Martha Ballard's Story
Chapter 14

The Supreme Judicial Court hears the case in Pownalboro

In July of 1790, Martha and Ephraim Ballard traveled down the Kennebec River for the trial of Judge Joseph North before the Supreme Judicial Court. As they traveled downriver, the four honorable judges of the court traveled upriver from Boston to preside at Pownalboro's imposing, three-story courthouse.

Although we don't know what Martha and Ephraim Ballard or Isaac and Rebecca Foster looked like, there are surviving portraits of the Supreme Judicial Court judges.

This was the first time Martha had left the Hallowell/Augusta area since her arrival twelve years earlier. Ephraim had sat on juries, attended other trials at the courthouse, and done business in Pownalboro. Martha mentions his trips in her diary. But this was her first visit to Pownalboro.

In her entries from July 6 through 10, Martha reports that she "went on board Leut Pollards Boat" to Pownalboro and that she "atended Coart" on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, listening to other cases on the docket. On Saturday, "the Cause between this Common welth & J. North Esqu was tried & given to the jury."

Rebecca Foster has a child
On Monday, the verdict came down.

Table of Contents

Martha Ballard's Diary

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June 4, 1788 (Wednesday)

4 4


Clear. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro Coart. I went to mr Williamss they are very poorly. mrs Fletcher & Ingerham were there to watch. I Came home & wrote to Broth Jona at Ditos, at mr Wilmss.

July 8, 1788 (Tuesday)

8 3


Very heavy Showers. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro Coart. I am informd by mrs Weston yt the wife of Joseph Foster Expird this morn at 2 O Clok. Clarrisa Barton Left here for home attended by mr Scenter. I went to see mr Williams & tarried all night at Wilmss. mrs LiverMoore Deld of a Son by Doct Coney at 11 Evng. Death mrs Foster.

July 14, 1788 (Monday)

14 2


Clear. mr Ballard & mr Crosbee Sett out for Pownalboro at 3h morn. mrs Weston here foren, mrs Welch aftn. I Combd flax & Let mr Welch have 2 lb Tow. Shee had 3 lb before. I went to See mr Williams; find him Lower than he has been, and more Distrest for Breath I was at Nr Williamss.

July 14, 1791 (Thursday)

14 5


Clear & hott Except a Shower. mr Ballard is gone to Pownalboro. I have houghd gardin Some. thee girls washt, Cyrus & Ephm helpt mr Livermore about his Hay at home. there was a light Shower.

June 6, 1792 (Wednesday)

6 4


Clear foren, Cloudy & misty Evng. mr Ballard is Gone to Pownalboro. I have been weading Gardin, and went to See mrs Livermore; find her Comfortable. Hannah washt the West roome floore at mr Livermores.

July 25, 1792 (Wednesday)

25 4


rain foren, Clear aftern. I returnd from mr Andruss at 9h morn, find Hannah Cox here to work for me. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro ys aftern. mr Vahan Calld here at mr Andrewss.

October 15, 1792 (Monday)

15 2


Cloudy & misty morn. mr Ballard went to Esqr Coneys, returnd and Sett out for Pounalboro. [    ] Parthenia to mr Pollards for a Six & Twenty Slay. Hannah Beemd ye wollin Shurting. Ephm to mr Waids to work. I have been at home. raind aftern & Evng at home. mr Ballard to Pownalboro.

July 8, 1793 (Monday)

8 2


Clear. mr Ballard Sett out for Pownalboro to attend Coart on the Grand Jury. Dolly went to her Brothers. I have been at home, washt the west room and Cleand Bedsteads. Sally washt & washt the Bed rooms. I had information that Son Towns Dagt Hannah is very Sick. Cyrus Sleeps here. Ephm has been houghing Corn & Potatoes at home, had News that Hannah Town was very Sick.

August 27, 1793 (Tuesday)

27 3


Clear. I have been at home. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro at home.

October 1, 1793 (Tuesday)

1 3


Cloudy. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro. I have been at home. Ephm workt at mr Densmores with his Oxen. Sally washt & Scowrd puter & the floors of all the rooms. Polly Livermore here. mr Gow & his Lady here at Evng at home.

April 14, 1794 (Monday)

14 2


Clear & very pleast. mr Ballard went to Pownalboro. I have been at home, finisht footing a pr hoes for mr Balld. mr Densmores Dagts here. Old mr Hinkley Dind here at home. Dolly had Company.

July 6, 1795 (Monday)

6 2


Clear. mr Stone & Child Calld here . mr Ballard Sett out for Pownalboro Coart, he is on ye Grand Jury. Dagt Pollard here with her Dear little Dagt. Shee, with Sally and Patty, went to mr Pages for Strauberies, mrss Hodges allso. mr Town and Pollard here, Conducted them home at home. Dagt Pollard here. mr Ballard to Coart.

July 9, 1800 (Wednesday)

9 4


Clear Except a Shower at night. I houghd my gardn. was Calld to mr Edsons at night to See mrs Collier. Shee was relievd before I arivd. I larried all night. mr Ballard gone to Pownalboro to Coart at mr Edsons to See mrs Collier

June 18, 1801 (Thursday)

18 5


Cloudy part of the day. I have workt in my Gardin. Sally washt and went to help quillt a Bed quillt for Hannah Ballard. Lucy Shaw Came home with her, Sleeps here. mr Ballard returnd from Pownalboro at home. Lucy Shaw Sleeps here.

September 29, 1801 (Tuesday)

29 3


Clear. mr Ballard Sett out for Pownalboro. I have been at home about makeing Soap. I feel very feeble ys afternoon at home.