Saturday, November 15, 2008

Of ears, riots and secrecy

Why genealogical research is so much fun:

James Rumbly, Dorchester County, Maryland, filed a petition with the County Court on 10 August 1769 stating, in part “by missforton, [he] had peice bitt off his ear” and requested that it be recorded. William Cahall was deposed and stated, in part, that “Moses Wotters and James Rumbly had some difference and there were some blowes passed betwean them and that he the said Cahall saw the said Moses Wotters bite a peice of the said Rumbly ear off.” (Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland/ F. Edward Wright, Vol. 13, page 181)

“At a General Court of the Eastern Shore of Maryland held 2nd Tuesday of April 1778 it was presented that Beauchamp Andrew, planter of Caroline Co., along with others being rioters, routers and disturbers of the peace on 4 Sept. 1777 did assember and gather at the mansion house of Bromwell Andrew and did break and enter and take one gun being the property of the said Bromwell Andrew and other diverse guns to the number of 15 and 5 cartouche [i.e., cartridge] boxes and did carry them away. He was fined ₤5.” (Vol 16 of above series, p 22)

And, finally, this apt editorial comment from the periodical The American Genealogist, v. 81, no. 4 (Oct. 2007):
“Governments have long felt that their records should be state secrets (or arcana imperium), which makes it far easier not to have to justify governmental actions and decisions. Of course, until beliefs developed that power flowed upward from the people to the state, rather than downward from God to the ruler, such attitudes were unquestioned.”

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