Friday, August 14, 2009

Comstock Family - OOPS; Part 3, Who Was Anne?

In Part 2, I corrected the error concerning the 2nd marriage of Ann [Anne, Anna], wife of Samuel Comstock, who was a son of the immigrant William. Ann's surname is often seen as Tucker. This is my journey to find some sort of proof. I still doubt that her name was Tucker and cannot be sure what it might have been, but here's the rest of the story.

First, there's not a lot known about Samuel Comstock who died about 1657 in Providence, RI - he was only about thirty when he died. However, it is important to know more about him to set the scene. The proof that Samuel is a son of William Comstock is circumstantial rather than direct. John and Daniel are proved as sons of William by a Deed of 4 Dec 1694 when two grandsons, a son of John, and a son of Daniel conveyed land of their grandfather William Comstock. Daniel and Samuel had adjoining lots in Providence, although Daniel seems to have been in Providence earlier. Daniel named a son Samuel and Samuel named a son Daniel. Samuel Comstock is in the court records at Hartford CT where William Comstock is also found in 1648/49. There are a few other records that indicate a connection and no other Comstocks in the area to be considered - the name is quite rare throughout New England this early.

From New England Families Genealogical & Memorial, Series 1, by William Richard Cutter, is the Hartford record. Samuel gave recognizance 1 Mar 1648 [old style dating] at Hartford CT "for ten days of good behavior and for satisfying what damage Mr. Robbins shall sustain for the want of his servant", perhaps indication that Samuel was apprenticed to Mr. Robbins.
The above record is also in the Connecticut Court Records, Vol. 1, p.177. And Bray Rosseter was charged with assuring Samuel Comstock would do so. On 24 Apr 1649 [old style - actually the month following 1 Mar 1648] the Court and Mr. Robins freed Samuel Comstock and Bray Rosseter from both and either of their "Recogniscances".

In 1653, Samuel Comstock, went in the "Swallow", a frigate, to Block Island and took the goods and people belonging to a Dutch captain to New London CT. This is the data included in most of the Comstock books and suggests he might have been involved in privateering.
Some Ancestors of Eugene Perrot McAdams & Mary Elizabeth Pope McAdams of Hawesville, Kentucky. a small manuscript edited by Pope McAdams [a grandson of a Comstock, descended from Samuel] and mimeographed by the Lockard Letter Shop, Shively, KY, 1936, gives more details about the incident concerning the "Swallow" than any of the better known books about the Comstock family.

" The court files of Essex Co MA, record that Capt Kempe Sybando of Pequot [New London} brought suit 15 Oct 1653, at Boston against Edward Hull, Walter Joy and Thomas Gould for taking his goods in his trading house at Block Island. William Baker & his wife Mary testified that they were at Sybando's when Samuel Comstock & others came up to the house; that Samuel Comstock said he had a warrant from the Gov. of Connecticut [John Winthrop] to fetch them off the island because there was likely to be a war between the Dutch and the English. Baker dared not resist a Governor's warrant so prepared, helped carry the goods aboard. When they came aboard he told them Sybando had been taken at Connecticut by Edward Hull and we were taken as a prize, together with the goods, showing me a large piece of parchment he said was his commission. They promised to set me and my wife ashore where we wanted, so they set us ashore at Pequot. When Mr. Winthrop had examined me, he commanded me and Mr. Daniel to go aboard and take account of the goods. The master was absent, and neither him nor the key would be found. Dated at Warwick, 28 Aug 1653. Francis Bennett swore in Court on the same day that he and Samuel Comstock did jointly and severally buy of Richard George of Boston, the bark called the "Swallow", whereof Edward Hull was master.
Ralph Earle Sr of Portsmouth, RI deposed that Samuel Comstock came to Rhode Island with Edward Hull on the bark "Swallow". Samuel Comstock was owner of 1/8 part and employed in and on this bark (sic) against the Dutch. Comstock sold his interest to Ralph Earle who sold the 1/8 part of all prizes due or taken to Edward Hull. Ack. before Wm. Stebbens, 12 Sep 1653.
In some of the court proceeding, Edward Hull is referred to as a pirate. He kept two-thirds of the bounty."

