aaaJosiah, called Josias in some records, was very likely the son of Edmund who had a son "John" baptized in Eastwell, Kent, England in 1612. The original record needs to be consulted to confirm the name(1) Among other sons were Thomas and Richard, and Thomas and Richard Rootes/Roots appear in Salem, MA, area records in the mid 1600s. Thomas is referred to as the uncle of Thomas, son of Josiah, in a court proceeding in Massachusetts. The passenger list of the ship Hercules bound for Salem and dated March of 1634-35 gives the name Jos. Rootes, no age, single, a "husbandman" (farmer) and previously living in Great Chart. The latter town is two miles from Ashford. Listed next to him is widow Emma Mason of Eastwell, Kent, the same town in which most if not all of the Rootes children were baptized. She was likely the remarried mother of Josiah.
aaaJosiah appears in court records as early as February of 1645-46. "Josiah Rootes of Salem, drummer, fined 10s[hillings] for being overtaken in drink at the last excersize of the artillery in Salem, which was publicly known to the bench." He petitioned the court to waive the fine the following year.(2) His lot in the town improved when on 13 June 1648 he was admitted to full communion in the First Church in Salem,(3) and in February of 1649-50 he was sworn a freeman of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.(4) On a tax list for raising money for town expenses in 1660, "Josias" is listed with the amount of £4 and in 1661, £2 (5) Between at least 1660 and 1667 Josiah presented bills to the town, all but one year amounting to £2 per bill. The entry for 1666 refers to him as "drum major," and it's likely that he was paid these years for being the town drummer.(6) Drummers were used during military excersizes, as indicated above, and to call people to town meetings. Josiah was on a list of eligible grand jurymen chosen twice in 1665.(7) A court record of the same year indicates that he owned a share in the field on "Cape Ann side," undoubtedly referring to an area that what was soon to be named Beverly.(8) In 1669 Josiah charged his neighbor Joseph Harris with stealing his calf.(9) On 25 October 1678 Josiah presented a complaint to the court that he and his wife "for neare twenty years" experienced theft of their goods, including sheets, a shirt, apples, wood, hay and oil, at the hands of the Harris and Hoar families.(10) A litany of accusations, some bordering on gossip, were heard from other neighbors and townspeople.
aaaJosiah and Joseph Rootes, Sr., were on the list of petitioners for the creation of the parish at Beverly, MA dated 23 April 1667. On 24 May 1668 Josiah's minor children Thomas, Susannah and Jonathan were named in the transfer from membership in the Salem church to that of Beverly.
"Josiah Roots desired to be freed from common training from military service due to age and weakness" in 1676.(11) He lived about 7 more years. He wrote his will on 15 July 1683:
I give unto my loving wife Susanna ye use & emprovment of all my personall estate: whatever untill such time as my son Jonathan cometh unto ye age of one and twenty years: or till such time as she mary or bee married again: yt is provided she marry before he come to age. Item I give & bequeath unto my loving son Jonathan Roots all my whole Estate whatever: after ye legacy hereafter mentioned are duly paid out of 5d Estate provided yt my 5d son Jonathan shall carefully & honestly & sutably maintaine his Mother during ye term of her widowhood & if she remain A widow during ye term of her naturall life: but provided he & she doe differ about her maintainance: then he shal pay unto her his 5d Mother eight pounds a year; yearly during ye term of her widowhood or her naturall life & let her have ye use of ye west end of my now dwelling house: & of A bed & beding & her firewood brought to ye doore during ye term aforsd: Item. I give unto by daughter Bethiah Lovett: ten shillings to be paid her after her mothers decease. Item I Give unto my Son John Roots twenty shillings. Item I doe make my loving Wife Susana Executer of this my last will & testament & desire my loving freinds John Hill & Nehemiah Grover: as overseers.(12)
Witnesses were William Dodge and Samuel Hardy. Susannah Roots petitioned the court "that she had many weaknesses and infirmities of old age and and could not serve as executor."
