Regarding: Who Was the Mother of James Paul?

On 19 June 2017, Charles Oliver, wrote, “Katherine Innes being the mother of James is rank speculation rooted in a single entry in the births for a “Hannah”, daughter of Mary. In an article published in The American Genealogist, volume 73, issue 4, October 1998, entitled “Who Was the Mother of James Paule (1657-1724) of Taunton, Massachusetts?”, the author makes the case that the birth refers to Mary (Richmond) Paul’s child by Richard Canterbury. There are several flaws in this argument, the most glaring of which (to me) are that 1) no mention is made in the court record of any pregnancy resulting from William Paul’s dalliance with Katherine Innes; 2) that on 5 March 1656/7 Katherine was sentenced to be publicly whipped as punishment for her infidelity—at a time when she would have (according to this hypothesis) been eight or nine months pregnant with James, who was born on 7 April; yet there is no record of her supposed condition, no record of the punishment being postponed until she had given birth, no record of ANYTHING to support the idea that she was pregnant. To me, it is at LEAST as curious that such a thing was not mentioned (had she been pregnant) as the unexplained birth record for Hannah. In contrast, Mary (Richmond) Paul’s pregnancy by Richard Canterbury is very prominent in the court records. As a final point, 3) any child born to Katherine Innes during her marriage (regardless of paternity) would legally have been a child of THAT marriage, which means that any theory of Katherine Innes’ being the mother of James Paul must explain how William and Mary (Richmond) Paul came to possession of James. On 6 October 1657, William and Mary (Richmond) Paul were expelled from Taunton, and the court record reflects that they had a sixth-month-old child. James Paul was exactly six months old on that date, and was clearly the child being referenced. No mention was made of a daughter who was born TWO DAYS before the court order.

Now, I will stop short of dismissing out of hand the possibility of this scenario, because it is abundantly clear that William and Mary were both quite libidinous, but I have yet to see any evidence of Hannah belonging to this family. She is not mentioned in Joshua Bailey Richmond’s The Richmond Family, 1594–1896 and Pre-American Ancestors, 1040-1594, nor is she mentioned in Richmond Family Records, which is functionally source-notes to the former book, and the numbers assigned to individuals therein corresponds to the earlier book.

The hypothesis of the TAG article supposes two children—which are both present in the record—resulting from two unsanctioned relationships. The record is not sufficient to support this. We have no evidence of a child resulting from the Paul–Innes relationship, and no proof that the Mary identified as the mother of Hannah is Mary Richmond, wife of William Paul. Occam’s Razor dictates that the simplest solution to the problem is the one most likely to be correct: there was only the one pregnancy described in the court records—Mary Richmond’s by Richard Canterbury—and that James Paul (who was born AFTER the marriage to William Paul, and legally therefore a child of THAT marriage, regardless of the child’s actual paternity) was that child. If that leaves the birth entry for Hannah Paul unexplained… well, life is full of loose ends. Despite the apparent convenient explanation for the two births, the theory actually creates more logical questions than it seeks to explain.”