Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Working on Wednesday: Lawrence Southwick (1598 - 1660), Glass Maker

The first record we have for this maternal ninth great grandfather is that of his marriage to Cassandra Burnell in 1623 in the English Midlands in the parish of Kingswinford which is less than four miles north of Stourbridge where glassmakers from France had begun to practice their trade early in the 17th century.

We don't know for certain exactly when the Southwick family arrived in Massachusetts but Lawrence and Cassandra became members of the First Church of Salem in March of 1638 and Lawrence had to have been a church member in good standing when he became a freeman of that town in September of the same year. Two months later Lawrence is mentioned again in Salem town records when he's one of three "Glassemen" given grants of land in what became known as Glass-House Field*:
"Graunted to the Glassemen severall acres of ground adjoyning to their howses, viz: one acre more to Ananias Concline; & 2 acres a peece to the other twoe, viz., Laurence Southick, & Obediah Holmes, each of them 2 acres, to be added to their former howse Lotts."**
[Approximate position of glass house from "A map of Salem Villiage in 1692", by M.K.Roach, 1985.

From fragments of glass and slag found in the field in later years, it appears that what the glassmen were bottles and window glass. However this first attempt at a New England glassworks doesn't appear to have been a profitable venture because:
"The General Court of Massachusetts, in an effort to encourage the manufacture of glass, voted in 1641 'that if the town lend the glass men thirty pounds, they should be allowed it again out of their next rate, and the glass men to repay it again if the work succeeded when they are able.'"***
Lawrence appears to have ceased being involved in glassmaking by 1642 and acquired more land including several lots and a "great meadow" which are listed in his estate inventory which also includes mention of horses, cows, pigs and sheep.

After Lawrence and his family became Quakers and thereby fell afoul of the civil and religious leaders of Salem, he was fined, imprisoned, and finally banished from Massachusetts in 1659 and threatened with death if he was to return. Lawrence, Cassandra and one of their sons fled the colony then, taking refuge on Shelter Island at the east end of New York's Long Island. His will, which was made later that year, begins:
"I Lawrence Sethwick late of Salem in New England, now being at the house of Nathaniell Silvester on Shelter Island, being weak in body but of sound mind and memory do make and Ordain this my last will & Testament The Tenth day of the 5th month 1659"
He left bequests to his children--land to his sons and several other men and money to his daughters--with his wife to have everything he owns for her lifetime if she survives him. But as we know, Cassandra lived only three days longer than he did.

He and Cassandra are buried in the Silvester Manor Burial Ground. A memorial to Quakers who were persecuted for their faith was erected there in 1884, but none the graves of people buried between 1652 and 1729 have individual gravestones.

More general information about Lawrence and Cassandra here.
Genealogy of Conklins including the Southwicks who may have been related here.

*Now in the town of Peabody.
**Historical Collections of the Essex Institute, Volume 16, page 2.
***A study of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick and John A. Wells, The Peabody Story, Essex Institute [Salem MA, 1972], 163.

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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