Alba, Pedro de v. Victoria Le Sassier (Lessasier)
Transcribed and contributed
by: Deborah Beagle Baldock
Record Group 970
Series 73 Territorial Court
of Appeals case Files Alba, Pedro de v. Victoria Le Sassier (Lessasier) January
Pedro de Alba, senior
Born in Velez Malaga, Spain
c. 1762. Came to Pensacola c. 1782. Son of Pedro de Alba and Monica Lopez
wife of Pedro de Alba whom he married on Sept. 3, 1813.
Joseph (Jose) Noriega,
Col. of the Spanish Army and the deceased first husband of Victoria.
Joseph (Jose) Noriega,
of Victoria, who died on July 10, 1827
Emilie(a) Christin Noriega
The niece of Victoria LeSassier and also the wife of Joseph, Junior. Her mother
was Rosa LeSassier Christin (Christian). In her 1833 will, Victoria left most
of her estate to Emilia.
Loring C. Hubbell A
Northern newcomer to
Pensacola. He was a lawyer and married the widowed Emilia Noriega sometime
around 1828-9. He was also an executor of Victorias 1833 will.
Rosa LeSassier Christin
The veuve Christin. Rosa
is Victorias sister and the two shared a close relationship. Her son
Ferdinand was an executor of Victorias
Pedro (Peter) de Alba,
son by Isabelle Adelaide de Rastel de Rocheblave. Pedro turned over all of his
estate in 1819 to Pedro, Jr. and his wife Constance.
Constance Tala de Alba
The Wife of Pedro, Junior,
and also the niece of Victoria LeSassier. Victoria was not fond of Constance.
Charlotte LeSassier Tala
The mother of Constance
Alba. She offers no testimony, but Charlotte and her children are not as
favored with Victoria as the children of Rosa Christen.
Cayetana, The Poisoner of
free black man who is professed to dabble in Gris-Gris. The LeSassier witness
say that he was seen often at Mr. Albas door. However, Joseph Noriega hired
him to give his mother an antidote that, according to testimony, helped
Mrs. Riley -
A witness for Victoria who testified that she lived
in the house. Her relationship to the LeSassiers is not explained in the
Dr. John Brosnaham
The local Physician in
Pensacola at the time, and attended Victoria during her illness.
Mrs. Machaela Ingraham
A witness for Pedro De Alba
who testified that in 1819, at the age of 12, she resided in the home of Pedro,
Junior. Her familial relationship is not explained in her testimony.
John De La Rua, Hy Michelet,
& Ferdinand Moreno Prominent citizens of Pensacola who testified on behalf of Pedro de
Alba, Senior. Both said that they had known the parties and had never heard of
Victoria being poisoned in 1818-19.
First Item: a
Copy of the original divorce case filed in Escambia County, Pensacola, FL.
Madame Victoria LeSassier vs. Pedro De Alba Senior Bill for Divorce.
Pleas before the Honorable Henry
M. Brackenridge Judge of the Superior Court of West Florida in the County of
Escambia at the Court House in the City of Pensacola on the second day of June
in the year of our Lord one Thousand eight hundred and thirty one and fifty
fifth year of American Independence. [6/2/1831]
it remembered that heretofore towit on seventeenth day of February one thousand
eight hundred and thirty one (2/7/1831) D. C. Pinkham Solicitor come into the
clerks office and filed the following Bill whilit and order of Court To Wit:
To the Honorable Henry M.
Brackenridge Judge of the Superior Court for the Western District of Florida in
Chancery sitting - Your oratrix Victoria LeSassier would most respectfully
represent that some time in September 1813, in the Province of West Florida she
intermarried with a certain Pedro De Alba the elder with the hope and
expectation that her comfort and happiness would be materially promoted by the
same but that some time after this said marriage the said Alba exhibited to your
oratrix a cruel turbulent and vindictive disposition, squandered her private
property and of her son Joseph Noriega and her other relations- and as one of
evidences of the vindictive and diabolic dispositions of the said Alba he
showed to your oratrix three papers of powder and sulphur or some composition
of what nature carefully arranged which he declared he had himself expressly
prepared to put fire to the house of Madame Tala, the sister of your oratrix if
the latter had opposed the said marriage which preparations in powder he the
said Alba fired in the presence of your oratrix which very much shocked her and
induced the most painful reflections - that the said Alba treated your oratrix
in such a manner as to endanger her life and make her very miserable and
That the said Alba sought every
means of to quarrel with her only and most affectionate son, her most beloved
and affectionate sister Madame Christin and other affectionate relations, and
by his brutal conduct towards them and by threats drove them from his house
thus depriving your oratrix of the society most dear to her on earth - that
some time about the year 1819, and after the said Alba had thus deprived your
oratrix of the society of all her friends and had deprived her of a faithful
domestic of her own and put in her place a slave of his own, your oratrix
became very sick with vomiting, violent pains in the stomach attended with
great debility, which continued for several days making her more feeble each
day - that at this time the said Alba appeared to be much concerned about her
sickness but never called or offered to call a physician, that the said Alba
gave to your oratrix all the medicines and sustenance which she received or saw
them prepared and attended to it personally - but that far from benefiting your
oratrix she continued to grow worse until she became so alarmingly ill that her
death was expected every hour, yet no physician was called by the said Alba
that while your oratrix was this ill her sister profiting by a momentary
absence of the said Alba found her way into the house and chamber of your
oratrix from whence she was a few minutes after chased by the said Alba in a
brutal manner with threats, declaring that he wanted no more to nurse or take care
of your oratrix by himself - it was thru that the son of your oratrix, being
informed of her perilous situation come immediately to Pensacola and conveyed
your oratrix to his home in the country when she expected to die - that she returned to Pensacola soon after
believing she must die, sent for the said Alba by a Catholic priest expressly
to see her die and to pardon him for the death which she then and now firmly
believes - he attempted to procure her by poison - that during the whole time
the said Alba remained in her chamber he was not allowed to give her anything
or to touch or approach any vessel which contained any medicines or sustenance,
so firmly persuaded was your oratrix as well as all her friends who surrounded
her, that her sickness was caused by poison administered to her by the said
Alba or by his procurement.
Your oratrix would also state that
she was never subject to any attacks of vomiting before her said marriage with
the said Alba, and that whenever she was thus attacked she was not cured
without leaving the house and the presence of the said Pedro de Alba, the elder
- that about the year 1823 said Alba went to Havana and that a short time
before his departure he declared that your oratrix would be very sick and would
probably die, that in effect soon after the said departure of the said Alba,
your oratrix was attacked with violent vomiting and excruciating pains in the
stomach, and expected to die - that some antidote for poison or counter poison
was administered and that she was immediately relieved - that your oratrix
believes that she was poisoned by creatures of the said Alba, and by the
special procurement - and your oratrix declares that since that period she has
never had any sickness of a similar
nature - and she further declares that from information received from various
persons she alleges and believes that during this time she thus lived with the
said Alba, he made several attempts personally or by means of others at his
instigation to poison your oratrix in such a lingering manner as that the
public might believe it to be the slow effect of an ordinary disease -
And your oratrix alleges that from
information received she believes that the said Alba has a forged testament in
her name by which he hoped to take possession of the property of your oratrix
after he had thus cruelly procured her death - that in consequence of this firm
belief and the cruel and brutal conduct of the said Alba, towards your oratrix
and towards her only son and her much loved sister and niece, without any cause
but their affections and attachment to your oratrix his squandering the private
property of your oratrix and failing to contribute in the slightest manner to
her support and maintenance, a separation was determined upon by your oratrix
and agreed to by the said Alba, and this same took place in the year 1819,
since which time he has never contributed anything for the support of your
And now your oratrix would
respectfully represent that the said Pedro de Alba has again returned to this
territory of Florida and the jurisdiction of this Court, and is seeking to
molest, injure and terrify your oratrix by every means in his power, attempting
to take possession of her private property and which belonged to her son and
was in her possession long before she intermarried with the said Alba and by
threats to her Negroes and by demanding of such persons as hire or rent her
property the amount due her so as to leave your oratrix without support and
destitute of the common necessaries of life - and your oratrix alleges that
from the said cruel and brutal conduct of the said Pedro de Alba that ensued
while [damaged area of the document and unreadable]
the period your oratrix had the misfortune to live with him, a faint
description of which is detailed in this Bill but the terrifying nature of
which no one else can conceive - Your
oratrix is afraid and unable to live
with the said Pedro de Alba, the elder, wherefore she prays that he the said
Alba may be made a defendant to this Bill and that a subpoena in Chancery may
issue commanding the said Pedro De Alba to appear and answer to the allegations
here contained and set forth - and that upon the final hearing of this cause a
final divorce and separation may be decreed to your oratrix form the said Pedro
de Alba - and also that all and singular the property your oratrix may have has
at the time of her said intermarriage with the said Alba, (a schedule of which
is here unto announced and will be filed in the Honorable Court) may be decreed
to your oratrix and to her separation and entire control forever, and also that
an injunction may be added to the said subpoena, enjoining and restraining the
said Pedro de Alba under the penalty of five thousand dollars and the
punishment of this Court from threatening or molesting in any manner any of the
negroes or slaves of your oratrix in any to whom she has given their freedom,
or receiving the rents on profits of any of her estate or causing the same to
be done until the matter herein alleged and contained are finally heard and
determined, and also that it may be decreed that he pay the costs in this suit
impended and such other and further relief as may to equity appear just and
proper. (Signed): Victoria LeSassier
David Coffin Pinkham Solicitor in Chancery and Counsel for the Complainant.
me in the undersigned a Justice of the Peace within the County of Escambia
Territory of Florida appeared Mrs. Victoria LeSassier who being duly sworn said
and affirmed that the above instrument ??? purporting to be a complaint in
Chancery is true in all its contents, Pensacola this 23rd day of Nov. 1830.
Signed N. S. Parmentier.
of property mentioned in the annexed Bill of complaint of Victoria LeSassier
and therein particularly referred to Viz.
Ditto N 280 in Pensacola House and lot No. 115 in Pensacola
and Lot number 85 in Pensacola
Lots known as Tivoly Do.
No. 10 contested at law Do.
of 800 Arpens near the Escambia
of 800 Do. near Yellow River
5 Do near Bayou Chico
Marie and her son Phillip
aged two years, Jerome, Frederick, and Antonia
items were bracketed and this note was to the side: All in brackets is property
left her by her in his last will, by which in care of interference by Pedro de
Alba it reverts to Emilie Christin
list of property continues
Esther, Charlotte and
Leandro, Matilde, and her two children Laurentine and Manuel, Augustine (Sold
to F. Christin) and her children Juana, Marie Louisa, Joseph, and Cicila
(Cecile), the latter free
all under the age of five years.
and her children
Virginia and Alodie both free.
Judith age 80 or 90 years old free.
above mentioned who are free had their liberty granted by Madame LeSassier
District of Florida
In reading and
considering the foregoing it is ordered that a subpoena issued as prayed for
that the defendant answer the Complaint Bill and that the defendant be enjoined
from any interference with the property mentioned in said Bill, as in the
possession of the Complainant until the further order of this Court. Signed: H. M. Brackenridge
of Florida, Western District, Escambia County,
Pedro De Alba, Senior — & #8212;— —
are hereby commanded and strictly enjoined that laying all other business
aside, and not withstanding any excuse, you personally be and appear before the
Judge of our Superior Court for the District of Western Florida on the 17th day
of March next (being the first Monday) wherever the Court may then be, to
answer a Bill for Divorce exhibited against you in our said Court by Victoria
LeSassier and you are hereby enjoined and strictly prohibited from any interference
with the property mentioned in said Bill as in the profession of the
Complainant until further order of this Court, under the penalty of $5,000 and
the punishment of this Court and to do further and received what our said Court
shall have considered in that behalf, and this your are not to omit under a
penalty of $500.00.
— & #8212;Witness George
LeSassier Compl. — & #8212;— —Superior Court
Escambia County, Florida
de Alba, Senior Def.
