- Arthur J. Worrall
Perry, Edward (1630?–1695), farmer and Quaker leader, was born in England (parents and place unknown). Perry reached Sandwich, Massachusetts (then part of Plymouth Colony), by 1652 and took up land there. In 1654 he married Mary Freeman, the daughter of Edmund Freeman of Sandwich; the couple had nine children. Perry was punished for refusing to comply with the Plymouth Colony’s marriage regulations requiring that a magistrate preside over the wedding. The ceremony that Mary and Edward used apparently anticipated Quaker (Friends) marriage proceedings in which the couple exchanged vows publicly before witnesses, without the supervision of a minister or magistrate, after which all present signed the marriage certificate. When Quaker missionaries appeared in the colony in 1657, Perry was among the first to join their movement. While not as draconian in its persecution of Quakers as Massachusetts, Plymouth reacted negatively to their arrival by severely fining and disfranchising resident Quakers and expelling Quaker missionaries from the colony. Thus, Perry was fined and disfranchised and lost the chance for community leadership for over a decade, although he must have retained the respect of many town residents who defended their Quaker neighbors....