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John and his little sister Mary (the “maide child of the age of 5 yeares”) were not to enjoy the status of “children at home,” in their grandparents’ house, whatever that might have meant, in those days. As apprentices, they were to look to the Pierces for literacy (reading, at least) and religious instruction.
John was bound to obey Grandpa and Grandma Pierce’s “lawfull comands,” and they were responsible to feed him, clothe him, and to set him up as a weaver, like Grandpa. Mary, also an apprentice, was destined to be free at age eighteen, should the Pierces live so long. Grandpa died in 1661, alas, and Mary was only 16 when Grandma died. In the event, she apparently never collected the “bible & double apparrell” that would otherwise have been her due when she turned eighteen. Instead, she passed that birthday in Woburn, under the estimable tutelage of Michael and Sarah Bacon. I haven’t yet encountered any documents from her placement there.

If the date at the top is correct, they set up these formalities two days before the selectmen sent Mason and Ball to arrange them. Curious, if true. The entry also bears a later date, at the bottom: 3 January 1656/7. Unclear how to interpret the difference.

At the same time, and under the same conflicting dates, they provided for John’s and Mary’s two-year-old sister, Sarah.
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William and Mary
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