August 8, 1698 · Essex County, Mass.
The top document, dated July 29, 1698, signed ""N: Saltonstall J.P. in Essex"" and ""N Saltonstall"" at the conclusion is to the Sheriff or Marshal of Essex County. In part, ""In his Majes Name you are required to attach sd goods or estate of Majr Jno March of Newbury sd value of 3:10:6 sd money … to answer Mr Caleb Moody of Newbury…"" Mentioned are ""a Team of 6 Oxen & Plow…""The middle document, dated August 1, 1698, signed ""Colo Saltonstall"" in text and ""N: Saltonstall"" at the conclusion concerns the attachment and that Jno March was given the summons ""to appear before Colo Saltonstall Esqr…""The lower document, dated August 8, 1698, signed ""N: Saltonstall J.P."" and ""N: Saltonstall Justice of the /Peace"" and ""John March"" at the conclusion, in part, ""John March's plea is; That ye very land that Mr Moody was at plow in, I say, is my own, & in my possession …I plead a Demur."" Signed by ""John March."" Judge Saltonstall continues, ""This was put in August 8.98 as a Demur on Plea of title to ye land, before me N: Saltonstall J.P….""John March was a taverne keeper in Newbury as well as a Major in the militia. Early in the summer of 1691, a small force under the command of then Capt. John March, of Newbury, and Capt. Daniel King, of Salem, was sent to look after the Indians, who had become troublesome in the vicinity of York and Wells, on the coast about 30 miles north in the Massachusetts Bay province of Maine. Caleb Moody, a maltster who most probably dealt with March in business, was a member of Capt. John March's force.In 1668, Nathaniel Saltonstall (1639-1707) began his career in town affairs when he was appointed town clerk. According to Robert Moody in The Saltontstall Papers, according to a single surviving record book, he was ""firm and effective in law enforcement, and yet, where allowed discretion by law, humane and flexible."" He also served as Justice of the Peace and was a member of the local militia rising to the rank of Colonel. He took an active part in deposing Governor Edmund Andros who had been appointed Governor of the new Dominion of New England formed by King James II in 1686. When Governor Andros took power, Saltonstall quit as a representative in the General Court because he refused to serve in Andros' government. The Dominion combined all New England colonies into a single unit. After James II was deposed in the 1688 Glorious Revolution, Saltonstall and other major political leaders Andros and other English authorities arrested in April 1689. The Province of Massachusetts Bay was chartered on October 7, 1691, by joint monarchs William and Mary and took effect on May 14, 1692. Two weeks later, on May 27, 1692, the Court of Oyer and Terminer was established to try witchcraft cases. Its members were Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton, Nathaniel Saltonstall, Bartholomew Gedney, Peter Sergeant, Samuel Sewall, Wait Still Winthrop, John Richards, John Hathorne, and Jonathan Corwin.Signed material from any of the Salem Witch Trial judges is seldom encountered, with most of the jurists virtually impossible to obtain as only a scant few examples have reached the market in the past fifty years. This is a well-preserved, legible example. In 2011, a one page, 4.5"" x 8.25"" Autograph Document Signed once by Nathaniel Saltonstall and with a much less desirable 18th century date sold at public auction for over $3200. " (Inventory #: 60241)