Trouble in church

Josephs, Pearson, Paige & Vail ancestors
who tangled with church authority

Ancestor Line Town Offense
Akin, John V New Bristol MA Quaker; jailed for refusing to collect taxes in support of Puritan churches; released on order of King Charles I
Allen, Ralph V Sandwich MA Quaker; fined repeatedly for absence from church, attitude toward church, refusal of fidelity oath; jailed; disenfranchised
Bachiler, Stephen (Rev.) V MA, NH, ME Ungovernable preacher; twice excommunicated; kicked out of three communities; married four times; inspired The Scarlet Letter
Blanchan, Matthieu Pg Hurley NY Huguenot; fined for churning milk after fasting bell had rung; fined for selling brandy to brother-in-law; entire court went on horseback to brother-in-law’s house to find the brandy
Chauncy, Charles (Rev.) J Cambridge MA Refused to wear proper vestments; argued against communion rail; insisted on full-immersion baptism for infants
Coles, Robert V Roxbury MA Fined for drinking to excess; ordered to wear a scarlet “D”; moved to Ipswich, then Providence RI
Colt, John J Windsor CT Fined for playing cards at an unseasonable hour of night
Cooke, John V Plymouth MA Anabaptistry; excommunicated; moved to Dartmouth NH
Dillingham, Edmund V Sandwich MA Arrested and censured for sympathy to Quakers
Dalton, Timothy (Rev.) Pr Hampton NH Engaged in public feud with Rev. Stephen Bachiler
Doughty, Francis V Taunton MA
Enno, James Pr Windsor CT Requested church pew and baptism for his children despite being Church of England; huge controversy ensued
Farrington, Edward Pr Flushing NY Arrested for signing Flushing Remonstrance; lived on bread and water for a month
Glover, Henry V New Haven CT Excommunicated for unknown sins; reconciled with church in 1644
Goodwin, William Pr


Hartford MA Dispute with authorities over fitness of minister; left Hartford with Rev. Russell to found Hadley MA
Gould, John V Topsfield MA Dispute with church: called the minister drunk and incompetent; prosecuted for slander
Gould, Zaccheus V Topsfield MA Fined for neglect of public worship; disrupting Sabbath meeting (by sitting with his back to the minister and wearing a hat); entertaining Quakers
Hart, Nicholas V Taunton MA Excommunicated in 1643 for “scandalous, lewd, and odious unclean behavior” with Sarah Dudley, daughter of Gov. Thomas Dudley; moved to RI
Hunt, Thomas & Cecily Clarke Pr New Haven CT Kicked out of New Haven for keeping company with a man the elders disapproved of; moved to Stamford
Hallett, William & Elizabeth Ffownes V Greenwich CT Adultery; questionable marriage [Elizabeth is known as “The Winthrop Woman”]
Hart, Nicholas V Taunton MA Excommunicated for not conforming to Puritan beliefs; moved to Boston where he had further religious trouble; moved to RI
Hopkins, Stephen V Plymouth MA Fined/arrested for selling liquor, playing shuffleboard on Sunday, fighting, permitting guests to drink to excess, throwing out pregnant maid
Knight, Agnes Pr Newbury MA Admonished for wearing a silk hood and scarf
Learned, William Pg Charlestown MA Hutchinson supporter; renounced support rather than disarm and move
Lothrop, John (Rev.) V Barnstable MA Renounced Church of England; jailed in London and freed on condition he emigrate to Boston; church in Scituate failed over schism on infant baptism; fought for separation of church and state
Marston, William Pr Hampton NH Fined for possessing Quaker books
Mather, Elizabeth J
Niles, Nathaniel & Littlefield, Jane V Boston MA Indicted for fornication; bore a child four months after marriage (Jane herself was illegitimate)
Paige, Christopher Pg Hardwick MA
Pickering, John Pr Portsmouth NH Charged with failure to attend church; said reason was not discontent with minister but rather “great deafness”
Porter, Herodias Long Hicks Gardner Pr, V Boston Divorced; moved to RI; had 9 children out of wedlock; whipped and jailed for Quaker beliefs; took up with married lieutenant governor
Porter, John V Roxbury MA Hutchinson supporter; excommunicated and exiled for antinomy; moved to RI and became Lt. Gov.; deserted wife to marry Herodias Long Hicks Gardner
Pynchon, William J Springfield MA Church insufficiently strict; returned to England
Rand, Francis Pr Rye NH Fined for drinking on the Sabbath
Richardson, Ezekiel Pg Woburn MA Hutchinson supporter; renounced support rather than disarm and move
Russell, John (Rev.) V Wethersfield CT Dispute between Presbyterians and Congregationalists; left with entire church and founded Hadley MA
Sherman, Philip V Roxbury MA Hutchinson supporter; excommunicated and exiled for antinomy; moved to RI
Slocum, Giles V Newport RI Excommunicated for joining the Quakers; moved to RI
Swain, Richard Pr Hampton NH Fined and disenfranchised for harboring Quakers; bought island of Nantucket and moved there
Swift, Joan Sisson V Sandwich MA Fined for attending Quaker meetings
Taber, Philip V Edgartown MA Committed “certain moral indiscretions” making it necessary to leave Martha’s Vineyard and move to RI
Thorne, William Jr. V Flushing NY Signed Flushing Remonstrance protesting illegal treatment of Quakers
Townsend, Henry V Jamaica NY Arrested twice for harboring Quakers; moved to Oyster Bay NY, signed Flushing Remonstrance
Tucker, Henry V Milton MA Persecuted for being a Quaker; moved to Dartmouth MA
Underhill, John V Boston MA Fined/arrested for antinomy and contemptuous speeches; disarmed, disenfranchised, and discharged, later banished; excommunicated for adultery, then reinstated
Warren, John Pr Watertown MA Fined for refusal to kneel at communion; neglect of public worship on Sabbath (14 times); suspicion of harboring Quakers; granddaughter accused of possession by the devil
Webster, John (Gov.) V Hartford CT Followed Russell to Hadley MA in fight over infant baptism
White, Ebenezer (Rev.) V Danbury CT Expelled from Congregational church in fight over infant damnation and original sin; formed New Danbury Church
Willey, Joana Luten J New London CT Fined 5 shillings in 1667 for missing public worship, along with her children
Wing, Daniel V Sandwich MA Quaker; fined so repeatedly and heavily that he signed estate over to his minor children to prevent its confiscation
Winslow, Kenelm Pg Marshfield MA Fined for speaking opprobrious words against the church
Worden, Peter Pg Yarmouth MA Fined for causing a disturbance in the meeting house on Sabbath (by holding a conversation)
Wright, Nicholas V Boston MA Quaker; niece Lydia Wright was imprisoned, stripped, tied to a cart and whipped in public; fled to uncle’s home in Long Island