Monday, November 2, 2015

Puritan New England - Fornication or "Intimacy without lycence" - 1633-86 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records



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).


Puritan New England - Buggery - 1642-1681 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records



Buggery

September 7, 1642  Thomas Graunger, late servant to Loue Brewster, of Duxborrow, was this Court indicted for buggery with a mare, a cowe, two goats, diuers sheepe, two calues, & a turkey, & was found guilty, & receiued sentence of death by hanging vntill he was dead.

June 6, 1643 The condicion, that if John Walker, sonn in law of Arthur Howland, do personally appeare before the Gouernor & Assistants at the next General Court, to be holden for this gouernment, to answere to all such matters as shalbe objected against him on his said magesteries behalf, concerning lying with a bitch, & abide the further order of the Court, [&] not depart the same without lycence; that then, et cetera.

March 6, 1665/1666  William Honywell, haueing bine committed to jayle on suspision of buggery with a beast, att this Court was examined concerning the same, & stifly deneyed it; & wheras noe sufficient euidence appeered to convict him of the said fact, hee was sett att libertie.

October 28, 1681  Thomas Saddeler araingned for bugery with a mare. The forme of his inditement is as followeth: Thomas Saddeler, thou art indited by the name of Thomas Saddeler, of Portsmouth, on Road Iland, in the jurisdiction of Prouidence Plantations, in New England, in America, labourer, for that thou, haueing not the feare of God before, nor carrying with thee the dignity of humaine nature, but being seduced by the instigation of the diuill, on the third of September in this psent year, 1681, by force & armes, att Mount Hope, in the jurisdiction of New Plymouth, a certaine mare of a blackish couller then & therre being in a certaine obscure & woodey place, on Mount Hope aforesaid, neare the ferrey, then & there thou didst tye her head vnto a bush, & then & there, wickedly & most abominably, against thy humaine nature, with the same mare then & there being felloniously & carnally didest attempt, & the the detestable sin of buggery then & there felloniously thou didest comitt & doe, to the great dishonor & contempt of Almighty God & of all mankind, & against the peace of our sou lord the Kinge, his crowne, & dignity, & against the lawes of God, his Matie, & this jurisdiction.

This bill was comitted to the judgment of the grand enquest; & their verdict indorsed theron returned was, Billa verra. And the said Saddeler was required to answare whether guilty or not guilty; vnto which hee answared, Not guilty, & desired to be tryed by his eualls; & soe a jury of 12 men was impanneled, according to law, whose names followeth: John Bourne, Encrease Robinson, John Thacher, Gershom Hall, sworn, Leiftenant Jonathan Alden, sworn, Jabez Lumbert, Ensigne Tho Leanard, John Blackwell, John Hathwey, Joseph Dunham, Thomas Wade.

The verdict of the jury as follweth: Wee find him guilty of vile, abominable, & psumtous attempts to buggery with a mare in the highest nature. And then the Court haue centanced him, the said Thomas Saddeler, to be seuerly whipt att the post, & to sitt on the galloss with a rope about his necke during the pleasure of the Court, & to be branded in the forehead with a Roman P to signify his abominable pollution, & soe to depart this gouerment; all which was pformed in the pticulars.

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).

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.

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).

Puritan New England - Rape - 1677 & 1682 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records



Rape

October 30, 1677  Att this Court, Ambrose Fish was inditied by the name of Ambrose Fish, for that hee, haueing not the feare of God before his eyes, did wickedly, and contrary to the order of nature, on the tweluth day of July last past before the date heerof, in his owne house in Sandwich, in this collonie of New Plymouth, by force carnally know and rauish Lydia Fish, the daughter of Mr Nathaniell Fish, of Sandwich aforsaid, and against her will, shee being then in the peace of God and of the Kinge.

The grand jury found billa vera. The verdict of the jury of life and death was as followeth: Namely, if one euidence with concurring cercomstances be good in law, wee find him guilty. But if one euidence, with conccurring cercomstances, be not hood in law, wee find him not quilty.

Vpon consideration of the verdict, the Court centance him, the said Ambrose Fish, to suffer corporall punishment by being publickly whipt att the post, which accordingly was inflicted, and the prisoner released.

October 31, 1682 Sam, the Indian, soe called, for his rape committed vpon an English gerle, being found quilty by the jury, who found him guilty by his owne confession, in wickedly abusing the body of Sarah Freeman by laying her downe vpon her backe, and entering her body with his, although in an ordinary consideration hee deseued death, yett considering hee was but an Indian, and therfore in an incapasity to know the horiblenes of the wickednes of this abominable act, with other cercomstances considered, hee was centanced by the Court to be seuerly whipt att the post and sent out of country.

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).


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).


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.

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).


Puritan New England - Miscellaneous Sexual Offences - 1653-1683 in the Plymouth Colony Court Records




Miscellaneous Sexual Offences

June 9, 1653 An order was likewise passed from the Court requiring that Teag Jones & Richard Berry, & others with them, bee caused to part theire vnciuell liueing together, as they will answare it.

May 1, 1660 Att this Court Henery Howland, being summoned, appeered to answare for his entertaining another mans wife in his house after complaint made to him by her husband, & for permitting a Quakers meeting in his house, & for entertaining a forraigne Quaker contrary to order of Court. The first particulare hee stifely deneyed, & the euidence did not appeer to make it out...

October 5, 1663 Ralph Earle, for drawing his wife in an vnciuell manor on the snow, is fined twenty shillings.

