Source: Jackson County Chancery/Circuit Loose Records
Available: Tennessee State Library & Archives and Tennessee Technological University Library
The separate answer of Sarah Rector to the bill of complaint filed in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro by Bryson Hood against her and one David M. Rector.
Saving all benefit of exceptions to respondent for answer says, she admits that she is the widow of Martin Rector decd who died in Morgan County in the State in the year 1832; that said David M. Rector is her son; that said Bryson married the said Polly Ann her daughter & that said Bryson & Polly Ann moved to Jackson County in 1839, where the said Polly Ann died in the year 1841 without issue.
Respondent further answering says she admits admits (sic), the execution of exhibits A, B, & C mentioned in complainants bill, but not in the manner or for the purposes in said bill set forth and charged. Respondent understood, and believes it to be true, that, prior to and at the date of said exhibits A & B, the said Martin Rector was involved in debt by security shop for some person who was or had been Entry Taker, and she also understood and believes it to be true, that said exhibits A & B were made and executed by the parties thereto for the purpose of shielding the property therein mentioned from the demands of the creditors of said Martin Rector, and to secure the same for the use & benefit of himself and family. The said Martin Rector held possession of said property after the execution of said paper A & B and exercised acts of ownership over it, and used it in the same manner as before the execution of said papers A & B. Respondent also understood and believes it to be true, that the tract of land which said Martin Rector owned and said negro boy Bob, were made liable to the payment of the debts of said Martin Rector. How they were desposed of she cannot state with certainty, but she believes the negro boy was sold for the benefit of the creditors of said Martin Rector; and that the land was also either sold or mortgaged for the same purpose.
Respondent says it is untrue that said David M. & Polly Ann made partition of said tract of land and negro boy fell to the share of said David M. and formed the consideration of the paper marked exhibit C as is erroneously charged in the bill of complaint. Respondent believes that at the date of said exhibit C the said David M. Rector had become involved in debt, and that said paper marked C was made for the purpose of saving the property therein mentioned from the claims of his creditors.
Respondent further answering says that after the death of said Martin Rector and up to the marriage of said Polly Ann with said Bryson the property mentioned in the said exhibit A (except said negro boy and such of the property as was consumed in the use, destroyed or parished, remained in the possession of respondent the said Polly Ann was residing with respondent until her marriage or aforesaid & said negro Bob also remained in the possession of respondent after the death of said Martin Rector, until he was sold as herein before stated. When said Bryson & Polly Ann left East Tennessee for Jackson County, they brought with them the children of Lucinda, and that Lucinda remained in the possession of respondent. Just about the time said Bryson & Polly Ann were leaving respondent on their removal to Jackson County, and whilst respondent was in distress of mind at being separated from her daughter, the said Bryson presented the paper marked as exhibit A to complainants bill, and requested respondent to sign it; which she did without understanding its meaning or reflecting upon its contents; and respondent believed it to be only a memorandum or receipt executed by each to show where the property was, that is, in whose possession it was, at the date of said instrument, and not to affect the rights of any of the parties thereto.
In the month of February 1841 respondent removed to Jackson County and settled on a small piece of land which had been rented for her by the said Bryson. Respondent brought with her the negro woman Lucinda - the rent of the land was paid out of the crop raised thereon. After the removal of respondent to Jackson County the said Bryson & Polly Ann lived with repondent most of their time up to the said death of Polly Ann. Shortly after the removal of respondent & before said Bryson & Polly Ann came to live with here, she had possession of negro Lucinda & her children, and continued to hold them until there were taken from her by said Bryson after the death of Polly Ann. Respondent labored at the wash tent, and did nearly all the washing for her whole family, as to have the services of Lucinda in the corn field; and although respondent was not cruelly treated by said Bryson, still, she regrets that she cannot admit his great care and tenderness towards her set forth in the bill of complaint.
