York, ME
Old York Museum Center
Lecture and Dessert Series 2018, Lecture 4
Sun, November 18, 2018 at 3:00PM (Eastern)
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Devil Made Me Do It!: Crime And Punishment In Early New England
Juliet Haines Mofford
Scarlet Letters, wanton dalliances, Sabbathbreaking, and debt: Colonial laws were easily broken and the malefactors who broke them, swiftly punished. How did our ancestors deal with murder and mayhem? How did seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England communities handle deviants? How have definitions of criminal behavior and its punishment changed over the centuries? What were early prisons like? What were the duties of a turn-key? Drawing on early court dockets, diaries, sermons, gaolers’ records, and other primary sources, Mofford investigates historical cases from a time when accused felons often pleaded in their own defense: “The Devil made me do it!”
This lecture is the last in a four-part lecture series exploring the complex topics of crime, punishment, superstition, and death in old New England. The lectures are followed immediately by dessert, coffee, and tea in Jefferds Tavern.
Juliet Haines Mofford lives in Bath, Maine, where she works as an author and historical researcher. She is a graduate of Tufts University and former educator at the Old Gaol Museum and Old York Historical Society. She has published hundreds of feature articles and books, including a recent historical novel set in 1692, Abigail Accused: A Story of the Salem Witch Hunt.
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