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 below.
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
Time Period: 17th Century 18th Century 19th Century
Subject keywords: Law, U. S. History