Strangely enough, another ancestor of mine, Walter Joy, was apparently another partner of Edward Hull's in the affair of the "Swallow". Samuel Comstock was my 9th great-grandfather in my maternal grandfather's family; Walter Joy was my 8th great-grandfather in my maternal grandmother's family.

Here is the account I found while researching Walter Joy in the Massachusetts records:
Records & Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts, Vol. 1, 1636-1656, Published by the Essex Institute, Salem, MA, 1911
p.313f. Court held at Salem 29:9:1653 [This is the 9th month - November. The writ above by Capt Kempo Sebanda [his name is spelled various ways] against Robert Hull, Walter Joy, and Thomas Guild was actually dated 28:7:1653 - September - a copy was recorded in Boston Court a month later.] Capt. Kempo Seibada v. Robert & John Hull, part owners of the barque Swallow, frigott, under command of Edward Hull, pirate, for damages to goods taken out of his house at Block Island by Edward Hull, value 96£. Defendants were receivers of part of the booty and concealers of Edward Hull's estate. The verdict was for the defendants [and against the Dutch....].
The Writ of 28:7:1653, was served as an attachment of the ship. For want of security, Thomas Gold & Walter Joy were committed to prison.
Sebanda had also served a writ to Robert & John Hull, 17:9:1653. They gave bond for appearance at Salem court.
A Petition to the General Assembly at Portsmouth, 17 Aug 1653, Capt. Sybando v. Edward Hull, stated that the goods taken were valued at 200£ sterling. She was taken the 18th or 19th of April. Verdict was found for the plaintiff and the vessel adjudged not to be a prize, as she was taken without a commission.
Walter Joy deposed he was employed by Capt. Edward Hull to bring the Swallow from Rhode Island to Boston, which Hull said had been commissioned by Rhode Island to command against the Dutch and the bark was ordered by Edward Hull to be delivered to Robert & John Hull, along with some goods and bills of exchange. Mr. Wilkes, master of the "Swallow", delivered the bills together with the bark. Edward Hull received two-thirds of all the goods.
Ralph Earle Sr of Portsmouth, deposed that Samuel Comstock came to Rhode Island with Edward Hull and Comstock was 1/8 owner and was employed on it upon a man-of-war design against the Dutch. Comstock sold his interest to Ralph Earle who sold it to Edward Hull. Josias Wilkes was to deliver to Robert & John Hull, the back, with a parcel of linen cloth, mathematical instruments, etc.
William Baker gave the list of articles which were delivered to him at Block Isalnd by Sybanda, part of which was sold for fish & wampum. The fish & wampum and what was left of the goods, Capt. Edward Hull's company took away. William & his wife Mary testified that Samuel Comstock and others came to the house and had water & tobacco, saying they had not seen or heard of Kempo Sybanda. Comstock told Baker he had a warrant from the Gov. of Connecticut to fetch them off the island because there was likely to be war. Baker helped carry the goods aboard, only after he was aboard was he tole Sybanda had been taken and that he himself was prize together with the good. Baker and his wife were set ashore at Pequott.
Francis Bennet, aged 30 years, testified that he and Samuel Comstock bought of Richard George, one quarter of the bark, Swallow, Edward Hull, master. Sworn in court 26:8:1653.
Samuel Edsall of Boston, aged 18 years, deposed that last spring & summer Edward Hull went in the "Swallow" and deponent assisted in taking all the vessels that Hull took. Hull received two-thirds of all he took. Thomas Gold & Walter Joy were of Hull's company when they took Capt. Sybanda and his goods from Block Island. He heard Ralph Earle had sold an eighth part of the barque. Sworn in court, 26:8:1653.
Lawrence Turner, of Rhode Island, aged 32 years, deposed that the "Swallow" was the same vessel then lying in Master Joshua Scotowes dock. That Edward Hull received two thirds of all the goods he took, one third for the vessel and the other for victualling. That Walter Joy & Thomas Gould were with Hull from the beginning of their design at Rhode Island until they took the French prize at the same place and his departure for England. Sworn 17:8:1653.
Testimony revealed that Robert Hull was a brother, and John Hull, the father, to Edward Hull. They insisted they disapproved of the activities of Edward and had asked him to stop; he had told them he had a commission; if they had protested he threatened they would never see him or the vessel again, they had not been responsible for taking away Sebanda's goods and not profited in any way. They had in fact lost the profit of the "Swallow" for the whole summer.

