Any man entering a colony or becoming a a member the church, was not free. He was not forced to work, but his movements were carefully observed to see if they followed the Puritanical ideal. After this probationary period, he became a "freeman." Men then took the Oath of a Freeman where they vowed to defend the Commonwealth and not to overthrow the government.
Deacons played a respected and important role in early New England churches. They sat in a raised pew near the pulpit and had special duties during communion.
Wenham, Essex County, Massachusetts was settled in 1636. The first settlers called it Enon or Salem Village. It was officially set off from the Town of Salem on May 10, 1643.
from The Fiske Family by Albert Augustus Fiske
Deacon William Fiske, of Wenham. William Jr., the eldest son of William Fiske, the Emigrant, born in 1642, was married, January 15, 1662, to Sarah Kilham, of Wenham, and by her had the following fourteen children. . .Mr. Fiske, by occupation a weaver, was admitted a freeman in 1670, and chosen Deacon of the Congregational Church (of which his uncle, Rev. John Fiske, was first pastor) in 1679. He also held various public offices, to some of which allusion is made in a note below. He inherited to a large extent his father's ability and worthy character, and died at a good old age, February 6, 1728, in his 86th year. His widow survived him several years and died January 26, 1738, in her 98th year. In his will, dated 1725, and proved 1728, all the foregoing children are mentioned as legatees, except Jonathan, who had died previously; but no clue is given to the families intermarried, none of them being mentioned by name.
Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.
Essex County, Massachusetts was created on May 10, 1643 by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, when it ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires."