Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 10

Rebecca Foster swears a Rape "on a number of men"

Rebecca Foster didn't keep quiet. In October, Martha wrote, "mrs Foster has Sworn a Rape on a number of men among whome is Judge North."

Link to see the official indictment.

Rebecca Foster was taking her case to court. And Martha Ballard now had to testify. In fact, she had to testify against one of the most powerful men in the county, Judge Joseph North. In addition, North often employed her husband. Looking at this record of a Boston meeting in the Kennebec Purchase Records, we see that Joseph North was an agent for the wealthy absentee landholders (the "Kennebec Proprietors"), and that Martha's husband, Ephraim Ballard, worked for them as a surveyor.

The day before Martha heard that Rebecca had "sworn a rape" on Judge North, he called Martha to the door and "interogated her" about what she was going to say. "I was Cald to mr Fosters door & askt Some questions...Colo North interagated me Concerning what Conversation mrs Foster had with me concerning his Conduct."

Martha knew she had to be careful. She wanted to remember precisely what Rebecca Foster had told her.

What happened to Foster's wife while he was out of town?
On December 23, she testified before the court in Vassalboro. When she returned home she wrote down everything she could remember.

Table of Contents

Kennebec Purchase Records
October 12, 1768 - November 6, 1800
View Image
View Image
View Frames version

 Front Cover     Inside Cover     Page 229   Page 230 


Page 229


for third Book of Grants folo 225, & 234, -- may more fullly Appear --
Voted that the Meeting be Adjourned to Wednesday next, being the Twenty fourth instant at five o Clock in the afternoon to meet at the Office of Henry Alline, in State Street Boston. --

  Present Colo Joseph North.
Mr James Thuring
Henry Alline, Profr Clerk

Boston June 24, 1789. The Proprietors met at time and place According to Adjournment - And

Voted That the meeting be Adjourned to the Dwelling House of the Honble James Bowdoin Esq. in Beacons Street Boston, to meet forthwith. --

  Present Colo Joseph North.
Mr James Thuring
Henry Alline, Profr Clerk

Boston June 24th 1789. The Proprietors met at time and place According to Adjournment

Whereas Colo Joseph North on the part of this Propriety and the Committee of the General Court for settling the Eastern Lands have agreed that. Mr Ephraim Ballard of Hollowell, Surveyor, should run the line or lines of the Kennebeck Purchase as the same have been mutually agreed by the Committee of the Genl Court & the Committee of this Propriety; which Agreement was dated & executed the Eighteenth of February last -- And it being necessary that some Person should be Appointed to Attend on said Business with said Surveyors, and to provide one half of whatever shall, be necessary be Compleat the same --

Col. Joseph North to be Agent. Therefore -- Voted that Colo Joseph North be and hereby is Appointed Agent in said Business, and to provide what shall be necessary as appointed, and as soon as the said Business shall be Completed to by before the Committee of this Propriety his Account of Expense attend-