Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Browning v. Beck Pt 6 - Witnesses For The Defense

Other than learning a number of things about citizens living in the same township that my Brownings were living in -- and learning that one of Samuel's lawyers was Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War in the Lincoln administration -- Samuel and Julia Ann's list of witnesses has so far been a fairly fruitless pursuit. The list hasn't done what I most hoped it would do, which was to yield information about Samuel's relations or parentage. As far as I've been able to tell, Samuel just up and hatched!

I turned my attention, therefore, to the witnesses for the defense.

One witness for the defense was named Jonathan Peoples. This name jumped out at me, but not initially…this one leaped out after I came home and was looking over all the old Browning deeds.

19 Aug 1837: Jonathan PEOPLES to Jones & Browning -- between Jonathan Peoples and Mahala his wife of Harrison County on the one part, and Ellis D. Jones and Lemuel Browning of Harrison County on the other.

Jonathan Peoples married Mahala Norris in Harrison County on 19 Oct 1826. I don't know if Jonathan was connected to my Brownings or not, but he did purchase land from one, and during the time of the trial! I'll make sure to note his name in case I run across it in further research.

As I mentioned, though, one set of names in that list jumped out at me immediately and when I first saw them I got super excited. I recognized them immediately from prior research. Thomas and Hannah Drake are listed as witnesses for the defense in Julia Ann's bastardy case, and Hannah is called separately as a witness for James Beck in Samuel's Trespass On The Case suit. What makes this pertinent is that Hannah's maiden name was Browning.

I've written a book about Samuel and Margaret and during the research phase of the writing I'd come across a number of Browning marriages in Harrison County that I couldn't connect with my Samuel. Hannah's to Thomas Drake is one of these. She and Thomas were married in January of 1837, only two months prior to the beginning of the case in March. Knowing what I know now, the man who married them also becomes relevant -- they were married by Samuel Skinner! Samuel was a Justice of the Peace as well as the man who went to interview Julia Ann in her bed four days after Washington's birth and who signed many of the opening documents in this case. By October, however, he's no longer listed on any documentation other than as a witness. I don't know whether this is because he'd completed his term as an officer of the court between March and October 1837 or whether being called as a witness at trial rendered him unable to continue due to conflict of interest.

But back to Thomas and Hannah.

Hannah Browning was born c1814, probably in Ohio but perhaps in Maryland (the 1850 census says Maryland but the 1860 and the 1870 says Ohio.) Thomas Drake was born in 1810 in Maryland and was the son of William Drake, Jr. and his wife Mary, maiden name unknown. William and Mary Drake moved to Harrison County from Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1819. Once they arrived they bought property in Nottingham Township from Neal and Susannah Peacock. In April of 1835 William and Mary sold half of their property to their son Thomas (they sold the other half to Reuben Allen) and moved to Guernsey County, Ohio.

William Drake Jr.'s parents were William Drake, Sr. and Elizabeth Hinkle. They were married on 17 Oct 1780 in Frederick County, Maryland. William Sr. was born c1760 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the 1800 census, William Sr. and Elizabeth lived in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and as a widow, Elizabeth Hinkle Drake moved to Allegany County, Maryland (which shares a border with Bedford County) to join her brother, George Hinkle.

Thomas and Hannah were called to testify in the trial in 1837 but by 1840 they'd moved to Washington Township in Monroe County, Ohio, where they stayed until 1869. At that time they picked up stakes with most of their kids -- seven out of their ten -- and moved to Washington Township in Wapello County, Iowa. They're found there in the 1870 census but can't be found in the 1880. Barring any evidence to the contrary, it's presumed they both died in Iowa.

Seeing Thomas and Hannah on the witness list was exciting for me and my heart leapt, thinking that would add to the circumstantial evidence that might link Hannah Browning to my Samuel Browning. I was a bit befuddled to discover that instead of testifying for the prosecution, they were asked to testify for the defense. None of the subpoenas specify whether witnesses were called under duress -- the point of a subpoena is to call witnesses to testify whether they'd prefer to do so or not. I'm curious whether Beck called Thomas and Hannah under duress or if they were indeed willing witnesses for his claim. I hope to answer this question soon; I've contacted the HCGS again to see if they'll look up files for James Beck and Thomas and Hannah Drake. I'm hoping some sort of trial testimony survived. Wouldn't that be grand!

Hannah was born around 1814. My ancestor, James Browning, the first son of Samuel and Margaret, was born in 1815. Could Hannah be one of Samuel's youngest siblings? Could she be a niece? Might she even be related at all? It's so frustrating…

I've been in touch with a descendent of Thomas and Hannah's for years now, Pam Drake. She and I have wondered whether we're related so many times I can't begin to count them all. (Oh and by the way, should anyone reading this be interested in the Drake family I mentioned above, please contact Pam at My father's DNA tests came back yesterday and unfortunately we can't test between Pam and I because I only did the patrilineal marker and her Browning was a female. Rats. Anyway, I'll be posting more about my dad's DNA in a later post. For right now, I continue to wonder why Hannah testified in the trial. I sure hope I can find out.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Browning v. Beck, Pt 5 - “State Your Name For The Record, Please?”

When we last left it -- on 26 Oct 1837 -- Samuel had submitted his statement for Trespass On The Case. Counsel for both sides were tasked with drawing up witness lists and filling out subpoenas for those they chose to call. William Milligan, the sheriff of Harrison County, was given all the subpoenas to serve.

He had served all the supoenas (either in writing or by reading them aloud) to all the witnesses by 27 October. Listed on all the subpoenas is a tally of the cost of his services. On each one, he made sure to note his mileage. I can't help but picture the odometer on his horse ticking away….

Following is as complete a list of witnesses as I'm aware of, since I may be missing some case files:


In Julia Ann's Bastardy Case

In Samuel's Trespass On The Case

Joseph Townsend

David Rankin

Samuel Skinner, Esq

Sarah Rankin

Alexander Hamilton

Timothy Titus

Samuel Crawford

David Cunningham

James Rowland

John Mitchell

Uriah Moore

Samuel Clifford

Cyrus Rowland

James Wilson Jr


In Julia Ann's Bastardy Case

In Samuel's Trespass On The Case

Hester Nash

Jonathan Peoples

Rebecca Hamilton

Abraham Camp

John Ruby

Nancy Camp

Jonathan Peoples

Hannah Drake

Abraham Camp

Washington Brock

Nancy Camp

Joseph Townsend

Thomas Drake

William Jones

Hannah Drake

Hester Nash

Charles Kinsey

Charles Wells Jr

Joseph Johnson



In Julia Ann's Bastardy Case

In Samuel's Trespass On The Case

Thomas Nash

Peter Hinton

Amy Nash

Joseph Rea

Philip Fulton Jr

James Wilson

Uriah Titus

Rebecca Hamilton



In Julia Ann's Bastardy Case

Washington Brock

Looking over the witness lists, a couple of things immediately jumped out at me. First, I noticed that two witnesses, Rebecca Hamilton and Joseph Townsend, had been called for both plaintiff and defense; plaintiff witnesses for Julia's bastardy suit and defense witnesses against Samuel's Trespass On The Case suit. I'm curious, but I don't feel that I can speculate on the reasons for this.

I researched some of the witnesses in this case, hoping to find clues that would guide me in my research into Samuel's ancestry. I didn't have much luck with many of the witnesses -- I think because some were young people at the time and I didn't have a census with names that I could use -- and none of them seemed to connect with my Brownings, but I did manage to find out some interesting things.

Timothy Titus and his son Uriah were called as witnesses in Samuel's Trespass on the Case suit. Timothy Titus was born around 1789 and died in late 1858/early 1859. His will lists Uriah as his son. Uriah was born around 1813 and would have been about 24 years old at the time of the case.

Julia Ann called James and Cyrus Rowland and Uriah Moore as witnesses in her case. Samuel called Philip Fulton Jr. as a witness in his case. James (b. 1805) and Cyrus Rowland were the sons of John Rowland and Rachel Engle. John and Rachel Rowland lived in Moorefield Township and were buried in the Rankin Cemetery there. Whether this means they have ties with the Rankin family (and two more of the witnesses, David and Sarah Rankin) is unknown.

Uriah Moore (b. 1814) was apprenticed with Henry Moore of Cadiz as a wheelwright at age 16. He worked there for three years (c1830-1833) before erecting his own shop in Moorefield Township, which was where Samuel and Julia Ann were living at the time of the case.

I discovered that the Rowland family and the Fulton family were related by marriage and the Moore family was soon to follow. James and Cyrus Rowland's brother William married Jane Fulton in 1820. Jane was one of the daughters of Philip Fulton. Uriah Moore married another of Philip Fulton's daughters, Mary Ann, in October of 1842. I also located the marriage of a James Moore to Elizabeth Rowland in Jan 1829. I don't know if James and Uriah are any relation, but the man who married James and Elizabeth was Philip Fulton.

Uriah was only 23 years old when he was called as a witness. James and Cyrus Rowland were in their late 20s and early 30s. I wonder how well they would have known 16 year old Julia Ann. While it's very possible that they knew Julia, I think it more likely that they knew James Beck and were called to testify to his character with the ladies.

What relation that Samuel or Julia had with the Rowland/Fulton/Moore families is (so far) unknown. I'll be looking into it more, that's for sure, and I'll definitely keep an eye out for these names during my continuing research.

I found a few proximity connections with the Browning name -- meaning people lived close to other people who had Browning connections -- but by far the most interesting but confusing aspect so far is that both of the witnesses that actually did connect with the Browning name connected in a most unususal fashion. As I said earlier, I'd hoped to find clues that would point me toward Samuel's hidden ancestry. I'd been excited about it since my initial glance at the case when I found it in a drawer in the Harrison County Genealogical Society. A set of names had jumped out at me then and got my blood racing and my heart pounding. Imagine my confusion, then, when I realized that the only names that rang those bells of recognition in my head ended up being witnesses…..for the defense???

Next time, I'll be exploring these witnesses!



Historical Collections Of Harrison County, In The State of Ohio, With Lists Of The First Land-Owners, Early Marriages (to 1841), Will Records (to 1861), Burial Records Of The Early Settlements, and Numerous Genealogies. Charles A. Hanna. New York, 1900.

A Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Harrison and Carroll, Ohio, containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, And of Many of the Early Settled Families. J.H. Beers. Chicago, 1891.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

DNA and Dads

I asked my dad sometime early last week if he'd volunteer to give up some DNA for me so I can throw my lot in with all the other genealogists who've used DNA as another step in pursuing their ancestry -- in my case, my paternal Browning ancestry. Dad said something along the lines of, "Sure, anything for my girl!" (This daughter sure does love her daddy!) I received the packet and on Friday night he and I got together and he allowed me to swab his cheeks. I sent the letter off that very day.

I got an email this morning from letting me know that they've received the DNA sample I sent in last week.

Yay! Another month or two and I might be able to find some common ancestry with some other Brownings.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Browning v. Beck, pt. 4 - Famous By Association?

Before I continue on with Samuel's case I want to feature something that's been brought to my attention by the wonderful footnoteMaven! A thousand thanks go out to her for her help. It reminds me how vital it is that all of us remember to reach out to other genealogists and weave as many webs with others as we are able. Do it when you ask others for help, and do it when you offer your help. Who knows? Someone else out there may have a snippet of knowledge that could illuminate a dark corner of your history for you or help clear out forests you haven't been able to see into because of the trees. And who knows? You might be carrying one of those snippets around for someone else. In other words, pay it forward.

So what, you ask, was that snippet of information that footnoteMaven graced me with?

If you'll recall -- and maybe you won't, but thank goodness fM did! -- Samuel had hired counsel to represent him in his case against James Beck. His counsel was the team of Dewey and Stanton. Before beginning my presentation here I did a thorough read-through of the extant documents I have and the first names of these men are never mentioned in any of them. Lacking that information I decided to concentrate on the witnesses in the case and in the course of that research I ran across a burial listing from the Cadiz New Cemetery, as follows:

Buried in the Cadiz New Cemetery:

Dewey Chauncey Mar 27 1796 Feb 15 1880

Dewey Nancy Pritchard Oct 27 1804 Sep 6 1897 w/o Chauncy Dewey

I wondered if that was one of the lawyers in the case and jotted it down. I then popped into the 1840 census and looked him up. I found this Chauncey living in Cadiz Township. Interesting! I decided to check the other fellow and typed in Stanton. No hits in Harrison County. With that, I'd laid aside that aspect of my research task for a while, intending to return to it for a later installment of this series, and concentrated on researching the witnesses of the case instead.

I thought nothing more of it until last night, when fM left me a comment and mentioned that she found the lawyers in the case as interesting as the case itself. She let me know that the "Dewey and Stanton" who represented Samuel in this case were none other than the Chauncey Dewey I had located and his then-lesser known, younger partner Edwin McMasters Stanton.

