My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Curious Case of Matthias Button

OH, those crazy ancestors! I came across this colorful character this evening during my research. It seems that my 10th great-grandfather on my mom's side had his house torched for giving testimony in the Salem Witch Trials. Just a few (lots) of details about him. For the book I will one day write telling the story of the people who came before me. 

Matthias Button Sr 
Birth: about 1607 
Death: 13 August 1672 -- Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts, USA 
Birth about 1607 Baptism 11 October 1607 (Age 0-9 months) Harrold, , Bedfordshire, England 
Source: Parish records of Harrold 

Immigration On ship Abigail w/Gov. John Endicott's party 6 September 1628 (Age 20-21) Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, USA Latitude: N42.5224 Longitude: W70.8958 
Lettyce (unknown)  27 Marriage about 1639 (Age 31-32) 
Joane (unknown) - 28 Marriage between 1648 and 1649 (Age 40-42) 
Ann Teagle -  Marriage 9 June 1663 (Age 55-56)
Elizabeth Wheeler - 

Notes He came as an immigrant to America from England with Governor John Endicott, on ship Abigail, landing at Salem, MA September 6, 1628. 

Some early writer recorded Matthias as a Dutchman. This is evidently an error; the man does not indicate a Holland nativity, and the foregoing records show his baptism in England, and probable English birth. 

He may have gone to Holland just previous to coming to America, and possibly married his first wife Lettyce there; we do not find any record of his first marriage. 

He must have been about 20 when he landed in America. 
His stay in Salem was brief; he soon removed to Boston, where he is found among the earliest settlers. He identified himself with the First Church of England sometime previous to 1633, and there at least two of his children were baptized. 
He removed thence to Ipswich, where he was a commoner in 1641 
and thence in 1646 to Haverhill, where he died. 
Mr. Button evidently inherited the spirit of adventure as history tells us that those who came with Governor John Endicott were gentlemen and their families who came to better their impaired fortunes, and enjoy the peace of religious liberty. 
It is not known whether he brought his wife Lettyce with him or not. As no record of their marriage has been found, it is presumed that she came with him. 
The group that arrived in Salem were in an exhausted condition when they landed. Many were sick and weak of limb. They brought with them cannon and small arms for their protection from Indians. While some of them were acting as scouts in the wilderness, they overheard or observed some Indians planning for the entire destruction of the colonists. They prepared to meet them and with great effort got out and planted their cannon so as to command their projected approach. When the main body of the Indians was located, they fired the cannon and frightened the Indians so they scattered like sheep. 

Matthias Button is spoken of in this incident of the first landing as one of the few colonists who were able to get and man the big gun, so nearly exhausted were they from sickness and from want of food. He was spoken of as a hale and hearty man. 

His stay in Salem was brief; he soon removed to Boston in 1633, where he is found among the earliest settlers. 
He identified himself with the First Church of England and was admitted with wife January 26, 1633, and there at least two of his children were baptized. 
He then moved to Ipswich, Mass., prior to 1639, where he was a commoner in 1641 
and then, in 1646, to Haverhill, Mass., where he resided until his death. 
Rev. Cobbett says Mr. Button died at Haverhill in 1672 at a great age. 
According to our records, if he was baptized in infancy, as was customary, he was about 65 years of age when he died. In 1650, 
Mr. Button's estate was assessed at £60. 
Mr. Button had a long siege of sickness in his family. He lost children and his first three wives died. The last died from fright and exposure while sick in bed due to the burning of their dwelling by an implacable and unrelenting personal enemy who caused him no end of trouble for several years. 
Probably the chief cause of the emnity of this man, John Godfrey, was due to the fact that Mr. Button, with Edward Yeomans and others, were witnesses against him when he was arrested on complaint of Job Tyler and John Remington on suspicion of Witchcraft and tried in the court of Boston in March, 1665. 
In the Essex County Court Records, we find "Matthias Button, Haverhill, vs. John Godfrey; For the burning of my house, and my goods that was in it and the cause of my wife's death, and running away as soon as he had done it June 10, 1669." The jury find for the plaintiff £238.2s damages and costs. 

Mr. Button had several grants of land in and near Haverhill, as shown by the public records. He had many hindrances in his acquisition of property; he had a prolonged siege of sickness himself, besides the here-in-before mentioned sickness and death of children, and the sickness of his third wife and her death following the burning of his dwelling by John Godfrey and the litigation that followed. 

From court records we learn that a thatched house belonging to Matthias Button in 1671, and situated near the present home of Thomas West, one mile north east of the village of Haverhill was burned; this is of interest in showing the style of roofthat was used on some of the housed in those days. 

The estate of Matthias Button Sr was inventoried by Henry Kingsbury andRobert Swan, March 9, 1673 at £99:11s:8d. Source: Button Families of America 

Note In 1628 the Abigail arrived at a new community in Massachusetts by the name of Naum Kieg. She carried with her the first official governor of the Massachusetts Colony Jon Endecott and his wife. She also carried the charter for the colony. When they arrived, they found roughly 30 of the Cape Anne people living there, and essentially took over. The community was renamed to Salem and the Cape Anne folks were ignored. They complained to the king and eventually received their due. The Cape Anne folks were not puritans as were the Abigail people. There was friction. Source: List of Ships that Brought Many of our Ancestors to America in the Early 17th Century

Note The ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth in Dorsetshire, England, in June of 1628, under Henry Gaudens, master. It arrived at Salem, Massachusetts on Sept. 6. This is the ship that brought Governor John Endicott. In addition to John and his wife, Anna, other ship passengers included:

 Note On 20th June 1628 the ship Abigail set sail from Weymouth with many Dorset emigrants bound for New England. Under Henry Gauden, the master, they arrived in Salem, Massachusetts on 6th September. This particular passage was important as it carried the new government for the London Plantation. The governor was John Endicott. 

Passengers known to be on board the Abigail from Weymouth 1628 - John Endicott - Mrs Anna Endicott (wife of John) - Charles Gott of Cambridge, England - Richard Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - William Brackenbury of Folke or Holnest, Dorset - Hugh Laskin of Childhay, Dorset - Mrs Laskin - Edith Laskin - Lawrence Leach, possibly from Ash, Martock, Somerset - Roger Morey of Drimpton, Dorset - John Elford of Chetnole, Dorset - Thomas Pucker of Upcerne, Dorset - Captain Richard Davenport - Mathias Button - Humphrey Woodberry with his father - Ralph Sprague of Upwey (son of Edward) - Richard Sprague (brother of Ralph) - William Sprague (brother of Ralph and Richard)

Matthias Button (1607 - 1672)
is your 10th great grandfather
son of Matthias Button
son of Matthias Button
daughter of Daniel Button
son of Borrodell Button
son of Abial Worden
daughter of Pardon Worden
son of Clarissa Worden
daughter of William R Worden
daughter of Lydia WORDEN
son of Alice Susan Clow
daughter of Clarence Burl Pennington
daughter of Norma Ray Pennington


PARISBarrs said...

Thanks for your info on Matthias Button. He was my 9th great grandfather. My maiden name is Button. So, maybe we are cousins. �� I didn't have a record of the Abigail ship and passenger list. Fantastic. Quite the adventurous life and yet tragic too. I think we come from good hearty stock. I would love to go to that part of England in Bedfordshire to see if we can find some of those records as my husband and I live in Paris, France now. It's a greater possibility. Best wishes. Carol

Anonymous said...

Interesting biography. Matthias is my ancestor through his son Peter. I've always wondered about his wife Teagle, whether that was a first name or last name. I see you have her name as Ann Teagle. Do you have a source for that?