— & nbsp;
— & #8212;— —— & #8212;— —& nbsp;Decree for complainant at May tenth, 1831
— & #8212;Wednesday
November 16, 1831
— & #8212;— —— & #8212;—
is ordered on motion that the original correspondence of the parties filed
herein be served by the Clark of the Court to the Clerk of the Court of Appeals
True Copy attest Geo. F. Batlzell,
of our said Court at the Court House in the City of Pensacola this 17th
day of February in the year of our Lord 1831. Signed: Geo. F. Baltzell, Clk.
the back of which is the following return by the Marshall ToWit-
by delivering a certified Copy of the within to Pedro de Alba, Sen. Pens. April
13th, 1831. Signed James M. Exum Mar by Joseph Sierra D. Mar.
Afterwards ToWit on the 6th
May 1831 the Defendant by his Counsel E. L. Drake, Esquire filed the following
de Alba vs. Victoria Le Sassier
— & #8212;
The answer of Pedro de Alba Sen the
Defendant to a Bill of Complaint of Victoria LeSassier.
— & #8212;
now and all times whereafter leaving and reserving all, and all manner of
benefit and advantage of exception to the manifold errors, uncertainties
imperfections and insufficiencies in the said complaints Said bill of complaint
contained for answer thereunto or unto so much, and such parts thereof as he
this defendant in Divorce is material for him this defendant to make answer
unto he this Defendant answering Saith That as to the first allegation in the
said bill, true it is that sometime in the month of September 1813 in the
Province of West Florida, this Defendant intermarried with Victoria LeSassier
the aforesaid complainant, but this Defendant denies expressly and positively
that he ever exhibited towards said complainant a cruel, turbulent, or
vindictive disposition, squandered her private property, abused her son Joseph
Noriega or her other relations, as set forth in the said Bill of Complaint, or
in any manner whatsoever.
— & #8212;
further answering Saith that it is not true, that he showed said complainant
any papers of powder and sulphur, or any composition of that nature, or that he
ever said anything about his having intended to put fire to the House of Madam
Tala in case she had opposed his marriage with the said Complainant, but that
every allegation in relation thereto is wholly false.
— & #8212;
further answering saith that the allegations contained in said Bill of
Complaint, that he ill treated said complainant in such a manner as to endanger
her life, that he sought mean is of offense with her son, or sister, or other
relations, is in every particular untrue
— & #8212;
Defendant further answering saith, that everything alleged, stated as matter of
belief or insinuated relative to this Defendants having administered or
procured to be administered poison to the said complainant, as alleged in her
said Bill of Complaint, or at any other times, or in any other manner is in
every particular utterly false.
— & #8212;
further saith that this allegation contained in the said Bill charging this
Defendant, with having predicted that the said Complainant would be sick, or
die is wholly untrue, and this defendant denies that at the time alleged, nor
at any other time was any agreement of Separation made between the Defendant
and the said Complainant his wife , but that the said Complainant contrary to
the wishes of this Defendant, and without the slightest provocation on his
part, abandoned the House of this Defendant.
— & #8212;
Defendant further answering denies that he has failed to contribute to the
support of the said Complainant his wife, but on the contrary has always
provided and does now provide liberally for such support, and he further denies
that he has by any means sought to injure, molest, or terrify his said wife in
any manner whatsoever.
— & #8212;
Defendant furthering answering saith that all and every of the allegations in
the said Bill of Complaint contained, not herein expressly confessed or denied,
are utterly false scandalous and Defame.
— & #8212;— & #8212;— —Signed: Pedro De Alba
To Which Said Answer the
Complainant by her Counsel Jos. M. White, Esquire filed the following
Replication to Wit
Replication of Victoria Le Sassier to the answer of Pedro De Alba, Senr,
— & #8212;
saving and reserving to herself all, and all manner of advantage of exception
to the manifold insufficiencies of the said answer for replication thereunto
saith that she will aver and prove her said Bill to be true, certain, and
sufficient in the law to be answered thereunto, and that the said answer of the
Defendant is uncertain, untrue, and insufficient to be replied unto by this
repliant, with out that, that any other matter or thing whatsoever in the said
answer contained material or effective in the law to be replied unto confessed
or avoided transversed or denied is true. All which matters and things this
repliant is and will be ready to aver and prove as this Honorable Court shall
direct, and humbly prays as in and by said Bill she hath already prayed of.
— & #8212;Signed: Jos. M. White
— & #8212;Solicitor in
And the said Complainant by
her Counsel Jos. M. White, Esquire on the 6th day of May filed the
following amended bill towit
— & #8212;The Complainant
in the above suit prays leave to file her amended Bill and for amendment
thereto further represents to your honor, that by the laws of the Spanish
Monarchy subsisting and in force in the Province of West Florida prior to the
year 1822, your oratrix was entitled to her separate property, independent of
the control or disposition of the said Defendant, which right has in no wise
been changed by the transfer of the Province to this United States but said
property was secured to her by the treaty of Cession and by an act of the
Legislative Council in the year 1824 according to the right and title by which
she held it while the Province was under the dominion of the Catholic Majesty
your oratrix is further advised that the abandonment of her by the said
Defendant for many years, without contributing in the slightest degree to her
maintenance and without the assistance on his part to the ownership of any part
of the property and without claiming any control over the same before or since
the transfer of the Province, is an acknowledgment on his part of her right to
the same = Your oratrix is further advised that the said Alba is bound in law
to provide Alimony, which according to any equitable calculation, if he were
entitled to any control over the property which she does not admit, would not
be more than that retained by her
— & #8212;
further shows to your honor that the said Pedro de Alba, Senr, has filed a Bill
in the Honourable Court against Loring C. Hubbell and Emilie, his wife with a
certain agreement filed as an exhibit, which whilst, she prays may be made a
part of this her Bill of Complaint your oratrix further charges that the said
Alba, was of arbitrary, civil, and evengeful temper and treated your oratrix
upon various occasions with extreme cruelty, not only in his attempt to
administer poison as before disclosed in her said original Bill of Complaint,
but in other as to equally oppressive and incompatible with that harmony and
happiness which should subsist between man and wife Your oratrix further
charges by the agreement filed as a foresaid in the other suit in this
Honourable Court, and before referred to that the said Pedro De Alba, Senr
consented to the settlement of this said property upon her son Joseph Noriega
with her and his entire consent and approbation and she is advised that the
execution of that instrument is in law a release of any claim even to the
managing of the said property on his part. Your oratrix further alleges that
the said Alba was a man of lower morals and abandoned habits and his whole
conduct was unfeeling brutal and oppressive as to render her life a torment
until the separation all which she alleges as valid causes in law for a divorce
for the protection of her separate property, for alimony which he has never
furnished, and she humbly prays that if the facts set forth in her said Bill of
Complaint should not be deemed suffering for a divorce that a perpetual
injunction be granted to secure her in her rights of property under the laws of
Spain, and the statutes of this Territory in such cases provided and such other
and further relief as the peculiar circumstances of this case require as to
equity belongs .
— & #8212;Signed:
Jos M. White Solicitor for Complt.
THE OPINION OF
THE CHANCERY COURT
towit at a Court held as aforesaid on the 31st day of May in the
year aforesaid come the parties by their Counsel and the arguments being heard
in part court adjourned.
now at this day towit, on the 2nd day of June in the year aforesaid,
— & #8212;This day come
the parties by their attorneys and the opinion and decree of the Court is as
— & #8212;This is an
application for divorce a mensa et thoro, the parties are aged persons
between twenty and eighty who intermarried in second nuptials at an advanced
age about sixty lived a short time together, when an unfortunate disagreement
took place. Then petitioner as she
alleges on account of cruel treatment from her husband withdrew to the house of
her son and the parties have lived separate nearly twelve years, and during the
greater part of that time, with the whole width of the Gulf of Mexico
interposed between them she residing here and her husband in Havana.
— & #8212;
question which presents itself is, as to the power of the Court to grant
divorces a mensa et thoro, for causes happening prior to the passage of
the Acts of the Council. The Courts of this Territory had power to grant such
divorces before this passage of that Act. The civil rights of the citizens
secured by any of the laws of England not of local application, no matter in
what Courts they were remedied there, could find a remedy here. The
ecclesiastical Courts in England exercise intensive equity powers, and will it
be said that the civil rights usually remedied in that Court, can find no
remedy here, unless the Court are expressly authorised to take cognizance of them.
2. The Act of the Council however, does not declare what shall be good cause of
divorce a mensa et thoro, it merely gives power to the Court to
ask on what was a preexisting cause, it might as well be said, That when a
Court is authorised to entertain action of debt or trespass, that the cause of
action must arise subsequently to the passage of the act. I think it therefore
competent to this Court to grant a divorce a mensa et thoro, as will for
the causes in the act, as for any other legal cause.
— & #8212;
The Court will now proceed to examine the
evidence in support of the charge of cruel treatment. It is to be regretted
that an accusation of so shocking a nature as that of an attempt to poison, was
thought necessary or that proof was offered in support of it, consisting of
facts and circumstances, offering only presumptive evidence of such an attempt
more than twelve year ago, the Court without any impeachment of the credibility
of any of the witnesses, rejects this part of the evidence. The accusation and
suspicion goes to show how little affection there is on the part of the aged
lady to her aged husband, and how slight the probability of reconciliation. But
other facts are positively testified to of a different character, they are such
as did produce an actual separation which has lasted ever since. The Court
avoids going into detail unhappily, there is always in such disclosures, much
that ought to be covered by the miracle of charity and much that had better be
blotted out forever. It is evident that the Petitioner withdrew to the house of
her son from a firm belief that she had been cruelly treated by her husband,
and not from wantonness or frivolity; in the many years which have elapsed
since that period without the assertion of any right of any right on his part
if time can perfect anything ought, in this instance to sanction her act even
if originally the cause has been insufficient. During the eleven or twelve year
which subsequently elapsed, her husband contributed nothing to her support, he
was during the greater part of that time in what might ought be considered a
foreign country, and if she had stood in need of support it would have scarcely
been in her power to have called upon him. Judicially their circumstances taken
in conjunction with the testimony, in the opinion of this Court constitutes
sufficient cause for divorce.
— & #8212;
But the Court is
of opinion that even without this divorce it would be in its power to secure
the Petitioner in the object of her petition, which is not to live separate and
apart from her husband, for she already does so, but to prevent him from
interfering with her property which constitutes her means of support and which
he has never attempted to touch since the separation till now. This is plainly
the object of the petition. The respondent has previously filed a bill against
the person in whose hands that property remains by her consent, and subject to
her contract, and which bill prayed that that property might be delivered up to
him, thus taking into his hand her means of support to her bestowed where and
how he might think proper.
— & #8212;
the Court cannot but remark, the injustice and cruelty of such an attempt and
without which it is evident the wife could never have appeared here as a
petitioner. It is evident that it is not the person of the aged petitioner
which is the object of pursuit, but her property. They are both above seventy
years old, have no children of their marriage, both had children grown at the
time of their marriage, with whom they have since lived. Is it possible under
such circumstances any Court would refrain to interpose its protection? Was it
the cruel design of her husband to leave her destitute by depriving her of her
own property? Is it likely from their advanced age that much connubial
happiness could arise from forcing her to take shelter under his roof if he has
one, by rendering her intensely dependent on him? The Court can see but one
object in the controversy and that is on the part of the respondent an attempt
to deprive the petitioner of her property under the pretense of marital rights
and on his part an appeal to this Court for its protection. All that is
necessary to be done to afford her that protection is to secure her in the enjoyment
of her own, to let it remain as it ever has been, under her own control. She
has her relations, her niece and nephew dependent, and if she is to make an
ultimate disposition of her property, is it not natural, she should prefer
these to strangers may perhaps to suing part of it consumed in the expenses
of litigation and part of it squandered.
