Saturday, November 14, 2015

Serious Mental Imbalance - 52 Ancestors #44

Mary Shard was married twice. Her first husband was John Gove and they had six children before he died. Mary and John Gove are my 11X great-grandparents. Her second husband was John Mansfield. John Mansfield came from a good family, but he seemed to have conflicts with most of his relatives. He is described in his Great Migration sketch as demonstrating “serious mental imbalance throughout his adult life…” Among other things, he accused his brother-in-law, Robert Keaynes, of cheating him out of his rightful inheritance. John Mansfield had two sisters in Massachusetts. His sister, Elizabeth, was the wife of the Rev. John Wilson and his sister Anne was married twice, first to Capt. Robert Keayne and second to Samuel Cole.

John Mansfield was born about 1601 and died on June 26, 1674. He married Mary (Shard) Gove after her first husband, John Gove, died in January 1648. The family lived in Charlestown. Shortly after their marriage, Mary gave birth to twins, John Jr. and Elizabeth. Mary died on March 4, 1682. John's frequent petitions to the courts document his obsession with obtaining an inheritance from the estate of Robert Keayne. 

However, this obsession is not the only evidence of his "serious mental imbalance," John proved himself incapable of caring for his family.  In the Middlesex Court records, he says of that his home is "all open above and rotten under." Eventually, the two children of John & Mary (Shard) (Gove) Mansfield were removed from the household. They were only eight years old.

John Jr. was placed with his aunt, Anne (Mansfield) Keayne, for a period of ten years. He was to be kept in school for the first three years and then to spend seven years in an honest trade or employment. Elizabeth was placed with the family of Mr. Samuel Whiting, Jr. of Lynn. “John Mansfield, their father, is not capable by reason of misgovernment of himself and wife to educate and bring them up as they ought to be…”

I wonder what was going on in the lives of Mary's children from her first marriage and what they thought of their mother's household. Her son, Edward Gove, my 10th great-grandfather, was getting married about the time his half-siblings were removed from her care. Did the twins have a relationship with their mother after they reached adulthood and after their father died?

John & Mary (Shard) Gove
Edward & Hannah (Partridge) Gove
Joseph & Mary (Gove) Sanborn
Samuel & Mary (Sanborn) Prescott
Jeremiah & Mary (Hayes) Prescott
Elisha & Mary (Marston) Prescott
Thomas & Hannah (Prescott) Edgecomb
Oliver & Mary (Edgecomb) Philbrick
Benjamin P. & Jane (Matthews) Philbrick
Francis Llewellyn & Mary Elizabeth (Philbrick) Cotton
Ray Everett & Annie Florilla (Gibbs) Cotton

Fern Lyndell Cotton - my grandmother

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