the court in Ipswich to allow her to live in her present house until James turned twenty-one. She apparently had been working hard, as she went into debt in keeping up her buildings and breaking up the land. Perhaps things got easier once she married Richard Window in Gloucester on March 30, 1659.
Life was probably stable for Bridget until Richard died on April 27, 1665. Again, Bridget headed to court on May 23 and June 26, 1666 regarding her inheritance from Richard’s will. She stated that she only received “30s. per year, she being now aged and not able to work for her maintenance, and James Stephens, the overseer, not providing her even with bread or beer.” The court ended up granter her petition of May 23 (for how much, I don’t know), and for June 26th’s petition, she received a cow. I suppose that Bridget was satisfied with this arrangement, because I don’t see any further petitions. I have to give her credit for doing what she could to make sure that she and her family were provided for!
At last, Bridget passed away in Bradford, Essex County, MA on October 9, 1673, with her will being proved on November 25 of that year. For some reason, it was another two years (November 26, 1675) before administration of her estate was granted to her son James and son-in-law Nicholas. I don’t know how much she had to leave to her family, but it’s nice to know that in the end, she had something!
* Some sources believe that Bridget was previously married to a Richard Goodwin, but Robert Charles Anderson (author of NEHGS’ Great Migration series) discounts this marriage.