Inventory of the estate of Josiah Roots of Beverly, who deceased June 3, 1683, taken by Samuel Corning, sr., and Andrew Elliott: one coverlaide, lOs.; 1 bed ticking, iSs.; coverlaide, ili.; 4 yards of red Cloth at 6s. per yard, 21i. 4s.; 7 yards of Lining Cloth, ili. 8s.; 4 yards of Dowless, 8s.; 4 yards and 1-2 of kerzey, ili. 6d.; New England money, 71i. 8s.; old England money, 16s., 81i. 4s.; 2 yards of broad Cloth, ili. 2s.; 1 yard & 1-2 of broad Cloth, 18s.; 2 yards and 1 quarter of Red Cloth, 155.; 1 Carpet, lOs.; 11 yards of sarge, 21i. 4s.; 7 yards of white Cotten, 14s.; 1 Chest, 2s. and his woolling wearing Cloths, 51i. 5s.; and his wearing Linning, ili. lOs.; 61i. 17s.; 6 yards of kerzey, ili. 16s.; 4 yards and a quarter of kerzie, 31i. is. 6d.; 3 yards of Lining Cloth, 55. & 1 hatt, 45. 9s.; 8 pair of sheets for beding, 41i.; bed and its belongings, 41i. lOs.; 1 bed and 2 bed steads with other furniture, 5 li.; 1 bed with its furniture, 21i. lOs., and other Lumber, 31i.; 3 chests, ili. 2s.; 1 Table and 3 Joint stooles, 1 Table, 18s.; Cushions, 6s.; 1 Little Table, 4s. 21i. lOs.; 2 Chairs, 3s.; pewter, 21i.; brass & Iron, ili. 13s., 31i. 13s.; I Cart & wheels, plowghs & plowgh tackell, 41i.; 1 sled & 4 axes, 6s.; 3 hoes, 3s. 9s.; barrell, Tubs and other Lumber, 12s.; 3 other Tubs, 2s. & 2 spades, 55. 7s.; 1 horse, 2li. lOs.; parcel of shingles, ili. 55., 31i. 155.; 10 thousand of shingle nailes, ili. 105.; 2 oxen, 71i. & 4 Cows at 121i., 19 Ii., 2 Steeres, 41i. los.; 19 Sheep & Lambs at 3 Ii. 19s., 81i. 9s.; houses, land and orchard, 2601i.; 6 Acres of meadow, 301i.; 5 swine, lOs. per, 21i. lOs.; total, 3841i. 19s. Several debts, 191i. 8s. 3d.
aaaSusannah ended up in the care of Ambrose Gale after Josiah died. Since she had known family members who survived her it can be speculated that she was related to Gale. Ambrose's English ancestry has not been proved, leaving the question whether or not Susannah was his sister. However, the arrangement was not without a business-like aspect. In June of 1684 the court ordered that Susannah's inheritance should be given to Gale to reimburse him for expenses. It was agreed that with the transfer of her assets, Gale would care for her for the rest of her life.(13)
At about 70 years old Susannah found herself caught up in the Salem witchcraft hysteria:
To the Constables of Beverly.
Whereas Complaint hath been this day made before us, by Sergent Thomas Puttnam and John Puttnam: both of Salem village yeomen against Susannah Roots of Beverly widdow for sundry acts of witchcrafft by her Commited on the bodys of Mary wallcott Abigal williams Marcy Lewis Ann Puttnam and others.
