Friday, June 20, 2014
Each entry includes a seal and Pynchon's signature, suggesting that this was an official record. In instances where the parties were dissatisfied with the result, Pynchon mentions the matter being taken to the Court of Common Pleas at Northampton.
This William Pynchon is apparently a descendant of the William Pynchon [1590-1662] who founded Springfield. This Pynchon ancestor is the subject of a similar book about "grass roots" legal practice--Joseph H. Smith, ed., Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702): the Pynchon Court Record, An Original Judges' Diary of the Administration of Justice in the Springfield Courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Just as a point of interest: I noticed that the plaintiff in several matters was a Jonathan Dwight of Springfield. A couple of years ago, I acquired a complaint filed by a Seth Dwight of Hatfield against Medad Negro. Curious about a possible connection, I turned to the interwebs. It turns out that Seth was Jonathan's great-uncle!
Posted by Laurel Davis at 2:06 PM
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Webster's letter is addressed to Mr. Pickering, Secretary of the Suffolk Bar; in it, Webster vouches for the credentials and character of Martin Whiting, an 1814 graduate of Harvard University. Webster states that Whiting had been working since 1814 in the Middlesex County law office of Isaac Fiske; he explains that Whiting began in Webster's own law office as a "Student at Law" in that very month, March 1817. In the last line, Webster certifies to "regular attestations to the correctness of [Whiting's] moral character.
According to the William T. Davis's Bench and Bar of Massachusetts, Whiting was admitted to the Suffolk Bar in May 1818 and died quite young in 1823.
All four images of the letter are available on our Facebook page!
Posted by Laurel Davis at 4:19 PM