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 


Jurors' Expense Report


  Lincoln Ss. July 16 1790
By Virtue of this subpena I have sumond, the within nam.d Abiel Lovejoy Esq. Poley Lovejoy & William Coldwig to apear at Time & place for the purpose with in mention.d
  Fees 6/

Abial Lovejoy Junr Constable

This certifies that I have traveled forty eight miles & attended six days Pursuant to the with in subpoena } James Stedmen
I have Traveled 120 miles & attended six days   Oliver Wood
I have traveled fifty miles & attended six days   Abial Lovejoy
I have traveled fifty miles & attended six days   Polley Lovejoy
By virtue of this [supoening,] I have traveled 32 miles and attended 6 days at Court } Isaac Savage &
I have also traveled 32 miles and attended 6 days:   Amos Pollard
I have also traveled 32 miles and attended 8 days   [Hercam] Pollard
I have also traveled 30 miles and attended 6 days.   Benjamin Woods
Lincoln Sc. June 24th 1790.  
By virtue of this Subpoena I have Summoned and herewith are named James Carr Nathaniel Garvey Benja Brown Amos Pollard [Hercam] Pollard James Stedmand and James Stedmand to appear at the Time and place and for the purposes within mentioned.
Fees 12/ Ebenr Bacon Junr Depy Shereff