— & #8212;If it be said
that according to the Laws of England an exclusive control over her own
property, can only follow in a divorce, which position the Court denies, it is
enough to answer, that rights of the wife to her property, arise in this case,
under the Laws of Spain which do allow that privilege. By that law the wife can
hold a separate property without the intervention of trustees over which the
husband can exercise no control, respecting which she may contract with him or
with anyone else. It is true her contracts are said to be deconsentiments de
su esporo, but that consent can be coerced by the Judge if refused. It is
therefore no more than a form. The husband is no party to such contract for he
has no right in the subject of it. She is the sole mistress of the property,
was during the marriage. The person who drew the Bill of the respondent and
which is referred to as part of the evidence in this Court most egregiously
mistook the nature of the exhibit to that Bill. That is nothing more than a
contract between the present petitioner and her son, to whom she delivers
certain property as a beneficial trustee to be subject to a trust on her behalf
during her life but determinable on certain conditions. The husband has given
his assent in the usual form, not to the contract but to the authority to
contract. That trust does not terminate with the death of the trustee, it is
continued in her representatives and if there be no representatives, this Court
may appoint a person to administer it. Even according to the Laws of England it
might be even be decreed a trust property to her separate use. And what is said
in the contract about her husband presents not permitting him to manage the
property is a mere salvo on her part, for placing it in the hands of her son in
preference and not a reason given by him for declining the exercise of any
right he might profess. The disposition of the property depended on her will
— & #8212;
It was her
property before the marriage and not a dowry expressly declared as such, on the
marriage. The husband does not acquire as at common law a right to all the
property of the wife mainly in virtue of the marriage, All he acquires is the
right to manage the dower during the marriage and so long as it subsists, the
property expressly delivered for this purpose is under his control., but in the
dissolution of the marriage it must be returned to the heirs of the wife. If
delivered by inventory and appraisement it is said a lienate this particular
thing which otherwise he could not do; yet he must in like manner account for
the amount to the heirs of the wife, or to the wife herself on the dissolution
of the marriage. The dower is only placed in his hands to defray the expenses
of the marriage and if there be no such expenses to defray he has no right to
it. According to the Spanish Law the dowry may be taken out of the hands of the
husband by order of a judge without decree separation of persons when it is in
the opinion of the judge it is likely to be wasted. It may be separated from
the mass of his property if any danger of it being taken by his creditors, and
may be placed under the separate control of the wife in such manner as the
judge may think most to her advantage, In the opinion of the Court the
petitioner had this right under the Spanish Laws even in a case of the dower
and if the Spanish Court would protect that right, this Court will do so.
— & #8212;
extraordinary case, the wife instead of claiming alimony is resisting an
attempt to deprive her of her own property set apart for her support
- property which her husband may have
contributed to ????, but not to increase. She expressly renounces all claim to
alimony. It appears that he has no property having made over what he had to his
son. It is he then who is claiming alimony out of his wifes property. But he
is not destitute. It appears from his own evidence, that he receives a sum
form the Spanish Government fully adequate to his support. If this petitioner
had not fortunately been possessed of some property she might at this time been
destitute. To do perfect Justice to the parties, they ought both to be
permitted to remain as precisely as they are and the most effectual mode
of accomplishing this is sanction by a Judicial decree that which they
themselves, have sanctioned by a tacit assent of nearly twelve years a
sufficient length of time to warrant a Judicial presumption of an actual
agreement to separate, and which by the laws of Spain, they could make. This
Court will therefore proceed to pronounce a divorce a mensa et thoro and
a perpetual injunction against the respondent from any interference with her
property whether in her possession or in the possession of any other for her
— & #8212;
The Court having
examined and considered the Bill, answer and exhibits in the above compl. such,
and this Bill answer and exhibits in the case of the Defendant Pedro De Alba
Senr vs. Loring C. Hubbell and Emilie his wife referred to in the amended Bill
of the Complainant and made a part thereof do order and decree that the
Petition of the Complainant for a divorce a mensa et thoro be granted
and that the parties be accordingly divorced and it is further ordered and
decreed that the said Victoria LeSassier have full power control and management
of her property with authority to contract and disposes of the same in such
manner and to such persons as she may think proper. - And it is further
ordered and decreed that the said Pedro de Alba Senr be forever enjoined from
any interference with or control in the schedule of division between her and
her son Joseph Noriega or of that which was delivered to her son by agreement
signed by the parties dated May 18, 1815 by the consent and approbation of the
said Pedro De Alba. It is further ordered decreed that the said Defendant pay
the costs of the above suit.
— & #8212;
Signed: H. M.
opinion and decree of the Court the Defendant objects and on motion leave is
granted him to take an appeal to the Court of Appeals of Florida, by his giving
bond with William A. Ball and Peter Alba, Jr. as securities in the sum of TWO
HUNDRED DOLLARS conditioned accordingly to
is the documentary evidence taken, referred, and filed in this case towit
— & #8212;
The Deposition of Mrs. Riley taken by
consent of parties to be used as evidence in the case Victoria LeSassier vs.
Peter Alba. Examined by Plaintiffs Solicitor.
lived in the family of Mrs. Alba while he and his wife lived together, a year
or eighteen months. Mr. Albas treatment to his wife was kind before me, they
however had sometimes had some quarrels by words. I never saw him use any
violence towards his wife. Never knew that any servant was taken away from
her, never heard of or saw of any powder to set fire to Madame Talas house.
One day we used milk in Coffee which made us all sick except Madame Christin
who did not use any of it, Madame Alba was the most affected having used the
most (milk). The family supposed it poisoned.
— & #8212;
Cross-examined by Solicrs. For Defd.
cannot recollect precisely at what time I commenced to live with Mrs. Alba. It
was four or five months before they parted afterward I resided with Madame
Alba. I think it was after this place was given up to the Spaniards, Mrs. Alba
was once, as I recollect, sick while she lived with Mr. Alba. I do not
recollect whether she was sick when she separated
her husband or not. She walked from the house to the boat, I went to the Brick
Yard with her. Dont know how long she remained at the BrickYard I was very
young at the time and cannot be positive about period of time. I returned form
the BrickYard with her. She was sick after at the back yard and was sick
after she returned. I think it was in the spring but am not certain.
Think it was warm weather when Mrs. Alba
returned from the BrickYard. The affair of the milk happened soon after she
returned from the brickyard. The servant used to bring the milk and Madame
Christin used to see to the boiling and making of the coffee, Mrs. Alba
received the milk when she was well, when she was sick Madame Christin received
it when Madame Alba was sick. The milk sent for to Mrs. Albas house was kept
and boiled separately. After Mrs. Alba got better I heard talk of her again
living with her husband. I heard that the reason why she would not live with
her husband was, that she received a letter from some one without signature
apprising her that her husband wished to poison her. I did not see the letter.
Before the receipt of that letter they had agreed to live together. Madame Alba
was at the table on the morning the milk made us sick and was in the habit of
taking of the same milk prepared for Mr. Alba. The family had other milk.
Mr. Alba was employed in the Hospital and used to go there every morning.
Signed Isabelle Rielley
to and Subscribed before me this 10th day of May 1831. Signed A.
Gordon Justice of the Peace.
The Deposition of Dr. John Brosnaham
— & #8212;I was called on to attend on
Madame Alba, as Physician in the month of November, 1819 on the 15th,
16th, and 17th days of that month. I made three visits.
She was affected by Cholics, and appeared a little unhappy she had no
symptoms of having been poisoned nor did I hear from any person or Joseph
Noriega, that they suspected she had been poisoned. I did not see Noriega
during my visits. I administered peppermint and laudanum whenever I conversed
with Noriega, it was in the English language. Signed: Juan Brosnaham
Sworn to and Subscribed before me this 11th
day of May 1831. Signed A. Gordon, Justice of the Peace.
The Deposition of John De la Rua
acquainted with Peter Alba, Senr and his family as far as I have seen or
discovered he always treated his wife with respect. I visited the house but
seldom while the parties lived together. I never heard until within 5 or 6
months, that Mr. Alba had been suspected of poisoning his wife. - Madame
Christin had a house and Lot, two slaves and money due from the House of Forbes
and Co. Mrs. Christin lived in the house of Madame Alba several years after the
separation with her children. Col. Joseph Noriega, Mrs. Alba, and Madame
Christin all lived together - in a
house in Government Street. I have heard of the Negro Cayetana, who was reputed
capable of curing persons affected with Negro witchcraft never heard him called
a poisoner. I have always understood that Mr. Alba, fearful of this Negro
withcraft. Cayetana left Pensacola as I think in 1818. -
Cross Examined by Pltfs, Sol.
Mr. Alba has spent a greater part of his time since 1819 out of
the United States. He held a Commission in the Spanish Service.
Signed: Jn. Dela Rua
and subscribed before me this 11th day of May 1831. A. Gordon,
Justice of the Peace.
Fernando Moreno Sworn to wit-
know a Negro called Cayetana but never heard him suspected of being a poisoner.
Dont know whether he cured gri[s]gri [s]or not, or had that reputation of
curing it or not. He remained here a number of years condemned to labour on
the public works and left here for Havana with the Spanish troops at the time.
Gen. Jackson occupied Pensacola in 1818. I also saw him in Havana in 1818. He
was a quiet and peaceable Negro he was between 50 and 55 years of age and ???
gray never heard anything said on subject of Mr. Albas treatment of his wife. Signed: Fdo. Moreno
and Subscribed before me this 11th day of May 1831Signed. A. Gordon, Justice of the
— & #8212;
Deposition of Hy Michelet
was acquainted with Peter Alba, Senr, when he lived with his wife. I never
heard anything of his ill treatment towards her. Never heard till within a
few days, that Mr. Alba had been suspected of poisoning his wife. Signed: Hy
to and Subscribed before me this 11th day of May 1831. Signed A. Gordon,
Justice of the Peace.
Deposition taken by consent
of parties as to be used in the case of Victoria Le Sassier vs. Peter Alba
Senr, and in behalf of said defendant.
Alba, Jr., sworn saith I am the son to the Defendant, and the plaintiff is my
wifes aunt. During the whole time the parties lived together, I lived in a
house which had a yard common to both houses. I did not visit my fathers house
very often until the year 1818. My wife and myself dined in my fathers house
very often. The reason of my not visiting often and ceasing to dine was that
Mrs. Alba was not on good terms with my wife and myself during the time the
parties lived together. I had no knowledge that Mrs. Alba was sick at all. I do
not think she could have been very ill without my knowledge. The cause of
Mrs. Albas leaving her husbands house, was some words of dispute between them
relative to some accounts Mr. Noriega, a part of this dispute I heard. The
principal cause was because Madame Christin whipped one of Madame Albas
wenches without his consent. The nature of the account was a claim of Mr. Alba
against Mr. Noriega for money advanced in New Orleans. It never resulted in any
suit and to my knowledge, there was never any suit between them.
The parties during the last eighteen months
they lived together lived in good style, and I never knew of any visitors being
prohibited. They received a good deal of company. My father never sent any milk to Mrs. Alba. I sent the milk, or rather
I owned the cows, and the mulatto girl was in the habit of coming after it and
taking it to Madame Alba. The mulatto girl Charlotte, used to milk the cow
and when she came too late for milking she
took it from the bucket. My father was employed in the Military Hospital,
in issuing the Hospital stores, and was at the Hospital at 5 oclock A.M. in
the summer to 8 or 9 in the morning. In Winter to about 8 or 10 A. M.
The milk sent to Madame Alba was never
boiled previous to its being sent. Mrs. Alba was attended by her own servant
none of my fathers servants were at home then. Never knew of my father having
about his house, or employing a man who has the reputation of selling poison.
I knew a free Negro by the name of Cayetana, but I never heard him called the
Poisoner, but has heard him in joke called the buzzard.
— & #8212;This Negro left
Pensacola in the month of June 1818 for Havana. Mrs. Alba left my fathers
house the last time in the month of June 1819 and remained at the BrickYard
about four months. The property of Madame Christins previous to my fathers
marriage, consisted of a House and lot in town, an old Mulatto woman and a
little boy. She has no income after my fathers marriage. She and her
children took their meals at my fathers house. Mrs. Hubbell had before the
marriage had lived with Madame Alba, and continued to live with her afterwards.
