Elizyabeth (aka Elizabeth): (1654 – 1739)
Family lineage: 1 Peter Callaway, 2 William Callaway, 3 Zachariah Callaway, 4 Sarah Callaway, 5 Eliza Frances Walker,
6 Emarine Walker, 7 Queen Rebecca Dickerson, 8 Edna Bethel Franklin, 9 Judith Ann Hayward
Like several other family legends who got their start in England, 19 year old Peter Callaway craved adventure in a land he thought was calling his name. But turning that dream into reality was something else again, especially when he experienced the stomach-turning fact that the cost to finance such a dream would far outweigh his ability to pay for it. And he certainly couldn't use a Visa card or drop in for a heart to heart visit with an astute banker, who would certainly question how the loan would be repaid – and when.
So Peter went to “Plan B” and sold himself to a sea captain, who first agreed to provide him with transportation to America and then sold him to an American settler for 6 pounds. In return, the young man was legally bound to serve the investor for up to 7 years in some capacity. Both sides profited from this arrangement because:
- Peter would be able to fulfill his dream of building his life in America;
- his new master would be getting fairly inexpensive labor to work in his home and fields; and in addition
- would be granted at least 50 acres of prime land for each headright he sponsored (person transported to America).
The plan was not without its potential downside, however, since the travelers often became ill and died at sea, leaving the colonist with nothing to show for his investment - unless he could convince the land office that he should still be granted the land because he had lived up to his part of the bargain.
|Early Virginia House of Burgess's|
Mr. Pressley must have been quite wealthy by the standards of that time. After all, he could not only pay 6 pounds for Peter's passage, but he was able to invest 136 more pounds to pay the passage for 22 additional headrights, which included Mrs. Pressley and their three sons. It was a good deal for him! Besides bringing his family to America for a fairly minimal cost, his labor force had grown and he had been awarded more than 1,150 of acreage to add to his holdings.
No one knows for sure whether Peter was a carpenter before he sailed for America or learned the trade during his indenture period. What is known is that he used that skill to make a living after completing his obligation to Mr. Pressley. And it's also likely that before he left the Pressleys, the 24 year old was awarded “freedom dues” (a pre-arranged termination bonus which often included 50 acres of land perhaps granted through a headright, money, a gun, clothes and/or food.). 1664 was his "freedom" year, during which time he took whatever skills and treasure he might have gained and traveled across the Chesapeake Bay into Maryland where he settled on the Wicomico River, a 13 mile tributary of the Patawomeke (or Potomac) River
The timing was good for an entrepreneur such as Peter because Europeans were just beginning to realize the territory's great potential. That change might have been good news for the early settlers with land and services to buy and sell, but it wasn't so great for the resident Indian tribes, including the Wicomicas, whose land holdings were being chipped away by ambitious settlers.
This tribe had gained fame when, in 1608, Captain John Smith had written about his discovery of the 130 Indian men living in the Wicomica village on the mouth of the Patawomeke (Potomac) River. Compared to other Europeans of that time, the Captain seemed to be open-minded toward the natives and described them in glowing terms as comely and civil. He even referred to their chiefs as kings and emperors.
That fear soon became a reality. Even though Peter wasn't a Quaker, he and Elizabeth were subjected to Quaker courts, known for giving harsh sentences – especially to couples who had not waited for their wedding to take place before having a child.
During the court hearing on March 26, 1667, Elizabeth Johnson named Peter Callaway as the father of her baby, and Peter did not deny his responsibility. After hearing their pleas, the court delivered a shockingly harsh sentence - especially on Elizabeth, who was a minor at that time. According to the Somerset County Judicial Records of 1671-1675:
- Both Peter and Elyzabeth were to be publicly whipped unless Peter paid 1,000 pounds of tobacco to the court and Elizabeth paid 100 pounds as security for future good behavior. In addition, Peter was to give the girl one hundred pounds of tobacco for the "abuse" he had caused her (which could be used to pay her fine), and he had to deposit securities for the maintenance of their child so that no one else would be responsible for her financial requirements (lucky for him he had earned some money after arriving in Maryland and was able to pay the fines).
They both were required to sign a bond of matrimony which would bind them to each other for a lifetime, which didn't seem to be a problem since that was their intention to begin with..
Stories about Elizabeth's life during those seven years say that she often wandered off to visit the Indians (no one seemed to know why she did that, but it seems pretty obvious to me that she needed to see her child and spend time with her Indian friends who offered her friendship and acceptance) Poor Thomas Ball didn't get a good bargain when he accepted Elizabeth as his servant. Every time she wandered off he was ordered to bring her back and deliver her to the Magistrate for disciplining (which didn't seem to stop her from wandering off again).
The punishment was obviously not the same for males and females at that time. By 1672, while poor Elizabeth was only into her fifth year of servitude, Peter was given 50 acres of land for service to the province and was able to accumulate other large holdings of land and build his wealth. Finally, at age 22, she completed her 7 year sentence and returned to Peter.
The Callaway marriage, despite its rough start, lasted for many years - once Peter and Elizabeth were finally able to live together as a married couple. The first of their six legitimate children was born almost 8 years after their marriage, which confirms the 7 years they had to spend apart after their marriage. There is no record of what happened to their first child, but it is believed she was raised by the Indians and lived with them her whole life. http://www.genealogy.com/ftm/s/t/o/Diana-Stoll-FL/GENE3-0001.html
Both of the Callaways lived long lives, with Peter dying in 1719 in his late 80s (several months after his death, Elizabeth Callaway registered her own cattle mark, which showed that she was now the owner of their property.). She died in 1739 at age 85.
For more information on this interesting couple see Clayton Torrence's book, "Old Somerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland: A Study in Foundations and Founders." and http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/s/t/o/Diana-Stoll-FL/GENE3-0001.html