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Dr. John Stites - New Jersey Chancery Court

Defendant's answer - 1800


Chancery Court of New Jersey - Defendants answer 

John Stites
v.s
Robert Randolph and others (& Michael & Jennet Creel, David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford) 

To his Excellency Richard Howell Esquire Captain General Governor and Commander in Chief of the State of New Jersey Chancellor and Ordinary of the same &c. 

The joint and several answers of Michael Creel and Jennet his wife, Benjamin Blackford, David Edgar and Robert Randolph defendants to the Bill of Complaint of John Stites of Elizabeth Town complainant 

The said defendants saving and reserving to themselves now and and at all times hereafter all manner of benefit and advantage of exception to the many uncertainties and imperfections in the complainant’s said bill contained, for answer thereunto or unto so much thereof as materially concerns these defendants to make answer unto, they answer and say, that they believe it to be true and admit, that Doct. James Manning formerly of Providence in the State of Rhode Island sometime in or about the month of June in the year of our Lord 1793 died intestate and without issue having a considerable real and personal estate a proportion of which agreeably to the course of Law was liable to be distributes amongst the children of Enoch Manning then deceased, one of the brothers of the said James Manning deceased, which said Enoch Manning died in the lifetime of the said James Manning having first made and duly executed his last Will and Testament and thereby appointed his wife Jennet Manning (who since his death has intermarried with the said Michael Creel) executrix  and defendants Benjamin Blackford and David Edgar executors of his said last Will and Testament which was afterwards proved and the administration thereof duly executed to the said defendants Jennet Benjamin and David as the said John Stites in his said Bill hath set forth, 

And these defendants David Edgar and Jennet Creel further answering, say, that the said John Stites, who they understood has the principal care and charge of the settlement of the estate of the said James Manning deceased did apply to these defendants and did propose to purchase of them, the right of the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased to the estate of the said James Manning and in order to induce them to give their consent, informed them that he would give them £250, if they would release to him all the right of the children to the said personal estate, that it was as much as he could afford to give that he had purchased of Joseph Manning and John Manning who were brothers of the said James Manning their proportion of the said personal estate for the said sum of £250 to each of them and that he would accept from these defendants a Bill of Sale or Conveyance for the right of the said children to the said estate and would wait until they should arrive to full age, when he expected the said children would execute to him some proper writing or release for their said distributive shares, 

And these defendants Jennet Creel and David Edgar, considering that the estate of the said James Manning deceased was at Rhode Island, and that the said Joseph Manning and John Manning uncles of the said children, as the truth really was had severally sold their rights to the said personal estate to the said John Stites for the same sum that he offered to them and well answering that if the said children of the said Enoch Manning when they should come of age, or their guardian when one should be duly appointed should refuse to accept of the said sum of money, and confirm the bargain, that the said defendants could only be answerable to the said John Stites for such sums of money as they might receive from him together with the interest, did agree with the said John Stites, to accept of the said offers so made as aforesaid to them 

And these defendants further say, that the said John Stites afterwards to wit, on or about the latter part of the month of March or the beginning of April in the year of our Lord 1794, bought and delivered to these defendants a certain Bond or obligation executed by him to Benjamin Blackford and David Edgar as executors and to Jennet Creel as executrix of the estate of the said Enoch Manning deceased in the …. sum of £500 current money of the State of New York at eight shillings the dollar bearing date the thirty first day of March in the year of our Lord 1794, with a condition thereunder written that if the said John Stites his heirs executors or administrators should well and truly pay or cause to be paid unto the defendants Benjamin Blackford David Edgar and Jennet Creel or to either of them or their executors, administrators or assigns the just and full sum of £250 current money of the State of New York at eight shillings per dollar with lawful interest from the first day of June then next that on or before the first day of June in the year 1795, then the said obligation to be void or else to stand and remain in full force and virtue in law 

And the said John Stites produced and shewed to these defendants David Edgar and Jennet Creel for the purposes of carrying the agreement aforesaid into execution a certain instrument of writing for these defendants to execute, respecting which these defendants understood, the said John Stites had consulted John De Hart Esq. Counselor at Law, the being at Elizabeth Town, and these defendants David Edgar and Jennet Creel executed and delivered the said instrument of writing or Bill of Sale to the said John Stites, and he delivered the Bond before mentioned to these defendants, 