Edwin M. Stanton had been elected to the Ohio Bar in 1835 but had to wait until he reached the age of 21 to begin practicing. By the time of Samuel's trial Stanton had married Mary Lamson in 1836 in Columbus and brought her back to Cadiz to live, had become active in the local anti-slavery society, and just been elected prosecuting attorney of Harrison County as a Democrat.

Though Dewey was the elder of the two and had been practicing law for much longer than Stanton, it didn't take long for Stanton to rise farther than Dewey had ever been able to. Stanton practiced law in Harrison County for a few more years after representing Samuel; in 1839 he decided to expand his practice into his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio -- a city some 40 miles away from Cadiz. From 1842 to 1845 he served as recorder of the Supreme Court of Ohio in Columbus as well as maintained his partnership with Dewey until 1843, after Dewey's tenure as an Ohio state senator (1841-42)was concluded. Dewey decided to step away from the law and pursued banking in his later years but Stanton continued to practice. Stanton moved to Pittsburgh in 1847 to more vigorously pursue his career, as his wife Mary had died in 1844. He stayed there for nine years before deciding in 1856 to move to Washington, D.C. He wanted to pursue his further law career before the Supreme Court.

History was to get in his way and send him down another path. He served as legal consultant to Secretary of War Simon Cameron under President James Buchanan. In 1860 he was appointed Attorney General by President Buchanan. In 1862, upon Secretary Cameron's resignation, Stanton was appointed the Secretary of War by President Abraham Lincoln. Stanton served with Lincoln through his presidency and served under Andrew Johnson after Lincoln's assassination. He didn't agree with Johnson at all and worked to get him impeached. Johnson fired him in February 1868. Stanton refused to leave office and locked himself in the War Department. Stanton then resigned in May 1868 and returned to his private practice. His wish to sit on the Supreme Court appeared to be fulfilled when President Grant appointed him and the Senate confirmed him on the same day, 20 December 1868. He died, however, four days later in Washington, D.C.

In my research into Stanton's life a few of the same things kept coming up over and over. He was said to have been autocratic, stubborn, grating, abrasive, and ego-driven. He wasn't an easy man to get to know and an even more difficult one to like. He was like a dog with a bone when he felt he was right. He didn't show much mercy or compassion to his enemies or to those he'd defeated in battle -- whether the battle be in the field or in a courtroom. He was said to be brutal and sarcastic and unwilling to give an inch during trial; he could browbeat witnesses with the best of them.

I wonder what it was like to have been Samuel and Julia Ann, watching a young Edwin McMasters Stanton in the courtroom during their trial against James Beck. I wish I had the trial transcripts; I might have been able to tell. I bet James Beck wished he'd just settled, though…..

Thanks for the help, fM. I've found no famous ancestors in my family trees so far, but I guess I can settle for famous by association!


Sources: . History of Carroll and Harrison Counties, Ohio Under the Editorial Supervision of JUDGE H. J. ECKLEY, for Carroll County and JUDGE WM. T. PERRY, for Harrison County. Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors. Harrison County Illustrated Volume 1. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1921. . The Ohio Judicial Center website, Grand Concourse. Biography of Edwin McMasters Stanton (Dec. 19, 1814 - Dec. 24, 1869) . The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson website, Who Was Who, Cabinet Members.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Browning v. Beck, Pt 3 - Samuel and his Statement of “Trespass On The Case”

When I last left off, we were waiting to see what Samuel would say in the statement he submitted to the Harrison County (OH) Court of Common Pleas on the case he'd implemented against James Beck, the man who had given him his first grandchild by "debauching" his eldest daughter, Julia Ann. Samuel made his statement of cause and submitted it to the court very soon after the warrant was issued and served for James Beck in the June Term, 1837.

When I read through the document I ran the gamut of emotions from fascination to frustration. My first "Well, rats!" moment came when I realized it wasn't a statement written in Samuel's own hand, or wasn't even written by someone else in a personal but dictated style. I would have really liked that! No such luck. It was just your run of the mill statement coded in the sort of obtuse legal wordage that's confusing enough to make you forget what the beginning of the sentence was by the time you get to the end! But then I reminded myself to stop whining. The fact that I had the document at all was simply serendipity.

