Document Type

Trial Proceeding

Publication Date


Article Footnote

Article 1, footnote 39

Book Footnote

Chapter 2, footnote 7


On May 31, 1771, Benjamin Whittemore of Nottingham West, New Hampshire was called before J.P. Ezekial Chase to acknowledge his signature on a land deed. Instead of complying, Whittemore violently ripped his signature off the page and fled. On June 2, the irate J.P. issued an order for the imprisonment of Whittemore, which resulted in his being jailed on June 5. On June 7, Whittemore filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with New Hampshire Superior Court Chief Justice Atkinson that simply alleged that he was being “unjustly held and detained without any lawful cause for such detainer set forth by the said Ezekial Chase, Esq. in his order of commitment.” The writ was granted on June 8; on June 9, Whittemore came before the justice, posted bail, and was released.


A more complete description of these events is provided in the article Dimension 1, footnotes 38 and 42.

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