BAKER, Sarah - I19533

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Sarah Baker was born 9 Mar 1641 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts and died 20 Jan 1709 in Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts. She married Captain John Gould 12 Oct 1660 in Ipswich. They had 8 children. One record indicates her as a witness against an injustice.

In 1670, Sarah Baker Gould witnessed the intemperance (in the pulpit) of the Minister (Thomas Gilbert) of the Puritan Congregational Church at Topsfield Massachusetts... "He went into the pulpit in a disordered state, which he betrayed by the confusion of his thought and the clipping of his words, and especially by forgetting the order of the exercises." The case became so bad that at last one of the congregation rose and begged him to stop. Sarah Gould testified against him, and in the following year on 26 September 1671, 4 separate "cases" were brought before the town government: Mr. Thomas Gilbert v. [ Ensign John Gould, for Sary Gould's defaming him. Verdict for the defendant. Also an action for assault. Verdict for plaintiff. Fine 20s. Also another action of slander, for saying he was a lying in the pulpit. Verdict for defendant. [ Ensign John Gould, in behalf of his wife Sarah, v. Mr.Thomas Gilbert. Action of slander. Verdict for plaintiff 40s.

In "The Ancestry of Dudley Wildes" by William Goodwin Davis, the incident is described a little differently, as follows (editorial comments are Davis's): Thomas and Phebe Perkins were among the guests at a Sunday dinner at the house of an earlier parson, Mr. Gilbert, in 1670. Mr. Gilbert was a sick man, as good old Joanna Towne charitably realized, but others believed him to have drunk too much wine. The matter was aired in court and Phebe Perkins testified as follows: "there was a cup with wine in it which was offered to Mr. Gilbert. He refused to take it at first, but afterward put the cup to his mouth" but she did not know whether he drank or not. Three more had the cup beside himself and after he had dined he drank what was left in the cup. Immediately after dinner he sang a psalm and in reading it she thought his voice was lower than it used to be. As evidence of drunkedness this would seem to be negligible. Phebe Perkins' sister-in-law, Sarah Gould, wife of Capt. John Gould, went farther, however. She testified that she and Phebe went into another room after dinner, where Phebe said "I wonder my Husband would ask him to drink for I think he had no need of it. The first time he toke the Cope I saw him drink a good draft." In spite of his wife's testimony that Mr. Gilbert was a sick man, the court admonished him. Sarah Gould continued to gossip and Mr. Gilbert eventually sued her for slander. In court he asked the judges to "compare her [Sarah's] Oath with the Oath of Goodie Perkins, taken at the same time, and if they do not clash one against another I am much mistaken." We heartily agree.

Sarah also caused difficulties: She accused the minister, Thomas Gilbert, of entering the pulpit drunk. On Sept 26, 1671, 4 cases were heard:

  1. Rev Gilbert sued the Goulds for Sary Gould's defaming him. Verdict for the Goulds.
  2. Rev Gilbert sued Goulds for saying he was lying in the pulpit. Verdict for the Goulds.
  3. He also sued them for assault. Goulds fined 20 shillings.
  4. The Goulds sued for slander. Gilbert fined 20 shillings.