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2v HOLY BIBLE 1796 Leather GEN. TIM RUGGLES Family STAMP Act REVOLUTIONARY WAR See original listing
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Religion & Spirituality

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1st Edition, Illustrated, Signed


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The Holy Bible, London: Bowyer, 1796. 2 Volume Holy Bible bound in deep red leather with moderate wear overall, as shown. Marbled endpapers, engraved title pages to both Volumes, as well as New Testament. Hinges intact. Onwed by the Ruggles and Owen family, with handwritten genealogy of the Ruggles' starting in Sussex England in 1499 with Thomas Ruggles' birth, d 1547, spanning through Plymouth pilgrims Thomas and John (came n the ship 'Hopewell'), who settled in Massachusetts in 1635, including such noted members as Samuel Ruggles, b 1658, married Martha Woodbridge, daughter of Rev John Woodbridge(see below), includes Rev Timothy Ruggles, Harvard Grad 1707, Brig General Timothy Ruggles, famed American Loyalist and Stamp Act Delegate/Opposer/ Harvard Grad 1732 (see below), and the list ges on and on. This is by far one of the most extensive and well documented family genealogies I have ever come across and is truly fascinating and are museum worthy pieces.

Brig Gen Timothy Ruggles

Timothy Dwight Ruggles
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by James Otis, Sr.
Succeeded by Samuel White
Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
for Hardwick[1]
In office
1754, 1757, 1761 – 1755, 1759, 1770
Chief Justice of the
Court of Common Pleas[2]
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
In office
January 21,[3]1762[2] – 1774[3]
Judge of the
Court of Common Pleas[2]
of the Province of Massachusetts Bay
In office
April 19, 1757[3][2] – 1774[3]
Personal details
Born October 20, 1711
Rochester, Massachusetts[4]
Died August 4, 1795
Resting place Wilmot, Nova Scotia[5]
Spouse(s) Bathsheba Newcomb née Bourne
Children Martha Ruggles (b. August 10, 1736),[6]
Timthy Ruggles (b. January 7, 1738-39),[6]
Bathsheba Ruggles,[6]
John Ruggles,[5]
Timothy Ruggles,[5]
Richard Ruggles.[5]
Residence Wilmot, Nova Scotia[7]
Alma mater Harvard
Occupation Lawyer
Military service
Allegiance Province of Massachusetts Bay
Service/branch Massachusetts militia

Timothy Dwight Ruggles[8] (October 20, 1711 – August 4, 1795) was an American military leader, jurist and politician. He was a delegate to the first Stamp Act congress of 1765.

Early life

Ruggles was born on October 20, 1711 to Rev. Timothy Ruggles.[2] He was grandson of Capt. Samuel Ruggles of Roxbury and Martha Woodbridge, who was a granddaughter of Governor Thomas Dudley.

He was graduated from Harvard in 1732; studied law, and established himself in practice in Rochester.[2] In 1735 he married Mrs. Bathsheba Newcomb, widow of William Newcomb and the daughter of the Hon. Melatiah Bourne of Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Stamp Act

After serving as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1763, he was selected as a delegate to the first colonial (or Stamp Act) congress of 1765 meeting in New York on October 7, Ruggles was elected its president. After he refused to sanction the addresses sent by that body to Great Britain he was publicly censured by the General Court of Massachusetts.

He became one of the leading Tories of New England. He commanded the Loyalist militia volunteers.

Later life

In 1775, he left Boston for Nova Scotia with the British troops and accompanied Lord Howe to Staten Island. His estates were confiscated, and in 1779 he received a grant of 10,000 acres (40 km²) of land in Wilmot, Nova Scotia, where he settled.

Ruggles left his daughter, Bathsheba Ruggles, behind enemy lines in Massachusetts. In 1778 she was hanged while pregnant for killing her husband Joshua Spooner.

Political offices
Preceded by
James Otis, Sr.
Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Samuel White
Preceded by
Member of the Massachusetts House
for Hardwick, Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by
Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas of
the Province of Massachusetts Bay

January 21, 1762–1774
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of
the Province of Massachusetts Bay

