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Jonathan was apprenticed to William Hailstone, a tailor. Jonathan sued him before the General Court of Plymouth Colony for not sufficiently teaching him the trade, and on 6 June 1654 Hailstone was ordered to pay Jonathan 15 lbs.1 By 3 June 1656 Hailstone had still not paid the fine.2 Jonathan presented a statement to the court dated 21 June 1656 saying that "I have received full satisfaction of William Hailstone...for his neglect and wrong don to mee in not instructing mee in the mistery of a tayler, according to his engagement."3 However, Jonathan had to pay 60 lbs. to Hailstone for "detaining his goods and chattel."4 Jonathan swore the Oath of Fidelity to the King on 3 June 1657.5 He would have done this as an adult, but the following document places his record of birth in question:

September the 17th, 1656 I Jonathan Briggs, of Taunton, for divers reasons and considerations moving mee therunto, have made choise of Mr. Thomas Prence [Governor of Plymouth Colony], of Eastham, in the jurisdiction of New Plymouth, to bee my gaurdian untill I come to the age of twenty one yeares. This was doen before William Bradford, Gov., the day and yeare above written."6

If he was born 14 June 1635, he was already 21 by that time. If he was born in 1636, he would have been 20, and would have taken the Oath of Fidelity just short of his 21st birthday. He signed the above document with a mark, indicating he couldn't write at that time.
     Jonathan was granted land in Taunton between 1659 and 1685, including 8 acres near the "Needle's Eye" of the North River7; one of the meadow lots in the 3 Mile Run proprietors purchase8; 3 acres of swamp at the head of "spring brook" and 6 acres of adjoining plain9; 7 3/4 acres at the lower end of Dead Swamp on Benjamin Dunham's land rights10; 10 acres of a 30 acre grant on Benjamin Dunham's right below Dead Swamp11; 20 acres of the 30 acre grant at the northwest side of the swamp12; 35 acres of proprietors land, 5 at Three Mile Run and 30 on the Neapenicket River13. More real estate transactions for Jonathan can be found in volumes 2 and 3 of the proprietors records. Jonathan and his siblings, apparently as heirs of one of the "first comers" of Plymouth Colony (Clement Briggs), were granted a tract of land near Bridgewater as well as a meadow "if it could be found." Remember Briggs, representing the siblings, presented to the court a statement that "they had found out a psell [parcel] of swampey ground [of twelve acres] lying neare to the said land."14
     Jonathan is on the 29 May 1670 freeman list of Taunton.15 In March of that year, Jane Halloway, wife of Samuel, charged Jonathan with being the father of her unborn baby. She claimed "...hee had committed adultery with her severall times."16 For her apparent act of adultery she was ordered to be publicly whipped by the constable at Taunton after she gave birth.17 Her husband sued for divorce a month later, and two men were appointed to meet with Jane after the baby was born and if she persisted with her claim, Samuel was to be granted the divorce.18 An indictment against Jonathan went before a grand jury, which cleared him. PCCR, Court Orders, vol. 5 (1668-1678) (Boston:1856), 31-32 The previous February Jane had been jailed since "her carryage towards her husband was soe turbulent and wild...and...her carryage before the court was soe audatious as was intollerable." After one night she "Manifested great pensiveness and sorrow for her... miscarriages and engaged to carry better for the future." With the "earnest sollisitation" of her husband, she was released.19 Jane's actual conduct isn't stated and there is no reference to her side of the story, so we are left to speculate if her behaviour was or wasn't justified.

