Published Records of Plymouth Colony

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Nathaniel Shurtleff, editor:

 

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth: Volume 1, "Court Orders 1633 - 1640, Volume I" and "Court Orders 1641 - 1651, Volume II" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1855).

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth: Volume 2, "Court Orders 1651 - 1661, Volume III" and "Court Orders 1661 - 1668, Volume IV" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1855).

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth: Volume 3, "Court Orders 1668 - 1678, Volume V" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1856).

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth: Volume 4 "Court Orders 1678 - 1691, Volume VI" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1856).

Under the terms of the Bradford patent, Plymouth Colony assumed a governing structure that consisted of a Governor, a Board of Assistants (7), and the General Court. The General Court, made up of the colony freemen (who later elected deputies to attend the quarterly meetings), combined legislative and judicial functions, so that trials as well as governmental affairs were carried out at the same time. The Governor and the Assistants acted as the executive arm, and also served as magistrates with powers of arrest and prosecution. Their sessions, as recorded in the first six volumes of “Court Orders”, provide a wealth of information about the residents of Plymouth Colony.

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 7 "Judicial Acts 1636 - 1692" ( Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1857).

The records of Judicial Acts cover the suits and complaints brought before the General Court and the Court of Assistants by private citizens.

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 8 "Miscellaneous Records, 1633 - 1689" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1857).

The Miscellaneous Records include (incomplete) vital records of births, deaths and marriages; the Colony Treasurer’s reports (the Treasurer was one of the Assistants); and lists of freemen in the individual towns. Not all the men in the colony were accepted as freemen, as that status bore a number of obligations as well as the right of franchise, while others were considered ineligible for reasons of character or, as in the case of Quakers, illegal religious affiliation.

David Pulsifer, editor:

 

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 9 "Acts of the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, Volume I" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1859).

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 10 "Acts of the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, Volume II" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1859).

In 1643, a federation of the Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth colonies was formed in response to a perceived threat of Indian war from the powerful Narragansett tribe. “The said United Colonies for themselves and their posterities do jointly and severally hereby enter into a firm and perpetual league of friendship and amity for offence and defense, mutual advice and succor upon all just occasions both for preserving and propagating the truth and liberties of the Gospel and for their own mutual safety and welfare.” (Article 2 of The Articles of Confederation of the United Colonies of New England; May 19, 1643). The records of this defensive league extend from 1643 to 1684.

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 11 "Laws" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1861).

The Laws of Plymouth Colony were first codified in 1636, with reviews added in 1658, 1672, and 1685 (when the three counties were created).

Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, Volume 12 "Deeds &c.," and "Book of Indian Records for Their Lands" (Boston: William White, Printer to the Commonwealth, 1861).

 

Researched and created by James W. Baker
© Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2011

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Page updated 3 January 2012