Sunday, May 18, 2014

52 Ancestors #19 & #20 - The Interesting Deaths of Thomas & Mary (Parker) Totman

Thomas & Mary (Parker) Totman are my 9th great-grandparents. They died about twelve years apart but both deaths were unusual enough that a coroner's inquest was called to investigate the causes.

Mary Parker was born to William & Mary (Rawlins) Parker on January 1, 1639 and died shortly before April 10, 1666. Her death was determined to have been caused by accidentally ingesting a poisonous root. The Plymouth Court issued the following verdict on her death:
"5 Jun 1666 The Verdict of the Corroners Enquest concerning the sudden death of Mary, the wife of Thomas Totman of Scituate: Wee whose names are under-subscribed, being impanelled on a jury by the Constable of Scittuate, the 10th day of April 1666, to enquire after the death of Mary the wife of Thomas Totman, and haveing viewed the corpse and heard that evidence can speake doe give in this following as our verdict: - That Mary, the wife of Thom Totman gathered, dressed, and did eate a root, which we judge she mistakeing it, thinking it to bee the same which she had formerly often eaten of, but the root, being of a poissonous nature, eating of it, wee judge, was the sole cause and occation of her death and that wee all agree hereunto, witness our hands this 24 of April 1666."

Thomas Totman and Mary Parker were married about March 7, 1665. This is deduced by the court records of March 7, 1665 which include this information: "Thomas Totman appeared att this Court to answere his presentment for haveing carnall copulation with his now wife before marriage and affirmed that it was after contract; which not being cleare to the Court, hee was sentenced to pay a fine of ten pounds; if not cleared by further testimony; but if soe cleared to pay but five pounds." The records show he paid five pounds so he must have been married between the first and second court appearances.

Thomas Totman died just before May 6, 1678 and the Plymouth Court called a Coroner's inquest to determine his cause of death: "5 June 1678: Wee whose names are hereunto subscribed, being, this sixt of May 1678 impanelled upon the coroners enquest to make inquiry and true presentment of the cause and manor of the death of Thomas Totman, doe declare, that we find noe other thing or cause but onely his own wilfull absenting himselfe from food to be the cause and meanes of his death."

The only child of Thomas & Mary (Parker) Totman appears to be Stephen Totman who was born about 1665 and is mentioned in the will of his grandfather, William Parker, and in the will of his uncle, Thomas Rawlins. Stephen married Dorothy Stoddard about 1690. Dorothy was the daughter of Anthony Stoddard and his third wife, Christian.

Thomas & Mary (Parker) Totman
Stephen Totman
Samuel Totman
Deborah Totman
Asa Alden Barrows
Rachel Barrows
Asa Freeman Ellingwood
Nina King Ellingwood
Annie Florilla Gibbs
Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

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