The Official Story
Chapter 4

More suits and countersuits

Henry Sewall appealed to the higher court in Pownalboro. When he was denied a continuance, he finally paid the fine to Foster.

The Sewalls then took Foster to court.

Henry Sewall's diary entries for April 26 and May 1, 1788 show that Henry's cousin Thomas Sewall, who'd rented a house to the Fosters, sued Isaac Foster for back rent. He won the case and collected three shillings plus costs.

Again, the situation escalated. Take a look at Henry Sewall's diary eight days after Thomas Sewall won his case. You can see that Isaac Foster turned around and sued Henry and Thomas Sewall for defamation -- for a second time. This time, Henry paid a Mr. Blake three dollars and two thousand wooden shingles "to procure evidence against Mr. Foster.". Several weeks later, Mr. Blake returned with depositions

What did Martha have to say about these suits?

Foster sues the Sewalls
The Rev. Mr. Foster's relation with the town was steadily deteriorating...

Table of Contents

Sewall v. Commonwealth
Lincoln County Court of General Sessions of the Peace
June 5, 1787
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 Title page     Jun 5, 1787 Page 238   Jun 5, 1787 Page 238 (back) 


June 5, 1787 Page 238 (back)


that the said Isaac is a person of good fame Name & Reputation, and now is, and for two years last past, has been a preacher of the Gospel, & a settled and duly ordained Minister of the Gospel within and for said Town of Hallowell, of which one Henry Sewall of Hallowell aforesaid Esq. was well knowing; nevertheless the said Henry intending to scandalize & destroy the Reputation of said Isaac, &the said Henry being a person of the Age of Discretion, on the sixth day of January inst did at said Hallowell with force and arms wittingly and willingly make and publish of and concerning the said Isaac, the following false and scandalous words & lies, to wit, "he" then speaking of and meaning the said Isaac "is a Liar; & I" meaning the said Henry, "can prove it" - "and he," then speaking of and meaning the said Henry Isaac, "has lied, & I" meaning that he the said Henry could prove that said Foster was a liar and had lyed, all which &c. and to the said Complaint the said Henry before the said Justice pleaded that he was not guilty of said Offence, and after a full hearing on the premises, it was the opinion of the said Justice that the said Henry was guilty, & was sentenced by the said Justice to pay the sum of fifteen shillings for & towards the Support of the Government of this Commonwealth & Court of prosecution & find sureties for his good Behaviour, and stand committed till Sentence should be performed, from which Sentence the said Henry appealed to this Court & recognized according to law. And now the said Henry comes into Court and prays leave to withdraw his former plea of not guilty & to throw himself upon the Mercy of the Court, which is granted by the Court. It is therefore Considered by said Court that the said Henry pay a fine of fifteen shillings and C osts of prosecution.