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Paternal Generation I: William Pinley to Maryland and Virginia

William Pinley's Sedition & Death: 1650

Christmas, 1649: Northampton, Virginia:

On December 26, 1649, William Pinley was celebrating his last Christmas with his family at his mother-in-law Hannah Mountney's house near the head of Kings Creek in Northampton County, Virginia. William and Elizabeth (Hill) Penley had young Will Jr., about five years old, and daughter Dorothy, near three years old. Their new baby, our ancestor Thomas, was either just born, or soon expected.

Englishmen didn’t bring trees inside the house for another two hundred years, but they often hung holly, ivy, or mistletoe about. Influenced by the colonies by 1650, turkey had become popular in England for Christmas dinner, and there were plenty available on the Eastern Shore. Plum pudding was a traditional English Christmas dish since medieval times, but Puritan dictator Oliver Cromwell soon banned both pudding and the singing of Christmas carols. Most Englishmen on the Eastern Shore were Anglican, so the Pinleys at Hannah's house may have ignored Cromwell's rules and hopefully, enjoyed their last holiday together.

On the day after Christmas, William Pinley wrote and witnessed a will for a close family friend of the Mountneys, Edward Drew. The proof of Edward Drew's will in court documents William's location on December 26, 1649 (see William Pinley, Immigrant chapter).

Sunday, January 13, 1649/50: Maryland
On a Sunday, William Pinley uttered a reviling speech in the house of John Hallowes and was arrested and taken to the governor, convicted and sentenced to twenty lashes. By his speech, William Pinley regretted moving to Maryland in the service of the Governor, he wished for an estate in Virginia, and would have preferred to "gather oysters for his living" rather than live in Maryland.
"The Court being informed of certain revileing Speeches of Wm Pinley uttered this present day in the house of John Hallowes viz , that he Should Say unto Robert Douglass a messenger Sent thither from the Governor upon business:"
"that he had an honest face it was pitty he Should be hanged, and that he wished the Virgineans that came up in Service of the Governor had Estates in Virginea, and tht rather than he would have come up upon Such employmt as they did he would have gathered Oysters for his liveing."
"And thereupon was adjudged by the Court to be whipped with 20 lashes and to be imprisoned till the Sentence be Executed."
On at least two occasions in Northampton County court records, William Pinley served as attorney for John Hallowes.
February 4, 1649/50: Maryland to Virginia
With Governor Stone now presiding over court, William Pinley was charged with a debt to ex-Acting Governor Thomas Greene.
"4 ffebr Tho: Green Esq &c demandeth of William Pinly 361 £ Tob cask due by remainder of a bill of 800 £ Arrest 399 Eod"
He was arrested for the debt, but later in the day of the same court session, William Pinley is given permission to go down to Virginia, along with Thomas Sturman, John Powell, and David (a Welsh servant of Arthur Whittington). To be released to go to Virginia, someone probably paid or cancelled his debt.
February 4, 1649/50 Maryland to Virginia:
"Tho Sturman Will Pinly Jo Powell David a Welshman Arthur Whittington's Man licensed to goe down to Virginea"
(Maryland Archives: Court and Testamentary Business, 1649/50, Liber B. Volume 10)

Where was William Pinley when he made the reviling speech? the House of John Hallowes” ....probably at Chickacoan. Near 1640, Kent Island rebel John Mottram was the first to cross the Potomac River and buy land directly from the Natives, his friends soon followed. In Maryland, all land permanently belonged to Lord Baltimore, headrights earned leases, not ownership. They escaped Calvert's inept rule, but also lived a true capitalist dream: the chance to build permanent estates and enjoy the fruits of their labor without government restrictions to skim their profits.

Chickacoan became a haven for disenchanted Marylanders. Calvert suspected that the rebels there plotted against him. He complained to Virginia's Governor Berkeley that the Chickacoans committed crimes and escaped across the Potomac. In 1647, Calvert accused Thomas Sturman, his son, and sons-in-law William Hardwick and Thomas Ewell of plotting to burn St. Mary’s while at a secret meeting at John Mottram’s house at Chickacoan. Sturman once had to post bond that he would report all conversations with his son-in-law directly to Calvert.

Maryland's population continued to fall, even after Calvert prohibited settlers from departing without his permission. All too often in the 1640’s Maryland swung between anarchy and dictatorship. And in Maryland, you could be arrested for liking oysters.

By 1646, most all of William Pinley’s friends were there, and a recently acquired document proves that Pinley himself had business there as well, supporting the old PenleyPearls instinct that William Pinley owned land in Northumberland before his death. It is no coincidence that Hannah took the orphans to Chickacoan, no coincidence that Orphan Thomas settled there. Lancaster orphan court still referred to Orphan William as Will, Jr. twelve years after the immigrant's death, obviously because William Sr. was well known in that area.

