By Else L. Hambleton
This learn examines situations of fornication, bastardy, and paternity circumstances introduced earlier than the courts in Essex County, Massachusetts among 1640 and 1692. Prosecution and conviction charges, sentencing styles, and socio-economic info, in addition to attitudes, have been analyzed to figure out that girls who bore illegitimate childrens have been punished extra significantly than their male companions, and considered with contempt by means of the vast majority of girls.
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Additional info for Daughters of Eve: Pregnant Brides and Unwed Mothers in Seventeenth Century Massachusetts (Studies in American Popular History and Culture)
If a ten-year-old child could tempt a church member, what might a fully grown woman be capable of? Further, the population of Massachusetts Bay Colony increased from 1000 fully committed Puritans who arrived in the Winthrop fleet of 1630 to 20,000 by 1640. Likely, communal cohesiveness lessened as the settlers moved out of their dugouts and wigwams into more traditional permanent structures. New towns were established at a distance from the original settlements, and non-Puritan settlers moved into the colony in greater numbers.
Men who wanted to marry could not afford to be too particular. 46 Chapter Two “I Know Thy Condition, Alas, Poor Wench”: A Quantitative Analysis of Illegitimate Fornication Prosecutions in the Essex County Quarterly Court, 1640–1665 Elizabeth Due, Mrs. Endecott’s maid, came several times to our house upon her mistresses business, and did complain of Zerobabel Endecott, his unseemly carriage to the maid, as when she was in an inward room at her work he would pull her away her cushion from before her making of lace and would throw her down on the ground….
31 The formulators of the Laws and Liberties encouraged fornicators to marry. Where marriage was impossible due to unfinished indentures or a lack of financial resources essential to the establishment of an independent household, or a prior marriage on the part of the man involved, the law provided for public corporal punishment or the payment of a £5 fine. 32 Perhaps, however, the 28 DAUGHTERS OF EVE court is making a legal distinction. Since the couples who were charged were married by the time of their court appearance, the women were femes covert and their husbands responsible for their actions.