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Edmond Harper vs. John Parker, et al - 1837

Source: Sumner County Loose Records, case #7192

Transcribed by Linda Carpenter
© 2003

(Partial transcriptions from this lawsuit.)

State of North Carolina, Warren County.

Be it remembered, that in pursuance of the enclosed commission to us directed from the honorable the Court of Chancery, for Sumner County, in the State of Tennessee, we have cause to come before us at Grove Hill in the County of Warren in the State of North Carolina on the 23rd day of November A.D. 1837. The following persons, (to wit) William Robertson, aged 81 years, Sally Aycock aged 76 years, John Williams aged 58 years, Anthony M. Johnson aged _ years, Edward Williams, & Pink Harper aged 64 years. Witnesses in a certain matter of controversy in said Court depending, wherein Edmond Harper is complainant, and John Parker & others , is defendants.

Sally Aycock Sworn:

Question: How long did William Harper's wife Patsy live after she married him?
Answer: I do not know exactly but she left three children & died about the time of the birth of her last child. I think she lived about 5 years after marriage & not more.

Question: Do you know what become of the Negro Girl Lucy after the death of William Harper's wife, Patsy?
Answer: The Negro Girl stayed at the house of William Harper's Father, a few days to nurse the youngest child, after the death of it's mother Patsy, until the death of the child which took place within a very few days. The Girl then went to William Yarbroughs & continued there until William Harper married again, which I think within about two years. Then William Harper took the Girl home & had by his last wife two children, within two or three years. Then William Harper moved away to Tennessee & carried Negro Girl Lucy with him.

Question by John Parker: Do you or do you not know that William Harper at the death of his wife Patsy, was confined to his bed by severe affliction & was incapable of helping himself, & consequently had to break up house keeping & that a part of his family went to his fathers & a part to his wife's father (William Yarbrough)?
Answer: He William Harper was very sick and broke up housekeeping & a part of his family went to his fathers & a part to his wife's fathers (William Yarbrough) & remained until his second marriage except himself, when he got able he attended to business for William Atston as an Overseer until he married his second wife.

Question by the same: Did or did not Edmond Harper stay at William Yarbroughs the principal part of his time during the widowhood of his father?
Answer: Yes he did.

And further this deponent saith not. Sally (her mark) Aycock

Pink Harper Sworn:

Question by the Complainant: Did you live near William Harper before he moved to Tennessee?
Answer: I did.

Question by the same: Did you ever hear William Harper say any thing about the Negro Girl Lucy which was put into his possession by William Yarbrough & if you did what was it?
Answer: He said she did not belong to him, she was Edmonds, & he said after his son Edmond come of age he should give her up to him.

Question by the same: What did you hear or see William Yarbrough do concerning this Negro Girl Lucy?
Answer: I saw William Yarbrough take the Negro Girl Lucy by the hand and deliver her to his daughter Patsy Harper the wife of William Harper to be hers & her heirs forever & further this deponent saith not. Pink (his mark) Harper

State of Tennessee, Lincoln County - be it remembered that in pursuance of the annexed commission to me directed from the honorable Court of Chancery for Sumner County in the State of Tennessee I have cause to come before me at Higdon Harpers in the County of Lincoln and in the State of Tennessee on the twentieth day of March 1837 Higdon Harper aged about fifty eight years a witness in a certain matter of controversy in said Court depending wherein Edmond Harper is complainant and John Parker, B. S. and Samuel W. Harper is defendant who being first duly sworn before the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God to speak the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth desposeth and saith as follows:

Question by the Plaintiff: State at what time William Harper married Patsy Yarbrough his first wife and how long from the time of marriage to the death of Patsy.
Answer: Something like 6 years.

Question: Please state whether or not William Yarbrough the father of Patsy did or not loan to William Harper a certain Negro woman called Lucy and if so how long Harper had the Negro in possession before the death of his wife Patsy.
Answer: I did not understand it as a gift or a loan. William Harper took this Negro girl Lucy when he took the test of his plunder from William Yarbrough the father of Patsy Yarbrough and I think William Harper had this Negro woman in possession some where about three years and eleven months before the death of his wife Patsy.

Question: Did not William Yarbrough take the Negro in possession again after the death of his daughter Patsy?
Answer: He did.

Question: Did not William Yarbrough after he took the Negro Lucy into possession make a will in which he gave said Negro to Edmond Harper the son of William Harper by his wife Patsy?
Answer: I always understood there was one but I never saw the will nor was not present when it was wrote.

Question: How long did William Yarbrough have the Negro in possession before he made his will?
Answer: Within the two years he had her in possession.

Question: Did William Harper set up any claim to the Negro Lucy during the time of his widowhood?
Answer: Not to my knowledge.

Question: Was not the Negro Lucy after the death of Yarbrough put into possession of William Harper by the executor of Yarbrough and if so state whether or not said William Harper did not execute a bond to the executor in which he bound himself to deliver up the Negro to Edmond Harper when he became of age?
Answer: I know nothing about that.

