Tuesday, April 30, 2019

17C European Woman

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America.

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Puritan Laws on Same-sex encounters - 1637-1642

Most Puritan records of same-sex encounters seem to focus on men, rather than women.

August 6, 1637.  John Allexander & Thomas Roberts were both ex ned and found guilty of lude behavior and uncleane carriage one w/ another, by often spendinge their seede one vpon another, w[hich] was proued both by witnesse & their owne confession; the said Allexander found to haue beene formerly notoriously guilty that way, & seeking to allure others therevnto. The said John Allexander was therefore censured by the Court to be seuerely whipped, & burnt in the shoulder w[ith] a hot iron, and to be perpetually banished the gouerment of New Plymouth, and if he be at any tyme found w/ in the same, to bee whipped out againe by the appoyntment of the next justi[ce], etc and so as oft as he shall be found w[ith]in this gouernment. W[hich] penalty was accordingly inflicted.

Thomas Roberts was censured to be severely whipt, and to returne to his m[aster], Mr. atwood, and to serue out his tyme w/ him, but to be disabled hereby to enjoy any lands w[ith]in this gouernment, except hee manefest better desert.

March 1, 1641/1642  Edward Michell, for his lude & sodomiticall practices tending to sodomye with Edward Preston, and other lude carryages with Lydia Hatch, is centured to be presently whipt at Plymouth, at the publike place, and once more at Barnestable, in convenyent tyme, in the presence of Mr. Freeman & the committees of the said towne.

Edward Preston, for his lude practises tending to sodomye with Edward Michell, and pressing John Keene therevnto, (if he ould haue yeilded,) is also centured to be forthwith whipt at Plymouth, & once more at Barnestable, (when Edward Michell is whipt,) in the presence of Mr. Freeman & the committees of the same towne.

See:
Bradford, William.  Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York: Knopf (1952).

Dayton, Cornelia Hughes.  Women Before the Bar: Gender, Law, [and] Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (1995).

Demos, John.  A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. London: Oxford University Press (1970).

Fischer, David Hackett.  Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. London: Oxford University Press (1989).

PCR.  Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Ed. by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York: AMS Press. 12 v. in 6.

Stratton, Eugene Aubrey.  Plymouth Colony: Its History [and] People, 1620-1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing (1986).

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher.  Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Vintage Books (1980).

Sunday, April 28, 2019

1629 A few problems with early New England

A Short and True Description of New England
by the Rev. Francis Higginson, written in 1629 
Printed for Michael Sparke, London, 1630.

Francis Higginson (1588-1630) was an early Puritan minister in Colonial New England, and the first minister of Salem, Massachusetts.

Thus of New England’s commodities, now I will tell you of some discommodities that are here to be found.

First: in the summer season for these three months June, July and August, we are troubled with little flies called mosquitos, being the same they are troubled with in Lincolnshire and the fens, and they are nothing but gnats, which except they be smoked out of their houses are troublesome in the night season.

Secondly: in the winter season for two months space the earth is commonly covered with snow, which is accompanied with sharp biting frosts, something more sharp than is in old England, and therefore we are forced to make great fires.

Thirdly: this country being very full of woods and wildernesses, doth also much abound with snakes and serpents of strange colors and huge greatness. Yea, there are some serpents called rattlesnakes, that have rattles in their tails that will not fly from a man as others will, but will fly upon him and sting him so mortally, that he will die within a quarter of an hour after, except the party stung have about him some of the root of an herb called snake weed to bite on, and then he shall receive no harm. But yet seldom falls it out that any hurt is done by these. About three years since an Indian was stung to death by one of them, but we heard of none since that time.
1603 German ed of Badli Angeli Abbatii's De Admirabili Viperae natura.  First published in 1589.  Dresden's Sächsische Landesbibliothek

Fourthly and lastly: here wants as yet the good company of honest Christians to bring with them horses, kine and sheep to make use of the fruitful land. Great pity it is to see so much good ground for corn and for grass as any is under the heavens, to lie altogether unoccupied, when so many honest men and their families in old England through the populousness thereof, do make very hard shift to live one by the other. Thus you know now what New England is, as also the commodities and discommodities thereof.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

17C European Woman

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman with a ruff 1636 

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent.  The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Education in 17C Colonial British American (1636)

A significant factor deterring the emergence of a powerful aristocratic or gentry class in the colonies was the ability of anyone in an established colony to find a new home on the frontier. Time after time, dominant Tidewater figures were obliged to liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements, and religious practices by the threat of a mass exodus to the frontier. Of equal significance for the future were the foundations of American education and culture established during the colonial period. Harvard College was founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Near the end of the century, the College of William and Mary was established in Virginia. 

Even more noteworthy was the growth of a school system maintained by governmental authority. The Puritan emphasis on reading directly from the Scriptures underscored the importance of literacy. In 1647 the Massachusetts Bay Colony enacted the "ye olde deluder Satan" Act, requiring every town having more than 50 families to establish a grammar school (a Latin school to prepare students for college). Shortly thereafter, all the other New England colonies, except for Rhode Island, followed its example.

The Pilgrims and Puritans had brought their own little libraries and continued to import books from London. And as early as the 1680s, Boston booksellers were doing a thriving business in works of classical literature, history, politics, philosophy, science, theology, and belles-lettres. In 1638 the first printing press in the English colonies and the second in North America was installed at Harvard College.

The first school in Pennsylvania was begun in 1683. It taught reading, writing, and keeping of accounts. Thereafter, in some fashion, every Quaker community provided for the elementary teaching of its children. More advanced training -- in classical languages, history, and literature -- was offered at the Friends Public School, which still operates in Philadelphia as the William Penn Charter School. The school was free to the poor, but parents were required to pay tuition if they were able.

In Philadelphia, numerous private schools with no religious affiliation taught languages, mathematics, and natural science; there were also night schools for adults. Women were not entirely overlooked, but their educational opportunities were limited to training in activities that could be conducted in the home. Private teachers instructed the daughters of prosperous Philadelphians in French, music, dancing, painting, singing, grammar, and sometimes bookkeeping.

For more, see Outline of U.S. History, a publication of the U.S. Department of State from the website of the United States Information Agency, where it was published in November 2005.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Persecution in America - Puritans Banish & Execute Dissenters (1636)

Although they were victims of religious persecution in Europe, the Puritans supported the Old World theory that sanctioned it, the need for uniformity of religion in the state. Once in control in New England, they sought to break "the very neck of Schism and vile opinions."

The "business" of the first settlers, a Puritan minister recalled in 1681, "was not Toleration, but [they] were professed enemies of it."
Puritans expelled dissenters from their colonies, a fate that in 1636, befell Roger Williams and in 1638, Anne Hutchinson, America's first major female religious leader.

