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Madison County Deeds & Civil Cases

Submitted by Lyndon Comstock, lyndon.comstock at gmail.com, 4/28/2008

 

Madison County deeds, Book U, page 93:   [note in margin: Comstock to Alexander]

 
Know all men by these presents that I Brown Comstock of Madison County Kentucky have bargained & sold to William Alexander of  Paris (?), Kentucky all the interest I have in & to the labour and services of the following negro slaves which I have now upon here (?) during the balance of the present year, viz. Edmund the property of George Barbour, Martin the property of William McClanahan, George the property of Mrs. A. [name illegible], Moses, Oliver and Moses Jr. the property the heirs of D.C. Irvine, Abraham & Brown the property of [first initial illegible] Stoner, Simpson, Rodes (?) & Viney the property of R. Gentry, Austin the property of Mrs. W. Musick (?), Cyrus & William the property of Mrs. F. Shackelford, George & Jack the property of E.H. Field, Frederick the property of George Fox, and Mary a negro woman mortgaged to said Alexander, also all the interest I have in the use of all the tools, machinery, horses etc. used about making bagging, rope & twine also all the interest I have in the use of the furniture about my house & kitchen of every description however that whereas the said Comstock is indebted to said Alexander in the sum of two thousand five hundred dollars, now if the said Comstock pay off and discharge said sum, then the foregoing conveyance to be null and void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.  Given under my hand and seal this    (date left blank) day of September 1831.  Brown Comstock

 

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A Madison County, Kentucky civil case involving a free woman of color:

Susan Cousins vs. Brown Comstock.  Filed 1827.  Resolved 1827.

Madison file 11511  Box 115, Bundle 230

 

Note by Lyndon Comstock: This case must be quite unusual in its era because it is a woman of color suing a white man.  Susan Cousins (also spelled Cusins and Cuzins) is described as a free woman of color residing in Madison County.  Since the complaint is for assault, actually for two assaults, taking place in 1827, there might also have been a criminal case, although I don't yet know of it..  The case was filed April 11, 1827 and was dismissed at the next court term, in June.   Unfortunately the case record gives no indication as to whether there was any further background to the case or why the case was dismissed, or whether there was an out-of-court settlement.  Although she subpoenaed three witnesses, two of whom were white men, to testify on her behalf, one imagines that it would have been extremely difficult for her to win a verdict in that time and place. The court costs of $5.91 were presumably assessed against her as the plaintiff.  Since the dismissal was agreed, perhaps there was an out of court settlement of some type?  Brown and Hannah Comstock and their son George continued to live in Richmond for the next several years, so he apparently wasn't sufficiently embarrassed by this case to leave town.

 

I couldn't find Susan Cousins or Mary Webster or any black person named Cousins or something similar, in either the 1820 or the 1830 census for Madison County.  James Brock and Jacob Miller appear on the same page of the 1830 census for Richmond, in each case as the head of a household (only heads of household are listed by name in those censuses.)  I also need to search the Madison tax lists for Susan Cousins.

 

Case chronology

Filed 1lth Apl 1827

1827 June disd [dismissed] agreed

 

Complaint

 

Madison Circuit

Susan Cuzins, a free woman of Colour, by her attorney Complains of Brown Comstock in custody &c of a plea of Trespass viet armis [interference with a person with force and arms, resulting in injury to the person or their property]

 

For that whereas on the     day of     1827 [blanks in original] at the County and circuit aforesaid the said defendant with force and arms broke open the door of plaintiffs dwelling house situate in the circuit afsd, and with like force and arms, to wit with sticks, cowhides &c entered plaintiffs said dwelling house and made an assault upon the plaintiff, and her did then and there beat, bruise and wound, so that her life was greatly endangered – and other wrongs and injuries to the said plaintiff said deft then there did against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth – and for that also afterwards to wit on the    day of      1827 at the circuit afsd, said defendant with force and arms; to wit with fists, sticks, cowhides, knives, pistols, rocks and dirks made another assault upon the plff and her did then and there beat, bruise, wound and inhumanly flagellate, so that her life was much endangered, and other wrongs injuries, enormities and outrages to said Plaintiff then and there did against the peace and dignity of the commonwealth all which is to the damage of the plff $1000 – wherefor she sues &c

Shackelford for plff

 

Subpoena

 

Mary Webster, James Brock and Jacob Miller were subpoenaed to testify on behalf of the plaintiff, subpoena dated May 23, 1827.

 

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Richard Gentry vs. Brown Comstock.  Filed 1831.  Resolved 1831.

Madison file 13166.  Box 141 Bundle 281

 

Note by Lyndon Comstock: On January 1, 1830, Brown Comstock rented from Richard Gentry two of his slaves, a woman named Nancy and a boy, Grim (sp?), for the year.   Brown agreed to pay Richard $65 for their hire by January 1, 1831.  Gentry apparently claimed that Comstock hadn't paid and sued him.

 

Brown Comstock may be distantly related to Richard Gentry.  His older brother, Lyndon, was married to Nancy Julia Bush.  Her brother Jeremiah Bush—Lyndon's brother-in-law, was married to Nancy Gentry.  Nancy had a brother, Richard Gentry, who lived in Madison County and is probably this Richard Gentry.

 

No explanation is provided as to why Brown won the suit, and was awarded his costs of $5.16.

