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The Life of Samuel Sharpe

The following has been extracted from The Great Migration Begins - to whom all credits are given - with only format editing for reproduction for this page.

The Great Migration Begins
SHARP, SAMUEL [1629, Salem]


ORIGIN: London
RETURN TRIPS: Possible return in 1631 or 1632 to bring wife and daughter to New England

OCCUPATION: Merchant (in London).
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: Admission to Salem church prior to 3 July 1632 implied by freemanship; in list of Salem church members compiled in late 1636 (with later annotation "dead") [SChR 5]. On 3 September 1635 "Mr. Sam[ue]ll Sharpe is enjoined to appear at the next particular court, to answer for the letter that came from the church of Salem, as also to bring the names of those that will justify the same, or else to acknowledge his offense under his own hand" [MBCR 1:161]. As early as 23 January 1636/7 he was elder of the church [STR 1:33].
FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1630 and admitted 3 July 1632 (as "Mr. Sam[ue]ll Sharpe") [MBCR 1:79, 367].
EDUCATION: He wrote a well-composed letter to John Winthrop in July 1638 [WP 4:43]. His estate included "old books" valued at 12s.
OFFICES: On 26 February 1628[/9] the Court of Assistants in London ordered five pieces of ordnance to be placed in his hands (and he was to have carriages made for them) with a great quantity of other arms and great shot [MBCR 1:25]. On 3 March 1628/9 "Mr. Samuell Sharpe with whom there hath been an agreement made in behalf of the company to give him 10 per [annum] for three years to have the oversight of the ordnance to be planted in the fort to be built upon the plantation & what else may concern artillery business to give his advice in ... for the presented a bill for three drums and other particulars amounting to 5..." [MBCR 1:29]. In the letter of 17 April 1629 from Gravesend, Samuel Sharp is described: "Mr. Sharpe is by us entertained to be Master Gunner of our Ordnance in which service he is to employ so much of his time as the charge of that office doth require, and in the rest he is to follow other imployments, of our Governors and others for whose employment he is particularly sent over." Endicott having asked for a copy of the patent, they sent "our patent, under the broad seal and the company's seal in silver by Mr. Samuell Sharpe, passenger in the George, who we think is yet riding in the Hope..." [MBCR 1:392, 394, 396-97]. He is last named of the thirteen persons to be chosen as "the body of the Government."
Assistant, 20 October 1629 (Roger Ludlow appointed in his stead since "by reason of his absence" Sharpe did not take the oath, 10 February 1629/30) [MBCR 1:60, 69].
Salem committee to "consider of some convenient place for shops," 22 August 1635 [STR 1:10]. On 30 March 1640 "it is ordered that Mr. Sharpe shall write the records of all the town lands" [STR 1:101]. Committee to oversee rebuilding of bridge, 16 February 1645/6 [STR 1:141].
ESTATE: On 10 March 1628/9 "a proposition was made this day by Samuell Sharpe, who was formerly entertained to do his indeavor in the company's implements concerning artillery business ... that all or the better part of his salary might be paid him now, to provide him apparel withall, and if he should happen to die before he had deserved it, his said apparel should satisfy it; upon debate whereof, it was thought fit that 20 should be paid him" [MBCR 1:34].
In Salem land grant of 1636 "Mr. S. Sharp" received three hundred acres, and was included in the "freeman's" section [STR 1:19, 33]. In the 25 December 1637 division of marsh and meadow lands "Mr. Sharpe" received one acre for a household of seven [STR 1:103]. On 10 May 1643 "Samuel Sharpe" sold to John Porter his farm on the north of the farm of Mr. Skelton deceased [ELR 1:3, 13:105].
"Mr. Samuell Sharp of Salem, dying intestate, about ten years ago and no inventory of his estate having been brought in until this present court [27 November 1666], and it appearing that there was but little estate and the account of the estate not being administered at the time, the wife of the deceased had lived upon the town, court ordered that 25 be allowed to the children to be divided among them by the selectmen of Salem and the remainder to remain in the selectmen's hands for the widow" [EQC 3:375].
Inventory of the estate of "Mr. Samuell Sharpe" taken 18 June 1664 by John Browne, Sr. and Hillyard Veren totalled 67 1s. 4d., of which the real estate included "Dwelling house & about three acres of ground 50." The estate had 10 in debts to "several men" [EQC 3:375].
Alice Sharpe died intestate and administration of her estate was granted to Nathaniel Sharpe, who on 14 November 1667 presented an inventory of 93 7s., showing the same dwelling house and three acres, now valued at 70 [EPR 2:95]. At the next court, a paper dated 29 November 1667 was brought that said: Nathaniel Sharpe of Salem, administrator of the estate of his mother, lately deceased, by whom the estate was ordered divided, should have a double portion and the remainder should be equally divided among the rest of the children, signed by Nathaniel Sharpe, Thomas Jeggells, Christopher Phelps, John Norton, and Hannah Sharpe [EQC 3:466].

