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Robert FEAKE[1, 2, 3]

Male 1602 - 1662


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  • Born  20 Sep 1602  London, Mdlsx, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Gender  Male 
    Immigration  1630  Watertown, Middlesex, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Occupation  goldsmith  [7
    _UID  E3D57B4D4B4F4EEDA2E82913CD0BBA14C132 
    Died  1 Feb 1662  Watertown, Middlesex, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 8
    • Seton lists death date as 1661 in Watertown, NY. Watertown MA records claim death date of 1661.
    Person ID  I542  OuthouseLine2014
    Last Modified  2 Jan 2017 

    Father  James FEAKE,   b. 1567, Wighton, Norfolk, Eng Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother  Judith THOMAS,   b. 1575,   d. 1625 
    Family ID  F261  Group Sheet

    Family  Elizabeth FONES,   b. 21 Jan 1610, Groton Manor, Suffolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1673, Newtown, Queens, NY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  2 Dec 1631  Watertown, Middlesex, MA Find all individuals with events at this location  [4, 5
    Children 
    >1. Elizabeth FEAKE,   b. 1633, Watertown, Middlesex, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 4 Nov 1675, Killingworth, Oyster Bay, Nassau, NY Find all individuals with events at this location
    >2. Hannah FEAKE,   b. Abt 1637, Watertown, Middlesex, MA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Jan 1677, Peel Mtg Pl, St.John St, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location
    >3. John FEAKE,   b. 28 Dec 1638,   d. May 1724, Oyster Bay, L.I., NY Find all individuals with events at this location
     4. Robert FEAKE,   b. 17 Jul 1642, Prob. Greenwich, CT Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 19 Jun 1669
     5. Sarah FEAKE,   b. 1647,   d. Bef 1648
    Last Modified  2 Jan 2017 
    Family ID  F249  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • In some records Sarah is given as the wife of his father, but it is doubtful Robert, Sr. ever remarried after the divorce.

      (New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 87, p. 212 - 221)
      Colonel Banks (The Winthrop Fleet of 1630, p. 69) says he came to America with that fleet, and, if he did not, he must have arrived soon afterwards, for he requested to be made freeman on October 19, 1630, and was accepted May 18, 1631/2. John Winthrop's Journal (1:83, under the date of January 27, 1631/2) states that a certain hill - in that part of Watertown afterwards Waltham - was named for Robert Feake who had married the governor's daughter-in-law.

