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Dr. John Stites - New Jersey Chancery Court

Bill of Complaint - 1800


Chancery Court of New Jersey 

John Stites
v.s
Robert Randolph, Jennet Creel, David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford 

(note that Robert Randall as he appears in this complaint, is properly identified as Robert Fitz Randolph in the defendants answer

To his Excellency Richard Howell Esquire Governor Captain general & Commander in Chief in and over the State of New Jersey and territories thereunto belonging Chancellor and Ordinary in the same 

Humbly complaining sheweth unto your Excellency your orator John Stites of Elizabeth Town in the County of Essex and State of New Jersey that Doctor James Manning formerly of Providence in the State of Rhode Island sometime in the month of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred ninety three died intestate and without issue leaving a considerable real and personal the one tenth part of which by course of law was liable to be distributed among the children of Enoch Manning then deceased one of the brothers of the said James Manning deceased the said Enoch having died in the lifetime of the said Doctor James Manning and having first made his last Will and Testament appointed his wife Jennet Manning executrix who since his decease had intermarried with one (blank) Creel and Benjamin Blackford and David Edgar executors of his last Will and Testament which was proved and the administration thereof only committed to the said Jennet, Benjamin and David as your orator had been informed and believes 

And your orator further sheweth unto your Excellency that the said David Edgar one of the said executors of the said Enoch Manning deceased together with the said Jennet Creel executrix of the said Enoch Manning did agree to sell to your orator & convey unto him the one fifth part of the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning deceased under a supposition that the said one fifth part was the distributive share and proportion of the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased and that they had full right to sell all the interest of the said children of the said Enoch Manning to the said distributive shares 

And your orator further sheweth that supposing not only that the children of the said Enoch Manning decease (who then were & still are minors) were entitled to the said one fifth part of the said personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning deceased but also that the said David and Jennet had full power and lawful authority to sell and convey the same to your orator who did agree to purchase the said one fifth part of the estate of the said Doctor James Manning for the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds New York currency and the said David Edgar executor as aforesaid and the said jennet Creel as executrix and natural guardian of the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased her late husband for the purpose of conveying the said fifth part of the said personal estate to your orator did execute under their hands and seal and deliver to your orator a certain instrument of writing purporting to be a Bill of Sale for the same bearing date the first day of March in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and ninety four as by reference to the said instrument of writing now in the possession of your orator and ready to be produced as this honorable Court shall direct will appear upon which your orator to secure the payment of the said sum of two hundred and forty pounds being the purchase money and consideration in the before mentioned instrument of writing contained did execute and deliver unto the said David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford executors of the said Enoch Manning deceased his certain Bond or obligation bearing date the thirty first day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven and ninety four in the penal sum of five hundred pounds conditioned for the payment of two hundred and fifty pounds 

And your orator further sheweth unto your Excellency that he has been lately advised and now finds and is fully able to shew that the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased were never entitled to ore than a tenth part of the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning deceased but that the said David Edgar and Jennet Creel or either of them had no power or authority to make any title to your orator to any part whatever of the said distributive share of the said children of Enoch Manning deceased and that no title whatever is vested in him for the same and that if he should discharge the said Bond given for the consideration of the same distributive shares he would still be liable to be called to account at some future day by the said children of Enoch Manning deceased for whatever he might have received on account of the said shares from the administration of James Manning deceased in virtue of the power of attorney contained in the instrument of conveyance before mentioned 