Expelled from Massachusetts in the dead of winter in 1636, former Puritan leader Roger Williams (1603-1683) issued an impassioned plea for freedom of conscience. He wrote, "God requireth not an uniformity of Religion to be inacted and inforced in any civill state; which inforced uniformity (sooner or later) is the greatest occasion of civill Warre, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls." Williams later founded Rhode Island on the principle of religious freedom. He welcomed people of every shade of religious belief, even some regarded as dangerously misguided, for nothing could change his view that "forced worship stinks in God's nostrils."

Those who defied the Puritans by persistently returning to their jurisdictions risked capital punishment, a penalty imposed on four Quakers between 1659 and 1661. Those killed included Mary Dyer.

Mary Dyer (d. 1660) first ran afoul of Massachusetts authorities for supporting theological dissenter Anne Hutchinson. As a result Dyer and her family were forced to move to Rhode Island in 1638. Converted to Quakerism in England in the 1650s, Dyer returned to New England and was three times arrested and banished from Massachusetts for spreading Quaker principles. Returning to Massachusetts a fourth time, she was hanged on June 1, 1660.

Reflecting on the 17C's intolerance, Thomas Jefferson was unwilling to concede to Virginians any moral superiority to the Puritans. Beginning in 1659 Virginia enacted anti-Quaker laws, including the death penalty for refractory Quakers. Jefferson surmised that "if no capital execution took place here, as did in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the church, or the spirit of the legislature."

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson reflected on the religious intolerance in 17C Virginia, specifically on the anti-Quaker laws passed by the Virginia Assembly from 1659 onward. Jefferson apparently believed that it was no more than an historical accident that Quakers had not been physically punished or even executed in Virginia as they had been in Massachusetts.

See The Library of Congress.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

17C European Woman

17C Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born mostly English artist, 1607-1677). We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the portrait prints of women by Wenceslaus Hollar allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn in other countries during the early years of the European colonization of North America.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Puritan Punishments for Sexual Misconduct - 1636-1670

Laws on Sexual Misconduct

November 15, 1636
Capitall offences lyable to death. Sodomy, rapes, buggery. Adultery to be punished. (Offences criminall, Altered.) [Adultery crossed out] ffornicacion & other uncleane carriages to be punished at the discretion of the Majestrates according to the nature thereof. Fornicacion before contract or marriage.

That none be allowed to marry that are under the covert of parents but by their consent & approbacion. But in case consent cannot be had then it shall be with the consent of the Governor, or some assistant to whom the persons are knowne whose care it shall be to see the marriag be fitt before it be allowed by him. & after approbacion be three severall times published before the solemnising of it. Or els in places where there is no such meetings that contracts or agreements of marriage may be so published, that then it shalbe lawfull to publish them by a writing thereof made & set vpon the usuall publike place for the space of fifteene days. Provided that the writing be vnder some majestrates hand or by his order. 

December 4, 1638
Wheras diuers persons vnfitt for marriage both in regard of their yeong yeares as also in regard of their weake estate, some praciseing the enveagleing of mens daughters & maids vnder gardians (contrary to their parents & gardians likeing) & of mayde sevants without leaue & likeing of their masters It is therefore enacted by the Court That if any shall make any motion of marriage to any mans daughter or mayde servant not having first obtayned leaue & consent of the parents or master so to doe shalbe punished either by fine or corporall punishment or both, at the discretion of the bench & according to the nature of the offence. It is also enacted that if a motion of marriage be duly made to the master & through any sinister end or couetous desire hee will not consent therevnto Then the cause to be made knowne vnto the Majestrates & they to set downe such order therein as vpon examinacion of the case shall appeare to be most equall on both parts. 

June 4, 1645
It is enacted et cetera That every person or persons which shall comitt Carnall Copulacion before or eithout lawfull contract shalbe punished wither with corporall punishment by whipping or els pay tenn pounds a peece fine & be ymprisoned during the pleasure of the Court so it be not aboue three dayes, but if they be or wilbe marryed one to another, then but tenn pounds both & ymprisonment as aforesaid. And by A lawfull contract the Court vnderstands the mutuall consent of two parties with the consent of parents or guardians (if there be any to be had) & a solemme promise of marriage in due tyme to eich other before two competent witnesses. And if any person or persons shall committ carnall copulacion after contract & before marriage shall both pay five pounds & be both imprisoned during the pleasure of the Court so it be not above three dayes, or else in case they cannot or will not pay the fyne then to suffer corporall punishment by whipping. 

Wheras some abuses haue formerly broken out amongst us by disguiseing weareing visors & strang apparell to laciuious ends & purposes It is therefore enacted That if any person or persons shall hereafter use any such disquisements visors strang apparell or the like to such lacivious & euell ends & intens, & be thereof convict by due course of law shall pay fifty shillings for the first offence or els be publikely whipt & for the second tyme fiue pounds or be publikly whipt & be bound to the behauior if the Bench shall see cause. 

June 9, 1653
That euery person of the age of descretion which is accounted sixteen yeares whoe shall witingly & willingly make or publish any Lye which may bee pernitius to the publicke weale or tending to the dammage or hurt of any particulare person or with entent to deceiue & abuse the people with falce newes or reports & the same duely proued before any one Maiedtrate whoe hath heerby power graunted to heare & determine all offences against this Law; shalbee fined for euery such default ten shillings; And if the partie bee vnable to pay then to bee sett in the stockes soe longe as the said Maiestrate shall appoint in som open place not exceeding the space of two houres. 

September 29, 1658
It is enacted by the court & the authoritie therof that whosoeuer shall comitt Adultery shalbee seuerly punished by Whiping two seuerall times; namely once whiles the Court is in being att shich they are convicted of the fact & the 2cond time as the Court shall order & likewise to weare two Capitall letters namely A D cut out in cloth & sowed on theire vpermost Garments on theire arme or backe; & if att any time they shalbee taken without the said letters whiles they are in the Gouernment soe worn to bee forth with taken & publickly whipt. 

July 2, 1667
It is enacted by the Court that such as comitt fornication or comon drunkards that noe fine be receiued from them for their fact vntill they haue bin convicted therof before the Court vnlesse some vnavoidable Impediment shall hinder theire appeerance theratt. 

June 1670
It is enacted by the Court that whosoeuer haueing comitted vncleanes in another Collonie & shall come hither & haue not satisfyed the law where the fact was comitted they shalbe sent backe or heer punished according to the Nature of the crime as if the acte had bine heer done. 

See:
Bradford, William.  Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York: Knopf (1952).

Dayton, Cornelia Hughes.  Women Before the Bar: Gender, Law, [and] Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (1995).

Demos, John.  A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. London: Oxford University Press (1970).

Fischer, David Hackett.  Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. London: Oxford University Press (1989).

PCR.  Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Ed. by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York: AMS Press. 12 v. in 6.

Stratton, Eugene Aubrey.  Plymouth Colony: Its History [and] People, 1620-1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing (1986).

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher.  Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Vintage Books (1980).

