Transcribed by William R. Stout
Source: Jackson County Chancery/Circuit Loose Records
Available: Tennessee State Library & Archives and Tennessee Technological University Library
Stout, Margaret & Others
Richardson Eliza & Others
To the Hon W G Crowley Chancellor & C presiding in Gainesboro Jackson County Tennessee.
The Bill of Complaint of Margaret Stout, Aletha Lock and her husband Joseph lock, Sallie Pippin and her husband John Pippin, Joseph Keith, James Keith, Tobias Keith, Margaritt I Gipson, Matt Keith, Elizabeth Payne and her husband John J. Payne all of Jackson County Tennessee.
Eliza Richardson & her husband James Richardson, Wm. Allen also minor Keith heirs of Jno Keith decd James Keith & Susan Keith minors all of Jackson County Tennessee. Sarah L. Emery, Harriet Emery and Albert L. Emery children of Winnie Youngblood deceased by her first marriage with Jackson Emery deceased, who afterwards married . . . . Youngblood but left no children by the last marriage. Said Emery's are non-residents of the State of Tennessee and are supposed to reside in the State of Kentucky.
Honorably complaining your orators and ortrix's would respectfully show unto your honor that several years ago John Keith departed this life in testate in Jackson County Tennessee sized and possessed of a certain tract of land lying in said county in civil district no. 11, containing by iteration seventy five acres by the (un readable) (un readable) and bounded as follows towit. On the North by lands of Margaritt Stout, on the east bt the lands of Joseph Brown lately owned by Woodson Ellis, on the West by the lands of James M. Richmound and on the South by the lands said Richmound and Elijah Price. Said John Keith left complaints and defendants as his only heirs and distributaries. Complainants Joseph Keith, Margaritt Stout, Aletha Lock, James Keith Jr & Susan Keith are the only living children of said decedent and are each entitled to one full share in said land. Complainants James Keith, Tobias Keith, Alsa Keith are the only children and heirs of Wm Keith decd who was a son of John Keith & (un readable) William Allen who is a minor and grandson of Wm Keith decd and the parties representing Wm Keith decd are jointly entitled to one full share in said land. Complainants Matt Keith, Sallie Pippin and Elizabeth Payne are the only heirs of Harrison Keith decd who was a son of John Keith and are entitled to one full share in said land.
Defendants Sarah L. Emery Harriet Emery and Albert L. Emery are the only heirs of Winnie Youngblood decd who was a daughter of John Keith decd and they are entitled to one full share of said land. Making in all 8 full shares in said tract of land.
Complainants show that James Keith Jr & Susan Keith are children of John Keith decd by a second marriage- their mother departed life about four years ago since the death of their father. So that said land is not in any way encumbered by a widows homestead and dower- but that said (un readable) heirs of John Keith decd are entitled to homestead on said land till they arrive at full age S (un readable) - The younger of said minor children will be ten years old on the 2nd day of August next & James Keith Jr was 13 years old the 3rd day of January last Complaints state and charge that said tract of land is not susceptible of advantageous (un readable) in kind among the numerous heirs & distributaries of said decedents. It is not susceptible of occupation for more than one small family. There is not sufficient timber water and cultivatable land to support more than one settlement or home and (un readable) in kind among all who are interested in said small tract of land would be manifestly infeasible. They therefore state and charge that it would be manifestly to the best interest of all of said heirs and distributaries to sell said land for distribution of proceeds. They state that said minors James & Susan Keith cannot occupy said land as a homstead and have not done so since the death of their mother. They are now and have been since her death living with relatives and have not had any benefit whatever from the rents of said land .They charge that after the death of the (un readable) of John Keith. That William Keith who was a son of John Keith decd Some years ago was divorced from his first wife and afterwards intermarried with defendant Eliza Richardson- who was and is a lewd (un readable) woman The said minor Alsay Keith is the issue of his said last marriage. That after (un readable) (un readable) the late widow of John Keith decd said William Keith moved on & took forcible possession of said land and held it forcibly until his death which occurred in March 1885- After which & up to the present time defendants Eliza who has since intermarried with deft James Richardson has continued to unlawfully and forcibly with hold the possession of the same- and refuses to pay any rents therefore and by this means the said minor children of John Keith decd who are & have been entitled to said rents have been cheated and defrauded out of the same- and said defendant Eliza (un readable) and avows that she will continue to hold said land without paying ant rents at all (un readable) and has threatened to burn up and kill and destroy the property of complaints Margaret Stout because she (un readable) to get her off of said land
Complt. Margaritt Stout further states and charges (un readable) in (un readable) belief & same facts within her knowledge that said deft Eliza-has within the last five months stolen killed and contributed to her own use three valuable hogs belonging to complainant Margaritt Stout. That said Eliza is a common prostitute who keeps a Lewd & base establishment and is (un readable) continuously- by night and by day (un readable) by devious Lewd - men and women - That said Lewd company makes the place and its surroundings hideous. That said Eliza lives within 300 yards of the house of complainant Margaritt Stout and the hideous yells and loud talking shooting (un readable) (un readable). She and her family have been after (un readable) of her rest for most of the night.