After the separation Madame Christin lived at Madame Albas house. In the month
of December, 1819, I was in the garden with my father when Mrs. Alba was
talking to my father from a window. Madame Christin seeing it sent for Noriega
and observed to him he ought not to allow Mrs. Alba to talk with her husband
because he might persuade her to return and live with him. And that same day,
Madame Alba was taken to the BrickYard. I do not believe Madame Christin could
then understand any English at all. Being shown four letters numbered 1, 2, 3,
& 4, I knew the hand to be that of Madame Alba.
— & #8212;Cross Examined by Pltfs. Solic.
parties have not lived together since the year 1819. Mr. Alba has no control
over her property since this period, and dont know whether he has contributed
anything since that time to her support or not. He has been out of the United
States the greater part of that time since 1819 holding a Commission in the
Spanish Service and is now retired on full pay. and holds the Office of Vice
Consul of the King of Spain at Pensacola. He has not to my knowledge
attempted to exercise any control over Madame Albas property since 1819. The
full pay for my father is $65.00 per month, and the Office of Vice Consul gives
only fees of Office. Madame Alba was always a good and submissive wife till
1819. And my fathers conduct towards her was always kind and affectionate.
P. Alba. Sworn and Subscribed before me this 11th day of May 1831.
Signed: A. Gordon, Justice of the Peace.
Deposition of Loring C. Hubbell
Madame Christin does not know the English language in connected sentences. She
probably understands detached words. Signed: L.C. Hubbell
and Subscribed before me this 11th day of May, 1831. Signed: A.
Gordon, Justice of the Peace.
The next items
are letters signed by Victoire LeSassier in French. Approx. 2 pages in length and
is translated below:
— & #8212;Translation from the French
Paper No. 1
I am arrived from the Brickyard somewhat sick. I wish those shouldnt make me
know the hour when I may send for my bed and my armoire as well as the remainder
of my goods & furniture the barge has come the Negroes of my son may be
employed for conveying that which I ask. Signed: Victoria LeSassier
Written in Spanish in
another hand: I received it on 11th Oct. 1819, at 9 A.M.
— & #8212; Paper
I have received the letter in which thou tellest to me thou request to speak to
with truth thou repeatest several times that thou art my husband and that we
should live together of all that, I am not ignorant but what I was ignorant is
that I did not think I was thy slave thought I was thy wife in all thy letters
thou utterest to me not thou lovest me.
but these are words only for in my past I have perceived but traits of
hatred. Thou oughtest to have approved me when having seen thy passion for Constance. I took the step which I have taken
unable that I was to support any longer the vexations which, I experienced for
her, I have got afar. I went to live with my children who thou went unwilling
to see because she hated them. I have often told you that I wanted the yard to
be separated that it would not be in common with her but as it was not her
will. Thou hast always looked upon what I told thee with contempt. Thinking
that I could have no will of my own. Since I was thy wife thou repeatedly
tellest me to come and inhabite my house, but thou doest not tell me which I
cannot believe that it is that of Constance.
There is no power on earth to force me to it what that I should still
undergo the contempt of thy children. No, Alba, do not believe it. I will know
that they authorised by thee .How, should have Constance dared to turn my house
into her eating room if thou hast not found good that she should insult me to
that degree. I tell it to thee, I am not
to inhabit a house where Constance be within my sight. It is her who is the
author of our divorce and of all the disagreements I have undergone since
marriage. I perceive that it is the remorses of thy conscience that induced
for why doesnt thou speak to me of scandal if there is any. It is given and
since thou livest with thy children, I think I can do as much. When I went to
the plantation of my son I wrote thee that if thou givest me another house, I
would return instantly. To show me the contempt with which thou treatest me
thou hast not answered me. This day thou sayest to me that I must take care of
my reputation. It is not at the age of sixty that I would fear slander.
furthermore I will do like Constance. I will ??? one above the public, thou
sayeth that thou never gavest me the slightest motive, a slave of thine would
have complained of it but as for me thou
believed I was too much obliged to suffer them. But Alba that time of
slavery is over/ I consider myself thy equal in every respect. Thou inquirest
of my motives I tell them to thee quite plain as thou wisheth.
— & #8212;GoodBy Victoire LeSassier
Spanish with another hand
Victoire to give thee a
proof of the tenderness I have for thee and to answer thee as thou wishest do
me the favor to put in Spanish this very letter. I return it to thee because I
cannot understand it well nor pructrate?
me sufficiently with thy expressions. I see a great deal in them, that I
cannot comprehend and send it to me back today or tomorrow at thy pleasure.
— & #8212;Good By
— & #8212;Paper No. 3
I see that thou treatest me like a child. Thou always believed that I was such
a fool that I was led only by the advises of Madame Christin that I was not
capable of judging of what takes place under my eyes. No, I will not go to
Charlottes House (Charlotte Tala) because at my age I should know how to
govern myself. Thou thinkest that by telling me some words of love everything
will be effaced from my memory. Thou always thought so when ill treating me.
For Constance I cannot believe in what thou sayest to me but that Constance
has put thee out of thy own house. I always expected so, that after have thee to
give all thy property and when nothing remains to thee that she would put thee
out. Thou tellest to me that thou will go where I please. I have no other as
yours than at my son if thou art willing to come there. Thou wilt always be
well received not withstanding all that thou did to him to please Constance.
Thou requested me to translate my letter. I cannot do it. But thy son can send
it to you. Thou should not have better
friends than him and Constance, thou sayest further that the Devil has got into
our displeasures. I see as well that he has placed himself there and in the
form of CONSTANCE and I believe him in her in person. I finish for thou would consider any letter too long and it
would still be necessary to translate it to thee. Signed: Good By Victoire
— & #8212;
Paper No. 4
How canst thou Alba tell me
that it is an illusion and a false idea that I entertain against Constance.
Why thyself thou hast put me
out of thy house for her all our quarrels come by her and the last time that I
went from the house thou toldest to me not to return in it again. Unless it was
so, wouldest thou permitted that Constance established herself at my house.
Thou hast but little memory when it fits this. Thou proposed me today to return
in thy ????. Before I should reenter it thou must show me that the house is thy
own or what property thou still possessest to maintain me with the decency I
deserve for if thou hast given the whole to thy children it is just I should do
as much. I also make my condition, my family will come to my house just like
thou sees thy own. I pretend to the same right as thee in my house. Thou hast
kept me in slavery since the marriage of Constance, I have recovered my freedom
when thou didst put me out of thy house and I want to retain it. If these
conditions are agreeable to this, let me know it.
— & #8212;Good By
Signed Victoire LeSassier
appeared N. S. Parmentier before me this 6th day of May 1831 and
made oath that the Translation of the foregoing four letters by him made is a
faithful literal and true translation, according to his skill and ability.
Signed: N. S. Parmentier
and Subscribed before me this 16th day of May 1831 signed A. Gordon,
Justice of the Peace.
Depositions taken by consent
of the parties and to be read in evidence in the case of Madam Victoria
LeSassier vs. Pedro de Alba Senr.---------
Rosa Christin sworn declares as follows:
Pedro de Alba, Senr. Intermarried with Victoria LeSassier in September 1813
Solc. For Complainant
How long did they live together? Until
about the year 1818, as the witness believes.
2nd. What relation are you to the Complainant? I am a sister of the Complainant.
Ques. 3rd. Did you reside with the
complainant and defendant while they lived together? I lived in house of the
parties about 2 months during which time Madame LeSassier was at New Orleans
and Mr. Alba at Havanna. I was frequently at their house during the time they
What were the causes of their separation? Disease
by frequent vomitings. The son of the Plaintiff used to take Madame LeSassier
often to the Brickyard for the recovery of her health whenever she would
return to her own house, the vomitings would again happen.
4. Were the vomitings spoken of periodical, did she ever recover from them
while she remained at home, and did she not recover form them after leaving his
house? The Complainant experienced those
vomitings only while she was in the house of her husband. That she recovered
when she had left it for some time. But experienced the return of the same when
she returned to her husbands house.
5. Had you any reason to believe that those vomitings were occasioned poisons? There was enough to think so I cannot
affirm it, but I believe it. On a certain day, Mr. Alba had sent some Milk, and
ale. The family except this despondent used the milk and all who used it was
taken sick and this despondent took care of them. This circumstance corroborated
suspicions before entertained Mr. Alba having cows was in the habit of sending
milk for his wifes breakfast, and.the day spoken of the milk sent, was mixed
with the milk in the family The day before this one mentioned above, Mrs.
Alba had been very sick after drinking her coffee and Milk, But on this day
first mentioned, the servants had mixed the two parcels of Milk spoken of and
the whole family ho used the Milk were sick. The Milk which Mr. Alba furnished
usually came in before the other milk, and Madame Alba was in the habit of
using it as soon as it arrived, but on the day mentioned being more sick than
usual, she did not use it, and the servants mixed this Milk as before stated.
6. Did not the facts above enumerated occur about the time that Mr. Alba forbid
his house to the relations of his wife? And what were the circumstances of
forbidding her house to them.? For some
time before, Mr. Alba had been so gross towards the deponent that she had
ceased visiting the house, except when her sister sent for her, and then she
went without the knowledge of Mr. Alba. One day of the Holy Week while Mr. Alba
was at Church, having been sent for she went. Madame Alba desired her to send for her son, so she believes she was
about to die. This deponent had not been more that ten minutes in the house
when Mr. Alba come in and suing her and her daughter who also was with he, made
a terrible noise. He said that he was sufficient to take care of his wife, and
did not wish to see any of her relations. The deponent and her daughter went
away, and as they returned they heard Mr. Alba scolding his wife. They sent
information to Mr. Noriega who came to town and took his mother to the Country
where she remained afterwards. -
7, Did Mr. Noriega employ a physician to administer remedies for poison to his
mother? In the house of Mr. Alba, Madame
Alba had no physician. But as soon as they was at the house of Mr. Noriega she
had a physician. Mr. Noriega stated to the physician his suspicions. That his
mother had taken poison and the physician administered a great many things
which relieved her.
Was Mad. Alba before her marriage or since her separation subject to those
vomitings? Before her marriage with Mr.
Alba the deponent never knew her to be sick with a similar attack. Since her
separation, except in one instance when it was supposed something similar had
9. Did Mr. Alba about this time of those attacks take from his wife a favourite
and faithful servant and substitute one of his own? It is true that Mad. Alba had in the house a favourite servant named
Charlotte, and that she never she never had this servant in attendance on her
but was attended by a servant belonging to Mr. Alba. When Mad. Alba was in this
habit of calling on Charlotte, Mr. Alba used to reply that Charlotte was busy
and would send her another servant. This servant who waited upon her was named
Amy and she would have preferred her own servant. -
10. Did Mr. Alba about this time hire a person, who was believed here to be a
sender of poison? That man was very often
about the house of Mr. Alba. The man was a free Negro, and had the reputation
of sending poison. The family ever so much afraid of this Negro, that they did
not wish to see him.
11. Did not this Negro attended to administer to the Complainant an antidote
for poison when she had her last attack? He
12. Why the Negro employed to administer the antidote? Mr. Alba sent for the Negro and asked him if he could cure her. He
answered yes and on being promised a Doubloon administered an antidote for
poison. The symptoms of her last attack were like those of her former attack.
Have you seen the Negro with Mr. Alba and often at the door of his house? I have sometimes seen the Negro with Mr.
Alba and often at the door of his house.
14. Did the defendant conduct himself towards the complainant in a kind and
affectionate manner, or on the contrary. He
conducted himself in quite the contrary manner.
Did the defendant use violent or threatening language toward the complainant or
deny to him the government of the domestics. When Mrs. Alba give an order to a servant, Mr. Alba gave contrary
16. Did Mrs. Alba in her severest illness in town send for Mr. Alba to forgive
him, and what took place, on that occasion. Mrs.
Alba in her extreme illness in 1818 did send for her husband for the purpose
mentioned. That on the occasion Mr. Alba requested some broth from another
room. The family objected to the broths being administered by Mr. Alba and
this witness afterward administered it. On another occasion having sent for a
bottle of orange flavour water, and having been informed that it had been
uncorked by Mr. Alba, Mrs. Alba refused to take any of it. -
— & #8212;Madam Rosa Christin, Cross Examined by Defts.
the 18 months that Mr. and Mrs. Alba lived together, I visited their house
several times, when I had heard that my sister was sick. perhaps five times.
