“The Devil Made Me Do It!” Crime and Punishment in Early New England is the title of author, historian, and former Andover Historical Society educator Juliet Haines Mofford’s new book. I ordered my advance copy last month, and started reading as soon as it arrived. Julie is an engaging and entertaining author who mined Massachusetts’ historical archives for fascinating stories about New England’s original criminals.
“Whether it was Sabbath-breaking, blasphemy, or public drunkenness, colonial laws were strict and frequently broken, and those who broke them could expect swift punishment….Some of the ways that seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century New England communities dealt with murder and mayhem seem brutal to modern sensibilities.” For example, rebellious children were often taken away from their parents and “bound out” as servants to other households. “….such as Andover’s Mary Lacey caught outside past (the public) curfew (of 9:00 pm) got accused of nightwalking and ‘refusing to shun bad company.’ …… she was sent to live with her uncle’s family.”
Through December, The Devil Made Me Do It will be available by special order through the Andover Book Store and will be in stock in the store starting January 2012. The book can also be purchased now online.
Congratulations, Julie, on another terrific local history book!