Respondent admits that the names and ages of the children of Lucinda are correctly stated in the bill of complaint and she also admits that after the death of said Polly Ann, the said Bryson got possession of said negroes. Said Bryson had requested respondent to collect the clothing of his deceased wife which he said he intended to take away from respondent. Respondent solicited to be permitted to return such of the her daughters clothing & apparel as she possessed before her marriage but said Bryson refused her request; and whilst respondent was engaged in the unpleasant business of collecting her daughters clothing and apparel to deliver to him, the said Bryson got said negroes into his possession and carried them off without the consent of respondent and contrary to her directions. Respondent admits that she afterwards got possession of said negroes except Eliza, but not in the manner set forth in the bill of complaint.
Respondent admits exhibit E and that Miss Brandford & Cassety, named the sum of eighty dollars, and for which said Bryson executed his notes as set forth in the bill, of which he has paid the sum of nine 75/100 dollars. At the time this award was made, said Bryson held possession of said negroes; and respondent was without any means of support and dependent upon the charity of her neighbors; and with all, she was fearful that said Bryson would sell or remove said negroes beyond the jurisdiction of the court and leave her entirely destitute and remediless - Hence, she had for the time to submit to almost anything which he might propose.
Respondent admits that the bond marked exhibit F mentioned in the bill was known to her on Saturday the 14 March last. but respondent desired time to obtain the necessary advice from persons on where she could, rely and also to have the aid of counsel as to her rights. In deed, before she got possession of said negroes, she was fearful she would have to take the necessary steps to prevent said Bryson from selling or removing said negroes beyond the Jurisdiction of the honorable court. Respondent admits that she is near seventy years of age and that she is liable to be imposed on by such as obtain her con for the purpose of abusing it.
Respondent is advised that said exhibit A being made to defraud creditors is no closer to the claim of respondent for down and distribution of the estate of her deceased husband: and she prays that her share of said negroes may be allotted and set apart to her by a decree of these honorable court. Or if the court shall be of opinion that she is only entitled to the support out of said estate during her natural life, then, respondent prays that the same may be ascertained and secured to her by the decree of the court, so as to prevent its being defeated or evaded by the said Bryson. Respondent is willing to give such security as shall be required for the forthcoming of the Negroes in her possession, to abide the decree of the court in the promises. Respondent denies all fraud.
Hart & McClain sol.
State of Tennessee Jackson County } This day Sarah Rector personally appeared before me Geo. M. McWherter C&M for the Chancery Court at Gainsboro oath on due form of law, that the statements made in the foregoing answer as of her own knowledge and are true & those made from the information of this she believe are true. Sworn & subscribed before me the 2nd May 1842.
Sarah Rector (her mark)
G. M. McWherter C & M
Know all persons by these presents that we Sarah Rector, John Swesea and Richard P. Brooks, all of Jackson County Tennessee are held & firmly bound unto Bryson Hood of said county & State, in the penal decree of three thousand dollars to which payment will & truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs to jointly &severally. Sealed and dated 25th March 1842.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas a writ ne exeah has been said out of the Chancery court at Gainsboro upon the bill filed by said Bryson Hood against said Sarah Rector and David M. Rector, commanding the sheriff to seize certain negroes in the possession of said Sarah Rector unless she shall give bond with security to have said negroes forth coming to answer such decree as shall be made in said suit. And whereas the said Sarah has in her possession the following negroes, Lucinda aged about 32 years, Reubin aged about 11 years, Charles aged about 5 years, and Tom aged about one or 2 years, and being the same mentioned in the bill and said writ ne exeah - Now the condition of the above obligation is such that if said Sarah Rector shall have said negroes Lucinda, Reubin, Charles, & Tom, before the chancellor of said court, at the court house in Gainsboro, to answer whatever decree may be made in said suit, then the above obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.