I have seen my sister vomit very often when I have been there. I am not sure
that any white person saw her vomit as Mr. Alba did not permit visitors at that
time belonging to the family. At first, Madame Alba did not know to what to
attribute the malady. After some time she believed the cause to be poison,
and I think it was before my sister left her husbands house, that she
communicated to me her suspicions of poison. A short time before my sister left
her husbands house, Mr. Alba and Mr. Noriega had a pretty sharp quarrel about
some Debt which was contracted on her Mrs. Albas account and which Mr. Noriega
thought Mr. Alba ought to have paid. I was not present at the quarrel and know
nothing of it except from hearsay. When Madame Alba was carried to the
Brickyard sick, she remained but a very few days. She grew no better and hence
was brought to town for Medical aid. Dr. Brosnaham was called, and visited her
several times, and administered several doses of oils. He visited her several
days. Mr. Noriega told the Doctor in my presence that he thought his mother
had been poisoned. After being told this, he withdrew the prescription, first
given, and ordered other Medicine. I only visited the house when Mr. Alba was
out, and observing that Charlotte, her favourite servant was not in attendance.
An on inquiring the reason was told by my sister that whenever she wished her
attendance, it was said Charlotte was busy. I was never present when Mr. Alba
said Charlotte was busy. I have seen the Negro, called the poisoner, several
times in the yard of Mr. Alba. At this time P. Alba, Jr. occupied the little
house in front, and was not sick at the same time Mrs. Alba was sick. it was
before. Mr. Albas conduct towards his
wife was unkind/in/grossier/words and in giving contradictory orders to the
domestics, when Madame Alba had given an order to a domestic which the domestic
did not obey. Mr. Alba would say she does well not to obey. These things have
happened in my presence. The milk was received from a servant who delivered it
from Mr. Alba. But I never saw Mr. Alba deliver any himself. The quantity sent
was a small measure, a pint and Madame Alba used it in coffee. If any
remained it usually became sour and was thrown out. Madame Alba usually took
coffee in her own room. At the time the family were made sick I cannot
remember whether Madame Alba was at the table or not. The milk used by the
family was usually boiled. When this milk sent by Mr. Alba was not boiled at
his own house, it was usually boiled separately from that of the family. Madame
Alba, Madame Riley, Madame Hubbell, and Adele, a daughter of a servant. They
were sick almost all day. The little girl vomited I believe, the others did
not. The sickness came on them in a short time after taking the milk. I do
not remember whether any Physician was sent for on this occasion, or whether
any came. I had a suspicion that the milk was poisoned and in consequence
refused to receive any more. Madame Alba, is about seventy-one years of age.
— & #8212; Reexamined
by Soloc. Of Plff.
do not mean that the milk was mixed in the same vessel, but by the word
(Melange) I meant to be understood that the two vessels containing the milk
standing together on the same were used with knowing or rather without.
Noticing the difference, on the morning referred to when the family was sick.
Madame Alba had taken of the milk and was taken suddenly sick, and this milk
was set on the breakfast table. (Signed) Veuve Christin
translation Widow Christian]
to and Subscribed before me this 7th day of May 1831. Signed A.
Gordon, Justice of the Peace.
S. Parmentier being sworn as interpreter declares this interpretation by him
made in the foregoing depositions is correct ad true according to his best knowledge
and belief. (Signed) N. S. Parmentier - Also sworn 7th day of May,
1831 before A. Gordon. J.P.
— & #8212;The Deposition of Mrs. Amelia Hubbell for being duly sworn.
— & #8212;
Questions by Complainant Solic.
1. What relation are you to the parties? I
am niece to the Complainant.
2. Were you much at the house of the parties while they lived together? I lived at the house of the complainant
when she married Mr. Alba, and remained there several years after.
3. Was Mr. Albas conduct kind and affectionate to his wife or the reverse? During the two or three first years he
appeared to be affectionate before others, but in private he was not polite.
That he took the part of the servants against her.- has been heard disputes
between them, but did not distinguish the words and has heard the conversations
afterwards detailed by her aunt. Knows that they did not live happily
together. The family of Mrs. Alba thought that attempts were made to destroy
her by poison. The family had this belief from strange maladies of Mrs. Alba
had during the last year or eighteen moths of her living with her husband.
The symptoms were different from any she had before or after she lived with Mr.
Alba, except once which was since she lived with Mr. Alba. These maladies were
vomitings and cramps in the stomach. That on these time Mrs. Alba was sick
since she lived with her husband, the family believed it was by the effect of
poison from the symptoms being the same and also from having heard that Mr.
Alba had declared to a person on the eve of his departure for Havana, that Mrs.
Alba would be sick, and might die. But that he would not be here to be sent for
as he had been sent for on a previous occasion. She has never had any other
attack of a similar character since her separation, but the one foretold by Mr.
Alba. Before the separation, when Mrs. Alba was very sick, Mr. Noriega took
her to the Brickyard for some days, then brought her to town and sent for a
physician, who ordered medicine. But on being informed by Mr. Noriega that he
suspected his mother was poisoned, the physician attended his prescription
which afforded her relief for a few days. She relapsed, and it was then she
sent for Mr. Alba expecting that on seeing how much she suffered he would
administer some remedy. And in case she should die, she wished to express
forgiveness as she believed it was him who caused her death. That when Mrs.
Alba was suffering under the predicted and when Mr. Alba had gone to Havana,
Mr. Noriega sent for a Negro who was a reputed Poisoner of Pensacola who said
he knew her to be poisoned by the symptoms. And administered three doses of an
antidote after which she was relieved and when Madame Alba was sick the last
time before the separation she went for the mother of this deponent. It was
during Holy Week they went and this deponent went with her. They had been
with Madame Alba but a few minutes, when Mr. Alba returned. He expressed great
dissatisfaction at seeing his wifes sister. Asked his wifes sister was doing
there saying he was sufficient to take care of her. This deponent
displeased my Mr. Albas harshness and frightened by his looks, immediately
left the house. Her mother left it also in a few minutes. A messenger was
immediately dispatched for Mr. Noriega who came and took his mother to the
Brickyard. After the separation Mr. Alba, used to send milk to Mrs. Alba.
(The cows belonged to her) One morning the milk was thrown away and not used.
Either the following day, or a few days after, the milk which Mr. Alba sent was
used in coffee, and all who used it were taken sick. At.this time her own
servant waited on her in whom she had great confidence and the family repond?,
and still do repond every confidence in the same servant. The daughter of
this same servant had taken some of this milk and was also sick. Ever since
the separation in 1819, Madame Alba has supported herself wholly by her own
means. And during the time they lived together, Mrs.Alba supported the family
wholly by her own means, rents of houses Do.
This deponent has heard Mrs.
Alba ask her husband what he had done with his money and he answered that he
had none, that he had not received pay from the Government Department thinks
this occurred once in her presence. Too much time has elapsed, and so much has
been said, it is possible she may have heard it from her aunt.
When Mr. Noriega invited
company he always paid the extra expenses, knowing that his mothers expenses
were very considerable.
— & #8212;Cross Examined
by Defts. Solic.
Brosnaham was the Physician who attended Mrs. Alba. Knows that Alba sent milk
by the report of the servants. The cows were under the care of Mr. Alba,
Senr. No Physician was employed when Mrs. Alba was sick the last time. The
Negro alone was employed.
— & #8212;Cross Examination continues of Mrs. Hubbell
How long did you live in the family of Mrs. Alba? And did you know of any
quarrels after you came to live with the family?
I lived in the family, to be best of my recollection, three or four
years. Never witnessed any quarrels after that period visiting the house but
seldom- for the last 18 months of their living together I may have visited the
house 8 or 12 times more or less. I do not positively recollect seeing Mrs.
Alba vomit but once in her own house since I left the house. The occasion was
when she was very sick spoken before when I left the house with my mother, I
did not inhabit the house of Mrs. Alba since the early part of 1818. The
prediction spoken of in relation to the last malady of Mrs. Alba, was heard of
from a white person. Mrs. Alba stated that she heard it from Mrs. Riley. -
After Mrs. Alba was carried to the Brickyard as stated, she was brought to town
for Medical aid she getting no better. Mrs. Alba once consented again to live
with Mr. Alba, if he would take a different house. This happened some time
after she sent for Mr. Alba, to pardon him, but Mr. Alba did not take another
house, and they never lived together since. The name of the Negro, the reputed
poisoner, was Cayetano, as I believe he was seldom called by that name. He was
usually called by the family the poisoner. Mrs. Alba when she left her
husbands house, she went to the Brickyard in a boat. Mr. Alba, acted as post master, and also had some office in the
Hospital. Mr. Alba lived in great style
previous to his marriage, as I have heard. I was too young to know the fact.
Mad. Alba has
now living four sisters viz Mrs. Christin, who has three children, Mrs. Tala,
who has four children, Mrs. Voisin, who has three children, Mad. Delery, who
has four children. I believe there eight children of three deceased brothers.
The milk spoken of as
smelling bad was examined and smelt of in my presence and thrown out of the
window. I do not recollect smelling it myself. Of the milk afterwards spoken of
I was a part and was sick myself. Madame Alba, Madame Riley, and Adele, the
daughter of the servant who brought the milk were also sick on that occasion.
I was sick the whole morning
on that occasion. Madame Alba and the little girl were longer sick. The
symptoms were a swelling of the stomach. I do not recollect whether Madame Alba
vomited or not. Madame Riley and myself
did not vomit, the quantity taken was small, being in coffee. The quantity of
milk usually sent by Mr. Alba was a pint, or a little less. Madame Alba used it
for coffee at Breakfast and set at the table with us. The milk sent by Mr.
Alba was usually kept separate from the other milk in the family.
— & #8212;Re examined by
Although Madame Alba had at
one time consented to live with Mr. Alba, in a different house, yet she
afterwards told me that she was so fully convinced that Mr. Alba attempted to
poison her, that she would not live him in any house whatever. I do not know
whether the consent spoken of was obtained by this solicitation of Mr. Alba or
not. The subject of the poisoning was frequently spoken of in the family, does
not know that it was spoken of by any out of the family.
Madame Alba wished on one
occasion for a Bottle of orange flower water and supposing she had some in her
own armoire, she sent to the house of her husband where her armoire was for a
bottle. None however was obtained there and a bottle was procured from a shop
in town. When it was brought by the servant, the inquiry was made why the
seal had been broken and the cork drawn. The servant answered in my presence,
that Mr. Alba opened it at his house, to see if the water was good. The
family learning this would not suffer any of the water to be used. And some
other was borrowed from a friend.
The reason why the water
which had been opened was not used was that the family suspected it had been
poisoned by Mr. Alba. (Signed) Emilia Hubbell
Sworn and Subscribed before
me this 7th day of May 1831. Signed A. Gordon Jus. Peace.
S. Parmantier swears by the translation and his signature is duly noted by the
Justice of the Peace and dated May 7, 1831.
— & #8212;The Examination of Mrs. Machaela Ingraham, a witness produced sworn and
examined before me, A. Gordon, a Justice of the Peace for the County of
Escambia, taken by consent of the parties to be used in the cause of Victoire
LeSassier vs, Pedro de Alba, Senr.
examined in chief she stated: That in the year 1818 and 1819, she lived with
Peter Alba, Jr. The house of Peter Alba, Jr. and that of his father had a yard
common to both. She was in the habit of visiting the house of Pedro De Alba,
almost daily, her sister lived with Pedro de Alba, and we were together almost
daily. Does not remember that Madame de Alba was sick during the time spoken
of. Witness was then very young. She thinks if Madame Alba had been very
sick, she would have remembered it. During the time that Madame Alba lived with
Madame Christin she was in the habit of sending to house of Pedro de Alba for
milk by a mulatto woman named Charlotte. Charlotte milked the cow herself and
carried home the milk. Never knew Pedro de Alba to ill treat his wife.
