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




The Driftless Connecticut Series
Garnet Books
Wesleyan
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.



This collection provides incomparable insight into an early colonial legal system thoroughly influenced by Biblical interpretations in a manner sure to appeal to legal historians... [continued in Reviews below]”—Harvard Law Review

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

This collection provides incomparable insight into an early colonial legal system thoroughly influenced by Biblical interpretations in a manner sure to appeal to legal historians and casual readers alike. Judge Blue’s self-professed goal is to ‘make these historic treasures accessible to the general public.’ He aptly accomplishes this, and in the process, ‘enable[s] these endlessly interesting cases to come to life again.’” Harvard Law Review

“Judge Jon Blue’s The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity introduces its readers to the inner workings of New Haven Colony’s court system and the trials and tribulations experienced by a wide range of New Haven colonists. … retelling and documenting the events of thirty-three New Haven trials…Judge Blue’s intention was to bring these episodes from colonial New Haven’s history to a twenty-first-century audience, and this book more than fulfills that goal.”—Abby Chandler, New England Quarterly

“Two interests animate the book. First, Blue seeks to render the trials readable and to restore cases that were excised from printed accounts. Second, he offers commentary on the trials from the perspective of a seasoned lawyer and judge. The enjoyable and instructive manner in which he accomplishes both tasks makes the book worth reading by professional scholars and amateur New England historians.”—Mary Sarah Bilder, The Journal of American History

“[Judge Blue]'s The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity is a must-read for anyone interested in colonial New England, Connecticut, and legal history. The book was a 2015 selection in the Driftless Connecticut Series for an outstanding book on a Connecticut topic or by a CT author, a well-deserved honor.”—Diane Rappaport, National Genealogical Society Quarterly

“‘We have to pinch ourselves that this really happened and that it happened here in New Haven’, veteran Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue said about the little-known case, which he chronicles in his first published book, The Case of the Piglet's Paternity: Trials from the New Haven Colony, 1639-1663. Blue gives the public its first detailed look at…little known trials from Connecticut’s earliest days, proceedings captured in writings that were stored away for centuries.”—Alaine Griffin, Hartford Courant

“Jon C. Blue has produced an instructive interpretation of thirty-three fascinating cases from the General Court, the highest judicial authority in the New Haven Colony. Blue has modernized spelling and included several sexually oriented cases that were redacted in deference to Victorian sensibilities…Judge Blue has put together a very readable anthology with judicious comments.” —Lawrence B. Goodheart, Connecticut History Review

“Author and eminent Judge Jon C. Blue examines a distinctive judicial system from a modern legal perspective and offers a worm’s-eye view of early colonial society.”Connecticut Explored

“If The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity tells readers anything, it is that human failure not only defeats an attempt to create a ‘pre,’ god-fearing society, but that crimes we commit are reliably similar…from murder to arson, adultery to child abuse, business failure to murder, most of these cases are similar to those heard in the New Haven Superior Court, where Blue currently sits.”—Tracey O'Shaughnessy, The Sunday Republican

“Superior Court Judge Jon C. Blue has written a gem of a book…. [It is] well written and makes for an interesting summer read.”—Mark Dubois, Connecticut Law Tribune

“Of note is how different the courts were from modern English systems and even other 17th-century courts. …Students of law and history will find these 33 trials to be enlightening, a true ‘treasure-trove’ of historical and social commentary gleaned from source materials not widely available to the public.”Maine Antique Digest

“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 http://www.wesleyan.edu/wespress/driftless.


Sat, 17 Jun 2017 12:02:26 -0500