Author Archives: Vera Marie Badertscher

Vera Marie Badertscher

About Vera Marie Badertscher

I am a grandma and was named for my grandma. I've been an actress, a political strategist and a writer.I grew up in various places, went to high school in Killbuck, Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University. My husband and I moved to Arizona after graduation and have three adult children. I love to travel and read--and have another website for that called A Traveler's Library. I ponder family as I cook.

Peter Bent, Of Indian Attacks and Fatal Accidents

Peter Bent, Sr. 1629-1678

My last post was about the short life of the  brother of my 7x great-grandmother, Martha Bent, of Sudbury, Massachusetts.  The cause of death was an accidental shooting by his oldest brother, Peter Bent. I can’t stop thinking about how it must have affected Peter, who at 46 was a real go-getter and successful businessman in that part of Massachusetts.

Peter Bent had been born in England and arrived in America in 1638 at the age of eleven.  He married at the age of 24 to a woman named Elizabeth (last name unknown). By the time he was 27, he was one of the young men of the village who felt hemmed in by the town of Sudbury.  His father and he joined other settlers of Sudbury in signing the petition to establish Marlborough. John Bent and his family, Peter Bent and his wife and son, Peter, Jr., moved into the wilderness west of Sudbury from which they would carve the town of Marlborough. The older men had this to say:

 “God hath beene pleased to increase our children, which are now diverse of them grown to man’s estate; and wee, many of us, grown into years, so that wee should bee glad to see them settled before the Lord take us away from hence, as also God having given us some considerable quantity of cattle, so that wee are so straightened that we cannot so comfortably subsist as could be desired and some of us having taken some pains to view the country; wee have found a place which lyeth westward about eight miles from Sudbury which wee conceive might be comfortable for our subsistence . . .”
(From the book, History of Marlborough Massachusetts.)

Peter Bent -Marloborough 1667

This 1667 map of Marlborough shows the Sudbury River where Peter Bent built a toll bridge.

Peter Bent and his wife Elizabeth had a total of eight children, and all but one lived to adulthood, as I will explain below.

In 1660, as a valuable member of the new community of Marlboro, Peter built a grist mill on Stony Brook and the following year he built a bridge over the Sudbury River. These privately built bridges were a source of income for the builder, as he charged a toll.  Also in 1661, Peter and Elizabeth built a home “just south of Williams Pond, a mile from  the now center of Marlboro” according to the Bent Family History, published in 1900.

Peter Bent in Marlborough

Marlborough map 100 years after Peter’s death shows location of Williams Pond where his house was located.

Creating a new town was not easy, as verified in a document presented on the Marlborough History page.  In 1664, after several years of squabbling over rules that sound amazingly similar to present day homeowner’s associations, Half the town petitioned the court to form a committee to solve the problems.  Peter Bent, Sr. was among those on the opposite side. His half of the town did not think problems were serious enough to involve the court. Although he seemed to come down on the laissez-faire side of that argument, he joined, in 1664, a group that petitioned to form a new church. That at was seen as hostile by another group, who promptly fought against it

Forget all about our picture of a peaceful, cooperative group of people taming the wilderness!

In December of 1674, Peter Bent, Sr. wrote his will. Unlike most of the old wills I have found, illness did not suggest the necessity for a will. Instead, Peter was setting off on what was always a dangerous trip–sailing across the Atlantic to England. I have not found any record of why he went to Europe, but I know that several of the settlers had left lands behind in Penton-Grafton, Hampshire. Perhaps Peter’s father, John Bent, owned land and Peter was looking after it. Perhaps he was a trader, buying goods in England. Whatever it was was worth leaving his young family and going on this dangerous journey. At any rate, he survived that 1674 trip to old England, only to come back to chaos in New England.

The Bents and other families who had settled in Marlboro had just fourteen years to build their town before King Philip’s War broke out.  The Indian uprising terrorized Puritan villages in New England for most of  two years–1675 and 1676. The colonists knew trouble was brewing, and they fortified some of the homes in each village so they would have a place to take refuge. A document explains the allocation of garrisons and soldiers. Peter Bent’s house would be home to three soldiers of the thirty-seven allotted to the town, and his family would support those three soldiers. Men made sure to have weapons ready to defend their families.

In the summer of 1675 (probably in June), Peter walked or rode over to Sudbury to visit his brother Joseph and show him the pistols he had received from England. (I am speculating on the details here, but the sequence of events is accurate.)  Peter Bent was known to have traveled to England several times, and could well have purchased the pistols (which the inventory lists in his probate papers a few years later) on a trip he made in 1674.

Although we don’t know exactly how it happened, we know that Peter accidentally shot his brother that summer day in 1675.

