One thing on my to-do list is to visit Richard Sparrow’s house in Plymouth, Mass. The house is the oldest wood-framed home in Plymouth and currently houses Sparrow Pottery and a small museum.
|Richard Sparrow's house, Plymouth source: sparrowhouse.com|
Richard Sparrow was in Plymouth by 1633 when he was named a Freeman; some say he originated from Kent, England, but I haven’t seen proof of this. He later lived at Eastham (in an area now East Orleans).
Richard married, by 1629, Pandora whose maiden name is unknown. They had just one known child, Jonathan. I descend from Jonathan through his daughter Rebecca who married Thomas Freeman.
On 24 June 1639 Mary Moorecock, with the consent of her father-in-law (step father) apprenticed herself to Richard Sparrow and his wife Pandora for nine years (PCR 1:128-9). It is likely Richard and Pandora needed help running their household.
In 1644 Richard and Pandora adopted Elizabeth Hopkins, per her late mother Ruth’s wishes. On 5 October 1656, Captain Myles Standish brought suit against Richard Sparrow of Eastham, on behalf of Elizabeth Hopkins, charging that Sparrow had not performed the terms of an agreement concerning Elizabeth.
Richard was literate as he signed his name to an agreement regarding Kennebec trade, 6 Oct 1659 (PCR 3:171). His inventory included a Bible and 2 small books.
He served the colony in multiple ways. He was Deputy from Eastham to Plymouth General Court, served on the jury, petit jury, coroner’s and grand jury, committee to survey land, committee on Kennebec trade, Plymouth constable, highway, tax collector, Eastham surveyor of highways.
In records Richard is referred to as a yeoman or planter. He was involved in multiple land transactions as well as cattle purchases.
I love this: On 2 Oct 1650 Thomas Shrive was presented to the court for pilfering corn from Richard Sparrow's barn, and Richard Sparrow was presented for concealing Shrive's crime (PCR 2:162). Was Richard a compassionate man who understood Shrive's need for food and forgave him for the theft?
Richard’s will was written 19 Nov 1660, proved 05 Mar 1661. He asks to be laid to rest in the burying place of Eastham. He left his house and garden plot in Eastham to his wife Pandora, then to son Jonathan at her death. He also left her a choice of one cow out of his cattle, his best featherbed and other household items. He mentions his uplands at Poche and meadow ground, half already given to son Jonathan and other half to John Sparrow his grandson, with Pandora allowed use of the meadow during her lifetime. Any other lands that come to him should go to John.
He gave one ewe sheep to the Church of Eastham, one ewe sheep to granddaughter Prisilla Sparrow, rest of sheep to grandchildren John and Rebecca Sparrow. To son Jonathan he left his great cloth coat and rest of wearing apparel.
Pandora and Jonathan were executors. Beloved friends to oversee the will: Mr. Thomas Prence, Thomas Willett of Rehoboth and Lt. Thomas Southworth of Plymouth.
Any household items and cattle remaining should be split equally among Pandora and Jonathan. Will is in Plymouth Colony Wills II:II and was printed in the Mayflower Descendant.
The inventory of the estate of Richard Sparrow was taken by Nicholas Snow and Josias Cooke on 22 Jan 1660/1 and totaled 85 pounds, with no real estate included (MD 12:58, citing PCPR 2:2:67).
His death is recorded Eastham/Orleans Vital Records. He died at Eastham, "the 8th of Jan. in the year one thousand six hundred and sixty (should be 1661). He and his wife Pandora are buried at the Cove Burying Ground, Eastham.
|Sparrow Memorial Stone, Cove Burying Ground, Eastham source: capecodgravestones.com|
The memorial stone reads:
Here Rests the Dust
And His Wife
Who Came From Kent County England
About 1633 and Settled in Plymouth
About 1650 They Came to Eastham
And Settled Near This Place
Where he Died January 8, 1660
Here Also Rests
Only Child of Richard
Together With His First Two Wives
Rebecca Bangs & Hannah Prince
He Settled in the Part of Eastham
Now East Orleans Where
After Filling Many Offices of Honor
And Trust in Both Church and State
He Died March 21, 1706 Aged 73 Years
In Memory of
These Early Settlers of Our Country
We Their Descendants Have Erected
This Tablet in This Centennial Year
Of Our American Independence AD 1876
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 3:1715-8, 1995
Eugene Stratton, Plymouth Colony, It's History and People, 1986
Simeon L. Deyo, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts,1890