April 19, 1757–1774
Succeeded by

TIMOTHY RUGGLES (1711-1795) The Rise and Fall of a Massachusetts

Timothy Ruggles was a prominent leader in the Massachusetts colony during
the time immediately preceding the American Revolution in 1775. Had he not
been a Loyalist, he might have been one of the founding fathers of the new
He was born in Rochester, Massachusetts in 1711, the son of Reverend Timothy
(Harvard College 1707) and Mary Ruggles and was the fifth generation of his
family born in America. His father wanted him to be a learned man and sent
him to Harvard. However, he did not follow his father into the ministry because
he did not have the reserved temperment of a clergyman. Instead, he was more
inclined towards the adversarial disposition of a lawyer. Consequently he
studied law and graduated in 1732. Upon graduation, he opened up a practice
in his home town of Rochester where he was also elected as a Representative
of the General Court, or Assembly, at the age of 25. From the beginning, he
was ambitious and driven towards success. Being over six feet tall, he
projected a commanding presence over his much shorter associates.
His practice took him to County Courts in Plymouth and Barnstable. When
traveling to Cape Cod, he usually stayed at the Newcomb Tavern in Sandwich.
It was the first inn to open in Sandwich and the building still stands as a private
home on Grove Street. The tavern was being run by Bathsheba Bourne
Newcomb, a beautiful, dark skinned and wealthy widow with 7 children. There
must have been an instant spark of passion between these two fiery
personalities because they were married within five months of Bathsheba's
burying her first husband. Neither cared about the opinions of others. Timothy
(age 25) and Bathsheba (age 32) were wed in1736 by her father, Judge Melitiah
Bourne, the wealthiest man in Sandwich. The fact that she was beautiful,
independently wealthy and from a prominent family; must have played a role in
his decision to become the instant head of a large family. He was no stranger to
a house full of children because he was the eldest of 12.
They resided at the inn in Sandwich and immediately began a family of their
own. However, Timothy initially kept his official residence in Rochester because
of his re-election to the General Court from that town. The unexpected death of
lawyer Nathaniel Otis created a need for an attorney in Sandwich and Ruggles
filled the void and officially became a Sandwich resident in 1739.
Ruggles hung his lawyer's shingle outside the inn and maintained the dual role
of attorney and inn keeper. In 1821, a family descendent wrote, "He was social,
witty, profane, wise about human nature, and quick to drop ceremony and
convention when they ceased to be of social value." Hard manual work was not
beneath him and he personally attended both the stable and the bar. Oddly
enough, he was a virtual teetotaler who only drank an occasional small beer.
All the while, he continued to expand his law practice and was recognized as
one of the leading lawyers in the province of Massachusetts. He served as a
representative of the Crown for a fixed fee which often brought him into
opposition with James Otis Sr., a Cape Cod neighbor from Barnstable who was
representing individuals who had charges brought against them by the
authorities. Later in his career, Ruggles would find himself vying against James
Otis Jr., a strong advocate for the cause of independence, but that would
happen many years later.
In the meantime, Ruggles political career continued to move forward and among
the many posts he held was that of Excise Collector for Barnstable County. He
remained popular among his new townspeople and was elected to 6 terms as
Sandwich's Representative to the Assembly in Boston during the 17 years he
lived there. During his time in Sandwich, he not only built up his practice, but
also his family. He had seven children with Bathsheba, 4 girls and 3 boys.
In 1753, at age 42, he was seeking a grander life style and he moved his wife
and their 7 children to Hardwick, a new town outside of Worcester,
Massachusetts. The relocation had been in the planning stage for some time
and Ruggles acted in concert with 6 other Ruggles families who moved to the
area where they had acquired a very large tract of land. Timothy was by far the
richest and most well known person in the new town. Bathsheba's children from
her first marriage were now older and some were married and they did not make
the move to Hardwick. William Newcomb Ruggles now ran the Sandwich
Ruggles began a life style commensurate with his wealth and that of English
country gentlemen. He entertained his guests in a lavish style and conducted
hunts on the property and hosted many grand dinners. Surprisingly, it was
around this time that he stopped eating meat and became a vegetarian. Russell
Lovell's book about Sandwich gives us a good description of the Ruggles 400
acre farm. He writes:
"Timothy and Bathsheba established no ordinary farm in Hardwick. He
laid out a deer park and stocked it. He bought imported and local horses of
excellent breeds and developed splendid hunting and riding horses. He bought
prize bulls and developed a dairy herd. He laid out a large orchard with many
fruit varieties. In all these activities, especially the selection of stock, the
breeding patterns of his animals and the grafting and propagation of his trees, he
displayed the greatest interest and observation in advanced scientific practices.
He was able to entertain in baronial style, and his home became a magnet for
travelers from all over the state."
Ruggles continued to be active in politics and like he had done in his other
communities, he was elected as Hardwick's Representative to the General Court
in 1754; a position he would hold for the next 17 years. He was also appointed a
judge in Worcester.
The French and Indian War against the British and its American colonies broke
out shortly after his move to Hardwick. His leadership skills and loyalty to the
cause were quickly evident when he raised a regiment of colonial volunteers from
Worcester County and he assumed their command as Colonel. It was not long
before he participated in a joint Colonial-British regulars attack on Crown Point in
the Lakes region of New York. It failed and Ruggles was vocal in rebuking the
British tactics of marching columns of troops against entrenched enemy
positions. The English, under the command of Sir William Johnson, did not
appreciate criticism from a colonial volunteer.
The next year, 1756, the all Provincial American forces won a significant victory
at Lake George and this time Ruggles was second in command. He continued to
fight in the campaigns of 1756, 1757 and 1758 and was subsequently named
Brigadier General in charge of Provincial forces from Massachusetts and Rhode
