William Jefferay (1591-1675)
from the Journal of William Jefferay, gentleman
"I was born at Chiddingly Manor (The Peaks, as we do call it), in the county of Sussex, in the year 1591; near an hundred years after the discovery of that great America, but much before settlement of the sheltered corner wherein I finally abode.
My father’s name was William Jefferay, and my grandfather, Thomas Jeffery, was cousin to that Sir John Jefferay, knight, some time Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, who lies buried with others of the name in Chiddingly church. (Sir John died May 28th, 1570. He did build a goodly house, since called The Place.) My mother was Audry, daughter of Thomas Harvey, of London, whose brother, my great-uncle, was Clarenceux. I had but one brother, Thomas, and seven sisters, Jone, Audry, Susan, Alice, Mary, Elizabeth, and Ann, all of them well married, as the saying is. I was born in a fair country, of which more anon, and to a fair estate, and have bethought me often, in some straits and hardships across the sea, why I left so much to gain so little. Yet one gain I made that was worth all, and more, of my trials, for it was there I found the best wife man ever had; so, if all be considered, I am well content..."
|William and his brother are represented on the left|
1603. Our Most Gracious Queen, Elizabeth, died, after a reign of more than two score years, not to be matched for great men and glorious deeds. To her succeeded His Majesty King James I. It was in this same year that it was deemed wise to place me at the university, though I have since thought I was too young and ill prepared. Natheless I entered at Cambridge as sizar (July 7th) taking my degree of B.A. three years later, and meanwhile gaining more enjoyment from certain new companionships, than from my studies with which I taxed myself not too hardly. My particular college was Caius…
|Gate of Honour, Caius Court|
|Later settlement of Mass. Bay Colony|
1634. “My mother died this year… I had fain hoped to see her once again, but Old England hath now still less to draw me back… She hath left me by her will, (with other estate in Southwark) that ale house “Cordelyon” where first I heard some tales of these distant shores."
1635. “…Mr. Williams hath been banished from the Bay, and it seemeth most unjustly and cruelly, for his so called offence of religious belief was but a matter for honest differing. He hath found better friends with the wild Indians, and is living in the wilderness at a place by him called Providence.”
1637. “Now hath this same Mr. Williams hearkened to the prayers of his oppressors, and prevailed with his friends the Narragansetts to hold off their hands in the bloody Pequot War, thereby saving many lives, perhaps the whole of New England. Truly a Christian act, and few would rise to it so willingly, and amidst such dangers as encompassed him in his errand, from the knives of Pequots already bloody with murders. Some would have recalled him from banishment for this great service, but the most would not have it so.”
1640. “I came to New England seeking wonders, and now there befell me one truly at last, that ever new befalling, the falling in love, as the saving is. …It may be counted most singular by some, that I should have lived to see near fifty years ere this happening, for few in the old world, and less in the new, tarry half that time. …But as to this happening, it thus befell; going, as had been my wont upon occasion, to Newport, I chanced to pass by Sergeant Bull’s house (where also he keepeth the gaol), and meeting there a most comely maid, inquired for the house of one Jeremiah Gould [10th GGFather]. ‘Why that is my father sir,’ she saith, ‘and I am now going that way.’…My discourse with her father (on his soon arrival then, and on later occasion when I did call upon him) was in great part on my adventurings, he having a mind to embark upon some tradings in parts where I had sailed. Now did his daughter seem to follow the story with eyes of some interest, as I told of my wanderings far and near… and the time at last came (for an age I thought it) when she did confess, on my close asking, that my way was indeed her way forever. This pretty confessing, which hath made so much of my life, was at Miantonomi Hill, a short walk north of the town, where I have often betaken me since, both for its own beauty of prospect, and more for the happiness I there found. Then arose the petty quip on me, ‘Mary Gould hath become his goal,’ or, as one said, ‘his gaol;’ for indeed it was by Mr. Bull’s gaol I first met her, and my heart hath been in most pleasing bonds to her ever since.”NEWPORT-NATURE-NEIGHBORS-NUPTIALS
1650. “At this fair spot, none fairer in New England, am I now come to spend my remaining days, a wanderer no more, and methinks it is e’en time I tarried, being come to near three score years …as to this island of Aquidneck, where I have at last cast anchor. It hath been compared to our own dear Isle of Wight, in Old England, and not without show of reason. Aquidneck is some twelve miles in the length of it, and hath a varying breadth of three or four …I believe the climate the most excellent to be found in New England… Other islands that be farther north are Prudence, and Patience; to which last Mr. Williams hath sometimes said he might yet betake himself, so thinking when hard beset and wearied with vexing contentions, and longing for more peace and quiet. He hath indeed suffered much; in the old, some, but more in the new world, for his opinions, and there remain many ravels even now to straighten here; but he hath upon good foundation that which he so much desired, a colony in this far corner where those elsewhere oppressed for their beliefs, may come for refuge. He hath been called contentious by some of the Bay, and is so if that meaneth that he will ever contend with the tyranny of their church over men’s souls.”
