Scott County Chancery Court Record1841-005
Hamilton Neil ECT
Vs. Exrs. Of Grimes Neil
Complaint of Patrick Neil for the Heirs of Hamilton Neil decd.
To the Honorable Benjamin Estill, Judge of the Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery of Scott County. The Bill of Complaint of Hamilton Neill, Henry Montieth and Mary his wife, Charles Hays and Elizabeth his wife, and Patrick Neill, humbly represents that in 18__ One Hamilton Neill now deceased , who was the husband of the Plf. Mary and the father of the Plfs. Hamilton, Patrick, and Elizabeth, having been for a number of years theretofore, a merchant in Greenville East Tennessee, determined to return to Ireland upon business, from which Country he had originally migrated to the United States. That at the time contemplated for his departure from the United States, non of the Plfs were capable of settling up or attending to the said Hamilton Neill’s business, all of them being infants or minors except the Plf Mary who was herself incapable of settling up a mercantile business as extensive as that of her husband Hamilton Neill the was.
To the Honorable Benjamin Estill, Judge of the Circuit Superior Court of law and Chancery of Scott County. The Bill of Complaint of humbly represents that in 18__ One having been for a number of years theretofore, a merchant in Greenville East Tennessee, determined to upon business, from which to the United States. That at the time contemplated for his departure from the United States, non of the Plfs were capable of settling up or attending to the said Hamilton Neill’s business, all of them being infants or minors except the Plf Mary who was herself incapable of settling up a mercantile business as extensive as that of her husband Hamilton Neill the was.The said Hamilton therefore in order to place his business in the best probable condition to be settled up and adjusted for the benefit of his family in the court of death or accident during his absence , sent for his brother Grimes Neill now Decd. For the purpose of placing in his hands all his mercantile business to be closed and settled up by him the said Grimes Neill in whom he placed the utmost confidence as a brother and friend. The said Grimes Neill being thus sent for by his brother Hamilton for the purpose aforesaid, went to the said Hamilton’s residence in Green County Tennessee for the purpose of taking possession of the books accounts, notes, ect. Which the said Hamilton desired to place in his hands for settlement and upon his arrival there the said Hamilton (having then made his arrangements to start on his journey in a day or two) in the presence of Struthard Neill and perhaps other disinterested persons placed in the hands of said Grimes Neill for collection all his mercantile books, accounts, notes, amounting to about $4,000.00.
The said Grimes Neill at the same time stated that is was necessary and proper that a transfer of said books accounts notes , should be made by assignment from his said brother to him, to enable him more effectually to make the collections and close the business and it is believed that all or most of them were thus transferred by assignment and the said Hamilton Neill took from him a receipt or memorandum therefore and it was distinctly agreed upon and understood that the said Grimes Neill was to have the sole control of said business and was to collect all the said book accounts, notes, and in the court of death or accident preventing the said Hamilton’s return he the said Grimes was to occupy the condition of Trustee, in the relation to said funds, to be applied to the sole use and benefit of his, the said Hamilton’s, said wife and children. The said business being thus arranged to the entire satisfaction of said Hamilton the said Grimes returned to his residence which was then in Claiborne County Tennessee and the said Hamilton on the next day set out upon his journey, taking with him some private papers among which was the said memorandum or receipt of said Grimes Neill for said debts. The said Hamilton Neill was taken sick in a few weeks after he left home and died near the Canady line before he departed from the United States, and you Orators have been unable as to yet to get possession of the said papers that he had with him at his death, but they expect to be able to prove the contents of said last receipt taken by Hamilton from said Grimes for said debts. A portion of the debts placed by Hamilton Neill in Grimes Neill’s hands for collection as aforesaid were not of the mercantile business. There was one note of $100.00, a part of the purchase money of a house and lot which was collected by Struthard Neill and paid over to Grimes as agent or Trustee aforesaid. There was also a debt of $120.00 due from Daniel Neill to Hamilton Neill unconnected with the mercantile business which the said Grimes collected and it is believed that there were various others, not at present recollected.