Sarah Rector Richard P. Brooks John Swezea
Attest John Scanland
We Bryson Hood, Samuel E. Hare, James W. Hancock & W. R. Stiner all of the county of Jackson and State of Tennessee are held and firmly bound unto Sarah Rector of said county and State in the penal sum of two thousand dollars for the payment of which will and truly to be made to said Sarah, we bind ourselves and each of us our heirs executors and administrators firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 7 day of March 1842.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas on the 19 day of July 1830 David M. Rector & Polly Rector then of Morgan County State of Tennessee executed a Bond to Martin Rector & Sarah Rector then also of said county of Morgan in the penal sum of two thousand dollars, with the following condition therto under written, to wit, that "the said David M. Rector and Polly Rector shall constantly provide for the said Martin Rector & Sarah Rector his wife a comfortable home, food and wholesome food & comfortable raiment lodging and other the necessaries of life for and during their lives, the said David M. Rector & Polly Rector shall well and truly provide for ever the said Martin & Sarah his wife as well in sickness as in health according the true intent and meaning hereof and at their decease bury them in a decent manner" 1st which bond is registered in the registers office of said county of Morgan in Book C Pages 49, 50, & 51. Since the execution of said Bond the said Martin Rector has departed this life & since which time the about bound Bryson Hood intermarried with the said Polly Rector & the said Polly has also lately departed this life Now if the said Bryson Hood shall well truly and faithfully keep and performs the condition f the above executed obligation in as full and ample a manner as his said late wife Polly Rector was bound to do and perform previous and at the time to her marriage with him said Bryson then this obligation to be void else to remain in full force.
Sam E. Hare
Article of Agreement between Sarah Rector & B. Hood Sarah Rector doth Agree to Receive for her Support the use of one Negro woman Name Lucinda and cow and calf & beds and other House hold furniture and Kitchen furniture B Hood doth agree to let Sarah Rector have the use of the above mentioned property for twelve months for the purpose of carrying out the design of a bond that was existing between Martin Rector his wife and David M. Rector Polly Ann Rector Now existing between Sarah Rector and David M. Rector B. Hood as witness our hands and seals this the 4 of November 1839.
Bryson Hood Sarah Rector test Sarah ???? John Butler tes
Gainsboro Jackson County January the 21 1842
Mrs Sarah Rector Dear Madam I intend livin at the Hanik place on William W. Woodftks land in this County I am verry anxious for you to go and live with me as long as we both shal live I rented the place for your benefit if you will live with me I will bord & cloth you have your washing done in sickness & in helth & endeavor to render you happy and Comfortable as long as wee both shal live but if Contrary to lookey? wish you should prefer to live with any other family in this County I will pay you what will be reasnable for your board & clothing & washing & lodging & if wee caninot agree upon what som would be rasonable I am willing to liave it to arbitration you choosing one man and me choosing the other & if they cannot agree let them chose a third person if you wish me to give security I will so do for the performances of my Contract with you in a word I am determind to Comply with the bond that was existing between Martin Rector his wife and David M. Rector & Polly Ann Rector Now existing between Sarah Rector and David M. Rector & Bryson Hood.
To Mrs. Sarah Rector from Bryson Hood a copy of the same
Brison Hood vs Sarah Rector } I Bill & David M Rector
And for the replication to the answer of the said defendant Sarah Rector, the complainant by his soliciton comes and says that the matters and things therein contained are vague , uncertain, and untrue, and that the matters and charges in his said bill are true and this he is ready to verify.
July 21st 1842 Nelson, Goodall & Quarles
____ of the Chancery Court at Gainsboro
Let the Clerk & Master issue a ne exeat as prayed in the foregoing bill of Hood vs. Rector directing the Sheriff to seize negroes in possession of defendant as charged in the bill & hold them until the further order of the Chancery Court in the premises unless defendants give bond & first rate security to complainant in double their value that they shall be for to answer whatever decree may be made herein & if they fail to execute such bond with security promptly you are appointed receiver to dispose of them until the further order of the court. The complainant first giving bond & security in $1000 to answer cost damages & for wrongfully suing this writ given under my hand this 2nd March 1842.
Ab Caruthers Judge
Gainsboro Jackson County February the 12 1842 To Mrs. Sarah Rector Dear Madam I understand that you have some fears that I would not comply with the bond that was existent between Martin Rector his wife and David M. Rector and Polly Ann Rector Now existent between Sarah Rector and David M. Rector and Bryson Hood if you have any fears and will let me no it I will give you security that is good for the amount required that I will comply with the above named bond. To Mrs. Sarah Rector From Bryson Hood Ps I understand that you have taken my Negros bye foarse from the Man that I has hiared them to Mr. S. Lee and if you don't deliver them back again to thar Masters searvice you may depend on having the Law put in foase against you To Mrs. Sarah Rector from Bryson Hood.
