Research Notes about Joanna Porter Neville Hussey


A fellow researcher, Carol Mitchell, forwarded me some historical accounts of Joanna that shows that Joanna was a very "colorful" individual!  Note:  I left the spelling "as is"...and the content (which may not suited for young audiences).

"Joan also seems to have been an unusual woman, as Newman recounts another tale about her: She had a hair pulling contest with Goodie Rod at which time Goodie Rod yelled murder which brought several gentlemen to the scene. Goodie Rod seemed to have received the worst of the contest for she was hit in the chops' and was crying and torne or scratch about the throat and face and bled'. 

Several years later, Joan filed a malicious defamation of character suit against a Thomas Baker. Joan's name eventually was cleared and Baker was required to ask forgiveness on bended knee. Though Joan later claimed she was afraid for her life from Baker, she appears to have been a woman well able to take care of herself."

Court Record (26, 71), 9 Jul 1662, Charles Co., Maryland, USA
John Nevill Plt.; Mr Thomas Baker Def: case of defamation agst the wife of John Nevill. George Thompson swore that Thomas Baker told him in the present of Richard Dod and James Fox that heard goodie Nevill was to have sworn against him for "landlord Robisson" and that if she came to swear they would have put her by her oath that she was a common whore; wit: Richard Dod, James Fox, Mary Dod, age c26, Elizabeth Hussey age c 20y, Thomas Hussey; Board ordered Baker to ask forgiveness of John Nevill & his wife who said they desired Baker to ask God, not them, forgiveness.

George Thompson then told the story that Thomas Baker intended to use in court to impugn Joan Nevill's testimony against him: Being newly delivered of a Girle as she lay in bed shee invited a man that accidentally happened to bee thear [William Empson, whose wife, Mary, had assisted at the childbirth] to come to bed to her and get her a boy to her Girle at which speach...the party turned himself about and called his dog Trogian to perform the office as more fitting for a dog the[n] a man. Mr. Baker, said Thompson, had then asked him "whether or no I thought so wicked a woman was a Competent witness against any man." 

Nevill's next witness was William Robisson, who, over Baker's objection, said that Baker had told him the same tale and had also reported of one John Blackwood that "he fukes her [Joan] oftener than John Nevill himself." Three more witnesses (all men) then appeared to bolster Nevill's case. Mr. Baker responded by calling three witnesses of his own, Mary Dod and Mr. Thomas and Mistress Elizabeth Hussey. All attested to hearing the story of Joan Nevill's childbed outburst not from Mr. Baker but from Susan Robisson, William's wife, who attended the birth along with Mary Empson and two other women. In his original petition to the court, John Nevill suggested that his wife had "spoken through overmuch Joy of her safe delivery of a Child" and that consequently "it is a most Malicious and injurious infamie Cast on her and altogether unbeseeming so modest a man as he by his place [as county commissioner] is bound (or at least to counterfet himself) to bee." The court agreed with Nevill's argument, concluding that "it was against nature that such a thing coold bee spoken with a desier and therefore aught not to have been reiterated as an infamie unto her." The judges ordered Mr. Baker to apologize to the Nevills in open court "upon his bended knees" and to pay court costs, but the Nevills "desiered the sayd baker to aske god forgivenes and with the leave of the board [court] not them."

15. Court Record (26) , 30 Jul 1663, Charles Co., Maryland, USA
30 July 1663: p. 145-154. 30 Jul 1663 Richard & Mary Dod, Plt: John & Joane Nevill, Def: be their atty Mr Francis Batchelor, that the defendant falsely and maliciously utter scandalous words against Mary Dod that she was the whore of Capt Batten; request oaths: Thomas Baker swore that at the time Mary Roe cried out murder, he heard goodie nevill say to Mary Dod that, she was Capt. Batten's whore and that she would prove her his whore and that she had a black eyed boy in her arms like its father..other bad words passed deponent remembers not Mary Row swore that Joane Nevill called Mary Dod Capt. Batten's whore; that she lay with him in sight of 6 or 8 men; Hannah Shelton swore essentially same as Mary Roe; Robert Cockerell swore that Joane Nevill said much the same as above including reference to black-eyed boy; Richard Roe swore to essentially the same including reference to Mary Empson; Defendant said that "both these business" happened some time ago: more oaths concerning this matter from Thomas Baker, Richard Row, Mary Row, Robert Cockerill, mentions John Blackwell; Plaintiff demanded referral to Provincial Court alleging his wife's reputation being ruined and that reparation is beyond the congnizance of this court; granted Richard Dod, Plt. John Nevill and Joane Nevill def. case of defamation, the following oaths requested. 

Richard Roe swore that Richard Dod came over the fence put his hand in his pocket and took out his knife and said he would stab him if he came there; Thomas Baker swore that in June at his now dwelling plantation he heard someone cry murder and some people came running and Robert Cockerill came... Richard Dod being at the fence with his wife.. and they went along the path till they came to the log house and Richard Dod asked of John & Joane Nevill whether they intended to murder Mary Roe.. Dod drew out a knife. Robert Cockerill swore that Mary Roe crying out of murder. Richard Dod came up the log house where Joane Nevill asked what did he have to do to meddle with this business... Nevill claims they have swore false oath in case of defamation; Mary Row swore that in June Richard Dod heard her cry out murder and came to the house which this deponent lived in... Defendant requests referrral & plaintiff requests appeal to the Provincial Court which was granted. Richard Roe and & Mary Roe Plt. John & Joane Nevill Def action of trespass upon assault and battery damages of 3000# of tobacco sought and court cost: Richad Dod swore that in June he was walking out of doors towards the fence & heard Joane Nevill & Mary Roe consorting at the block home where Richard Rie did live... Oath of Thomas Baker he came to the log houme and herd the disturbance to which he has previously testified.. Robert Cockerill swore he saw Mary Roe all scratched and bloody and he was asked to take notice of it... Plaintiff requested jury; granted; jury men, Daniell Johnson, foreman, John Browne, Robert Taylor, William Hall, James Mackey, John Wheeler, Gils Tomkins, David Prichard, John Tomkinson, William Gother, Thomas Hussey, William Heard; Jury agreed it is assault & battery; defendant to pay damage of 10 groats (silver coin of England equal to 4 pennies, issued 1279 to 1662)

8. Trip (6) , 1656, EnglandGoodie Nevill made a trip to the homeland, for at court held in the Province in October 1656, Emperor Smith sued John Nevill for “Physick and Chirurgery” which he had administered to his wife. Nevill denied in court that his wife “never had any Such things of the said Smith”, but inasmuch as at that time the wife of John Nevill was in England, both parties agreed to refer the case “till the said Nevill’s wife returne out of England.

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