John Fay’s naughty exploits…

I have more goodies to share from my recent research trip to Salt Lake City. Sit back and enjoy.

Just some picture of Puritans I stole from the internet. Have to add media interest.

The Fay family has appeared in a previous post when I talked about Stephen Fay who was the owner of a famous tavern in Vermont during the Revolutionary War. The Fay in this post is either his grandfather or father, I am not 100% sure which one is the principal character.

John Fay, sr. was born in England about 1640 and came to America sometime after. He settled in Middlesex County, Massachusetts and sometime before 1669 he married Mary Brigham (his first wife). She bore him 4 children, dying shortly after the birth of Mary, the youngest, in 1676.

The publication titled: The History of the Brigham Family; Descendants of Thomas Brigham, compiled by Rhonda R. McClure has a quote from Sex in Middlesex: Popular Mores in Massachusetts County, 1649-1699, by Roger Thompson, which is of interest to us Fay descendants as it regards a court case I have summarized as follows:

William Hudson, came to court in April of 1691 and bewailed “the danger that whores accuse rich single men or married men as the father of their bastards.” Because he was protesting his innocence in the case of fathering a child he was asked to provide evidence that another male could be responsible. Hudson produced evidence that “in August [1689] the soldier John Fay had been at the house of Ephraim Roper** in Lancaster, in or on the bed with sd. Mercy Rugg, lying upon his belly with some violent motions toward her.” By the time of William’s testimony in the case John Fay, sr. had conveniently died, so could offer up no defense. Hudson was judged to be the father.

I was a little taken aback when I saw this entry, then I started shaking my head trying to get the images out that had popped in there. Geez gramps, close the curtains! (Well, that’s assuming they had curtains. Or doors.)

After reading the entry a few time the next thought that came to mind was: “Is it possible Mr. Hudson is actually taking about John Fay, jr.,  who would have been about 20 years old at the time.” The mention of ‘soldier John Fay’ brings to mind someone younger. But, if it was John, sr. then he was definitely having sexual relations outside of his marriage. Susanna, his 2nd wife, would not have been pleased. If it was John, jr., then he would also have committed adultery, as he was married December 1 of 1690 to my 8x great grandmother Elizabeth Wellington. Or he had relations shortly before his marriage; the case doesn’t say whether Mercy had had the child, or was still pregnant in April of 1691. (As I haven’t seen the actual case it is possible that mention is made of John Fay, sr.’s demise, which would of course answer the question of which ‘John’ (ouch! no pun intended).)

Typically, William, who is being accused, calls Mercy a whore, it is doubtful she actually was one. He was just a little too free with his favors, proceeded to get her pregnant, and didn’t want to pay the price for unprotected sex. I have a little violin playing just for him in the ‘oh woes me’ band.

While investigating this source I ended up reading the whole book by Roger Thompson. I learned quite a bit about our ancestral Puritan’s and everyday shenanigans. They were a group of pretty typical humans whose Puritan beliefs really didn’t change the natural tendencies of human nature, and their children were just as rebellious and annoying as teenagers today. The Puritans fooled around, got into squabbles, swore, and blasphemed with the best of them.

**Interesting side note: The Ephraim Roper mention in the above case file, was the second husband of Hannah Brewer Goble Roper, our ancestress. So this incident involved two ancestors or ours, Hannah Brewer and John Fay, who was having sex in her house, with her servant. And…when Montreal Goble Shaw married Charlotte Hatch in 1909 the two families were now connected by marriage. In our family at least.

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