Before Samuel submitted his statement he named a few initial witnesses he wished would testify on his behalf. The initial list was:


David Rankin &
Sarah his wife
Timothy Titus
David Cunningham
John Mitchell

I'm pretty sure that it was common practice then (as now) to transcribe the testimony during trial, but if this was done in this case any record of such transcription is gone. That's disappointing; I would've loved to have such records. It would've been quite interesting to read what any of these people would have said in court to convince a jury that they knew anything at all about the monetary value of Julia Ann's daughterly services.

I did some preliminary research on these witnesses. I was curious to learn whether they were any relation to Samuel. I didn't turn up much and most of what I did find came from Charles Hanna's Historical Collections of Harrison County.* I did find all of these men on the 1840 Harrison County census, taken three years after the trial. Not all lived in the same township as Samuel did. In the census of Moorefield Township, David Cunningham lived 18 houses down from Samuel and David Rankin lived 21 houses down. All are enumerated on page 93 of the census. Timothy Titus and John Mitchell are living five houses apart from each other in Cadiz Township. Both men are enumerated on page 35 of the census. David Rankin was the son of Thomas Rankin and Nancy Foreman and was born around 1790. He married Sarah Porter on 20 Mar 1819 in Harrison County. The will of Timothy Titus, also found in Harrison County, was dated June 2, 1857; date of probate, Jan. 19, 1859; wife, name not given; children, Uriah, William L., Samuel, Jonathan, Eliza, Timothy, Jane Irons, Susanna Middleton, and Mary Ann Wallace.

So far, none of the names I've been presented with ring any bells with what I know of Samuel and his family. This does change, however, as more witnesses are named. But that will come when the witnesses are served.

Samuel then submitted his statement to the court. It reads as follows:

State of Ohio

Harrison County Sct

Samuel Browning v James Beck

Common Pleas (after?) June 1837

Samuel Browning complains of James Beck of a plea of Trespass On The Case for that whereas the said James Beck contriving and wrongfully and unjustly intending to injure the said Samuel and to deprive him of the service and assistance of Julia Ann Browning the daughter and servant of him the said Samuel heretofore to wit in the first day of July in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred thirty six (row) divers other days and times between that day and the day of the commencement of this trial at Harrison County debauched and carnally knew the said Julia Ann Browning then and there and from thence for a long space of time to wit hitherto being the daughter and servant of the said Samuel, whereby the said Julia Ann became pregnant and sick with child, and so remained and continued for a long space of time to wit for the space of nine months then next following, at the expiration whereof to wit on the twenty fourth day of March in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty seven at Harrison County aforesaid, she the said Julia Ann was delivered of a child, with which she was so pregnant as aforesaid, to wit at Harrison County aforesaid; by means of which said

(Pg 2) several promises she the said Julia Ann for a long space of time to wit from the day and year first above mentioned hitherto became and was unable to do and perform the necessary affairs and business of the said Samuel Browning, so being her father and master as aforesaid, and thereby, he the said Samuel during all that time lost and was deprived of the service of his said daughter and servant to wit at Harrison County aforesaid; and also by means of the said several promises he the said Samuel was forced and obliged to and did necessarily pay, lay out, and expend divers sums of money in the whole amounting to a large sum of money to wit the sum of Five thousand dollars in and about; the nursing and taking care of the said Julia Ann his said daughter and servant, and in and about the delivery of the said child to wit at Harrison County aforesaid, to the damage of the said Samuel of one thousand dollars and therefore he brings suit.

Dewey & Stanton

attys for Pltff

I was frustrated at the repetitive "to wits" and "aforesaids" that distracted me from the meat of the statement but after I weeded those out some of the wordage made me chuckle. I shook my head a few times, too. I recalled that Julia had said in her testimony (see this post for that) that she and James Beck had been together sometime in July but that she was unsure of the date, and that she had only been with him the once. Samuel is a little more specific, stating not only that he knew the date his daughter had been with Beck (1 July) but that there had been more than the one time Julia and James would admit to. Samuel accuses Beck of visiting his daughter in the carnal sense more than once. I'm curious; did Samuel know this to be true or did he merely suspect it? Did Julia admit it privately but not publicly? Or, as I suspect, did Samuel dress up the facts to make his case sound more like seduction and less like something that Julia Ann willingly participated in?