Know all men by these presents that we Brison Hood Sam E. Hares Wm R. Kenner are held and firmly bound unto David M. Rector and Sarah Rector in the sum of one thousand dollars for the payment of which well and truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs. In testimony whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and opened our seals this 23rd day of March 1842
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the above bound Brison Hood has this day filed his Bill of Complaint in the Chancery Court at Gainsboro praying for injunction and ne exiat against the said David M. Rector and Sarah Rector removing certain negros & now if the said complt shall well and truly prosecute his said suit and show good cause to said court for suing out said writ of ne exiat as well as good cause for filing his said Bill - or in case of furtive of such showing and prosecution shall pray and satisfy said defendants for all such damages as they shall sustain & a wrongful suing out of said writ and shall pray and satisfy all such evats as shall be adjudged and decreed against him & the court having jurisdiction of said suit then this obligation to be void and of no effect otherwise to remain in full force and for iture.
Bryson Hood Sam E. Hare W R Kenner
Know all men by these presents that we David M. Rector and Polly Rector of the county of Morgan & State of Tennessee are held & firmly bound unto Martin Rector & Sarah Rector his wife of the County & state aforesaid in the sum of Two thousand dollars to be paid to the said Martin Rector & Sarah Rector, to which payment well and truly to be made we bind ourselves & Each of us by him self & her self for & in the whole our heirs executors and administrators firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals & dated this 19th day of July A. D. 1830.
The condition of the above obligation is such that if the about bounded David M. Rector & Polly Rector, or either of them their or either of their heirs executors or administrators do & shall well & truly what is herein after mentioned that is say the said David M. Rector and Polly Rector shall constantly provide the said Martin & Sarah his wife a comfortable home, good wholesome food & comfortable raiment lodging & other the necessaries of life for & during their lives, the said David M. Rector and Polly Rector, shall well & truly provide for them the said Martin and Sarah his wife as well in sickness as in health, according to the instrument and meaning hereof and at their decease shall bury them in a decent manner then the above obligation to the void otherwise to remain in full force & virtue - In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands & seals the day & year last above written attest
David M. Rector (seal) James Jones
Pollyan Rector (her mark) attest Benjamin Williams
State of Tennessee Morgan County } County Court January Session 1833
Then was the execution of the within obligation duly proven in open court the oaths of James Jones and Benjamin Williams subscribing witness there & ordered to be so certified for Registration given under my hand & private seal there being public no seal provided for said county at office 21st day of January 1833.
Elijah Lawder Clk by his deputy Thomas S. Sea
State of Tennessee Morgan County
The foregoing obligation and certificate thereon is Registered in the Registers Office of said County in Book C Pages 49, 50 & 51. January 26th 1833
D. L. Lavinda Register for M. Cty
because it was deemed sufficient for your orator to give his note, it having been previously agreed between your orator and the said Sarah, that at the commencement of each year, they would have the question of support, and the arbitrament and award of sensible and impartial men your orator, although no instalment of said riots is yet due, has already paid her nine dollars and seventy-five cents, in order to supply her wants and render her comfortable in her old age -- this note is dated the 21st January 1842. After this, your orator conducted it would be best for him to hire out said slaves, and accordingly on the 28th January 1842 he hired out to Abraham Lee of Jackson County the following slaves: Lucinda, Reuben, Charles, & Tom - Since that time, he hired Eliza to Samuel B. Hare of Gainsboro - Your orator charges, that the said Sarah influenced as he believes by designing men went to the house of said Lee, in whose possession the negroes were, while he was on his death bed, and debilitated with disease, & took said slaves out of his possession, and now has them in her own possession, and she and her said son David M. now hold them, and claim them as their own, not withstanding you orator's wife held possession of them as her own and claimed them adversily to the world ever since the date of exhibit B (April 18th 1834) and your orator has in like manner held and claimed them ever since his marriage in October 1839.