      SUMMARY OF THE FEAKE FAMILY GENEALOGY OF NORFOLK, LONDON, AND COLONIAL AMERICA.
      Lt. Robert Feake, second son of James Feake by wife Judith Thomas, is mentioned as such in the wills of his maternal grandfather in1610, and of his paternal grandmother in 1619. He was apprenticed to his father, James Feake, for a period of eight years beginning on September 21, 1615. This would suggest that he was born in 1602, perhaps even on Sept. 20 of that year. It is under his name that the Feake arms have recently been registered in the American Roll of Arms.
      He is said to have come to America that the Winthrop Fleet of 1630. He requested that he be made freeman on October 19, 1630, and was accepted on May 18, 1631. John Winthrop's Journal states that a certain hill in Watertown (Waltham) was named for him.
      He married Elizabeth Fones Winthrop, wd. of Harry Winthrop, who had d. coming to America in 1630. She was Governor Winthrop's niece and daughter-in-law.
      Robert and Elizabeth may have lived for a time in Boston, but soon moved to Watertown. On September 4, 1632, Robert was made a lieutenant under Captain Daniel Patrick of Watertown, and on September 3, was on a committee to prepare fortifications. From 1634 to 1636 he was a member of the General Court, and in the latter year is first clearly recorded at Watertown. His land there is listed as totaling 200 acres in nine parcels He was elected selectman of Watertown in 1630 and 1638, but not in 1637. Before the first term was out he had apparently moved to Dedham where he was present at four town council meetings between Aug. 29, 1636, and January 28, 1636/7. His house and farm lot at Dedham are mentioned on August 11, 1637, but he resigned his right to these on September 21, 1638, and to all his Dedham property on November 23, 1638. In 1639, he was back at Watertown, a gentleman, when he signed a power of attorney.
      On July 18, 1640, Daniel Patrick and Robert Feake obtained from the Indians a deed conveying the site of Greenwich, Connecticut, and doubtless intended this to be an English settlement, but Greenwich was so close to the Dutch at New Amsterdam, that they were forced to submit to Dutch authority and became patroons of the Greenwich. Daniel Patrick had married a Dutch wife in Holland ten years earlier.
      We don't know when Robert Feake first exhibited signs of the insanity which clouded his later years but the act of submission to the Dutch, dated April 9, 1642, was signed by Patrick and, in the absence and illness of her husband, by Elizabeth Feake. The illness might well have been mental. Insanity had been present in the Feake family in the preceding generation, Robert's aunt, Mary (Feake) Barnham was a lunatic for at least twenty years. However, these are the only known instances of mental illness in the family.
      Testimony was later given in court by John Bishop, Richard Lawe, and Francis Bell that Robert Feake "was a man whose God-fearing heart was so absorbed with spiritual and heavenly things that he little thought of the things of this life, and took neither heed nor care of what was tendered to his external property," and so allowed his wife to dominate him. Bishop added that Feake had lived with him, and during this period went to Greenwich and there made an agreement contrary to what Bishop and his wife thought reasonable. For many years before his death Robert was unable to manage his own affairs and apparently made some arrangement with William Hallett to care for them, though there is no record of the agreement. There is, however, on record a letter in which John Winthrop expressed his satisfaction with the way in which Hallett discharged these duties. It would be too much to say that it expresses any approval of the relationship between Hallett and Elizabeth.
      Allegations also claim that there was an illicit relationship between Elizabeth, and Daniel Patrick, who was assassinated by a soldier at Greenwich in 1644. However, Governor Winthrop's journal refers to Patrick's "folly" but makes no mention of Elizabeth being involved. On the other hand, considering that Elizabeth was his niece and daughter-in-law, he might have chosen not to record her part in it.
      Robert Feake apparently returned to Boston. In 1647, he suddenly went back to England. On March 4, 1649/50, the House of Commons took action pardoning a Robert Feake for some unstated offense. The reason for the pardon has never been satisfactorily explained.
      Thomas Lyons, husband of Elizabeth's daughter, Martha Johanna, was apparently very unhappy at not being able to manage Elizabeth's affairs. On April 14, 1648, he wrote to Governor John Winthrop, Sr., referring to Feake's mental difficulties, his sudden trip, and Elizabeth's adultery. "She openly confesses that she is married to him and with his child."
      The child was born toward the end of 1648/9 and given the name William Hallett. A letter to her cousin, Governor John Winthrop, Jr., is signed Elizabeth Hallett, and also letters from William Hallett to John, Jr., which make it clear that Elizabeth and William claimed to be married, although Robert was still alive at this time.
      It is claimeds by Hallett descendants that there was a legal divorce and that William and Elizabeth were married. There is only one primary source to prove this. It starts out, "Whereas Elizabeth Feax has for adultery, been legally divorced from her former husband Robert Feax, before our arrival, the preceding Director General and Council...."
      There has been much discussion as to whether they were actually granted a divorce or just a legal separation with out the right to remarry. This is fully discussed in THAT WINTHROP WOMAN AGAIN. What is certain is that on both March 9, 1649, and on May 17, 1649, they had not married each other, since documents of those dates show them to be persecuted by both Dutch and the Connecticut authorities for continued adultery. They would surely have referred to a legal divorce and subsequent marriage in their defense if such existed. They did not, resorting instead to flight.
      (Transcribed from the Dutch) Whereas Elizabeth Feax has for adultery been legally separated from her former husband Robbert Feax, before our arrival, by the preceding Director General and council, and since that time continued to live, cohabit and keep company with her pal and adulterer in a carnal manner, as the witnesses declare, contrary to all good laws and our published order, and endeavored with him to alienate, sell, and to transfer the lands, cattle, furniture, and other property of her former husband Robbert Feex, left to his four children, even to others who reside beyond our government, whereby the children finally impoverished, would became a charge either on the Company or on this Commonalty. This cannot be either suffered or tolerated, in a good and well regulated government. Therefore we do hereby, as well for the maintenance of justice as for the protection of the still minor children, and fatherless orphans, declare the above named Elizabeth Feax unqualified and incapable of disposing, alienating, transferring or selling any property, whether of her former husband, or belonging to the children; and although deserving of much severe castigation and punishment, yet through special favor & for private reasons us thereunto moving, we consent to her living and residing at Greenwich. within our government with the children under such Curators as we have already appointed, or hereafter for the future may appoint, to be supported out of funds that have been left and yet on the condition that she remain herself apart from him on pain of bodily punishment as we do hereby sentence and condemn William Hallet, the adulterer, to remain banished out of this our jurisdiction and entrusted government, and do depart therefrom within one month from date, and not to molest or trouble anyone within our government on pain of corporal punishment: furthermore condemning his pretended property to be forfeit for the benefit and advantage of the child begotten on her, on condition that travelling expenses be allowed him at the discretion of the director and council, and that he, moreover, pay the costs of this suit. Thus done in Council in Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 9th March 1649.
      William and Elizabeth fled from Dutch jurisdiction to Connecticut where John Winthrop, Jr. was at New London.