Question: Did you ever hear William Harper say any thing about his or Edmond's right to the Negro Lucy and her children and if so state it.
Answer: I never did.

Question by the Defendant B. S. Harper: Did you ever know any demands made by any body while William Harper held this Negro girl Lucy in possession?
Answer: I never did.

Defendant's Question: Was you present when William Yarbrough received this Negro or not after the death of his daughter Patsy?
Answer: I was not present.

Defendant's Question: State whether or not was Edmond Harper and his Negro girl Lucy at Samuel Harper, Edmond Harper's grandfathers at the time William Harper married his second wife?
Answer: It is like they were there.

Defendant's Question: Did you or not know Joseph Harper in North Carolina in Warren County now living in Sumner County in this State?
Answer: I did.

Defendant's Question: Would you or not give his oath full credit in a Court of Justice?
Answer: I would.

Plaintiff Question: Was not William Yarbrough dead when William Harper married the second time?
Answer: I believe he was and further this deponent saith not. Higdon Harper.

State of North Carolina, Warren County - Willie Lancaster next being sworn:

Question by John Parker one of the Defendants: Were you acquainted with Joseph Harper formerly of Warren County and if so state whether from your knowledge of his general character would you or would you not believe him on his oath in a Court of Justice?
Answer: I was acquainted with him & would believe him on his oath in a Court of Justice and further this deponant sayeth not. Willie Lancaster

State of North Carolina, Warren County - Be it remembered that in pursuance of the annexed Commission to us directed from the honorable Court of Chancery for Sumner County in the State of Tennessee we have caused to come before us Miles Bobbitt & Willie Lancaster at Grove Hill in the County of Warren in the State of North Carolina. 24th day of November 1837. Miles Bobbitt aged forty five years & Willie Lancaster aged sixty years.

Proceeded to take the deposition of Joseph Harper, aged about 66 years. 21st day of October 1836, Sumner County in the State of Tennessee.

Defendant's Question: Pleas state if you lived in the neighborhood with William Harper in the State of North Carolina Warren County at the time William Harper intermarried with one Patsy Yarbrough daughter of William Yarbrough. And state whether you remained in that neighborhood until William Harper removed from that state to Tennessee. State also whether William Yarbrough did or did not give a certain Negro Girl called Lucy to William Harper dec'd in some short time after his marriage to his daughter Patsy Yarbrough and if he did state whether or not William Harper did not have the peaceable possession of the said Negro Girl Lucy the whole of the time that he remained in North Carolina and up to the time of his death.
Answer: I did live in the same neighborhood in North Carolina with William Harper dec'd at the time of his marriage and lived there until he moved to the state of Tennessee. And shortly after his marriage William Yarbrough did give the Negro Girl Lucy to William Harper dec'd. And the said William Harper had peaceable possession of the said Negro Girl Lucy up to his death.

Defendant's Question: Please state to the best of your knowledge and belief whether William Harper did not marry Patsy Yarbrough in the year 1785.
Answer: I am in the opinion that he married in the year 1785.

Defendant's Question: Please state whether William Harper dec'd did not have three children by his wife Patsy previous to her death and if he did state whether two of them to wit, Edmond and John were not both living at the time William Yarbrough made his last will.
Answer: He had three children by Patsy and two were living (viz) Edmond and John at the time William Yarbrough made his will.

Defendant's Question: State whether during William Harpers widowhood did he or did he not send this Negro Girl Lucy as a nurse in company with his children to his Fathers and occasionally to his Father in laws to take care of the children.
Answer: He did.

Defendant's Question: Please now state if you was at William Harpers in the County at the time a certain Bill of Relinquishment was executed by Edmond Harper to William Harper dec'd for all those Negroes now in controversy, and whether you did not subscribe your name as a witness to that instrument.
Answer: I was present when the instrument spoken of was drawn and witnessed it after it had been distinctly read over to Edmond Harper.

Defendant's Question: Please state whether that Bill was drawn in a dark room and whether Edmond Harper did not freely voluntarily and of choice subscribe his name to said Bill.
Answer: It was not drawn up in a dark room but in the presence of all that wished to see it. I saw no backwardness in his assigning, he seemed to do it with his full consent.

Defendant's Question: Please state whether papers alluded to in the Bill filed against these defendants were not thrown into the fire by Joshua Harper and with the consent of Edmond Harper.
Answer: They was.

Complainants agent Thomas White's Question: Was you or was you not present when William Yarbrough give this Negro Girl Lucy to William Harper dec'd.
Answer: I was not.

Complainants agent Thomas White's Question: Please state if you was not present how you know that William Yarbrough give this Negro Girl Lucy to William Harper.
Answer: William Yarbrough told me that he had give the Negro Girl Lucy to William Harper dec'd and his wife Patsy.

Complainants agent Thomas White's Question: Did you or did you not carry Edmond Harper and this Negro Girl Lucy to William Yarbroughs.
Answer: I did not. And further this deponant sayeth not. Joseph (his mark) Harper.


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