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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Pagan's Anne Orthwood's Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia . . spin[s] engaging yarns that tie together the best of recent scholarship ont eh colonial Chesapeake 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. Pagan deliberately couches his case study as a narrative and sets forth his story in taut and elegant prose that has a ll the analytic precision of a tightly argued legal brief."-- Reviews in American History

"Anne Orthwood's Bastard is microhistory of the first order. Like The Return of Martin Guerre, it is a story as engaging in the telling as in the tale. Not only is it a good story, it also reminds us of the power of a received legal tradition to confer legitimacy on change."-- David Thomas Konig, Washington University in St. Louis

"Anne Orthwood's Bastard tells a compelling story of hope, sex, death, and freedom among English immigrants in early Virginia--of new immigrants pressing toward better fortunes in early America, the force of luck, often very bad though sometimes good, and the ways that law, popular concepts of morality, and crude but savvy courts brought forth community and shaped individual destinies in England's first New World wilderness. Pagan's Virginians prove as determined and willful as Puritans to the north--and even more deftly American."-Jon Butler, Yale University

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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: 808,618
  • 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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