17C European Woman

 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 

The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Married Women, Quakers, & Servants could NOT own land, vote or hold office in the Plymouth Colony (1636-1671)

The adult men in the 1st settlement of Plymouth all held the status of "stockholders" in the joint-stock company that financed the Plymouth Colony or "plantation." They shared in the ownership of the plantation's assets & its liabilities. They participated in the economic venture & the colonial government. The colonists also began use of the separate term "freemen" early in the settlement, which indicated a citizen of the Colony, who possessed the right to vote for the Governor & Assistants & the right to hold office (thus, all stockholders were freemen, but not all freemen would be stockholders). Women & servants were not eligible for freeman status.

Sometime in the period from 1636 to 1671, the Plymouth colonists formulated a declaration called The General Fundamentals, which further emphasized their desire for self-governance as "freemen" or "associates": "Wee the Associates of New-Plimouth, comeing hither as Freeborn Subjects of the State of England, endowed with all & singular; the Priviledges belonging to such being; Assembled; Do in Act [enact], Ordain & Constitute; That no Act, Imposition, Law or Ordinance, be made or imposed upon us, at present or to come; but such as shall be made or imposed by consent of the Body of Freemen or Associates, or their Representatives legally assembled: which is according to the free Liberties of the State of England." Some view this as one of the earliest forms of a demand for "representative" government & individual rights in the American colonies.

Early on, becoming a freeman was fairly simple, with a candidate being approved for status as a freeman by the existing freemen in his town, & then the name was submitted & accepted by the General Court. Laws passed in 1658 denied the grant of freeman status to those persons who were "opposers of the good & [wholesome] lawes of the Collonie or manifest opposers of the true worship of God or such as refuse to doe the Countrey seruice." The Colony's General Court placed further restrictions on freemen status in 1658. The procedure for becoming a freemen now required that a candidate would have to wait a year after his name was presented to the General Court, before he would be approved as a freemen. Restrictions focusing on Quakers were added as well. No Quaker could be a freemen, & a freemen who became a Quaker would lose his status, as would any freemen who aided Quakers 

The duties of being a freeman may have become more than some persons cared to possess. Towns often threatened fines for freemen failing to attend town meetings.  Even heavier fines were levied against freemen who failed to attend the General Court or to serve on the Grand Enquest when selected to do so. As a result, by 1638 the freemen had prompted legislation which permitted them to elect representatives, called "deputies," who would then attend the sessions of the General Court for each town. Those elected deputies tended to be re-elected year after year. While only freemen could be elected to be deputies, non-freemen who paid taxes & swore fidelity to the Colony were permitted to vote for candidates for deputy. By 1652, the General Court instituted a process for freemen to vote by proxy at the General Court sessions, to prevent them from having to travel to Plymouth Town where the Court was convened.

The declaration of "The Generall Fundamentals" set forth in the 1672 Book of Laws listed an array of rights & privileges possessed by freemen. No freeman was to be punished "but by virtue or equity of some express Law of the General Court of this Colony, the known law of God, or the good & equitable laws of our Nation." From 1623 onward, the law required that all criminal charges & charges of trespass or debts were to be tried to a jury of 12 freemen. A defendant could challenge the appropriateness of particular freemen sitting on their jury, including the use of "peremptory" challenges of 6 or 8 of the jurors in capital cases (a peremptory challenge is one for which the defendant need not give a reason). For a capital case to proceed against a freeman, there had to be at least 2 witnesses, "or that which is the equivalent thereunto," providing evidence against the defendant. Freemen 21 years or older also had the right to make wills & dispose of their property. Freemen were required to take an oath of allegiance to the Colony & to England. There were several charges brought to the Court over the years of freemen failing or refusing to take the loyalty oath. In 1659, for example, 12 men were convicted for refusing to take the oath, & were fined 5 pounds sterling each, although not they were not banished or imprisoned.

Edited from The Plymouth Colony Archive Project. Created by James Deetz (1930–2000), Patricia Scott Deetz, & maintained & enlarged by Christopher Fennell at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Plymouth Colony Widows - Estate & Inheritance Rules (1636)

Plymouth established in the 1636 laws, that it would adopt the inheritance rules of a particular "hold" in Kent County, England: "That Inheritance do descend according to the co[mm]endable custome of Engl. [and] hold of E[as]t Greenw[ich]." This jurisdiction, like several others in England, had earlier established the rule that a widow should receive a life estate with a 1/3 share of the lands possessed by her deceased husband during their marriage. This interest is known as a "dower." Plymouth Colony further provided that the widow would receive an absolute interest (not just a life estate) in a one-third share of all the deceased husband's goods & chattels (all his personal property). As stated in the 1636 laws, "[i]f the husband die the wife shal haue a third p[ar]t of his land[s] during her life & a 3[rd] of his good[s] to be at her owne disposeing." 

By law, widows were due 1/3 of the estate of their deceased husband, but children had no rights to their father's property. Consequently, if a widow remarried, her new husband had the power to take over any property left to her beyond the original 1/3 of her previous husband's estate, leaving her children penniless. To prevent this occurrence, the wills of men often provided for the distribution of money & other resources to their children, payable when they reached a certain age or were married. This act, can be seen in the case of Grace Halloway, who was provided a sum of money in her father's will to ensure her future welfare. Likewise, after the death of her husband Peter, Mary Browne received her third of his estate & successfully petitioned the court for extra money from the estate to help raise their children.

After the death of a husband, the role of a woman in Plymouth society changed drastically, as she could no longer depend on her husband for her welfare. In these cases, widows assumed the role of father, mother, husband, & wife, which allowed them more control over their own lives, as well as those of their children. This is evident in the references to widows in the Plymouth Court Records. Widows, unlike single or married women, could be taxed, hold land, execute the will of their late husbands, & make their own wills to provide for the well being of their children, particularly daughters. Widows fulfilled a completely distinct gender role from their married & single female counterparts. As the references to women in the first four volumes of the Plymouth Colony Court Records show, the role of women & widows grew more distinct over time, further demonstrating that women played an important, though somewhat less visible role in the early society of the Plymouth Colony.

Plymouth Colony Court Records record women acting as the executrix or beneficiary of wills. Most of these references are fairly simple & straightforward, such as one on June 3, 1662, which states "Lres of adminnestration is graunted vnto Mirriam Wormal to adminnester on the estate of Josepth Wormall, deceased." As executrix, the widow settled debts, & provided for the distribution of her late husband's estate, which usually went to their children. In such cases, widows were granted power over land & other property, that she could not have held as a married woman. During married life, a woman's husband exclusively controlled their property, but the unclear gender role of a widow allowed her to gain & keep control over property & other resources. Sometimes, the power of a widow over her late husband's estate was reduced, if a son, brother, or court appointed official was made joint executor with a widow. Such is the case with Widow Abell, who was made joint executrix along with Captain Willett over the estate of her late husband, Robert Abell. This often occurred because both men & women colonists did not feel that a woman could adequately handle economic affairs without assistance. Thus, although some widows controlled the disposal of the estate of their late husband, often this control was reduced by the appointment of a male figure of authority.

