“8th daie of Aprill Ao Dmi 1629” (April 8, 1629)


In these minutes from April 8, 1629, the General Court assesses the gender of Thomas/in Hall during its convening at the statehouse at Jamestown. It is unclear why the colony’s leadership became involved in this matter. The court reviews the sworn testimony of Warrosquyoake residents Thomas/in Hall, Francis England, and John Atkins, who wanted to acquire Hall’s indenture contract from John Tyos and Robert Eyres. In keeping with Hall’s own description, they ruled that Hall was a man and a woman.  Some spelling has been modernized.


A CORT at James Citty the 8th daie of Aprill Ao Dmi 1629


John Pott Esqr Gouernor &c Capt: Smyth.

At this Court was heard a difference depending betweene Gilbert Whitfeild plt against Robte Poole defendt and it appeared that Robte Poole was indebted unto the said Gilbert in the some of 194li of tobacco and nyne barrels of Eares. Whereuppon it was agreed betweene them and the cort have thought fit that the said Robte Poole shall give security to the said Whitfeild for the paymt of the said Tobaccoe at the next crop and to paie the Corne at or before the first of May next.

A commission was graunted unto Robte Poole to goe a trading for Corne to the Easterne Shore.

At this Cort a Controversie depending between Mufick [?] William [?] and Richard Bennett [?] was … Concerning the granting of a lease of Certaine land in Warros

– page 194 –

quoaicke, and for that there was not witness produced to prove anything on eyther Pte the Cort hath referred the examinacon of the Contest to Capt Basse[?] and hath retourned the same to the Gouernor and Councell at the next Quarter Cort heare holden.

George Unwin aged thirty years or thereabouts sworne and exaied sayth that Dorcas Howard his maide being at worke in the grounde on Monday the two and twentieth daie of March last past, as this exaite taketh it, shee began to complaine that she demaunded of her what shee ayles who answered I am very ill in my body, and wished that her dame were wth her for her dame could give her ease, then this dept demaunded of her if she were wth Childe to wch shee answered noe whereuppon this dept threatned to beate her if shee would not tell him the truth why she was soe payned and then presently she confessed she was wth Childe and that Robte Gage was the father And [then] this exaite bade her goe to bed and asked her [to] call some weomen to her, but shee intreated [that] hee would not And in the morning (the asid Dorcas being in bed) this exaite demaunded of her how shee did who answered I have had a mischance, And then presently hee came to his wife and tould her of it and asked her what hee should doe who bade him goe backe and call some weomen to view the Child. Whereuppon this dept sent for one Moorecocks wife who came and looked uppon it but whether it were borne alive or deade this dept knoweth not, nor more to this matter cann hee depose.

Elizabeth Moorecooke the wife of Reiginald Moorecocke of the age of thirty yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied sayth that George Unwin came to this exaiats howse and tould her that her [his] maide was broughte a bed and had Carried out the Childe but had not buried it and defired this dept to come and view it whereuppon this depont went wth him and looked uppon the Childe wch was a boy, and the mould of the head was bruised, but for anyother thing this dept could perceave the Childe might bee borne alyve, and this is all this dept can depose in this matter.

This Re was continewed till March Qrter Co.

At this Cort George Unwin planter did acknowledge to owe unto our soveraigne Lord the King 40li soveraigne englishe money wth condicon Dorcas Howard shall appeare at the Quarter Cort to bee holden at James Citty

At this Cort the Church wardens of the Parishe of the lower Partes of Eliz Citty did present that William Capps and John Sipse Parishioners there doe not repaire nor frequent the said Parishe Church to heare dyvine service according to the lawes and orders of this Colony in such cases provided, It is therefore ordered that for soe long tymes as it shall be prued that the said Capps and Sipse have beene absent from the said Church, that they shall pay such fines as by an actte therefor made are provided to be paid: the said fines to bee levied at the next Crop by way of distresse.

Exaicons taken before John Pott Esqr governor the 25th day of March Ao [1629]

Ffrancis England of the age of twenty yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied faith

That Thomas Hall (being exaied by Cap: Basse wether hee were man or woeman (as himselfe did confesse to this exaite) toulde this exaite that hee answered Capt: Basse that hee was both man and woeman And this exaite further sayth that the said Hall being at Atkins arbor one Nicholas…asked him why hee went in weomans aparell the said Hall answered in the hearing of this dept I goe in weomans apparel to get a bitt for my Catt And hee further sayth that there was a Rumor and Report that the said Hall did ly wth a maid of Mr Richard Bennetts called greate Besse And hee likewise sayth that hee this exaite and one Roger Rodes being at the upper plantacon after it had beene rumored that the said Hall was a man and that hee was pur in mans apparel the said Hall being then there with them, the said Rodes tould Hall thou hast beene reported to bee a woman and now thou art proved to bee a man, I will see what thou carriest, Whereuppon the said Rodes laid hands upon the said Hall, and this exaiate did soe likewise, and they threw the said Hall on his backe, and then this exaite felt the said Hall and pulled out his members whereby it appeared that hee was a perfect man, and more hee cannot depose.

