Item #009918 1760 – Yearly bill from a jailor that included managing a county’s “house of Correction,” whipping a jailed “Indian,” serving as a turnkey, and repairing a pump. James Kettell.
1760 – Yearly bill from a jailor that included managing a county’s “house of Correction,” whipping a jailed “Indian,” serving as a turnkey, and repairing a pump

1760 – Yearly bill from a jailor that included managing a county’s “house of Correction,” whipping a jailed “Indian,” serving as a turnkey, and repairing a pump

County of Middlesex, [Massachusetts]. This bill measures approximately 5” x 6”. It includes an itemized list of charges billed by the jailor, James Kettell, to the “County of Middlesex” [Massachusetts]. Docketing on the reverse indicates that Kettell’s charges were “allowed.” In nice shape with some light toning and minor storage folds.

With this document, Kettell billed Middlesex County for the basic work that he performed “keeping the house of Correction From the 22 of February 1760 to Feby. 22 1761 (£1-12s). He also billed the county for repair work to the correction house pump. (6s)

During the year he served as the turnkey for two regular prisoners (3s per person) and was required to “keep” Anna Browjioutz for 7 days and serve as her turnkey (10s-6p)

Finally, he billed the county for keeping “Jerutia an Indian Commitd to the house of correction” for 14 days and “whipping” him as well. (10s-6p)

In total, Kettell submitted annual bill for £3-6s which was “allowed” by the country.

. Item #009918

Turnkeys were officials charged with supervising people who were held in jail or incarcerated in houses of correction, and there was a difference between those facilites. Jails were used to hold people awaiting trial, awaiting sentencing, or who could/would not pay their debts. Houses of correction were operated in the British style and intended to “cure” the idleness of the poor which, it was believed, they demonstrated by committing petty crimes like larceny, vagrancy, roguish behavior, prostitution, public intoxication, etc. Justices of the peace could incarcerate people within these houses for short periods of time during which they would be required to perform some type of manual labor. In addition, correction house prisoners might also be sentenced to receive some type of corporal punishment. The most common was a public whipping, however miscreants often were pilloried, dunked, branded, or had their ears cropped.

There were Middlesex Counties in four Colonial colonies however online genealogical records show only Middlesex County Massachusetts was home to a person named James Kettell in the 1760s.

(For more information, see “Colonial Period Punishment” at Law Library: American Law and Legal Information website and Hirsch’s The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Early America.)

Unusual and scarce. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade, and no similar items have been listed at auction per the Rare Book Hub. OCLC shows that House of Corrections bills are held by only one institution, the Library of Congress in its collection of bills, orders, and correspondence related to Overseers of the Poor, Houses of Corrections, and Lunatic Asylums. It’s unknown if any of them include references to whipping incarcerated American Indians.

Price: $400.00

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