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New Haven County Court Records: Blog

Cubitt Freeman and the Mounting Debts

by Sarah Morin on 2021-05-25T08:28:00-04:00 in Archives, Connecticut, Courts: Connecticut Courts, History, Native Americans | 0 Comments

Today we are going to examine the first cases involving an Indigenous individual that we discovered in the New Haven County County Court Records. When quoting from documents, we will use the actual spelling, including transcriptions of individual words as necessary. (For more information about colonial spelling practices, see The Standardization of American English at

Barnabas Baldwin vs. Cubitt Freeman and Samuell Clark vs. Cubit Carribe

In March 1711, Barnabas Baldwin of Milford sued Cubitt Freeman, also known as Cubitt Carrbee or Cubit Carribe, and described in the court papers as “an Indian of Milford.” Per the writ issued by Samuell Eels, Baldwin sought from Freeman “debt due by book the sum of two pounds.”

single page of paper with handwriting

Writ for Barnabas Baldwin vs. Cubitt Freeman

According to the County Court records, New Haven County book (Vol. 2, 1699-1712/13), Freeman never responded to this summons. On the day of the trial, he “being called 3 times, appeared not, this Court being informed that he is out of this government” (p. 456). Even so, the court decreed that Freeman was to pay the sum of one pound, 14 shillings, and 11 pence to Baldwin. (For more information on the monetary system of colonial New England, see Pounds, Shillings and Pence at The Royal Mint Museum.)

This was not the only case Freeman appeared in as a defendant at the time. He was also sued by Samuell Clark for “debt due by book to the value of ten pounds four shillings and eleven pence 1/2 penny currant money or as money which he refuseth or neglecteth to pay” (p. 457). In this case, the court ordered Freeman in absentia to pay six pounds, nine shillings, and five-and-a-half pence to Clark.

As mentioned in the previous post, Indigenous persons could be forced into servitude if unable to pay their debts. However, we do not know whether Cubitt Freeman ever paid the debts he was ordered to by the New Haven County County Court, or if he suffered any penalty for not doing so.

The Connecticut State Library would like to thank the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for their generous support of this project.

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