Edmund Bridges Edmund Bridges

"Edmund's father, also Edmund, was living in Topsfield in 1660. He came to Massachusetts in 1635 and is said to have lived in Lynn, Rowley, and Ipswich, to which he returned some years before his death. The name Edmund Bridges appears frequently in the Essex County Court Records, and it is not possible always to distinguish father from son. They both acted as witnesses as juryman and as "attorneys"....Edmund Bridges, Jr., was evidently considered familiar with legal procedure and skilled in the trade. He along with John and Nathaniel Putnam, with whom we will shortly become familiar, all appear over and over again as witnesses and attorneys in the county court records.  This did not necessarily mean that they were notoriously litigious, but that they were asked to represent others in court."  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

1661;  Commoner of Topsfield.  Settled near father in law Towne.  (History of Topsfield)

1664;  Paid minister's rate at Topsfield.  (History of Topsfield)

"Sarah's husband was a very busy man, for in addition to his legal activities, he had still another trade. He was a blacksmith... His blacksmith shop was a center of town activity, as was neighboring John Gould's "ordinary"." (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

"The Essex County Court records are full of a bewildering number of references to Edmund Bridges in connection with John Gould...In March, 1664, an individual called John Millington was sentenced to be whipped, or to pay a fine of ten pounds, "for his great misdemeanor" and also to be bound for twenty pounds.  A person, whose name is deliberately left out, deposed that in January her brother, Edmund Bridges, asked her to go to Salem with him, but she did not go and Edmund and his wife left without her.  Whilst they were gone, John Millington offered "uncleaness to her, and she told him that she would not yield to him for all of Topsfield". Although Millington later prayed that she, the one to whom he had offered "uncleaness" would forgive him, Sarah Bridges acted as a witness in the resulting court case. She referred to her sister.  It is not at all clear who this sister was...The reference may have been to Faith, one of Edmund Bridge's sisters. Faith and her husband Daniel Black, were involved in domestic troubles, and at one point had been ordered to sit in the stocks for an hour. Danile was ordered to live peaceably with his wife, and to refrain from threatening her, while she, for her part, was to be orderly, not gad abroad or be in the company of other men. If either party disobeyed these rules, they were to be whipped."  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

"Edmund Bridges appears far more often in connection with John Gould in a bewildering series of cases connected with the ill-starred iron works.  Iron works were established in Rowley Village (now Boxford) around 1668. They were sited not far from the Topsfield line upon some land left to Gould by his father Zaccheus...Although Edmund was not personally involved in the manufacture of iron, as a blacksmith he was deeply interested.  It is a fact that the records show that Edmund was in debt to John Gould even before the establishment of the iron works. Court records are full of suits between the two men in which payments were ordered to be in bar iron.  By November 1670, Bridges was in serious trouble and was sued for 'not setting his hand to a bill of sale'. He was ordered to sign over the deed of his house and land in Topsfield, or to pay one hundred and fifty pounds to Gould.  Since he did not have the money, he went to prison, losing eight acres of land, a dwelling house and a barn at the same time.  However, Edmund, although down, was not out. He apparently realized enough from the sale of his property, and from the collection of other debts outstanding, to be able to buy a small piece of land near the waterfront in Salem. Here he built another house and a barn."  The family moved there.  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

1668;   Sold house and 8 acres of land to Ensign John Gould, bounded on ne by land of Thomas Perkins Sr., e and w e by that of Jacob Towne, w and s by John Robinson and Edmund Towne.  Deed not given until 1670 when Edmund Bridges had moved to that part of Salem, now Danvers, not far from the Topsfield line. His house there is said to have stood on the se side of Rea's hill, so called.  The building was later purchased by John A. Sears, father of Judge George B. Sears, and moved to his farm in Putnamville.  (History of Topsfield)

November 1670;  John Robinson bought a house and eighteen acres of land from John Gould for 40 pounds which had formerly belonged to Edmund Bridges (jr or sr?).  (History of Topsfield)

"Edmund Bridges and a certain William Becket owned part of a wharf on the Salem waterfront. Edmund also procured a license to sell alcholic beverages."  "Sarah became involved with running the waterfront tavern while her husband carried on with his legal practice, often appearing in Salem quarterly courts as attorney, arbitrator and as a witness."  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

1673;  Petition got up by Robert Smith, John Ramsdell and he protesting reassignment of certain families from Topsfield to Rowley for tax purposes.  (The Refiners Fire; Mormon Cosmology)

1678; "Edmund Bridges was involved in 1678 in a court case with a powerful Salem merchant, Mr. Edmund Batter... The character of Edmund Batter is described by Bernard Bailyn as "extraordinary in it's brutality..." Edmund Bridges sued Batter for defamation of character for : "saying that (the said Bridges) was the leader of a factious company in Salem and that it was their design to overthrow all order and government in the town of Salem, and also for saying that the plaintiff was the caus of all trouble in Salem."  Bridges relations and some others came to his defense. Francis Nurse, a brother in law, and Isaac Cooke, deposed that in a public town meeting in the past spring, they had heard Batter make these charges. Jacob Towne, another brother in law, and John Hobb, testified that fifteen years earlier when Bridges had been a resident and voter in Topsfield, he had opposed those who did not have the right to vote by law.  In other words, that Bridges was on the side of law and order.  They also said that he had taken the required oath of fidelity twelve years earlier. Thomas Preston, a son in law of Rebecca and Francis Nurse and therefore another relative of Bridges, testified that he had heard Batter say that Edmund Bridges was the ringleader of the opposing company. He further deposed that, as he was generally at town meetings, he had never heard Bridges speak before he asked leave of the moderator.  Bridges had told Preston that he wished to prevent disorder at the meetings."  The opposing side was a powerful group of elites, and the judges as well.  The court ruled against Bridges and imposed a fine of two pounds, five shillings and eighpence to be paid to Batter."  (Currents of Malice - Persis W. McMillen)

May 1679;  Selectman consented that Edmund Bridges could sit the seat in the gallery of the meeting house vacated by Sargeant Lake.  Sarah could sit in the next seat behind the woman's pew, but of course, as female, was not allowed to speak.  (Currents of Malice - Persis W.
McMillen)

September 12, 1682;  "the widow of Edmund Bridges and her children were ordered out of Topsfield by the constable, September 12, 1682.  She was Sarah Town, daughter of William, and had probably returned to Topsfield after the death of her husband which had occured a few months earlier.  She soon became the second wife of Peter Cloyse and was accused of witchcraft but was not executed."  (History of Topsfield)

November 28, 1682;  Inventory of estate by Francis Nurse, John How. (History of Framingham)

Occupation: blacksmith39



 

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