Baptized: 07 MAR 1612 Great Charter Parish, Eastwell, Kent, England

Immigration: Spring 1634/5
Note: Josiah Rootes of Great Charter Parish, Eastwell, Kent, England, was among the passengers on the “Hercules” of Sandwich, John Witherley, Master, bound for “the plantation called New England in America,” in the spring of 1634/5. He had taken the oath of allegiance and supremacy at Great Charter Parish, and received his certificate from Robert Gorsham, curate of Great Chart, on 20 March 1634/35. The Hercules of Sandwich is probably the same as the Hercules of Dover mentioned by Winthrop as being here in the summer.

Birth of Daughter: ABT 1639
Name: Bethiah Rootes

Court: 1645
Details: Court held at Salem. Josiah Rootes of Salem, drummer, fined 10s. for being over-taken in drink at the last exercise of the artillery in Salem, which was publicly known to the bench.

Lived in: Salem
Note: Josiah settled in that part of Salem, called the Cape Ann side or Bass River side, that was set off in 1668 as the town of Beverly.

Court: Court held at Salem. Josiah Rootes petitioned for remission of artillery fine.

Religion: He was admitted to the Salem church in 1648

Freeman: 1649/50

Land Dispute: 20 JUN 1655
Details: Josiah’s brother Thomas conveyed by deed of gift, the sixty acres to his nephew, Josiah’s son Thomas. On 26 February 1660, Josiah sold his son’s land to Henry Kenny (Keene or Kenney). In September 1683, in Thomas Rootes of Boston, mariner v. Henry Kenny of Salem, by which Thomas sought to recover the sixty acres, “Susanna (—?—) (Rootes) certified that her husband sold her son Thomas’s land to Keyny and had not left Enough to satisfy him for it…”15 She was referring to Josiah’s will by which he left Jonathan his entire estate after small legacies were paid to Jonathan’s older siblings. Thomas recovered twenty acres, but the ruling was later reversed.

Court: 26 JUN 1660
Details: Writ: Josiah Roots v. William Pitts; trespass in building a house upon plaintiff’s land and digging clay without said Roots’ knowledge or consent; dated, Apr. 2, 1660; signed by Hillyard.

Court: SEP 1661
Details: Court held at Ipswich, Sept. -, 1661 (Salem Quarterly Court). Josiah Rootes v. Thomas Chubb. Defamation. Saying that plaintiff had stolen his timber and some of his tools, with other words of reproach, etc. (Writ, dated, 9: 9: 1661, signed by Hillyard Veren for the court, and served by Benjamin Balch, constable of Salem, by attachment of the house and land of defendant.

Court: Served on the grand jury in 1665

Religion: Was one of the founders of the Beverly church in 1667

Land: He owned in Beverly a “great estate…from the sea, on both sides of Cabot Street, nearly down to Bartlett Street.

Court: Joseph Harris appealled a 1669 verdict in favor of “Josiah Roote,” who Harris had accused of stealing a calf. Harris appealled the judgement, and in March 1670, the former judgement was confirmed by the Ipswich Quarterly Court.

Court: 25 JUN 1677
Details: Beverly, “In obedians to a law of the honored Jenerill Corte they made choise of ten men to inspecte thar naibours to prevente as much as may be, privet tipling and Drunckenness,” whose names be as followeth: Wm. Dodge, Robt. Bradford, Humph. Woodbury, Josiah Root, Robert Heberd, Nath. Hayward, Exsersis Conant, John Hill, Richard Ober, John Dodge.

Court: 25 JUN 1678
Details: When several neighbors came under suspicion of receiving stolen goods from Mr. Hale’s maid, Margaret Lord, Josiah Rootes complained to the court in a written statement dated 25 June 1678, that “for neare twenty years together we haue ben Aflicted by hauing owr goods stollen At sundri time And we not Abell To make due profe haue ben forsed To sufer owr seuellfes To be wrownged in estat And name: And god by his prouidens hauing latlie discouered sum of Theas wokes of darknes wee Judg yt. To be owre duty To speake in vindicasion of Truth and Conuictccion of sine…. He deposed in Salem Court that same month, aged about 65, and again, aged about 60, as did his wife “Susanah Roots, aged about forty-eight years…” Their son “Jonathan Rootes, aged about thirteen years, affirmed…” Among those who testified were Abigell Stone, jr., Abigall Ston, sr., John Lovet, jr. and Bethiah Lovet. Click here to read the entire (very interesting) case file published in the Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, vol. VII, available on line as part of the “Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project.” For anyone not interested in reading the entire case file, the Josiah Rootes complaint begins here, and the aforementioned depositions and testimonies follow.

