Person:Provided Southwick (1)

m. 25 Jan 1623/24
  1. John Southwick1624/25 - 1672
  2. Mary SouthwickEst 1630 - 1696
  3. Josiah Southwick1632 - 1693
  4. Daniel Southwick1637 - Abt 1718
  5. Provided Southwick1641 - 1727/28
  • HSamuel Gaskill1639 - Bet 1720 & 1725
  • WProvided Southwick1641 - 1727/28
m. 30 Dec 1662
  1. Samuel Gaskill, Jr.1663/64 - Bef 1725
  2. Edward Gaskill, Sr1667 - 1748
  3. Hannah Gaskill1669/70 - 1685
  4. Provided Gaskill1672 -
  5. Mary Gaskill1674 -
  6. Sarath Gaskill1676 - 1689
  7. Josiah Gaskill1678 - 1761
Facts and Events
Name Provided Southwick
Gender Female
Birth[1][3] 6 Dec 1641 Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Marriage 30 Dec 1662 Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United Statesto Samuel Gaskill
Death[2][3] 4 Feb 1727/28 Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States

To be Sold into Slavery

Provided, like her family, was a Quaker and Salem was no friend to these religious "dissenters." She with her family was subject to much persecution for their beliefs. The policy of Massachusetts Bay Colony was to stamp out all other religious sects through intimidation, fines, imprisonment, banishment, and death. Provided, but 17 years of age, must have been staunch in her beliefs for on June 29, 1658, she was fined for attending a Quaker meeting at the home of Nicholas Phelps, and ordered into the stocks for "calling the Court persecutors." On Dec. 2, 1658, she was fined 5s per day for absence from meetings for "sixteen Lord's days." Having no way to pay the fines (the entire family having been fined and/or imprisoned), Provided and her brother, Daniel, were ordered to be sold into slavery. (This sentence was harsh even in those times. It may have been brought about due to Provided's fiery and vocal defiance of the laws enacted against the Quakers.)

"Whereas Daniel and Provided Southwick, son and daughter to Lawrence Southwick, have been fined by the County Courts of Salem and Ipswich, pretending they have no estates, resolving not to work, and others likewise have been fined for siding with the Quakers and absenting themselves from the public ordinances; and in answer to a question what course shall be taken for the satisfaction of the fines, the Court, on perusal of the law title arrests, Resolve that the treasurers of the several counties are, and shall hereby be impowered to sell the said person to any of the English nation at Virginia or Barbadoes. "

It is said that the Colonial officials could not find a captain willing to sell these young white adults into slavery. That is at least how John Greenleaf Whittier described these events, in his poem, Cassandra Southwick: (quoted in part)

I cried, "The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the meek,
Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of the weak!
Go light the dark, cold hearth-stones,--go turn the prison lock
Of the poor hearts thou hast hunted, thou wolf amid the flock!"
Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a deeper red
O'er Rawson's wine-empurpled cheek the flush of anger spread;
"Good people," quoth the white-lipped priest, "heed not her words so wild,
Her Master speaks within her,--the Devil owns his child!"
But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the while the sheriff read
That law the wicked rulers against the poor have made,
Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood bring
No bended knee of worship, nor gainful offering.
Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning, said,--
"Which of ye, worthy seamen, will take this Quaker maid?
In the Isle of fair Barbadoes, or on Virginia's shore,
You may hold her at a higher price than Indian girl or Moor."
Grim and silent stood the captains; and when again he cried,
"Speak out, my worthy seamen!"--no voice, no sign replied;
But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind words met my ear,--
"God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl and dear!"
A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying friend was nigh,--
I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye;
And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me,
Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea,--
"Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold,
From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold,
By the living God who made me!--I would sooner in your bay
Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away!"
"Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws!"
Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's just applause.
"Like the herdsman of Tekoa, in Israel of old,
Shall we see the poor and righteous again for silver sold?"
I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half-way drawn,
Swept round the throng his lion glare of bitter hate and scorn;
Fiercely he drew his bridle-rein, and turned in silence back,
And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode murmuring in his track.
Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of soul;
Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and crushed his parchment roll.
"Good friends," he said, "since both have fled, the ruler and the priest,
Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well released."
Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept round the silent bay,
As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me go my way;
For He who turns the courses of the streamlet of the glen,
And the river of great waters, had turned the hearts of men.

Still in prison, on Nov. 11, 1659, Boston, she was whipped (10 lashes) for refusing to denounce her religious belief. Gaining her liberty, she was imprisoned again, for on 10 May 1660, she was fined 40s in Ipswich, Mass., and remitted to jail until her fine was paid.
This was how the Puritans persecuted dissenters, through fines and then imprisonment which would deny them the opportunity to earn the money to pay the fine, thus forcing them to sell their lands, and without land, they would be forced to leave the colony. Anyone offering aid could be prosecuted for aiding and harboring Quakers, thereby endangering their family's lives and liberty.
Unable to pay the fines and unwilling to renounce their adherence to Quakerism, the Southwick family was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, on pain of death. They removed to Shelter Island, New York, where her parents died within 3 days of each other.

Quieter Years

Provided would marry Samuel Gaskill, another banished Quaker. In one record it is said that they would remove to the south parish of Mendon, Mass. (now Blackstone). Being thus removed from the main population (and political power) of the Mass. Bay Colony and there being more tolerant colonists (being close to the colony of Roger Williams in Rhode Island), they would be able to live their lives without persecution as they had seen in Salem, Ipswich, and Boston.
She is found in Salem on Dec. 30, 1662, when she married Samuel Gaskill and her death is recorded there (4: 12m: 1727-8), as Provided Gasskell.

  1. Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records to the End of the year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1916-1925)

    Southwick, Provided, d. Lawranc and Kasander, [born] 10 m : 1641 [Dec 1641]. CT.F.

  2. Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records to the End of the year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1916-1925)

    Gasskell, Provided, [died] 4 : 12 m : 1727-8 [4 Feb 1727-8]. P.R.5. [Collins Diary now in possession of Essex Institute.]

  3. 3.0 3.1 Koleda, Elizabeth Potts. Gaskill genealogy. (Prineville, Oregon: E.P. Koleda, c1989)

    Samuel Gaskill m. "10m 30d 1662" [30 Dec 1662] Provided Southwick, d/o Lawrence and Cassandra (Burnell) Soutwick, b. "10m 6d 1641" [6 Dec 1641], d. "12m 4d 1727/8" [4 Feb 1727/28].