1801 Manuscript - Child Support Bond - Weston, Massachusetts
This is a very interesting bond paper that is a type of 'surety bond'. This bond is for the support of an as yet unborn child that is to be born to Mary Stedman, an unmarried woman of the town. The father is a Joshua Randall and his bond of $1000.00 has the local innkeeper on the surety bond for the expectant father. The $1000 is to be paid to the town as support for the child in its minority so the town will not be responsible for its upkeep.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries this type of surety bond was called a 'Bastardy Bond' and as you can read in the information on the form, Joshua was given the chance to admit and pay for his child or go to jail. If he didn't pay the entire $1000 - and the innkeeper didn't pay it either - then at least Joshua will go to jail and maybe even the innkeeper may go to jail.
I was curious to see what may have happened to Mary Stedman and it looks like she went on to marry a Paul Harrington of Waltham with their intentions to marry listed in the book of vital statistics on January 15, 1816.
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