Transcribed by David L. Price
Source: Jackson County Chancery/Circuit Loose Records
Available: Tennessee State Library & Archives and Tennessee Technological University Library
To the Hon. B. L. Rielly Chancellor of the fourth Chancery Division of the State of Tennessee.
The Bill of Complaint of William Price and wife Hetty of the County of Jackson of Tennessee Complaint against Tobias Gibson, Randal Gibson, Joseph Woolbright and wife Polly of said county and state and Levi Gibson of the State of Missouri and George Horn and wife Peggy of the State of Louisiana - Defts.
Complaining your orator and oratrix show that George M. Gibson departed this life at his place of residence in Jackson County, Tennessee about ___ day of ___ having first made and published his last will and testament which was provided at August Term 1841 of the county court of said county and has been recorded in said court in which will said testator bequeathed to his widow Patience the part of his estate which the law allows him and five dollars each to his children Tobias Gibson, Patience Brewington, Nancy Brewington, and Perline Gibson and the balance of his estate he bequeathed to be equally divided among his other four children Randal Gibson, Levi Gibson, Peggy Gibson, Polly Gibson and your oratrix Hetty who is now married to a certain William Price. And that Levi and Tobias Gibson was to have $25 each before this division. Your orator and oratrix show that said George M. Gibson at his death was siuyed? and possession of the following tracts of land to will one tract Granted by the State of Tennessee to Japtha? West by Grant No. 10882 dated 4 Oct 1817 for 25 acres lying on the West side of Blackburn's fork of Roaring River, beginning at a gum running South 63 poles to a white oak and dogwood, then West 63 poles to a gum then S. 63 poles to a white oak then East 63 poles to the beginning including the place and improvement where James Ritchey formerly lived. One tract for 50 acres lying on the waters of Blackburn's fork bounded as follows: beginning at Buckeye on the S. side of -- River running there East 26 poles to a Birch on the South Bank of the said river near James Watson's West boundary line thence North crossing the river at 30 poles in all 34 poles to a spanish oak at the foot of a bluff, thence West down the river including -- Bluff 120 poles to a white oak and sugar tree on David Ritchey's East boundary line then South with said Ritchey's line and the river 36 poles to a stake and white oak & buch? pointing then West with -- Ritchey's S. boundary line 60 poles to a horn beam thence South 52 poles to a stake near the South West corner of said Gibson's 25 acre tract, thence East with North boundary of said tract 92 poles to two paw paws thence South with the West boundary line of Gibson's 25 acre track 68 poles to the North West corner, thence East with boundary line of -- 20 acre tract 60 poles to the North East corner then South 14 poles to the beginning. Grants by the State of Tennessee to said George M. Gibson by Grant No. 857, dated 13 Sept 1828. One other track Granted by State of Tennessee to George M. Gipson No. 3945 dated 7 Sept. 1826 for 50 acres on Blackburn's fork of Roaring River beginning at a stake near the S. W. corner of G. M. Gibson's 20 acre tract running thence South 68 poles to a horn beam and sugar tree near the foot of a bluff thence East with the meanders of said Bluff 25 poles thence South 16 poles thence East 75 poles to a Buckeye thence North crossing the creek at 75 poles in all 84 poles to a stake in James Watson's field thence W. 100 poles to the beginning. One other track granted by the State of Tennessee to George M. Gibson by Grant No. 2853 dated 22 May 1841 for 150 acres in said County of Jackson on waters of Blackburn's fork of Roaring River about a mile and a fourth below the Big falls of said fork beginning at a white Elm and Dogwood on the South side of fork running South 140 poles to a hickory and Chestnut on David Richey's South boundary thence West with said line 65 poles to two white oaks in said line near a path then South 64 poles to a stake in the East bank of Blackburn's fork thence down said fork with the meanders of said bank and fork -- E. 214 poles to the pine bluff thence West with meanders of said bluff to the beginning including a fall in said creek opposite James Watson's field. All of which lands is in said County of Jackson. And some personal property all of which was bequeathed by the terms of said will to your oratrix and said Randal, Levi, Polly, and Peggy with the incumbrance of the widow's dower. That the personal property has been exhausted in the payment of said testator's debts and otherwise as they support? the payment of the legacies in said will. Your orator and oratrix show that defendant Randal Gibson, Tobias Gibson, and Polly who is married to Joseph Woolbright live in said County of Jackson and that Peggy who is married to George Horn and Levi Gibson are non residents. Your orators and oratrix show that since time after said will was proven and recorded as before mentioned one William Gipson as administrator of the estate of said George M. Gibson deceased file a Bill in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro in which he made all the heirs of said George M. Gipson defendants praying that the three first described tracts of land should be sold for the payments of debts of said George M. Gipson deceased by decree of said Court. Said lands were accordingly sold to defendant Tobias Gibson for $ ___ not near their value and afterwards said William Gibson filed a Bill or petition in the Circuit Court of said County of Jackson against the same persons as defendants praying for the sale of the last mentioned tract of 150 acres for the payment of the debts of said testator which was also sold under a decree of said Court to said Tobias Gibson for $---.
