The Life of Samuel Sharpe
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The Great Migration Begins
SHARP, SAMUEL [1629, Salem]
FIRST RESIDENCE: Salem
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
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
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
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.