Jonathan died without a will. The following is an inventory of his estate:20

The inventory of the goods & chattels that was formerly belonging to Jonathan Brigs of Taunton within the County of Bristol in New England deceased, made by us whose names are underwritten this 20th day of feburary:1688/89 as followeth:

and continues:

imps: his wareing aparill --- 03 [lbs] = 05 [shillings] = 00 [pence]
his beeding --- 03=10=00
his brase pulter and iron pots --- 01=05=00
his trayes dishes tubs barils chairs & wooden lumber --- 01=00=00
his gun & sword fryin pan & a pese of iron --- 01=02=06
his chaines & plow irons howes & oxen --- 01=15=00
his neate cattile -- 28=00=00
his sheepe --- 02=00=00
his swine --- 01=00=00
his horse deseased and an old broken sadle --- 01=00=00
his home made cloath for present use : & linon yarne --- 02=00=00
his coopers
[stule?] --- 01=10=00
his provisions --- 02=10=00

William [P] Paule
his mark

Thomas Briges

on the 4 day of March 88/9 William Paul took oath that the day & year abve written according to his knowledge & discresion he did truly prize the above said estate of Jonthan Brigs deceased
sworn before me Thomas Leonard Justice of the Peace

another paper in Jonathan's probate packet lists more belongings:

more of the moveables that now appeareth of ye sd Jonathan Briggs deceased which were not formerly prized because some thought it had been given to particular children but now the[y] resolve to prize it all

on cow --- 02=05=00
on horse 4 years --- 03=00=00
on mare --- 04=10=00
a young 2 years --- 02=00=00
a mare colt a
[?] --- 00=15=00
7 sheepe --- 01=
a barrell of a gun & something of a lock --- 00=12=00
[gun?] [mare?] --- 00=18=06
4 sheep --- 00=20=00

this is followed by an account of his real estate:

The inventory of the houseing and land of Jonathan Br[iggs] of Taunton in the County of Bristol in New England deceas[ed] made by us whose names are under written this third day of November 1690 as follows

inprim The dwelling house and barnes with the home lott upland and medow belonging thereunto --- 120=00=00
itt 3 south purchase rights in the south purchase --- 36=00=00
itt on purchase right in tanton north purchase --- 12=00=00
83 ackers at the dead swamp and adioyning thereto --- 45=00=00
15 ackers of upland --- 63=00=00
50 ackers on this last division --- 10=00=00
the right in the undivided land in the towne purchase --- 05=00=00

William [P] Paule
his mark

Richard Stephens

an undated account:

debts due from Jonathan Brigs estate deceased

to Mr. John Pool --- 03=08=02
to Thomas Leonard --- 01=03=09
to Taunton iron works --- 00=04=11
at Boston in silver mony --- 03=00=00
to Richard Godfree son --- 01=00=00
to Richard Haskins --- 00=12=08
to John Haskins --- 00=10=06
Thomas Elleot --- 00=12=00
to Samuel Holloway --- 00=09=00
to John Crosman --- 00=15=00
to Widdow Lincolne --- 00=15=00
to James Paul --- 00=04=00
to Shadrach Wilson --- 00=05=06

besides some small debts uncertain how much

to Richard Stephesons --- 00=09=00
to Samuel Black constable --- 00=18=06

about 20 years later Benjamin Briggs made the following complaint:

Bristol ssll

March ye18th 1707/8

to the Honeble. Nathal. Byfield Esqe. Judge of the Probate of wills etc. within the County aforesaid

The Petition of Benjamin Briggs of Taunton in the County of Bristoll son of Jonathan Briggs formerly of Taunton aforesd. deceased humbly showeth to your Honr.

That whereas after the death of the said Jonathan Briggs father to your petitioner at a county court held at Bristol November the 18th Anno Dom 1690 there was a disposition made of the estate of the said Jonathan Briggs to & amonst the widow & children of the said deceased in which it was ordered amongst other things that Jonathan the eldest son of the sd deceased admr. etc. should have all the moveables the dweling house with the home lot & meadow thereunto belonging and also the sd deceased right in undivided lands etc.: and the remaining lands to be divided to and amongst the other sons of the said deceased (being seven) as they
[were?] severally of age or be married - which lands have not been divided as the law directs

wherefor your petitioner prays that a commitee may be appointed & sworne as the law directs for the makeing an equal division of the sd lands pursuant to said order of court & that the partyes concerned may be nottifyed thereof by which you will oblige

[sc?] your most humble servt.

 the mark of
Benja [X] Briggs

a response to the petition:

Bristoll ss

By the Honeable. Nathal. Byfield Esqr. Judge of the probate of wills and granting of administrations within the County of Bristoll

To John, Amos, Thomas, Benjamin, Ebenezer & Nathal. Briggs all sons of Jonathan Briggs formerly of Taunton decd.

