Have you read any of the old court cases your ancestors may have been involved in? They can be quite interesting – and you may learn something about your ancestors you didn’t know. Today I share a court case from Garrard County, one brought forward by my 4th great-grandfather, John Hill, in 1798. I believe John Hill was originally from Virginia but have found no proof. John lived in Madison County before Garrard was a county – it was formed from part of Madison, Lincoln and Mercer in 1797. John lived on the banks of Sugar Creek in the northern portion of Garrard County.
The gist of the lawsuit is John Hill purchased one hundred acres of land from Randolph Yarborough (another 4th great-grandfather) and when the land was run off John Hill thought he had less than the 100 acres agreed upon – the survey was improperly made. However, the suit was brought not against Randolph Yarborough, but against John Bryant and others, the men who surveyed the land. The John Crow who gave this deposition is my 5th great-grandfather. In the lists of depositions taken are included Sally Crow Hill, my 4th great-grandmother and wife of John Hill; Zachariah Green my 5th great-grandfather and father of Lena Green who married Mansfield Crow, brother of Sally Crow Hill, and son of John Crow. There was also a deposition by John Murphy, my 3rd great-grandfather, whose daughter Lucy Murphy married Isaiah Hill, my 2nd great-grandparents. I couldn’t imagine finding paperwork that would involve almost an entire family!
The case was decided that John Bryant would convey unto John Hill a deed of conveyance a for the land. John Bryant was to pay court costs for John Hill.
Take notice that on Friday the 28th of November 1800 I mean to proceed to take the depositions of John Crow, William House, Sally Hill, Zachariah Green, Jacob Jackson, Mary Jackson, Joel Short, John Royal, Mansfield Crow at the house of Thomas Clarke in a suit depending in Garrard Court, wherein you are Defendant and myself Plaintiff. John Hill
The deposition of John Crow, of lawful age, taken at house of Thomas Clark in the town of Lancaster in a suit in chancery in the court of quarter sessions for Garrard County, wherein John Hill is plaintiff and John Bryant and others are defendants. The deponent, being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, deposeth and saith that I was present when said Hill had his land run off by John Hogan, that he had bought it of Randolph Yarborough, beginning at William House’s corner and running North to James Bryants’s back line, going by the corner of Woodkins and Thompsons into their land. The said Hill, not being satisfied with the course that his land was run off asked the said defendant to go with him to the said John Bryant’s, which I did. Said Bryant asked me, the said deponent, which way the land was run off. I told him that it ran into Thomas James (?) land, said Hill did not like it. When
said Bryant answered and said that they did not understand the angles of the bond, for they should begin at William House’s Northwest corner and running North to James Bryant’s line, then West to the corner of Woodkins and Garden, then South some two degrees, West so far as would make one hundred acres, by running East to a corner in William House’s line, then with House’s line to the beginning, says he. This is the angles intended in that bond. I, the said deponent, asked the said Bryant if he could not go and see the line run off to which he said he could not at this time. I then asked him if he could not give a note of direction to survey, but he said that he could and immediately wrote what he called a field note. He then said that it might be done without a surveyor, and his brother William Bryant (being present) made answer and said not that Hill complained that there was not land enough of that side of the line, that he said they might run off the said John Bryant, then said that if
there was not land enough, that no more then to make it up. Then William Bryant said that if said Hill pushed for his compliment of land that he must have it and if it damaged William Walden’s that his brother John Bryant must make it up to him for what Randolph Yarborough had first bought and then sold to Hill, to which John Bryant answered that if it damaged William Walden that he would satisfy him reasonably and the deponent further saith that in company with Randolph Yarborough, he showed the said deponent a corner trees being two beeches and a white oak standing in House’s line, he then said if he got his quantity of land that he bought of said Bryant that he must run near to the first hollow south of that corner, which I believe to be near ten or twelve poles, thence running West through Isaiah Cogswell’s field by a wild cherry that was left in said field for he said that there was where it first run when it was – one line unreadable (in the fold)
the way that the line was run at which time they came back and made the corner on the two beeches and white oak as aforesaid and then run as far into Thompson’s land as they had come back from where they run it first, but the said Yarborough said he did not know at that time that it was Thompson’s land but afterwards found it out, which said lines William Walden considered as his lines and proposed swapping a piece of land with John Hill according to them lines that they considered at that to be the line and the deponent further saith not.
We do hereby certify that the mark above the deposition was taken at the house of Thomas Clark in the town of Lancaster on Friday the 28th of November 1800 and sworn to before us Justices of the Peace for said County. Witness our hands this day last written.
William Jennings, Lawrence Hutchinson
Categories: Family Stories