I wonder if, when the Indians attacked his mill in November of that year,  Peter felt God was punishing him?  A small band of Indians crept up to his mill and carried off his apprentice, Christopher Muchin.  They also scalped Peter’s young son and left him for dead.  This “young son” could have been Zacheus, who would have been eight years old or John, twelve years old. The boy survived the attack.

Peter’s will refers to his son, Zacheus as “weak in body,” which might indicate lasting effects of the act and the Bent Family History author believes that is the case. However, John died five months later when he was only thirteen years old, which seems to me to point to John as the victim.

But that was just a hint of the horror to come in Marlboro and Sudbury.  On March 26, 1676, King Philip’s allies came into the village while everyone was at church on a Sunday morning and as the people of Marlborough sought protection in one of the fortified homes, the Indians burned most of the town to the ground.

Marlborough church burning

According to the Marlborough historical society this dramatic picture is not accurate. The church, with thatched roof, would have had plank siding rather than logs.

The following month, the Indians mounted an attack on neighboring Sudbury, where most of Peter’s relatives lived.

With no home, and with most of his livelihood destroyed, Peter took his family to Cambridge for refuge.  It was there that the young John died in 1676. The following year, 1677, the residents returned to Marlborough.

Peter lived only two years more, dying in 1678 at the age of 49.  He had taken another ship to England, perhaps trying to rebuild whatever business he had there to make up for the losses in Marlboro.  I wish I had more details about his business in England and the reason for his death.  Apparently he died in England rather than on the passage home.  At any rate, his will and the accompanying inventory provides a good deal of detail about the wealth he had been able to amass in his short life.

His will lists 26 acres of land around his home in Marlboro plus 25 acres of upland adjoining his former home in Sudbury and much other land, the total value: £436.  The inventory lists millstones and mill irons, and a pair of pistols, holsters and three swords.  His personal estate came to £40.

Despite all of this and the family around her, Peter’s wife Elizabeth asked for aid from the General Council, indicating she was destitute.  But in 1704, she still was holding the 1/3 of the estate that she got from the will and she deeded it over to her eldest son, Peter, Jr.

At least one grandson and one great-grandson of Peter Bent served in the Revolution. Thomas Bent, the son of Peter Bent’s son, Hopestill Bent,  was wounded on April 19, 1775 (Concord-Lexington) and died as a result of the wound. Thomas Bent’s son, Johnathan Bent also fought in the battle at Concord and in 1776 was in the battle of Ticonderoga.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel and Martha Bent How, the sister of
  • Peter Bent

Notes on Research

  • History of the Town of Marlborough, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Charles Hudson and Joseph Allen, T. R. Mann and Sons, Marlborough, Massachusetts 1862. Accessed at Google Books.
    • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at Ancestry.com, Allen H. Bent, 1900
    • Massachusetts Wills and Probate Papers, Probate Papers (Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 1632-1703 Peter Bent, probate date 1678. Ancestry.com
    • U. S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638.This edition was privately printed in 75 quarto copies for W. Elliot Woodward. Same as the octavo edition of 1860 with an additional section, “The First Settlers of Plymouth,” pp. 115-122. Research originally done, 1858-1860, for The New England Historical Society.Source Bibliography:
      DRAKE, SAMUEL G. Result of Some Researches Among the British Archives for Information Relative to the Founders of New England …. 3rd ed. Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1865.
    • U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry. Record for Peter Bent, arrival 1638

Part 1, pp. 1-43, is a study of emigration to New England in colonial times; part 2, pp. 45-207, lists passengers and the ships they arrived on (3,600 passengers on 213 ships). From the Custom House records of English ports. Much of the information is contained in nos. 7906 and 7907, Savage; nos. 1672 and 1674, Drake; and no. 3283, Hotten.
Bibliography:BANKS, CHARLES EDWARD. The Planters of the Commonwealth; a Study of the Emigrants and Emigration in Colonial Times: To Which Are Added Lists of Passengers to Boston and to the Bay Colony; the Ships which Brought Them; Their English Homes, and the Places of Their Settlement in Massachusetts, 1620-1640. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1930. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1961. Repr. 1984.

  • U. S., New England Marriages prior to 1700, Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, USA Peter Bent and Elizabeth Bent, marriage date 1653.

Joseph Bent: Bang! You’re Dead

Joseph Bent, 1641-1675

Joseph Bent, the sixth child of John Bent and his wife, and the first to be born in the new world, arrived in the springtime.  John and his wife Agnes and their five children had arrived in Boston from England a year earlier, in April 1640, hoping for a life more peaceful than in old England.

When Joseph joined the family, the other five children, all born in Penton-Grafton England, ranged between 5 and 16 years of age. My 7x great-grandmother, Martha Bent (Howe) would join the family two years later.

