Shroadly Wounded

"Constable Assistant Rowley Beaten!"

References are found that Christopher Gifford "did wickedly strike Moses Rowly, Junr[1]" on ye head with a certaine stick or club, thereby fetching blood & shroadly wounding of him." This is the story:


Plymouth Colony Court Records, Volume VI[2]. 1685-6, 2 March; Hinckley, Goverr.


Christopher Gifford[3], of Suckanesset, in ye colony of New Plimouth, planter, & Joseph Hull[4], of sd Suckanessett, cooper, or planter, are indicted by ye name of Christopher Gifford & Joseph Hull, for their notoriouse misdimenors & trespass against his maties authority, laws, & peace, comanded for that ye sd Christopher Gifford did som time about ye 8th day of December last past, & at other times in sd Decemb, turbulently & violently, by force & armes, resist the constable of sd Suckanessett, in ye execution of his office, & then & there, at Suckanessett aforesd, did wickedly strike Moses Rowly, Junir, being one of ye constables aid or assistants in ye execution of his office,on ye head with a certain stick or club, thereby fetching blood & shroadly wounding of him in his head, to his great __ & damage, & ye sd constable arresting ye sd Christopher for such his breŃ of his maties peace, & contempt of his maiestes authority, ye sd Christopher carrying himselfe very vnruly, & forceably resisting sd constable, & that ye sd Joseph Hull, him, ye sd Christopher Gifford, did maintaine & abett at ye sd times in Decemb aforesd, & place of Suckanessett, at or in ye house of Jonathan Hatch, Senir[5] & ye sd Christpher Gifford & Joseph Hull did conspire together to resist & oppose sd constable & his aid in ye further execution of his office at same time, & afterwards in sd month, for euill intent to diuert justice, did moue & suggest falce pleas, & thereby causing a falce imprisonment or arrest of sd constable & his company who aided him in ye execution of his office, & performing ye duty of his place as aforesd, to ye great discouragement of sd constable & his assistants, & other ye Kings officers for ye future, & ye euill example to others, & against ye publique good & quiett, & against his maties lawes & peace commanded.

The jury find the prisoners att the barr, Christopher Gifford & Joseph Hull, guilty according to their indictment.

Christopher Gifford & Joseph Hull, being found guilty of their inditement by ye grand jury, they trauersed sd inditement.

Christopher Gifford & Joseph Hull, indicted for seuerall high misdemenors, & they haueing trauersed there inditement, & haueing ben found guilty vpon tryall, the Court, considering of their offences & high misdemenors, sentanced sd Christopher Gifford seauen pounds fine to ye colony, & Joseph Hull to pay fiue pounds fine to ye colony, & that they pay charges of prosecution & fees of Court, standing comitted till sentence be performed.

The bill of charges amounting to seuen pound nine shillings six pence, one pound seuen shillings six pence, mony, to be paid by Joseph Hull, & the remainer, being fiue pound twelue shillings six pence, mony, to be paid by Christopher Gifford. This is alowed by the Court.

Attest, NATH'LL CLARKE, Secretary.

This bill of cost is of one pound eight shillings six pence, whereof ten shillings, mony, to be paid by said Joseph Hull on the other side, & the remainer to be paid by sd Christopher Gifford in mony, & is alowed by the Court. This is the cheife marshalls bill of cost.

Attest, NATH'LL CLARKE, Secretary.

In answer to the petition of Joseph Hull, the Court abate him, the sd Hull, forty shillings of his fine.

In answer to Christopher Gifford petition, the Court abate him three pounds of his fine to the country, he paying 2011 unto Moses Rowley for the wound he gaue him on the head.

The constable of Barnstable his bill of cost alowed by the Court is one pound two shillings & six pence, to be pd in siluer mony.


1. Moses3 ROWLEY Jr. (Moses2, Henry1) was born 10 Nov 1654 at Barnstable, died 16 Jul 1735 East Haddam, CT; married first Mary (perhaps FLETCHER) about Jan. 1675.

2. Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, M.D., Editor, Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. (Boston, MA: The Press of William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1855), Vol. VI, pp. 180, 181.

3. Christopher2 GIFFORD (William1), born in July 1658, died at Little Compton, R.I., 22 November 1748; m. about 1683/84, Deborah PERRY, daughter of Edward and Mary (Freeman) Perry, born at Sandwich 2 April 1665. In later life Gifford was a Quaker, but this episode shows he had not yet come under the pacific influence of the Quakers in late 1685. [New England Historic and Genealogical Register, Vol. 129:30-31.]

4. Joseph2 HULL (Tristam1) was born in July 1652 in Barnstable and died about 1709 in South Kingston, Washington Co., RI; m. about October 1676, Experience HARPER. [Delaware State Archives, REv. Joseph Brown Turner Genealogical Collection].

5. Jonathan2 HATCH Sr. (Thomas1) was born about 1624-6 in England, died Dec 1710 at Falmouth; married 11 April 1646, Sarah2 ROWLEY (Henry1), probably born about 1626 and died before 15 September 1705. These people were uncle and aunt to Moses Rowley Jr. The court record says that Gifford and Hull conspired to resist and oppose the constable and his aid at or in the house of Jonathan Hatch Sr. The Hatches were not charged with conspiracy, so it must be assumed that they were not party to the perfidy.


A Loose Translation of the Court Record

Christopher Gifford, of Falmouth, in the colony of New Plymouth, a planter, and Joseph Hull, also of Falmouth, a barrel-maker or planter, were indicted for their notorious misdemeanors and disturbing the peace, charged that the said Christopher Gifford did on or about the 8th day of last December, and at other times in December, violently, and with force, resist the constable of Falmouth in the execution of his duties, and with evil intent assaulted Moses Rowley Jr., being one of the deputies performing his duty, and struck him on the head with a stick or club, causing him to bleed and severely wounding him on the head, causing him much pain and distress. The constable attempted to arrest him for disturbing the peace and for contempt of his majesty's authority, Christopher threatened and forcibly resisted the said constable, and Joseph Hull and Christopher Gifford helped each other resist. It was charged that the two men conspired to resist arrest in or at the house of Jonathan Hatch Sr. Later in December, with intent to evade justice, they feigned innocence and in some manner apparently locked the constable and his assistants up preventing them from carrying out their duties and embarrassing them by placing them in this compromising position which served as a poor example to others, and against the good of the community.

They were found guilty and fined. A portion of the fine was waived after they promised to pay Rowley for his pain and suffering.


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