Monday, November 2, 2015

Puritan New England - Lascivious Conduct - 1637-1686 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records




Lascivious Conduct

August 21, 1637. John Bundy was ex[amined] & found guilty of lude behavior [&] vnciuill carriage towards Elizabeth Haybell, in the house of her m[aster], Mr. William Brewster, & is therefore adjudged to be seuerely whiped, w[hich] was executed vpon him accordingly.

December 7, 1641 The condition, etc, that the said William Kersley shall personally appeare at the next General Court of our said soueraigne lord the King, to be holden for this gouernment, to answere to all such matters as shalbe (on his said master's behalf) objected against him for vncleane carriages towards men that he hath lyen withall, & abide the further order of the Court, & not depart the same without lycence; that then, etc.

March 17, 1641/1642  Tristram Hull, or Yarmouth, for vnclean practises.

Wee present Thomas Tupper, of Sandwich, for midsemeanor in lascivious [&] vncleane carriages towards Lincefors wyfe, late of Yarmouth.

March 3, 1645/1646 Thomas Bonney confession for interaction with Elizabeth Farnyseede.

October 2, 1650 Wheras the wife of Hugh Norman, of Yarmouth, hath stood presented diuers Courts for misdemenior & lude behauior with Mary Hammon vppon a bed, with diuers lasiuious speeches by her allso spoken, but shee could not appeere by reason of somm hinderances vntill this Court, the said Court haue therfore sentanced her, the said wife of Hugh Norman, for her vild behauior in the aforsaid particulars, to make a publick acknowlidgment, so fare as conveniently may bee, of her vnchast beahuior, & haue allso warned her to take heed of such cariages for the future, lest her former cariage come in remembrqance against her to make her punishment the greater.

June 8, 1651 Wee present John Shaw & James Shaw, Samuell Cutbert & Beniamin Eaton, of the towne of Plymouth, & Goodwife Gannett, & Martha Haward, & William Snow, of the towne of Duxburrow, for vaine, light, & laciuius carriage at an vnseasonable time of the night.

October 7, 1651 Wheras, at the Generall Court holden the 8th of June last past, John Shaw & James Shaw, Samuell Cutbert, & Beniamine Eaton, Goodwife Gannett, Martha Haward, & William Snow were presented for vaine, light, & lacivious carriage at an vnseasonable time of the night, the Court, not finding them alike faulty, haue fined James Shaw & Goodwife Gannett thirty shillings apeece, to be payed by the next Court of Assistants, [&] themselues then personally to appeere, or otherwise to receaue corporall punishment by whiping. . . . And Samuell Cutbert, William Snow, Beniamine Eaton, & Martha Haward are released, with admonishion to take heed of such euell carriages for the future. . . . And as for John Shaw, hee is lyable to punishment when oppertunitie serueth.

Wee further present Goodwife Ramsden for lacivius goeing in the companie of young men. Sence cleared with admonition. (Refered to conference & further admonished to labore to walk inofensiuely.)

May 4, 1652 Wheras Edward Holman hath been obserued to frequent the house of Thomas Sherive at vnreasonable times of the night, & at other times, which is feared to bee of ill consequence, -- The Court haue therfore ordered, that the said Edward Holman bee warned by the cunstable of Plymouth, that hee henceforth doe no more frequent or comm at the house of the said Sherive, nor that the wife of the siad Sherive doe frequent the house or companie of the said Holman, as either of them will answare it at theire perills.

June 9, 1653 Edward Holman, & Martha, the wife of Thomas Shriue, warned by the Court to keep out of the companie of each other, on perill of suffering corporall punishment by whiping.

October 4, 1653 Wee present John Marchant, of Yarmouth, for misdemeaning of himselfe in words & carriages with & towards Agnesse, the wife of Thomas Phillips.

June 6, 1655 Item, wee present Hugh Cole, & Mary Foxwell, his now wife, in keeping company each with other in an vndecent manner, att an vnseasonable time & place, before marriage. [Owning the presentment as it lyeth, hee is fined 20s.]

March 5, 1655 Wee present John Gorum for vnseamly carriage towards Blanch Hull att vnseasonable time, being in the night. [Fined 40s.]

Wee present Blanch Hull for not crying out when shee was assaulted by John Corum in vnseemly carriage towards her vpon her owne relation. [Fined fifty shillings.]

