Monday, November 2, 2015

Puritan New England - Same-sex encounters - 1637-1642 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records

Same-sex encounters

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.


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).