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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Court records and the interesting things you read in them.

For the last several days I have been combing though the Surry County, North Carolina Court minutes from 1797-1836. There are references to many of my family (so far all on the "good" side of the law) and I am cataloguing them for future research. However, every so often, I run into an interesting snip-it of another family’s life.

This evening the following item on page 23 from the court minutes of 1815-1819 caught my eye:

Ordered by the court that JEMIMA KELLY (a child of JOHN KELLY who has deserted his FAMILY) aged three years this day August 16th, 1815 be BOUND unto JOHN MARTIN until she arrives to the age of 18 years.  The said MARTIN agrees to learn her the art & minstress [mystery] of a SPINTRESS give her one years schooling between the age of 12 & 16 years & two suits of clothes at her freedom.  6/paid

So besides the heart wrenching story of a 3 year old being abandoned… what the heck is “the art & minstress [mystery] of a SPINTRESS?”  Could it be a person taught to spin on a spinning wheel?  Any ideas?
Spinning wheel in attic. Cajun farm home, Crowley, Louisiana
Image from the Library of Congress

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