The Official Story

Indictment for an Assault

In July of 1790, we find in the records of the Supreme Judicial Court that Joseph North plead "not guilty" when charged with the "intent to ravish and carnally know" Rebecca Foster. She was the wife of the Reverend Mr. Isaac Foster, minister of Hallowell's Congregational Church. And North was the local judge.

The case was heard at the imposing, three-story Pownalboro Courthouse, located south of Hallowell on the Kennebec River. All that remains in the court record is the verdict, the formal indictment, the witness list, and the expense reports detailing the costs of transportation, sherriff's fees, and serving writs. None of the testimony survives.

How did it come to pass that Judge North was tried for the rape of the minister's wife? To figure this out, you can explore the official town, court, and church records to piece together the story of the Reverend Mr. Isaac Foster's move to Hallowell, his relation to the townspeople, and Judge North's role in Reverend Foster's feud with the town's clerk, Henry Sewall.

What did Martha have to say about this?

It all began with the hiring of Mr. Foster, four years before the trial of Judge North...

Table of Contents

Foster v. North
Supreme Judicial Court
July 1790
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 Witnesses' Expenses   Judges' Expenses   Jurors' Expenses 



Witnesses' Expense Report

bills to be offered for order

Supreme Judicial Court in Lincoln County July 1790

Cost on the trial of Joseph North Esqr for a tresspass tried and acquitted.
  bill   0.6.6
  Jury Fees   1.18.6
  Isaac Foster travel
40 miles
  Attendance 5 Days   0.15.0
  Rebecca Foster Same   1.1.0
  Abiel Lovejoy Same   1.1.0
  Polly Lovejoy Same   1.1.0
  Oliver Wood Same   0.16.8
  5 Days Attendce   0.15.0
  Martha Ballard 30
} 0.5.0
  5 Days Attendce   0.15.0
  Ephraim Ballard
30 miles 5 Days
} 1.0.0
  Amos Pollard Same   1.0.0
  Isaac Savage Do   1.0.0
  carried over   05/ 2nd