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This pregnancy put a number of documents in the durable public record, but we are still left with some unanswered (or unclearly answered) questions. Mary Ball clearly bore a child, most likely in the summer or fall of 1670. Ralph Reed’s bill says that Mary was at his house from May 27 to June 24th.
The folks who microfilmed the records grouped his bill with court documents of December, 1670. We infer that her pregnancy motivated the visit. The next spring (April 1671), the County Court bound Michael Bacon to pay the costs of raising the child; so, one had apparently been born by then.

Mary’s letter to Bacon, on the other hand, is dated “3th of aprill 1671 Read Home.” It would appear that this good neighbor may have harbored her on more than one occasion, in this difficult time. Or, just possibly, she may have had more than one hospitable friend* named Reed (or Read).

Nor are we sure where Mary gave birth. William Hudson of Boston, whose fee of five pounds makes him look something like an attending physician, provides our best clue. His bill, presented to the Court in the spring of 1672, says that she “Lay in” at his “ffarme at Wading River.” The only Wading River that still bears the name in Massachusetts runs through West Mansfield in Bristol County, near the Rhode Island border, consistently with the plausible idea that she may have delivered in exile.

*Ralph Reed may have been a kinsman of either or both of the Bacon and Ball families. Michael’s uncle Daniel Bacon was married to a Reed, and these pioneer families tended to clump together in kinship groups. More research is in order.

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