That said Lewd & Riotous condition and assembling of Lewd & base men & women at the house of said Eliza is public and notorious and has been so ever since shortly after William Keith's death.
(un readable) said house establishment has become a (un readable) nuisance and will so continue unless prosecuted by (un readable) (un readable) writs of injunction & restitution - complainants further charge that said deft Eliza has (un readable) considerable wastes on said tract of land by burning up bails and boards and otherwise injuring the buildings and enclosures- and will continue to do so unless prevented by your honor.
They charge that said Eliza has no right of homestead or dower. Will by law - attach - to lands held in common by tenants in common. But should (un readable) honor be of opinion that she the said Eliza - is entitled to dower in her husband and (un readable) interest in said land. This right could not attach in her favor until said minor children of John Keith die or both arrive at majorities and then she would only be entitled to one (un readable) of one eight part of the tract which in value would be so insignificant as not to be sufficient to pay the costs of a dower proceeding in count complainants charge that the entire tract is not worth more than $300.00 and probably not so much. The rental (un readable) of said land after paying taxes & keeping the farm in (un readable) is not more than from $20.00 to $25.00 per annum. They charge that it would be to the best interest of said minor heirs James & Susan Keith to sell said lands and adjust and compensate them out of the proceeds for their homestead right therein. Said children cannot in the nature of things occupy the land as a homestead nor can they get any of the benefit of rents while occupied by said troublesome base woman & her sorry husband who is an idiot & allows the basest of Lewdness & fornication to be continually (un readable) on them without a murmur of complaint.
They charge that said Eliza & her husband James Richardson are both wholly and hopelessly in solvent and do not make any produce on the farm out of which rents can be collected. That all of the minor defendants towit James Keith Jr Susan Keith Alsey Keith & William Allen are with Juror ad Guardians. Complainants state that John Keith had but little personal property at his death but was not indebted in any amount and no administrator was ever appointed on his estate and that said land has been held & claimed by his heirs as tenants in common since the death of his widow
In tender consideration of these promises - complainants pray that those who are named as such in the (un readable) be made defendants to this bill. That copy & (un readable) to (un readable) issue as to the resident defendants and that publication be made to bring the (un readable) defendants before the court.
Let Guardians ablative be appointed to answer and defend for said minors - Let defendants Eliza and her husband James Richardson made full answer not on oath to this bill. All other defendants are required to answer the same on oath. They pray for a receiver to be appointed to take charge of and rent out said tract of land & collect the rents thereof pending this litigation and for a writ of injunction to restrain defendant Eliza Richardson & her husband James Richardson from committing further wastes on said land and to restrain said Eliza & her husband or other of them from further molesting the stock of compth Margaritt Stout and from in anywise molesting or interfering with said compth Margaritt either in person or property- and to enjoin said defendants Eliza & her husband from further continuing said public nuisance by carrying on or permitting the carrying on 7 continuing said Lewd and base establishment or bawdy house. They pray for all necessary orders of reference to the Master & Reports thereon- For a sale of said tract of land and a proper adjustment of the rights of said minors James & Susan Keith as to homestead and of the proceeds & for a distribution of the residue of the proceeds but should the honorable court be of opinion that the land ought not to be sold during the minority of said James & Susan Keith then they pray that the bill be retained in court and the land to be rented out by the Clk & Master as receiver and the rents collected in to court for the purpose first of paying costs & solicitors fees & the balance to be paid to the guardians of said minors James & Susan during their respective minorities and at majority of Susan the younger for a sale of said tract of land under this bill and for all necessary proper and deferent relief which the facts of the case may entitle them to - That said nuisance be abated by order & decree of court and for the injunction to be made perpetual and for general relief in the presences This is the first application for injunction in this cause.