John Hallowes, Thomas Sturman, Andrew Monroe, John Hilliard, Walter Broadhurst and Thomas Gerard all settled at Chickacoan. PenleyPearls strongly suspects that Pinley also bought land from the Natives there. His deed probably fell through the cracks. After Northumberland county took over in 1648, the settlers all had to have their land surveyed for the record, and William Pinley was probably dead before the surveyor got to his land. Only 3 surveys were recorded in Northumberland before 1650.

Hallowes may have kept a home in Maryland, but court documents referred to him as John Hallowes of Appamatucks by 1648. Hallowes appointed George Manners to pay his Maryland debts in February of 1649. His last found court appearance in St. Mary’s before William Pinley’s sedition was on May 4, 1649, and on July 14, 1649, Hallowes relinquished ex- Governor Edward Hill's power of attorney.

Hallowes first land grant in Chickacoan was in 1650, but the few patents surveyed before his refer to Hallowes Creek, and use his land as boundaries. He eventually amassed 2,728 acres of land grants at Chickacoan. Virginia organized the Chickacoan Indian District in 1645, then Northumberland County in 1648. (Lancaster County was created out of southern Northumberland in 1652. Westmoreland County was formed in 1653 from the western end of Northumberland.)

It is now deemed most likely that William Pinley was at the Hallowes house across the Potomac River, in Chickacoan, Northumberland County, Virginia when he made his reviling speech.

What triggered William Pinley’s outburst on January 13, 1649?

“He wished the Virgineans that came up in Service of the Governor had Estates in Virginea, and th’t rather than he would have come up upon Such employm’t as they did he would have gathered Oysters for his liveing.
Pinley didn’t just walk up to Douglass and nonchalantly inform him he was going to hang because we Penleys like oysters. There was more to this story than the ink spent here. The messenger Robert Douglass must have delivered a disturbing message, or delivered it with a cavalier or arrogant attitude.

PenleyPearls now acknowledges that William Pinley was an employee of the new Governor of Maryland, William Stone of Northampton County, Virginia. After recently learning of Pinley's connection to Governor Edward Hill, the words "Virginians that came up in service of the Governor" jumped off the page. See the evidence, decide for yourself.

Stone was asked to serve as Governor of Maryland in August of 1648, he took the oath of office in March, 1649. Stone reportedly took men with him from Virginia to arrange for 500 Puritans to follow soon thereafter. The literate and articulate William Pinley was one of those trusted aides taken by Stone to Maryland to aid in the transition to Protestant rule necessitated by the Puritan victory in the English Civil War, and the beheading of Charles I.

In addition to Pinley’s own reference to “Virgineans that came up in the Service of the Governor” and “rather than he would have come up upon Such employm’t as they did”, the legal footprints left by William Pinley in Northampton in 1649 are synchronized to every Stone absence from Maryland. When Governor Stone was in Maryland, Pinley was in Maryland. Whenever Stone is documented as absent from Maryland, William Pinley is documented back in Northampton with his family.
  • Note that after fairly consistent Northampton court appearances from 1646 through 1648, William Pinley’s is absent from Northampton Court from November of 1648 until his death in 1650.
  • Note that during Governor Stone’s first hiatus from Maryland, May 2, 1649 through July 7, 1649, William Pinley witnessed Jane Eltonhead’s release of a Northampton slave on May 13, 1649, which was not entered into Northampton court records until 1652.
  • Note that during Governor Stone’s second absence from Maryland, September 20, 1649 until January 13, 1650, William Pinley wrote and witnessed the will of Edward Drew at his mother-in-law's Northampton home on December 26, 1649.

What was the message delivered on January 13?

Although there is no record of the message that caused Pinley to regret his employment and crave oysters, a look at Maryland's history leaves a few clues.

Greene's Dangerous Proclamation

Though Maryland was then mired in controversy, scrutiny of Maryland records prior to Pinley's sedition reveals a timely and viable event that raised a new clamor. On November 15, 1649, Acting Governor Thomas Greene issued a proclamation recognizing Charles II as King of England, the rightful heir of Charles I, and “to further the common rejoicing of the inhabitants” he granted pardons for all criminal offenses.

This was a riotous and ill-conceived salvo fired off by Greene while the actual governor, William Stone was absent from Maryland. This proclamation pleased virtually no one except the ostracized Charles II and Greene himself. Maryland had not yet recovered from Ingle's Rebellion, and this decree constituted an open invitation for a new invasion by Ingle or Cromwell. Lord Baltimore had placated Cromwell's new Puritan government by appointing Protestant Governor Stone, and welcoming 500 Puritan refugees from Virginia. Greene undid years of Lord Baltimore's diplomacy with the stroke of a pen. Under any scenario, Greene had no right to issue a proclamation in the name of the entire colony of Maryland which reflected only his personal values.

