An Unrecorded Shenandoah Valley Pamphlet
Rules of the Hawksbill Society for Apprehending Horse
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
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