– page 195 –

John Atkins of the age of 29 yeares or thereabouts sworne and exaied deposeth and sayth That Mr Stacy having reported that Hall now a ervante unto this exaiate was as hee thought a man and woeman, not long after, the said Hall (being then servant to Robte Eyros and John Tyos) and being at Nicholas Eyros his howse Alice Longe Dorothye Rodes and Barbara Hall being at that tyme in the said howse, uppon the said Report did search the said Hall and found (as they then said) that hee was a man but the said Tyos swore the said Hall was a woeman (as the said Dorothy Rodes did not often affirme unto this depot Whereuppon Cap: Basse exaied the said Hall replyed hee was both only hee was both only hee had not the use of the mans Parte…was a peece of fleshe growing at the…belly as bigg as the topp of his little finger [an] inch longe whereuppon Capt: Basse Commanded [him] to bee put in woemans apparell, but the aforesaid searchers were not fully resolved, but stood in doubte of what they had formerly affirmed, and being (about the twelveth of february) at this exaiates howse the said Hall dwelling then wth him, and finding the said Hall asleepe did againe search him and then allsoe found the said Hall to bee a man and at that present[ly] called this exaiate to fee the proof thereof, but the said Hall seeming to starre as if shee had beene awake this exaite lefte him and at that instant Could see nothing But the Sunday following, those serchers being againe assembled and the wife of Allen Kinaston and the wife of Ambrose Griffen being in Company wth them were againe desirous to search the said Hall, and having searched him in the pronce [presence] of this Deponent did then likewise finde him to bee a man Whereuppon this exaiat asked him if that were all hee had to weh hee answered I have a peece of an hole and thereupon this dept commanded him to lye on his backe and shew the same And the said woemen searching him againe did againe finde him to bee a man Whereuppon the fd exaiate did Comaunde hi mto bee put into mans apparell And the day following went to Captaine Basse, and tould him that the said Hall was founde to bee a man and desired that hee might be punished for his abuse And this dept further sayth that the said Hall (as this dept hath heard) did question the said Alice Long for reporting that hee had layen wth a mayd of Mr Richard Bennetts, to wch shee answered I reported it not, but Penny [?] Tyos his man reported soe much And this is all this exaiate can say.

Thomas Hall exaied faith that hee being borne at or neere Newcastle uppon Tyne was as hee hath beene often tould Christned by the name of Thomasine and soe was called and went Clothed in woemans apparell there untill the age of twelve years at wch age the said Exaiats mother sent him to his Aunte in Lndon and there hee lyved ten [?] ye[ares] until Cales Accon, at wch tyme a brother of his being prossed for that service this exaiate Cut of his heire and Changed his apparel into the fashion of man and went over a souldier in the Isle of Ree being in the habit of a man, from whence when we was returned hee came to Plymouth, and there hee changed himselfe into woemans apparell and into the habit of a man and soe came over into this Country.

It was thereupon at this Cort ordered that is shall bee published in the plantacon where the said Hall lyveth that hee is a man and a woeman, that all the Inhabitants there may take notice thereof and that hee shall goe Clothed in mans apparell, only his head to bee attired in a Coyfe and Croscloth [?] wth and Apron before him And that hee shall finde suerties for his good behavior from Quarter Cort to Quarter Cort until the Cort shall dischardge him and Capt Nathaniell Basse is ordered to see this order executed accordingly. 

Ffor as much as Edward Waller did at this Cort commence his suit against John Johnson about the sale of a sowe and the taking away of a peece, and because Johnson testified to this Cort that hee sent a pigg in Parte of satisfaccon and the peece by Richard Dolphenby at the said Edward Waller the wch the said Waller affirmed hee never received And for that the said Mr Waller hath dyvers witnesses to examine in this Cause wch at this Cort were not present It is ordered that the Captain Smyth shall examine the said Dophenby

– page 196 –

uppon his oath Concerning the same, and the Cause is referred to bee determined at the next Quarte Cort

It is ordered that every comaunder wthin the several plantacons of this Colony shall take a generall muster of all the inhabitants men woemen and Children as well Englishe as Negroes inhabiting wthin the same and Retorne a lift of their names to the Governor and Councell at the next Quarter Cort to bee here holden.

John Virgo being bound by Recognizance to appeare at this Cort hath made default whereby hee hath forfe[yted] to the Kings Matie 40li sterling.

Charles Waller being bound by Recognizance to appeare at this Cort hath made defaulte whereby hee hath forfeyted 40li sterling to the Kings Matie

APA Citation:
General Court. “8th daie of Aprill Ao Dmi 1629” (April 8, 1629). (2022, June 16). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
General Court. "“8th daie of Aprill Ao Dmi 1629” (April 8, 1629)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (16 Jun. 2022). Web. 22 Jun. 2024
Last updated: 2023, September 11
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