Your orator and oratrix state that the proceedings of said Chancery and Circuit Courts were irregular and the proceedings and sale of said lands void. That the proper parties were not before the Court. That instead of making the decrees your oratrix Polly Woolbright and her husband Joseph Woolbright, Levi Gibson, Randal Gibson, and Peggy now Peggy Horn defendants they being the only persons interested in the lands prayed by said Bill and petition to be sold. All of the heirs of said George M. Gibson were made defendants many of --- since not interested? in said Court. Your orator and oratrix further show that your oratrix at the time said Bill was filed in the Chancery Court and petition in the Circuit Court as before mentioned and at the time of the sale and the confirmation of sale in both said Courts she was a minor under the age of twenty one years and that she had no regular guardian and no guardian ad litem was appointed for her in either of said Courts. That her rights were not defended in either of the said Courts She being a minor and ignorant of her rights and having no guardian to attend to her interest - that said Tobias Gibson proceeded the Bill and petition to be filed in the Courts as above mentioned that he might become the purchaser and owner of said lands for less than their value that in the proceedings in the Circuit Court said Tobias Gibson was security for the prosecution of the Bill or petition in said Circuit Court, he being a defendant.
The primary consideration your orator and oratrix pray that all the persons named as defendants in the caption of this Bill to wit Tobias Gibson, Randal Gibson, Joseph Woolbright, and wife Polly, Levi Gibson and George Horn and his wife Peggy be made defendants to this Bill that process and copy free? and publication be made and that they --- and file cuistiur? are? to the allegations in this Bill and that by decree of your Honorable Court said sales made by order and decree of the Chancery and Circuit Courts as aforesaid be set aside and declared void and your orator and oratrix be restored to their rights that said land be partitioned among your orator and oratrix and the other diverses? of said will. And your orator and oratrix pray for -- -- other and further relief as their case may entitle them to --.
State of Tennessee
Mr. William Price and Hetty do solemnly swear that owing to our poverty we are not able to bear the expenses of the suit or equity which we are now about to commence and that we are justly entitled to a recovery from Defendant Tobias Gipson to the best of our belief an amount within the jurisdiction of the Chancery Court in which we are about to commence our said suit so help us God.
Sworn to and subscribed
before me 8th Febr 1853
Gainesboro 16th July 1853
Mr. William Price & Hetty Price.
The answer of Tobias Gipson to your Bill filed in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro was duly filed in my office on the 15th July 1853.
William H Botts
The separate answers of Tobias Gipson to the bill filed in ------ Court of Chancery of accusations by William Price & wife Hetty against him and others.
Respondent having discovering the --- exception ---- answer to complainants Bill or reaction facts thereof --- --- advised is material for him to answer. M----- answering says that -- is ---that his father George Gipson departed this life in Jackson County about --- year of 48? ----- ---- of the land described in complainants bill. That said George Gipson ---- make publish his last will and testament --- states that the --- was --- ---- also as stated --- that said George Gipson in making said will did ---nominate or appoint any --- save to execute the same that at about the
Form of 184 William Gipson was appointed by the County Court of said County Administrator of said estate whether with this will --- or not respondeat is not advised. ---- into --- That said William Gipson as administrator as aforesaid did file in said Chancery Court ---- --- his will of complainants against the heirs at law of said George Gipson praying the sale of said land for the purpose of paying debts outstanding against said estate by decree of said Court we said cause the lands were sold as stated in said bill by the Clerk administrator of said Court --- --- of April 1846 purchased by respond --- but that said sale was fair & for what it was reasonably worth. Respondent states that at the time of filing said bill and the selling of said land that said Complainant Hetty Price was not a minor but that she was over 21 years of age & the Respondent states here pleas --- upon the statute of limitations as fully as if formally pleaded.