— & #8212;
Cross Examined by Mr. Hubbell on behalf of
was about 12 years of age in 1819. when I sent to see my sister. I paid but
very little attention to what passed at the house. Witness never saw Pedro de
Alba present when the cows were milked. His business called him very early to
M. Ingraham. Sworn and Subscribed the 26th day of May 1831. Signed:
A. Gordon Justice of Peace.
— & #8212;The following is a bill answer and exhibits in the case of Pedro de
Alba, Senr. Against Loring C. Hubbell and wife referred to in the amended Bill
of Complainant and drawn in this case to wit, Be it remembered that heretofore
to wit on the second day of November 1830, Pedro de Alba by his council E. L.
Drake Esquire came into the Clerks Office and filed the following Bill of
Complaint to wit.
To the Honourable Henry m. Brackenridge Judge of the Superior Court for
the Western District of Florida
— & #8212;Humbly complaining herewith
unto to your Honor, your orator Pedro de Alba the elder, of the County of
Escambia in the Territory of Florida, that on or about the 3rd day
of September 1813, and during the time that the said Territory was a province
of the Kingdom of Spain, your orator intermarried with Victoria LeSassier,
widow of Joseph Noriega the elder declared of the County and Territory
aforesaid, and that the said Victoria LeSassier at the time of her said
intermarriage with your orator possessed a large amount of property real and
personal consisting of her marriage portion and the property acquired by the
said Victoria LeSassier and the said Joseph Noriega Senior her said husband
during their intermarriage. The description and value of which property will
more fully and at large appear by reference to the original inventory and
schedule thereof hereunto annexed marked A. And which your orator prays may be
covered as part of his bill of complaint. And your orator further shows that
after his intermarriage with the said Victoria LeSassier, the property
aforesaid mentioned in the said inventory and schedule, and which, except the
marriage portion aforesaid by the laws of Spain was to be equally divided
between the widow of the said Joseph Noriega Senior and his lawfull heirs was
by the consent of your orator, and his wife the said Victoria LeSassier and
Joseph Noriega, Junior the sole heir of the said Joseph Noriega, Sr. divided
into two equal parts, and the terms and manner of such division by consent were
reduced to writing in the proper hand of the said Joseph Noriega, Junior and
signed by him and by your orator and the said Victoria LeSassier, which said
writing is also herewith shown unto your Honor and which your orator prays may
also be considered as part of this his bill of Complaint. And your orator
further shows that by the said division there was allotted to the said Joseph
Noriega, Jr. and to your orator and his said wife severally the property
comprising the whole estate acquired by the said Joseph Noriega, Sr. during his
intermarriage with the said Victoria LeSassier. Specifying in the said
instrument of writing the particular portions of the said estate allotted to
each, and their separate values an amounting in this whole to $36,200 and
upwards (and ?? part thereof amounting to the sum of $18,100 and upwards) And your orator further shows that in
pursuance of the agreement and division
aforesaid, your orator entered into possession of the portion of the said
estate allotted to him and possessed and enjoyed the same, and the said Joseph
Noriega, Jr. as sole heir of his said father, entered into possession of the
portion of the said estate allotted to him and possessed and enjoyed the same.
And your orator further shows that afterwards on the 9th day of May
1815 Your orator being then employed in the Service of the King of Spain in the
capacity of Comptroller of the Hospital and having various duties to perform
which so occupied his time as to present his attending wit the necessary care
and assisterity to the interest which had accrued to him by said marriage and
having great love and affection for and confidence in the said Joseph Noriega,
Junior the son of the said wife, your orator with the consent of the said
Victoria LeSassier made an agreement with the said Joseph Noriega, Junior which
said agreement signed with the proper hand of the said Joseph Noriega, Junior
and your orator, and his said wife is herewith shown unto your honor, and which
your orator prays may also be considered as a part of his Bill of Complaint, by
which said agreement your orator agreed to deliver and in pursuance thereof did
deliver unto the said Joseph Noriega, Junior all and singular the property
mentioned and described in the aforesaid inventory, schedule and agreement
which by the said agreement of division was assigned to your orator, as the
share of the said Victoria LeSassier, upon the condition therein expressed that
the said Joseph Noriega Junior, should manage the said property with a view to
increase the same, that he should keep correct and accurate accounts of his
management thereof in Mercantile style. And that he should render the same to
your orator together with the amount kept as aforesaid whenever according to
the terms of the said agreement, he should be required so to do, and that out
of the profits accruing from the said property during the absence of your
orator, he should pay such sum as the said Victoria LeSassier should demand, by
his drafts upon the said Joseph Noriega, Junior for her sustenance and other
private expenses. And that the residue of the said profits should be retained by
the said Joseph Noriega, Junior as compensation for his care and diligence in
the management of the said property. And your orator further shows that in
pursuance of the said agreement, the said Joseph Noriega, Jr. entered into
possession of the said last mentioned property, and managed and enjoyed the
same and the profits thereof until the 10th day of July 1827 when
the said Joseph Noriega Junior departed this life and your orator further shows
that after the making of the said last mentioned agreement with the said Joseph
Noriega, Junior and the delivery of the said property to him, your orator in
the performance of the duties of his said employment proceeded to foreign
ports, to wit, to the Island of Cuba, and there remained for a long time, and
was and continued to be, absent from the Territory of Florida, except on
occasional short visits until the 7th day of May in the present year
(1830) when your orator returned to the City of Pensacola, in the territory of
Florida aforesaid his usual place of abode. . And your orator further shows
that after the death of the said Joseph Noriega, Junior to wit on the 19th
day of April in the year 1829, Emelia Hubbell then the widow of the said Joseph
Noriega Junior and now the wife of Loring C. Hubbell of the County and
Territory aforesaid, obtained from the County Court of the County of Escambia,
letters of administration, with the last will and testament of the said Joseph
Noriega Junior, deceased thereunto annexed, upon the estate of the said Joseph
Noriega, Junior deceased, as by the record thereof remaining in the Office of
the Clerk of this said Court will more fully and at large appear. -
— & #8212;And your orator further
shows, that the property mentioned and described in the said last mentioned
agreement, remained in the possession of the said Joseph Noriega, Jr. until the
time of his death, and thereafter was taken into the possession of the said
Emilia Hubbell, administratrix as aforesaid until the year 1829 when the said
Emilia intermarried with Loring C. Hubbell of the County and Territory
aforesaid, who thereafter
and enjoyed the same, and still continues to possess and enjoy the same. And
your orator shows that previous to the death of the said Joseph Noriega, Jr.
large sums of money had accrued to the said Joseph Noriega, Jr. from the rents
and profits of the said property and the material increase in the number of
slaves. And that other large sums have accrued to the said Emilia Hubbell as
administratrix as aforesaid to her said husband Loring C. Hubbell, and still do
continue to accrue to him from the rents and the profits aforesaid. And your
orator is informed and believes that the said Joseph Noriega, Jr. during his
lifetime did not keep a regular book in which he entered the sales and
purchases in mercantile style, as he was by his said agreement bound to do, nor
have the said Emilia Hubbell and the said Loring C. Hubbell during the time
they have possessed the said property and administered the same. Kept only
regular account of the management and disposition of the property aforesaid, or
of the profits arising therefrom, nor have they or either of them ever paid to
wit said Victoria LeSassier any sum of money drawn for as aforesaid for her
sustenance and other private expenses, And your orator well hoped that in his
return to the Territory as aforesaid that the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia
his wife would have tendered to your orator the redelivery of the said last
mentioned properly entrusted to his management as aforesaid, together with the
profits, which have accrued thereon, and an account in mercantile style as
aforesaid of the management and deposition thereof. But now do it is as May
please your Honor that the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife,
combining and confederating together, and to and with devious other persons, at
present unknown to your orator, where named when discovered your orator prays
may be here inserted with proper time apt words to charge them as parties
thereto, and contriving how to injure and oppress your orator in the premises
Pretended that no such inventory or agreement, or division of the property
herein before mentioned, was ever made or executed by the said Joseph Noriega,
Junior, but that the said Joseph Noriega, Junior, received the said last
mentioned property as a gift from his mother the said Victoria LeSassier, who
by the Laws of Spain had a right as they pretend to show management and
disposition thereof and therefore the said Emilia Hubbell, as administratrix as aforesaid, lawfully and equitably administer upon the same . Whereon your
orator charges the contrary thereof to be the truth.
All which actings, doings and pretenses are contrary to equity
and good conscience, and tend to then manifest wrong and injury to your orator
in the premises.
consideration thereof and for as much as your orator is remediless in the
premises at and by the direct and strict rules of the Common Law and cannot
have adequate relief save in a Court of Equity, where matter of this and the
like nature are properly cognizable and relievable.
To the and therefore that the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia
his wife, and the rest of their confederates when discovered may upon their
several and respective corporal oaths, full, true, direct and perfect answers
make to all and singular the matters hereinbefore stated and charged., as fully
and particularly as if the same were hereinafter repeated and they threats (?)
distinctly interrogated, and that not only as to the best of their respective
knowledge and remembrance, but also as to the best of their several and
respective information hearsay and belief. And more especially that they may
answer and subforth whether the said last mentioned property delivered to the
said Joseph Noriega, Junior by your orator as aforesaid or any or what portion
thereof still remains in the possession of the said Loring C. Hubbell and
Emilia his wife.? And that the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife, and
their confederates when discovered, may set forth a full, true, and just
account of the property, estate and affects delivered by your orator to the
said Joseph Noriega, Junior declared which has been sold or disposed of, or
possessed or received by the said Joseph Noriega Junior in his lifetime or by
the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia Hubbell since his death or either of them
or by any other persons, by their or either of their order, or for their or
either of their use, and of the produce
thereof, and what past thereof, now remains in their hand? And that, that portion
of the said property entrusted by your orator to the said Joseph Noriega Junior
deceased, as aforesaid which still remains in the possession of the said Loring
C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife, may be restored to your Orator and that what
may be found due from the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife, or such
account may by paid to or secured for the benefit of your orator, and that in
the mean time and injunction may be awarded, by this Honourable Court to
restrain the said Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife from selling or
otherwise disposing of any part of the property entrusted by your orator, to
the said Joseph Noriega Junior as aforesaid and that your Honor will grant unto
your orator such other and further relief as to your Honor may deem just and
— & #8212;May it please your Honor to
grant unto your Orator a writ of Subpoena to be directed to the said Loring C.
Hubbell and Emilia Hubbell, thereby commanding them, and each of them, at a
certain day and under certain pain to be therein injunctive personally to be
and appear before your Honourable Court then and there to answer the premises,
and to stand to and abide such order and decree therein as to you Honor shall
seem agreeable to equity and good conscience and your orator will pray & C.
Signed Pedro de Alba by E. L. Drake, His Solicitor.
— & #8212;The Judged Ordered
County, Western District of Florida
On reading and considering
the pryor and exhibits, it is ordered that a subpoena issued and that the
defendants answer the complainants Bill & C and further that the said
defendants be enjoined until the further order of the Court, from selling or
otherwise disposing of the slaves and other property claimed by the complainant
according to the prayer contained in his Bill.
