Monday, November 2, 2015
Puritan New England - Fornication or "Intimacy without lycence" - 1633-86 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records
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
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