Having toiled for a year establishing a new home in Sudbury, his parents surely saw Joseph’s May birth  as one more springtime blessing .  Spring in New England, and the seeds they had planted would have been just breaking ground, trees and flowers blooming and new life all around.

As Joseph grew up, playing with his sisters and brothers and other children of Sudbury, parents surely cautioned to be careful of the Indians who might be lurking in the woods, but they had acres of meadow and woods and streams in which to play.  I can imagine Joseph and his brothers playing “English and Indians”, waving make believe swords and firing make believe guns with cries of “Bang, you’re dead.” At the age of six, Joseph experienced death in the family. His older brother, just twenty-two years old, died.

(We will learn more about Joseph’s and Martha’s older siblings in the future.)

Joseph Takes His Place as an Adult

By the time Joseph was 19, Joseph gave a disposition in the courts of Middlesex County, although I have no idea about the subject.  Joseph did not marry as young as some in the Massachusetts towns, but on June 30 of 1666, at the age of 25, he married the 20-year-old Elizabeth Bourne of Marshfield in Plymouth County.

A Move to Marshfield

His new wife Elizabeth came from a distinguished line related by marriage to Pilgrim leaders. The couple resettled in the oceanfront town Marshfield after Joseph sold off his Sudbury lands and buildings. Records show he sold  13 acres of upland in Sudbury adjoining the common (Surely a very propitious location), houses, barns and two acres of meadow land.  Not bad for a twenty-five year old.

Joseph and Elizabeth named their first son, born in 1667, after Joseph. Sadly, baby Joseph died in infancy.

By 1669, the people of Marshfield chose Joseph as their Constable. I like this explanation of the historic job from the website of today’s Massachusetts Bay Constables Association.

The constable had to be of good character and an actual resident of the parish he served. The office was a personal, not a pecuniary one. No salary was attached to it. His personal presence in the parish was indispensable, for he was presumed to be known to all the inhabitants of the parish, and they were all bound to obey his orders and to aid and assist him whenever called upon, in the exercise of his lawful authority. In short, he was a public officer, well known in the community, and exercising an indispensable governmental function. The importance of the office did not arise wholly, however, from the broad powers attached to it, but largely from the close contact which the constable had with the life of the people among whom he dwelt. Strangers could not long remain in the community without his knowledge, nor little could go on without coming to his ears. This combination of official authority with intimate knowledge of the character and habits of the members of the community was well adapted, in earlier times, to preserve a wholesome respect for law and order, and to foster the belief that violators of the peace would be marked and punished.

The Joseph Bent Family Returns to Sudbury

I do not know how long he served as Constable of Marshfield, but when his father died in 1672, Joseph moved his family back to Sudbury, probably to live on the family property.

While Joseph and Elizabeth lived in Marshfield, they added to their family. After their first child died, they had a son named Experience (born in 1669) and two daughters whose names and birth dates are unknown. When they returned to Sudbury,Elizabeth, named for her mother, was born in 1673.  Elizabeth gave birth one more time in 1675, to a son who they named Joseph.

Records show that all five of these children survived until at least 1684 because John Bourne, Elizabeth’s father, mentions them in his will written that year. However the lives of the two unnamed daughters of Joseph and Elizabeth Bent remains a mystery.

An Accidental Death

The family had barely settled in Sudbury, and Joseph Jr. had been born in May 1675, when Joseph Bent’s life came to an unexpected end. He was only thirty-four years old in the summer of 1675. Joseph’s older brother Peter accidentally shot and killed Joseph. With Indian unrest growing, Peter may have been showing his brother a weapon he had ordered from England.

Although there is no direct record of when Joseph died, the Bent Family History reports that he acknowledged a deed on June 14, 1675 and the probate inventory of his property was taken on August 10, 1675.  That would lead me to conclude that the accidental shooting happened in the second half of June, because it generally took a few weeks for the court to complete probate business.

Elizabeth Bent pulled up stakes once more and moved her family back to Marshfield where her family lived. According to the Bent Family history, the probate inventory valued Joseph’s house and lands in Sudbury at £95. Elizabeth must have died soon after, because her father (John Bourne)’s will, written in 1684, clearly states that he is the  caretaker of her five children.

Post Script

Normally, I would end the story here, but I found one other interesting story related to Joseph’s wife and oldest surviving son.  The first immigrants–the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth–relied on investors to fund their journey.  The settlers were in effect indentured servants, expected to send goods back to England to repay the investors.  But the later wave of immigrants in the  1640s owned property in England, and funded their new plantations themselves.