… This year here died Mr. Jeremiah Clarke. He hath left a good report, and a widow with many children she had by him. She is the faulconer Latham’s daughter [Frances Latham, 10th GGMother), he still living in Elstow, Old England, but now very aged. She hath been twice married before …One of her Dungan children hath married Mr. Holden, of Warwick, and another is wife to Mr. Barker of this town. [9th GGParents, James Barker, sr. and Barbara Dungan]
“News reached me a few weeks since of the death of my brother Thomas …In his will …he desires to be buried as near as possible to the monument of his father in Chiddingly Church. He remembereth the poor of Chiddingly, Hellingly, and Hailsham, and his servants (some ten in number, including bailiff, clerk, other men-servants and maids) -and left a special legacy of £100 to his nephew (my son) Thomas, who was also to have, at age, the Perry lands, so-called (near unto the Peaks where my brother did live) -to be for him and his heirs male, …The mansion-house and homestead of the Peaks, my brother had already given to his daughters… I am much saddened at this news of the death of my dear and only brother, who hath so well kept up our name; and I am deeply moved that he hath so generously provided for my son, the last of this branch of the Jefferays in the male line.”
 Nov. 1, Thursday. “News arrives of that great fire in London, not to be matched by any yet seen in the world. For three days (commencing September 2d) it raged, being visible at night for forty miles around… The estate I had in Southwark, from my mother, came not into the limits of the fire… This dire loss in London, following on that dreadful plague, has caused much suffering and dismay to those who be left there, and to us who once lived in London, much grief at such desolation without warning. Mr. Williams may well rejoice that St. Sepulchre Church was spared, where his parents did worship, and where, also, if I bethink me aright, that brave Captain Smith lies buried, he who first came to Virginia with an English settlement.”
1669. Jan. 1, Friday. “There are books that have been written (and some printed) by men of this colony, well worth the reading, as those by Mr. Williams, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Gorton. Of English books we have here in Newport, if rather scanty supply, yet a considerable reading is had by exchange which some of us do in a kind of club way, with meetings at our houses to discuss them, and to hear late news of this colony and of our neighbor colonies and England. So, winter evenings, with good fire, and some refreshment near, we pass our time rig-lit pleasantly and to good profit. Those who in particular thus meet are Mr. Arnold, Mr. Brenton, Mr. Brinley, Mr. Coddington, Mr. Clarke, Mr. Vaughan, and myself, making seven, hence the saying of a wag: ‘This band of seven Hath all the leaven!’ wile another calleth us ‘The Seven Wise Men of Aquidneck.’ As the books we have are now mostly read, and some due unto us from England still delayed in the coming, it hath been proposed, this winter, that, for the next seven weeks, meetings shall be held of a Friday evening at seven of the clock, each member telling a tale at his own house. So now we are met, this New Year’s Even, at my house, being somewhat the elder, and thus to tell the first tale…” [William then faithfully recorded each of the seven tales.]
 “This year was my daughter Sarah and Mr. Barker’s eldest son (James, also) married [the parents of my 7th GGMother, Mary Barker, who married Joshua Winsor, the elder] …There was present at the dinner, besides mine own household, my daughter Mary and her husband, Mr. Greene; Mr. Barker and his wife Mistress Barbara, with their children …Of the Goulds, there was my wife’s brother Daniel, and his wife Wait, who, being Quakers, had much sorrow that the marriage was not in their way. Mistress Vaughan [10th GGM Frances Latham] the grandmother of the bridegroom, came, also, with her husband. She giveth but one present at the marriage of each grandchild, always a silver cup, to be for the first born great-grandchild. She hath had inscribed on one side of this, the Latham arms, and desiring mine own on the other, as now joined in this marriage, it hath been done …Mrs. Vaughan hath told us something of her girlhood days, when she went with her father a-hawking, he attending the king. She hath showed me a book of her uncle, Symon Latham, on hawking; very curious, with an acrostic; which latter minds me to make one, on some occasion…”
[William Jefferay's acrostic]:
THE BEST THINGS.
War— best which justice requireth. How rarely!
Independence— best which, holding its own, helps all.
Love — best shown to God, by love to his children.
Learning — best when used to enlighten others.
Industries— best without fetters of tithes, taxes or guilds.
Arts — best which follow nearest to nature.
Mercies— best oft counted, howe'er low health or purse.
Journeys— best for knowledge, or restoring health.
Europe — best for history of mankind.
Fashion— best in matching grace with simplicity.
Fame— best found in unselfish deeds, and raising others.
Example— best that needeth no help of precept.
Religion— best that liveth by good deeds.
America — best for hopes of freedom.
Youth— best when kept ever so by cheerful faith.
[Mr. Jefferay died on January 2, 1675 and is buried at Newport. The epitaph on his time-worn gravestone is as follows]:
“Here lyeth interred the body of Wm. Jeffray Gent.,
who departed this life on the 2d day of Jan’y, 1675, in the 85th year of his age.
Since every tomb an epitaph can have,
The Muses owe their tribute to this grave,
And to succeeding ages recommend
His worthy name, who lived and died their friend;
Being full of days and virtues, love, and peace,
God from his troubles gave him a release,
And called him unto the celestial place,
Where happy souls view their Creator’s face.
Vivit post funera Virtus”