Monday, November 2, 2015
Puritan New England - Sexual Propositions - 1633-86 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records
Sexual Propositions in the early Plymouth Colony
July 23, 1633. Will. Mendloue, the serv[ant] of William Palmer, whipped for attempting uncleanes w[ith] the maid serv[ant] of the said Palmer, [&] for running away from his master, being forcibly brought againe by Penwatechet, a Manomet Indian.
September 4, 1638. Francis Baver, of Scituate, presented for offering to lye with the wyfe of William Holmes, [&] to abuse her body with vncleanesse.
March 1, 1641/1642. Lydia Hatch, for suffering Edward Michell to attempt to abuse her body by vncleanesse, [&] did not discouer it, [&] lying in the same bed with her brother Jonathan, is censured to be publickly whipt; was accordingly donn.
March 2, 1646/1647. Whereas George Wright was presented by the grand inquest for attempting the chastity of diverse women by lacivious words [&] carriages, he, trauersing the said presentment, made his plea at this Court, [&] by verdict of a jury of 12 men was found guilty according to the presentment. The Court, having maturely considered the matters [&] circumstances, censured him to be bound to the good behavior to our soueraigne lord the King & all his leidge people vntill the next October Court, [&] then to appeare & attend the further pleasure of the Court, [&] so committed him vntill he finde sureties.
March 4, 1650/1651. Wee present Robert Waterman, of the towne of Marshfeild, for offering an attempt of boddyly vncleanes to Sara Pittney, of the aforsaid towne. JOHN DINGLEY (Fined fifty shill., or to suffer bodily punishment)
June 9, 1653 Wee present John Lewis, of Scittuate, for attempting the chastity of Lydia, the wife of Nathaniell Rawlins.
Wheras wee haue enformacion of John Marchant, of Yarmought, his attempting the chastety of Annis, the wife of Thomas Phillips, of the said towne, but haue not as yett oath of it, wee leaue it to the next jury to enquire after.
March 6, 1654/1655 wee present John Pecke, of Rehobeth, for laciviouse carriages & vnchast in attempting the chastitie of his fathers maide seruant, to satisby his fleshly, beastly lust, & that many times for some yeares space, without any intent to marry her, but was alwaies resisted by the mayde, as he confesseth. [Fined fifty shillings.]
March 5, 1655 Wee present Richard Turtall for laciuiouse carriage toward Ann Hudson, the wife of John Hudson, in taking hold of her coate & inticing her by words, as alsoe by taking out his instrument of nature that hee might prevaile to lye with her in her owne house.
March 7, 1659/1660 Wheras complaint is made against [blank], seruant to Leiftenant Peter Hunt, of Rehoboth, that hee, the said [blank], hath attempted the chastity of an Indian woman, by offering violence to her, & that the complaint hath bine heard before Captaine Willett, & that there is great appeerance of truth in the said charge; the Court haue ordered that the said Captain Willet shall further examine the said youth, named [blank], & incase hee shall find the accusation to bee true, that hee cause due correction to bee giuen him, & determine alsoe otherwise about the said fact as hee shall judge meet.
May 1665 Att this Court Gorge Barlow appeered, being summoned to answare for attempting the chastity of Abigaill, the wife of Jonathan Pratt, by aluring words & actes of force, being to the affrighting & much wronging of the said Abigaill in the house shee dwells in, being then alone; the said Barlow bee X examined, deneyed the said acusation in all the partes of it; notwithstanding, the Court saw cause to require bonds of him for his good behauior vntill the Generall Court to bee holden att Plymouth the first Tusday in June next after the date heerof as followeth: -- [Gorge Barlow acknowlidgeth to owe vnto our souern lord the Kinge the summe of 20:00:00.]
June 9, 1665 The condition, that if the said John Rushell shall & doe appeer att the Generall Court of his magesteries to be holden att Plymouth the first Tusday in October next, to answare to any thinge that may bee further objected against him conserning attempting the chastitie of Hannah, the wife of William Spooner, etc, & in the interem of time bee of good behauior towards our souern lord the Kinge & all his leich people, & not depart the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.
October 29, 1668 In reference vnto the complaint of Samuell Worden against Edward Crowell & James Maker, for goeing in his absence into his house in the dead tims magesteries to be holden att Plymouth the first Tusday in October next, to answare to any thinge that may bee further objected against him conserning attempting the chastitie of Hannah, the wife of William Spooner, etc, & in the interem of time bee of good behauior towards our souern lord the Kinge & all his leich people, & not depart the said Court without lycence; that then, etc.
October 29, 1668 In reference vnto the complaint of Samuell Worden against Edward Crowell & James Maker, for goeing in his absence into his house in the dead time of the night, & for threatening to breake vp the dore & come in att the window, if not lett in, & goeing to his bed & attempting the chastity of his wife & sister, by many laciuous carriages, & affrighting of his children, the Court haue centanced them, the said Edward Crowell & James Maker, to find surties for theire good behauior, & pay each of them a fine of ten pounds to the vse of the collonie, & alsoe to defray all the charge the Samuell Worden hath bine att in the vindication of his wifes innosensy, or to be seuerally whipt.
And the said Crowell & Maker chose rather to pay the fine & giue bonds for theire good behauior vntill the Court of his magestie to be holden att Plymouth in March next. Vpon theire humble petition to the Court, they remitted vnto each of them the summe of foure pounds of the said fines. (both released on condition of good behavior)
William Makepeace, Senior, liueing att Taunton Riuer, for laciuious attempts towards an Indian woman, was centanced by the Court to be publickly whipt att the post, which accordingly was performed.
June 1, 1675 Nathaniell Hall, of Yarmouth, for vnciuill words & carryages towards Elizabeth Berry, & alsoe for giueing writings to the said Elizabeth Berry to intice her, although hee had a wife of his owne, was centanced by the Court to pay afine of fiue pounds to the vse of the collonie or be publickly whipt.
March, 1685/1686 Wheras John Brandon, of Freetown, complains against Mathew Boomer, Junior, of said town, for that he, the said Boomer, hath sundry times beat him, the said Brandon, [&] giuen out threatning speaches against him, in soe much that, as he saith, he goeth in fear of his life of him, [&] more especially in behalfe of himselfe [&] Mary, his wife; she complains against the said Boomane, that att sundry times he hath attempted to abuse her, the said Mary, attempting by force to lye with her, [&] for other laciuious cariages towards her. These, etc.
The jury find the prisoner att the barr guilty of the breach of the Kings peace in striking of John Brandon. Secondly. Also, by breaking the Sabboth by sufering his Indian seruants to hunt on the Saboth day. Thirdly. Guilty of liciuiou carriages to Mary Brandon.
Mathew Boomer, Junior, conuict of Saboth breaking, breach of the peace, [&] laciuious carriages with Mary Brandon. The Court orders said Boomer to pay for Saboth breaking twenty shillings fine to the country; for his breach of peace, ten shilings; [&] for his laciuious carriage with Mary Boomer, the Court orders him, the said Boomer, to pay four pounds fine to the country, [&] charges of prosecution.
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).