And your orator further sheweth unto your Excellency that one Doctor Robert Randall of Plainfield in the County of Essex and State of New Jersey pretending that he has some time since taken out letters of administration to the said children of the said Enoch Manning deceased who are minors as aforesaid and in virtue thereof has taken into his own hands the bond so as aforesaid given by your orator to secure the payment of the said sum of two hundred and fifty pounds the consideration money given by your orator for the supposed purchase of the one fifth part of the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning upon which said Bond the said Doctor Robert Randall has caused your orator to be lately prosecuted in the Inferior Court of Common Pleas holden at Elizabeth Town in and for the Borough of Elizabeth and obtained a judgment against your orator in the same Court in the term of (blank) last past for the penal sum in the said Bond mentioned and issued an execution to the Sheriff of the said Borough directed thereby commanding him to cause to be raised even a larger sum of money namely the sum of fifty one dollars more than appears to be due thereon on a fair valuation in virtue of which your oratorís property has been seized and levied on and is threatened shortly to be sold for the payment of the money on the said execution endorsed unless your orator shall pay the same in a short time upon which your orator in a friendly manner sent to the said Doctor Robert Randall to enquire whether if your orator would pay the amount appearing to be really due on the said Bond together with costs of suit he would stay all further proceedings on the said judgment and execution and indemnify your orator from all future demands of the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased and each of them on account of the said distributive shares and the said Robert Randall declared he would not with which request your orator had well hoped that the said Robert would have complied and further that he would have guaranteed to your orator the whole fifth share of the estate of the said James Manning agreeably to the said purchase 

But now so it is may it please your Excellency that the said Doctor Robert Randall combining and confederating with the said David Edgar Jennet Creel and (blank) Creel her husband and diverse other persons to your orator as yet unknown but whose names when discovered he prays may be inserted in this his bill of complaint with apt word to charge them how to injure and defraud your orator in the premises not only refuses to stay all further proceedings on the said Judgment and execution and indemnify your orator in case he should pay the money actually due on the said Bond given by your orator to secure the said purchase money or to guarantee to your orator the recovery of the whole fifth share of the estate of the said James Manning deceased but persists in proceeding on said Judgment and execution pretending that to indemnify your orator against the children of the said Enoch Manning he is no wise obliged on to make the said guarantee and gives out in speeches that the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased are entitled to the fifth part of the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning and that the said Jennet Creel and David Edgar had full power and lawful authority to sell and to convey the same to your orator in manner as before set forth and that your orator will in no wise be liable to account to the said children or any of them for any part of the said distributive share that he may receive from the administrator of the said James Manning deceased 

And further that if your orator is liable to be called to account as aforesaid at any future day on account ofn the said distributive shares he is entitled to no relief in a Court of Equity until he has been compelled to account as aforesaid and that neither the said Doctor James Randall or the said Jennet Creel and David Edgar are now liable to be called upon this Honorable Court to indemnify your orator against any event that may not take place whereas your orator charges and so the truth is that the said James Manning died intestate without issue leaving a wife and four brothers and one sister entitled to the distribution of his estate in which case the said wife was entitled to the one half part and the remaining half part was to be divided equally among the said brothers and so that the share belonging to the children of the said Enoch Manning in the whole amounts to no more than one tenth part 

And your orator further charges that the said David Edgar and Jennet Creel had no right to sell and dispose of any part of the said distributive shares as the same never became vested in the said Enoch Manning deceased he having died in the life time of the said Doctor James Manning 

And your orator also further expressly charges that he will be liable to be called to account by each of the children of the said Enoch Manning who are now minors as they shall respectively arrive at the age of twenty one years for any part of the said distributive shares to which they are entitled and which your orator shall receive by virtue of the before mentioned instrument of writing and the warrant of attorney contained in the same given as aforesaid to your orator and that your orator is in no wise obliged to wait until he is actually forced into a law suit by the said children and put to great expense and trouble before he can call upon the confederates to be indemnified against the same All which actings pretences and doings of the said confederates are contrary to equity and good conscience and tend to the great injury of your orator 

In tender consideration whereof and for as much as your orator has no remedy by the strict of the common law but is only relievable in a Court of Equity were matters of this kind are properly cognizable the more especially as your oratorís witnesses by whom the truth of the matter might be proved are either dead or gone into parts beyond sea at present unknown to your orator 

To the end therefore that the said Doctor Robert Randall David Edgar and Jennet Creel and (blank) Creel her husband and the rest of the confederates when discovered may upon their several and respective corporal oaths true direct and perfect answer make to all and singular the premises as fully and particularly as if the same where here again repeated and they thereun to particularly interrogated and more especially that they may set forth and declare whether the said Doctor James Manning died intestate and without issue at the time herein before set forth or at any other and what time and whether he did not have considerable real and personal estate and whether the said Doctor James Manning did not have a widow and four brothers and one sister or how many brothers and sisters he did have and whether the one half of the said personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning did not at his death become vested in his widow and whether the other half did not become vested in equal proportions in his said brothers and sister or their lawful representatives or what proportion of the said personal estate each of them were respectively entitled unto 