After that proclamation, Maryland court sessions became increasingly hostile, with plaintiffs and defendants delaying cases until the return of the rightful governor. November 19, 1649, Acting Governor Thomas Greene was angered by the requests for delay, stating:
"Which to admitt of will not onely bee a wilfull delay of Justice but also secretly to admitt a corrupc'on in the p'sent Judge much to the indignity of his Lopps". (Maryland Archives, p. 530)

Greene then proceded to dismiss several cases "for want of psecucon", ordered a few to be "respited till the next Court" and then adjourned until the next court scheduled for St. Mary's on January 7, 1649/50.

On January 13, 1650, William Pinley had just returned to Maryland from Virginia. Pinley wrote Edward Drew's will on December 26 in Northampton. Perhaps Pinley made a quick sail to visit Hallowes, Stone may have sent him to Chickacoan for information. The uproar over Greene's selfish decree may have stepped on Pinley’s last nerve.

If Pinley was indeed an employee of Governor Stone, given the open hostility and pending cases, he may have chosen not to linger in St. Mary's, preferring the hospitality of friends at Chickacoan while awaiting Stone's return.

Pinley and Stone could have arrived on the same ship from Accomack, but Stone is not proven present in Maryland until the January 23rd court session. The planned court for January 7 was not held, the January 13th and 14th sessions refer to a Governor's presence, but do not call him by name.

Neither is there found proof of Stone's location all during his second hiatus from Maryland. Not one entry in Northampton court records indicates his presence there during his second absence. During Stone's first absence from Maryland, he made repeated Northampton court appearances, but not one documented appearance during his second absence from Maryland. His four month absence would afford a trip to England to consult with Lord Baltimore.

Regardless of his whereabouts, Stone probably learned of Greene’s proclamation upon his return.

Why did Thomas Greene issue such an incindiary proclamation?

Greene was Acting-Governor while William Stone was away from Maryland. No historical work has been located that provides an intelligent justification for Greene’s demented proclamation. Utter despair may have overruled his intellect as he watched his wealth, power and church succumb to those he considered undeserving and inferior. Seeing his end in sight, he may have decided to make his last stand on principles he believed. He signed his last will and testament three days later, and entered it into court records shortly after Governor Stone’s return.

Had Greene not noticed that Puritans twice won recent civil wars in England, and suddenly enjoyed a majority status in Maryland? Even in the remotest possibility that the non-Puritan minority was able to combine their warring factions of aristocrats, loyalists, Anglicans, Catholics and oppressed servants, they too would have surely opposed Thomas Greene on this, if for no other reason than that it was an open invitation for Maryland to be reduced and plundered again by another Richard Ingle.

In 1648, to pacify the victorious Cromwell and coincidentally keep his royal charter, Lord Baltimore fired Catholic Governor Thomas Green, and hired Anglican William Stone of Virginia, who promised to replenish Maryland’s meager population by bringing along 500 recently evicted Puritans. Limbo prevailed in Maryland though, Greene was somehow coerced to serve for another six months until Stone arrived in Maryland. Stone only governed Maryland four months in 1649, he took two trips out of Maryland that amounted to six months of hiatus after his well delayed March inauguration. Each time Stone left, the rejected and besieged Thomas Greene served as Acting Governor.

When Charles I was beheaded by Cromwell on January 30, 1649, a few loyal royals proclaimed Charles II king. Soon the exiled Charles II learned that Lord Baltimore had hired a Protestant governor and welcomed Puritans. The impotent Charles II revoked Lord Baltimore’s charter, and dispatched an intended-Governor Davenant, who was captured by Cromwell before the expedition cleared the English Channel. Davenant went to the TOWER instead of Maryland, though incessant rumors of new governments appointed by Cromwell or Charles II arrived in Maryland with each passing ship.

Now, back to those oysters...

“and that he wished the Virgineans that came up in Service of the Governor
had Estates in Virginea,
tht rather than he would have come up upon Such employmt as they did
he would have gathered Oysters for his liveing”.
Oysters today are often considered a delicacy, but they were the food of last resort to Virginians on the Chesapeake. The one thing the new Governor William Stone needed at this juncture was complaint from the Virginians he had just brought in with him to rebuild Maryland. The Governor’s “honest faced” messenger, Robert Douglass was sent to deliver a message at John Hallowes house, and reported back that William Pinley lamented the lack of estates in Virginia, and would rather eat oysters than live in Maryland.