Respondent further states that it was necessary to sell said land for the purpose of paying the debts outstanding ---- said state as will appear by the record --- cause. Respondents further states that it is true that William Gipson as administrator as aforesaid did file a publication in the circuit Court of Jackson County against all the liens at Law of said George Gipson for the sale of the lands --- described in Complainants bill & that the ---- was sold by a decree of said Court as stated by the Clerk of said Court on the 3rd Sept. 1849 and that Respondent did purchase the same at the sum of $15. Respondent states that the sale was fair and public in the presence of many persons and that he was the highest and last bidder and that said sale was made for the purpose of paying the outstanding debts against said estate as will ---- by the record in said cause. And that said Complainant Hetty was ---over 21 years at the time of filing said petition. ---- ---- upon the statute of limitations all of --- at the time being over 21 years. Respondents would further show that after selling all of the said lands as above shows that there was still outstanding against said estate debts unpaid admits that said Complainant Hetty had at the time of selling of this land that no regula guardian or guardian ad litem.
Respondent further states that since Complainant Hetty arrived at full age she he has paid off to her in full for all the interest that she had or claims to have in said estate and taken a receipt or transfer for the same which will be filed ---- the hearing. Respondent does not --- that he paid her anything because he owed it but because she was his sister and claims it.
Respondents answers that he is advised that said proceedings in the sales of said lands is regular and not void denies all fraud and combination wherewith he stands charged, Having fully answered prays to be dismissed with reasonable cost.
State of Tennessee
This 15 July 1853 ---- Tobias Gipson before William Botts Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court at Gainesboro and made oath that the matters --- set forth and states it his foregoing answers as of his knowledge information and belief are true as stated and subscribed the same in my presence.
Wm Botts ---
Mr. William Price & Mrs. Hetty Price
On Saturday the 25 day of February 1854 at the Office of the Clerk & Master of the Chancery Court at Gainesboro I will proceed to take the depositions of Patience Gipson, David Ritchie, Leah Flynn & Rowland C. Dill to be read as evidence in the suit pending in Chancery Court at Gainesboro wherein you are the complainants and I and others are defendants you may attend & cross examine if you choose. Feb 18, 1854
State of Tennessee
On this 25 day of February 1854 came Tobias Gipson before me William H. Botts Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court at Gainesboro and made oath in due form of law that he has had in his possession a receipt for about Twenty five dollars executed by Hetty Gipson now Hetty Price to him being in full the amount which she claimed as one of the heirs at Law of George M. Gipson dec. -that he has lost said receipt or so mislaid it that he can't lay his hands upon it. Sworn and subscribed before me this date above written.
Sworn to before me 25th
Feb. 1854 W. H. Botts ---
Proof taken before me this 25 day of February 1854 in the case of William Price and wife vs Tobias Gipson in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro.
Patience Gipson aged 60 years - Sworn
Question by Deft - Say if you are acquainted with complainant Hetty Price if so state whether or not you are acquainted with her age if so how old is she? State if she is related to you.
Answer - I am acquainted with her, she is my daughter. She is now about twenty nine years old - in last October.
Question by court - Have you a record of the age of Hetty Gipson? Have you any witness of knowing her age except your memory? If so state what?
Answer - I have no records of her age and speak only my best recollection.
Question by same - When and in what year was she born?
Answer - I don't recollect the year.
Question by same - Please state how you arrive at the age as you state above.
Answer - She is 29 last October. I know by the birth of other children.
Question by same - Please state what children and give us your recollection.
Answer - I speak of one of Flynn's children which was born the March after Hetty was born in October. I can't make calculations.
Question by deft - Say if you have several children and if you have kept the ages of your children by memory.
Answer - I have several children and have kept their ages by memory.
Question by Deft - Say if you have grand children that are grown and also several great grandchildren.
Answer - I have several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Leah Flynn aged about 54 year - Sworn
Question by same - Say if you are acquainted with Complainant Hetty Price if so state if you are acquainted with her age if so state how old she is also your means of knowing her age?
Answer - I am acquainted with the complainant Hetty Price. She sucked her mother the same time one of mine sucked me. I know her age only by the age of mine that sucked the same time. Mine will be 28 the tenth day of next month and hers was born the fall before mine was born.
Question by ---- - In what year was your child born and was yours born the same year Hetty was born? What was the name of your child? Please state how you remember your child's age and year born and recount of the age of yours.
Answer - I don't recollect the date mine was born in. Hetty was born in the fall my children in March. Mines name was James ? Flynn. I have just kept his age by memory. I have no record of his age. I have another child whose age is set down that was twenty one last Christmas day and she is nearly seven years younger than Isam ?.