Elizabeth Bourne Bent had a very wealthy grandfather, Thomas Beesbeech of Sudbury, who wrote a will in November 1672.  I say very wealthy, because in addition to owning lands in Sudbury worth £45, he owned lands valued at £400 in Kent, England and £30 of marshland in Marshfield in Plymouth Colony.  His will specifies that he also owns “a considerable estate in the hands of John Bourne, his son-in-law in Marshfield.” That John Bourne was the father of Elizabeth Bourne Bent.

Although Beesbeech makes no bequest to his granddaughter Elizabeth Bourne Bent,  he does leave funds for her mother Alice Beesbeech Bourne. But the thing that caught my attention is that he left a bequest of 5 shillings to “Experience, the son of Elizabeth Bent, wife of Joseph Bent of Sudbury.” Why?  Experience, I learn by checking the dates, was the first great-grandson of Thomas Beesbeech. At the time he wrote his will, he had a great-grand daughter, who also got 5 shillings. No other great-grandchildren had yet been born.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, the daughter of
  • Vera Stout (Anderson),the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of
  • Samuel and Martha Bent How, the sister of
  • Joseph Bent

Notes on Research

  • The Bent family in America : being mainly a genealogy of the descendants of John Bent : who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in 1638 : with notes upon the family in England and elsewhere. in North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000 at Ancestry.com, Allen H. Bent, 1900
  • Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850, Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp, Ancestry.com
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, Roxbury, 1630-1867, Jay Mack Holbrook, Compiled by Ancestry.com in a larger index. This is an alphabetical listing of all marriages. Groom, bride, date. Holbrook Research Institute: Oxford MASS. 1985 Joseph Bent birth
  • Middlesex County, Massachusetts Deponents, 1649-1700, Sanborn, Melinde Lutz, comp, Ancestry.com Joseph Bent, age 20, 1660.
  • Middlesex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1648-1870, Flint, James, comp, ancestry.com, Joseph Bent, Sudbury, 1677
  • The Great Migration (1999) developed as part of The Great Migration Study of The New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston. Sketch of Thomas Beesbeech.

Oatmeal Pie: Oats, Coconut, Maple Syrup

Oatmeal Pie

Oatmeal Pie piece with whipped cream

I’m an advocate for pie for breakfast at all times, but who could find fault with eating oatmeal with maple syrup in the form of pie?

Frugal and tasty, “Oatmeal Pie” demonstrates the make-do attitude of our ancestors in aprons.  As I frequently do, I turned to the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Centennial cookbook for some vintage takes on this poor man’s pecan pie. After also consulting some web sites, I was prepared to try a variation on the Mennonite cookbook recipe that most appealed to me.

Mennonite

Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Centennial Cook Book

Please understand right at the outset, that although it is called “oatmeal” pie, the pie does not contain a gooey mixture of cooked oats–oatmeal.  Instead, the base for the pie contains either quick-cooking or old fashioned oatmeal–UNCOOKED. Also, although the name “Amish” is attached, other people probably made the pie also.  The history is elusive.

The original Amish oatmeal pie relies on dark corn syrup (Karo©), as do most pecan pie recipes.  However, I was thinking how delicious maple syrup is on oatmeal, and had decided to make a swap.  An experienced baker friend recommended that I include a couple of spoonfuls of the dark corn syrup to balance out the mysterious chemistry and characteristics of corn syrup.  However, by the time I got her advice, I had baked the pie. The good news is, the pie turned out fine.

Whether its a dessert or breakfast–try this old fashioned pie recipe.  Of course, I recommend my Perfect Pie Crust recipe, but if you are in a hurry, you can use a pre-made crust.

Oatmeal Pie with Maple Syrup

Serves 8-10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Old fashioned Oatmeal Pie makes a frugal substitute for pecan pie. It forms a chewy nutty crust on top.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cups coconut (flaked)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pie shell (unbaked)

Directions

1. Line pie plate with pie dough and put in refrigerator while you make the filling. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars. Add spices and syrup and blend well.
3. Beat in eggs, one at a time. and mix until well blended.
4. Stir in milk.
5. Add oatmeal and coconut and stir in well. [ I thought the filling was too thin, and added two tablespoons of rice flour to thicken. This will depend on the texture of your maple syrup. (Use corn starch or flour if you do not have rice flour.)]
6. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees about one hour.

Note

You can use Karo syrup or molasses in your oatmeal pie instead of maple syrup for a slightly different flavor.

Some recipes for oatmeal pie call for addition of nuts, which to me seems to defeat the purpose of substituting oats for pecans, but do your own thing.

As mentioned in the article, an expert in baking suggested it would be better to include a couple spoonsful of Karo syrup when substituting maple syrup to avoid the sugar crystalizing. However, my version did not have any crystalizing. Again, use your own judgment.