      On May 17, 1649, the Connecticut Court issued the following:
      "Whereas, It is now come to the certeine intelligence of this courte, that one Hallit, with one that was Mr. Pheax his wife, are now come into and lives in the Plantation of Pequett [New London}, and [as is concieued] hath committed in other places, so lives at this present, in the fowle sin of adultery, which is odious to God and man, and therefore this Courte cannot but take notice of it; It is therefore ordered, that there bee a warrant directed to the Constable of the same Towne, to apprehend the said partyes, and to bring them up to the next perticular Courte in Hartford, which will bee upon the first Thursday of the next month; and the Governor is desired to write to Mr. Wenthrope and acquaint him with it."

      The records of the Particular Court contain no further record. The couple does not appear before them, instead fleeing on Tobias Feake's boat. {Tobias was Robert's nephew]. What is evident is that William and Elizabeth somehow manage to make their peace with both Connecticut, and the Dutch. On November 25, 1650, William Hallet sells to Jeffrey Ferris [for three score and 10 pounds] the lands purchased by Daniel Patrick and Robert Feke, and this document both names Elizabeth as his wife, and is signed by her as Elizabeth Hallet.
      On November 10 1659, while Robert Feake was still living, Tobias Feake instituted a suit against William Hallet concerning a debt of his uncle to be paid by William Hallet. The record reads" "Said Robbert Feeke had been living at Greenwich near Stanford and his wife had married William Hallet. «tab»About the same time Robert Feaks and Daniel Patrick bought Greenwich. The purchase was made in behalf of New-Haven, but through the intrigue of the Dutch governor, and the treachery of the purchasers, the first inhabitants revolted to the Dutch. They were incorporated and vested with town privileges by Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New-Netherlands. The inhabitants were driven off by the Indians, in their war with the Dutch; and made no great progress in the settlement until after Connecticut obtained the charter, and they were taken under the jurisdiction of this colony. (American Memory) ** ROBERT FEAKE«tab»