March 1, 1658/1659 William Nelson being presented for vnciuell carrages towards seuerall weomen att seuerall times, it being cleared to the Court that hee was guilty by seuerall testimonyes, hee was centanced by the Court to sitt in the stockes during the pleasure of the Court (which accordingly was performed) & likewise to find surties for his good behauior. [The said William Nelson acknowlidgeth to owe vnto his highnes, the Lord Protector, the summe of 40:00:00.]

March 5, 1660/1661 Att this Court, Hester, the wife of John Rickard, for laciuiouse & vnaturall practices proued by a presentment, was sentanced to sit in the stockes during the pleasure of the Court, & to weare a paper on her hate, on which her facte was written in capitall letters, all the time shee was to sit in the stockes; all which was performed.

Josepth Dunham, for diuers laciuiouse carriages, was sentanced by the Court to sitt in the stockes, with a paper on his hatt on which his fact was written in capitall letters, & likewise to find surties for his good behauiour. [Released, paying his fees.] Josepth Dunham, oweth vnto our souern lord the Kinge the summe of 20:00:00.

May 7, 1661 Att this Court, Ann, the wife of Thomas Sauory, was presented fefore the Court to answare for being att home on the Lords day with Thomas Lucas att vnseasonable time, namely, in the time of publicke exercise in the worship of God, & for being found drunke att the same time vnder an hedge, in vnciuell & beastly manor, was sentanced by the Court as followeth, namely: for her accompanying of the said Lucas att an vnseasonable time as aforsaid, she was sentanced to sitt in the stockes during the pleasure of the Court, which accordingly was performed & executed.

June 1, 1663 The Court being enformed that Josepth Rogers, of Namassakeesett, hath frequently & from time kept companie with Mercye, the wife of William Tubbs, in a way & after such manor as hath giuen cause att least to suspect that there hath bine laciuiouse actes committed by them, the Court sees cause & haue required the said Josepth rogers to remoue his dwelling from Namassakeesettt aforsaid by the twentieth day of this instant June, & haue alsoe declared vnto him that if att any time hee shall bee taken att the house of the said Tubbs, or in the companie of the said marcye Tubbs alone in any place, that then hee shall forth with bee taken & seuerly whipt; & the said William Tubbs was by the Court strictly charged not to tollerate him to come to his house or where hee hath to doe att any time, as hee will answare athe same att his pill.

October 5, 1663 The abouesaid Marcye Tubbs & Josepth rogers, for theire absean & laciuious behauior each with other, cleared against them by the trauers of a presentment against them, were centanced by the Court to find sureties for theire good behauior as abouesaid, & fined each fifty shillings for the vse of the collonie. [each pay 20:00:00 for sureties]

March 6, 1665/1666 Wheras John Robinson, of Saconesett, hath bine convicted of some laciuious speeches & actions manifested towards Francis, the wife of Thomas Crippen, the Court saw reason to require bonds of him for good behauior, as followeth: -- John Robinson acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our souern lord the Kinge the summe of 20:00:00.

Wheras Thomas Crippin hath bine convicted before the Court of laciuious speeches tending to the vpholding of & being as a pandor of his wife in lightnes & laciuiousnes, the Court saw reason to require bonds of him for his good behauior; & whereas the said Crippin could not procure surties, hee hath & doth by these presents bind ouer vnto the Court, in the behalfe of his magisteries, the vallue of forth pounds out of his estate, as followeth, namely, two mares, one cow, two yearling hekffers, two twelumonthing steers, & soe much of his other estate as will make vp the said summe.

Wheras Jonathan Hatch hath bine convicted of vnnesesarie frequenting the house of Thomas Crippin, & therby hath giuen occation of suspision of dishonest behauior towards Francis, the wife of the said Crippin, the Court hath admonished him & warned him for the future not to giue such occation of suspision as aforsaid by his soe frequently resorting to the said house or by coming in the companie of the said woman, as hee will anware it att his perill.

October 29, 1669 Thomas Starr, for vseing words & carriages tending very much to vncleanes, was fined twenty shillings.

March 1, 1669/1670 Christopher Blake, for being drunke, fined fiue shillings, & for his vnseemly carriages in his drunkenes with an Indian woman, is centenced by the Court to sitt in the stockes two houres att Yarmouth on theire next training day; & incase hee shall goe aside to escape the execution of the said centance, that then hee shalbe taken by any constable within this jurisdiction, in whose liberties hee shalbe found, & publicly whipt.