 

Chronology

 

Come to hand Feby 4th, 1831 at 10 minutes past 12 o'clock

A. W. Goodloe

 

Levyed on sundry articles see Document A inclose in attachs [no such attachments were included in the case file]

Howard vs Compstock

A. W. Goodloe

 

Filed 4th Feb 1831

Att David Irvine

 

1831 Dismd Defts cost

 

Warrant dated February 4, 1831

The Commonwealth of Kentucky to the Sheriff or any Constable of Madison County, Greeting.  Whereas Richard Gentry hath this day made complaint before me, a justice of the peace of the county aforesaid, that Brown Comstock is indebted to him in the sum of $65 due by note, that the said Brown Comstock hides and conceals himself that the ordinary process of law cannot be served upon him.  You are, therefore commanded, in the name and by the authority of the Commonwealth aforesaid, to attach so much of the goods chattels and slaves of the said Brown Comstock as will be of value sufficient to satisfy the said debt, interest and costs....Given under my hand this 4th Feb 1831

[signed] Joseph Turner

 

Promissory note dated January 1, 1830

On or before the first day of January next I promise to pay to Richard Gentry sixty five dollars it being for the hire of his woman Nancy and his boy Grim [?Green?] for the present year, I also bind myself to clothe said Negroes comfortably well during the year and return them well clothed for the winter on the 25th of Dec next.

[signed]  Jany 1st 1830  Brown Comstock

 

 ********************************

 

Francis Stoner vs. Brown Comstock & Bowling Embry.  Filed 1831.  Resolved 1831.

Madison file 2508  Box 143, Bundle 285

 

Note by Lyndon Comstock: On January 3, 1829 Brown Comstock and Bowling Embry (presumably Brown's business partner) agreed to rent a black man named Abraham from Francis Stoner for the following two years for $60 per year.  Abraham must have been owned as a slave by Francis.

 

Francis filed this suit on February 8, 1831 for failure to pay the agreed upon two years rent.

 

She was awarded a judgment of $120 plus 6% per annum interest from January 3, 1831 plus her court costs of $7.63.

 

Case chronology

 

Filed 8. Feb 1831

 

1831 March cont

 

1831 Sept Judgt $120 Int from 3 Jany 1831 & cost

 

Complaint

 

Francis Stoner, plaintiff, by her attorney complains of Brown Comstock & Bowling Embry Defendants in a plea of Debt that they render unto the said plaintiff the sum of $120 which they justly owe & unjustly detain.

 

For that whereas the said Defts 3rd day of Jan 1829, by their writing obligatory, of that date, now in Court to be seen, acknowledge that they had hired of the said plaintiff a Black man named Abraham for the 1829 & 1830 commencing the 3rd of Jan 1829 for the term of two years and themselves in said writing obligatory to pay the said plaintiff the sum of sixty dollars in gold or silver, per year to be paid at the expiration of each year and to clothe said boy well and return him well clothed at the end of the time....have not paid the said plaintiff the said sum of money...wherefore she sues

J. White [attorney]

 

Judgment September 24, 1831

 

This writ of execution of judgment was entered on a preprinted form with the relevant blanks filled in.

 

To the Sheriff of Madison County Greeting:  We command you that of the estate of Brown Comstock and Bowling Embry late of your bailiwick, you cause to be made, the sum of $120 with interest thereon at the rate of six per cent per annum from the 3rd day of January 1831 until paid which Francis Stoner late in our Madison Circuit Court, recovered against them for her Debt & interest in an action of Debt.  Also the sume $7.63 which to the said Stoner in the same court was adjudged for her costs in that suit expended—whereof they are convicted as appears to us of record; and that you have the said sum of money before the Judge of our said court, on the second Monday in November next, to satisfy and pay the said Stoner her Debt interest and costs aforesaid, and have then there this writ.

 

Witness David Irvine Clerk of our said Court, at the Courthouse thereof, this 24 day of Sept 1831 and in 40th year of the Commonwealth

[signed] David Irvine

 

 ********************************

 

William Bentley vs. Brown Comstock.  Filed 1832.  Resolved 1832.

Madison file 13591.  Box 149, bundle 297.

 

Note by Lyndon Comstock: On January 1, 1831, Brown Comstock and William Bentley arranged to hire for the year two boys or men held as slaves, William and Cyrus, whose ages aren't given.  Comstock and Bentley agreed to pay the owner of the slaves, James Shackelford, $80 for William and $35 for Cyrus as well as to provide their clothing for the year.  Bentley states in his complaint that Comstock then agreed to pay him $200 for what was presumably the exclusive use of the slaves.

 

The jury apparently found that Comstock did have exclusive use of the slaves but limited the judgment for Bentley to the $115 rental amount plus a small amount of interest and, presumably, the $7.30 court costs.

 

Case Chronology

 

Filed 8. Augt 1832

 

1832 Sept Jury & Judgt

$119.60 & cost

 

Complaint

 

William Bently by his attorney complains of Brown Comstock in custody &c of a plea of trespass on the case in assumpsit [an action for breach of contract]

 

For that on the    day of     [blanks in original] at said circuit the said deft in consideration of so much money before that paid, paid & expended by the plff to the use & benefit of the deft at the special instance and request of the deft, he the said deft, then assumed upon himself & promised to pay the plff two hundred dollars when thereto afterwards required by the plff – yet the said deft tho often requested has not regarded his said [illegible word] has & still fails and refuses to pay the plff said sum or any part thereof—all which is to the plff damage five hundred dollars & her sues &c

Turner

 

Promissory Note  January 1, 1831

 

On or before the first day of January next we or either of promise to pay to Mr James Shackelford one hundred and fifteen Dollars.

 

It being for the hire of his two boys Cyrus and William for the present year, that is eighty dollars for the hire of William and thirty five dollars for Cyrus, we also bind ourselves to cloth said boys well during the year and to return them well clothed at the expiration of the time given under our hands this first day of January 1831

Brown Comstock   Wm Bentley

 

Jury Verdict

 

We of the jury find for the plff $119.60 cents in damages

Will J Moberly [?]

 

 

 

 

 

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