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
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Page 230


Attending the same :

Voted that James Bowdoin junr. Esqr. by Virtue of the power of Attending to him given dated the eighth day of September 1784, employ one or more Attorney's on behalf of the Propriety, to defend any Actions already, in which may be commenced in the County of Lincoln wherein the Interests of the said Propriety may be affected, paticularly an Action or Actions commenced by Moses Grant & others against Settlers on the East side of Kennebeck river, who hold their lands by Grants from this Propriety. --

Voted that the Meeting be Adjourned to the Second Wednesday in July, next, being the eighth day to meet at the Office of Henry Alline in State Street Boston, at five o'Clock in the afternoon. --


Jas. Bowdoin Jusr Esqr. to employ Attornies

the Honble James Bowdoin Esq.r
James Bowdoin j.r Esq.r
Joseph North Esq.r
Mr James Thwing
Henry Alline, Propr Clerk
Boston July 8th 1789 The Proprietors met at time & place, according to Adjournment, and --

Voted that the meeting be Adjourned to the Second Wednesday in August next, being the twelfth August five o'Clock in the afternoon, to meet at the Office of Henry Alline in State Street Boston. --
Present - Mr James Thwing
Henry Alline, Profr Clerk