Joan Braybrooke: Mehitabel’s Evil Stepmother


Mehitabel’s Evil Stepmother : Joan Braybrooke Penney

Joan Braybrooke, one of the main characters in “The Redemption of Mehitabel Braybrooke, had every reason to be angry. Her husband, Richard Braybrooke, was accused of fornication in 1652 by the courts of Ipswich, Massachusetts.  After being whipped and fined, Richard fulfilled the next part of his sentence: he was to raise his infant daughter Mehitabel in the Braybrooke home.

It was also a historical fact that Joan held Mehitabel in contempt throughout her childhood. The Braybrooke’s neighbors attributed their opinions of Mehitabel to their conversations with her stepmother Joan. The actual court records quote them to describe Mehitabel as unchaste and spiteful, and as a liar and a thief.

How tragic that Mehitabel would be the only child in the Braybrooke household. Joan Braybrooke was a barren woman which was considered a sign of God’s disfavor in the Puritan culture.

Joan made it into the court records for her own offenses on several occasions. In 1653, she was brought into the quarterly court for “wearing a silk scarf”, a crime in Massachusetts if her husband’s property was valued at less than 200 pounds. The Puritans felt that the wearing of lace or silks was a privilege only for the wealthy. She was proven not guilty on that charge. Joan was also charged four years later with “a breach of the Sabbath” for “carrying a half bushel of corn or pease” on her way to church.

The most dramatic event in Joan’s life came in the year 1692 with an accusation that would be punishable by death if proven true.  Read about Joan Braybrooke Penney in The Redemption of Mehitabel Braybrooke when it is released.  Please follow my blog for details.

One thought on “Joan Braybrooke: Mehitabel’s Evil Stepmother

  1. I would like to say thank you to the author of these books. I am just learning of my family history, and I am the 8th great granddaughter of Mehitabel. It’s so exciting to learn about my family history!!! Thank you for writing these, and giving me the knowledge I’ve long awaited! I was given the name of Raylene Haney at birth, and given up for adoption. I have recently found my biological family and I’m learning so much! You have definitely changed my life in more ways than you’ll ever know… I know that sounds silly, but when you grow up not know who you truly are, and who your ancestors are, there’s a huge emptiness. This fills in some of that and fills me with joy to know that this person is part of who I am! Again, thank you so very much for taking the time to tell her story!


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