When a woman died in the Plymouth Colony, generally the husband or son of the deceased woman was appointed to administer her estate. For the most part, this involved the presentation of an inventory of the woman's "goodes & chattels" to the court, which were then disposed of to sons, daughters, or other family members. Only if the woman was a widow when she died, did she leave a will to provide for the distribution of her estate to her children, especially unmarried daughters. Widows were the only women who left wills, as they were the only women that could own property. 

Eventually, the inheritance rule for children provided shares going to all surviving children, & rejected the older English rule of primogeniture, in which only the eldest son would inherit the estate. Instead, the eldest son received a double share, & the others received equal shares of the remainder. The earliest evidence of this practice in the Colony appears in a 1627 letter from Isaak de Rasieres, Acting-Secretary of New Netherland, who visited Plymouth Colony in that year. He observed of the Plymouth colonists that "'in inheritances they place all the children in one degree, only the eldest son has an acknowledgement for his seniority of birth'."

Edited from The Plymouth Colony Archive Project. Created by James Deetz (1930–2000), Patricia Scott Deetz, & maintained by Christopher Fennell at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

17C European Woman

17C Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born mostly English artist, 1607-1677). We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the portrait prints of women by Wenceslaus Hollar allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn in other countries during the early years of the European colonization of North America.

Friday, April 19, 2019

17C European Woman

 Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Theatrum Mulierum And Aula Veneris 

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America. 


The artist Hollar was born in 1607, the son of an upper middle-class civic official. He left his native Prague at age 20. He was almost blind in one eye but became a skilled artist. His 1st book of etchings was published in 1635, in Cologne, when Hollar was 28. The following year his work caught they eye of English art collector the Earl of Arundel who was visiting the continent. 
The English Earl convinced Hollar to become a part of his household, settling in England early in 1637. Hollar left London for Antwerp in 1642, where he continued to work on a variety of projects for 10 years.  In 1652, he returned to England, working on a number of large images for the publishers John Ogilby & William Dugdale. Hollar died in London in 1677. By his life's end, he had produced nearly 3000 separate etchings.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Women Had NO Role in Organization of the Government in Plymouth Colony (1636)

Governor William Bradford 1590-1657

The legal & governmental structure for Plymouth Colony was not set forth in a royal charter from the Monarchy in England. The males of the Colony produced 4 sets of written codifications of their laws over time, the 1st in 1636, followed by collections of laws published in 1658, 1672, & 1685. The colonists did possess "land patents," which conferred title in the new "plantation" land to Governor William Bradford & his "associates." The Plymouth colonists initiated their organization of a government & legal structure by formulating a self-declared "combination" in which the necessity of forming a "civill body politick" was set forth: In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign, Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, & Ireland, King, Defender of the faith, etc. Having undertaken for the glory of God, & the advancement of the Christian faith, & the honor of our King & country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents solemnly & mutually, in the presence of God & one another, covenant & combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering & preservation, & furtherance of the ends aforesaid; & by virtue hereof, do enact, constitute, & frame such just & equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, & officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet & convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which promise all due submission & obedience. 

Plymouth Colony applied a combination of English common law & religious law in regulating the daily affairs of the settlers. This invocation of religious authority was also useful in establishing the Colony's own authority to govern. What they lacked by royal charter was often obtained by invocation of the Colony's service of the greater "glory of God," just as the Monarchy invoked this service of God as a source of legitimacy for its own claim of power & authority. When Plymouth Colony's General Court later directed that towns should establish their own regulations for managing the local, day-to-day affairs of the townspeople, the General Court required that such local regulations be made with fidelity to the laws of the "Govern[ment]" of the General Court, & not to England itself. Governor William Bradford & other prominent officers of the Colony realized the riskiness of proceeding without a royal charter for their venture. They instead possessed only a land patent issued by the New England Council, a private corporation which did not possess the authority to grant the colonists any right to self-governance. 

As a 1st step in organizing the government in 1620, those original settlers who concerned themselves with this effort convened & elected several "Assistants" & John Carver as the first "Governor." Carver died the next year, & William Bradford was elected as the next Governor & remained in that office for decades. These officers were elected again in each year by the General Court, which was convened on a fairly informal basis in the earliest years of the Colony.

The Governor & Assistants operated, through the Court of Assistants (also called the "Counsell"), to handle all matters on a subject-by-subject & case-by-case basis. They did not have the authority to enact comprehensive laws & ordinances, & rather issued orders on a limited array of subjects through the Court of Assistants. Only the General Court, attended by voting freemen, had the authority to enact such legislation, & it did not do so in a comprehensive manner until the codification of laws in 1636. The structure of the Plymouth government was described in detail in the 1636 code which outlined the rights, duties & powers of Freemen, the General Court, the Governor & Court of Assistants, & an array of additional officers involved in administration of the Colony. The Code contains a rudimentary bill of rights, probably the 1st in America, ante-dating by 5 years that adopted by Massachusetts Bay in the Body of Liberties of 1641. Governor William Bradford & others attempted repeatedly over the years of the Colony to obtain a charter from the Crown. They failed to do so, & Plymouth Colony ultimately lost its self-governance & was annexed as just a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

Edited from The Plymouth Colony Archive Project. Created by James Deetz (1930–2000), Patricia Scott Deetz, & maintained & enlarged by Christopher Fennell at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Escaping to America - To Practice Enlightenment Ideals


Toward the end of the 17C, Enlightenment thought spread throughout Europe & into the British American colonies lasting well into the 18C.

Born by scientific advances , particularly those of Isaac Newton (1642–1727), the inductive method of Francis Bacon (1561–1626), and the empirical philosophy of John Locke (1632–1704), the Enlightenment movement emphasized the importance of individual human reason as well as the existence of natural law.

It encouraged literary critics & taste-makers Joseph Addison (1672-1719) & Richard Steele (1692-1729) to publish The Spectator; satirists Alexander Pope 1688-1744) & Jonathan Swift (1667-1745); plus economists (Adam Smith (1723-1790) & Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). In the 1st half of the 18C, their writings quickly spread to the British American colonies through enterprising publishers such as young Benjamin Franklin. And more people were learning to read in the 18C.

Artists inspired by its rationalism & order turned from the florid Rococo toward a more elegant simplicity. At the same time, the discovery of the ruins of the ancient cities Herculaneum (1709) & Pompeii (1748) renewed interest in the arts, literature, and architecture of classical cultures.

At the end of the 18C, revolutions in France & the British American colonies invited comparisons between classical & the freedom of emerging contemporary governments. These factors advanced the Neoclassical movement in the visual arts & architecture, and the study of literary classics in Latin & Greek. Young men, and even some women, were learning classical languages in 18C America. The freedom & equality offered by emerging revolutionary governments encouraged some to move across the Atlantic to the Early American republic.