R A Cox & Joshua Haile
Solicitors for Compths.
State of Tennessee
This day Margaritt Stout one of the compths in the fore going bill personally appeared before me the undersigned C & M and made oath in due force of law that the matters and things set forth in the foregoing bill are just and true to the best of her knowledge information & belief & subscribed before me this affidavit this 5th of May 1884
J T Anderson C&M Margaritt Her X Stout
State of Tennessee
The C& M on same and issue an injunction as paid for in the afore going bill upon compths (un readable) and with and security in the amount of two hundred & fifty dollars payable & conditional (un readable) by law
May 8th 1884
Signed by Crowly
Issue to restrain defts Eliza Richardson and her husband James Richardson from committing further waste on said land and from further molesting the stock of complt Margaret Stout from further molesting or interfering with with Margaret Stout and from carrying on said lewd establishment or bawdy house.
Now (un readable) by the first- of his honor W G Crowley Chancellor of the 5th Chancery division of the State of Tennessee t of M directed you are hereby commanded to make known to the said Eliza Richardson and James Richardson that they and each of them are commanded and strictly enjoined from committing further waste on said land, from further molesting the sytock of complt Margaret Stout from in any wise molesting or interfering either in person or property with the said Margaret Stout and from further further continuing said nuisance by carrying on and continuing said Lewd and base establishment or bawdy house
Witness my hand at office in Gainesboro the 2nd Monday in March 1884
And have you (un readable) before the court on the 4th Monday in September next and show how you have executed the same
Witness my hand at office in Gainesboro the 2nd Monday in March 1884
H W Williams C&M
State of Tennessee
To the Sheriff of Jackson County Greetings:
Whereas Margaret Stout & others have filed this Bill of Complaint in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro Tennessee against Eliza Richardson and others charging among other things that John Keith died in testate in Jackson County some years ago sized and possessed of a certain tract of land lying in the 11th Civil Dist of said county containing 75 acres more or less bounded by the lands of Margaret Stout Ellis James Richardson & Elizabeth Price, that said land is not susceptible of partition in kind. That William Keith since the death of the late widow of John Keith died possessed of said land and held it until his death which occurred in March 1883. Since which time Eliza Richardson and her husband James Richardson have held said land and refused to pay rents for the same. That said Eliza and her husband have committed great waste on said land and that Eliza Richardson is a common prostitute and is keeping a lewd house on said land.
And praying that a writ of injunction ( bottom line unreadable)
Eliza Richardson & others
Be it remembered that this cause came to be heard before the Hon. H H Dilland Special Chancellor presiding on this 25th day of September 1884.
Upon Bill answer of minors by Guardian adlition and Judgment pro (un readable) against all other defendants and exhibits. When it appeared to the court that all the parties are properly before the court by service of process & publication. It further appeared to the court that many years ago John Keith departed this life in testate in Jackson County Tenn seized and possessed a certain tract of land containing by estimation seventy five acres more or less, bounded as follows to wit North by the lands of Margaret Stout where she now lives East by the lands of Josiah Brown lately owned by Woodson Elis, West by the lands of said Richmond and Elijah Price & lying in the 11th Civil Dist of said county.
That said John Keith left the following who are his only heirs to wit complainant Margaret Stout, Aletha Lock & her husband Joseph Lock, Sallie Pippin & her husband John Pippin, Joseph Keith, James Keith, Tobias Keith, Margaret I Gipson Matt Keith, Elizabeth Payne and her husband John J. Payne, Alcie Keith Susan Keith, Sarah L. Emery, Harriet Emery, Allie L. Emery.
