Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia

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Oxford University Press, Nov 28, 2002 - History - 232 pages
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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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User 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

Contents

ANNE ORTHWOOD INDENTURED SERVANT
11
WILLIAM KENDALL PARVENU
27
WILLIAM WATERS GENTLEMAN
39
JOHN STRINGER PRESIDING JUSTICE
51
ROBERT HUTCHINSON CLERK OF COURT
65
ELEANOR GETHING MIDWIFE
81
JOHN WATERSON TRIAL JURY FOREMAN
91
JOHN KENDALL PUTATIVE FATHER
103
JOHN STOCKLEY GRAND JURY FOREMAN
117
JASPER ORTHWOOD FREE MAN
131
CONCLUSION
147
NOTES
151
BIBLIOGRAPHY
193
INDEX
212
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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...

About the author (2002)

John Ruston Pagan is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Richmond, Virginia.

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