A frigate, or barque, was a three masted ship, square-rigged. They were used as warships with lighter armament. The navy of Dutch Republic was the first navy to build the larger ocean-going frigates around 1600. The fleets built by the Commonwealth of England [presumably used in the Colonies] in the 1650s consisted of ships described as frigates. Some were two-decker great frigates carrying as many as 60 guns, other were cruisers, independent fast ships - which would most likely have been most useful to pirates. The term frigate implied a long hull which relates directly to speed.

From the records above, we may conclude that it's likely Samuel Comstock liked to walk somewhat on the wild side and may have had some experience with the ships of the day. Several of the Comstock males in Rhode Island, descendants of Samuel, will be seafaring men. The Dutch were very actively involved in the shipping trade and piracy on the high seas not uncommon; the political situation between the English and Dutch was precarious at the time and New Amsterdam [New York] was in possession of the Dutch.

Only a year following the above trial concerning the "Swallow", Samuel seems to have been involved in another incident with the Dutch.

In the fall of September 1654, a Samuel Cromstock and Anna Tchuys were arrested and convicted in New Amsterdam, for adultery. The original records are in Dutch but have been translated. At the NEHGS library in Boston I found the manuscript collection of Samuel W. Comstock who had furnished much of the information to John A. Comstock for his book The Comstock Family in America. Samuel W. did not interpret the documents in the same way they have been translated more recently, and somehow Anna, or Anne's, name became "Tucker" forever after. Whether or not this man Cromstock can be the same as Samuel Comstock of Providence, it seems certain the lady was not his wife at the time - unless she left her husband immediately following the incident, or lied about him. And Samuel "Cromstock" seemed to be already married himself.

New York Historical Manuscripts Dutch, Vol. V, Council Minutes, 1652-1654, Translated & Edited by Charles T. Gehring, Genelogical Publishing Co, Inc., Baltimore, 1983.

[I have a copy of the exact text but I don't want my Blog to be deleted, so if you want to know more, please email me. I have paraphrased their explicit descriptions.]
p.172 "Fiscal Cornelis van Thiehooven brought to the session Samuel Cromstock, presently a prisoner, who confesses and admits that he was found between the 28th and 29th of August at night along the Heere Wech near Jan Vinje's house... [found in a compromising position with her]... Anna Tchuys (wife of Nathaniel Tchuys); ...[Here is described their state of undress.]... He was taken away from there by the provost marshal, Arent van Vlieringen. The case is postposed until the next session. Thus done at the seesion of the honorable director-general and high council held in New Amsterdam, 28 August 1654 in New Netherland." At this time New York City was still called New Amsterdam and the state, New Netherlands.
p.173 "Cornelis van Thienhooven, fiscal, plaintiff against Anna Tchuys, presently a prisoner. The fiscal charges that she was found between the 28th and 29th of August at night along the Heere Wech near the house of Jan Vinje... [Here is again described their position and state of undress.]... Anna Tchuys falls on her knees and begs for mercy, claiming that Cromstock had done no more. She is ordered to be taken away until the next session."
p.180 "The honorable director-general and high council of New Netherland have seen the charge of the fiscal against Anna Tchuys, being a married woman and presently a prisoner for having committed adultery with Samuel Cromstock, being a married man, along the Heeren Street under the naked sky between the 28th and 29th of August, last past, at night around 12 o'clock, which the fiscal had confirmed with three witnesses at the session; whereupon, according to form, Anna Tchuys was heard in full session by the director-general and council, and after she had heard and seen the depositions, voluntarily and without pain and bonds, confessed that she had committed adultery with the aforesaid Samuel Cromstock, which crime, being confessed, demands punishment according to the form and custom of our fatherland. Therefore, the honorable direct-general and council of New Netherland, in the name and on behalf of the honorable High Mightinesses, the lords States-General of the United Netherlands and the honorable lords-directors of the General Chartered West India Company, lords and patroons of this province, having judged the aforesaid Anna Tchuys, have condemned, as the aforesaid director-general and council, do hereby condemn her to be brought to the place where justice is customarily carried out, and there, together with Samuel Cromstock, to be placed in the pillory; and, in addition, to pay a fine according to the ordinance, as an example to others; and with failure to pay, they shall be beaten with rods. Thus done at the session held in New Amsterdam, 2 Sept 1654; present the honorable director-general and all the councillors."
On the same day, the case against Samuel Cromstock "being a married man and presently a prisoner for having committed adultery with Anna Tchuys" was judged. Samuel also confessed and the same punishment was meted out.

