The Plymouth Colony Archive Project

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of Plymouth

Compiled by

Kim Baker

University of Virginia, Anth 509, Fall 1996

The Records really do not indicate much about the personal life of Richard Derby. We do know that he was highly involved in real estate, whether it be owning, selling, or buying. Also according to the records, Derby twice brought indentured servants over from England, but transfered ownership in specified deals. This would lead one to believe that he had an extensive business relationship. In Robert C. Anderson's The Great Migration Begins (1995:576), we are told that Derby had a complex financial relationship with Edward Dotey with whom he made many land deals. Other than this, there is no record or mention of a wife, children, or family.

1637 Plymouth Colony Records 1:76

5 February 1637-1638

Thurston Clarke is granted fourteen acres of land and a garden lying at the

southwest end of Derby's Pond, "on the south side of Monts Hill chase."

The same day, Edward Dotey is granted threescore acres of land and a garden

lying at the western end of Derby's Pond.

12 July 1637 PCR 12:20-1

In an extensive land agreement, Edward Dotey sells a considerable portion

of land to Derby for the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds. In the agreement,

terms of purchase and methods of payment are discussed, and also who was to retain ownership and use of the lands and buildings until the payment was complete.

1638 PCR 1:94

31 August 1638

Derby brought Willm Snow "ouer out of Old England" to be his indentured servant for five years starting on 20 Feb. 1637. Derby then assigned Snow

over to Edward Dotey to serve the rest of his five year term plus two more

starting 20 Oct. 1637, for the sum total of seven years.

3 September 1638 PCR 1:95

"Mr. Rich: Derbye requesteth lands towards the six miles brooke."

4 September 1638 PCR 1:96

Derby serves on a jury that heard the case of three men "indicted for murther

& robbing by the heigh way. They killed and robd one Penowanyanquis, an Indian, at Misquamsqueece, & took from him fiue fadome of wampeux, and three coates of wollen cloth."

The same day, Derby acknowledged that he owed "the Kinge, &c" twenty-one


1 October 1638 PCR 1:99

Edward Dotey was granted sixty acres of land upon report that he had sold his

house and lands at Heigh Cliffe to Derby, but the bargain was not completed

and Dotey had to relinquish his claim on the sixty acres.

24 October 1638 PCR 1:100

Derby turns over his indentured servant, Richard Clark, to Mr. Atwood.

25 October 1638 PCR 7:10

Richard Derby complains against Edward Dotey in an action upon the case

to the damage of twenty-four pounds.

8 November 1638 PCR 12:38-9

Walter Knight stood indebted to Christopher Derby for the sum of five pounds sterling, which was paid for his passage over. The five pounds is now to be paid to Richard Derby here: "as this deponent was reading the same (at the sd Knight's request) in the ship as they came ouer The said Walter Knight snatched the said bond or writing out of this deponts hands and imediately tore the same

in peeces."

1639 16 April 1639 PCR 1:120

Derby acknowledges that he owes the King xl pounds.

Anderson 1995: 103

John Barnes posts bond of twenty pounds for Derby when he was accused of

poisioning John Dunford (see 4 June 1639 Below).

4 June 1639 PCR 1:128

Derby acknowledges that he owes the King xl pounds.

The same day, Derby is called upon to appear at the General Court next June, to answer to matters objected against him "concrneing the giueing of an empoysoned potion of drinke to John Dunford & diuers others at his comeing out of England, whereby they were endangered of their liues . . ."

4 June 1639 PCR 7:12

Jon Danford complains against Derby in an action upon the case, to the damage

of xx pounds. The jury found for Danford, and assessed twenty pounds in damages.

4 June 1639 Anderson 1995: 478

" ' John Combes . . . gent' posted survey for Richard Derby."

24 September 1639 PCR 12:46-7

Memorandum that Edward Dotey acknowledges that for the sum of twenty-two pounds, he sells to Derby one lot of land containing twenty acres lying at the "heigh Cliffe." Details of land location given.

1640 1 September 1640 PCR 7:18

John Shawe complains against Derby in an action of trespass upon the case, to

the damage of twenty-one pounds. The jury found for the plaintiff and assessed fifty pounds damage.

1641 31 December 1641 PCR 2:30

"Mr. John Holmes is granted fourty acres of upland at Narrogansett Hill, lying

betwist the heighway and Derby's pond."

1642 3 January 1642-1643 PCR 2:50

Richard Willis was indebted to Derby for the purchase a bed, but when hereceived it "the said bed was not answerable to that goodness the said Derby affirmed it to be of." Willis had paid Derby twenty-five shillings of the three pound five shilling purchase price, and the court orders that Willis only has to pay another twenty shilling to the bed, and no more.

At the court, the same day, "execucon is granted to John Shawe against John Barnes, for Richard Derby, &c."

Network of relationships


Atwood, Mr. bought indentured servant from Derby, 24 Oct. 1638

Barnes, John sued by Derby with others, 3 Jan. 1642/1643

posts bail for Derby, 16 Apr. 1639

Clark, Richard indentured servant to Derby, 24 Oct. 1638

Clarke, Thurston lands lying near Derby's Pond, 5 Feb. 1637/1638

Combes, John posts sruvey for Derby, 4 June 1639

Danford, Jon complains against Derby, 4 June 1639

Derby, Christopher involved in debt of passage, 8 Nov. 1638

Dotey, Edward land lying near Derby's Pond, 5 Feb 1637/1638

sells land to Derby, 12 July 1637

sells land to Derby, 24 Sept. 1639

land purchase involving Derby and others, 1 Oct. 1638

Dunford, John attempted poisoning by Derby, 4 June 1639

Holmes, John lands lying near Derby's Pond, 31 Dec. 1941

Knight, Walter involved in debt of passage, 8 Nov. 1638

Shawe, John complains against Derby in action of trespass, 1 Sept. 1640

Snow, William indentured servant to Derby, 31 Aug. 1638

Willis, Richard shady bed purchase from Derby, 3 Jan. 1642/1643