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Lydia (Perkins) Wardell (abt. 1640 - 1699)

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Lydia Wardell formerly Perkins
Born about in Hampton, Rockingham County, New Hampshiremap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married in Hillsborough, New Hampshiremap
Descendants descendants
Died in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jerseymap
Profile last modified | Created 3 Jan 2011
This page has been accessed 1,332 times.

Categories: Massachusetts Quakers | New Jersey Quakers | Hampton, New Hampshire | Shrewsbury, New Jersey.

Lydia (Perkins) Wardell was a Quaker.
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Lydia Perkins was born in New Hampshire in 1640. She married Eliakim Wardell (also known as Wardwell) on October 17, 1659. The Wardells were to become Quakers and suffered much persecution from the Puritan authorities as a result. Richard Hallowell[1] gives the following account of her experience:

Lydia Wardwell was married to Eliakim, October 17, 1659. She also was a Puritan, and a church-member to the manor born, being the daughter of Isaac Perkins, who was a freeman of the colony. She is described as "a young and tender, chaste woman," and was no doubt such. She became a Quaker, with her husband, and in a loyal, wifely way had shared the trials and sufferings to which they had been doomed during the few years of their married life. She knew the story of Ann Austin and Mary Fisher; she probably had witnessed the flogging of her own friends, Ann Coleman, Mary Tomkins, and Alice Ambrose, and had heard the laughter of the Christian under her eyes ; the rapacious church tithe dealer and pious magistrates had stripped her home of even the grass that grew in the meadow. The burden laid upon this bride was too heavy for her young spirit, and, in the light of a subsequent event, it is reasonable to suppose that it produced mental aberration. The original narrator of her sad experience states that while these troubles fell thick and fast and heavily upon her, she was repeatedly sent for, to go to church, " to give a reason " for her separation from it. Pestered and goaded by these demands, and probably with an imagination disordered by her sufferings, she answered a summons in May, 1663, by disrobing her body and, in this condition, entering the church. It was "exceeding hard," the narrator says, " to her modest and shamefaced disposition," to pass through this terrible ordeal. She went thus as a " sign " of the spiritual nakedness of her persecutors. This strange and dreadful scene occurred at the church in Newbury. The sequel is far more shocking to us than the deed itself. The poor soul was arrested and on the 5th of May, 1663, was sentenced by the court at Ipswich to " be severely whipped and pay costs and fees to the marshall of Hampton for bringing her, 10s. 6d. and fees, 2s. 6d." In accordance with this sentence " she was tied to the fence post of the tavern . . . stripped from her waist upwards, with her naked breasts to the splinters of the posts and then sorely lashed with twenty or thirty cruel stripes."

Owen Picton [2] provides a different viewpoint of the events:

The couple on April 8, 1662, was fined for absence from church for 26 Sabbaths. They both knew of at least three women who had refused to attend church and the women had been stripped naked to the waist, , tied to a cart, and, though the weather was "bitter cold,"were paraded around several local towns. On arrival at each town the women were cruelly whipped. At Dover, while the flogging was being administered, the Rev. Mr. Rayner "stood and looked and laughed at it," whereupon Eliakim Wardwell, who was also present, complained to the reverend for his brutality. Our Lydia Perkins Wardwell was then called on May 5, 1663 to church for not attending church and she knew this was going to happen to her.
What would you do? Her solution was to strip naked to the waist and proceed into church. This caused the church officials to react by taking her to Ipswich, Massachusetts for trial. They condemned her to be stripped to the waist, tied to a rough splintery post in front of an Ipswich tavern, with her naked chests to the splinters of the post, whipping her 20 or 30 times, which tore her bosom as she writhed under the lash, and she was "lashed to the satisfaction of the crowd of onlookers" in front of an Ipswich tavern.
Lydia Perkins and her husband Eliakim Wardwell then moved to Shrewsbury, New Jersey. The Wardells became martyrs to the Quaker cause. They both became community leaders, organizing the Quaker migration to New Jersey. The Quaker Meeting House at Shrewsbury, New Jersey predated William Penn's experiment by a number of years and was there 25 years before the Flushing meeting house on Long Island, the first in New York." Lydia (Perkins) Wardwell then in 1692 had a Brother-in-Law Samuel Wardwell hung at Salem for Witchcraft.


May 5, 113, Lydia Perkins Wardell, of Hampton, wife of Eliakim Wardwell, went naked into the Newbury Meeting House "In consideration of their mizerable condition who were blinded by ignorance and superstition, tho it was exceedingly hard to her modes and shamefaced disposition." SHe was had to Ipswich for trial and condemned to be "tyed to the fence post of the Ipswich tavern and lashed with 20 or 30 stripes. Lydia Perkins

Quaker Protestor Quakers were persecuted for their religion in colonial Boston. It took an explicit written order by King Charles II in 1661 to prevent the execution of Quakers here. Their capital crime was practicing a different religion than what was mandated by the state. In November 1675, a law was passed barring Quaker meetings. In April 1677, a law was passed that authorized constables to break into private dwellings to arrest Quakers and those entertaining Quakers. Scorn and intolerance of Quakers continued in Boston until the early 1700s. The following describes a bizarre protest by a group of Quakers in 1677:

In the late Spring of 1677 there came to Boston from Barbados, the English colony in the West Indies, a Quaker.

She came because she believed herself appointed by God to warn the Puritans against oppressing her coreligionists. Her idea was not a new one. thers had come [to Boston] on [similar] missions before, and had been whipped for their trouble. But Margaret Brewster was to put across an old idea in a brand new way.

law had recently been passed requiring constables "to make diligent search...especially on the Lord's Day, in all suspected places & houses, & where they know or may be informed that any Quakers are [meeting] to celebrate their irregular & prohibited worship, and are hereby empowered to break open any door where peaceable entrance is denied them..."

