Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 12

Judge North flees after the Sessions hearing

Before the rape case moved up to the Supreme Judicial Court, there was a hearing at Sessions in Hallowell. Martha wrote in her diary: "Clear & Blustering. The Coart Setts in Hallowell. Doct Whiteaker & Son, Esq Lovjoy, Revd mr Foster & mr David Smyle Sleep here." Imagine all of these people staying in the Ballards' two room house; Martha certainly had a crowd to take care of. Note, too, that Isaac Foster stayed with the Ballards. This suggests that the Fosters had moved out of town, and Foster needed a place to stay when the hearing took place.

Six days later, on January 18, Martha noted, "Colo North fled from judgment...& Could not be found."

Henry Sewall seemed almost amused by this incident.

Martha, however, did not seem to be at all amused.

It is unclear where Judge North went or when Judge North returned to town, but he was definitely back several months later, on May 8, when Martha recorded, "mr Ballard been at Colo Norths to Settle for his Surveying the fall past."

It was spring.

The case is heard in Vassalboro
And one of Martha's unobtrusive April entries provides us with the missing clue to understanding Rebecca Foster's motivation for breaking her silence.

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Martha Ballard's Diary

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May 8, 1790 (Saturday)

8 7


Clear. mrs Andrs is a little more Comfortable. I left her at 10 in ye morn. Parthena went to mr Porters. my Girls to help mrs Chever quillt. Dolly was Siezd while Shee was gone & Came home very sick indeed. I Balht her feet & attempted to Swet her. James Stacpool Sleeps here. mr Ballard been at Colo Norths to Settle for his Surveying the fall past at mr Andrewss. Foster is at work here. Brothr Town is Sick. I Sett up with Dolly till after mid night.