I found no other references to Ann Tchuys or her proposed husband Nathaniel.

When Samuel W. Comstock wrote to John A. Comstock for the Comstock Family in America book he said this:
"Samuel Comstock in 1653 was arrested in New Amsterdam [New York City] for a misdemeanor with Ann, and tried, and both ordered a number of lashes or be married." [my emphasis]
and a note on the back of the John A. Comstock's worksheet, also in the handwriting of Samuel W. Comstock was:
"Samuel 2 The chances are he married Ann Tuches (I prob. Have not spelled it correctly - I think Dutch and means another name in English, the New York records if I remember give both - Samuel Crumstock in 1653 was arrested in New Amsterdam (my city) for a mistermenior [sic] with Ann, and tried and both ordered a number of lashes or be married, I have a Photostat of the case, 4 large pages, the above is a substance of it anyway"
Samuel W. Comstock seemed to misintrepret the Dutch records somewhat. His handwriting is very small and cramped, but I had no trouble reading the name as "Tuches" which is fairly close to the "Tchuys" in the translated record. However an archivist at NEHGS made the same mistake as John A. Comstock in interpreting SWC's, handwriting and said it was "Tucher". Compared to other examples of Samuel W.'s handwriting, I am convinced he wrote "Tuches".
On the same page, John A Comstock, wrote the lady's name as Ann ?Tucker. So that is undoubtedly how the lady received this surname.

Given the few men who carried the Comstock surname in New England, it does seem quite likely this is a record of Samuel Comstock later of Providence. It is strange that both parties in the incident claimed to be married to other parties. No earlier marriage is known for Samuel, although he could, of course, have had one. I've wondered if the penalty for the crime was less, or less shameful, if the parties were married rather than single, and Samuel and/or Ann simply lied about their marital status. Perhaps the Dutch would have forced them to marry. Providence records indicate that Samuel was not in Providence the year the above incident took place, and the two sons of Samuel, and presumably Ann's, were born after this incident in 1653, the eldest surely born within the next year.

Other problems with the situation include the fact that Samuel and Ann were certainly English and were tried in a Dutch Court - there could have certainly been language barriers and misunderstandings and their surnames misunderstood. Samuel and Ann could have misunderstood the questions they were asked, and certainly they tried to deny the crime in the beginning. As I understand it, these records are in an older form of the Dutch language no longer used today, and Charles T. Gerhing is one of the foremost translators - I do have faith in his translation. Given the previous history of Samuel as a privateer and his decision to relocate in Providence which was also a seaport largely involved in the piracy and privateering of the day, the affair with a female does not seem inconsistent. I think it likely that this couple left New Amsterdam and resettled, leaving their "past" behind them, maybe even spouses; although I really doubt they had previous spouses. No marriage record has been found for Samuel & Ann and perhaps it was never legalized.