Select Page

Another one for the NERGC crowd

If there was even a tiny shred of doubt remaining in your mind as to whether or not The Legal Genealogist is a total law geek, this should put it completely to rest.

Here it is.

The genealogy-law-geek-happy-dance-book-for-today.

NH1The first-ever published compilation of the laws of New Hampshire.

The full title is the Acts and Laws, Passed by the General Court or Assembly of His Majestie’s Province of New-Hampshire in New-England.1 Published in Boston in 1716, printed by B. Green, sold by Eliazar Russel2

And it’s digitized and free online.

Google Books has it here.

And it’s a gem.

I mean, seriously, who wouldn’t want to know that it was illegal in 1700 for any “Traveller, Drover, Horse-couser, Waggoner, Butcher, Higler, or any of their Servants” to travel on Sunday, “Except by some adversity they were belated, and forced to lodge in the Woods, Wilderness, or High-ways the Night before, and in such case to Travel no further than the next Inn, or Place of shelter…”?3

And could you get through the day without knowing that “all and every person and persons, which shall unlawfully Cut, or Take away any Grass, Corn, or Grain, growing, or Rob any Orchard or Garden, … or take away any Grafts or Fruit Trees” would have to pay damages and be labeled “robbers of orchards & gardens”?4

Wouldn’t you want to know that your ancestor who ran the local tavern in New Hampshire in 1715 was legally required to ensure that there were suitable provisions and lodging for the refreshment and entertainment of strangers and travellers, but had to ensure that the lower classes weren’t to sit “Drinking or Tipling after Ten a Clock at Night” and that he couldn’t “suffer any person to Drink to Drunkenness or Excess nor suffer any person as his or her Guest, to be and remain … on the Lords Day (other than Strangers, Travellers or such as come thither for necessary refreshment)”5 — whatever that meant!

Wouldn’t it be a neat part of your early 18th century New Hampshire family history to know that any ancestor of yours could be rewarded if he killed a full-grown wolf — and rewarded handsomely: 20 shillings from the town and another 50 shillings paid out of the Treasury of the Province?6

These early laws so impacted our early ancestors’ lives… and it is just flat out neat to be able to sit and read them.


SOURCES

  1. Acts and Laws, Passed by the General Court or Assembly of His Majestie’s Province of New-Hampshire in New-England (Boston, Mass. : n.p., 1716); digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 16 Apr 2015).
  2. Nope, no relation, no how.
  3. “An Act for the better Observation and Keeping the Lords Day,” 19 July 1700, ibid. at 7.
  4. “An Act for Preventing of Trespasses,” 16 October 1707, ibid. at 27.
  5. “An Act for the Inspecting, and Suppressing of Disorders in Licensed Houses,” 6 Jan 1715, ibid. at 57.
  6. “An Act for Encouraging the Killing of Wolves”, (1716), ibid. at 109.
Print Friendly