Your Orators expect to prove that the said Grimes Neill has collected a large portion of said debts thus placed in his hands by Hamilton his brother, perhaps $2,000.00 or $3,000.00, entirely violated the trust reposed in him by his brother and wholly failed to apply the funds to the use of the Plfs or to pay over to them any portion of the money collected by him. And your Orators contend that a court of equity in protesting the rights of the Plfs, most of whom were infants, will compel the Defts. To account not only for the amount collected by their Testator together with the interest thereon but also for all the notes and accounts that were collectable, which have been lost through the neglect of said Grimes Neill who alone had the control of and power to collect them. You orators would here by leave to State that they are informed that the Exrs. Of said Grimes Neill are setting up some paper or receipt which is intended to prejudice their rights, purporting to be a writing signed by Hamilton Neill Decd. In relation to said business or transferred debts, and your orators answer that no such paper was ever executed by said Hamilton , and if such a one is held by the said exers. Your orators pronounce it a forgery and a base fabrication to defraud them of their just rights. And as evidence as it Your Orators would state, that Struthard Neill was present and witnessed the transaction aforesaid and transfer of debts, and no such paper was then executed by said Hamilton, and after said Grimes Neill returned home from said Hamiltonâ€™s residence the said Struthard Neill still remained in company with Hamilton and went with him some distance on his journey from which he never returned. You Orators however hope that the said Exers will not expose their testator by exhibiting a paper which you orators can show from facts and circumstances is a forgery. The said Hamilton Neill died while the said business and papers were in the hands of Grimes and before any portion of the debts were collected by said Grimes and the said Grimes was for several years after the death of said Hamilton making collection of said debts, a portion of which he collected not more than three or four since about twelve months after the death of said Hamilton Neill. Your orators Mary who was the widow of said Hamilton intermarried with the Plt. Henry Montieth and has remained â€œfeme covertâ€ ever since, not capable of enforcing her rights. Your orator Elizabeth was an infant at the death of her father Hamilton Neill and intermarried with the Plf Charles Hays before she attained the age of twenty and has remained a “feme court” since her said marriage and your orators Patrick and Hamilton Neill were infants at the death of their father and you orator Hamilton attained the age of twenty in June 1835. You orators most of them residing in the State of Tennessee and the said business having been transacted there made arrangements and procured counsel to bring suit against the said Grimes Neill, in that State to coerce payment of the money aforesaid. But although he frequently had business in your orators County he artfully avoided their suit. He reportedly promised fair to you orators, and seemed to desire to put off the evil day as long as possible upon one occasion when your orator Patrick demanded of him the money and debts of his father Hamilton, he the said Grimes handed to him the said Patrick a note of $250.00 executed by Valentine Sevier and (Deaderick?) To said Hamilton Neill being one of the notes transferred to him (Grimes) by said Hamilton. Upon all other occasions the said Grimes did not deny having the money, but artfully waived and put off the matter. You orators finding that they could not get hold of him in Tennessee determined to sue him in Virginia, previous to his death and you orator Patrick spoke to counsel for that purpose, but Struthard Neill being sent for by Grimes induced your orators to believe that Grimes would adjust the matter as soon as all the Heirs could be brought together and under that hope the matter was delayed until his death. The said Grimes Neill departed the life on the ___ day of ___ 1839. Having by his last will and testament appointed Hezekiah P Neill, William B. Neill and John A. Hall his executors. But the said Hall refused the executor ship and did not qualify and therefore does not act in the execution of said will. So that the said H.P and Wm. B. Neill are the only acting executors under the said will of Grimes Neill Decd. And the said Exrs. Although requested by your orators have not accounted with them for any portion of the said monies collected by their testator which he also failed to pay over and account for.
Your Orators would here by leave to State that they believe there are many other transactions in this business calculated to charge the estate of said Grimes Neill Decd. And which would be proper for them to state in their bill but which from their want of information at present they necessarily omit to state, trusting to elicit those facts from the evidence that they may be able to procure. And Your orators being without, are adequate remedy at common law and reliable only in a court of equity their prayer therefore is that the said Hezekiah P. Neill and William B. Neill acting exrs. Of the last will and testament of Grimes Neill decd. May be made parties Defts. To this bill and that they be required fully and truly to answer the same on oath. That the said exrs set forth in their answer how much their testator received of the debts aforesaid of Hamilton Neill Decd, and how much he collected thereof, and what disposition he has made of the books accounts, notes aforesaid, and when he received the different sums collected by him of said debts, and what in that the said exrs be required to exhibit the said books and such of the notes and accounts as remain uncollected and every other paper and account of their testator upon the subject of said business. That any account be directed of all the transactions and that such other and further relief be extended to your orators as is just and equitable and suited to their case. May it please you Honor to grant the Commits writ of ??.(Spad.)
Two Depositions were taken from Struthard/Stodart/Stoddard. Neil. In one William B. ask him questions, and the other the Plaintiffs ask him questions. The person taking the depo. Spelled his name Struthard, but he signed his name Stodart.I have copies of the depositions, but will list here the highlights of important information.
Deposition for Patrick and others:
Deposition for Patrick and others:Taken on the 30th of March 1840,
Struthard Neill a witness of lawful age after being duly sworn deposeth and saith:
That 4 or 5 months before the death of his brother Hamilton, his brother Grimes was sent for, by Hamilton.
And Grimes came to his house in Greene Co. TN, and Hamilton was about starting to North Carolina with a drove of horses and expected to go to Ireland before he returned.
He thinks the amount of the papers Hamilton gave to Grimes were about Nine Hundred dollars, and that Grimes was supposed to collect and pay himself for his trouble and return the remainder to Hamilton’s children.