      ORIGIN: London MIGRATION: 1630 FIRST RESIDENCE: Watertown REMOVES: Greenwich 1640, Watertown RETURN TRIPS: 1647, returned to Watertown 1650 OCCUPATION: Goldsmith. He served an apprenticeship with his father, James Feake, for eight years beginning 21 September 1615, but probably never practiced his craft in the New World [NYGBR p13017,110,132; 86:212]. FREEMAN: Requested 19 October 1630 (as "Mr. Robte. Feake") and admitted 18 May 1631 (as "Mr. Roberte Feakes") [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:79, 366]. EDUCATION: His 1636 letter to John Winthrop Jr. shows a good education [WP (p13019,110,132); 3:287]. His estate included a Bible [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:220]. OFFICES: Chosen lieutenant to Capt. Patrick, 4 September 1632 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:99]; deputy for Watertown to General Court, 14 May 1634, 4 March 1634/5, 6 May 1635, 3 March 1635/6, 25 May 1636, 8 September 1636 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:116, 135, 145, 164, 174, 178]; committee on fortifications, 3 September 1634 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:124]; committee on various boundary disputes, 4 March 1634/5 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:139]; appointed magistrate for quarter court, 25 May 1636 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:175]; committee to arbitrate "difference betwixt Boston & Waymothe at Mount Woollaston," 25 October 1636 [MBCR (p13018,150,180); 1:181]. Chosen Watertown selectman, 10 October 1636, 10 December 1638, 6 December 1639 [WaTR (p13027,160,192); 1:2, 5]. ESTATE: Granted eighty acres in the Great Dividend in Watertown, 25 July 1636 [WaBOP (p13028,170,204); 4]; granted twenty-four acres in the Beaverbrook Plowlands, 28 February 1636/7 [WaBOP (p13028,170,204); 7]; granted forty acres in the Remote Meadows, 26 June 1637 [WaBOP (p13028,170,204); 8]; granted nine acres at the Town Plot, 9 April 1638 [WaBOP (p13028,170,204); 11]. «tab»In the Watertown Inventory of Grants "Robert Feke" was shown to have received nine parcels of land: fourteen acre homestall [ten acres sold to Simon Stone]; fifteen acres upland [ten acres sold to Thomas Bright by 1640 (Lechford (p13032,200,240); 286-87)]; six acres marsh [sold to Simon Stone]; eighty acres upland in the Great Dividend [to John Benjamin]; twenty-four acres plowland [to John Benjamin]; forty acres Remote Meadow [twenty-five acres sold to Edward Howe]; nine acres upland [Town Plot, to Nathan Fiske]; six acres upland [sold to Daniel Patrick]; and six acres meadow in Plain Meadow [to John Page] [WaBOP (p13028,170,204); 71]. (Robert Feake had disposed of his Watertown property before the compilation of the Watertown land inventories; the indication of sales of land given here derives mostly from comparison of the grants made to Feake with the later holdings of others.) «tab»His house and farm lot at Dedham were held barely a year, he resigning them 21 September and 23 November 1638; Robert Feake attended only those early Dedham meetings which were actually held in Watertown, and never resided in Dedham [DeTR (p13034,150,180); 3, 21-23, 25-26, 35, 49-50, 55, 57, 69, 167]. «tab»In 1640 he and Daniel Patrick purchased the site of Greenwich from the Indians, which fell for a time under Dutch authority. The act of submission was signed by Daniel Patrick and Elizabeth Feake, acting in the absence and illness of her husband [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:214]. «tab»Mr. Robert Feakes was supported by the town of Watertown from 17 October 1650 until his death [WaTR (p13027,160,192); 1:27, 28, 40, 43, 59, 64, 71, 73, 76]. BIRTH: About 1602, son of James and Judith (Thomas) Feake [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:144-45]. DEATH: Watertown 1 February 1660/1 [WaVR (p13038,170,204); 23]. MARRIAGE: Between 2 November 1631 and 27 January 1631/2 Elizabeth (Fones) Winthrop, widow of Henry Winthrop (son of Governor John Winthrop). (See COMMENTS below for their "divorce" and her "remarriage" to William Hallett.) CHILDREN [from NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:220-21 unless otherwise stated]: «tab»i ELIZABETH, b. probably about 1633; m. by 1659 as his second wife JOHN UNDERHILL.«tab» «tab»ii HANNAH, b. probably Watertown June 1637; m. Flushing 7 May 1656 [NS] John Bowne as his first wife.«tab» «tab»iii JOHN, b. probably Watertown about 1639; m. Killingworth, Oyster Bay, 15 September 1673 Elizabeth Prior [NYGBR 87:107-8]. «tab»iv ROBERT, bp. New York Dutch Church 17 July 1642 [NS]; m. Sarah _____, who took administration of his estate 19 June 1669.«tab» «tab»v SARAH, bp. New York Dutch Church 14 April 1647 [NS]; d. before 21 July 1648 when only four children of Robert Feake are cared for [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:238].«tab»

      ASSOCIATIONS: HENRY FEAKE of Lynn and Sandwich was apprenticed to James Feake, father of Robert Feake, for a term of nine years in 1606 and was Robert's distant cousin. Tobias Feake & Judith (Feake) Palmer were niece and nephew of Robert Feake, children of Robert's brother James Feake of London [NYGBR 86:209, 211-12; Lechford (p13032,200,240); 228-29]. COMMENTS: In his lengthy article on the Feake family George E. McCracken went into great detail on Robert Feake, and particularly on the matter of his "divorce," arguing that the couple had in fact received only a legal separation, and that Elizabeth (Fones) (Winthrop) Feake was not free to remarry [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:212-21, 94:243-44]. In 1966 Donald Lines Jacobus reviewed the same problem, and came to the conclusion that Robert Feake and his wife did obtain a divorce from the Dutch government, that she had married William Hallett by August 1649, and that the marriage was performed by John Winthrop Jr., her former brother-in-law [NYGBR (p13017,110,132);> 97:131-34]. Feake was described as "... a man whose God-fearing heart was so absorbed with spiritual and heavenly things that he little thought of the things of this life, and took neither heed nor care of what was tendered to his external property" [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:214, citing court depositions as transcribed in NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 11:12-24]. To others he was a distracted person who could not manage his estate, and whose lofty connections alone preserved him. Certainly his inability to control his property and his wife was a difficult burden for the Winthrops. His abrupt return to England in 1647 is not sufficiently explained. McCracken suggests that the Robert Feake pardoned by the House of Commons 4 March 1649/50 for some unstated crime might be Robert of Watertown [NYGBR (p13017,110,132); 86:215]. In any event, he left considerable scandal behind him in New England. «tab»In a letter dated Stamford 14 April 1648, Thomas Lyon related to his "loving grandfather" John Winthrop the history of Mr. Feake and Elizabeth (Fones) Winthrop: ...when I married first I lived in the house with her because my father being distracted I might be a help to her. Whereupon seeing several carriages between the fellow she now hath to be her husband and she the people also took notice of it which was to her disgrace which grieved me very much ... and seeing what condition she were in I spake to her about it privately and after I discovered my dislike I see her carriage alter toward me ... Father concerning the condition she is in and the children and estate my father Feike going away suddenly, having taken no course about the children and estate only desired a friend of his and I in case we see them about making away the estate and to remove we should stay it ... She also hath confessed since she came there openly she is married to him is with child by him and she hath been at New Haven but could have no comfort nor hopes for present to live in the jurisdiction and what will become of her I know not [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:213-14]. «tab»In a letter dated New Haven 21 July 1648, Theophilus Eaton told John Winthrop Jr.: ...I understand William Hallet etc. are come to your plantation at Nameag, their grievious miscarriage hath certainly given great offense to many. I wish their repentance were as clear and satisfying. It is possible that William Hallet and she that was Mr. Feake's his wife are married, though not only the lawfulness and validity of such a marriage, but the reality and truth is by some questioned, because themselves and Toby Feakes sometimes deny it; but leaving that, I shall acquaint you ... with some passages about that estate. Mr. Feakes from Boston October 6, 1647 wrote to Stamford that he reserved the whole propriety of his estate, till he saw how God would deal with him in England, and desired he and the children might not be wronged etc., after which that estate being from the Dutch in danger of confiscation, they brought it to Stamford, and at their request, it was there seized, as wholly belonging to Mr. Feakes, though after they challenged part thereof as the proper estate of William Hallet, and she besides desired a share in what was due to Mr. Feakes. I was not willing they should be wronged in the least, ... and accordingly at their request, I wrote to Stamford. William Hallet after this brought a letter from your honored father, and told me, he met with some opposition at Stamford, whereupon I advised him to attend the Court of magistrates ... but I perceived in him an unwillingness thereunto.... It was ordered that ... if she settled at Watertown, Pequod, or within any of the English colonies, two of the children, with half Mr. Feakes his proper estate should be put into the power and trust of such English government ... with such respect to Mr. Feakes, as may be meet, and that the other half of the estate should be improved at Stamford for the use of Mr. Feakes and maintenance of the other two children. I hoped that this might have satisfied, but the next news was that William Hallet etc. in a secret underhand way, had taken the children, two cows, all the household goods, and what else I know not, and by water were gone away ... when they had all the estate in their hands, the children went (if not naked) very unsatisfyingly apparelled [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:237-9]. «tab»John Winthrop Jr. interceded with Peter Stuyvesant in a letter in the beginning of 1648/9, asking him to manage what estate was left so that "Mrs. Feakes" and her children had a comfortable living [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:298-99]. By the spring, Andrew Messenger was informing Winthrop that the estate at Greenwich was still unimproved [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:323-24]. Winthrop wrote again in May to Stuyvesant, asking that he honor the agreement made between William Hallet with Mr. Feakes, Feakes having consented to it before going for England "knowing him [Hallet] to be industrious and careful" and also to allow Hallet back into Greenwich to improve the land there [WP (p13019,110,132); 5:338-39]. «tab»Evidently Stuyvesant came through, for Elizabeth (now Hallett) wrote last from Hellgate 10 January 1652/3 saying to her cousin John Winthrop Jr.: Our habitation is by the whirlpool which the Dutchmen call the Hellgate where we have purchased a very good farm through the governor's means ... we live very comfortably according to our rank. In the spring the Indian killed four Dutchmen near to our house which made us think to have removed ... yet now the Indian are quiet and we think not yet to remove [WP (p13019,110,132); 6:239]. «tab»The story of Elizabeth Fones (Winthrop) (Feake) Hallett was told in 1958 in an historical novel called The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton. [6, 9]

  • Sources 
    1. [S278] Winthrop Woman, Seton, Anya, (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1958).

    2. [S198] Compendium of American Genealogy.

    3. [S242] American Memory.

    4. [S8] STATON, Marcia.

    5. [S210] Ancestral File (LDS).

    6. [S159] Great Migration, Anderson, Robert Charles.

    7. [S159] Great Migration, Anderson, Robert Charles.
      OCCUPATION: Goldsmith. He served an apprenticeship with his father, James Feake, for eight years beginning 21 September 1615, but probably never practiced his craft in the New World [NYGBR 86:212].

    8. [S145] Watertown, MA Records, Pg 23 (Reliability: 3).

    9. [S68] New Eng Hist. & Gen. Register, v. 87, p. 212 - 221 (Reliability: 3).