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Fornication Cases in NH Province Court Papers

In the 17th and 18th century when an unmarried woman conceived a child, or when a married couple had a child prior to six months after marriage, the courts called them to answer. The unmarried woman was required to name the father of her child, who was then required to pay maintenance until the child reached the age of six years.

A typical guilty verdict would bring a fine or whipping by the civil authorities. These punishments were different from what the church levied. Which usually required repentance by both parties and baptism of the child.

24 April 1693 Ruth Welcom accused
John Carter
John Carter claimed that his wife in England was dead and that he had a letter to that effect, and that Ruth Welcom was his wife now. No identification of the child.
6 Dec 1692 Joseph Randall and
Elizabeth Jerman
This couple married 20 Oct 1692, called to court, but did not appear. No identification of this child.
7 Dec 1692 Elizabeth Chase of Hampton
[two children]
Elizabeth Chase chooses the wife of James Chase, Elizabeth Green, married in Hampton, 2 Nov 1675, to be this woman. However the record reads that she had no husband in 1692, yet James' estate was not administered until 1703/4. Joseph Cass married after the 3 July 1692 death of his first wife, to widow Elizabeth (Green) Chase, and had at least four children with her.Perhaps some of the Cass children were the two children referred to in court in 1692.
8 Mar 1692 Johannah Dore & husband
David Cane
Johanna was the daughter of Richard and Tamsen (Jackson) Dore, and David her first husband, of three.
8 Mar 1692 Priscilla Bly formerly Jerman Priscilla was probably dau. of Thomas & Dorothy Jerman, and m. as his first wife, as this record would indicate to John Bly, a butcher. No identification of the child.
8 Mar 1692 Mary Dam This may be dau. of Geo Dam and she could be the woman who married in Newbury 30 Nov. 1693 Thomas Titcomb. No indentification of the child.
circa 1693 Hannah Berry accuses
Daniel Allen
Report says Daniel & Hannah married in 1699. No mention of the child. Daniel is the son of Charles & Susannah (Huggins) Allen and was about 30 years old at marriage in 1699 and Hannah may well have been older.
5 Dec 1693 Nicholas Waldon and
Mary his wife
Nicholas led a rather raucous life before settling down. Was in court earlier in 1693 for keeping "a wench in his house not proper to be entertained." Mary's maiden name is not found in any records. Their son Thomas is called under age in 1714, which probably means he was not the child born in 1693. Their 3 dau. had no assigned ages and only one was baptized, but not until 1714.
5 June 1694 Richard Pummery &
Elizabeth Twombley
Richard denied he was the child's father but the court, as always in cases of consistent accusation, ordered that he support the baby. He married someone else about 5 yrs later, just about the time the support order ran out. Elizabeth, dau. of Ralph & Elizabeth (  ) Twombley had another child in 1703, but never married.
6 Mar 1693/4 Deborah, dau. of
John Clifford of Hampton
Deborah was dau. of John & Sarah (Godfrey) Clifford and had yet another child in 1697/8 before marrying in her 50's to Joseph Welch. Some say this child was with Caleb Shaw, but no identification in either Clifford or Shaw files.
4 June 1696 Mary Cram accuses
Jonathan Prescott
Jonathan Prescott, son of James & Mary (Boulter) Prescott had just married Elizabeth (Pulsifer) Clifford, when Mary Cram, likely dau. of Benjamin & Argentine (Cromwell) Cram, accused Jonathan of fathering their child. No record of Mary's marriage, if any. No record of this child.
                            To be continued...........

             

 

                                                                                                                  

       

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