Your orator further charges and shows that not withstanding this hostile manner on the part of the said defendants, your orator was anscious to settle this controversy Justly and Equitably and without the very unpleasant necessity of resorting to the Laws of his county for the protection of his rights. with this view, he procured the execution of a new bond, providing in all things for the comfort and support of the said Sarah, and gave as his securities Samuel E. Hare, James W. Hancock, and William R. Kenner, citizens of Jackson County, and abundantly able and willing to comply with said bond - this object of which was an adjustment that would secure impartial justice not only to the said Sarah but to your orator, he regrets to state that his proposition has been rejected, and he is now compelled to ask an abjucation, of his rights in your Honorable court. Said bond is hereto appended marked F and prayed to be taken as of this bill - Your orator shows that he has this day commenced his action of deternue? to recover the possession of said slaves, but he is compelled to ask the aid of your Honorable court for the following reasons. 1st He charges that said defendants David M. and Sarah are wholly insolvent and the said David M is not a man of family that he is unsettled, intemperate and profligate in his habits -that the said Sarah is old and infirm, and easily imposed upon, and he has reason to fear and does fear, that they will run said negroes from the country, or sell and dispose of them to some designing man or men who will remove them from the country and beyond the jurisdiction of this courts of this state. 2nd He asks the aid of your Honorable Court, because the said Defendant David M. pretends to have some kind of an undefined Equitable right to said slaves, and is threatening to harass & perplex your orator with suits both in Law and Equity, in relation to said slaves; and your orator asks that his title to said slaves may be clearly ascertained and settled by decree of your Honorable Court, in which they pretended claim set up to said slaves by the said David M. may be abjucated upon and either allowed or rejected, and your orator permitted to Enjoy said slaves in peace, subject to such tax for the support of said Sarah, as shall be deemed Equitable and right, underall the circumstances - and be here proposes, to secure to the said Sarah such support and maintenance as in the judgment of this Honorable Court shall be deemed simply sufficient for her comfortable support in her old age -
For as much therefore as your orator has no clear and unembarrassed remedy in a court of common law and is only relievable in your Honorable Court of Equitity -- where such matters are held properly cogrinable?, he prays that the said Sarah and David M. be made defendants to this bill, and that they be compelled upon their corporal oaths fully and truly to answer the same, and the premises considered he prays the state most gracious writs of ne exeat, and injunction restraining the said defendants from removing said slaves, he also asks the appointment of a receiver of the proceeds of the labor of said slaves pending the litigation in the suit. He further prays that the said defendants perpetually enjoined from interupting your orator in the possession of said slaves - and that they be restrained from harassing and perplexing him with vexations law suits in relation to said slaves, and such other and further relief in the premises or Equity & good conscience may entitle him to receive and as in duty bound he will ever pray.
this is his first application for an Injunction and recollect in this case. Nelson Goodall & Quarles for compls
State of Tennessee Jackson County }
This day personally appeared before me Bryson Hood complainant in the foregoing Bill of Complaint & read out in the from of tow that the state, therein were of his own knowledge are true & these ??? as or information to be time sworn to and subscribed before me on the 23rd day of March 1842.
A. B. Caruthers Judge 4th Circuit Court
Mrs. Sarah Rector take notice on the 6th day of April 1843
I will take the depositions of Julen F. Scott, Albert Hert, John White & John M Davis & Squire Gesles Samuel P. Vaughn Garrett Hall at the Court House in Montgomery Morgan County State Tennessee when and whereas you may attend and Cross Examine as they are to be read as evedence in the suit now pending in the court of chancery wherin you and David M. Rector are defendents and I am plaintiff to the holden in the town of Gainsboro the first Monday in may next for the 4th chancery division March the 13 day 1843.
