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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1670/1-1675
Volume 65, Preface 40   View pdf image (33K)
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          xl                  Introduction.

          his mother, asked the Court to order that she have her thirds assigned to her,
          so that he and the other children should have what was due them. The Court,
          after a full investigation, did so order, and added that Andrew was to have
          all the patents and other papers relating to the estate.
            If a widow with children remarried, as she usually did, the stepfather could
          not be restrained by her in his treatment of the children or of their estate.
          If, though, the children had a guardian, he could protect his wards. Robert
          Dunn, sheriff of Kent County, guardian of William Vaughan, told the Court
          that Jeremiah Eaton, the boy's stepfather, had not turned over to him 10,000
          pounds of tobacco that had been left to young Vaughan by Major Thomas
          Ingram, who may have been the boy's godfather, nor the four head of cattle
          left him by his father (post, pp. 178-179). The Provincial Court ordered the
          case back to the Kent County court, with orders to find out what Eaton had
          of the property of the boy, and to have it turned over to his guardian. On
          November 12, 1673, the Kent County court reported that they had gone into
          the matter and had got from Eaton a promise to pay over to Dunn the 10,000
          pounds of tobacco. Despite the court's order, Eaton had not paid over the
          tobacco, so the Provincial Court ordered that a scire facias issue to Eaton, to
          be followed by an execution for the tobacco if he did not show cause (ibid.,
          pp. 590-591). The proceedings of the Kent County court do not show anything
          more in this case, but there is a gap in them from October, 1671, to 1675/6
          (Archives, LIV, pp. 317, 318).

                               SMALL CASES

            Although the Provincial Court was at this time the highest court in the
          Province except the Governor and Council sitting as a court of appeals, the
          record shows it considering very small cases. In the case of Daniel Jenifer v.
          Lodowick Martin, the innkeeper and lawyer sued Martin for 308 pounds of
          tobacco, which amounted to 308 pence, since tobacco was valued at a penny
          a pound (post, p. 341). There were two or three cases involving 400 pounds
          or less, and a dozen or more worth less than a thousand pounds.
            Nor were cases concerning small sums of money the only kind of small cases
          considered. The poor, especially the sick poor, asked for and got the Court's
          consideration. So, too, did widows and orphans. On May 6, 1674, John
          Le ifebure told the Court “That he is diseased by certaine infirmity of old
          Sores fallen into his legg that he is unable to worke for his liveing neither hath
          any thing to help himself e but almost Starved for want of Sustenance and
          relei fe and prayes allowance for a maintenance or to transport him to his native
          Country.” which may have been France. The Court learned that the St. Mary's
          County court had allowed him 800 pounds of tobacco, and ordered Mr. Clement
          Hill to arrange for his passage, and to give the old man what was left after
          the passage was paid (post, p. 543). Mrs. Walter Greene, whose husband was
          in prison for debt, told the Court that she had nothing to sustain herself or her
          child, and the Court ordered the St. Mary's County commissioners to give
          her and the child a competent maintenance (ibid., p. 387). At that time a com
          petent maintenance for a pauper was not a definite amount, but it was certainly

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Proceedings of the Provincial Court, 1670/1-1675
Volume 65, Preface 40   View pdf image (33K)
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