Despite professed beliefs in enlightenment and reason, independence for most women in the British American colonies and the new republic was nearly impossible. Individualism and freedom were reserved for men in colonial society throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Reports of Native Americans Influencing Fashion in 17C Europe

Jan Boeckhorst (Flemish, c1604-1668) c 1630 Portrait of Helena Fourment, 2nd wife of the artist Peter Paul Rubens at Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp

Thomas Lechford (c 1590-1644) was an English lawyer who wrote about his experiences in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Born in London, Lechford emigrated to Boston in 1638. He became the 1st man to practice law in New England.  Lechford returned to his comfortable life in England in 1641, very dissatisfied with his experiences in the colony but apparently quite happy to pass on his observations. Lechford published Plaine Dealing, or Newes from New England (London, 1642), & New England's Advice to Old England (1644).

Thomas Lechford observed Native American Women (1637):  “They are of body tall, proper, & straight; they goe naked, saving about their middle, somewhat to cover shame…Their women are of comely feature…their children are borne white but they bedawbe them with oyle, & colours, presently. They have all black hair….In times of mourning they paint their faces with black lead, black, all about the eye-brows, & part of their cheeks. In time of rejoicing, they paint red, with a kind of vermilion. They…weare feathers of Peacocks, & such like, & red cloath, or ribbands at their locks; beads of wampompeag about their necks, & a girdle of the same, wrought with blew & white wampum, after the manner of chequer work, two fingers broad, about their loynes….” 

See more descriptions of New England's Native Americans:
Edward Johnson’s Wonder-Working Providence of Sions Saviour in New England (1654)
Good News from New England (1658)
William Wood’s New England Prospects (1939)

Monday, April 15, 2019

17C European Woman


Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Portrait of a Woman 1642

We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the prints by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677) allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn on the other side of the Atlantic during the early years of the English colonization of America.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Women & Crime in the Plymouth Colony (1635)

Women were accused of a wide range of crimes in the early Plymouth Colony: including abuse, living disorderly, selling alcohol to an Indian, squatting, being at a Quaker meeting, stealing a boat, slander, stopping a highway, failure to appear in court, murder, dancing, lying, stealing, being a witch, not attending church, working on a Sunday, being drunk, exchanging a gun with an Indian, & paying someone underage. Punishments, when mentioned, varied with the type of crime. Cases of stealing, lying, being at a Quaker meeting, & selling alcohol to an Indian were punished with a monetary fine. Slander & stealing were punished with time in the stocks, & slander & disturbance of worship were punished with whipping. There was only one instance where the death penalty was imposed, in the case of a mother murdering her 4 year-old daughter. Widows were not punished differently than single or married women.

According to court records, women did accuse others of crimes including blasphemous speech, abuse, lewd behavior, stealing a pig, beating, molesting, unapproved marriage, cutting a colt, not solemnizing marriage, & stealing a cow. In most of these cases, the accusations made by women were taken seriously, & the accused person, male or female, was brought to trial & if found guilty, punished. Widows, married women, & single women all made accusations equally. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

17C European Woman

17C Woman by Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born mostly English artist, 1607-1677). We have few depictions of women in the 17C British American colonies, but the portrait prints of women by Wenceslaus Hollar allow us to see the hairstyles & fashions being worn in other countries during the early years of the European colonization of North America.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Puritan Laws on Sexual Misconduct - Intimacy " without lycence" - 1633-86

Fornication

April 1, 1633 It. John Hews [&] Jone his wife adjudged to sitt in the stocks because the said Jone conceived w[ith] childe by him before they were publickely married, though in the time of contract.

April 1, 1633 It. John Thorp [&] Alice his wife like wise adjudged to sitt in the stocks, [&] amerced in forty shillings fine, because his wife conceived w[ith] childe before marriage, but in regard of their [present] poverty, twelue moneths time given for paym[ent].

August 7, 1638. Whereas Thomas Boardman, liueing incontinently with Luce, his now wyfe, & did begett her with child before they were marryed together, which, vpon examiination, was confessed by them both, the said Thom. Boardman was censured to be seuerely whipt, which was performed accordingly, & to fynd sureties for his good behauior; & that he left the child (so vnlawfully begotten) liueing in England, [&] bring good testymony thereof; & the said Luce, his wyfe, to be censured when shee is deliuered, as the Bench shall think fitt.

August 11, 1638.The condition that the said Thom Boardman shalve of the good behauior towards our soueraigne lord the King, [&] all his leige people, & appeare at the General Court to be holden for this gouerment in January next, [&] not dep[art] the same without lycence, & shall also bring testymony vnder the hand of the alderman of the ward & publish in London, or els some other sufficient testymony, that a man child, begotten vpon the body of Luce his now wyfe, before marriage, was liueing when he put forth the same to nurse, & to whome it was put, etc; that then, etc.

November 8, 1638. The condition, etc, that if the said John Smyth shall personally appeare either at the next General Court to be holden for this gouerment, or the Court of Assistants which shall first happen next after the byrth of a child begotten vpon the body of Bennett Moorecock, whereof the said John is the reputed father, & abide the further order of the Court, [&] not dep[art] the same without lycence; that then, etc. (He marryed the weoman, [&] appeared [&] had his centure to be whiped, which was accordingly done.)

February 8, 1638/1639.  Memorand: That whereas Dorothy Temple, a mayde servant dwelling with Mr. Steephen Hopkins, was begotten with child in his service by Arthur Peach, who was executed for murther & roberry by the heigh way before the said child was borne, the said Steephen Hopkins hath concluded & agreed with Mr. John Holmes, of Plymouth, for three pounds sterl., & other considerations to him in hand payd, to discharge the said Steephen Hopkins & the colony of the said Dorothy Temple & her child foreuer; & the said Dorothy is to serue all the residue of her tyme with the said John Holmes, according to her indenture.

June 4, 1639 Dorothy Temple, for vncleanes & bringing forth a male bastard, is centured to be whipt twice; but shee faynting in the execution of the first, theother was not executed.

September 1, 1640 Thomas Pynson [&] Joane, his wife, for incontenency before their marriage, & censured, the said Thomas to be whipt at the post, & Joane his wife to sit in the stocks.

November 2, 1640  Francis West & Margery, his wyfe, for incontenancy with one another before marriage, were centured to be both set in the stocks; & that Francis shall make a paire of stocks to be set vp in a convenient place in Duxborrow, within the space of two months now next ensueinge.

March 1, 1641/1642  We present John Caseley, of Barnestable, [&] Alis, his wyfe, for fornicacion, in vnlawfull companying before their marriage. John to be whipt, [&] Alis to be set in the stocks. (the weoman stocks during the whiping)

June 7, 1642  John Casley, of Barnestable, [&] Alis, his wyfe, for fornicacion before marriage, is censured, the said John to be whipt, & Alis, his wyfe, to sit in the stocks whilst her husband is in whipping; which was accordingly executed.

June 4, 1645 John Ellis, of Sandwich, for abuseing himself with his now wyfe by committing vncleanesse with her before marryage, is censured to be whipt at publike post, & Elizabeth, his wyfe, to stand by whilst execution of the sentence is performed; wich was accordingly donn. And the said John Ellis, for his long & tedious delayes, occasioning much trouble [&] charge to the countrey, for that he would not confesse the truth vntill this present, is fyned [five pounds].

