The Whipping of Quaker Women
In 1662, three young Quaker women from England came to Dover, New Hampshire. True to their faith, they preached against professional ministers, restrictions on individual conscience, and the established customs of the church-ruled settlement. They openly argued with Dover's powerful Congregational minister John Reyner.
For six weeks the Quaker women held meetings and services at various dwellings around Dover. Finally, one of the elders of the First Church, Hatevil Nutter, had had enough. A petition by the inhabitants of Dover was presented "humbly craving relief against the spreading and the wicked errors of the Quakers among them."
Captain Richard Waldron, crown magistrate, issued the following order:
To the constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Newbury, Rowley, Ipswich, Wenham, Linn, Boston, Roxbury, Dedham, and until these vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdiction, you, and every one of you are required in the name of the King's Majesty's name, to take these vagabond Quakers, Ann Coleman, Mary Tompkins, and Alice Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart's tail, and driving the cart through your several towns, to whip their naked backs, not exceeding ten stripes apiece on each of them, in each town; and so to convey them from constable to constable, till they are out of this jurisdiction.
On a frigid winter day, constables John and Thomas Roberts of Dover seized the three women. George Bishop recorded the follow account of events:
Deputy Waldron caused these women to be stripped naked from the middle upwards, and tied to a cart, and after awhile cruelly whipped them, whilst the priest stood and looked and laughed at it.
From William Sewall's History of the Quakers:
The women thus being whipped at Dover, were carried to Hampton and there delivered to the constable...The constable the next morning would have whipped them before day, but they refused, saying they were not ashamed of their sufferings. Then he would have whipped them with their clothes on, when he had tied them to the cart. But they said, set us free, or do according to thine order.
He then spoke to a woman to take off their clothes. But she said she would not for all the world. Why, said he, then I'll do it myself.. So he stripped them, and then stood trembling whip in hand, and so he did the execution. Then he carried them to Salisbury through the dirt and the snow half the leg deep; and here they were whipped again. Indeed their bodies were so torn, that if Providence had not watched over them, they might have been in danger of their lives.
In Salisbury, Dr. Walter Barefoot convinced the constable to swear him in as a deputy. Dr. Barefoot received the women and the warrant, and put a stop to the persecution. He dressed their wounds and returned them to the Maine side of the Piscataqua River.
Eventually the Quaker women returned to Dover, and established a church. In time, over a third of Dover's citizens became Quaker.
The reason I bring this event up is because my ancestor, Ebenezer Varney, was a Quaker. So far in the story he's played a relatively small part, but I realize the need to flesh him out more. A short biography of Eb states:
Quaker and blacksmith. He built a home at the foot of what is now know as Garrison Hill in Dover, NH. House was built in 1669 and surroundling hill became known as Varney's Hill during the 1700s. In 1829, John Ham purchased the property and house became known as Varney-Ham House. House was destroyed in 1970s to make room for appartment complexes. Alt. birth year, 1664. His house was fortified and called Varney garrison house. Was a safe refuge for families of the area during Native attacks. Ebenezer Varney and Mary Otis were married about 1692 in Dover, NH.
Makes me sick to think the garrison house was destroyed so recently "to make room for apartment complexes"!
Now, for the sake of the fictionalized story, I have to stray from historical fact just a bit because I need Eb to be the surviving witness to the horrors that took place at the Otis garrison:
The OTIS family was not spared. RICHARD SR. was killed in his bed along with several of his children. His 2 year Old daughter, Hannah & his married son STEPHEN SR. were also killed . STEPHEN SR's sons, NATHANIEL and STEPHEN JR.were abducted by the indians and taken to Quebec and Stephen's daughter Rose (later baptized Francoise-Rose) was also abducted and taken to Quebec.
Well, so a lot of my many-times great aunts and uncles won't make the cut in the book--my apologies to their descendants. Again, I try not to populate my book with too many characters for fear of confusing the reader.
So anyway, back to Eb; Like many Dover residents, he does not particularly care for Richard Waldron, and being a Quaker, is a pacifist. So it's against his gentle nature to participate in the local militia, but yet during the attack he needs to defend himself and the others at the Otis garrison. Thus, I need to go back a few chapters and develop his character a little more, and that's where I am at the present moment.