Said parties are mostly children, grand children & great grand children of the said John Keith decd which make them appear numerous.
It is therefore ordered adjudged and decreed by the court, that an instant order of reference be made to the Clerk & master to take (un readable) and ascertain what would be the reasonable minimum value of said land also whether or not the said is susceptible of partition in kind among the numerous owners who entitled to a division of the proceeds. If not to state why the same cannot be so partitioned, and whether or not it would be to the manifest interest of all parties concerned to sell the lands for a division of the proceeds. He will further show to the court on what terms the lands will sell best. The Master will take proof commencing at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning and will continue as long as necessary to take the same and make his report as early as tomorrow as practicable. This order shall operate at sufficient (un readable) to all the parties of the time and place of taking the proof in this court.
County Court Land Sale
John Stout & others
Vs In the County Court at
James Keith & others Gainesboro
In obedience of an Interlocutory decree of the County Court of Jackson County Tenn made at its July Term 1884. I will on Saturday the 20th day of December 1884 at the Court house door in the Town of Gainesboro offer for sale to the highest bidder on six & twelve months brakets all the lands mentioned in the pleadings in this course. Said lands is (un readable) the 11th civil Dist of Jackson County Tennessee and bounded as follows by the lands of John Stout, Eliza Price and James M. Richmond containing by extenuation twenty five acres more or less. The purchase will be required to execute his notes with good and approved security & a lein retained on the land to secure the purchase price. The minimum price on said land is fifty dollars. Witness my hand at office this Nov. 4th 1884
James W. Draper Clerk & Com.
Margaret Stout Et als
Eliza Richardson Et als
On Motion of Complainant and it appearing to the Court that defendants Alicie Keith James Keith Jr Susan Keith and Wm Allen are all duly and (un readable) before the Court by service of procep on their motion five days before the present term of this court and that they are minors without (un readable) guardians it is ordered by the court that W W Draper be and he is hereby appointed guardian adlition for said minors who being in open court accepted said appointment and agreed to file his answer as such guardian ad lition which is done.
Margaret Stout & others
Eliza Richardson & others
The separate answer of W W Draper Guardian Adlition of Alicie Keith James Keith Jr Susan Keith and William Allen minor heirs of John Keith decd and defts in the above entitled course
Respondent now and at all others times saving and reserving unto himself all and all manner of benefit of exceptions to any and all errors insufficiencies or untruths in Complts Bill contained for answer thereto or unto so much and such parts thereof as is material for him to answer answering says.
Respondent supposes it to true that those mentioned as such in the Bill are the only heirs of John Keith decd and that as such are each entitled to a share of his estate
He supposes it to be true that John Keith decd died several years ago Seized and possessed of the tract of land mentioned and described in Complts Bill and that the number of acres and boundaries to the same are correctly given.
Respondent admits that his wards are heirs of John Keith decd and each entitled to a share in his estate.
So to whether the land mentioned by complts is susceptible of partition in kind. Respondent does not know but leaves this question to the court.
Respondent admits that Eliza Richardson is in possession of the land, but does not know of her keeping a house of ill fame on the land.
And now having fully answered respondent asks that his said wards be guarded and protected by the court and that they be demissed with their reasonable costs & C
W W Draper Gdn Adlition
State of Tennessee
Reasonably appeared before me H W Williams Clerk & Master of said county W W Draper who makes oath in due form of law that the facts stated in the aforegoing answer are true to the best of his knowledge information & belief and subscribed this affidavit in my presence.
This Sept 25 1884.
Test W W Draper
H W Williams
C & M
John Stout et al
James Keith et al
In the chancery of Jackson
The deposition of A Comwell taken in above cause upon an order of (un readable).
Qnt State whether or not you are acquainted with the small tract of land described in the bill in the case and with (un readable) of John Keith deceased. State also whether or not it would be manifestly to the advantage of comcincy to sell said land for distribution (un readable) of (un readable) partition in kind on account of smallness of the tract and the great number of shares.
Ans I am acquainted with the lands in this cause, it is a vary small tract and I think it would be greatly to the interest of all concerned to have said land sold for distribution and heirs all (un readable).