Joseph Capen, Sr. (1658 - 1725) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Dorchester (within present Boston), Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
Death: Died in Topsfield, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, (Present USA)
Managed by: Carole (Erickson) Pomeroy, Vol. Curator
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About Joseph Capen, Sr.

WIKIPEDIA: Joseph Capen (1658–1725) was the son of John Capen of Dorchester, Massachusetts, by his second wife, Mary, the daughter of Samuel Bass of Braintree. Joseph Capen was a member of the class of 1677 at Harvard and was a minister in Topsfield, Massachusetts, from 1681 to his death in 1725. Capen moved to Topsfield, Massachusetts, in 1682 to become the minister of the Congressional church there. His predecessors set his prospects low .Two or the past three ministers were unable to collect their salaries, and one of them went on trial for intemperance, such as several accounts of drunkenness and slander.

In Topsfield, most of the people lived in one or two room houses. For the most part, these houses left these people vulnerable to the harsh New England winters and to the local Native Americans who were formerly their enemies. This created distress in and of itself. Boundary disputes often set neighbors against each other and split the town’s views right down the middle. Often, community gatherings such as town meetings and militia drills would end in drunken brawls or gunfire. By the time Capen died in 1725, these problems had been put to a rest. Although this is not solely due to Capen, as a religious leader in the town, he was a key factor in developing the social order.

In the Capen household, they had a very large sized parlor that was considered their best room in their house. This suggests that the Capen’s parlor was used for private town events in the area as well as semi public events. This is unusual because areas that were reserved for private use were rare anywhere in Topsfield. His house, the Parson Capen House, has been preserved by the Topsfield Historical Society since 1913.It is now considered “one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture”.

During the Salem Witch Trials, a member of Capen's congregation, Mary Eastey, was hanged for witchcraft in the Salem witch trials of 1692. Many of the accused people wrote petition’s to the head’s of the proceedings demanding for justice to be granted and their certain prayer’s to be answered. On July 8th 1703, Capen was among many other minister’s who signed an address made to the general court that begged that the prayer’s of the petitioners be granted.

These men were: Thomas Barnard, Andover, Joseph Green, Salem, William Hubbard, Salem, John Wise, Ipswich, John Rogers, Ipswich, Jabez Fitch, Ipswich, Benjamin Rolfe, Haverhill, Samuel Cheever, Marblehead, Joseph Gerish, Wenham, Joseph Capen, Topsfield, Zacariah Symonds, Bradford, Thomas Symonds, Boxford.

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Rev. Joseph Capen, Sr.'s Timeline

1658
December 20, 1658
Dorchester (within present Boston), Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
1684
1684
Age 25
Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
1685
September 1, 1685
Age 26
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
1687
June 15, 1687
Age 28
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
1689
February 7, 1689
Age 30
Haverhill, Essex, MA, USA
1691
April, 1691
Age 32
1695
July 13, 1695
Age 36
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
1699
April 2, 1699
Age 40
Topsfield, Essex, MA, USA
1725
July 30, 1725
Age 66
Topsfield, Essex County, Province of Massachusetts, (Present USA)
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