Island. In 1759, as second in command to Lord Amherst, the joint British and
Provincial forces attacked Fort Ticonderoga and wrested it from the French. Fort
Ticonderoga would later play an ironic role in his life. He participated in
campaigns in each season through 1762 when the battles largely ended in
America. Ruggles had achieved wide spread recognition as a fine officer who
demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and whose troops would willingly
serve under him.
After the war, he triumphantly returned to Hardwick and was amply rewarded by
the Crown for his efforts. He was named Survey-General of the King’s Forests
receiving 300 pounds per year and was also granted 1500 acres in nearby
Princeton. His political career blossomed and he was named Chief Justice of the
Worcester Superior Court. Not only did he continue to represent Hardwick in
Boston, but he was named Speaker of the House in 1762/1763. Around this
time, young John Adams wrote in his journal, "Ruggles grandeur consists in the
quickness of his apprehension, steadiness of attention, the boldness and
strength of his thoughts and expressions, his strict honor, conscious superiority,
and contempt of meanness. People approach him with dread and terror."
Up until this time, the colonists considered themselves as staunch Englishmen as
they had done for the last 150 years. Circumstances were about to change and
so would the attitudes of some and later many of the colonists.
The French and Indian War had cost a huge sum of money and England insisted
that the American colonies help pay the debt of 147 million pounds accrued
during the war. England also had a 10,000 man army still stationed on the
western borders of the colonies to protect against Indian attacks and possible
French encroachments. The Crown wanted the colonies to help bear the costs.
Consequently Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765 that taxed legal
documents, newspapers and playing cards. The stamp was evidence that the
tax had been paid. Stamps were familiar in England adorning all kinds of
documents and they generated 300,000 pounds per year for the Crown.
However, this was the first time Parliament had placed an external tax on the
American colonies.
Ruggles, who fought in the war, appreciated the price that England had paid in
lives and pounds. He was a Tory and loyal to the King and thought it was a
reasonable approach and cautioned for moderation. He was in the minority.
Many in the colony openly rebelled against the tax. People in New York, Virginia
and Philadelphia took to the streets in protest. Mobs in Rhode Island hanged the
tax officials in effigy. New Englanders called for a boycott of British goods. In
Boston, the Sons of Liberty destroyed the home of Lieutenant Governor
Hutchinson. James Otis Jr., a Ruggles opponent and the son of his old adversary
on Cape Cod, called it a violation of the colonists' constitutional rights. When Otis
was elected as a member of the Assembly, Ruggles confided to a dinner guest,
"Out of this election will arise a damned faction which will shake this province to
its foundation".
The Massachusetts Assembly called for a meeting of all of the colonies to
discuss and act upon the Stamp Act. In June, 1765, representatives of 9 of the
13 colonies met in New York. It was the first national convention of the colonies
and it was convened without the approval of the Crown. Massachusetts sent 3
representatives with the two more important being Timothy Ruggles and James
Otis Jr. The Royal Governor of Massachusetts awaited instructions from London,
but knew that the colonial congress would be completed by the time he received
direction. Therefore he attempted to mitigate the situation by using his leverage
to have Loyalist Ruggles made President of the Congress. The fact that his
peers voted him President indicates that loyalty to the Crown was still a moderate
and popular position to most Americans in 1765. Ruggles had reached the apex
of his career.
The Congress sent a deferential petition to the King and Parliament stating the
"Essential Rights and Liberties of the Colonists." Among many items, they listed
2 privileges essential to freedom; 1) - that they are free of all taxes unless
consented to by their representatives and 2) - that they are entitled to a trial by
their peers (and not by the Admiralty Court). It was a moderate document in that
it did not either reject or acknowledge Parliament's authority. Nevertheless,
Ruggles was 1 of 2 representatives who refused to lend his signature to the
proceedings. This was the beginning of his down fall from popularity along with
all other Tories and he would eventually face virulent attacks. One of the earliest
denunciations came in the form of a censure from the Massachusetts Assembly,
led by James Otis Jr., for the Brigadier's refusal to approve the actions of the
Stamp Act Congress despite his being President of the group.
Within a year Parliament repealed the Stamp Act due to the protests in the
colonies and the political pressures brought by the English merchant class who
were experiencing large losses due to the colonial boycotts. However, the
strains and tensions between the colonies and England would continue to grow
in the ensuing years. The inhabitants of Massachusetts would move from a quiet
accommodation with the British imperial system to massive rebellion against it.
Despite Ruggles censure, the Brigadier would continue to be elected as the
Representative from conservative Hardwick and was re-elected to the General
Court as late as 1770.
England was still in a quandary as to how to pay for the war debts and the new
Chancellor of the Exchequer levied the Townsend Act upon the American
Colonies which taxed common goods imported into the colonies. Once again it
was vehemently opposed by the Americans who boycotted English goods and
smuggled in other products to avoid the tax and threatened violence against the
custom officials. "Taxation without representation is tyranny", a phrase credited to
Otis, was on the lips of many colonists. Like its predecessor, the Stamp Act, it
too was quickly repealed - except for a symbolic, small tax on tea. In December
1773 the Sons of Liberty, furious about even a small tax, conducted the Boston
Tea Party and dumped 40 tons of British tea into the harbor. It would be the
prelude to the Revolution.
The British responded rapidly and harshly to the deteriorating situation in
Boston. In 1774, England closed the port of Boston, the busiest port in America,
as the Crown tried to isolate the rebellious locals. General Gage arrived in the
city, declared martial law and was made Governor General of the colony. He
ended the native democracy of the colony by refusing to convene the Assembly.
