Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lying Rascal

     Do you have a troublesome neighbor?  I suspect that throughout history there have been neighbors who haven't seen eye to eye. But have you ever called you neighbor a 'lying rascal' and then been sued.

     On 25 March 1650, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, John Goble was served with a summons1.  Richard Temple had filed a complaint that John had called Richard a 'lying rascal'.  This was just one of a series of differences between the Goble family and Richard Temple. 
     There was an incident with a loose goose.  Evidently, Goble's goose had wandered onto Temple's land and Temple warned Goble not to trespass.  It seems that there was a scuffle with John's father, Thomas Goble, involved. John's mother, Alice grabbed her son's goose. There must have been some bad blood between the neighbors prior to this.  As Roger Thompson suggests in From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown 1629-1692, Richard Temple was probably scared for his physical well-being.  At the same time Thomas Goble may have suspected Richard Temple of supernatural recriminations.
     The situation had been serious enough that both parties had been summoned to Rev. Zechariah Symmes's house along with several leaders of the community.  The failure of this mediation led to the summons. The first court appearance was a short-lived victory for Goble (possibly as a result of the fact that Goble was a freeman and church member in Charleston whereas Temple was not). Later a jury found that Goble had indeed libeled Temple and Thomas Goble was fined 20 shillings and John Goble was fined 40 shillings. The Goble family was forced to put up a bond of £20 to keep the peace.  
     Problems continued for a few more years but eventually things quieted down and problems ended in Charlestown between the Gobles and Temples. Things could have quieted down because Richard moved to Concord.  
     Both Richard Temple and Thomas Goble died in 1657, and at that time they both lived in Concord.

1.  Thompson, Roger,  From Deference to Defiance, Charlestown, 1629-1692, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston 2012

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