BIRTH: About 1593 (aged 36 on 4 April 1629 [EIHC 28:112]).

DEATH: Salem about 1656 [EQC 3:375].

MARRIAGE: By license dated 4 April 1629 Alice Stileman, aged 24, daughter of Robert Stileman [EIHC 28:112]; "Alice Sharpe" is in the list of Salem church members compiled in late 1636 [SChR 6]. She died Salem [blank] August 1667.

i ABIGAIL, b. England late 1629 or early 1630; m. by 1648 Thomas Jeggles (eldest child b. Salem 21 July 1648). (Raymon Meyers Tingley gives the marriage date as 27 October 1647 [Tingley-Meyers 164], but as no other source, including the Salem vital records, reports this event, we may say with great assurance that this date has been invented.)

ii ELIAS, bp. Salem 1 January 1636/7 [SChR 16]; no further record.

iii EDWARD, bp. Salem 14 April 1639 [SChR 17]; no further record.

iv MARY, bp. Salem 29 June 1640 [SChR 18]; m. Salem 3 April 1660 John Norton.

v EXPERIENCE, bp. Salem 19 June 1641 [SChR 18]; m. Salem 9 July 1658 Christopher Phelps (the bride's name given in the published version of the record as "Elizabeth").

vi NATHANIEL, bp. Salem 10 November 1644 [SChR 20]; m. Salem 30 December 1668 Rebecca Marshall.

vii HANNAH, bp. Salem 21 January 1646/7 [SChR 21]; unm. in 1667; no further record.

ASSOCIATIONS: Samuel Sharp's wife, Alice Stileman, was niece of ELIAS STILEMAN, and sister of Richard Stileman, both of Salem [Waters 112].

COMMENTS: On 28 May 1629 the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company wrote to John Endicott that Barnabie Claydon, a wheelwright, was to serve Mr. Sharpe [MBCR 1:401].
In the 25 June 1639 suit between Philip Verin and Joseph Pope, Mr. Hathorne and Mr. Sharpe were to audit the account [EQC 1:11]. In the 12 July 1642 Robert Cotta versus Dorcas Verin slander and perjury suit, the case was referred to Mr. Hathorne and "the elders, Mr. Norris and Mr. Sharpe, by consent" [EQC 1:42]. With other elders, Mr. Sharpe received 40s. from Allen Keniston in his will [EQC 1:154]. Mr. Samuell Sharpe sued Mr. Samuell Mavericke for debt, but the case was nonsuited 30 September 1651 [EQC 1:233].
Because daughter Abigail was several years older than the rest of the children, Savage suggested that Samuel Sharp may have had another wife earlier than Alice, but he did not know about the marriage to Alice Stileman. A more likely solution is that Samuel Sharp, departing for New England not long after his marriage, left his bride, already pregnant with Abigail, in England and returned for her and his young daughter a few years later.
Pope, citing Dudley, says that Samuel Sharp had "a daughter, who died 3 Jan. 1631." The child in question was actually a daughter of THOMAS SHARP.