Furthermore, he changed the nature of the Governor's Council. Instead of its
members being nominated by the Assembly, Gage personally appointed 36
Tories to the Governor's Council. Many of the appointees declined the position
because the practice was fiercely opposed by the populace and because they
faced violence from the Sons of Liberty.
Ruggles was one of the appointed councilors and stubbornly he said he would
accept the position. When his Hardwick townsmen found this out they ordered
him to immediately leave town. The next morning, just after daybreak, he rode
out of town alone fleeing to the safety of the British encampment in Boston. He
was met at a bridge by his brother, Benjamin who had taken the Patriot side. It
was reported that the Brigadier said, "I shall come back at the head of 500
soldiers if necessary" to which his brother replied, "If you cross this bridge today,
you will never cross it again alive." It was August 1774 and he never returned.
Timothy Ruggles was now a vilified figure. The appointment of the 36 councilors
by General Gage prompted Mercy Otis Warren, sister of James Otis Jr., to write
her satirical play, The Group in late 1774. One of the lead characters is Brigadier
Hateall, a ferocious warmonger who is married to a lowly tavern woman, "nutbrown
Kate, the buxom dowager." Hateall says he would not abandon hisposition in the
Governor's Council even to save his wife, family and friends. He
boasts of beating his wife and recommends the same course be taken to other
wives if they object to quartering British soldiers in their homes. Mercy's friend,
John Adams, had the play published anonymously and the Patriots read it with
delight. She reveled in savaging her former Cape Cod neighbor, a Tory and
lifetime opponent of her brother and father.
In April 1775, the battles at Lexington and Concord were waged and the war had
begun. In June, the British forces decided to attack the colonialists atop Bunker
Hill. General Gage let it be known that he thought the rebels would run at the
sight of British cannon. Ruggles believed he was wrong and that the Americans
would fight bravely. When the battle ended in disaster for the British, Ruggles
was reported to have told him, "My God sir, your folly has ruined your cause."
The Revolution was fully underway and Boston, under control of the British,
became the only safe place for the 1500 Tories who fled to it. Among them was
Ruggles who organized 200 Loyalist men called the Loyal American Volunteers.
There is no evidence that Ruggles ever fought against the American Forces.
The British and Loyalists continued to be hemmed in Boston by General
Washington’s forces and the stalemate continued until a young Colonel Knox
pulled, pushed and dragged cannon from the recently seized Fort Ticonderoga to
Boston. When the British realized their fleet was in jeopardy, they had no choice
but to evacuate Boston. On March 17, 1776, the British and Loyalists sailed
away having been driven out by the cannon from the fort that Timothy Ruggles
had helped capture 20 years earlier during the French and Indian War.
Ruggles evacuated to the English strong hold in New York and stayed on Staten
Island and later Long Island. While in New York he began a series of
unsuccessful efforts to gain British support for a Loyalist company. But the
British saw them as "colonists" and not their equals as "Englishmen". His habit of
informing the British officers of their stupidity did not help his cause. A fellow
Loyalist, Edward Winslow, wrote at the time: "There was such a mixture of virtue
even with his obstinacy that while we depreciated it as unfortunate to ourselves
we dared not oppose it."
At the end of the war, Timothy Ruggles was among the 30,000 to 40,000
Loyalists who were relocated to Canada by the British. The Crown rewarded him
for his service by granting him 1,000 acres in Wilmot, Nova Scotia on the Bay of
Fundy where at age 70 he built a new estate. He resided there until his death at
age 83 in 1795.
Tories, for the most part, were people with entrenched power and wealth. They
were the office holders, large land owners, clergymen of the established church,
and judges. An inordinate number of Massachusetts Tories also were Harvard
graduates. They were conservatives who were reluctant to accept change and
were certainly opposed to a revolution that rejected the King and Parliament.
They thought of themselves as Englishmen who wanted stability in the colonies
and harmony with their mother country. They were proud of the British Empire
and they considered themselves as Englishmen and part of the most powerful
and most free nation on earth.
The Brigadier was descended from a long line of Ruggles who were ministers,
lawyers, and representatives in the legislature. He was an integral part of the
power structure. As the clashes between London and the colonies increased, he
was resolute in his defense of the Crown. He was unbending in his loyalty to
Britain and he could not bring himself to cross over to the other side. As far as
he was concerned, the movement for independence was being driven by an
unruly mob and he rejected their violent efforts for separation from England.
While his opponents saw him as obstinate and inflexible, he saw himself as a
man of uncompromising principles. It was not in his nature to change sides.
Had he done so, his leadership skills, military expertise, and judicial ability would
have put him in a position to play a prominent role in the development of a new
When Massachusetts in 1778 published a list of the top 300 Tories, Timothy
Ruggles was 3rd on the list (behind Governor Hutchinson and Tax Collector
Oliver). They were officially exiled from Massachusetts, their property seized and
they were forbidden to return on pain of death.
The Revolution split the Ruggles family. When he fled to Boston, Bathsheba did
not go with him and she never joined her husband in exile. Over the years their
relationship had withered and any bond between them was now gone. Perhaps
his nearly 7 year war time absence drained the relationship and added further to
Bathsheba's independent spirit. Their 400 acre farm was confiscated by the
authorities and she went to live with her son Timothy III until her death. On the
other hand the Brigadier had the loyalty of his 3 sons. John and Richard would
join Ruggles in Boston and ultimately in Nova Scotia. Timothy III also moved to
Nova Scotia after the death of his mother and later became a member of the
House of Assembly of Nova Scotia. His 4 daughters were married and stayed in
His favorite daughter, Bathsheba, met a tragic fate. On July 2, 1778, she along
with her 3 accomplices was hanged for murdering her husband. The incredible
spectacle of the quadruple hanging took place in Worcester, very close to the
court house where her father had been the Chief Justice.


