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Who is Phebe, Wife of Richard Sikes?

The following Genealogical Update by Art Sikes was originally published in The Tributaries Vol. 3, #2, in June, 1994

Who is Phebe, Wife of Richard Sikes?

Well, I have good news and some bad news.  First the bad news!  I think I have proof that Phebe Green was NOT the wife of Richard Sikes.  The New England Historical Genealogical Society library in Boston  has a copy of The Green Family, Dynasty ofPrinters by William C. Kiessel, Jr. - 1949.  In this book we are told that on September 4, 1633 the good ship "Griffin" arrived at Boston.  Among its passengers were Bartholomew Green with his wife Elizabeth and their four children: Samuel, Nathaniel, Sarah and Phebe.  The reference given was A Genealogical Dictionary of theFirstSettlersinNewEngland by James Savage - 1860.

Then in the Cambridge Vital Records we find:  Green, Phoebe, d. of Bartholomew and Elizabeth, pb.  ____, 16__.  This, to me, means that she was born on the "Griffin" on the way over or born in Cambridge before 1636.  Bartholomew died in 1635.
Typically, baptizing a child was done as soon as possible after birth.  In England, it was within a week.  In New England it was usually a little longer.  This would make Phebe Green about 5 years old when Rebecca Sikes was born to Richard and Phebe.

Continuing in the Cambridge marriage records we find Greene, Phebe and Healy, William -- Aug. 15, 1661.  Phebe would be 26 years old when she married if she was born in 1635.

The History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877 by Lucius R. Paige - 1877,  page 567, lists after Bartholomew Green, wife and children, the entry of  "Phebe, m. William Healy 15 Aug 1661; all children probably born in England".

Now for the good news.  The passenger embarking list of the "Increase" on 13-18 April, 1635 from London includes as one of it's passengers a Phebe Perce, age 18.  Reference is The Complete BookofEmigrants, by Peter W. Coldham, 1988.  IFthis is our Phebe, then she is about the right age to be the mother of Richard's children.

In Records of the First Church atDorchesterinNewEngland, 1636-1734, by George H. Ellis - 1891, church converts on 9d, 4mo, 1640 include Robert Peerce, Anne Peerce, and Phebe Sykes. IF this is Phebe (Peerce) Sykes, then maybe she joined the church on the same day as her brother and sister or sister-in-law.

Additionally there are mentions of a John Pierce in the "Great Migration Newsletter" Vol. 1, No. 1 from which we have concluded he must have come to New England no later than 1634 and probably in 1633.  In Vol. 1, No. 4, under the heading of "Dorchester to Boston" John Pierce was a passenger on the "Mary & John" who settled first in Dorchester.  He was twice chosen selectman, but moved to Boston about 1642 where he was known as a cooper.  He died 17 Sep 1661.  There might be a probate for John Pierce in Boston and that needs to be researched.  It's very exciting to have stumbled on to this information on Phebe Pierce; now we will have to prove whether she is who we think she might be.

Now, here is a lesson in doing your own research and not depending on work done by others.  Some of the dates given by others are wrong.  Phebe's church membership is listed as 9 day, 4 month, 1640.  Because the English were using a calendar that didn't account for leap year, the first month of the year was March.  This makes the church joining date June 9, 1640, not April 9, 1640.  With this in mind, we can correct some other dates.  Richard Sykes joined the church in Dorchester on November 4, 1639, not September 4, 1639.  Rebecca Sykes was baptized May 9, 1641,  not March 16, 1641.

Given the information we now have on Richard, Robert Charles Anderson, FASG (Fellow of American Society of Genealogists), and editor of the "Great Migration Newsletter" offered this typical scenario.  Richard probably left England in the early Spring of 1639 arriving in New England after a 6 to 12 week crossing.  That fall he became a church member on November 4, 1639, a prerequisite to becoming a freeman, which he did the following spring.  We find in the Records of Massachusetts, 1628-1641, Vol. 1,  "Psons made free the 13th, of the 3th m, 1640" (May 13, 1640),  Richrd Syckes appears in a list of over 100 men in sequence with several other Dorchester men..  He would have to have been at least 21 years old.

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