Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia
In 1663, an indentured servant, Anne Orthwood, was impregnated with twins in a tavern in Northampton County, Virginia. Orthwood died soon after giving birth; one of the twins, Jasper, survived. Orthwood's illegitimate pregnancy sparked four related cases that came before the Northampton magistrates -- who coincidentally held court in the same tavern -- between 1664 and 1686. These interrelated cases and the decisions rendered in them are notable for the ways in which the Virginia colonists modified English common law traditions and began to create their own, as well as what they reveal about cultural and economic values in an Eastern shore community. Through these cases, the very reasons legal systems are created are revealed, namely, the maintenance of social order, the protection of property interests, the protection of personal reputation, and personal liberty. Through Jasper Orthwood's life, the treatment of the poor in small communities is set in sharp relief. Anne Orthwood's Bastard was the winner of the 2003 Prize in Atlantic History, American Historical Association.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - vonze - LibraryThing
Read this for my U.S. Women's History class. Overall, it was very interesting and I enjoyed learning more about early Virginia. However, the book introduces more people and legal cases than necessary ... Read full review
WILLIAM KENDALL PARVENU
WILLIAM WATERS GENTLEMAN
JOHN STRINGER PRESIDING JUSTICE
ROBERT HUTCHINSON CLERK OF COURT
ELEANOR GETHING MIDWIFE
JOHN WATERSON TRIAL JURY FOREMAN
JOHN KENDALL PUTATIVE FATHER
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Acc-Nor Rec Accomack County accused action Anne Anne's Assembly authority bastard birth Bishopp Book Burgesses buyer cause century charge child church churchwardens claim Colonel colonial Common contract costs county court death died early Eastern Shore England English English law evidence example father female fornication give governor held hold House indenture Jasper John judges jurors jury justices Kendall Kendall's knew labor land litigation magistrates male marriage Mary master months mother Northampton County oath obligations parish person plantation political pounds pounds of tobacco practice pregnancy present probably prosecuted punishment received Records Register responsibility Robins rule seller servant served Sessions sheriff social Society Statutes at Large Stringer suit tion tobacco took trial Virginia warrant Warren Warwick County Waters Waters's woman women
Page 18 - England, that is dressing victuals, righting up the house, milking, imployed about dayries, washing, sowing &c. and both men and women have times of recreations, as much or more than in any part of the world besides, yet...
Page 19 - Since all Negro women were taxed as working in the fields, it would seem logical to conclude that Virginians found them "nasty" and "beastly." The essentially racial nature of this discrimination was , bared by a 1668 law at the time slavery was crystallizing on the statute books: Whereas...
Page 22 - Malitious tongues hath impaired it much: For it hath beene a constant report amongst the ordinarie sort of people, That all those servants who are sent to Virginia, are sold as slaves: whereas the truth is, that the Merchants who send servants, and have no Plantations of their owne, doe onely transferre their Time over to others, but the servants serve no longer then the time they themselves agreed for in England.
Page 22 - Malitious tongues have impaired it (Virginia) much," Bullock declared in 1649, "for it hath been a constant report among the ordinary sort of people that all those servants who are sent to Virginia are sold into slavery, whereas the truth is that the merchants who send servants and have no plantations of their own doe not only...