October 27, 1646  John Tompson, coming into this Court & acknowledging his fault of incontinency with his wife before marriage, but after contract, was fined vli [&] imprisoned according to order, but paying his fees, was released of his imprisonment.

March 2, 1646/1647 Whereas Steven Wing, of Sandwich, [&] Oseah Dillingham, were found to haue had carnall knowledge each of others body before contract of matrimony, which the said Steven Wing, comin into the face of the Court, freely acknowledging, he was, according to order of Court, fined in x li, & so is discharged.

October 4, 1648 Christofer Winter & his wife haueing been presented, the 8th of Jone, 1648, for haueing knowlige each of other before publicke mariage, the said Christofer, deliuering a bill vnder his hand vnto Captain Standish, Treasurer, for the payment of his finne, is cleared of the said presentment.

March 6, 1648/1649 Wee present Peregrin White, & Sara, his wife, both of Marshfeild, for fornication before marriage or contract. Cleared by paying the fine.

March 2, 1651/1652 Wee further present Katheren Winter, of Scittuate, for committing the sinne of fornication with her father in law, James Turner.

March 2, 1651/1652 Wee further present Thomas Launders, of the towne of Sandwich, for haueing a child born within thrity weekes after marriage. See more of this the 36th page of this booke. Not appeering, fined according to order.

June 3, 1652 David Linnet & Hannah Shelley, for vncleane practises eich with other, are sentenced by the Court to bee both publickely whipt at Barnstable, where they liue.

March 7, 1653/1654 Wee present Joseph Rose, & Elizabeth, his wife, of Marshfeild, for fornication. Cleared by paying the fine.

March 6, 1654/1655 wee present James Gleghorne, & Abia Lumbard, his now wife, of Barnstable, for carnall copulation before contraction. [Paied the fine.]

June 6, 1655 Item, wee present John Sprague & Ruth Bassett, of Duxburrow, for fornication before they were married. [Cleared by paing the fine.]

June 6, 1655 Item, wee present Jane, the seruant of William Swift, for an acte of fornication, by her owne confession vpon examination.

October 4, 1655 And att this Court, Jane Powell, seruant to William Swift, of Sandwidge, appeered, haueing been presented for fornication, whoe, being examined, saith that it was committed with one David Ogillior, & Irish man, seruant to Edward Sturgis; shee saith shee was alured thervnto by him goeing for water one euening, hopeing to haue married him, beeing shee was in a sadd & miserable condition by hard seruice, wanting clothes & liuing discontentedly; & expressing great sorrow for her euell, shee was cleared for the present, & ordered to goe home againe.

June 7, 1659 Wheras Richard French is accused by Hepthsibah Andrews to haue committed bodily vncleanes with her, & hath stood engaged to the Court to answare for the same & appeered att this Court; & that like wise the said Hepthsibah Andrews was likewise summoned to appeer att this Court to make out her accusation, but soe it is that shee could not appeer by reason of weaknes or sicknes; the Court, therefore, hath seen reason to take bonds of him to pay a considerable summe towards the keeping of the child, wherwith shee goeth, if it shall appeer to bee his.

October 6, 1659 Att this Court, Richard French appeered to answare to such particulares as should bee objected against him X Hepthsibath Andrew, for committing bodily vncleanes with her; but shee not appeering, hee was for the present cleared, & his bond deliuered, & hee was left to his libertie to procecute against the said Hepthsibath Andrews, if hee pleased.

August 7, 1660 Att this Court, Thomas Attkins, an inhabitant att the Riuer of Kennebecke, appeered before the Court, haueing bine apprehended & committed to jayle for committing insest with his owne daughter, named Mary, whoe accused him that hee had committed the said acte sundry times with her; & beingstrictly examined hee deneyed that hee euer hee had to doe with her in that kind, & was returned to the jayle againe, & there to remaine vntill the next Court for further tryall. The summe of the examination is elsewhere extant in the Court.

October 2, 1660 Att this Court, Thomas Attkins, inhabitant att the Riuer of Kennebecke, & late prisoner att Plymouth, for committing insist with Mary Atkins, his owne daughter, came to his tryall according to law, which accordingly was procequted against him, by a bill of inditement prefered, & a jury of twelue men were impanneled for the tryall of the case, the prisoner examined, & all the euidence that could bee produced was presented.

The said Thomas Atkins put himselfe vpon tryall of God & the countrey. The grand jury found the bill of inditement a true bill, & indorsed on it bella vera. These brought in a verdict, wherin they expressed that they found the said Thomas Atkins not guilty of the said fact, & soe according to the law hee was cleared.

And wheras, in the examination of the said Thomas Atkins, it appeered that on a time hee being in drinke in the night season in his owne house, hee offered some vnclean, insestious attempts to his daughter, Mary Attkins, abouesaid, in his chimney corner, as hee himselfe, in parte, confessed. Hee was sentanced to suffer corporall unishment by whiping, which accordingly was executed, & soe the said Atkins cleared & sett libertie to returne to his owne home.

June 10, 1661 Thomas Burge, Junior, being bound ouer to the Court to answare for an act of vncleanes committed by him with Lydia Gaunt, hee was sentanced, according to the law, to bee seuerly whipt, which accordingly was enflicted whiles this Court was in being, & a second time to bee whipt att Sandwich, att the discretion of Mr Hinckley, on the first Munday in July next after the date heerof; & as conserning the capitall letters to bee worne according to the law, it is for the present respited vntill the Court shall descerne beter of his future walkeing.

March 3, 1662/1663 Nathaniel Church & Elizabeth Soule, for committing fornication with each other, were fined, according to the law, each of them, 05:00:00.

June 1, 1663 Nathaniell Fitsrandall, for committing fornication, fined ten pounds; hee hath liberty vntill the next October Court to pay the fine, or suffer corporall punishment.

October 5, 1663 William Norkett, for committing fornication with his now wife, fined fiue pounds.

June 8, 1664 Dorcas Presberry, for committing fornication, fined fiue pounds. Gorge Barlow stands engaged in her behalfe to see it payed.

October 4, 1664 Ruhamah Turner, for committing fornication, fined 05:00:00.

March 7, 1664/1665 Thomas Cushman, for committing carnall coppulation with his now wife before marriage but after contract, is centanced by the Court to pay fiue pounds, according to the law; & for the latter parte of the law, refereing to imprisonment, is refered to further consideration.

March 7, 1664/1665 Thomas Totman appeered att this Court, to answare his presentment for haueing carnall coppulation with his now wife before marriage, & affeirmed that it was after contract; which being not cleare to the Court, hee was centanced to pay a fine of ten pounds, if not cleared by further testimony; but if soe cleared, to pay but fiue pounds.

March 7, 1664/1665 Ruhamah Turner, of Sandwich, for committing fornication with John Ewen, was fined the summe of fiue pounds to the vse of the collonie.

October 3, 1665 James Cudworth, Junior, for committing carnall complation with his wife before marriage, is fined, according to the law, fiue pounds to the vse of the collonie.

