Question: I read my ancestor was fined for taking rocks from the beach in the 17th century in Massachusetts. Why would this be the case if they were merely stones?
Answer: According to The Book of the General Lauues [Laws] and Libertyes published in Cambridge, Masss in 1648 it was illegal. Specifically it was
illegal to remove any "Ballast" stones "...no ballast shall be taken from any towne shore by any person whatsoever without alllowance under the hands of the select men upon
the penalty of six pence for every shovel-full so taken."