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"a Basterd Childe" Impregnating a Minor a Revolutionary War Veteran’s Son is Accused in This Legal Document 1792

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July 9, 1792-Dated Federal Period, a Revolutionary War Veteran’s Son is Accused of Impregnating Minor with "a Basterd Childe" (sic), Partly-Printed Legal Document Signed, “John Daggett”, Bristol County, Massachusetts, Choice Very Fine.

A rare content Partly-Printed Document, measuring 7.5” x 6”, 1 page, Bristol County, Massachusetts, Inscribed and Signed twice, “John Daggett” as Justice of the Peace, a former Revolutionary War commander, a.k.a. Colonel John Daggett (1724-1803). Here, in his role as one of the Justices of the Peace for Bristol County, Massachusetts. Printed in black on laid period watermarked paper, completed in brown ink manuscript, with an extensive docket on the blank reverse.

This legal court document is a recognizance: being a written pledge to do a specified task at a specific time in the future. This recognizance was issued by Colonel John Daggett, concerning the case of "Lemuel Bishop a miner and Son of Nathl Bishop of Attleborough," who was accused by "Betty Fuller a miner and Daughter of Ichabod Fuller, Late of said Attleborough, for Acquiting her with Childe of a Basterd Childe Sumtime about the months of January or February Last Past...".

In all, 80 of sureties had been collected from three individuals, including the principal defendant Lemuel Bishop; Isaac Hodges, Jr., a Horton gentleman; and Lewis Whe[aton], a Rehoboth house-wright or builder. Lemuel Bishop was tasked with reporting to the Court of the General Sessions of the Peace at Taunton, Massachusetts in mid-September 1792 to answer the charges. The Docket indicates that Bishop was not "surrendered" until much later than that, until finally in April 1793.

We speculate that Lemuel Bishop of Attleboro was one of the many children of town resident Nathaniel Bishop (1739-1811), who had himself served in Colonel John Daggett's Massachusetts Regiment during the American Revolutionary War. Lemuel was one of Nathaniel's youngest children, born in either 1773 or 1775, which would indeed make him a teenager or "miner" in 1792.

A rarely encountered, socially highly inappropriate case... “for Acquiting her with Childe of a Basterd Childe Sumtime about the months of January or February Last Past”. Exceptional, and with historic contemporary period religious content.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, John Daggett served as a surveyor and an influential member of the militia.

On April 9, 1775, a full ten days before the Battles of Lexington & Concord, John Daggett had led a Patriot militia contingent against local Tories, capturing nearly 30 British Loyalists as well as military supplies. In 1776, Daggett was commissioned a Colonel of the Fourth Bristol County Regiment.
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