October 3, 1665 Sarah Ensigne, for committing whordome agreuated with diuers cercomstances, was centansed by the Court to bee whipt att the cartstaile; & that it bee left to the descretion of such of the magestrates as shall see the said punishment inflicted for the number of stripes, but not to exceed twenty, which accordingly was inflicted this Court.

March 5, 1666/1667 Joseph Hollett & Elizabeth, his wife, for committing carnall coppulation each with other before marriage or contract, fined ten pounds.

July 2, 1667 In reference vnto Sarah, the daughter of John Smith, of Barnstable, her committing fornication, although the summe of ten pounds fine might be required for her said default, yett on some considerations the Court haue remited the one halfe therof, & doe require the summe of fiue pounds.

July 2, 1667 Elizabeth Soule, for committing fornication the second time, was centanced to suffer corporall punishment by being whipt att the post, which accordingly was executed performed.

July 2, 1667 Dinah Siluester, for committing fornication, fined ten pounds.

Joseph Hallott [&] his wife, for committing carnall coppulation before marriage & before contract, fine [10 pounds].

October 30, 1667 Thomas Delanoy, for haueing carnall coppulation with his now wife beofe marriage, fine the summe of ten pounds.

June 1, 1669 Att this Court, Christopher Winter, allies Grabbam, was indited on suspition of committing insest with his daughter, Martha Hewett; hee putting himselfe on legall tryall, the grand enquest found not the bill, & soe hee was released.

In reference vnto the said Martha Hewett, shee haueing a bastard borne of her body, which was groundedly suspected to be begotten by her said father, though not legally proued, as abouesaid, shee alsoe refusing to confesse the father thereof, for her said whordome was centanced by the Court to suffer corporall punishment by whipping att the post, which according was performed & executed.

And in answare vnto John Hewett, her husband, his earnest petition & request to be divorsed from her, the Court, not being fully satisfyed soe as to proceed therein, haue referred the case to a further hearing att the Court of his magestie, to be holden att Plymouth the first Tusday in July next, & the said parties to appeer & to produce such euidence as may further cleare the case, & soe for present were dismissed.

July 5, 1669 Att this Court, John Hewett & his wife appeered, the said Hewett still earnestly requesting a divorse form his said wife, shee haueing bine detected of whordom; but notwithstanding what euidence was produced by them att this Court, the case appeered very diffucult in reference to some particulars. The Court haue refered it to the next Court of his magestie, to be holden att Plymouth the last Tusday in October next, for a finall determination of the same.

October 29, 1669 John Ewen, for committing fornication with Ruhamah Turner, was fined the summe of three pounds to the vse of the collonie, abated heerof twenty shillings.

March 1, 1669/1670 Att this Court, John Prince, Junior, of Nantaskett, appeered, hauing bine acused by Bethyah Tubbs that hee had begotten her with child; but it soe fell out by the ordering hand of God, that shee being sent for to heare some testimonies that hee said hee could produce, tending to his clearing, shee fell in trauell, an dwas deliuered of a child while the Court was then in being att Plymouth, on which the time being computed that shee acused him to haue done the acte, it was found not to answare to the time of the child's beirth, it being come to full perfection; on which the Court cleared him, soe farr as they could as yett descerne, form being guilty of the said fact.

July 5, 1670 Memorandum: that Jonathan Cudworth & his wife be sent for, to answare for committing fornication with each other; & likewise Elizabeth Adkins, for the same.

July 5, 1670 Elizabeth Doxey, late seruant to Mr Joseph Tilden, deceased, being deliuered of a child, & charging of Nathaniel Tilden to be the father of it, the said Nathaniel Tilden appeered att this Court to answare to it, & being examined, deneyeth it; notwithstanding, the Court saw cause to take cecuritie of him to saue the towne of Scittuate harmles from any damage that might acrew vnto them by the said child vntill another father appeereth; & a warrant was directed to the constables of Scittuate to cause her, the said Doxey, to bee sent as soon as shee is capable to Plymouth, to receiue punishment according to her demeritts.

October 29, 1670 Att this Court, William Rogers, for committing fornication before marriage, was centanced to pay fiue found in mony or be whipt.

October 29, 1670 Att this Court, Edward Jenkens was ordered to pay three pounds for & in the behalfe of his daughter, Mary Adkinson, whoe is fined for haueing carnal coppulation with her husband, Marmeduke Adkinson, before marriage & before contract; & the said summe being payed, shee is then freed from appeerance att the Court to answre for that fact.

October 29, 1670 Att this Court, Jabez Snow & his wife were fined the summe of ten pounds for haueing carnall coppulation with each other before marriage.

January 17, 1671 Mary Churchill & Thomas Dotey carnall coppulation & a child

March 5, 1671/1672 Samuell Arnold, Junior, & his now wife were fined the summe of ten pounds for committing fornication with each other before marriage.

March 5, 1671/1672 Att this Court John Williams, of Barnstable, appeered, being bound ouer to anware the accusation layed against him by Susannah Turner, of Sandwich, of begetting her with child, which hee stifly & peremtorily denied; & the fact not being fully proued against him, the Court saw cause att the present to take bonds of him for to allow a summe towards the keeping of the child; & soe hee was released for present, being to appeer att the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth aforsaid the first Tusday in July next, according to the bonds following: --

John Williams, of Barnstable, standeth bound vnto the Court in the penall summe of 10:00:00.

The condition, that wheras the said John Williams is accused to be the father of the child which was lately borne of Sussanna Turner, of Sandwich, if, therfore, the said John Williams doe alow & suely pay two shillings by the weeke towards the keeping of the said child vntill the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth aforsaid the first Tusday in July next, & that the said John Williams doe appeer att the Court, & not depart the same without lycence; that then, etc.

July 1, 1672 The condition that wheras the said John Williams is accused to be the father of the child which was lately borne of Sussanna Turner, of Sandwich, if therefore the said John Williams doe alow & duely pay two shillings by the weeke towards the keeping of the said child, vntill the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth aforsaid the first Tueday in March next, the one halfe to be payed in Indian corne, & the other halfe in goods, both att prise currant, to be deliuered att James Pursevalls, att Sandwich, quarterly, (if the said child liue soe longe,) & that hee the said John Williams doe appeer att the Court aforsaid, & not depart the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.

Dorcase Billington is centanced to suffer corporall punishment by whipping, for committing fornication; this to be performed on some lecture day, when the Gouernor shall see meet.

March 4, 1672/1673 [letter from Isacke Turner discharging John Williams from the maintenance of his sister, Sussanna Turner's child]

The condition, that if the said Nicholas White doe appeer att the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth in June next, to make further answare to what may be required of him in reference to the charge & accusation of Jaell Smith, wherin shee chargeth him to haue committed vncleanes with her, & that hee, the said White, depart not the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.

The condition, that if the said Thomas Jones doe appeer att the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth in June next, to make further answare to what may be required of him in reference to the charge & accussation of Jaell Smith, wherin she chargeth him to have committed vncleanes with her, & that hee, the said Jones, depart not the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.

