HISTORY OF ORANGE COUNTY
THE BOLLS-GILLILAND MURDER CASE
On the 30th of December, 1826, a short distance west of Paoli, Benjamin Bolls and John Gilliland became engaged in a fight, during which the former drew a knife and stabbed the latter in the groin, inflicting a wound about two inches long by two inches deep, from the effects of which Gilliland died in a few minutes. Boils was indicted,and the case came up for trial at the February term, 1827. After an exciting trial the jury returned a verdict of murder in the first degree, but upon a technical point a new trial was secured, and the case was continued until the July term, 1827. At this time the jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter and fixed the punishment at sixteen years in the penitentiary, and a fine of $1 and costs. Soon after this, for some reason unknown, Bolls was pardoned by the Governor. John Law was Prosecutor, John R. Porter, Judge, and it is probable that Dewey was attorney for Bolls. Altogether the trial lasted eight days, and seems to have been hotly contested.
COURT OFFICERS AND ATTORNEYS
In February, 1827, Albert S. White, Henry Collins, James Collins, William H. Hurst and Henry S. Henely were admitted to practice. Numerous cases of horse stealing and burglary came up about this time. On the motion of Charles Dewey, Isaac Howk was appointed Special Prosecutor for the February term, 1829, Law being absent. Eben D. Edson and Benjamin Hurst were admitted to practice in 1829. John F. Ross became President Judge in 1830, vice Porter. John H. Campbell and Joseph Hostetler were his Associates. William Hoggatt, County Clerk, died, and in December, 1830, James Collins was appointed to succeed him, but not qualifying he was superseded by John McVey, who for many years officiated in that capacity. In 1831 Jacob Moulder succeeded Campbell as Associate Judge.
SUPREME COURT CASE
In 1829 the first Case was taken from Orange County to the Supreme Court, and was in substance as follows:
John Dougherty was the owner of a certificate for a quarter section of land on which one-fourth of the purchase money had been paid. He sold fifty acres* of this quarter section to Edward Humston, giving his bond in the sum of $500 conditioned to convey such fifty acres as soon as the title for the same was received from the United States. Humston then gave his notes to Dougherty for $50, payable in sawing, and afterward paid the notes. He also executed to Dougherty his bond to pay into the land office the sum necessary to clear it out of the office, but before this could be done Dougherty relinquished half of the quarter section and obtained a patent for the remainder in his own name. Humston took possession of the fifty acres and enclosed it with a fence. George Dougherty, son of John Dougherty, then procured from his father an assignment of the certificate and soon after a title to the fifty acres. He then expelled Mr. Humston from the land. Judge John F. Ross decided that Humston should have a conveyance for the fifty acres of land, provided he paid to the Clerk's office the sum of $20 for the benefit of George Dougherty, and appointed a Commissioner to execute the conveyance. The trial was a long one, lasting several days, and many witnesses were examined. John H. Farnham was the attorney for Humston, and Charles Dewey for George Dougherty. The latter appealed the cause to the Supreme Court and secured a reversal on the ground that, as the cause was in chancery, Humston not having paid all the purchase money for the land title, was not entitled to an equity of conveyance. This case elicited much interest at the time by reason of its importance, and the fact that it was the first case appealed from Orange County to the Supreme Court.
[*This land was on Section 23, Township 2 north, Range 1 east.]
THE BOWLES-NEWBY SUPREME COURT CASE
In 1830 the second case, as follows, was taken to the Supreme Court: William A. Bowles entered into a contract with Joseph Potts and John Parvin, owners of a brick-kiln, at Paoli, to deliver to him (Bowles) 70,000 bricks on or before May 1, 1829, and in consideration gave his note for $210, payable to Potts in twelve months, dated October 30, 1828. The bricks were not delivered, and suit was brought by Edward Newby, assignee of James Potts, upon the note when due; but Bowles pleaded failure of consideration, and to this plea was a demurrer which was sustained by Judge Ross. The Judge accepted the argument of Charles Dewey, attorney for Newby, that the true consideration of the note for the money was not the actual delivery of the bricks but the undertaking to deliver them, that being the construction of the plea and so understood. The case was strongly argued in the Orange Circuit Court by Dewey and Isaac Howk, attorney for Bowles. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of Judge Ross upon this ground: "The time for the delivery of these bricks in this case being prior to the time for the payment of the money shows clearly that it was the understanding of both parties that the delivery of the bricks should precede the payment of the purchase money, and no person can compel another to perform his part of the contract until he himself has performed what he stipulated to do as the consideration of the other promise. * * The principle is that where a promise is the consideration, a failure to perform that promise is a failure of consideration". 1 Pet. Rep, 465, Ld. Raym. 666: 1 Saund., 352 n. After being remanded the case became so complicated that it cannot now be followed without the papers, which are missing.
SUPREME COURT CASE
The third case, as follows, went to the Supreme Court in 1831: Jonathan Lindley, County Agent, sold at auction to John Austin three lots in Paoli, and gave him a title bond as follows:
STATE OF INDIANA,
Know all men by these presents, that I, Jonathan Lindley, lawful Agent for the town of Paoli, am held and firmly bound unto 'John Austin in the penal sum of $157.50, to which payment I bind myself, my heirs, and every of them, to be made and done. Witness my hand and seal April 9, 1816. The Condition of the above obligation is such that if the above bounden Jonathan Lindley doth make a deed unto John Austin for Lots No. 18, 21 and 28, in the town of Paoli, as soon as he can obtain a deed for the same, in failure thereof the above obligation to stand in full force and virtue in law, the date above written.
JONATHAN LINDLEY. [SEAL]
Payment was properly made for the lots by Austin and afterward he received a deed for two of them from Lindley, endorsing a receipt for such deed on the title bond. Austin then assigned the bond as to the third lot to William Cravens, who soon died, his administratrix being Jane Cravens. Jonathan Lindly also died, his executor being William Lindley. Jane Cravens as administratrix brought suit on the title bond against William Lindley, executor of Jonathan Lindley, and recovered a judgment before Judge Ross. Several important questions came up on trial; John H. Farnham was attorney for Lindley and for Jane Cravens. It was alleged that Jonathan Lindley through mistake permitted the word "heirs"to appear in the title bond instead of the words "successors in office,"and also that it was well known that Lindley conveyed the land in his official character and that his personal property should not be subject to execution under the judgment. William Lindley prayed the court for an injunction on the judgment and general relief, to which there was a demurer which was sustained and the injunction which had been temporarily granted in vacation was dissolved. The Supreme Court held that the judgment should be reversed and remanded to the Orange Circuit Court, and leave given the complainant to amend his bill, the error of the lower court being that upon sustaining the demurrer to the bill, the cause was not permitted to stand over for a reasonable time for the complainant to amend his bill. The Supreme Court also decided that the complainant's relief was to have the mistake in the title bond corrected in a court of chancery, by which act the county of Orange, and not the complainant, would become liable to Jane Cravens. It was also settled that the mistake in the title bond could not be pleaded in an action at law, but could only be in chancery, the ruling of the lower court on that point being correct. John H. Farnham was attorney for Lindley, and Charles Dewey for Jane Cravens. This was one of the hardest fought trials of early years.