Wheras Joseph Turner, Senior, was presented att October Court, 1669, for slaundering, & for horrid inciuillitie in words & actions, & in the presence of seuerall weomen, as by plentifull testimonies appeers, it being pleaded att this Court, to which hee was summoned to answare the said presentment, that the tearmes of the presentment were soe generall, that hee could not be prouided att that time to answare to it, the Court alowed that hee should haue knowlidge of the particular heads of his charge contained in the testimonies giuen him, in order to his answaring itt att June Court next; which accordingly was done.

June 7, 1670 John Dunham, Senior, being bound ouer to this Court to answare for his abusive speeches & carriages towards Sarah, the wife of Benjamine Eaton, & being conuict therof, was centanced to be bound to his good behauior.

June 7, 1670 Wheras Joseph Turner, Senior, was bound ouer to this Court to answare his presentment, which was for most laciuious, abseane, & vild expressions & actions, spoken & acted towards seuerall persons diuers times, wherof hee was legally convicted by cleare & manifest euidence, (which is extent;) & haueing put the said presentment on travice, & the jury bringing in a verdict wherin they say they find him guilty in the whole presentment, vnles it be in the first particular & the first parte of the ninth; this Court doth therefore centance him, the said Joseph Turner, to receiue corporall punishment by whiping, & therby to receiue thirty stripes, fifteen wherof to be inflicted att Plymouth att the publicke post, soone after hee shalbe apprehended; & the other fifteen att Scittuate, on some publicke training day, as soone as it may conveniently be done & performed.

July 5, 1670 Abisha Marchant, for being found to be in bed with Mary, the wife of Morgan Jones, was fined the summe of forty shillings to the vse of the collonie.

August 11, 1670 Abisha Marchant, for being in bed with Mary, the wife of Morgan Jones, fined forty shillings.

March 8, 1670/1671 Nathaniel Tilden, for vnciuell carriages with Elizabeth Doxey, hee was fined forty shillinges.

June 3, 1673 Joseph Roes, of Marshfeild, being groundedly suspected to haue had to much familliaritie with the wife of John Loe, in a dishonest way, the Court saw reason to take his bond for the good behauior, as followeth: -- Joseph Roes, of Marshfeild, acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our souern lord the King the summe of 20:00:00.

March 5, 1677/1678 Joseph Dunham, for laciuiouse carriages vsed toward Elizabeth Ringe, fined twenty shillings, to the vse of the collonie.

July 7, 1681 In reference vnto Hannah Linnett her light behauiour with Joseph Randall att Barnstable, the Court haue ordered, that shee appeer before Mr Barnabas Laythorp, to whom the case is refered, that incase shee pay, or cause to be payed, the summe of twenty fiue shillings, then shee is to be freed, or otherwise to be whipt.

July 9, 1686  The condition, etc, that wheras the aboue bounden John Barlow, having been convict in Court for lacivious carieages towards Mary, the wife of Nehemiah Bessey: now, if the said John Barlow shall be of good behaviour to his said majesty & all his leige people, & espeasially towards the said Mary, & not frequent her company, vntill the next Court of Assistants to be holden at New Plimouth on the first Tuesday in October next, [&] personally appear at said Court to answer such matters [&] things as may then be objected against him; that then, etc.

Said John Barlow, convict for lascivious caariages towards [&] with Mary, the wife of Nehemiah Bessey, fined 40 shillings [&] fees of Court, & bound to his good behaviour.
[&] Mary Bessey fined 20 shillings [&] fees of Court.

July 6, 1686 John Barlow, convict for lacivious cariages towards [&] with Mary, the wife of Nehemiah Bessey, fined forty shillings [&] fees of Court, & stand bound to his good behaviour till the next Court of Assistants.  And the said Mary Bessey for her uncivill cariages to [&] with said John Barlow, being therof convict in Court, fined twenty shillings [&] fees of Court.

October, 1686 Jacobus Loper [&] Lidia Young, having been presented by the grand jury (at June Court last) for uncivill cariages to or with each other, as per the said presentment on file more at large appeareth, at this Court appeared to answer their said presentment, & said Loaper traversed his presentment, [&] put himself upon tryall by a petty jury, who found him not guilty, [&] so he [&] siad Lidia were released.

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).


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