Mrs Sarah Rector take notice on the 4 day of April 7, 2000
I will take the deposition of John Butler at the Court House in Kingston Rhone County State of Tennessee when and whear you may attend and Cross Examine as they are to be read as evedence in the suit now pending in the court of chancery wherein you and David M. Rector are defendents and I am plaintiff to be holden in the town of Gainsboro the first Monday in May next for the 4th chancery division March the 13 day 1843
State of Tennessee Jackson County} To the Sherriff of said County Greeting
Summon Sarah Rector to appear before the Hon Chancery Court for said County at its next Term to be held at Gainsboro in the First Monday of May next then and there to answer a Bill filed in the said Court by Bryson Hood against the said Sarah and David M. Rector. Herein fail not and have them there this wit. Witness George M McWherter Clerk and Master of said Court at Office the First Monday of November 1841.
Geo M. McWhirter C & M
Mrs. Sarah Rector take notice on the 6th day of April 184?
I will take the depositions of Julen F. Scott, Albert Hert, John White & John M Davis & Squire Gesles Samuel P. Vaughn Garrett Hall at the Court House in Montgomery Morgan County State Tennessee when and wheras you may attend and Cross Examine as the are to be read as evedence in the suit now pending in the court of chancery wherein you and David M. Rector are defendents and I am plantiff to the holden in the town of Gainsboro the first Monday in may next for the 4th chancery division March the 13 day 1843.
Mrs. Sarah Rector take notice on the 4 day of April I will take the deposition of John Butler at the Court House in Kingston Rhone County State of Tennessee when and whear you may attend and Cross Examine as they are to be read as evedence in the suit now pending in the court of chancery wherein you and David M. Rector are defendents and I am plaintiff to be holden in the town of Gainsboro the first Monday in May next for the 4 chancery division March the 13 day 1843
State of Tennessee Jackson County } To the Sheriff of said County -Greeting
Summon David M. Rector to appear before the Hon Chancery Court at its next Term to be held for said County at the Court House in Gainsboro on the First Monday of May next to answer a Bill filed in said Court by Bryson Hood against the said David M. Rector and Sarah Rector. Herein fail not and have them there this writ. Witness George McWherter of said Court at office the First Monday of November 1841.
G. M. McWherter
Bryson Hood and Sarah Rector & David M. Rector have agreed to compromise their chancery suit pending in the Chancery Court at Gainsboro and all matters in dispute between them as follows said Hood is to have the negro boy Charles and said Sarah & David M. is to pay said Hood $200. Sarah & David is to have the negroes Cinda, Reuben, Eliza & Tom the right to said negroes to be vested in the parties according to said agreement by decree in chancery at next term - said Sarah and David are to pay all the costs of the chancery suit pending between them -- & each party to pay their own lawyers fees - said Sarah also releases and discharges said Bryson from all and every obligation that he is under to support and maintain her - Given under our hands and seal this 25th day of March 1843.
Bryson Hood David M. Rector R. P. Brooks
Hereby certify and conform the above agreement of my equals Sarah Rector (her mark)
Test Hart (sol)
In the name of the State of Tennessee To the Sheriff of Jackson County greeting
In the suit of Bryson Hood against Sarah Rector and David M. Rector, filed in the Chancery Court at Gainesboro, you are herby commanded to seize the negroes in the bill mentioned as in the possession of said Sarah Rector, to wit, Lucinda age about 32 years, Reubin aged about 11 years, Charles aged about 5 years and Tom aged about one or two years, and hold said negroes subject to the further adu? of said Chancery Court, unless said Sarah Rector, shall give bond & first rate security to complainant indouble the ??? of said negroes, that they shall be forth coming to answer whatever decree maybe made in the premises. and in default of such bond with security being promptly executed, you will take said negroes and have them before the undersigned clerk and master of said court without delay of.
and have you this writ, before the Chanciller of said court at the court house in Gainsboro on the 1st Monday in may next and then how you have executed the same.
Witness George M. McWhirter clerk &master of said court at office in Gainsboro, 1 Monday in November 1841.
G. M. McWhirter C & M
Mrs Sarah Rector take notice on the 3 day of April 1843 I will take the deposition of Sarah Lively at the house of Robert Mckammas in the County of Anderson state of Tennessee when and whear you may attend and Cross Examine as they are to be read as evedence in the suit now pending in the court of chancery wherein you and David M. Rector are dependents and I am plantiff to be holden in the town of Gainsboro the first Monday in May next for the 4 chancery division March the 13 day 1843.