Welcome back to another "A Sin and A Secret." Mix yourself a drink based on a colonial recipe and then curl with a completely true, completely salacious story. Enjoy a new #ASinAndASecret post every week. Read more in the series here.
In honor of Mehitable's many business talents, here are a selections of women from Marcellus Laroon’s "Cries Of London," 1687. See more of them here.
Mehitable (Holland) Pierpoint; neé Larkin
Mehitable was born in Anne Arundel County, Maryland c.1667, the daughter of John and Katherine Larkin. She married Otho Holland in 1684 - the same year her father, John, acquired some land in London Town. This land (one or two town lots) was next to the ferry landing and also had on it the county courthouse (London Town was the county seat from 1684 – 1695).
When John Larkin sold the land to John Baldwin (Larkin’s son-in-law) in 1699, the transaction indicates that Larkin was an “innholder” and that enough ground for a “twenty-foot house” to be built be kept free next to the river for Mehitable to use during the course of her “natural life.”
Information in this transaction also shows that Mehitable was married to Otho Holland and that Otho was operating an ordinary out of the old “twenty-five foot” courthouse. This record indicates that Mehitable probably spent some of her youth in a household that operated an ordinary and also undoubtedly helped her husband Otho operate his (their) ordinary.
Otho Holland died by May 9th, 1702. When the surviving Anne Arundel County Court Judgment Records begin in 1703, the widowed Mehitable Holland asked for and received a renewal of her ordinary license during the June 1703 session.
Mehitable appears a second time in the court records during 1703. She sued Captain James Mitchell for nonpayment of debts (this hints at some of the other activities Mehitable was involved with). In addition to the usual ordinary-related charges of cider, beer, diet, and lodging, Mehitable claimed that Mitchell also owed her for selling him hops, grinding seven bushels of malt, and brewing. In return, Mitchell claimed that Mehitable owed him for malt, cheese, and butter.
In addition to the usual ordinary-related charges of cider, beer, diet, and lodging, Mehitable claimed that Mitchell also owed her for selling him hops, grinding seven bushels of malt, and brewing.
By January 1705 Mehitable had remarried and her new husband, John Pierpoint, received the official ordinary license. However, this marriage was not to last.
During the March 1708 court session, Mehitable petitioned the court to recover debts owed John Pierpoint in her own name because John had run away. The court granted her request.
Though Mehitable had grown up in or around London Town and had many personal ties to it, that history and her ties did not stop her from migrating to Queen Anne in Ann Arundel County around 1711. She continued her ordinary-keeping through at least 1718.
Though Mehitable left London Town, it seems that her son John Holland stayed here through 1717. During that time he operated an ordinary and a ferry across the South River.
By 1754 she was living with her son in Frederick County. If this is correct, then she lived to at least 85 years of age.
If this is correct, then she lived to at least 85 years of age.
Mehitable’s story gives us a rare glimpse into the life of a woman in early Maryland. We can assume she aided her father and husband in their work running taverns and ferries. What is unique about her story is that we have proof that she engaged in a number of different business enterprises in her own right. Upon the death of her husband, she continued to operate the tavern, sued men who did not pay their debts, sold hops, milled grain, and brewed beer. Additionally, we know she legally separated from a husband who abandoned her and lived to the ripe old age of ~85.
We have paired this story with a modern drink, a beer mimosa, in honor of Mehitable’s beer brewing.
1 lighter beer of choice (an IPA would work nicely but if you dislike IPAs this could easily work with a summer shandy or a pale lager)
6 oz orange juice
¼ cup of fresh or frozen berries of choice (raspberries are quite lovely in this, but all work!)
1. Muddle fresh or frozen berries in the bottom of a tall glass (at least 22ozs).
2. Pour beer on top of the muddled berries.
3. Top with orange juice and enjoy!