Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Is for Mothers: Abigail Davis (About 1633 - 1682)

When her father William Davis died in 1643, my maternal 9th great grandmother Abigail Davis was only about ten years old. She continued living with her stepmother, who married John Cowdall a year later. At some point the family moved to Newport, Rhode Island, and in about 1655 Abigail's stepmother and her husband forced her to marry Richard Ussell.

For what happened next, I think I'll just give you the Rhode Island Court Records, complete with their spelling:*

[Original from Harvard University]

The Generall Courtt of Tryalls held for the Collony
The 24th of June at providence in the yeare 1656
An action of Trespas: upon the case Comenced by Edward: Richmond plaint against Richard Ussell Defendt Damige one hundred: pownds starll: The Issue joyned by the Aturnies not guilty of Trespas: The juries verdict we find for the: Defendt: the costs of Court: judgment granted and Execution thereon
The Gen Court of Tryals Held for the Collony At ports-
mouth the 14th of october in the yeare 1656
An action of Trespas: upon the case for Breach of Covinant and for forcing Abigall Davis the spoused wife of Edward Richmond and for takeing keeping and with houlding her from Edward Richmond aforesaied. Comenced By Edward Richmond plaintiff against John Cowdall and Richard Ussel deffts: damige thre hundred pownds starll
This case is reffered to the court of Comitioners there detirmanation
At the Generall Court of Tryalls Held at Warwicke june
the 30th 1657.
An action of the case to answer the Condemnation of the Court upon A nihil dicett Entered before the Court of Tryalls in october last at portsmo, Comenced by Edward Richmond plaintiff against Richard Ussell Deffendant Damidge Forty pownds starll jurries verdit we Find for the plaintiffe Damidge sixe pownd and Cost of this present Court judgment granted and exicution thereon
Att the Generall Court of Tryalls held for the Collony at
providence the 13th octobr 1657
An Action of Trespas upon the case comenced By Abigall Davis pla: against Richard Ussell Defftt: Damidge tenn pounds starll: The Issue joyned by the Aturnie is the Defft knows noe Abigall Davis of newport and the Deft is not guilty of the charge The jurry cominge into the Court did Declare that they cannot Agree to bringe in A verdict and will noe longer atend upon the case
Abigail and Edward found themselves in court again the next year.

The Genrl Court of Tryalls Held for the Collony at New-
port on the . . . Day of June 1658
Upon A presentment by the Grand Jurry against Edward Richmond for liveinge with Abigall Davise contrary to the law of this Collony: The Deffendant Enters his Traverce: leads Guilty Soe Far as he lives Contrary to law: And Reffers him Self to the Bench for Tryall: The Court doe judge the Sayd Edward Richmond Guilty of Fornication and to be whipt or pay Forty Shills accordinge to law: The sayd Edward Richmond Doth acknowlidge to abide the law in payment of Forty shills to the Genrl Treasurer: judgment graunted
Upon A presentment by the Grand jurry against Abigall Davice for liveinge with Edward Richmond contrary to the law of this Collony: The Defendant Enters her Traverce: pleads Guilty and Reffers her Selfe to the Bench for Tryall: She also in Court owned herselfe to be the same woman Abigall Davice: and that she hath a chylde by Edward Richmond The Court doe judge her Guilty of Fornication: and to be whipt or pay forty shillings—accordinge to law: She ownes to abide the law in payment of Forty shills to the Genrl Treasurer Judgment Granted:
Upon the humble Request of Edward Richmond and the aforementioned Abigall Davice that thay haveing beine adjudged: and also thay owneinge the Righteousnes of the Sentence of the Court against them for liveinge together in Fornication: That now this court would be pleassed for prevention of the licke Temptation now to Declare them selves Condissendinge to the two parties marriag to gether: which the Court doe Consent unto: for that ther is Testimony that they have beine twice published according to law but that Mr Jeffery advised them to stay A litle while becaus obadyah Holmes Forbad it thoe he shewed noe Reason nor hath accordinge to law proceeded in the matter since therefor the Court Declares under the hands of the Court or by their names herto anexed that the sayd persons are married together before and in pressents of the Court Leagaly
At last, by order of the Court, Abigail and Edward were legally married to each other.

They had six children together before her death in 1682 and I'm descended from the third one, John Richmond. 

*Rhode Island. Court of Trials. (192022). Rhode Island court records: records of the Court of trials of the colony of Providence Plantations, 1647-1670. Providence. pps 18, 22, 28, 37, 45.

© 2014 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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