November 1, 1830. Signed H. M. Brackinridge
Exhibit of documents is the Inventory of the Noriega Property and Slaves, made
by Victoire LeSassier and her son Joseph Noriega. These documents are in Spanish, and illustrate the division of
Jose Noriegas property after his death between Victoire LeSassier and her son
Jose Noriega, Jr. Each item is listed
with a description, also in Spanish.
and Land total value: 13,500 pesos
43 year old a carpentoro or carpenter - 900 pesos
19 years old - 700 Pesos
46 years old, accerrador (man who gives access)
possibly a household staff or it might be locksmith (modern Spanish cerrajero) - 500 pesos
Francisco 20 years old 700 pesos
Pedro Bosin 36 years old a panadero or baker 800 pesos
30 years old carpenter
25 years old a carretero, a carter or drayman 800
24 years old a Herrero or blacksmith 1000 pesos
Judite (Judith), 57 years old, a Cocinera or Cook 350 pesos
Dorotea (Dorothea), 28 years old, a Cocinera, Lavandera and Planchadora or
Cook, and woman who launders and irons 800 pesos
Maria (Marie), 27 years old, cook and
laundress 800 pesos
18 years old, Cook - 700 pesos
Elena, 14 years old, Cook and
Laundress 700 pesos
17 years old, Cook and
Laundress 700 pesos
41 years old 500 pesos
Genoveva, 45 years old, a Cook - 350 pesos
14 years old 500 pesos
8 years old 300 pesos
8 years old 300 pesos
4 years old 250 pesos
Matilde, 4 years old 250 pesos
Total of Property divided was 40,631 pesos. This included various notes and
other assets. Victoria and her son divided property valued at roughly 18, 100
The Particion amigable or the Amiable Partition divided the slaves as
Victoria received Valentin, Manuel, Musa, Judite, Dorotea, Carlota, Teresa, Isabel, and Matilde.
Joseph Noriega, Jr. received
Francisco, Pedro Bosin, Maria, Genoveva, Roseta, Antonia, Elena, Agustina, and
The agreement between
Victoire, Jose, Jr. and Pedro de Alba is also in Spanish. Part of the agreement
is translated in the answer below:
Afterwards to wit on the
fourth day of June in the year 1831 the defendants filed the following answer
to wit: In Chancery Loring C. Hubbell and Emelia his wife adsm Pedro De Alba, Senior.
— & #8212;The answer of Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife,
lately Emilia Noriega, administratrix the will of Jose Noriega deceased.
— & #8212;Thru Respondents
saving and reserving to themselves all benefit of exceptions to the many avers,
uncertainties, and imperfections in said Bill contained for answer thereto as
so much thereof as they are advised is material to answer say, that the Laws of
the Spanish Monarchy enforced in the Province of West Florida prior to the
Treaty and surrender of the Province to the United Stated, they are advised
that Victoria LeSassier the mother of the Late Joseph Noreiga was entitled to
the property in question, the right and title to which was not changed by the
marriage with the Complainant Pedro de Alba, and that the said property in the
Bill mentioned was a part of that which she owned in her own right being the
portion delivered to her in and by virtue of an agreement with her son Joseph
Noriega on the 31st day of August 1813 prior to the intermarriage
between Victoria LeSassier and the said Pedro de Alba. These Respondents
further show to your Honor that the instrument filed as a part of the
Complainants Bill is in fact a division of the property between the said
Victoria LeSassier and Joseph Noriega before her marriage with said Alba, and
after the said marriage the said Victoria LeSassier being then the owner of the
said property, executed the instrument filed by the Complainant which is not
properly set forth in said Bill but is in substance as follows:
English translation ] I Dona
Victoria LeSassier widow of the Lieutenant Colonel Jose Noriega declare that in
consequence of having contracted matrimony in secured nuptials with Don Pedro
De Alba, I and my son Don Jose, jointly and concurrently made an inventory of
the property existing in our possession by the death of my said husband, and
having made the decision thereof as above specified, I agree of my own free
will that my said son shall be charged with the administration and direction of
the part which belongs to me (of seeing that the duties and occupations
consequent on the offices held by my husband Don Pedro De Alba in the Royal
Service H. M. deprive him of the means of devoting thereto that vigilant
attention which is requisite for its preservation and increase and which he has
manifested to me his desire to promote) in order that he may make such use of
it as he may deem most expedient for which purpose I confer upon him ample
faculty and power, from my confidence in him and the love which I bear towards
him, and in order that it may be carried into effect with all legal formality, I grant the present with the following
— & #8212;That the said administration shall
be for an indefinite time, until he may be able to dispose of the Real Estate
and slaves and invest the amount in other property the administration of which
may offer to him more advantageous results. With a view in a an unfortunate
event that may injuries may accrue or doubts arise relative to the property
which my said son may have belonging to other persons, nor that any detriment
should be occasioned by it to mine, he is to keep a book, paged in which the
purchase, sales and everything alas that may occur shall be entered with proper
cleanness according to Mercantile Way. -
— & #8212;He is to pay the drafts which I
may draw on the gains of the funds, whenever I may require them for the
expenses which I may incur. He is to allow the following slaves to remain with
me for my personal service, Esther and
her son Leandro, of a year and a half old, Augustina, Matilda, Charlotte and
her daughter: Dorothea________ and
Isabella, and the rents recovered to the date. All the profit and the
service which my said son may derive from my property after deducting the expenses
which I may incur, as above specified I cede to him for his benefit in
compensation of the trouble which the care of the account with which I charge
him my succession, not being in want of it for the present for my sustenance.
— & #8212;In case that necessity should
oblige me to reserve this property, I allow him the term of three years in
order that its return may not be injurious to him.
— & #8212;To which condition I Don Jose
Noriega agree and bind myself to honor and not to deviate therefrom, in order
to conform to the wish of my Mother, as I desire, holding myself bound for
their entire fulfillment until it shall be her pleasure otherwise to direct, to
which end we execute this material obligation de Comortatis with all
the efficiency and firmness, necessary at law for its validity. My husband Don
Pedro having in like manner and consenting thereto do make the contract
(unreadable two words) present in Pensacola on this 9th day of Mat,
1815. (Signed) Victoria LeSassier, Jose Noriega and Pedro de Alba.
[The Hubbells Answer Continues]
— & #8212;These respondents allege that
shortly after the execution of the said agreement by which the said Victoria
LeSassier with the consent of Pedro de Alba delivered the property into the
hands of Joseph Noriega on the condition above described, she was separated, as
they are advised from the said Pedro de Alba and has lived separate from him
since the year 1819.
— & #8212;These Respondents are advised and
charge that from the period to the present time, the said Alba has not born any
of her expenses, but the said Joseph Noriega during his lifetime defrayed the
expenses of said Victoria and made such advances as she required for her
support. These respondents have since his death, always been ready to account
to the said Victoria. These respondents further allege that there is now
depending in this Honorable Court a suit in the name of Victoria LeSassier,
praying for a divorce and a perpetual injunction against the Complainant having
control over her property which said proceedings and evidence in said case now
depending all the facts, as they are advised are there set forth which they
rely on for their defense. These respondents deny all fraud and rely upon the
Laws of Spain regulating Dowry, and they are advised that they cannot be
required to render any amounts to Pedro de Alba and pray to be hence dismissed
with their equitable costs in said suit most unjustly impended.
(Signed) L. C. Hubbell and Emilie Hubbell
to before me this 1st day of June 1831. A. Gordon, Justice of the
And the said defendants by
their Solicitor on the 8th of March in the year last aforesaid filed
the following demurrer to wit:
— & #8212;Loring C. Hubbell and Emilie his wife who are made defendants to a
certain Bill in Chancery exhibited against them by a certain Pedro de Alba the
elder by protestation not confessing or acknowledging all or any of the matter
and things in the Complainants Bill of Complaint allege and set forth to be
true in manner and form as the same are set forth, say that they are advised
that the substance of the said Bill is to have placed at their disposal and
control of the said Pedro de Alba the elder certain property which was in the
possession of Joseph Noriega at the time of his death, and came to the
possession of the defendants as the representatives of the Estate of the said
Noriega, and which it appears by one of the exhibits filed and made part of the
Complainants Bill, was placed in the possession of the said Noriega by Madame
Victoria LeSassier widow of the late Joseph Noriega, Senior and Mother of the
late Joseph Noriega Junior and which property was bestowed upon her by the said
Col. Joseph Noriega Senior, and formed a part of her separate and estate and Dower
at the time the same was placed in the possession of her son the late Joseph
Noriega. To which Bill of said Complainant these Defendants are advised to
demur, and for cause of demurrer say that by the said complainants own showing
on this Bill aforesaid, the said complainants ought to have made Madame
Victoria LeSassier a party and one of the complainants to the said Bill, and
therefore and for other good cause or causes of demurrer in the said Bill
contained, these defendants do demand the Judgment of the Court whether these
Defendants shall be compelled to make any answer thereunto otherwise than as
aforesaid, and these Defendants humbly pray to be hence dismissed with their
costs in this behalf wrongfully sustained.
Coffin Pinkham Solicitor in Chancery Consul for the Defendants.
And the said Defendants by
their solicitor Jos. M. White, Esquire their Counsel on the 12th day
of May in the year past aforesaid filed the following demurrer to wit:
Peter Alba Sen. vs. Loring
C. Hubbell and Wife - Demurrer.
— & #8212;These defendants by protest not
confessing all or any of the matters and things in the said Complainants Bill
Contained, to be true in such manner and form as the same are therein set forth
and alleges do demur to the said Bill and for cause of Demurrer shows that the
said Complainant has not by his said Bill made such a case as entitled him to
any relief against them as to the matters contained in said Bill or any such
matters and any discovery that can be made by these Defendants or any of them
touching the matter complained of in said Bill or any of them cannot be of any
avail to said complainant for any of the purposes for which a discovery has been sought against these Defendants by
said Bill, nor until the said Complainant to any relief in this Court touching
any of the matters therein complained of. - Wherefore and for diverse other
good causes of Demurrer, appearing in said Bill there Defendants do demur
thereto and they pray the judgment of this Honorable Court whether they shall
be compelled to make any further and other answer tot he said Bill, and hey
humbly pray to be dismissed from hence with their reasonable costs in this
(Signed) Jos. M.
White, Solicitor in Chancery
Afterwards and to wit the
said Victoria LeSassier by her Counsel Jos. M. White, Esquire filed the
following Bill interpleader to wit:
— & #8212;
To the Honorable Judge of the
Superior Court of West Florida in Chancery sitting humbly complaining herewith
unto your Honor, your Oratrix, Victoria LeSassier widow of Joseph Noriega,
Senior deceased, that sometime in September 1813, your Oratrix intermarried
with Pedro de Alba Senior. And in a shortwhile thereafter an instrument in
writing was executed between your Oratrix and her son Joseph Noriega giving to
him the administration and direction of her property, upon the conditions
therein expressed desiring rather to depend upon her son than any other
person. Which said instrument was drawn
up with the consent of her husband, Pedro de Alba, and by which the property
was delivered to the said Joseph Noriega her son, who from time to time paid
her all the expenses she required of him and that the said property or so much
of it as is not now in possession of your Oratrix, has passed into the legal
representatives of the said Joseph Noriega, Junior. That they have accounted
with your Oratrix to her entire satisfaction for the same and so far as they
yet remain in possession of any part of said property it is with her perfect
consent and approbation. She having the same confidence in them which she had
in her son, Joseph Noriega. Your Oratrix is advised that the said Pedro de
Alba who has never contributed to her support and between whom and your Oratrix
there has been an entire separation since the year 1819, has lately instituted
a suit in your Honorable Court, calling upon Loring C. Hubbell and Emilie, his
wife for an amount of her property without making your Oratrix either a
Complainant or Defendant to said suit. Your Oratrix is advised that a decree
may thus incidentally be rendered prejudicial to her and she prays that she may
be made a party to said suit. And her rights protected by your Honor, your
Oratrix is ready on her part forever to renounce any claim for property or
support which she may have upon the said Pedro de Alba and will execute a
release in such form as your Honor will direct upon him or upon his property.
