Sumner County, TN Archives
Loose Records #231
Notes: The text of the lawsuit follows, transcribed as accurately as I can determine with respect to the wording, if not exactly with respect to the spelling. I have left a blank for each word I could not figure out and a question mark following a word I'm not positive about it.
Benjamin and Virinda Kirk were the children of William and Frances Kirk and Edmond and Mary Jones. They are my great and great-great-grandparents. Timothy Garrett is my great-great-grandfather. I have been trying to track William Kirk and Edmond Jones, but I'm having trouble finding out where they came from. I believe that Frances Kirk may have been a Mitchell, but I have not been able to verify that. If you have any tips for me, I'd certainly appreciate them. Thanks.
To the Hon. B. L. (Ridley?) Chanceller Sitting at Gallatin. The Petition of Varinda Kirk, the widow and administratrix of Benjamin Kirk, d'cd., filed in United States Chancer (sic) Court, against the minor heirs & children of the late Benjamin Kirk dcd.
Your oratrix a resident of Sumner County humbly complaining (?) would respectfully request to the Court that she is admx of the late Benjamin Kirk, and, that he departed this life in October 1855, leaving several children who are all miners (sic) and are named as follows. Gabriel Kirk, Mary Kirk, Thomas Kirk, James Kirk, Laura Kirk, Henry Kirk, George Kirk, Benjamin (abbreviated) Kirk, Richard Kirk. These are all the children & distributes (?) to said estate. She would further show that as administratrix she has gone on and paid all the debts without selling any of the personal estate. The estate consists of 5 negroes, a negro woman & child and one other negro woman & 2 children. This is all the negro property, some little household furniture & stock. The landed estate consists of 105 acres or more of land. This is the entire estate.
Your petitioner would show that there has been no guardian appointed for the miners. Your
petitioner would further show that the negro woman, Molly has become _. _, and runs away,
and that she can do nothing with her. That she has a husband that runs _ and has considerable
amount of money as she is informed & believes of his own, and, under all the circumstances she is
convinced that there is danger of the negro being carried off or getting to a free state, and believes
that her habits are such as to endanger her helth, and, she cannot controle her. She charges that it
is manifestly to the interest of the miner heirs and her self that this negro be sold and the mony be
vested if the Court would so decree in another negro. If not that, at what (?) it receives at the
hands of the clk & be lent out untill the children becomes of age, or a guardian authorized to
receive the fund be appointed. She propes (? Short for proposes ?) a sale upon such terms as the
Court may decree with cash or on time. She would state that the child of woman is an _ (idiott?),
and must go with the mother. She propes that guardian _ be appointed for the _ let _ _ for them
to _ and let the _ _ , and further she propes for such other and different relief as the nature of the
case may require and as your _ shall see met (meet?)
(Soloman?) for (Petitioner? Pelham?)
State of Tennessee
Sumner County Personally appeared before me Mrs. V. Kirk and makes oath that the matter and things stated in the foregoing Bill as of her knowledge are true and those stated upon information she believes to be true.
Sworn to _
Before me Sept 1st Virinda Kirk
1856 W. _. Blackmore _
(another name ?, illegible)
I acknowledge myself Petitioner's Security in the final sum of two hundred and fifty dollars _ (cash?) _ for the successful (?) proven _ of this case and the payment of all costs. This September 4th 1856
M. H. Solomon Seal
Benj. Kirk &
Filed Sep 4th 1856
To the Hon. B. S. (L?) Ridly (?) Chancellor sitting at Gallatin. The petition of Varunda Kirk, admtx of Benjamin Kirk, and Gabriel Kirk & Mary Kirk & James Kirk & Laura Kirk & Henry & George Kirk & benjamin & Richard Kirk, who are minors & petition by their next friend, Varunda Kirk filed in the Chancery Court of Sumner County.
