Original British Sea Captain American Revolutionary War Document from Massachusetts Dated 1780

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This Revolutionary War hand written document is A WARRANT OF DISTRESS signed and dated several times by various officials on June 17th , August 12th and September 11th 1780.

It relates to a Captain Samuel Drinkwater Jr. of Dighten that was tried in the Court at Taunton. It appears that Captain Drinkwater had either been appointed or elected constable but for some reason declined the position, very possibly because research tells us he was a Sea captain so perhaps he found he had conflicting travel plans.

In any event, his case was heard and the Court fined him 160.00 Pounds, a massive sum in 1780. Furthermore there were 45 Pounds 12 Shillings costs and a 5.00 Pound Warrant Fee totaling 210 Pounds 12 Shilling in all and there is a notation stating that in Dollars this totaled $702.00!

$720.00 could have purchased a house in those days, maybe even a farm! In any event, non-payment meant Captain Drinkwater would be jailed and his assets seized and sold until the fine and collection charges were paid in full.

The document is signed by JOHN PORTER, Sheriff, SETH PADELFORD, Attorney and one JAMES DEAN and it appears Captain Drinkwater Paid in full!

Document is nicely framed, 13" X 20", in a doubled sided case with an erroneous plaque indicating that Captain Drinkwater was an English Officer which we now know was not the case.

A fully readable transcribed version in modern English is below (hard copy included). This is a very interesting piece of Massachusetts Revolutionary War History.

A Warrant of Distress

The Good People of Mass Bay in New Englands Bristol Ss.

To the Sheriff of our County of Bristol xx Sheriff or Deputy Greeting.

Whereas Samuel Drinkwater Jr. of Dighten in the same County

Mariner by the Consideration by the Justices of the Court of General

Sessions of the Peace holden at Taunton for sd

Tuesday of June instant was (for refusing to qualify himself for

the Office of a Constable for sd

sentenced to pay a Fine of One hundred & Sixty pounds, to the Use of

the Poor of the said town of Dighten, and Cost of prosecution taxed

at Forty Five pounds twelve Schillings as appears of Record, which

Sentence the said Samuel hath not regarded,-- We command

you therefore that of the Money of the sd

Chattels within your Precinct at the Value thereof in Money

you cause to be levied paid and satisfied unto the Overseer of the

Poor or Select Men of the Town of Dighten to be disposed of to the Use of the Poor

thereof, the aforesaid Sums, and also that out of the Money, Goods

or Chattles, of the sd

Writ together with your own Fees. And for want of such

Money, Goods or Chattles of the sd

[said] County on the Second

Dighten when legally chosen thereunto)

Samuel, or of his Goods &

Samuel you levy Five pounds more for this

Samuel to be by him shewn

unto You, or found within your Precinct to satisfy the aforesaid

Sums, We command You to take the body of the sd

him commit unto our Goal in Taunton in our said County of

Bristol, until he pay the full Sums above-mentioned with your

Fees, or shall be discharged by order of Law – Whereof fail not, &

make Return of this Writ, with your doings therein, unto our said

Court of General Sessions of the Peace to be holden at Taunton within

our County of Bristol on the second Tuesday of September next.

Dated at Taunton the Seventeenth Day of June Anno Dom 1780.

Samuel and

By Order of Court Saml xxxx

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