Sample of a Court Case

in the book.

Leonidas Christmas    might have been instructed, not only in the mechanic arts, but that his mind might have been enlightened, to receive the high moral obligations of civil life, and the still more profound truths of our holy religion.  We are constrained then to say, that he does not come within the exception contained in the statutes.  

The next inquiry is, do the statutes of limitation protect the defendant?  The evidence shows, that Leonidas Christmas was the oldest of the children of Elizabeth C. Davis; and that he was born the 20th November 1817, and of course that he come of age the 20th November 1838.   At October Term, 1842, of Warren Court of Equity, leave was granted to the plaintiffs to amend their bill; and the present bill, called in its caption an amended bill, was filed: at which time Leonidas had been of age near four years, and is consequently barred by the statutes.

According to the same evidence, Buckner Christmas was born on the 30th June, 1819, and became of age the 30th June, 1840.  Of course, not more than two years and four months had elapsed, after he came of age, before this bill was filed, and the other plaintiffs are younger than he is.  They then are not barred, because at the time the defendant, Mitchell, purchased, they were infants; and the statute had never commenced running against them or any person, under whom they claim.  The defendant, Mitchell, contends, that his is not an amended bill, but an original one, and that the statutes of limitations must be computed from the filing of this, and not of the former bill.  The plaintiffs contend it is an amended bill, and constitutes, with the original, one suit.  In the view we have taken of the subject, it is not of much importance to decide this question. 

We are of opinion, however, that it is an amended bill.  But it introduces new matter, or rather a new charge against the defendant, Mitchell.  It is true, that the deed of release or bargain and sale, executed by the executors, Peter R. and Stephen Davis , was an exhibit in the original bill, and constitutes a part of it; but the object of the bill was to obtain from Mitchell and White, the re-conveyance of the land mentioned in the deed, and prayed no relief against Mitchell, as to the Negroes.  This bill makes this charge, and prays relief against him upon this ground.  When a bill is amended, the defendant may make such defense as he thinks proper.  Red. P. 323.  So far, then, as this bill seeks relief against Mitchell on account of these slaves, it is an original bill.  But we repeat, it is an unimportant question here, because it introduces a new charge against the defendant, Mitchell.

It is lastly insisted on by the defendant, Mitchell, that he is a purchaser for a full and valuable consideration, without notice of the equity of the plaintiffs.  If this be so . . .

 [note: This shows how important the court records can be in Genealogical Research.]

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