Whereas Benjamin Briggs one of the sons of the sd. deceased hath set forth unto the abovesd. judge by his petition bearing equal date with those
[? same as petition date] that by vertue of an order of court held at Bristoll Novembr. ye 18th 1690 thre were certain lands to be equally divided amongst the sons of the said deceased which hath not been done and praying that a committee may be appointed & formed for that end: & that the persons concerned therein may be notifyed thereof

These are therefore to cite you David Briggs, John Briggs, Amos Briggs, Thomas Briggs, Ebenezer Briggs & Nathal. Briggs to make your appearance at Bristol at the house of Mr. Jer: Osborne on the first Wednesday in Aprill next at
[two?] of the clock in the after noon and there to make your objections. [If?] you have ought to say why a division of the sd. land by a committee should not be made

Given under my hand in Bristoll March 18th ye seventh year of her Majesties reign Anno
[que] Domini 1707

N. Byfield

Capt. Jared Talbot appearing on behalf of ye persons above named said they had been cited and desired him to say that they desired a division accordig to said [smeared]

Bristol April 7 1708

N. Byfield

[on reverse side]

names of the five men to be commissionated

Capt. Jared Talbot
Mr. Abraham Hathaway
Mr. Ebenezer Pitts
Mr. Edward
Mr. Ephraim Hathaway

court document dated 18 November 1690 referred to above. No source has been found to confirm the names of Jonathan's daughters that have been ascribed to him and Experience. There is no evidence found to substantiate the thought that his wife Experience came from the Harvey family, but this cryptic statement, made many years ago, has made it as though it were fact into many references to this family.

children of Jonathan Briggs and Experience (the sons listed as they are in Jonathan's probate, which very likely followed the norm of being oldest to youngest, which is also partially supported by other evidence. The daughters are conjecured and ordered based, more or less, on marriage and spousal birth dates):

Jonathan b. 15 March 1668
David b. 6 December 1669
John, b. abt. 1673/4?
Amos b. abt 1675
Thomas supp. b. March 1680, no evidence found to support it, but more likely earlier, say ab. 1677
Hopestill b. abt. 1679
Hannah b. abt 1681, m. 1705
Benjamin b. abt 1683
Ebenezer b. abt 1685
Nathaniel b. abt. 1686/87 (the division of his father's real estate in early 1708 was probably initiated when he, the youngest son, turned 21)
Experience b. abt. 1689 (she married in 1712 to a man b. 1686, 87 or 88)

There were two more daughters, according to Jonathan's estate papers. Their names have been given as Elizabeth and Mary, but I haven't seen any evidence to support this.

vital records sources: His birth date comes from "Early Records of Boston," published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register vol. 8, p. 348.

1. Plymouth Colony Records (PCR),3:51.
2. Ibid, 3:103.
3. Ibid, 3:105.
4. Ibid, 7:103 (Judical Acts), 3 October 1662.
5. Ibid, 3:117.
6. Ibid, 3:107.
7. Taunton Proprietor's Records, 1:89 (this and below records are from references in Clement Briggs of Plymouth Colony), 4 May 1659.
8. Ibid, 2:40.
9. Ibid, 1:215, 22 March 1669.
10. Ibid, 1:223, 24 January 1669(/1670?).
11. Ibid, 1:266, 23 December 1684.
12. Ibid, 1:270, 20 October 1685.
13. Ibid, 2:14.
14. PCR, 1:5, 29 October 1668.
15. Ibid, 5:276.
16. Ibid, 1:31-32.
17. Ibid, 1 March (1669?/)1670.
18. Ibid, 1:41, 7 June 1670.
19. Ibid, 1:29, 8 December 1669.
19. Bristol Co., MA, probate file, Taunton District, 3434.

all text and photographs © 1998-2023 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted