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The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity
Trials from the New Haven Colony, 1639–1663
Jon C. Blue

Publication date: June 6, 2017 (paperback)

The Driftless Connecticut Series
Garnet Books
2015 • 308 pp. 5 1/2 x 8"
Colonial History / Law Court Records

$14.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7740-5
$22.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7537-1

$11.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7538-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

A vivid series of trials from America’s earliest days

In the middle of the seventeenth century, judges in the short-lived New Haven Colony presided over a remarkable series of trials ranging from murder and bestiality, to drunken sailors, frisky couples, faulty shoes, and shipwrecks. The cases were reported in an unusually vivid manner, allowing readers to witness the twists and turns of fortune as the participants battled with life and liberty at stake. When the records were eventually published in the 1850s, they were both difficult to read and heavily edited to delete sexual matters. Rendered here in modernized English and with insightful commentary by eminent Judge Jon C. Blue, the New Haven trials allow readers to immerse themselves in the exciting legal battles of America’s earliest days.

The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity assembles thirty-three of the most significant and intriguing trials of the period. As a book that examines a distinctive judicial system from a modern legal perspective, it is sure to be of interest to readers in law and legal history. For less litigious readers, Blue offers a worm’s eye view of the full spectrum of early colonial society—political leaders and religious dissidents, farmhands and apprentices, women and children.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Only a trial judge could have written this book—and only a trial judge with a love of history. Jon Blue has chronicled the legal life of the New Haven Colony during the years from 1638 to 1665, when the Colony was absorbed into the Connecticut Colony. The cast of characters is fascinating, including privateers, Indians, and Quakers, among others . . . hardly the monotonic collection you might expect of 17th century New England. And the legal issues they generated are amazing varied, including the usual (witchcraft) and the unusual (bestiality). This was also an unexpectedly sexually-charged populace. Judge Blue brings these forgotten decades to life with a judicial twinkle in his eye and a graceful, engaging writing style.”—Eugene R. Fidell, Senior Research Scholar in Law and Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School

“Judge Blue has done a favor to anyone interested in the origins of trial by law in colonial New England. The records of the court in New Haven Colony in the mid-seventeenth century were published (in part) more than one hundred and fifty years ago, but they are neither widely known nor properly understood. This volume brings some of the most interesting cases back to life in a lively and well-informed manner. If you have ever wondered why a man might have been judicially murdered on the charge of fathering a deformed piglet, this is the book for you, and Judge Blue is the right guide!”—Stanley N. Katz, professor, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

“I was fascinated by the fact that these cases had essentially been lost to history. That Mr. Blue has brought them to the surface is significant, not only for historical posterity, but as an important examination of the legal system that existed in Colonial America.”—Regina von Gootkin, author of Controversial Court Cases in Connecticut

“This very well written book makes legal proceedings intelligible to the lay reader by using fascinating stories to explore how courts resolve disputes and how a body of law is developed from cases and controversies. The analysis by Judge Blue is well reasoned and accessible. He is a brilliant jurist and his understanding of the significance of the cases is beyond doubt.”—Mark Dubois, president, Connecticut Bar Association

JON C. BLUE is a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court. He has written hundreds of judicial opinions and has given annual lectures on the United States Supreme Court to the Connecticut Judicial Institute since 1999. Prior to his judicial appointment, he practiced tax, civil rights, and criminal law. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.

A Driftless Connecticut Series Book
This book is a 2015 selection in The Driftless Connecticut Series,
for an outstanding book in any field on a Connecticut topic
or written by a Connecticut author.
The Driftless Connecticut Series is funded by the
Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund
at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
For more information and a complete list of books in The Driftless Connecticut Series,
please visit us online at

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:47:52 -0500