…..(illegible)… defendants Michael Creel, Jennet Creel, Benjamin Blackford, David Edgar and Robert Fitz Randolph further answer and say, that the said Robert Fitz Randolph was duly appointed guardian of the persons and estate of the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased, to wit, Polly Manning, Sally Manning and Nancy Manning, by the order of appointment of the Orphan’s Court of the County of Essex, and was accordingly authorized deputed and appointed keeper or guardian of the said infants, and also to take into his charge and case the persons and estates of the said infants as by Letters of Guardianship signed by your Excellency and under the Great Seal of the State bearing date the seventh day of February in the year of our Lord 1797 and now in the custody of the said Robert Fitz Randolph and ready to be produced as this honorable Court shall direct and to which these defendants for more certainty beg leave to refer may fully appear 

And these defendants admit, that soon after the said Robert Fitz Randolph had obtained the said letters of Guardianship, the said Michael Creel and Jennet his wife, and Benjamin Blackford and David Edgar delivered unto the said Robert Fitz Randolph the said Bond of the said John Stites as part of the property belonging to his said wards 

And the said Robert Fitz Randolph, (the said John Stites neglecting to pay up the interest due on the said Bond although frequently desired so to do by the said Robert Fitz Randolph and having some apprehensions that the said money might be lost, as there was no other person in the said Bond but the said John Stites and no mortgage to make the sum more secure) prosecuted the said John Stites thereon in the Inferior Court of Common Pleas holden at Elizabeth Town in and for the Borough of Elizabeth and obtained a Judgment thereon against him in the same Court in the sum of (blank) last part for the final sum in the said Bond mentioned and issued an execution directed to the Sheriff of the said Borough of Elizabeth against the goods and chattels lands and tenements of the said John Stites, and that the said Sheriff proceeded to advertise the property by him seized by virtue of the said execution 

And the said Robert Fitz Randolph further answering saith, that sometime in the beginning of the month of January last past one of the sons of the said John Stites applied to him, and asked him, whether he would indemnify the said John Stites, provided he the said John Stites would pay the debt interest and costs due on the said Bond, that his father had the money ready and was willing to pay him, provided he would give him a sufficient indemnification, to which this defendant answered at first, that he should not, and then in a few minutes said, that he would consult with Mr. Matthias Williamson Junr. his attorney, and would let the said John Stites know what he would do, 

And this defendant further says, that on the second Tuesday of the said month of January, he saw his said attorney, and on the same day he told Major William Chatwood who had the case and charge of the said business on the behalf of the said John Stites, that if the said John Stites would pay the said debt and interest due on the said Bond and the costs of suit, he would indemnify him accordingly, And desired the said Major Chatwood to tell the said John Stites he wanted the money and wished it might be done soon, which he promised to do but instead of paying the said money and without hearing anything further on the subject, the said John Stites provided to file his Bill in this Honorable Court, and a subpoena to appear and answer to the same was served on this defendant 

And these defendants David Edgar and Jennet Creel deny that they agreed to sell to the said John Stites and convey unto him, the one fifth part of the personal estate of the said James Manning, as belonging to the children of the said Enoch Manning deceased, or that they pretended or supposed they had legal authority to sell and convey the same to the said John Stites, but that the said John Stites made the offer to purchase all the right of the said children to the said personal estate of the said James Manning respectively which they knew but little except little information they received on that subject from the said John Stites, and would take a writing or Bill of Sale from them which would satisfy him for the present and he would wait until the children came of age when he made no doubt, they would execute sufficient writings to satisfy him 

And these defendants severally answering further say, that they never heard before the filing of the Bill of Complaint against them by the said John Stites in this honorable Court, that the said John Stites pretended or alleged, that there was any mistake respecting the right of the said children of the said Enoch Manning deceased, or any dispute between the said John Stites and the said Joseph Manning and John Manning who were several intitled to distributive shares in the said estate, and who severally sold there rights therein as aforesaid to the said John Stites for the sum of £250 each, although the said John Stites has at three several times paid interest on the Bond aforesaid given by him to the said Jennet Creel David Edgar and Benjamin Blackford as aforesaid, during all which time these defendants have been informed and believe it to be true, that the said John Stites had the principal care and management of the estate of the said James Manning and must long before have discovered the mistake if there had been one James Manning deceased ^ (insertion mark but nothing added) 

