Capt John Gould was born 21 June 1635 in Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England to Zaccheus Gould (1589-1668) and Phebe Deacon (1597-1663) and died 20 January 1710 in Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts of unspecified causes. He married Sarah Baker (1641-1709) 14 October 1660 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.


Early Years in England

John Gould was born in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England. In the town was an abbey and a register of the convent dates its foundation to 1133. A court book of a manor there says it was founded by the Doyleys and augmented by the Missendens pursuant to a vow. Sir William de Missenden gave the manor to the abbey and much later it became the House of Brudenells. Family tradition says an Uncle of John's was Master of the House of Brudenells, possibly Henry. A letter dated March 3, 1678, says "Mrs. Mary Gould is yet living and remains single still. Henry Gould is dead almost a year since."

1638 Migration to America

In 1638, John and his parents arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He married Sarah Baker October 14, 1660 and they had eight children, John, Sarah, Thomas, Samuel, Zaccheus, Priscilla, Joseph, and Mary. About 1668, John became a stockholder in an iron foundry and eventually became a prominent resident of Topsfield, Massachusetts. Prior to the Salem Witch Trials, his nephew, John Wilde, wrongly accused him of treason.

John was known to be a very outspoken patriot against the oppression of King Charles II. He was jailed by the colonial governor in Boston for his disloyalty to the crown, but was later released.

King Philip's War

In 1675-1676, John served during King Philip's War, in the "Three-County Troop" under the command of Captain Hutchinson and later Captain Wheeler. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and put in command of the Topsfield Company of militia.

Salem Witch Trials

It appears that the Gould family feathers were ruffled when John Wildes remarried so soon after Priscilla's death. (Keep in mind that this is a man with 8 children). But the serious nature of the problems between John Wildes & the siblings of his first wife, Priscilla, - Lt. John Gould & Mary (Gould) Redington - began in the mid-1680s.

There was a property dispute between the people of Salem Village & Topsfield. John Gould was from Salem, Massachusetts, while John Wildes was from Topsfield, Massachusetts. Then in 1686 John Wilded testified against John Gould when treason was charged. Oddly enough, John Wildes had previously agreed with everything that John Gould was being charged with.

After that Mary (Gould) Redington began to spread rumours about Sarah (Averill) Wildes, John's 2nd wife. John Wildes threatened to file slander charges against John Redington (men were responsible for their wives' actions at the time). Mary (Gould) Redington readily admitted that she had made up the stories.

But the rumour mill had begun to grind, and Sarah (Averill) Wildes was to be a victim.

When the Salem witch trials began in 1692, John Gould testified that his poor deceased sister, Mary (Gould) Redington had at one time been pulled off a horse by Sarah Wildes "in spirit form". He also stated that hens that Sarah had gifted to Mary had "moped around until they died". He also stated that one time while he and his nephew Zaccheus Perkins, son of Phoebe (Gould) Perkins, were filling a hayrick in a hurry, or else his Aunt Wildes would be mad. The hay then slid off the hayrick, and John Gould felt that it was because of witchcraft. == Mary (Gould) Redington's words had been "taken back" but Mary had died by 1692, and the people to whom she spoke carried them forward beyond her life. Her minister, John Hale, to whom she had shared her "griefs" stated that Mary had told him that she was bewitched & afflicted by Sarah Wildes. Even John Wildes, Jr, the son of Priscilla - who was about 15 when she died - stated that he believed that his stepmother was a witch.

Sarah's son, Ephraim Wildes, testified for Sarah. One of the people to accuse Sarah was Deliverance Hobbs. As Ephraim was the Salem constable, he was charged with bringing Deliverance to jail when she had been accused of witchcraft herself. He claimed that Elizabeth Symonds, another woman who had signed a disposition against Sarah did so because Ephraim had broken a marriage contract with her daughter a few years before. When Ephraim asked Elizabeth Symonds why she though Sarah was a witch, Elizabeth said it was because Mary Redington told her it was true. Ephraim reminded the court that when Mary (Gould) Redington had been accussed of slander, that Mary had readily confessed that Sunday in church, saying that Sarah was a "fine Christian woman whom had never been involved with the devil". Ephraim stated that his mother had always raised him in the Christian way.

Unfortunately, Sarah was found guilty, and executed 19 July 1692. On that day, 5 women - Rebecca Nurse, Goody Good, Elizabeth Howe, Suzanna Martin, & Sarah - were hanged while standing in a cart on Gallows Hill. All of the people who had testified against Sarah eventually confessed in church that they had lied.

John Wildes married a 3rd time, to the widow Mary Jacobs. Her husband, George Jacobs, aged 72 and an invalid, had been hanged August 1692 in the witch trials.

Burial Place

John is buried beside his father, Zaccheus Gould, at the Pine Grove Cemetery. Some descendents of the Gould family erected a monument at the cemetery commemorating John and Zaccheus. The Topsfield Historical Society commemorated John in the essay "John Gould – Patriot".


Offspring of Capt John Gould and Sarah Baker (1641-1709)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Gould (1662-1724)
Sarah Gould (1664-1723)
Thomas Gould (1666-1752) 14 February 1666 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts 24 June 1752 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Mercy Sumner (1674-1725)
Mary Dorman (1667-1763)

Daniel Gould (1669-)
Samuel Gould (1670-1724)
Zaccheus Gould (1672-1739) 26 March 1672 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts 29 April 1739 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Elizabeth Curtis (1679-1740)

Priscilla Gould (1674-1714)
Joseph Gould (1677-1753) 24 August 1677 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts 4 April 1753 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Priscilla Perkins (1689-1753)

Mary Gould (1681-1753)
Frances Gould (1683-1714)


Offspring of Zaccheus Gould and Phebe Deacon (1597-1663)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Phebe Gould (1620-1686) 27 September 1620 Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England 27 May 1686 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Thomas Perkins (1622-1686)

Mary Gould (1621-1688)
Martha Gould (1623-1699)
Priscilla Gould (1628-1663) 27 September 1628 Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England 16 April 1663 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts John Wildes (1618-1705)

John Gould (1635-1710) 21 June 1635 Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England 20 January 1710 Topsfield, Essex County, Massachusetts Sarah Baker (1641-1709)

Frances Gould (1639-1714)



Footnotes (including sources)



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