Notes for Rachel PARSONS or VARNEY:|
Also from Davis: It is known that Rachel was the daughter of Bridget Varney, who was married to William Varney. However, he could not determine if she was William's daughter or a daughter to Bridget's first husband who was named Parsons. Rachel's brother or half-brother, Jeffrey Parsons, married William Vinson's first daughter, Sarah. Jeffrey was born about 1637 and Rachel was the youngest child of Bridget. However, if this is true then Rachel would have been less than 13 when her first child, John Cook, was born. The estimate on Jeffrey's age, like many others, may be off by several years.
"In 1649 the Varneys were 'given liberty to reside in this jurisdiction,' and Rachel was already married to Thomas Cook who wasgiven like liberty at the same time. Cook was a troublesome character. In 1649 he was before the court for saying that Mr. Norton, the minister, 'taught what was false' and for reproaching the ordinance of baptism-'if he had children he would not have them so played the fools withal.' William Varney was his bondsman. He seems to have left Ipswich for the iron-works at Lynn immediately after this incident for in February, 1649/50, Thomas Cook 'sometime of Ipswich' was drunk at Lynn and later in 1650 his name was presented to the court by Lynn for the same offense. Death prevented temporal punishment, however, for at the same court Rachel, wife of Thomas Cook, deceased, sometime inhabiting Ipswich, brought in his slight inventory of 35 (ponds) on September 17, 1650. By Cook, Rachel had a son, John Cook, born in 1650. John Gorum of Hammersmith (the iron-works) acknowledged judgment to the widow Rachel Cook in December, 1650. Soon Rachel Cook married a second and more unpleasant husband and apparently with her eyes open, for on March 26, 1650, Joseph Langton had been fined for excessive drinking. Langton was presented in 1652 for 'evil usage of a little child of his wife,' little John Cook, lying on straw with but a piece of sail-cloth to cover it in his cradle, having been beaten to keep him quiet. The court ordered the baby to be placed in the care of his Varney grandparents. Langton remained on earth or in the jurisdiction long enough to beget two daughters, but as there is no record of him after 1652 he must have soon died or deserted his family. Apparently Rachel reverted to the name Cook after the departure of Langton and as Rachel Cook she was married to her third husbnad, William Vinson, the stern moralist on June 10, 1661....In her widowhood Rachel Vinson, like her predecessor Sarah Vinson but in a more dangerous time, was accused of witchcraft. With Mary (her daughter), she was lodged in Ipswich gaol from which she was released on September 24, 1692, on bonds for her appearance. Before she could be tried, however, the delusion collapsed and she escaped the fate of so many victims." Esther Dutch Elwell, mother-in-law to Rachel's dau. Abigail, was jailed about a month later for witchcraft, see notes on Samuel Elwell.