Bathsheba Ruggles-Spooner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner
Born February 15, 1746
Sandwich, Massachusetts
Died July 2, 1778 (aged 32)
Worcester, Massachusetts
Conviction(s) Inciting, abetting, and procuring the manner and form of murder
Penalty Death by hanging
Status Deceased
Spouse Joshua Spooner
Parents Timothy Ruggles, father

Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner (February 15, 1746 – July 2, 1778)[1] was the first woman to be executed in the United States by Americans rather than the British.

The daughter of a prominent Colonial American lawyer, justice and military officer, Bathsheba Ruggles had an arranged marriage to a wealthy farmer, Joshua Spooner, prior to her father's banishment from Massachusetts in 1774, due to his British Loyalist stance. Reportedly growing unhappy in the marriage, she confessed to an "aversion" to her husband. After meeting and becoming lovers with a young soldier from the Continental Army, Ezra Ross, Spooner became pregnant and attempted to involve her reluctant lover and two servants in a plan to murder her husband. Finally she enlisted the assistance of two British soldiers escaped from General Burgoyne's captive troops. On the night of March 1, 1778, one of the soldiers beat Joshua Spooner to death in his dooryard, and the body was put in the Spooner well. Bathsheba Spooner and the three men were tried and convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.

Subsequent issues arose concerning Spooner's petition for a delay in sentence because of her pregnancy, which was first denied and then supported by some members of a group of "examiners." The four were executed anyway, and a post-mortem examination requested by Spooner revealed that she was, indeed, five months pregnant. Historians have pointed out that the trial and speedy execution may have been hastened by anti-Loyalist sentiment, and also that the person who signed Spooner's death warrant was Joshua Spooner's stepbrother.


Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner was the daughter of Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles, a lawyer who had served as chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1762 to 1764,[2] and founder and most eminent citizen of the town of Hardwick, Massachusetts.[3] He married Bathsheba Bourne of Sandwich, Massachusetts on September 18, 1736.[1] Timothy Ruggles was a strong-willed and determined man, qualities he shared with his daughter, although such were considered unbecoming in a woman.[3] Timothy Ruggles was an avowed Loyalist or Tory, who threatened to raise an army to protect his and other Loyalist farms and livestock against Patriot attacks. He was ultimately banished from Massachusetts for joining forces with the British Army in Boston and ultimately Staten Island, New York. After the war he was given a stipend and extensive land grant in Wilmot, Nova Scotia by King George III.[4]

Under public censure for his refusal to sign the Stamp Act protest as Massachusetts representative to the 1765 Stamp Act Congress, Ruggles might have arranged the marriage on January 15, 1766, for his daughter to Joshua Spooner, but no documentation has yet turned up to explain why Bathsheba Ruggles married a man she very soon came to hate. The son of a wealthy Boston merchant, Spooner was a well-to-do Brookfield farmer, later described as an abusive man for whom his wife, Bathsheba developed "an utter aversion."[3] The Spooners had their first child, Elizabeth, on April 8, 1767[1] Three more followed between 1770 and 1775; Joshua (February 21, 1770-September 18, 1801), who died in London, England and daughter Bathsheba Spooner (January 17, 1775–1858).[1] A second son, John, was born on February 26, 1773 and died on March 19, 1773.[1] The Spooners lived in relative affluence in a two-story house in Brookfield.[2]

Plotting murder

When Ezra Ross first met Bathsheba Spooner in the Spring of 1777, he was a sixteen-year-old soldier in the Continental Army, who had already served in the American Revolution under George Washington for a year.[5] Ross was walking north from Washington's winter camp in Morristown, New Jersey, on his way home to Linebrook, Massachusetts, when he fell ill and was nursed to health by Bathsheba Spooner before heading on to his home.[5] He visited the Spooner home on his way back to rejoin the northern army in July 1777, and again in December after the four-month campaign that ended with the surrender of the British under General Burgoyne and his entire army at Saratoga, New York on October 17, 1777.[5]

Ross stayed on at the Spooner house through Christmas and into the new year, travelling with Joshua Spooner on business trips, as well as carrying on an illicit affair with Bathsheba Spooner.[5] Bathsheba Spooner became pregnant mid-January and began urging Ross to dispose of her husband[5] before her condition would prove that she had committed adultery.[3] In February, 1778, Ross once again accompanied Joshua Spooner, this time on an extended trip to Princeton, Massachusetts, where Spooner owned a potash business. Ross brought along a bottle of nitric acid, given to him by Bathsheba, which he planned to use to poison Spooner.[5] Ross backed out of the plan and returned to his home in Linebrook at the end of the trip rather than accompany Spooner to Brookfield.[5]

While Ross and Joshua Spooner were in Princeton, Bathsheba Spooner had invited two runaway British prisoners of war, Private Williams Brooks and Sergeant James Buchanan, to stay at the Spooner home.[5] She discussed ideas for killing her husband with the pair, and when Joshua Spooner returned home, alive, well and without Ross, she recruited them to assist her.[5] She also wrote to Ross to inform him of the developments, and he returned to Brookfield on Saturday February 28.[5] When Spooner walked home from a local tavern the following evening, March 1, 1778, Brooks committed the murder and Buchanan and Ross helped hide the body down the well. Bathsheba Spooner distributed paper money from her husband's lock box and articles of his clothing to the three men, who then took one of the Spooner horses to Worcester, 14 miles distant[3][6]

The murder was discovered and the group was arrested in Worcester within 24 hours.[3][7] Brooks and Buchanan had spent the remainder of the night drinking, and next morning Brooks showed off Joshua Spooner's silver shoe buckles that were engraved with Spooner’s initials. Ezra Ross was discovered hiding in the attic of the same tavern and immediately asked for a confessor.[7] The trio implicated Bathsheba Spooner and three of her household servants, Sarah Stratton, her son Jesse Parker, and Alexander Cummings.[7] Brooks was charged with the assault on Joshua Spooner, Buchanan and Ross were charged with aiding and abetting in the murder, and Bathsheba Spooner was charged with inciting, abetting, and procuring the manner and form of the murder.[7] All were arraigned and pleaded not guilty.

Trial and execution

During the trial, which took place on April 24, 1778, the household servants, Sarah Stratton, Jesse Parker, and Alexander Cummings, testified for the prosecution, conducted by Robert Treat Paine (later to become Massachusetts' first Attorney General).[7] Levi Lincoln, who would become the United States Attorney General under Thomas Jefferson, was assigned to defend the accused.[7] There was little Lincoln could do to defend Brooks or Buchanan because they (with Ezra Ross) had dictated and signed a lengthy written confession to the crime, but Lincoln did mount a credible defence in support of Ezra Ross and Bathsheba Spooner.[7] He argued that Ross had no intention of harming Joshua Spooner and was not aware of the plan until a few hours before the murder, had not assisted in the murder, and pretended to support it to stay on good terms with his lover.[7] He argued that Bathsheba Spooner had a "disordered mind," her actions were irrational, that the plan was poorly conceived with no plans for the perpetrators to escape.[7]

This was the first capital case in the newly created United States and the verdict came in the next day.[3] All were sentenced to death and execution was set for June 4, 1778.[7] Spooner petitioned for a postponement citing the extenuating circumstances of her pregnancy, based on common law which protected the life of a fetus if it had quickened.[7] Spooner was examined by a panel of 12 women and two male midwives,[8] who all swore that she was not "quick with child." [7] A second examination occurred after Spooner and her confessor, the Reverend Thaddeus Maccarty, protested the midwives’ report, and four of the examiners joined by another midwife and Spooner’s brother-in-law, Dr. John Green, conducted a second examination and supported the claim of pregnancy.[7] The findings were not accepted and Spooner was hanged alongside Ross, Brooks and Buchanan on July 2, before a crowd of 5000 spectators in Worcester's Washington Square.[3][7]


A post-mortem examination, done at Spooner's request, showed that she was in fact pregnant, with "a perfect male fetus of the growth of five months."[7] Historians have questioned the motivation and validity of the opinions of the panel who examined Spooner for pregnancy, as well as the motivation of the Massachusetts Executive Council, suggesting that Spooner was executed based on the hostility in the community against her father's British Loyalist stance.[4][6][7] Further, the deputy secretary and leader of the Massachusetts Executive Council, who signed Spooner's death warrant, John Avery Jr., was part of a group of Patriots called “The Loyal Nine” (the innermost circle of the Sons of Liberty) who opposed Timothy Ruggles. and all Loyalists John Avery, Jr. was a close relation of the murder victim, Joshua Spooner's stepbrother.[4][6]


Timothy Ruggles (Nova Scotia politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Timothy Ruggles (March 7, 1776 – February 21, 1831) was a merchant, farmer and political figure in Nova Scotia. He represented Granville township in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1818 to 1831.