David Ritchie aged about 64 years - Sworn
Question by Deft - Say if you are acquainted with Complainant Hetty Price if so state if you know about how old she is if so state your means of knowing?
Answer - I have been acquainted with her since she was a child. I have no record of her age. But she nursed my daughter when she was a baby and she will be 21 years old next May to the best of my recollection. I have a record of my daughter's age but don't know Hetty's age.
Question by Deft - State about what age Complainant Hetty was judging from her size and appearance at the time you speak of her being at your house and nursing your daughter when she was a child.
Answer - I would think judging from her size that she was 9 or 10 years old at that time.
Rowland L. Dill aged about 50 years - Sworn
Question by Deft - Say if you were present at any time when there was a Settlement between Complainant Hetty and Deft if so, state what they settled about also whether there was a receipt executed by Complainant to Deft if so state the contents of the receipt as near as you can?
Objection to because secondary evidence since the loss of the primary? is not sufficiently accounted for.
The objection overruled by me and appiated? from Wm Botts
Answer - My recollection is that at one time Tobias Gipson called me to write an instrument between complainant Hetty and Deft conveying her interest in the land in dispute in this court. I think I wrote the instrument but advised Deft to wait until she was 21 years old as it was understood that she was underage. Afterwards I was again called according to my recollection to write a receipt and I think I done so but of this my recollection is quite in distant it has been so long since the transaction.
Question 2 by Deft - Say if at the time you say you think you wrote the above named receipt say if you understood at the time how old complainant Hetty was - also for what amount - if in full of the amount she claimed or not?
Answer - At the time I think I wrote the receipt of course I then understood she was 21 years old or I would have given the same advise there that I did when I wrote the conveyance of her interest in the land. I am not very positive sd to the transaction but am of the impression the receipt was in full for her part.
Question by Complainant cross -- Please state the amount that the receipt was for when it was signed who was present where is was signed and whether or not there was anything puill? who it was that ---- it what was it in money or barter state if there was not other receipts knowing by name for the rest of the heirs and --- you say positively on record a --- that you ever---- a receipt for every heir of the estate. If it was to effect her interest --- ---.
Answer - I can't state the amount the receipt was for but would think it was about the amount that balance of the children gave for their shares in the estate. I wrote receipts for several of them for their shares. I don't recollect when the receipt was signed. My impression is that he paid her in proportion to the balance but don't recollect of seeing anything paid. My impression is that she did sign a receipt conveying her interest in the estate. I think is was for her interest in the land. My recollection is quite in distant as to the whole transaction. I think the receipt was signed at the house of Tobias Gipson in the presence of Tobias Gipson, Hetty Gipson and their mother and myself.
Mr. Tobias Gibson
On the 15 day of April 1854 at the office of the Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court at Gainesboro in the County of Jackson and Stat of Tennessee I shale proceed to take depositions of Joseph Woolbright, Polly Woolbright, Randal Gibson to be read as evidence in the suit pending in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro wherein we are complainants and you and others are defendants and continue from day to day if necessary until said depositions are taken.
William Price & wife vs Tobias Gibson & others
Complainant William Price makes oath that Randal Gibson is a material witness for him in the trial of the above, he expects to prove by said Gibson that his wife Hetty was not 21 years of age when the decree was pronounced to sell the land. She is confined & cannot be at the present trial. Said Gibson was summoned to give his deposition but on that day after left for New Orleans & did not return until about the last day of June last. Joseph Woolbright & wife are also material witnesses for him. They did not appear to give their deposition at the time fixed by notice. Cannot go safely to trial without the evidence of the said witnesses. Affiant & wife are poor & illiterate & know little or nothing of legal processes pray for continuance for justice not for delay.
Sworn to in open court
13th July 1854
Wm Botts Esq.
Randal Gipson, Joseph Woolbright, and Polly Woolbright were summoned to give their deposition the first Wednesday after the second Monday in July, 1854
Mr. Tobias Gibson
On the 17th day of August 1854 at the office of William H. Botts Esq. in the town of Gainesboro in the County of Jackson and the State of Tennessee we will take the deposition of Randal Gibson, Joseph Woolbright and his wife Polly Woolbright. Depositions to be used as evidence in the suit pending in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro in said County of Jackson in which ---are complainants and you and others are defendants. When and where you may attend and cross examine if you think proper.
Wm Price & wife Hetty vs Tobias Gibson & others
In Chancery at Gainesboro
Complainants make oath that Joseph Woolbright & his wife Polly Woolbright & Randal Gibson defendant in this case are material witnesses for them in this case. They pray and order to take their deposition.