Source: TSL&A Microfilm # A - 5166 & A-5042
Sumner County Probate Records (County or Chancery)
Loose Records #12671 & 1171
Transcribed by Sheila J. Smith
Dinning, William & Jane vs. Johnson, James & Mary 1840
Answer of James Johnson and wife Nancy taken from the Post Office Gallatin and filed 19th Sept 1862
The joint and several a____ of James Johnson and Mary Johnson two of the defendants to the Bill of complaint of William Dinning and Jane Dinning complainants.
These defendants reserving to themselves all right of exception to the said Bill of Complaint for answer thereto say they admit that the said complainants are minors and reside in the state of Missouri and that the November Tennessee AD 1834 of the Sumner County Court in the state of Tennessee the said defendant Bowles Dinning was by the said court appointed guardian of the said complainants and of the Mary Johnson, formerly Mary Dinning one of their defendants. And that the said Bowles Dinning then and there gave bond with the said William Dinning and Roby Harrell as securities for the faithful performance of his duties as guardian aforesaid in the penal sum of 800 dollars with the usual conditions as charged in said bill. They admit that these defendants have since the said November Tenn 1834 of the said Sumner County Court intermarried with each other and that they now reside in the state of Missouri as charged in said Bill. They admit that the said Bowles Dinning at the time of his said appointment as guardian aforesaid or shortly thereafter received into his possession as the property of the said complainants and of this defendant Mary Johnson, two negro slaves, Sanders and Andrew, now aged eleven and nine years respectively and supposed to be worth 800 dollars or more and that he, the said guardian promised the said court that he would raise the said negroes free of expense to the said complainants and to this defendant Mary Johnson, until they, the said slaves should be able to render service as charged in said bill. They admit that the said guardian in violation of his said promise and of his duty as guardian aforesaid shortly after his said appointment, left the said slaves with the said William Dinning one of his said securities and departed for the state of Missouri, and that said William Dinning has ever since continued in possession of said slaves and that as they are informed and believe he now claims them as his own property alleging that he purchased them of the said guardian Bowles Dinning and that he exhibits a bill of sale purporting to be executed by the said Bowles Dinning, dated the 26th day of November AD 1834 which purports to convey to the said William Denning the absolute right and title to the said slaves as charged in said bill. They say that the said Bowles Denning had no right to convey the said slaves to the said William Dinning or any other person and that said slaves only came to the hand of the said Bowles Dinning as guardian of aforesaid. And the said William Dinning can acquire no title to the said slaves by said bill of sale if any such were in fact made. They say that as they are informed and believe the said Bowles Dinning and William Dinning have conspired together to defraud the said complainants of their said estate and to embarrass them in the recovery of the same as charged in said bill as well as to defraud those defendants of their interest in said estate and to embarrass them in the recovery of the same.
They say that as they are informed and believe the said Bowles Dinning is now insolvent and that he has mismanaged said estate by appropriating the same to his own use as charged in said bill of complaint.
They say that of their own knowledge they cannot state whether the said guardian has ever made any return to the county court of Sumner County aforesaid of what has come to his hands as guardian aforesaid or whether he has made any settlement with said court or otherwise since his said appointment, but they believe the charges of said bill in that behalf to be most true.
The said defendants further answering say that they wholly disclaim and repudiate any sale ever made by them or either of them of their interest in said slaves to the said William Dinning or any other person whatsoever and deny that he or any other person as acquired or can acquire any good title under the same.
And these defendants charge that the following is a true statement and history of the only sale of their interest aforesaid in said slaves ever made by them or either of them. To wit, sometime in the month of October AD 1841 one John C. Dinning sometimes called Richard Dinning came to these defendants at their residence in the state of Missouri and made proposals for the purchase of their aforesaid interest in said slaves and with the _____ of inducing these defendants to sell, made the following false and fraudulent representation in regard to the condition of the estate to which the said negroes pertained. To wit, that the said estate was in such a condition that these defendants never could get more than 100 dollars out of said negroes that the said William Dinning would exhaust said estate by litigation before these defendants could derive any benefit from the same- that he the said John C. Dinning never expected to realize more than the sum of 100 dollars which he proposed to give in property to these defendants for their aforesaid interest.
And these defendants further say that they were influenced, cheated and deceived by the aforesaid false and fraudulent misrepresentation and others of like character in so much that they agreed with the said John C. Dinning to sell him their interest in said slaves for the sum of 100 dollars in property which they accordingly received in to their possession. And these defendants further say that the said John C. Dinning at the time he made the aforesaid representations knew that the same were false and fraudulent. And that he made the same with the intent? to cheat and defraud these defendants that he well knew that said slaves were worth the sum of 800 dollars or more as charged in said bill and that the interest of these defendants in the same was one third part and that it would not be difficult for them to recover the same or the value thereof.
And these defendants further say that the said John C. Dinning at the time of the sale and purchase aforesaid was acting as the secret agent and under the instruction of the said William Dinning and that according to the best of the information _____ belief of these defendants the said William and John C. Dinning had previously and were their confederated and continued together for the purpose of cheating and defrauding these defendants as well as the complainants.
And these defendants further say that at the time of the sale and purchase aforesaid they executed a bill of sale of their interest in said slaves as they their understood and believed and as they yet believe to the said John C. Dinning in his own proper name.
And these defendants further say that they at the time of the sale and purchase of aforesaid they supposed and believed that the said John C. Dinning was acting honestly and in good faith. And that they were wholly ignorant of his aforesaid fraudulent intentions and fraudulent confederation with the said William Dinning.
