Book 2

The research files are growing for Book 2 in the Vagabond Trilogy. Another research trip to the Eastern Shores of both Maryland and Virginia are planned for the last two weeks of October, 2019.

Vagabond Quakers: Southern Colonies opens as the Sea Witch docks at Newport, Rhode Island in mid-May of 1663. Mary Tomkins, Alice Ambrose, and Anne Coleman have escaped from the hostility of the Puritan-dominated Massachusetts Bay Colony thanks to Salem Friends Wharton and George Preston, who introduce the three English missionaries to Newport’s Quaker community. Reapes, Eastons, Coddingtons, and Brinleys are among their new acquaintances in this colonial cradle of the Religious Society of Friends.

Newport, RI map

However, Mary is still weak from the last flogging she received at Hampton on the final Sabbath Day of April. The social demands of Newport overwhelm her, and Edward Wharton suggests they visit the Sylvester Family at Shelter Island until Yearly Meeting, which is held in Newport at the beginning of June. The five Friends – Mary, Allie, Anne Coleman, Edward, and George – spend a blissful ten days at this well-known haven for the Society of Friends.

They return to Newport much refreshed in time for the 3rd Yearly Meeting (the first Yearly Meeting ever held by the Society of Friends was in Newport in 1661, even before England). Catharine and Richard Scott come down from Providence for the event. Mary and Catharine have corresponded since the autumn of 1660, following Mary Dyer’s execution at Boston in the Colonies. They meet at last.

After Yearly Meeting The five Friends continue their journey south in company with William Reape on his sloop Reape’s Gain. As a merchant trader, Will is familiar with the settlements on Long Island, and they visit Oyster Bay, Huntington, Gravesend, and Flushing, where they meet up with Anne Coleman’s original companions, John Liddal, Joseph Nicholson, and his wife Jane Millard. Their reunion is joyous, and they all head for New Amsterdam in high spirits to spread their message among the Dutch. Mary and John Tilton, Quakers from Flushing, join the group, making their number eleven. 1663 is the last year that New Amsterdam is held by the Dutch.

Before the troupe of Friends arrives there, John Liddal is arrested for disturbing the peace, when he preaches vociferously at the quayside in Flushing, angering some Dutch laborers. He is taken to New Amsterdam under guard, and his companions follow, creating more disturbance in the streets of New Amsterdam, as the ten Quakers trail behind John Liddal and his military escort to the Fort. They are all imprisoned for three days but released at their trial, as long as they leave Dutch territory.

Their removal is aided by a Bohemian gentleman named Augustin Herman, cartographer and merchant sea captain, who is in New Amsterdam on business. Although he used to reside in New Amsterdam, Herman moved his family to Maryland two years earlier. He takes most of the party back to Gravesend on his way south, but Mary and Allie elect to continue on with him in order to get to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The others debark at Gravesend.


New Amsterdam as Dirck Storm first knew it in 1662

New Amsterdam as Dirck Storm first knew it in 1662


Anne Coleman and her companions go north to Salem with Edward Wharton and George Preston. They plan to challenge the repressive Bay Colony. Edward’s merchant business calls him to Dover in early July, and he transports Anne and her companions to Hampton on the way. He goes on to Dover by himself to confront the Puritan magistrate Richard Walderne; however, Walderne is absent. Edward is sentenced to a severe whipping in three towns by the sitting officials, Captain Thomas Wiggin and William Hathorne. He is returned to Salem badly beaten.

Mary and Alice sail on south with Herman, who arranges passage to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for them with one the ships owned by his sister-in-law Anna Hack. They debark at Ambrose Dixon’s plantation “Dixon’s Choice” on the south bank of the Annemessex River. The two women are looking for John Perrot, a renegade missionary Friend who disdains the Society’s “form” of removing hats during worship or having regularly scheduled meetings. They have been directed to try to correct any damage Perrot has done among Friends on the Eastern Shore, but they are hard put to compete with his charm, which affects both men and women.

Further challenges include “Quaker Hater” Edmund Scarborough, a prominent Virginia landholder and Royal Surveyor for the colony of Virginia. He is assisted by a sadistic sheriff named John Hill, who enjoys hunting down Friends and “beating the Devil out of them.”

To reveal more would spoil the story, but these are the basic premises gleaned from historical references. At this time I plan to head Part I with this quotation from Reverend John Eliot, 17th century minister to indigenous people and author of the first Bible translated into a native American language.

Of late I have to my trouble heard the government of the Massachusetts sharply censured for their great severity to some dissenters. This sever(e) proceeding seems to be the more strange, and less defensible, in those who, having left their native country, and crossed the vast ocean to settle in a wilderness, that they may there enjoy the liberty of worshiping God according to their own conscience, seem to be engaged more than other men, not to allow their brethren a share in what they thought was so much all good men’s due.”

John Eliot as quoted from The English Colonization of America during the Seventeenth Century by Edward Duffield Neill

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