Stodart also said that John A. Hall told him that Grimes had named him executor, but he did not qualify, but that Grimes had told him to pay all his just debts, and no unjust debts. And that he knew of no unjust debts unless it be the one Patrick and Charles Hays had placed on him.
Stodart told him that a great deal had been placed in Grimes Neil’s hands for them, weather they would get it or not.
Witness for this deposition were, David F. Hall and Charles Bright both Justice’s of the Peace.
Deposition (of Struthard/Stoddard) for William B. Neil was taken in the State of Tennessee June the 19th 1841.
Says his age is about 59, and it was taken at the house of Struthard, in Greene Co. TN.
Present were William B. Neil, Patrick Neil, and Charles Hays.
Wm. 1st question was: Are you acquainted with the hand writing of you brother Hamilton Neil and if so , why you are acquainted with it?
Answer: I am not acquainted with his hand writing
Question: Did or did not Hamilton Neil execute a receipt to Grimes on or about the 8th day of August of 1815, and if so is the receipt hereto amended the one he did execute.
(I did not get his answer to that , it must have been on the back side of the paper, and I missed it.)
There is a news paper article attached to this deposition, where Wm. B and H.P ran an add that they would be taking the deposition of (the way they spelled it in the article) Stouthard on June 19th 1841.
Then there is also attached a record made in Washington Co. VA, saying that CLERK C.R. BAIN personally appeared before Daniel Symith Justice of the peace and made oath that the annexed notice had been published 4 weeks successively in the SOUTH WESTERN VIRGINIAN, a paper published by JOHN N. HUMES. ( Remember from previous records that John N. Humes was also a business partner with John A. Mann)
MY NOTE: Re the death of Hamilton Neil… If Hamilton sent for Grimes in August of 1815, and was first taking a herd of horses to NC, then had to go all the way back up to the Canada line this probably took a while. Making his death abt the end of 1815 or beginning of 1816.The record in the book History of Rockbridge Co, re: family of Patrick Neil that died there in 1802, that had married the widow Mary Beers, had an entry that simply said. Hamilton Neal, Greene Co. TN 1816. I now know it was the record of this Hamilton’s death.
( Virginia Herald (Fredricksburg VA. published on Wednesday April 10, 1816)
Buffalo March 26 (Where the VA paper got the article from)
Suicide.. On one day last week, Mr. Hamilton Neil, put an end to his existence, at Queenstown U. C. by cutting his throat! He had lately come to this country from Tennessee, with his wife and one child, and had taken up lodgings at Lewiston. He possessed a considerable sum of money; which as it is reported, attracted the attention of several individuals, who got him into the fangs of some pretended officers of justice, who maneuvered some time with the said Neil; and during the maneuvering, Neil’s trunk was broken open, and his money stolen. This event brought insanity upon poor Neil, and he immediately crossed the Niagara river to Queenstown, and killed himself as before stated.
The nitty gritty of the 5 pages of answer to the complaint by Hezekiah P. and William B.They donâ€™t admit to any of the matter of the bill to be true.
They don’t admit to any of the matter of the bill to be true.They have no personal knowledge of the transaction of the bill alleged, and believing anything claimed unjust they plead the statute of limitation.
Not only do they have no personal knowledge of any debts due the pltfs, but have no knowledge of the statement of their testator in his lifetime which would stand to such a result.
They claim to have found in Grimes papers, that on the 8th day of August 1815, any debts that might have been transferred or assigned by Hamilton to Grimes were paid for and fully settled on the date last aforesaid. They tell of 5 notes that Grimes collected (small ones) and then go on to say that they have not been able to find any more in the possession of their testator, and they have no knowledge of any others, or the account books , and they believe they are still in Greenville Tennessee.
They also deny that a receipt was ever given to Hamilton by Grimes , and that they believe that Hamilton was in such need of money to pay the expenses of his contemplated journey, that Grimes Neil was induced by him to take some of his debts and advance him money and that their testator has lost money by it.
They say that Patrick lived with or near Grimes in Scott County about 12 years before his death, and so far as they know , said Patrick never set forth any such claim, until Grimes death. That in 1833 or 1834 the Grimes and Patrick settled their accounts . They also mention that they believe Patrick is upward of 38 years of age and that Hamilton jr. attained the age of 21 about the year 1831 or 1832. That Hays is now 31 yrs old and has been married to Elizabeth for 5 yrs before the institution of the suit.
Then Hezekiah has a statement witnessed by Robert Speer J.P that says:
That over the last 15 years he has heard Patrick say that Grimes was indebted to him and the other heirs of Hamilton, something like $600.00
But that he heard Grimes say at different times he owed them nothing and that he held a clear receipt from Hamilton Neil, and that he showed the same to Hamilton Neil Jr. when he on a certain occasion demanded of him his portion of the Estate of his Father. And said Grimes told him that he owed him nothing and if he go anything out of him he would get it according to law, given under my hand this 14th day of July 1840.
Robert Speer J.P.