Your petitioners would show that the minors have no guardian that at a previous term of this
Court, a negro was sold, and the fund yet in Court, and ordered to remain here untill a guardian
be appointed. Your petitioners will further show that they brought a suit in the former Circuit
Court for a tract of land to which their father had a deed, and the cost of the cause went against
them & has to be paid and this fund is the only means out of which to pay the same. They
therefore prey that the clk & Master be authorized to pay the same what ever may be the amount
out of the funds in his hands & the petitioner will as in duty bound ever pay _.
_ for Petitioner
Varinda Kirk (et als)
In this cause it appearing that there is a fund in the Court belonging (?) to the minors and that the minor children have no guardian, it further appearing that cost has been expended in the Circuit Court in the case of the heirs of Benjamin Kirk. Kirk, (etats?etals?) relative to the letter (?) to the tract of land and that a judgment was rendered against them for costs it is therefore ordered that the clk & master pay the same out of the funds in his hands.
Kirk vs Kirk
Be it remembered that this cause came on to be heard before his Honor Chancellor (illegible last name) on this 11th day of March, 1857. upon the Report of the master
(Here insert in) which being _ to is in all things confirmed. It is therefore ordered, adjudged and decreed by the Court that all the right, title & interest of complainants in the negroes mentioned be _ out of them and vested in the purchaser James Davis (Alexander Brown, crossed out). It is further ordered that the costs of this proceeding be paid out of the proceeds of the sale (written underneath, for which fi.fa. may force).
Kirk _ _ Kirk
In this case I would report that in pursuance of a decree made at the Sep. term of the Court 1856
after giving 20 days notice at 2 (?) or more public places in the County I offered on the 15th of
Oct. 1856 at public auction at the Court House door the negro woman Mary & her child
mentioned in the pleadings, where James A. Davis paid $387.50 for the negros & his being the
highest bid, the same was struck off to him for which he executed his note for $387.50 payable 6
months after date with (blank space) Alexander Brown.
W. H. Soloman Security
_ of which are respectfully submitted by
W. H. Blackmore (Clk & M?)
Robert Armstrong being _ & sworn states that he is about 66 years of age. That he lives near the residence of the late Benjamin Kirk & has lived there for, _ for several years. He knows (or, knew) the Negro woman, Molly. She is a badly disposed (?) woman, and in the condition that the family is (five words crossed out in parentheses), I do not think that she can be properly controlled by the administratrix or the minors. The Negro woman has been run away this _, & the _ off, & _for, _ two states in the woods, or from the place. I have heared that she had a husband that _ (over the Ridge?). I would consider that there might be danger of the Negro being run off, from the County (?). I think it is manifestly to the interest of the heirs that the Negro woman be sold. She is about 35 or 40 years of age. The children of Benjamin Kirk are mostly young children. The woman has a child, and I am told that is not _.
Sworn to and _ before me this the 8 of September 1856
M. _ Blackmore _
Timothy Garrett of lawful age being _ sworn states that he can _ (accredit, attest, something ending in ft or pt or st?) the foregoing deposition of Robert Armstrong and further states that he thinks it surely best to sell the Negro. She cannot be managed by them and he thinks that she would run off, if in any way _ in _. The family will not have much peace until she is out (?) of it, _ _ _ or sold.
Sworn to _ Timothy
Before me 8th September 1856
_ _ Blackmore _
In this case I would report from the testimony that (it is, crossed out) of Robert Armstrong and
Timothy Garrett that it would manifestly be to the interest of the minors that the Negro woman
and child mentioned in the pleading be sold for cash.
September 12th, 1856 M _ Blackmore _
Vs Final Decree
Benjamin Kirk estate
Be it remembered (?) that this case came on to be heared before the Hon. B. L. Nealy (?) Chancellor, sitting at Gallatin on the 12th day of Sept 1856. Upon the petition and _ of guardian _ and the request (?) of the clk (some 11 words follow, written in very small script between the two lines of writing) and it appearing from said report that it is manifestly to the interest of the minors that said Negro Molly & her child be sold for cash.
It is therefore ordered and decreed that the clk & master after giving (?) _ _ _ to sell said slave for cash (crossed out) or _ _ and report to the next term of the court.