Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859
Location: Microfilm KFM 2916 P55 A7 1978
This is a collection of the court records from Plymouth County, Massachusetts
from the time period of the Pilgrims to just before the Civil War. There
are two types of court records:
1) the Court of Common Pleas, which existed from 1686-1859. "It had original
jurisdiction over all suits at common law arising within the county where the
amount in controversy exceeded a statutorily defined minimum."
2) The Court of General Sessions, which existed from 1686-1828. It "heard
most criminal cases and many administrative matters arising in the county." (Introductory
Essay: The Larger Context of Litigation in Plymouth County, 1725-1825.)
Some examples of cases are: drunken ministers; defamation; sheep
stealing; fornication; Sabbath violations; debts; covenant broken; indenture
bond; litigation between Congregationalists and Quakers; liquor licenses; and
recovery of damages.
v. 1. General Sessions of the Peace, 1686-1721. The Court of Common Pleas,
1686-1702 -- v. 2-4. General Sessions of the Peace, 1719[-1827] -- v. 5-16. The
Court of Common Pleas, 1702[-1859]
How to search the collection:
The material is on the reels by years. There is no subject index. There is
a reel index, but it is not very detailed. There are two very good
essays at the beginning of reel 1. These essays are listed under the guides
Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859.
(Microfilm KFM 2916 P55 A7 1978 Guide)
Nelson, William E. Introductory Essay: The Larger Context of Litigation in
Plymouth County, 1725-1825. (at the beginning of Reel 1 Microfilm KFM 2916
P55 A7 1978).
Konig, David T. Editor's Introduction: a Guide to the Use of the Plymouth
Court Records. (at the beginning of Reel 1 Microfilm KFM 2916 P55 A7 1978)
For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out
Time Period: 17th Century 18th Century 19th Century
Subject keywords: Law, U. S. History
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