He was born in Granville, Nova Scotia, the son of Timothy Ruggles and the grandson of the loyalist general Timothy Ruggles. He married Jane, the daughter of Edward Thorne. Ruggles was a partner in business with his nephew Stephen S. Thorne, who later also represented Granville in the provincial assembly.


Rev John Woodbridge

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Woodbridge VI (1613–1696) was an English nonconformist, who emigrated to New England. He had positions on both sides of the Atlantic, until 1663, when he settled permanently in New England.


John Woodbridge VI was born at Stanton, near Highworth, England, in 1613 to Rev. John Woodbridge V (1582 - 1637) and Sarah Parker. John was sixth in a line of men by the same name—all ministers—the first of whom, Rev. John Woodbridge I, was a follower of John Wycliffe, a 14th-century translator of the Bible. He studied at the University of Oxford, but, objecting to the oath of conformity, left the university and studied privately till 1634, when he immigrated to America. Woodbridge took up lands at Newbury, Massachusetts, where he acted as first town clerk till 19 November 1638. In 1637, 1640 and 1641 he served as deputy to the general court.[1]

In 1641 Woodbridge of Newbury purchased the land "about Cochichewick" that had been reserved by a vote of the General Court in 1634. He led a group of settlers there in 1641. The settlers named the town Andover because some of them came from Andover, Hampshire, in England. Woodbridge was ordained at Andover, Massachusetts on 24 October 1645 and was chosen teacher of a congregation at Newbury. Cotton Mather said of him

"The town of Andover then first peeping into the world, he was, by the hands of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Worcester, ordained the teacher of a Congregation there. There he continued with good reputation, discharging the duties of the ministry until, upon the invitation of friends, he returned once more to England."[2]

In 1647, Woodbridge returned to England and was made chaplain to the commissioners for the Treaty of Newport, in the Isle of Wight. On this journey he carried a manuscript of poetry by his sister-in-law Anne Bradstreet without her knowledge. He had it published in London as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up into America, by a Gentlewoman in such Parts.[3][4] The publication appears to have been an attempt by Puritan men (Thomas Dudley, Simon Bradstreet, and Woodbridge) to show that a godly and educated woman could elevate the position held by a wife and mother, without necessarily placing her in competition with men.[5] The publication was though unauthorized and reportedly, on the publication of Anne Bradstreet's The Tenth Muse (1650), he wrote:

"I feare the displeasure of no person in the publishing of these Poems but the Author's, without whose knowledge, and contrary to her expectation, I have presumed to bring to publick view what she resolved should never in such as manner see the Sun."[6]

Woodbridge settled in New England in 1663 and became teacher and assistant pastor to his uncle Reverend Thomas Parker, M.A. as minister at Newbury. Disagreeing with his congregation on some points of church discipline, he gave up his post in 1672 and became a magistrate of the township. He died on 17 March 1696.[1]


John Woodbridge married Mercy Dudley, daughter of Governor Thomas Dudley and sister of Anne Bradstreet, on May 20, 1639, probably in Newbury, Massachusetts. They had twelve children. Dudley Woodbridge, judge-advocate of Barbados and director-general of the Royal Assiento Company, who died on 11 February 1721, and whose portrait was painted by Kneller, was probably their son.[1]

Woodbridge's younger brother Benjamin Woodbridge, who went to Massachusetts a few years after him, was the first graduate of Harvard College in 1642.


Thomas RUGGLES [Parents] 1 was born in 1499 in , Sudbury, Suffolk, England. He died on 21 Jun 1547 in , Sudbury, Suffolk, England. He was buried on 21 Jun 1547 in , Sudbury, Suffolk, England. He married Mrs. Thomas RUGGLES about 1529 in Sudbury, , Eng.

Mrs. Thomas RUGGLES 1 was born about 1501 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. She married Thomas RUGGLES about 1529 in Sudbury, , Eng.

They had the following children:

F i Ann RUGGLES 1 was born about 1527 in Of, Sudbury, Suffolk, England.
F ii Elizabeth RUGGLES 1 was born about 1529 in Of, Sudbury, Suffolk, England.
M iii Nicholas RUGGLES
M iv John RUGGLES 1 was born about 1525 in Of, Sudbury, Suffolk, England. He died on 19 May 1566.


Thomas Ruggles
Born: About 1558 – Sudbury, Suffolk, England
Died: June 21, 1647 – Nazeing, Essex, England
Buried: Nazeing, Essex, England
Revised January 23, 2011

Thomas Ruggles was born in about 1558 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. He was the third of seven children born to Nicholas Ruggles (1523-1617) and his unnamed wife. Thomas' siblings were Roger (1548), William (1552), Robert (1561), Edward (1562), Margery (1563) and Roger (1564).

