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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 60   View pdf image (33K)
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        lx                    introduction.

        and wife. Gittings sought to recover “his farme”, described as a freehold called
        Causein containing fifty acres, with houses, edifices, gardens and orchard, lying
        in St. George's Hundred, St Mary's County, from which the Bannisters had
        unlawfully ejected him (p. 25). It was not until well into the next century
        that a small plantation and its owner came to be generally known as a farm
        and a farmer. The use of the expression, a patent avant, occurs several
        times in this record. The meaning of “avant”, possibly an incorrect spelling,
        cannot be explained. Suggestive of old England is the description in a deed
        of 1668 of a "hedge” as marking a land boundary (p 384). When at the
        December, 1669, court, a creditor charged the executor of the estate of Francis
        Armstrong with “imbicilling and squandering away the estate”, we find a mis-
        use, then common, of the word imbecilling, for embezzling, an error which
        had crept into the language as early as 1546 (p. 490).
          The relations of a godparent to godchildren was taken seriously in the sev-
        enteenth century. Frequent gifts of cattle to children not of the same name,
        as often found recorded in the county court records, were probably based on
        this relationship. A deposition shows that Captain William Hawley promised
        6 herd of cattle to his godson William Gwyther, aged sixteen, and that the
        proceeds of the sale of three heifers with calf had been used to purchase the
        gray mare now owned by William (p. 184).
          A very remarkabic rccord of marriage, which is described as a “dedication
        and contract of marriage” by the bride, whose signature, but not that of her
        husband, it bears, was filed in the Provincial Court in 1669, nearly four years
        after it had been drawn up and signed. After opening with a very lengthy
        invocation to God, Edeth Bayne dedicates herself forever as his loving wife
        unto Jonathan Marler of Calvert County, and in quaint spelling and phrase-
        ology, based in part on the Church of England marriage service, the lady to
        this one-sided contract promises “to love the Cherrish the and Comfort the
        as my true and lawful husband by free and mutuall Consent of my Hart in
        love to the above all others & never shall nor Will Yield to Love Or Like of
        any Other but the alone dureing each Others life . . . . in the presents of
        Almighty God”. It is dated October 27, 1665, and in addition to Edeth's sig-
        nature, is attested by two witnesses. No similar dedication or promise by the
        husband is recorded. One is uncertain as to the religious affiliations of the
        bride. The wording does not resemble that of a Quaker marriage certificate,
        although the repetitious use of “the” (thee) is suggestive. It is almost cer-
        tainly not Roman Catholic. Possibly there is a Puritan background, for, as we
        know, some of the Virginia Puritans had settled in 1649 in Calvert County
        (p. 433).
          Choice tobacco seems to have had a value double that of the ordinary “good
        sound merchantable tobacco” which was used as the money of the Province.
        In a suit referred to arbitration by the court, Mr. Thomas Notley and Dr. John
        Peerce, the arbitrators, awarded 4000 pounds of “good Arranoca tobacco” as
        costs, to be paid the plaintiff (p. 374). A reference in a case to “roanoke”
        tobacco was doubtless meant for Orinoco (“Arranoca”) tobacco, a superior
        variety, native to Central and South America, the cultivation of which had

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1666-1670
Volume 57, Preface 60   View pdf image (33K)
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