Your Oratrix furthers shows that she has a suit depending in this Honorable
Court for a Divorce and for a perpetual injunction against said Alba from
having or exercising control over her property, that the said proceedings may
be made a part of this her Bill. - Your
Oratrix in support of her rights under the Laws of the Spanish Monarchy has
caused translations to be made from the most approved authors and Doctors which
are herewith filed and marked and are prayed to be made a part of this her
Bill. And she also prays that your Honor will direct that they may be compared
and certified and verified by the translator of your Honorable Court. - She is
advised and charges that three slaves was delivered not taken into the
possession of Pedro de Alba any part of her property referred to in his Bill of
Complaint as contemplated and referred to in these laws and that there was not
in fact, at any time, a possession of said property delivered by your Oratrix
to the said Alba during the marriage nor prior thereto - Your Oratrix is
advised and charges that the property owned by her under any circumstances
could only be controlled by her husband so far as to derive form the gains
requests thereof a sum for the support of the marriage and for defraying the
charges and expenses incident thereto and the avers that the said Pedro de Alba
has not in 11 years contributed anything for her support or for the charges of
the marriage. Your Oratrix further
represents that he has been for many years an Officer in the Spanish Service
and she is advised that in that in the suit now depending in this Honorable
Court the said Pedro de Alba has proved that he is at this time in the receipt
of $64.00 a month from the Spanish Government, besides holding the Office of
Oratrix prays for such other and further relief as to equity belongs and the peculiar
circumstances of this consequence. (Signed) Victoria LeSassier
to before me this 1st June 1831. A. Gordon, Justice of the Peace.
The next 8
pages of this collection are the Authorities in the case of Victoria LeSassier
vs. Pedro de Alba. The Authorities are the Laws and cases cited in this appeals
case. These pages are handwritten and contain references to marriage law,
financial responsibility of each spouse, the Law as applied to Dowers etc.
And the said Defendants on the
Thursday of June in the year aforesaid filed their amended answer in these
words to wit:
Loring C. Hubbell and
Emilie, his wife adjm. Pedro de Alba, Senior. In Chancery
— & #8212;The amended answer of Loring C. Hubbell and Emilie his wife to the Bill
of Pedro de Alba senior against the said Loring C. Hubbell and wife. These
respondents further show that since the filing of their answer herein a Decree
has been pronounces in another case in this Honorable Court between Victoria
LeSassier and the said Pedro De Alba, Senior. And perpetual injunction has been
decreed against him, which Decree is as follows, to wit:
- The Courts having
examined and considered the Bill, answer and exhibit in the above suit (meaning
the suit of Victoria LeSassier, against Pedro de Alba, Senior) and the Bill,
answer and exhibit in the case of the defendant Pedro de Alba senior vs. Loring
C. Hubbell and Emilie his wife, referred to in the amended Bill of the
Complainant and made a part thereof do order and decree that the Petition of
the Complainant for a Divorce a Mensa et Thoro be granted and that the parties
be accordingly divorced, and it is further ordered and decreed that the said
Victoria LeSassier, have full power, control, and management of her property
with the authority to contract and dispose of the same in such manner and to
such persons as she may think proper. And it is further ordered and decreed
that the said Pedro de Alba Senior be forever enjoined from any interference
with or control over the property of the said Victoria LeSassier contained in
the Schedule of Division between her and her son Joseph Noriega, or of that
which was delivered to her son by agreement signed by the parties, dated May 9,
1815 by the consent and approbation of the said Pedro de Alba. It is further
ordered and decreed that the said Defendant pay the costs of the above suit.
Signed H. M. Brackenridge, Judge.
— & #8212;And your respondents further pray
that the said decree may be made a part of their amended answer, and further,
as they have before prayed, that they may be hence dismissed with their costs
most injustly sustained. (Signed): L. C. Hubbell and Emilie Hubbell. Sworn
before me this 3rd of June 1831. (Signed): A, Gordon, Justice of the
Peace E. C.
— & #8212;~~~~~~Know all men by these presents
that we Pedro de Alba Senior, William A. Bell, and Peter Alba, are held and
firmly bound unto Victoria LeSassier in the just and full sum of two hundred
dollars, lawful money of the United States, the payment of which will and truly
to be made we bind ourselves our and each of our heirs, Executors, or
Administrators jointly, severally, by these presents. Witness our hand and at
Pensacola, this 8th day of June 1831.
— & #8212;The condition of
the above obligations is such that whereas at the May term of the Superior
Court of Escambia County held at Pensacola on the 2nd day of June in
the year aforesaid, a decree for Divorce and perpetual injunction against said
Pedro de Alba to the said Victoria LeSassier was made from which said decree
the said Alba appeals to the Court of Appeals of Florida. Now shall the said
Pedro de Alba senior will and truly pay all damages, costs, and charges that
may aver inconsequence of taking said Appeal or prosecute the same to effect,
there this obligation to be void else to remain in full force and virtue.
(Signed) Pedro de Alba, Wm. A. Bell, P. Alba.
Signed: Geo. F. Baltzall
The next 9
pages of the case are the original notes between Victoria LeSassier and Pedro
de Alba, Senior that are translated above in the case. Victoria writes in the
formal, archaic French and Pedro responds in Spanish. The outside of one of the
Victorias notes says A Monsieur Alba
and filed May 28, 1831.
The next item
in the Appeals case is the cover for the Original property agreement.
Stated on this
cover is Filed 22nd November 1820 by Grd: W. Baltreto dk? One page
of the agreement in Spanish follows and is signed by Victoria LeSassier, Jose
Noriega, and Pedro E Alba.
The Next sheet
has the notation Filed in Court of Appeals 19th Decr, 1831
Pedro de Alba, applt vs.
Victoria LeSassier, applee., Bill of Exceptions, filed 5th of Jan. 1832.
Court of Appeals Pedro de
Alba vs. Victoria LeSassier
appellant in the above-entitled cause, Pedro de Alba for cause of exception to
the decree of the Court below in said cause shows as follows
That the Superior Court of this Territory have no jurisdiction of matters of
divorce except such as are expressly given by statue And the decree in this
cause is not founded upon any of the causes of divorce set forth in the
statutes of this Territory.
By the laws of Spain as well as those of the U. States the husband is liable
for debts contracted by his wife. The perpetual injunction granted in this case
deprives him of the revenues of his wifes estate while his own remains liable
for debts contracted previous to the divorce.
The property having been delivered by inventory appraisement became the
absolute property of the husband & the decree for alimony if property at
all should have been for a specific sum.
And that the said decree in many other
particulars is contrary to equity and the laws of this Territory. Drake for
LeSassier vs. Alba Motion
for certiorari on sug. Dimi Filed 16th of January 1832.
Western District of Florida,
Escambia Superior Court
Victoria LeSassier vs. Pedro
L. Drake of Counsel for the appellant in this cause suggests to the Court that
the record in this cause Is manifestly
imperfect in this to wit:
That the answer to the amended Bill in this
cause is not sent up with the records. That one of the answers attached to the
said records does not appear to have been sworn to although, it is believed
that the jurat appears upon the original on file.
therefore prays that a certiorari issue to the Clk. Of the Court of Western
Dist. To send up a perfect records in said cause. Drake for appellants.
Territory of Florida to the Clerk of the Superior Court for Escambia County
Western District Greeting. Whereas in the record and proceedings in the certain
suit in Chancery between Victoria LeSassier Complainant and Pedro de Alba,
Senior Defendant lately sent to the Judges of our Court of Appeals by reason of
the Appeal of the said Pedro de Alba Senior from the judgment rendered therein
a diminution is suggested in this, That the answer to the amended bill in this
cause is not sent up with the record, and that one of the answers attached to
the said record does not appear to have been sworn to although it is believed
that the jurat appears upon the
original on files. Therefore we command you that under your hand and seal of
office, the record and proceedings aforesaid more fully to the Judges of our
said Court of Appeals at the City of Tallahassee do send and certify on the
first day of the next term returning also this writ. Witness the Honorable
Joseph L. Smith Presiding Judge of our said Court of Appeals this 23rd
day of January AD 1832 in the 56th years of American Independence.
Jas. S. Linn, Clk
it remembered that heretofore towit on the 16th day of November in
the year 1832, the following order was entered of record in the case of Pedro
de Alba complainant against Loring C. Hubbell and Emilia his wife In Chancery.
Ordered that the Clerk perfect the record in this case by placing on file the
answer of Pedro de Alba to the file of interpleadent Victoria LeSassier now
for the first of June, 1831, and that he insert upon the several bill, and
answer the certificate of the oath of the parties where the same may have been
omitted now for the several dates of filing of the same. And that the
Clerk certify the said to the Court of Appeals
— & #8212;To the Honorable
the Judge of the Superior Court for the Western Division of Florida The
answer of Pedro de Alba to the bill of interpleader of Victoria LeSassier. She
said Pedro de Alba serving and reasoning to himself all manner of benefit of
exceptions to the manifold errors and inconsistencies as the said bill
contained for answer thereunto, answering saith: that each and every allegation
in the said Bill contained not hitherto stated and declared confessed or
acknowledged traversed or denied in the previous proceedings in this cause as
false scandalous and defamatory. Wherefore he prays that said Bill be
dismissed, and that there may be decreed to this respondent his costs by him in
this behalf most wrongfully sustained. June 7, 1831 (Signed) Pedro de Alba
before me this 16th day of November 1832 Samuel Fry Justice of
L. Drake, Solicitor
Pedro de Alba vs. Victoria
LeSassier - orders and answers Copies
Alba vs. LeSassier
Certiorari on Suggested Diminiters
Pedro de Alba vs Victoria
LeSassier Court of Appeals January Term 1833
District of Florida Superior Court Escambia County
— & #8212;I George
Franklin Baltzell Clerk of the said Court do hereby certify that the foregoing
is true copies of an order and answer, as the same as of record and that Pedro
de Alba hath made oath to the original Bill on the 26th day of November 1832
for November 2nd, 1830 in the case of Pedro de Alba vs. Loring C.
Hubbell & Emilia his wife. And hath also made oath to this answer to the
Bill of Complaint of Victoria LeSassier on the 26th day of November
1832, for the 6th day of May 1831.Intestimony whom of I have hereto
set my hand and office the seal of said Court at the City of Pensacola this the
28th day of December in the year of our lord 1832, and 57 years of
F. Baltzell, Clk.
Alba vs LeSassier
Exceptions filed 12th January 1833
Court of Appeals
appellant presents the following exceptions to the decree of the Court below
The Court erred in granting of the divorce for causes which ensue under the
Government of Spain.
There are no fault or
circumstances connected to the case to warrant a divorce under the Laws of
England, Spain or of this Territory.
The Court erred in the opinion expressed that under the Laws of Spain the wife
could control without the consent of the husband.
The Court erred in deciding that the trust conferred on Noreiga by the parties
did not expire at his death. And that it, is continued in his representatives.
Court erred in deciding that the disposition of the property in question
depended on the will and pleasure of the wife.
The Court erred in sustaining the Bill of Complaint and giving costs against
defendant. R. K. Call for Aplt.
Alba vs LeSassier Filed 20th
Appeallee Victoria LeSassier having departed this life since the Court pendency
of the above suit- Loring C. Hubbell and Ferdinand Christian having been
appointed the executors of the last will and testament of the said Victoria LeSassier
and having been only qualified as such executors it is hereby declared that
the said Loring C. Hubbell and Ferdinand Christian executors as aforesaid
appear in the place of said Victoria LeSassier deceased as appellees in the
above cause They the said executors
having been so called upon to appear therein by the order of this Hon.
Court Dated 28th day of January 1834 at the January term of this
Court held at Tallahassee in 1834. Joseph L. Smith, Solicitor for Applt.
James S. Linn Clerk of Leon
Superior Court to William Wilson, Sr.
31, 1834 for publishing in The Floridian three
weeks the notice hereunto affixed.
At a Court of Appeals for
the Territory of Florida
at the City of Tallahassee on Tuesday the 28th day of January 1834.
de Alba, Appellant against Victoria LeSassier Appellee.
an Appeal from the Western District of Escambia County
day came the appellant by counsel, and moved the Court the an order to compel
the appearance of the legal representatives of the realty or personality of the
Estate of Victoria LeSassier, deceased late appellee in this cause, and it
appearing to the satisfaction of this Court, that the said Victoria LeSassier
had departed this life since the pendency of this cause in this Court: It is
ordered that unless such a representative shall become parties to this suit,
within the first three days of the next term , the said appellant shall be
entitled to have the decree pronounces herein , if erroneous [a hearing being
had] Provided that a copy of this order shall be printed in some newspaper
published at Tallahassee , for three successive week, beginning at least 60
days before the next term of the Court. Teste, JAS.
S. LINN, Clk. May 10
De Alba Senior died in the fall of 1835.