The Queen vs Comfort Newman
On 19 July 1710, Comfort, the wife of George Newman was indited for "of felonious stealing" and ordered to appear in court. It seems that on Saturday the 15th of July 1710, Alice MacNeal and her family was out planting and she had some clean washed wool stolen out of the house. Alice blamed Comfort for the theft of her wool. On 9 November 1710 and witnesses were called, both owing money to the Queen. Comfort appeared in court and declared herself not guilty. A jury of twelve "good and lawful" men was called to hear the case and found her not guilty. Comfort Newman was acquitted, but charged with the court costs.
Spelling remains the same
Judicials, pp. 120, 121 To The Sheriff of Somerset County Greeting. Somerset County - John West one of her Majestys Jusices of Peace for the county aforesaid sendeth greeting Where Alice the Wife of Hugh MacNeal this day to me complains that on Saturday the 15th instant being with her husband and family planting she then had about five or six pounds of clean washed wool stolen out of her house and hath greatly in suspicion one Comfort the wife of George Newman an Indian These are in her Majestys name to wit and require as also charge and command you on sight here of to apprehand take and bring before me the body of her the said Comfort and the wool or any part there of in whose custody it shall be found and that you summons John Tanner and Margret his wife evidences for her Majesty against said Comfort fail not at your peril dated at Back Creek this 19th day of July in the 9th year of the reign of Sovereign Lady Anne of Great Brittain France and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith etc. 1710. John West
To Mr. Jeffrey Long Constable of Annamessex Hundred To execute and return and to inform said Comfort to bring good security. Executed per Jeffrey Long Constable
Memorandum - That this 20th day of July 1710 John Tanner acknowledged himself to be indebted to the Queen in the sum of ten pounds sterling due to be levied on his goods etc. The condition of the above recog. is such that if the above bound John and Margret his wife appear before the Justices of Somerset Court the first day in August next to give their evidence for the Queen against Comfort Newman then this recog. void etc. John West
To the Sheriff of Somerset County greeting I send you here the body of Comfort the Wife of George Newman an Indian this day convict before of felonious stealing and carrying away of a certain quantity of wool from Hugh McNeale and Mr. Miles Gray [full page not copied] of the county aforesaid and therefore these are (on behalf of our Sovereign Lady the Queen) to command you that imediately you receive the said Comfort and her safely keep in the goal untill she shall be thence delivered by due course of law here of fail you not as you will answer the contempt dated at Back Creek this 20th day of July in the 9th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Anne of Great Brittain France and Ireland Queen Defender of the Faith etc.1710.
To John Bozman Sheriff of Somerset County The said Comfort being called made her appearance new security required for her appearance November court next ensuing at which day came Owen Magraw and did acknowledge himself to be indebted to our Sovereign Lady the Queen ten pounds current money due to be levied on his goods and chattles lands and tennements for the use of her Majesty and her successors. The condition of which recog. is such that if Comfort the wife of George Newman shall and do make her personal appearance before her Majestys Justices at a court to be held at Dividing Creek the first Tuesday in November next ensueing then and there to answer to what shall or may be objected against her on behalf of the Queen then this recog. to be null and void etc. other wise to stand etc. --- taken in court
Judicials, pp. 137, 138 Her Majesty VS Comfort Newman - Somerset County The jurors for our Sovereign Lady the Queen that now is etc. Upon their oaths do present for our said Lady the Queen Comfort Newman wife of George Newman of Somerset Parish in the county aforesaid for that she the said Comfort the fear of God before her eyes not having nor the good laws of this province made against thieving and stealing on or about the 8th day of July 1710 and at several other times since at Somerset Parish in the county aforesaid the said Comfort did there steal pilfer and carry away about the quantity of five pounds of wool of the value of five shillings supposed to be the wool and goods of Michal Gray or Hugh McNeale against the good laws of this province. Worthington Clk. of Indictments
To this indictment the said Comfort Newman pleads not guilty and for trial puts her self on the country. And the Queen her Clk. of Indictments also. Worthington
Indorsed on the back of indictment - We of the jury find this bill avera. - Wm. Planner foreman The issue being thus joined on the country command was given to the Sheriff of Somerset County that he cause to come here twelve good and lawfull men of his Bailywick to try the issue joined between our Sovereign Lady the Queen and Comfort Newman at which day came Mr. Nicholas Evans, Richard Phillips, Wm. Warwick, John Gray, Sam'll Tomleson, Alex'r Madux, One McClamie, Robert Wilson, John Pealy, Richard Ackworth, James Mumford, Archebold Smith who being duely elected and all sworn on their oaths do say we of the jury do find Comfort wife of George Newman not guilty of the indictment. Nicholas Evans foreman
Wherefore considered by the court here that the said Comfort Newman be acquitted giving security for her fees accrued by means of said suit as by law.
Walczyk, Frank V. Somerset County Maryland Judicial Records 1709-1711. Part II. Coram NY: Petersrow, 1997.