Land Dispute: From a 1683 court battle over ownership of some land in Salem, we learn that Josiah had a brother Thomas, almost certainly a brother Richard, and that their mother was very likely Emme Mason, a widow who appears as “Em. Mason of Eastwell [Kent] wid” on the Hercules passenger list immediately following Josiah. Thomas and Richard aren’t on the Hercules list, but in 1636, they and Emme Mason were each granted twenty acres of land in Salem.13 As Richard appears only briefly in the Salem court records, he may have died early on. Emme died 26 May 1646 leaving a small estate that was divided among her unnamed children, the oldest son receiving a double share. The inventory doesn’t include the twenty acres.14 By some fashion, however, Thomas ended up with Emme’s and Richard’s land, and it was those sixty acres that were the subject of the aforementioned litigation. (see land dispute in 1655)

Will: 15 MAY 1683
Details: In his will dated 15 May 1683, Josiah Rootes “of the towne of Beverly” leaves his entire estate to his son Jonathan after legacies are paid to his other children, Bethiah, John and Thomas. He leaves the use and care of his estate in the hands of his wife Susanna, who he names executrix, until Jonathan comes of age, after which, Jonathan is charged with his mother’s maintenance so long as she remains a widow.

Death: 03 JUN 1683 Beverly, Beverly Twp, Essex Co, Massachusetts

Parents are unknown


Susannah ?

Born: ABT 1625

Court: 26 JUN 1683
Details: Susanna Roots, widow of Josiah Roots, of Beverly, deceased, renounced the executorship of her husband’s will at court in Salem saying that she had “many weaknesses and infirmities of old age and and [sic] could not serve as executor.” The court appointed John Hill and Nehemiah Grover to bring in an inventory as soon as possible, and the inventory was sworn to on 6 July 1683. (Andrew Elliot who would, in 1692, accuse Susanna Rootes of witchcraft, was one of the appraisers).

Court: SEP 1683
Details: On September 1683 Susanna (her mark) Rootes certified that her husband sold her son Thomas’ land [in Salem] to Keyny and had not left [in the will] Enough to satisfy him for it so asks the court that he have the land givn him upon the west side of the country way beyond her house. Wit: John Hill and Roger Haskings. Sworn to in [Ipswich Quarterly] court by Roger Haskins.

Court: JUN 1684
Details: In June 1684, [Salem Quarterly] Court ordered that Mr. Ambrose Gale should have what estate was left the widow Susanna Roots by her husband, Josiah Roots, said Gale having maintained the said widow for several months at his own expense, and she and John Hill and Nehemiah Grover, administrators, also consenting, the agreement being that Gale should comfortably provide for her during the remainder of her life.6 This is curious since Susanna’s late husband left his entire estate, after legacies, to his son Jonathan, charging him with his mother’s care and maintenance. Perhaps the court’s decision was influenced by Jonathan’s appearance the same day to answer a charge levied almost a year previous, on 16 July 1683, for drunkenness and swearing.

Note: During the witchcraft hysteria of Salem, Massachusetts, Suzannah was accused of being a witch. She was arrested on a complaint brought by Thomas Putnam, Clerk of the Parish of Salem, and arraigned 21 MAY 1692. An Andrew Elliot testified at her hearing that a man who had once lived with Suzannah had said that “she was a bad woman… who would withdraw and absent herself from family prayers.” She was convicted and put in irons in Boston on 23 MAY 1692.

Note: “His [Josiah Rootes’] wife, Susanna, was one of those accused of witchcraft and lodged in Boston gaol in 1692, where as her grandson, John Lovett testifies, he visited her. After some months her innocence was acknowledged by her discharge from prison. She was manifestly a person of independent character, who would not conform her opinions to those of some of her more illiberal neighbors, and hence came the false accusations against her; but her excellent and numerous posterity may well honor her memory.”

Parents are unknown

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