And these defendants further deny that the said Bond given as herein before mentioned, or that the bargain so as aforesaid made with the said John Stites was for the sum of £240 as is …….. stated in the said Bill But the said contract was made and the said Bond was given for the sum of £250, as will more fully appear by the said Bond now in the custody of the said Robert Fitz Randolph one of the defendants, and ready to be produced as this honorable Court may direct and to which these defendants for more certainty beg leave to refer 

And this defendant Robert Fitz Randolph further says, that he admits, that the said John Stites made him one payment of interest, on the said Bond, for which he gave the said John Stites a receipt, …(illegible) as paid to this defendant at Elizabeth Town when he he had not the said Bond with him, And was not on that account credited or entered on the said Bond, the exact sum or date of which this defendant doth not now recollect, and this defendant further says that when he left the said Bond to be prosecuted, he mentioned the said circumstance to his attorney and directed him to credit the amount of the said receipt on the said Bond, when the said John Stites should produce and require the same And this defendant denies, that he ever refused to give the said John Stites credit for the said sum of money mentioned in the said receipt, or that the said John Stites ever asked him so to do And this defendant always has been and still is ready and willing to give him credit therefore 

And these defendants severally deny all, and all manner of combination and confederacy wherewith they stand charged in and by the said Bill of Complaint, without that, that there is any other matter or thing material or necessary for these defendants to make answer unto, and not herein and hereby well and sufficiently answered unto, confessed or avoided, traversed or denied is true, All which matters and things these defendants are ready to aver and prove as this honorable Court shall direct, and humbly pray, that they may be hence dismissed with their reasonable costs and charges in this behalf most wrongly sustained 
Matthias Williamson junr.

Solic. & Counsel for the Defendants 

New Jersey ss.

Michael Creel & Jennet his wife, David Edgar, Robert Randol & Benjamin Blackford defendants mentioned in the forgoing answer personally appeared before me Isaac Williamson one of the Masters of the Court of Chancery in & for the State of New Jersey, being duly sworn severally dispose say that the facts set forth contained in the foregoing answer so far as respects the acts & deeds of these defendants, are true, & that what relates to the acts & deeds of any other person or persons they severally believe to be true

Sworn April sixth 1800

Michael Creel, Jennet Creel (her mark), David Edgar, Robert Randolph, Benjamin Blackford 

Isaac Williamson


New Jersey Court of Chancery

between

John Stites
v.
Robert Randall & others

The replication of John Stites complainant to the answer of Robert Randall and others defendants. 

This replicant saving and reserving to himself all and all manner of advantage of exception to the manifold insufficiencies of the said answer, for replication thereunto saith, that he will aver and prove his said Bill to be true certain and sufficient in the law to be answered unto, and that the said answer of the defendant is uncertain, untrue, and insufficient to be replied unto by this replicant, without that, that any other matter or thing whatsoever in the said answer contained, material or effectual in the law to be replied unto, confessed, and avoided, traversed or denied is true all which matters, and things this replicant is and will be ready to aver and prove as this honorable Court shall direct, and humbly prays, as in and by his said Bill he hath already prayed. 


In Chancery of New Jersey 

John Stites
v.
Robert F Randolph & others 

I discontinue this suit with the leave of the Court upon payment of costs &c.
Aaron Ogden  Sol….
 

(added notation in another hand)

Sir,
Please enter the above in the minutes of the next Court of Chancery and you will oblige
sir, Your humble servant
Matts. Williamson junr.
March 1, 1802


Notes :- 

  1. The sometime spelling of Randolph, as Randol & Randall, is as written.
  2. Whilst it doesn’t specifically say so, the discontinuance was by John Stites, signed by his solicitor Aaron Ogden, as only the complainant can withdraw a case. Given to the defendant’s attorney (Williamson) for endorsement and lodging with the Court.

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]


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