Accordingly, there was a tremendous breaking down of doors and carrying out of Quakers to the House of Correction, which stood in what is now Park Street, opposite Boston Common. There they were kept three days on a diet of bread and water, or else made to pay a fine of 5 Pounds, which few of them could or would do.

It was against this treatment that Margaret Brewster felt moved to protest. And her protest was registered in a way which, while not so daring that of Lydia Wardell of Hampton, "a woman of exemplary modesty in her behavior," who strolled into the church at Newbury wearing nothing more than a sorrowful countenance, or of Deborah Wilson, who walked naked through the streets of Salem, was decidedly the more spectacular.

One morning in July, while the congregation of the South Meeting House was listening to the words of the pastor, Reverend Thomas Thatcher, a weird procession moved quickly from the door to the preacher's desk.

The chief figure was Margaret Brewster. Her feet and legs were bare. About her shoulders was a wrap of sackcloth. Her hair hung loose, her head was covered with ashes and her face was blackened with soot. Two young women led her. A man followed, carrying the clothing that had been discarded at the door.

There was a moment of awful silence, then an uproar—"the greatest and most amazing uproar that I ever saw," wrote Samuel Sewell [one of the judges of the later Salem witch trials in 1692], who was present. He described Margaret as wearing "a canvas frock, her hair disheveled and loose like a periwig, her face as black as ink." Women shrieked and fainted. Men shouted. The aged preacher raised his voice in protest. The intruders were seized and removed from the meeting.

The five principles, Margaret Brewster, Lydia Wright of Long Island, Sarah Miles of Salem, John Easton Jr. and Barbara Bowers, who appear to have joined the group after they had entered the church, were thrown into prison, and, in early August brought before the justices.

"What have you to say to her charge?" asked John Leverett, the Governor. "If this be the woman," said the constable who arrested her, "If this be the woman, I don't know. For she was then in the shape of a devil. I thought her hair had been a periwig, but it was her own hair."

"Are you the woman," he demanded, "who came into Mr. Thatcher's meeting house with your hair frizzled and dressed in the shape of a devil?"

"I am the woman," said Margaret Brewster, "that came into the priest Thatcher's house of worship with my hair about my shoulders, ashes upon my head, my face colored black, and sackcloth upon my upper garments." "You knowe yourself to be the woman?" "Yes, I do." "What made you come so?" said the Governor. "I am in the obedience of the Lord." "The Lord!" cried Leverett. "The Lord never sent you, for you came like a devil, and in the shape of a devil incarnate." "Noble Governor," replied the prisoner, "your name is spread in other parts of the world, for a moderate man. Now I desire thee and thy Assistants to hear me with patience..." "The Lord God of Heaven and Earth, the Maker and Creator of all mankind, laid this service upon me to visit this bloody town of Boston," said the woman.... "She should be stopped!" cried one of the magistrates. But the Governor said: "Let her go on." The Quaker began a harangue which the magistrates soon interrupted.... "Hold, hold woman! You run too fast," cried Leverett, his patience exhausted. "Silence in the court!" But Margaret Brewster would not stop. She pleaded that laws against Quaker meetings be changed. "If you will draw your swords against the Lord and his people, the Lord will assuredly draw His sword against you," she said. "Hold woman!" said the Governor again. The other three [Quakers] were then called and their cases heard. Finally: "Take them away, and carry them to prison," said the court crier. "Yea, I am willing to go to prison and to death," said the Quakeress, who seemed to have an idea that God had called upon her to give her blood in His cause. "Margaret Brewster," read the clerk, "you are to have your clothes stripped off to the middle, and to be tied to a cart's tail at the South Meeting House, and to be drawn through the town, and to receive 20 stripes upon your naked body." The other women were to be tied to the cart's tail, but not whipped. The lone man in the affair seems to have got off with a reprimand. "I will go without pulling," cried [Margaret], as the jailor led her away. "I will go as cheerfully as Daniel went to the lion's den, for the God of Daniel is with me.... I am glad that I am worthy to be a sufferer in this bloody town...." And so runs the account, "they were carried to prison again...and on the fifth day following, the sentence was executed." Derived from a May 21, 1922 Boston Globe article [3]


  1. Hallowell, Richard P., "The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts", Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1884, Google Books
  2. Picton, Owen, "Ancestors and Relatives Information of Lydia Wardell Biddle", Picton
  3. Boston Globe]
  • Molyneaux, History, Genealogical and Biographical, of the Eaton Families, pub. by C.W. Bardeen, 1911
  • Currier, John J., "History of Newbury, Massachusetts, 1635-1902", Boston, Damrell and Upham, 1902,
  • Reunion for McIntiosh

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Lydia by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Lydia:

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On 25 Apr 2016 at 11:08 GMT M (McQueen) M wrote:

Perkins-7259 and Perkins-660 appear to represent the same person because: same person

On 18 Apr 2015 at 20:24 GMT Henry Chadwick wrote:

Perkins-5524 and Perkins-660 appear to represent the same person because: That appear to be the same person.

On 17 Apr 2015 at 21:35 GMT Henry Chadwick wrote:

Perkins-5945 and Perkins-5524 appear to represent the same person because: Except for the spelling of their married name (both spellings seem to have been used interchangeably at the time) , the bios describe the same woman. The birth date differs in different sources and is therefore uncertain. I propose that we use the name Wardell. Her husband, Eliakim Ward(w)ell is already in a proposed merge.

Lydia is 17 degrees from SJ Baty, 18 degrees from Orville Redenbacher and 13 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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