Source: Sumner County Roll A-5030, Book 138, Pages 1266-1280, Lawsuits, Tennessee State Library and Archives. Transcription from copy of original record. Comments, corrections, and further information welcomed. Interested parties please write for copies of the originals. My comments in brackets [--].
George F. KEESEE is the son of George Faris KEESEE, SR. (ca. 1743-1825) and Agnes (TERRY) KEESEE (ca. 1751-1829), all of Sumner County, Tennessee. Originally from Pittsylvania County, Virginia, they moved from Greenville/Spartanburg County, SC, to Sumner County about 1799. George F. KEESEE, Jr.'s sister Jane married Robert SAUNDERS in Sumner County in 1806; relationship to the SAUNDERS couple in this suit is unknown. No further information about George F. KEESEE, Jr.
**Summons, 8 May 1826, for the Sheriff of Sumner County to "take the body of George F.
KEESEE . . .before the Justice of the court of Pleas and Quarter-Sessions . . . to the town of
Gallatin, on the second Monday in August next, to answer James SAUNDERS and Letitia
SAUNDERS wife of said James in a plea of trespass on the c[?] for speaking false, [?] a low and
malicious words of and concerning said Letitia SAUNDERS. To the damage of said James and
Letitia SAUNDERS five thousand dollars." signed 8 May 1826.
[Photocopies of old document, very difficult to read. CEB]
**State of Tennessee, Sumner County; August Session 1826 of the County Court of Sumner aforesaid James SAUNDERS and Letitia SAUNDERS his wife by their attorney complains of George KESEE in custody [---?] of a plea of Trespass on the case: For that whereas the said Plaintiff Letitia good, true moral and chaste citizen of this State, and as such has always demeaned herself from her nativity upwards and was never guilty nor suspected of being guilty of adultery, fornication or any such odious and detestable crimes; but on the contrary has always demeaned so as to acquire the good opinion of all her neighbours and acquaintances. Never the less the defendant well knowing the [promises?] but [enjoying? envying?] the happy state and consideration of the said Letitia and endeavoring to bring her into disrepute among those with whom she is acquainted on the 13 th day of April 1826 in the County aforesaid in the presence of and hearing of diverse citizens of this state did falsely and maliciously publish and speak of and concerning the said Letitia, the following false, scandalous and malicious words (to wit) That James SAUNDERS was an old whore, and had given his wife the clap and that Hardy WATSON had fucked his wife, that is the said Letitia / meaning thereby that the said Letitia had committed the crime of adultery contrary to an act of the general assembly passed 5th day of October 1804 entitled an act declaring certain words actionable, etc.
And afterwards to wit on the 13th day of April 1826 in the County aforesaid, in? a certain other discourse which said Defendant, then and there had in the presence and hearing of divers and worthy citizens of this State, he the said George KESSEE further contrary[?] and intending as aforesaid, then and there in the presence and hearing of the citizens aforesaid, did falsely and maliciously publish and speak of and concerning the said Letitia, the wife of the said James SAUNDERS, the following false, scandalous and malicious words to wit "That she (meaning the said Letitia, the wife of the said James SAUNDERS was a whore" (meaning thereby that the said Letitia had committed adultery) contrary to an act of the general Assembly entitled an act declaring certain words actionable, etc.
And afterwards, to wit on the ____ day of April 1826 in the County aforesaid in a certain other discourse which the said George KESSEE then and there had in the presence and hearing of divers good and worthy citizens of this state, he the said Defendant further contriving and intending as aforesaid then and there, in a certain conversation, which he had with John CAREY of and concerning the said James SAUNDERS and the said Letitia the wife of said James, in the presence of and hearing of the citizens aforesaid, did falsely and maliciously speak of and concerning the said Letitia the following false, scandalous and malicious words "That Saunders had married your sister (to John CAREY) and he was an old whore and had given his wife, (that is the sister of the said John CAREY) the clap. And that Hardy WATSON has fucked his wife, meaning the said Letitia (meaning thereby that the said Letitia had committed the crime of adultery contrary to an act of the general assembly in such case made and provided.
By means of the speaking of which said several false, scandalous and malicious words the said
Letitia is greatly injured in her aforesaid good name, fame[?] and reputation, and [was b---?] into
publick scandal and disgrace, with and amongst her neighbors and acquaintances to whom her
innocence in the pre[---?] is [-----?] and the said Letitia is otherwise greatly injured and damnified,
to wit, in the County aforesaid To the damage of the said Plaintiff $5000.00 and thereby they sue.
HADLY[?] attn P. G.
And the defendant by J[?] C [GUILD?] his attorney comes and defends the force and injury when
etc[?] and says he is not guilty of the said supposed trespasses above laid to his charge or any part
thereof, in manner and form as the plaintiff has the above thereof complained against him. And of
this he the defendant truly [----?] the contrary. etc.
J? C. GUILD att for defendant.
And the Plaintiffs likewise, HADLY att for Plaintiff
** State of Tennessee, Sumner County: Know all by their presents that George F. KEESEE John
BANKS and James D. EIDSON[?] [-------?] truly bound to Chas. MORGAN of the said county
in the penal sum of Ten Thousand Dollars to [----? -----?] that said KESSEE make is appearance
at [---?] next county Court at the Courthouse in the town of Gallatin the 2nd Monday in
August next then and there to answer James SANDERS & Latitia SANDERS wife of said James
in a plea of trespass in the case for speaking false slanderous & malicious words of and
concerning Letitia SANDERS to the damage of said James & Letitia, five thousand dollars and
not apart then from without ----? court witness our hands & seals this 17th August 1826.
[signatures] George F. KEEZEE/KEESSEE, John BANKS, James D. EIDSON[?]
** Summons for John CAREY, John CARR Senr and Cage HALE to appear in November court for the case, signed by A. H. DOUGLASS, Clerk, second Monday, August, 1826.
** Summons for Genl. William HALL, Col. Charles WHITE[?] William REED & Capt. A. B. REED, by clerk, same date as above.
** County Court Civil November Term 1826, James SANDERS & Letitia SANDERS
pltffs. vs. George F. KEEZEE, dft} case.
The parties in this cause by their attorney agree to submit all matters in Controversy between them in this Cause to the final arbitrament and award of Charles H. WHITE, William REED, James ADAMS, Peter LUCY, Benjamin SEAWELL, James CARR, John TUCKER, & David VANCE whose award or any five of them to be made the judgment of this Court & that said arbitration return their award to this court.
A Copy Test., A. H. DOUGLASS Clerk, Sumner County Court.
** [writing too faint to read] the Defendant guilty of speaking slanderous words of Letitia SAUNDERS, wife of James SAUNDERS upon the evidence which has been addressed before or of both parties, and assess the Plaintiffs damages to two hundred sixteen dollars. 50 cts. Given under our hands & seals. This 18th November A.D. 1826, [signatures] Peter LUCAS, Wm. READ, Jas. EVANS, James CARR, Benj. SEAWELL.[Note that 8 men were selected for arbitration and at least 5 had to agree on the judgment; only five men signed the judgment, so it must not have been unanimous or else perhaps all 8 could not be present. CEB]