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Peter Pease- "... if he should be living..."

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Indenture of Peter Pease to Noah Ashley

“…if he should be living…”

Sometimes, research leads you to more questions than answers, and this has been the situation with recent research on Peter Pease.

Among the documents in the archives of the Longmeadow Historical Society is the indenture dated May 6, 1805 for “…a poor child named Peter Pease son of Sally Kibbe of said Longmeadow a miner under the age of three years as a servant to Noah Ashley of said dwell with and serve the said Noah Ashley from the day of the date hereof until the day when the said Peter if he should be living will be twenty one years of age…” The indenture does not name a father, but it is clear from documents in our archives that Sally Kibbe identified Peter Pease.

Peter Pease was a married man. In 1794, Peter Pease married Anne Bliss of Longmeadow and the couple had two daughters, Sally Pease and Polly Pease, within the next few years. The 1800 census shows that Anne and two daughters were living in the Peter Pease household.

In early 1802, Sally Kibbe found herself to be “in the family way.” We do not know much about Sally, but she was possibly the daughter of Gideon Kibbe or Samuel Kibbe, both of whose households included young women in the 1800 U.S. Census. A Sally Kibbe was assigned a pew at First Church in 1796 and perhaps this was our Sally Kibbe. What we do know is that by September, 1802, Sally Kibbe was in unenviable situation – heavily pregnant, unmarried, and destitute enough to be considered a town pauper.

As a town pauper, the Town of Longmeadow financially supported her through her travails. Selectman’s Orders in the Longmeadow Historical Society archives show that the town reimbursed many members of the community who actively cared for Sally and her unborn child. Truly, it took a village to do so.

The town housed and fed her: “To Capt. Ethan Ely for the keeping & nursing Sally Kibbe from August 20 1802 to the 3 day of December 1802 its being services done by Zadock Stebbins”

The town tried to secure paternal acknowledgement and financial support for her baby by obtaining the name of the father, tracking him down, and serving him with a warrant:

  • “Also to Wm. Ely Esq. of Springfield for his service September 16th 1802 to coming to Longmeadow & taking examination of Sarah Kibbe”

Selectman’s Order August 25, 1806

  • “To Deac. William Colton for his time and expenses in securing Peter Pease/ also for his paying Eliphalet Terry Esq for writ/ also for his paying Capt. Williams for his service"

Selectman’s Order April 2, 1803

  • “To Col. Gideon Burt for his making a warrant for Peter Pease in 1802…

Selectman’s Order April 6, 1804

The town provided obstetric care for Sally during what appears to have been a long and difficult delivery: “To Doct. Joshua Frost attending Sally Kibby 1802 Sept. 28th to 9 hours attendance the 30th to opperatic obstetrics”