Anne Orthwood's Bastard

Anne Orthwood's Bastard : Sex and Law in Early Virginia

3.54 (142 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 232 pages
  • 137.16 x 203.2 x 15.24mm | 340.19g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 map
  • 0195144791
  • 9780195144796

Review quote

John Pagan's subtle and sophisticated research and analysis and his lucid and evocative writing bring to life these Virginians of 350 years ago. The character sketches of the servants, justices of the peace, planters, jurors, and of Anne Orthwood and her lover are gems of historical writing. Through the experiences of those people, Pagan teaches us how they lived and how they created and solved problems. * Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) * This excellent book helps us understand much more about life and death in 17th-Century Virginia. * Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) * ... complex and original piece of work. * Journal of American Studies * ... marvellous piece of early American legal history ... a gripping story of substantial tragedy and limited triumph ... John Ruston Pagan's brief, tightly developed book reveals much about the modification and application of English law in America and should find a welcome audience among specialists, generalists, and their students. It represents that wonderful blend of legal and social history that now forms the backbone of what is rightly called the new legal history of early America. * The Journal of American History *show more

About John Ruston Pagan

John Ruston Pagan is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Richmond, Virginia.show more

Rating details

142 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 12% (17)
4 44% (62)
3 35% (49)
2 7% (10)
1 3% (4)
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