You are therfore in their Majesties names hereby Required to apprehend and forthwith bring before us Susannah Roots of Beverly widdow, who stands charged with Committing Sundry acts of witchcraft as aboves'd to the wrong and Injury of the bodys of the above-named Persons, in order to her Examination Relateing to the aboves'd Premises faile not Dated Salem May the 21'st 1692(14)
After the she was arrested on the 23rd of May, the following deposition was taken from Andrew Elliott:
An information if it might be any help in the examination of the person before you goode Roots I being in the house of Mr Laurence Denni's some time since she was suspected for what shee is now before you & there was Likewise Leonard Austen of our Town of Beverly s'd Austen then s'd that he thought she was a bad woman, his reason was that he Living in the house with s'd Roots not Long since and when he went to prayer at any time with his wife & thought s'd Roots would acompany them in s'd Duty but Did not at any time but would withdraw & absent herselfe: & further when my self were gone to bed & she unto her bed. she would rise in the night & we Could hear her talk in the roome below I lying in the Chamber over s'd roome as if there were: 5: or six persons with her more s'd Austen might speak if caled thereunto as far as know more concer[n]ing Roots
aaa Susannah was eventually released, but while she was in prison her grandson John Lovett 3rd visited her and gave the following deposition about his conversation with Dorcas Hoar, another prisoner:
The depersision of John Lovet aged about 25 years this deponant tetifieth & say that he the s'd deponant sume time in June
last past went into the prisan to see my gran mother then goodee hore asked me the s'd. deponant whether I knew of any witnesses that would Come in or be brought in against hear.&.I the s'd deponant told her I did not know of any and then the s'd. hore asked me whether goodman witreg would not Come in against her about his Cow I the s'd debonant tould the s'd whore I did believe he Would the s'd whore replyed she did not know that he had ara Cow, furder saith not
children of Josiah and Susannah Rootes:
Bethia b. ca. 1643, bap. 10 September 1648(15)
Josiah bap. 10 September 1648
John bap. 10 September 1648
Susannah b. ca. 1648(16), bap. 10 September 1648
Thomas bap. 16 February 1651
Sarah? d. before 24 May 1668
Jonathan b. abt 1665
Josiah's baptism is discussed in the text. A court record has him deposing in two different places that his age in 1678 was about 65 and about 60. His death date is recorded in his probate file (see note #11 below). Susannah's birth date is estimated from a court record that says she was about 53 in 1678 (see note #9). His signature was taken from a copy of a 1659 petition by Bass River residents (Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. 8, pg. 77).
1. Given that Susannah was born ca. 1625 and that four of her children were baptized in 1648, there may have been a set of twins among them.
2. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts [hereafter ECQC], Volume I, 1636-1656, pp. 92, 118.
3. Richard D. Pierce, ed., The First Church in Salem, Records, 1629-1736 (hereafter FCS) (Salem:1974), pg. 13.
4. Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts [hereafter TRS], Volume II, 1659-1680, pg. 184.
5. Ibid, pp. 9, 19.
6. Ibid, pp. 11, 21, 65, 71, 72, 85. The entry for 1661 says payment was due "to Josias Roots to Balch." Balch may have paid his expenses and was to be reimbursed by Josiah when he received town money.
7. TRS, Volume II, 1659-1680, pg. 57 (25 June); ECQC, Volume V, 16 -1667, pg. 281 (25 September).
8. ECQC, Volume VI, 1671-16 , pg. 147 (original record 28 June 1665).
9. Ibid, Volume IV, 1667-1671, pg. 216 (24 September 1669).
10. Ibid, Volume , pg. 50-51.
11. Ibid, Volume VI, 1671-16 , pg. 228 (September 1676).
12. Ibid, Volume IX, 16 -1683, pg. 66-67.
13. Ibid, pg. 266.
14. The court transcriptions were made by Boyer & Nissenbaum, as presented in "The Salem Witchcraft Papers, vol. 1."
15. All of the children's baptisms are from FCS. The 1648 baptism date has appeared as 24 September 1648 in publications. This is apparently an error (see FCS, p. 22).
16. ECQC, Volume IV, 1667-1671, pg. 216. She deposed in March 1670 that she was about 22 and was the daughter of Josiah Roote and wife of Roger Hoskin or Haskin.