Friday, February 27, 2015

One More Sign of the Times

In researching the life and times of Thomas Probert and family, I often uncovered little surprises in the dusty boxes stored at the Kentucky Archives. They gave me valuable clues about the conditions within the town of Mt. Sterling in the 1870s. Here is one of my favorite discoveries.

Cynthia Jones and Jane Martin were indicted in December 1875 for "keeping a bawdy house." The indictment lists the specific charges:

The said Cynthia Jones and Jane Martin did . . . unlawfully keep a bawdy house by permitting divers persons, both men and women, to assemble in and about their house for the purpose of cohabiting together and having sexual intercourse and did knowingly permit said persons to have carnal sexual intercourse with each other in and about their house, they, the said Cynthia Jones and Jane Martin being at the time occupiers and controllers of the said house and in possession of the same.

But then for the really fun stuff. It seems as if the witnesses and accusers were all men. Hmmm...

Witnesses: Wm. Yocom, Thos. Howard, Joseph Anderson, Labe Wood, Will Lee, Peter Hall, Will Wood, Taylor Hal, John Thomas, Bob Jameson and John Garnett. It sounds like they were beneficiaries of the services provided, so I can't help but wonder what their motivation would be for wanting to witness against these women.

With this story I end, for now, my trip back in time to Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky -- a town I've grown to love.

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