And also that they may set forth whether the said David Edgar Benjamin Blackford and Jennet Creel or any and which of them did agree to sell to your orator and convey to him the distributive shares of the said children of the said Enoch Manning deceased to the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning and whether the said David Edgar and Jennet Creel did not convey to your orator the one fifth part of the personal estate of the said Doctor James Manning deceased supposing that the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased were entitled to that proportion in manner as before set forth or in any other and way and whether the said Jennet and David did not execute and deliver to your orator the said instrument of writing they or either of them have executed for the purpose of conveying the said distributive shares And whether your orator did not agree to give for the same the sum of two hundred and forty pounds and in order to receive the same payment thereof execute and deliver to the said David and Benjamin his Bond or obligation for the same in manner as before set forth or what sum of money was given for the said distributive shares by your orator and how the payment thereof was secured 

And that the said Doctor Robert Randall may set forth and declare whether he has taken out letters of guardianship to the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased or any and which of them and whether in virtue of the said guardianship or under any other and what authority he has taken into his own hands the Bond as aforesaid given by your orator to secure the purchase as aforesaid and whether the same has not been put in suit and a Judgment entered and execution thereon issued against your orator in manner as before set forth and what sum was really due on the said Bond at the time of entering the said Judgment and what sum the said execution and whether the same is not more than appears to be really due for principal interest and costs upon a fair calculation and whether the said Sheriff of the Borough of Elizabeth has not been directed to proceed and sell your orators property in order to raise the said sum of money endorsed on the said execution 

And whether your orator by himself or his son and agent did not apply to the said Doctor Randall and enquire of him whether if your orator should pay the amount of the said purchase money he the said Robert Randall would indemnify your orator against any future demands that might be made against your orator by the said children of Enoch Manning or any of them for or on account of any of the said distributive shares of the said personal estate and whether the said Robert Randall did not altogether refuse and that the said Bond or obligation was aforesaid given by your orator may be given up to be canceled and the whole of the said bargain and sale was aforesaid made of the distributive shares of the said personal estate may be set aside and rendered utterly void and null as founded on an evident and clear mistake and that your orator may have such other and further relief in the premises as to your Excellency shall seem agreeable to equity and good conscience 

May it please your Excellency to grant unto your orator not only the States most gracious Writ of Injunction issuing out of and under the seal of this Honorable Court to restrain the said Doctor Robert Randall and the said David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford and each of them from proceeding at law against your orator on the said Bond and Judgment so as aforesaid but also the States most gracious Writ of subpoena to be directed to the said Doctor James Randall David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford and the said (blank) Creel and Jennet his wife and the rest of the confederates when discovered thereby commanding them and every of them at a certain day and under a certain pain therein to be specified personally to be and appear before your Excellency in this Honorable Court then and there to answer all and singular the premises aforesaid and to stand to perform and abide such order direction and decree therein as to your Excellency shall seem meet And your orator shall ever pray 
Aaron Ogden, Counsel .. the Compl. 

Filed 22 February 1800 


In Chancery 

Affidavit to Injunction
Filed July 3, 1800 

John Stites
v.s
David Edgar & others 

I have greed that an injunction in the above case might issue without the deposit being actually made, as the money on controversy appears to be fully secured. 

Matthias Williamson junr.
Solic. for defendants 

(added notation in another hand)

J. Stites will thank Mr Crof? to send the injunction by the mail directed to Abraham Stites, Student of Law to? Aaron Ogden 

Same reference as Bill of Complaint
 

Acknowledgments to the New Jersey State Archives :-
Record Group : Chancery Court
Series : Case files, 1743-1824
Accession # : 1975.004
Series # : SCH00001
Guide date : 5/2000 (SC)
Volume : 60 c.f. [148 boxes]
Box 60


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