Freelove and Giggles

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The American Genealogist (TAG) has frequently published amusing short items found in the records, often as “filler” for the lower half of a page. Following up on my post about the Geer and Christophers families of Connecticut, the last TAG article by Norman Ingham, which was followed by comments by David L. Greene, had the an item concerning “Mercy Giggles” and Freelove Frink.” I was interested to know what became of these two eighteenth-century Connecticut ladies.

I did not have to look far. Three years after confessing to fornication, Freelove Frink married Hezekiah Coats at Stonington on 22 September 1742. They had five children in quick succession, two sons followed by three daughters, but then Hezekiah died in 1751. Freelove married again the following year – at Preston, Connecticut 13 November 1752 – to her first cousin James Frink, and had five additional children, all sons. Freelove’s name was possibly related to her birth: she was born at Stonington 4 August 1719, daughter of Grace Frink, a single woman.[1]

Grace Frink never married and died at Preston 14 January 1775. Her daughter Freelove (Frink) (Coats) Frink died the following year at Preston on 25 April 1776. The division of Grace’s estate was not completed until 10 February 1778, and as Freelove had died in the interim, Grace’s only heirs were Freelove’s eight surviving children – Bartholomew Coats, Ruhamah Jeffords, Hannah Burch (these three by Freelove’s first husband), and her five sons by the second husband – Asa, Elisha, Seth, James, and Nathan Frink.[2]

I found Mercy Giggles without even looking.

I found Mercy Giggles without even looking. My last post discussed finding matrilineal descendants of Lucretia (Oldham) Brewster. One such matrilineal descendant was her great-granddaughter Mercy (Fosdick)5 (Jiggles/Juggles) Morris (1686-1754) (Mercy Pickett4, Ruth3 Brewster, Jonathan2, William1). Mercy’s surname was probably pronounced with a soft g, as it often written as Jiggles or Juggles. Mercy and her first husband Thomas had a daughter Mary baptized in New London in 1709, for whom nothing further is known. In the diary of Joshua Hempstead, it is noted that “Thomas Jegglls was put in prison” (without explanation) on 11 January 1713/14; he escaped and ran away the following day.

A year later Thomas and Mercy had a second daughter, also named Mercy. The elder Mercy was still in New London by her court appearance for drinking in 1717/18, but by 1730 the now widowed Mercy had moved to Boston, where that year she published intentions to marry Thomas Morris. Mercy (Fosdick) (Jiggles/Juggles) Morris died at Charlestown, Massachusetts 9 July 1754 and is buried there at the Phipps Street Burial Ground. Her daughter Mercy Jiggles married John Trumbull in Boston in 1742 and had children.[3]

How great would it be for a matrilineal descendant of “Mercy Giggles” to participate in the mtDNA study I offered in my previous post? Any descendants of Mercy Giggles or Freelove Frink amongst our readers?


[1] Numerous online trees have attempted to make Freelove “legitimate” and apply Grace with the maiden name of “Freelove,” as the daughter of Thomas Freelove (died 1739) of Freetown, Massachusetts, who had no association with Stonington. To be clear, Thomas Freelove is not related to the Grace and Freelove Frinks in this post.

[2] Preston Vital Records; Carlfred B. Broderick, “The Coates Family of Essex, County, Mass., 1645-1845Register 111 [1957): 224.

[3] Barbara Lambert Merrick and John Bradley Arthaud, “Mayflower Families Through Six Generations …. Volume Twenty-Four Part 2 The Descendants of Elder William Brewster Through His Son Jonathan,” 130-31.

About Christopher C. Child

Chris Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven. He has written several articles in American Ancestors, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and The Mayflower Descendant. He is the co-editor of The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (NEHGS, 2011), co-author of The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2011) and Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus and Alice Nelson Pratt (Newbury Street Press, 2013), and author of The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2014). Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

15 thoughts on “Freelove and Giggles

  1. Chris, I may share a connection with Mercy and be “a Giggler” myself. I descend from an earlier generation of those happy clans: Bridget Jeggles, wife of John Rowe, a couple of folks well connected to witchcraft and the trials.

    I had no idea that the surname Jeggles was pronounced with a soft “g.”

    The name “Freelove” occurs in my lines well into the 20th century. I’ve heard that family members were very proud of the name and the tradition of handing it down.

    Heck, how can one go wrong with all that “giggling and free love” in the mix?

    Cool stuff Chris!

  2. I believe that Freelove Frink (Coats, Frink) is my 6th great grandmother. Her son Seth Frink m. Prudence White. Their daughter Lodema Frink m. Simon Davis Stratton. Lodema and Simon had a dau. whose name appears to be (Sarah) Jane D Stratton. She m. Samuel A. Bailey and they moved to VT. Samuel died 23 Sep 1862 at Regimental hospital at Algiers, St Bernard Parish, Louisiana of “Fev Remitt”. Tragically, their son Simon died 4 Sep 1862 “Shot by the Rebels”, also in Louisiana. It seems that both Samuel and his son Simon are buried at Monument Cemetery, Chalmette, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, USA. If anyone has additional or different information, I’d be glad to receive it.

  3. I also descend from Bridget (Jeggles) Rowe, daughter of William and Mary (—) Jeggles of Salem. I had no idea there were Jeggleses spelled “Giggles”. Love it.

    1. An amusing note about Giggles vs. Jiggles was in TAG 76:189. BTW, Bridget Rowe was not a daughter of William Jeggles of Salem (see TAG 89:70, note 7).

      1. Thanks for this note Randy. After seeing this and chatting with Nat about “our case of the missing Giggles” I will be modifying my notes on Bridget. I appreciate the sources and the information!

  4. Freelove is a middle name for my Gr. Gr. Gr. grandmother, with Rhode Island descent. Mary Freelove Kenyon.

  5. Chris, I read this post not suspecting I would have any connection to Mercy Giggles, but it turns that out I am descended from one of her aunts–Ruth (Pickett) Noyes. I’m guessing this connection would not be helpful for an mtDNA study, but still a fun read–thanks!

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