Monday, November 30, 2015

Early Maine Attorney's Court Docket Book

Today's item is a docket book once owned by Charles Greene, a successful lawyer in Maine. Interestingly, the entries begin in 1816, when Maine was still a district of Massachusetts. By the time of the last entry, in 1833, Maine had been a state for more than a decade. This book covers cases handled in the common law courts of York and Somerset Counties.

Charles Greene was educated at Dartmouth, from which he graduated in 1811. Upon graduating, he went to study law under his father, Judge Benjamin Greene, along with Dudley Hubbard, South Berwick's "first regularly educated lawyer." In 1814, just three years after graduating college, Charles Greene opened his own practice in South Berwick, York County. He would later move to Norridgewock before finally settling in Athens, where he would stay until his death in 1852. Greene continued to practice law and later became judge of the county probate court.

The book is completely filled in, with no blank pages and none missing. Overall, the volume contains 1569 cases. Most of the actions contained within are for debt, but several others of interest include actions of replevin, trespass, defamation, and dower, among others. The page shown above is part of Greene's comprehensive 12-page index. The index is split into two sections to separate Greene's time practicing in South Berwick from his practice in Athens.

Many thanks to Robert H. Rubin for the wonderful description on which this post is based.

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