And these defendants further say that about 2 months after said sale they were informed by the said John C. Dinning himself that he was acting as the agent of the said William Dinning and that they have since been so informed by others but that previous to the information aforesaid of the said John C. Dinning these defendants had no knowledge of the said William Dinning in the whole transaction.
And these defendants further answering say that at the time of the said sale and purchase it was agreed by the said John C. Dinning would pay off all the costs which had then or should thereafter accrue in a certain suit at law brought by these defendants against the said securities of the said Bowles Dinning on the said guardian bond and which was then pending in the Sumner Circuit Court in the state of Tennessee for the purpose of recovering the one third of the value of said slaves.
And these defendants say that the said John C. Dinning has not paid off the costs in the suit aforesaid though he and the said William Dinning falsely and fraudulently procured the said suit to be dismissed at the costs of these defendants soon after the sale and purchase aforesaid.
And these defendants say that the conduct of the said confederates in their procuring said suit at law to be dismissed was a gross fraud upon the rights of these defendants.
And these defendants further say that they wholly disclaim and repudiate the said sale of their interest in said slaves and for themselves claim their original interest in the said negroes Sanders and Andrew and there together with the one third part of their hire and insist that they are not and ought not to be in any wise bound by the same and pray that the same may be wholly rescinded, annulled and set aside for naught. And these defendants hereby offer to refund to the said John C. Dinning or other person to whom the same may pertain of right, the property which they received for their interest in said slaves aforesaid or to pay therefore the sum of 100 dollars at which sum the same was valued as aforesaid Or these defendants are willing that the said sum of 100 dollars may be decreed to be paid out of the proceeds of the hire or said slaves or to abide such other order or decree in the premises as to this court may seem meet.
And these defendants further _____ answering say that they as well as the said complainants are fearful that the said William Dinning will so manage that the said slaves will not be forthcoming when the complainants shall arrive at the age of twenty one years but that the said William will remove the said slaves beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
And these defendants further say that they concur in the prayers of the said bill that the said Bowles Dinning be removed from his guardianship aforesaid and that some suitable person to be appointed in his stead and that the said negroes Sanders and Andrew with their hire to be delivered over by the said William Dinning and others who may be liable in behalf of the said complainants and these defendants and these defendants pray for special and general relief as is by the said complainants in their said bill of complaint prayed.
All which matters and things in this answer contained these defendants are ready and willing to ____, maintain and prove as this honorable court shall direct. And now having fully answered all and singular the allegations, matters and things in the said complainants said bill of complaint material or ______ for them to make answer _____. These defendants pray that they may be hence dismissed with their reasonable costs and charges in this behalf sustained.
Signed James Johnson and Mary Johnson
State of Missouri
County of Ray
James Johnson and Mary Johnson the above named defendants respectively make oath and say that their foregoing answer and the matters and things therein contained so far as the same are stated of their own knowledge are true and so far as the same are stated upon the information of others they believe to be true.
Signed James Johnson and Mary Johnson
Sworn to and subscribed before me the undersigned Justice of the Peace in and for the county of Ray and state aforesaid this 22nd day of Aug AD 1842
Signed Henry Jacobs J.P.
State of Missouri County of Ray
I, William M. Jacobs, clerk of the county court in and for the county of Ray and state aforesaid do hereby certify that Henry Jacobs whose signature appears to the above and foregoing certificate now is and was at the date thereof an acting Justice of the Peace duly empowered and qualified as such within and for the county of Ray aforesaid and that his official acts are entitles to full faith and credit and that his aforesaid signature perceive. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court this 22nd day of Aug AD 1842 William M. Jacobs
State of Missouri
County of Ray
I, Jabez (?) Shotwell, presiding justice of the county court in and for the county of Ray and state aforesaid do hereby certify that William M. Jacobs whose signature appears to the last and foregoing certificate now is and was at the day of that date thereof clerk of said court duly commissioned and qualified as such. And that his said certificate is in due form of law and that his said signature together the seal of office thereto affixed cogenuino (?) Given under my hand and seal this 25 day of Aug. AD 1842.
Signed Jabez Shotwell Presiding Justice of Ray County Precinct
Roby Harrell Complt. Bowles & William Dinning, James Johnson & wife Mary and Jane & William C. Dinning by their guardian Bowles Dinning Defdt And Jane & William C. Dinning infants by their next friend T. W. Batsridge Complt.
William & Bowles Dinning, Roby Harrell, James Johnson & his wife Mary Defendants attachment Bill Final Decree
Be it remembered that there (sic) causes came to be heard for final adjudication before the honorable L. M. Bramtell Chancellor on the 9th day of October 1843 upon the report of the Clerk & Master ordered by interlocutory decree at the last term of the court- which report being unaccepted to is ordered in all things to be confirmed.
It appearing by said report that the negroes Sanders and Andrew were sold or directed by the interlocutory decree to William Dinning for the sum of $650 upon a credit of 12 months from the 1st day of May 1843 and that the said William had executed his note for 2/3 of this sum for the use of said minors with J. B. Bracken & F. B. Wilson his securities and his note with like security for the other third for the use of the said William Dinning. Whereupon it is ordered, adjudged & decreed by the court that this last mentioned not given over to the said William Dinning and that all the right title claim & interest which the said minors Jane & William C. Dinning has in the said negroes Sanders and Andrew be divested out of them and vested in the said William Dinning. It is further ordained by the court that the Clerk & Master of this court retain said note given for the use of said minors and collect the same when it falls due and lend the money when collected at interest taking bond with good & sufficient security from year to year until said minors arrive at lawful age or until a guardian shall be appointed who may be authorized to receive the same all other matters in this cause having been disposed of by the interlocutory decree.