Garrard County, Kentucky, Court Case
John Hill VS. John Bryant, 1800
One day while researching at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in Frankfort, I found the listing of a court case from Garrard County, Kentucky, between John Hill and John Bryant, 1800. My Hill’s were from Garrard County, in fact were the Hill’s involved in the Hill-Evans Feud that took place from about 1829 to 1854, culminating in the March 13, 1852, gunfight that took the lives of three brothers – Russell, Frederick and Isaiah Hill – along with those of William Chrisman and John Sellars. This was their grandfather, John Hill, the first Hill to come to Garrard County – which was actually a part of Madison County at that time, when he moved there from Virginia.
I requested the file and after sending notice to the basement below – where the actual records are kept – and waiting fifteen minutes for their arrival, a box was placed on the table in front of me. There were file folders containing the original papers from this case! I was so excited – and yet a little nervous about handling such old documents. This was ten or more years ago – I’m not sure I could do that today!
Inside there were eight depositions – taken from Mary Jackson, Sam Griffith, Zachariah Green, John Murphy, John Crow, Vincent Wren, William Bryant, Mansfield Crow – wait, Mansfield Crow? But this was one of my ancestors from my paternal grandmother – as was Zachariah Green! At that point I just started reading!
Most of the depositions did not have much information that I could use. And then came the deposition of William Y. Bryant. He was asked by the defendant, John Bryant, “Did you ever see a certain man at my house by the name of John Crow that called himself the father of John Hill’s wife, the plaintiff in this suit with said Hill?” I almost fell out of my seat! I now had not only the maiden name for Sallie (Sarah) Hill, but I also had her father’s name! What a find! In a later deposition I found that Mansfield Crow was John Crow’s son – a brother to Sallie Hill! Even more interesting – this brought to life the fact that my paternal grandmother and grandfather’s lines went back to a common ancestor – they had the same great-great-great-grandfather – John Crow!
Another interesting fact – Zachariah Green, who also gave a deposition, was father-in-law to Mansfield Crow, married to Lena Green.
Back to the court case! It is almost insignificant after all those findings! John Hill brought John Bryant to court because Hill bought 100 acres of land from Bryant and said the land laid off was less than that amount. After all the depositions, answers, notifications, etc., it was the opinion of the court that what was laid off was not the correct amount. John Bryant had to run the course of the 100 acres according to the Table of Explanation which contained a diagram and express directions. This land was on Sugar Creek, where John Hill then lived. Sugar Creek was the area in which the feud began – but that is almost thirty years later – and another story!