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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 59   View pdf image (33K)
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                 Early Maryland County Courts.        lix

        Some light is thrown from chance references in these county records upon
      many phases of the social life of the Province. From the very involved testi
      mony in a suit brought by Thomas Hill against Joseph Wickes in the Kent
      County Court, August 1, 1657, it would appear that Mrs. Thomas Hynson,
      the wife of one of the justices, taught young Hill, and possibly some other
      neighbors' boys, and that Wickes had a maid who also could teach. We like
      wise learn from the testimony that at the wedding in 1655 of young Thomas
      Hill, Mr. Wickes had tried to persuade the groom's father to give a planta
      tion or cattle to the “ new beginners “, and that several others at the wedding
      gave presents of “somes of tobacco” to the young couple (Arch. Md. liv, 109-
      110). A suit brought at the August 20, 1658 session by Mr. Thomas Lomax,
      later clerk of the Charles County Court, against Mr. Edward Packer, for” satis
      faction . . . for the teaching the Defendands sone his booke for a whole year”
      was non-suited because of the plaintiff's negligence in carrying out their bargain
      (p. 13). Counter suits in the Talbot County Court in 1671/2 between William
      Hemsley, the county clerk, and Ralph Blackhall, show that the former had
      employed Blackhall to teach his children and to make a copy of the laws. (Arch.
      Md. liv, 523). Arthur Emery petitioned the Talbot County Court at the June
      20, 1671, session, declaring that he had had “Anne the Daught of Christopher
      Walter at bord & Scooleing a considerable time “, and .requested that the admin
      istrator of Walter's estate be directed to pay him 600 pounds, which was
      ordered (Arch.. Md. liv, 497). Arthur Emory figures in another similar suit
      (Arch. Md. liv, 494). Of interest also is the suit of William Sturdivant
      against William Younge in the Talbot court for 400 pounds of tobacco for
      “learning” Younge to “play on the Violin “, which the court ordered paid
      (Arch. Md. liv, 591).
        Funeral customs and burial expenses are not infrequently mentioned
      A coffin seems to have cost not more than 150 or 200 pounds of tobacco.
      Litigation presenting amusing features followed the funeral of Mrs. Joseph
      Lenton of Charles County who survived for a short time her husband and
      two children, when the entire family was suddenly wiped out of existence.
      James Lee, who appears here and elsewhere in the Maryland records in a not
      especially attractive light, took upon himself to give the widow Lenton an
      elaborate funeral, which included expenditures of 1677 lbs. of tobacco for 2 lbs.
      of gunpowder, 2 bottles of Drams, 3 barrels of beer and the hire of a boat
      and hands to fetch the beer, and “36 yards of black Ribining at 12 lbs. per
      y2rd “ The administrator nf the Lenton estate, Mr Francis Pope, refused
      payment, and Lee sued him at the March I, 1661/2 session, of the Charles
      County Court. Pope asked a jury trial and his “instructions” to the jury,
      indicate that he, or whoever drew them up, had a keen sense of humor. These
      instructions, which are in the form of interrogatories by Pope, are worth
      examining at length in their quaint phraseology in the original court record.
      He enquires whether it is not ridiculous to shoot at the funeral of an ordinary
      planter's wife as would be done at that of a commander in war or of a young
      soldier; whether it is a Christian act for neighbors to show their sorrow by

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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 59   View pdf image (33K)
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