8. Justice, Society, Commissioners, and John Wilkins' Political Service
The Need for a System of Justice
The Formation of a Society on Virginia’s Eastern Shore 1615-1655 James R. Perry. Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolinia Press, Chapel Hill and London. 1990 page 165.
As population increased on The Eastern Shore amd in the rest of Virginia, there developed a need for a more elaborate local admistration of justice. In Feburary 1632/3 the Virginia Assembly (Note from WBW: John Wilkins was a Burgess at this session) passed an act to provide for monthly courts in "remote parts" of the colony including the Eastern Shore.
Wheras for the greater ease of the inhabitants in divers parts of this colony, and for the better conservation of the peace, and due execution of such lawes and orders, as are shall be established for the government of the people, and the inhabitants of the same....Theire shall be mounthlie corts, and oftener uppon extraordinarie causes requiring and agreed uppon by yhe major part of the comissioners, held and kept in some of the remote plantations.
After specifying the jurisdiction, duties, and oath of the commissioners of the monthly courts, the act listed the names of those appointed for each of the five "remote parts."
The Grand Assembly of 1633
From The General Assembly of Virginia July 30, 1619-Janurary 11, 1978 compiled by Cynthia Miller Leonard Virginia State Library, 1978; page 12.
The following were with John at The Grand Assembly of 1633:
Accomack -- John Neale, Obedience Robins,.John Wilkins
Formation of Society on the Eastern Shore
"The Formation of a Society on Virginia’s Eastern Shore 1615-1655" James R. Perry, Published for the Instuite of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North Carolinia Press, Chapel Hill and London. 1990 page 167
(Notes by WBW)
From: Instruments of Freedom, Deeds and Wills of Empancipation Northampton County, Virginia 1782 to 1864. Transcribed, Complied & Indexed by Frances Bibbins Latimer. Heritage Books, Inc. 1994
Page ix It is believed that the Eastern Shore was settled in 1621, although there were explorations to the area subsequent to the permanent settling of the "Shore." Durning the first decade, the population in Virginia grew steadily and by the second decade of its existence was forced to change the political organization. The Eastern Shore formed the first government in 1632 by the use of Justices meeting as a court in Private homes, taverns and ordinaries. In 1634 the Colony of Virginia was organized into shires with Northampton County becoming the eight of the original eight shires. In 1635 the use of the term shire was changed to county.
In 1643 the name of the county was changed from Accomack to Northampton because "heathen" names were out of favor with the House of Burgesses. The name Northampton was chosen because two of the county’s founding fathers (Obedience Robins and William Stone) were from Northamptonshire, nort west of London, England. They influenced the decision to use the name Northampton in honor of the Earl of Northampton, who was one of the first members of the Virginia Company.
The political service of John Wilkins
Legend P=Present D= Dead
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