TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859

Microform Collection

Location: Microfilm KFM 2916 P55 A7 1978

Scope:  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 below.

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 these
Subject Categories:

Court records -- Massachusetts -- Plymouth County.
Plymouth County (Mass.) -- Genealogy.  

Time Period: 17th Century  18th Century 19th Century

Subject keywords: Law, U. S. History

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