Such a trivial “revileing Speeche“ does not seem to warrant a special court session on a SUNDAY, attended only by the Governor (Stone or Greene?) and his secretary, Thomas Hatton, and twenty lashes, but this was 1650 Maryland after all. With only a hundred settlers left in the colony, maybe the Governor did have some time on his hands. One could deduce here that William Pinley was more influential than the average farm hand, as the Governor swung into action to nip this complaint in the bud, and move him quickly to jail and away from people who might listen to him.

Careful study of that court session indicates that it was a special court session called specifically to deal just with Pinley’s horrible crime. No other court business has been found conducted on that day. Maryland’s population dwinded miserably due to the chaos on Kent Island, Ingle’s Rebellion, and the abdication, return, then sudden death of Governor Calvert. Calvert left the tough lady Margaret Brent as his executrix, but the soldiers who brought him back into Maryland had not been paid. Law suits were still piling up from Ingle’s plunder. Even the loyal supporters of William Claiborne began abandoning Kent.

The population of Maryland, perhaps 500-600 people at Ingle's raid, dropped to under 100 by 1646, fewer than had settled Maryland in 1634. (Lois Green Carr, Maryland Archives) The war in England had disrupted trade routes, and the economy in Virginia and Maryland slumped. In short, Maryland was a mess in the 1640’s, extreme measures were required if the colony was to survive. To stifle the complaints, a harsh new law was passed just in time for our William’s outburst. In 1649, the Maryland Assembly passed a law was passed prohibiting:
“All mutinous or sedicioues speeches practices or attempts to divert the obedience of the people from ...his lordship... shalbe lyable to bee punished with irnprisonmt..., fine, banishmt. boaring of the Tongue, slitting the nose, cutting of one or both Eares, whipping, branding with a redd hot Iron in the hand or forehead, any one or more of these as the Provinciall Court shall thinke fitt,......and shalbe lyable to bee punished by losse of hand or by the paines of death confiscacon of all lands goods & chattells within the Province banishmt ymprisonmt during life Court shall adiudge.”
Considering the harsh penalties provided to the court by the new law, our William Pinley’s beating was quite lenient. His tongue wasn’t bored, his ears not chopped, he wasn’t branded, and he seems to have left court with both hands still attached.

February 4, 1649/50

The first item of business at the February 4 session of the court was to send William Pinley back to jail until he paid the remainder of a debt due. Ex-governor Thomas Greene slapped a debt of 800£ of tobacco with a remaining balance of 361£ on Pinley and demanded payment. This debt could have been incurred for Pinley’s time in jail, as no other explanation is given. Prisoners were often forced to pay room and board for their jail time. This is the only found document in Maryland or Virginia where Pinley was charged in court with not paying a debt. At this point, Governor Stone was back in charge of Maryland, and ex-Governor Thomas Greene may have believed that Stone had not punished Pinley harshly enough in accordance with the 1649 legislation described above.

Which Governor Whipped William Pinley?

It is still unclear whether Acting Governor Greene or the real Governor Stone had inflicted the 20 lashes on Pinley. Maryland Records for the court sessions on January 13 and 14 only state that the Governor was present, they do not identify him by name.

Who paid the fine?

Later on in the same day, two pages later in the typed transcript of court minutes, but still on February 4, 1649/50, William Pinley is released from jail, and given permission to go to Virginia. Who paid William Pinley’s debt? No court action before or after the incident gives any clue. The only shred of evidence is the name of Thomas Sturman on the same document. Thomas Sturman may have sailed across the Potomac from Chickacoan to get his good buddy William Pinley out of jail and take him back to Virginia.

After his seditious preference for oysters was punished by twenty lashes, he was granted permission to leave Maryland with Thomas Sturman, John Powell, Arthur Whittingtons servant, the Welshman David. A Thomas Powell family lived near the Mountneys both in Elizabeth City and Northampton County, and Thomas Powell gave testimony in Northampton County Court on September 10, 1638 about a conversation that his son, John Powell, had heard. A Whittington family also lived in Northampton County, but no Arthur Whittington has been located yet. It is believed that Thomas Powell and Arthur Whittington may have been sons of well documented Northampton families. They may also have been taken to Maryland as employees of Maryland’s Governor, William Stone of Virginia. Careful study of that court session indicates that it was a special court session called specifically to deal just with Pinley’s horrible crime. No other court business has been found conducted on that day.

Likewise, the name of Robert Douglass, the Governor's messenger who reported William's sedition is barely mentioned in Maryland Archives. Douglass may have been another one of Stone's employees from Northampton County. There are numerous entries for the name Douglas in Northampton Court.