Person talk:John Soule (1)

Wrong wife: NOT Esther NASH [14 August 2010]

It is ironic that a comment on this page says "This source appears flawed regarding the marriage(s) of John Soule. Marriage to Esther Dela Noye being questioned particularly." First, it is ironic because it appears that the noted source is correct, and the questioner is wrong. But, the issue is a confusing one because the wrong answer has been repeated blindly, without analysis, and this wrong answer pops up all over the place. In other words, this is a significant controversy. One of the points of GPS requires explaining away alternate theories. Hence, more irony, because what is flawed is the questioning of the source, without even bothering to provide counter evidence to support of their case, or to contradict the source.

This controversy apparently is based entirely on how one chooses to interpret the will of Lt. Samuel Nash of Duxbury in 1681. So this is a classic case where little details make all the difference. The phrase in question is "Item I giue & bequeath vnto my deceased Grandsons Samuell Samsons two sons (viz) Samuel Samson & Ichabod Samson all my housing". Because colonial writers did not use apostrophes and commas, there is some question about whether Grandsons is plural and applies to Samuel and Ichabod, or whether it is possessive and applies to the father Samuell. The first argument leads to Esther Nash as wife of John Soul and the second argument leads to some other Esther as the wife of John Soule.

The use of the adjective, deceased, seems to make the answer clear, namely, the second case. The two descriptive words, deceased and grandson, would appear to both apply to the same object. If these words applied to legatees Samuel and Ichabod, it would make no sense to be leaving them anything when they are deceased. So, this interpretation does not make sense and must be rejected. But, if these words apply to their father Samuell, and hence, if he is the grandson of Lt. Samuel Nash, then his mother and not his wife, was the daughter of Samuel Nash. Thus, it is not necessary that his wife Esther was a Nash.

The situation appears to be that Samuel Nash had a daughter, given name unknown, who married Abraham Sampson. Their son Samuel Sampson married Esther (surname suspected to be Delano), and he died in 1676, leaving sons Samuel and Ichabod. It was Samuel Sampson's widow that married John Soule. Hence, we cannot say that John Soule's wife was Esther Nash. It is an separate argument, not discussed here, whether she was Esther Delano.

Relevant references are TAG 15:165, whose interpretation supports the second case, but is really focused on the other legatees; NEGHR 52:76, which is the note by a "Genealogist" that seems to have started this whole mess by misinterpreting the will (note that the proffered transcription in this article leaves the very important word "Deceased" out of its excerpt, and adds parentheses that are not in the original, and removes "(viz)" which is in the original, even though the passage is enclosed in quotes and therefore should be expected to be literal); NEGHR 56:205, which is a note by a contributor offering the correct transcription and interpretation but asking for confirmation; and Great Migration Begins which identifies John Soule's 2nd wife as Esther Delano providing (for us, at least) modern confirmation by a respected and knowledgeable researcher.

I suppose at some point in the future, I may be fixing this page, if some other person has not already done it. --Jrich 09:44, 14 August 2010 (EDT)