American Antiquarian 

  Collections > Recent Acquisitions

Search this site

Recent Acquisition

Rules of the
Hawksbill Society

An Unrecorded Shenandoah Valley Pamphlet

Rules of the Hawksbill Society for Apprehending Horse Thieves.
Printed in 1806 by Richard Bowen, Winchester, Virginia.

This is the only edition of an unrecorded Shenandoah Valley pamphlet. It sets out in eleven articles the rules of the Society, its geographical limits, and the names of the members and their plantations.

In the days before town constables, many towns formed groups of thief detectors from among the leading citizens. Stealing horses was so prevalent that it became necessary, in the language of the 1795 Worcester Association of Mutual Aid in Detecting Thieves, "for the well disposed to unite for protecting their property against the hostile incursions of unprincipled individuals and lawless freebooters that infest our community."

Stoddard Fund Article five of the Hawksbill Society states that a member must pursue a horse thief for at least 50 miles and if particular news is heard about the thief and the horse, a further 50 miles is allowed.

In 1977, the Worcester Thief Detectors dedicated themselves to a new mission: the support of the American Antiquarian Society.

Purchased on the Harry G. Stoddard Memorial Fund
August 2001

Additional Information

Recent Acquisitions Index

Recent Acquisitions in the Newspaper Department

American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, Massachusetts 01609-1634
Tel.: 508-755-5221
Fax: 508-753-3311
e-mail the library

Contact Us
Staff Directory
Site Map
Site Index
Last updated September 2, 2004

American Antiquarian 
Society logo

This site and all contents © 2011 American Antiquarian Society

Valid HTML 4.01!