March 1, 1663/1664 Timothy Hallowey, of Taunton, for misdemenor in frequent kising the wife of John Hathewey, & for being att the house of the said Hathewey att vnseasonable time, & for neglecting to appeer att Court according to summons, fined twenty shillings.

June 7, 1665 In reference vnto diuers complaints made conserning John Williams, Junior, his disorderly liueing with his wife, & his abusiue & harsh carriages towards her both in words & actions, in speciall his sequestration of himselfe from the marriage bed, & his accusation of her to bee a whore, & that especially in reference vnto a child lately borne of his said wife by him denied to bee legittimate, the Court saw cause to require bonds for the appeerance of the said Williams att this present court, & likewise sent for his wife to this Court; & after the hearing of seuerall thinges to & frow betwixt them, the said Williams being not able to make out his charge against her, they were both admonished to apply themselues to such waies as might make for the recouering of peace & loue betwixt them; & for that end the Court requested Isacke Bucke to bee officious therin, & soe dismised them from the Court for that time.

August 1, 1665 Att this Court, John Arther appeered, according to summons, to answare for abusiue speeches & for entertaining of the wife of one Talmon & the wife of William Tubbs; but the said Afther pretending hee could procure euidence to cleare him in some of the particulares charged, hee engageing to appeer att October Court, is for the present released.

October 3, 1665 Wheras Elizabeth, the wife of John Williams, hath bine openly traduced & scandulised in her name, & by false reports & reproaches rendered as if shee were a dishonest woman, & that the child shee brought forth into the world was not legitimate, these are to declare openly before the countrey, that the Court, haueing had sundry occations to heare & examine particulars sundry times relateing to the premises, can find noe cause of blame in her in such respects, but that shee hath behaued herselfe as one that hath faithfully obserued the bond of wedlocke, & that shee & her friends hath bine much wronged by such reports.

May 1, 1666 Att this Court, John Williams appeered to make answare for his continued abusing of his wife, by vnaturall carriages towards her both in words & actions, by rendering her to bee a whore, & for persisting on his refusing to performe marriage duty towards her according to the law of God & man; & forasmuch as the said Williams desired to bee tried in reference to the premises by a jury, the Court gaue him libertie soe to doe, either att this Court or att the Court to bee holden att Plymouth in June next; the said Williams desired it might bee att the last named, & heerby engageth to supply his wife in the mean time with money & other nessesaries withich shee shall stand in need of, & hath expressed himselfe to bee willing that shee shall stand in need of, and hath expressed himselfe to bee willing that shee shall or may repaire to her frinds vntill then, and then and att that time to attend the issue of the case on the fift day of the said Court weeke.

June 3, 1668 Att this Court, vpon the oftens and earnest suite of William Tubbs to be diuorsed from his wife, shee haueing for a longe time sequestered herselfe from him, and will not be perswaded to returne to him, the Court haue directed letter the Road Iland to the gouernment there, in whose jurisdiction shee now is, to request them to take course that shee may be informed of the Courts pleasure & determination, that incase shee, the said Marcye Tubbs, the wife of William Tubbs, doe not returne vnto her said husband between this date & the Court of his magesteries to be holden att Plymouth the first Tusday in July next, that then hee, the said William Tubbs, shalbe diuorced from her. [Divorce granted on July 7, 1668]

March 2, 1668/1669 Att this Court, Mary, the wife of Jonathan Morey, & her son, Benjamine Foster, appeered, being summoned to answare a complaint against the said Mary, for that shee, by her crewell, vnnaturall, & extreame passionate carriages soe exasperated her said son as that hee oftentimes carryed himselfe very much vnbeseeming him & vnworthyly towards his said mother, both by words & otherwise; yea, soe was her turbulent carriages towards him, as that seuerall of the naighbors feared murder would be in the issue of it; shee, the said Mary, being examined respecting the premises, & owned her fault, & seemed to bee very sorry for it, & promised reformation; the youth, her son, likewise owned with teares his euill behauior towards his mother, which gaue the Court such satisfaction as they passed his fault by with admonition; & in reference to the said Mary Morey, the Court, vpon her engagement of better walkeing, are willing to take further tryall of her, & therfore condecended to lett her son remaine with her vntill the next June Court, & then further to doe in the case as occation shall require.

July, 1683 Wheras Awashunkes, & her daughter Bettey, & her son Peter, were brought to this Court on sispition of theire haueing a hand in the murthering of a young child the said Bettey had, this Court, on examination of the case, the said Awashunkes [&] her said daughter sollemly affeirming the said child to be dead before it was born, & nothing as yett appeering to the contrary vnto the Court, they therfore were dismised; yett in regard to theire ill carriage in the management of that affaire concerning a woman to be whippt for reporting said Bettey was with child, when soe it afterward appeered to be really soe, the Court therfore order, that the two Indian squaes, that were appointed to serch the said Bettey, affeirming that shee was not with child, wherby Sames wife was whipt for the report aforsaid, shall pay, each of them, ten shillings in good currant pay to the said Sames squaw; & the said Bettey to pay to her the summe of twenty shillings in good pay; & each of the three, namely, Awashunkes, Bettey, & Peter, twenty shillings a peece towards the charge of theire bringing & imprisonment; & the said Bettey to be whipt by the Indians att Sconett, for her fornicatino; & the Indians there to doe what they can to find out any further grounds of suspition of said suspected murder, & if there appeer further just grounds of such a fact committed by any of them, them to cecure & send to the English authoritie, to be dealt with according to law.

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).