Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia / Edition 1

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pagan's Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and the Lawin Early Virginia spin engaging yarns that tie together the best of recent scholarship while also interweaving fresh historical questions and issues....the kind of work tailor-made to grip and hold the imaginations of undergraduates in early American survey courses everywhere."—Reviews in American History

"Four cases provide the basis for John Ruston Pagan's intelligent and highly readable book." —Virginia Magazine of History and Biography

"superb analysis of the colony's nascent social, economic, and judicial structures. . . . terrific scholarship that adds significantly to historians' understanding of early Virginia. . . . Microhistories succeed when their case studies illuminate larger themes; at their best, the stories they tell rate as literature. John Pagan scores on both counts."- The Journal of Southern History

"John Pagan's subtle and sophisticated research and analysis and his lucid and evocative writing bring to life these Virginians of 350 years ago. The character sketches of the servants, justices of the peace, planters, jurors, and of Anne Orthwood and her lover are gems of historical writing....[An] excellent book."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195144796
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 467,939
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Anne Orthwood, Indentured Servant 11
2 William Kendall, Parvenu 27
3 William Waters, Gentleman 39
4 John Stringer, Presiding Justice 51
5 Robert Hutchinson, Clerk of Court 65
6 Eleanor Gething, Midwife 81
7 John Waterson, Trial Jury Foreman 91
8 John Kendall, Putative Father 103
9 John Stockley, Grand Jury Foreman 117
10 Jasper Orthwood, Free Man 131
Conclusion 147
Notes 151
Bibliography 193
Index 212
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