Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blacksheep Sunday - Frequent & Abominable Drunkenness!

John Barnes is my 10th great-grandfather. He came to Plymouth in 1632 and was a yeoman and merchant. John Barnes shows up frequently in the court records; often engaged in some practices which the General Court deemed illegal or at least unfair. He was also in court a few times for slandering his neighbors and also for his drunkenness. It got so bad that he was disenfranchised (his right to vote was revoked) for "frequent and abominable drunkenness." Finally in 1661 the court ordered that "ordinary keepers of the town of Plymouth are hereby prohibited to let John Barnes have any liquors, wine, or strong drink at any time" under penalty of 50s. fine. An ordinary is a tavern. 

Plymouth court records show that on 5 March 1671/2 a coroner's jury viewed "the corpes of Mr. John Barnes" and stated that "being before his barn door, in the street, standing stroking or feeling of his bull, the said bull suddenly turned upon him and give him a great wound with his horn on his right thigh, near eight inches long, in which his flesh was torn both broad and deep, as we judge, of which would together with his wrench of his neck or pain thereof (of which he complained) he immediately languished, after about 32 hours he died."

I have to wonder if he was drunk when he was gored by the bull.

In 2007, cousin Bill West put his spin on the story and adds some details.

John Barnes & Mary Plummer
Jonathan Barnes & Elizabeth Hedge
Mary Barnes & John Carver
Mary Carver & Moses Barrows
Moses Barrows & Deborah Totman
Asa Alden Barrows & Content Benson
Rachel Barrows & John Ellingwood, Jr.
Asa Freeman Ellingwood & Florilla Dunham
Nina King Ellingwood & George Gibbs
Annie Florilla Gibbs & Ray Everett Cotton
Fern Lyndell Cotton


1 comment:

  1. I think it is marvellous that you have been able to trace records so far back and produce such a colourful story of your ancestor.