Memorandum: that John Smith & Jaell, his wife, be summoned to the said Court in reference to the premises.

Francis Curtice, for committing fornication with his now wife before marriage, fined fifty shillings.

Abisha Marchant & Mary Tayler, for committing fornication with each other, fined each of them fiue pound.

July 4, 1673 Att this Court, William James & his wife were fined the summe of ten pounds for committing carnall coppullation with each other before marriage or contract.

June 3, 1674 Att this Court Josiah Leuitt, of Hingham, appeered, to answare the charge of Deborah Brookes, that hee had committed fornication with her; & the Court haueing heard such testimonies on both parties as haue bin produced for the clearing of the case, & finding noe suffieient proofe of her said accusation, doe see cause to cleare him of his being guilty of the said fact soe farre as wee descerne.

Deborah Brookes, for committing fornication, was centanced by the Court to be publickly whipt, which accordingly was inflicted.

October 27, 1674 The condition, that wheras the aboue bounden Joseph Doten is accused by Elizabeth Warren to haue committed fornication with her, wherby shee is with child, if, therfore, the said Joseph Doten shall & doe appeer att the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth aforsaid the first Tusday in March next, to make further answare respecting the said fact, & not depart the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.

March 1, 1674/1675 Rebeckah Littlefeild & Israell Woodcocke, she with begotten with child.

Nathaniel Soule, for lying with an Indian woman, was centanced to be whipt att the post, which accordingly was inflicted; likewise, the woman was publickly whipt att the post for this fact.  And the said Soule is ordered by the Court to paye ten bushells of Indian corne to the said Indian woman towards the keeping of the child.

June 1, 1675 Samuell Wood, for committing carnall coppulation with his now wife before marriage, fined 5:00:00.

October 27, 1675 Wheras a child is lately borne of Elizabeth Woodward, & that shee accuseth Pobert Stedson, Junior, to be the father therof, of which hee can not cleare himselfe, the Court sees cause to take securitie for the payment of what they judge nessesaary for the keeping of the child, as followeth: -- Robert Stetson, Junior, & Major James Cudworth, doe stand bound vnto our souern lord the Kinge, joyntly & seuerally, in the penall summe of thirty pounds.  The condition, that incase the said Robert Stetson doe pay or cause to be payed, for & towards the keeping of the child lately borne of Elizabeth Woodward, two shillings a weeke, for the first three monthes, to be payed in corn or mony next after the birth of the said child, & one shilling & six pence a weeke, to be payed in mony or corn, vntill it attaine the age of seauen yeers, if it liue soe longe, that then the aboue written obligation to be void & of non effect, or otherwise to remaine in full force, strength, & vertue.

March 7, 1675/1676 Mistris Anne Torry engaged vnto the Court either to procure & deliuer the summe of ten pounds, to answare the law for her daughter committing fornication, by the next June Court, or the present her daughter before the said Court to receiue corporall punishment.
June 5, 1678 Elizabeth Loe for whoredom & illegitimate child with Phillip Leanard.

Richard Siluester, of Milton, for committing fornication with the daughter of old Leanard, of Tauton, is centanced by the Corut to pay a fine of fiue pound; & incase hee be not marryed, or doe not marry the said woman, then hee is to pay other fiue pound, according to the law.

March 8, 1678/1679 The condition of the aboue written obligation is such, that wheras Lydia, the wife of Isacke Hanmore, hath accused Robert Stanford, aboue bounded, to be the father of the child lately borne of her body, wherof hee hath not yett cleared himselfe to the satisvaction of the Court, if, therfore, the said Robert Stanford doe pay or cause to be payed, eighteen pence per week for the tearme of two years form the date heerof, & longer time if the Court shall see reason, to be deliuered to the said Lydia or her order, towards the bringing vp of the said chile, if it liue soe long, to be payed in good Indian corne, att prise currant, or in other good & marchantable pay, vnlesse hee cleare himselfe of the said fact in the interem, or come to other composition with the said Lydia & her husband; that then the said obligation to be void & of non effect, or otherwise to remaine in full force, strength, & vertue.

July 4, 1679 Jonathan Higgens, for committing fornication with his wifes sister after his wifes death, was fined the summe of 20:00:00.

June 7, 1681 Richard Benitt, for telling of sundry lyes, & for his laciuious & light behauiour with Deborah Woodcocke, is centanced by the Court to be publickly whipt att the post, which accordingly was performed; hee, the said benitt, was likewise centanced by the Court to pay one & twenty pence a weeke, for the space of three years from the date heerof, for the towards the keeping of the child borne of the said Deborah, wherof shee, the said Deborah, affeirmeth that the said Richard Benitt is the father therof. [also listed under July 7, 1681 same except payment is only twenty pence per week]  And the said Deborah, for committing fornication with the said Richard Benitt, is centanced by the Court to pay a fine of ten pounds.

November 6, 1683 John Sprague & his wife, for fornication after contract, fined fiue pound.

Richard Man & his wife, for committing fornication, fined seauen poound & ten shillings.

October, 1684 Wee present James Bucker [&] Mary Bucker his wife, of Sciuate, for fornication. Being conuict thereof by his own acknowledgment is fined fiue pounds.

October 29, 1685 The Court then gaue him this judgmentt: John Michell, conuict for fornication with Hannah Bony, for lasciuious carriages & speeches att sundry times, is sentanced to be seuerely whipt, [&] to giue bond with surtyes for for his good behauior till March Court next, to stand committed till sentence be performed.

October 27, 1685 Hannah Bonny conuict for fornication with John Michell, [&] also with Nimrod, negro, [&] haueing a bastard child by said Nimrod, is sentanced to be well whipt.

Nimrod, negrow, conuict for fornication with Hannah Bonny, is sentanced to be seuerely whipt, [&] that said Nimrod pay 18 pence per weeke to said Bonny towards the maintainance of said child for a year, if it liue soe long; [&] if he, or his master in his behalfe, neglect to pay the same, the said negro to be putt out to seruice by the Deputy Gouernor soe long time, or from time to time, soe as to procure the same.

March 2, 1685/1686 Robert Staples, of Sittuate, apered before the Court; being convict of fornication, suffered corporall punishment.

July 6, 1686 Robert Godfrey, & Hannah, his wife, convict in Court for fornication

See:

Bradford, William.  Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York: Knopf (1952).

Dayton, Cornelia Hughes.  Women Before the Bar: Gender, Law, [and] Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press (1995).

Demos, John.  A Little Commonwealth: Family Life in Plymouth Colony. London: Oxford University Press (1970).

Fischer, David Hackett.  Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. London: Oxford University Press (1989).

PCR.  Records of the Colony of New Plymouth in New England. Ed. by Nathaniel Shurtleff and David Pulsifer. New York: AMS Press. 12 v. in 6.

Stratton, Eugene Aubrey.  Plymouth Colony: Its History [and] People, 1620-1691. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing (1986).

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher.  Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750. New York: Vintage Books (1980).