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Ruth (Perley) Eames (1747 - abt. 1769)

Ruth Eames formerly Perley
Born in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 19 Dec 1768 in Boxford, Essex, Massachusettsmap
[children unknown]
Died about at about age 21 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusettsmap
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Profile last modified | Created 15 Feb 2015
This page has been accessed 872 times.



Ruth Perley was married to Jonathan Ames/Eames at a young age. Her husband and mother-in-law were tried for her poisoning death. They were acquitted but sold their home and moved to parts unknown soon after.


Ruth Perley was born 29 October 1747 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Her parents were Samuel Perley and Ruth Howe.


Ruth was married to Jonathan Eames in 1768.


Ruth Perley came to live with her husband's family after her marriage. Her mother-in-law took to calling her the housekeeper, whether out of malice or mental illness is not known. Soon after giving birth, Ruth fell ill. A neighbor came to call and was at first denied entry to the sickroom. When she did see Ruth, she was very worried and sought the magistrate, but it was too late for Ruth had already passed. The date was 5 June 1769.

Her mother-in-law, husband and sister-in-law were tried for her murder. They were represented by none other than John Adams. During the trial her body was actually exhumed, but they were acquitted. Soon after the family moved from the area, perhaps to Groton.

Ruth died 5 Jun 1769 (aged 21), in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts, and is buried in Leslie Road Burial Ground, Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.


  • A Porter Pedigree, Being an Account of the Ancestry and Descendants of Samuel and Martha (Perley) Porter of Chester N.H. compiled by Juliet Porter, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1907
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for Ruth Perley; Ipswich Church Records, Earmarks, Fence Records, with Births, Marriages, and Deaths; page 129; Name: Ruth Perley; Event Type: Birth; Birth Date: 29 Oct 1747; Birth Place: Ipswich, Massachusetts; Father Name: Saml Perley; Mother Name: Ruth Perley.
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for Ruth Perley Ipswich Vital Record Transcripts page 292; [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 for Ruth Ames; Ipswich Vital Record Transcripts page 478; "Ruth, of Boxford, "formerly Ruth Perley of ye Parish, came to her end by poison, ye Person by whom ye poison was given to sd Ruth uncertain," - June 5, 1769 church record.
  • The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, 1847-2011 for Ruth Perley

Volume 051 (1897) page 461; Marriages by Rev. Samuel Perley: Dec. 19 Jonathan Ames, Boxford and Ruth Perley of Linebrook.

  • Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899 for Ames Vol. 13: Newspapers: Deaths; page 118; Ames -------- wife of Jonathan, Jr., at Boxford, June 1, 1769.
  • U.S., Newspaper Extractions from the Northeast, 1704-1930 for Ames; Massachusetts; Boston: Various Newspapers; Death (Outside Boston); Abbe-Johnson; Index of Obituaries 1704 - 1800 page 19; Ames, -------, w. Jonathan, at Boxford, supposed by poisoning, June 1, 1769.

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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Ruth by comparing test results with other carriers of her ancestors' 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 some percentage of DNA with Ruth:

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P  >  Perley  |  E  >  Eames  >  Ruth (Perley) Eames

Categories: Poisoning | Leslie Road Burial Ground, Ipswich, Massachusetts | Ipswich, Massachusetts