Samuel Berry was born 11 July 1654 in Yarmouth, Barnstable Co., Mass., the son of Richard and Alice Berry. He is my 8th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family.
Samuel’s father Richard Berry was a man of questionable character, disenfranchised for being a “grossly scandalous and debauched” person. I wrote about Richard Berry here. Swift wrote that Richard’s 11 children had exemplary character and that his sons John and Samuel were useful and esteemed citizens.
On 19 January 1660, when Samuel was just five years old, his father gave him to George Crispe and his wife of Eastham. It was fairly common for parents who couldn’t afford to care for all of their children to put them out to learn a trade, but the wording of the agreement sounds more like an adoption as it stated George and his wife were to raise Samuel as if he were their own. According to George Crispe’s 8 June 1682 will, Samuel became "stubborn and rebellious and went away against Mr. Crisp's protest before his lawful time [age 21].” In consequence Mr. Crispe ordered the executor to pay him the small sum of 12 pence and no more.
I’d love to know the details behind Samuel’s running off. Was he mistreated by the Crispe family or was he a willful person like his father who seemed to act without thinking of consquences? At any rate, it can’t have been easy being given away by his parents at such a young age.
Samuel grew up and married Elizabeth Bell, who Torrey gives as the daughter of John Bell, before the birth of their first child in 1682. Her identity is proven when John Bell of Yarmouth died in 1700 and his son-in-law Samuel Berry of Harwich was named executor. Samuel’s unnamed daughter was in possession of her grandfather’s yearling. Samuel charged the estate over 41 pounds for caring for his father-in-law John Bell for three years and his mother-in-law for five years, this included paying for both of their funerals. John’s daughter Elizabeth Berry is named in the estate settlement.
Elizabeth and John had six children, births recorded Yarmouth Vital Records:
An unnamed daughter, born 19 Jan 1682
Elizabeth, born 21 December 1684
Patience, born 22 Jan 1687
John, born 9 July 1689
Samuel, born Nov 1691
Desire, born 29 June 1694
I descend from son Samuel who married Rebecca Gray.
He came to Harwich from Yarmouth, living on the west side of Herring River. He was of Harwich when his father-in-law died in 1700 but was again of Yarmouth at the time of his death in 1704.
Samuel Berry died 21 February 1703/04 at Yarmouth, just 49 years of age. He did not leave a will but just three hours before his death in the presence of Benjamin Gage and Daniel Baker, he said he wanted his property to go to his wife to use to support “the little girl.” Presumably this was his daughter Desire. Gage and Baker testified to this statement on 23 February 1703/4 to John Thacher, Justice of the Peace, and again on 29 February to Probate Judge Barnabas Lothrop.
Gage and Baker took inventory of Samuel’s estate on 3 March 1704, and it include land, housing and meadows worth 25 pounds, 3 cows, 2 steers and other young cattle, horse, sheep, swine, a gun, farm implements and harvested crops, clothes, cloth and bedding. Debts of 11 pounds were due to the estate.
I have not found Elizabeth Bell Berry’s death date but she survived her husband Samuel.
Josiah Paine, History of Harwich, Barnstable Co, Mass. 1620-1800, 1937
Clarence Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700
Amos Otis, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families , 1890
Simeon Deyo, editor, History of Barnstable County, Mass., 1890
William Davis, The Berry Family of Yarmouth, Library of Cape Cod History and Genealogy, Pamphlet No. 80, 1912
Susan E. Roser, Early Descendants of Daniel Cole of Eastham, Mass., 2010
Charles F. Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884