Thomas' grandfather was also named Thomas (1497-1547), but was already deceased by the time the younger Thomas was born. Thomas' great-grandfather was named William (born about 1469) and his 2nd great-grandfather was named Rogyll (born about 1444). Nothing is known of these ancestral Ruggles, and very little is known about Thomas himself.

In 1584, Thomas Ruggles, age 26, married Margery Dandridge, age 22. Margery Dandridge's parents are unknown. Thomas and Margery are known to have had three children, Thomas Ruggles, born in 1584 in Sudbury, John Ruggles and Samuel Ruggles.

Thomas Ruggles died at about age 89 in Nazeing, England, and is presumably buried in a local cemetery. It is not known when Margery Dandridge Ruggles died.


THOMAS4 RUGGLES (THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, THOMAS1) was born 1584 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England, and died 16 Nov 1644 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.  He married MARY CURTIS 01 Nov 1620 in Nasing, Essex, England, daughter of THOMAS CURTIS and MARY CAMP.  She was born Abt. 1586, and died 14 Feb 1674.

--from England, settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts
--was son of Thomas 3 (Nicholas 2, Thomas 1)
--Thomas and Mary came to Roxbury in 1637 with two of their children, Sarah and Samuel.
--came in 1637 from Nazing, England.

Notes for MARY CURTIS:
--may have married (2) Unknown Roote;
 i. THOMAS5 RUGGLES, b. Abt. 1623; d. England.
4. ii. JOHN RUGGLES, b. 1625, Nasing, Essex, England; d. 16 Sep 1658, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
5. iii. SAMUEL RUGGLES, b. 1629, Nasing, Essex, England; d. 15 Aug 1692, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
6. iv. SARAH RUGGLES, b. 19 Apr 1629, Nasing, Essex, England.

3.  JOHN4 RUGGLES (THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, THOMAS1) was born 1591 in Sudbury, Suffolk, England, and died 06 Oct 1663 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.  He married (1) BARBARA.  She died Nov 1636.  He married (2) MARGARET.  

--came in the ship "Hopewell" 1635

Notes for MARGARET:
--Margaret Hammond?
7. i. JOHN5 RUGGLES, b. 1633, England; d. 25 Feb 1713.

Generation No. 3

4.  JOHN5 RUGGLES (THOMAS4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, THOMAS1) was born 1625 in Nasing, Essex, England, and died 16 Sep 1658 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.  He married ABIGAIL CRAFT 24 Jan 1651, daughter of GRIFFIN CRAFT and ALICE.  She was born 28 Mar 1634 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, and died 19 Jan 1707 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts.

--came to Roxbury 1635 when 10 years of age on the "Hopewell" with his uncle John Ruggles.
 i. JOHN6 RUGGLES, b. 16 Oct 1651; d. Died young.
8. ii. JOHN RUGGLES, b. 22 Jan 1654, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts; d. 16 Dec 1694.
 iii. THOMAS RUGGLES, b. 28 Jan 1655; d. 01 Jun 1728.
 iv. SAMUEL RUGGLES, b. 16 Aug 1657.

5.  SAMUEL5 RUGGLES (THOMAS4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, THOMAS1) was born 1629 in Nasing, Essex, England, and died 15 Aug 1692 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.  He married (1) HANNAH FOWLE 1655.  She died 24 Oct 1669.  He married (2) ANNA BRIGHT 26 May 1670, daughter of HENRY BRIGHT.  She was born Abt. 1644, and died 05 Sep 1711.

--came to Roxbury 1637 with his parents Thomas and Mary, and sister Sarah, their brother, John having come two years before in the "Hopewell" with Philip Elliot.

--of Charlestown

Notes for ANNA BRIGHT:
--of Watertown
 i. HANNAH6 RUGGLES, b. 21 Jan 1655; d. Died young.
 ii. MARY RUGGLES, b. 10 Jan 1656; d. Died young.
9. iii. SAMUEL RUGGLES, b. 01 Jun 1658; d. 15 Feb 1715, Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts.
 iv. JOSEPH RUGGLES, b. 12 Feb 1660; d. Died young.
 v. HANNAH RUGGLES, b. 11 Dec 1661; d. Died young.
 vi. SARAH RUGGLES, b. 18 Nov 1663; d. Died young.
10. vii. MARY RUGGLES, b. 08 Dec 1666; d. 1741.
 viii. SARAH RUGGLES, b. 30 Aug 1669; d. Died young.

11. ix. ANNA6 RUGGLES, b. 30 Sep 1672; d. 1758.
 x. NATHANIEL RUGGLES, b. 22 Nov 1674; d. Died young.
12. xi. ELIZABETH RUGGLES, b. 01 May 1677.
 xii. HENRY RUGGLES, b. 07 Jul 1681; d. 09 Dec 1702.
13. xiii. HULDAH RUGGLES, b. 04 Jul 1684.
14. xiv. THOMAS RUGGLES, b. 10 Mar 1671; d. 01 Jun 1728, Guilford.

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