On my initial read of the last words of the statement I found myself thinking, "So, Samuel would have us believe that in the year that had transpired since Julia became pregnant (the nine months of Julia's pregnancy and the three months since), he'd spent five thousand dollars for her and the child? Oh, come on!" I really found it hard to believe Samuel even had that kind of money, much less that he'd spent it on only one of his children. I also wondered why -- if it really was true -- that he'd be satisfied settling for damages amounting to a paltry one thousand dollars.

Then I took another, harder look at the document. Is is just me, or did someone change the amount? I swear that looks like the wide sweep of a capital "O" underneath the "F" of the five. I wonder who decided to change that? The lawyers? Samuel?

It seems like embellishment to me. Or maybe, just maybe, a father's anger showing through. Talk about a glimpse into Samuel's personality!

Next time, subpeonas are issued and the trial begins.

((*Historical Collections Of Harrison County, In The State of Ohio, With Lists Of The First Land-Owners, Early Marriages (to 1841), Will Records (to 1861), Burial Records Of The Early Settlements, and Numerous Genealogies. Charles A. Hanna. New York, 1900.))

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Kay B at Kay B's Place left me a comment today letting me know that she chose me to receive an award for having “One Lovely Blog.” I was most honored. I've always enjoyed reading Kay's Blog. Thanks for the shout-out, Kay!

I'll use Kay's words here and paste the following: "I’d like to pass “One Lovely Blog Award” on to seven blogs and their authors. When you receive yours we hope you will take the time to read some new blogs or revisit some of your favorites. Then the instructions are simple - just nominate 7 other blogs. So, here are few other blogs I read that I’d like to nominate because of the lovely research and ideas."

So let's see........only seven? Goodness!

1) Photo-Sleuth. Wow, can this man research or what? He's like the Sherlock Holmes of genealogy. If I could pay attention to half the stuff he can I'd probably have my Brownings figured out by now.

2) Attic Treasures. I always get excited when I see an update here. What a great bunch of stories!

3) Lineage Keeper. Already the Logie family feels as human as my Brownings do to me. I love the letters and the journals and the "Logie-isms"! It's a testament to the storytelling talent of the author.

4) The Research Journal. This is a great blog about some very interesting Portuguese Hawaiian families. Very well documented as well as told.

5) Experiences of an English Soldier. Mr. Lamin tells an absolutely fascinating tale that's now deservedly been made into a book! Harry is a fixture in my reading.

6) Conversations With Ancestors Past. I enjoy coming here on update days and being able to just sink right into the stories, nodding my head as I go along. A very talented blogger.

7) Midwestern Microhistory. I love this blog. I'm a midwestern girl and I've found many absolutely great little gems of research help here. I never miss an update.

All of you are great!

Wordless Wednesday - Amanda Jane (Garrard) Hammack

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Matthew Starbuck (1830-1902)

The pictures in this post* are of the headstone of Matthew Starbuck, who was born in Stokes County, North Carolina, on 11 Apr 1830.

Matthew was the son of William Starbuck and Mary Hester. He married Jane Fulp (daughter of Franklin Fulp) and the couple moved from North Carolina to Indiana before finally settling in Cumberland County, Illinois in the early 1860's. Matthew joined up in the Civil War and served in Company A of the 5th IL Cavalry. He and Jane had nine living children before Jane's death in 1866.

Meanwhile, by 1859 Asbury Taylor Browning and his wife Minerva Corderman (the daughter of David Corderman and Sarah Viola Barron) had also moved to Cumberland County with their three living children -- Charles, Sarah and Emma. Asbury also joined up for service in the Civil War and served in the same company that Matthew Starbuck did. Alas, Asbury died in Arkansas of smallpox in 1862, leaving Minerva a widow.

I can't say for certain but it might be safe to assume that Matthew got to know Minerva and her children because of his acquaintanceship with Asbury before the latter's death. Perhaps the two men were even friends. In late December of 1867 (a little over a year after the death of his first wife) Matthew and Minerva married.

In the early spring of 1867 Minerva had applied for a widow's pension for herself and a minor's pension for her children. By 1868, however, she and Matthew Starbuck had been married so she applied for and received guardianship papers as well.

(It seems strange that Minerva -- their mother! -- would need to obtain guardianship papers. I'm curious why this is so. Since she was married again, did she think she needed a paper saying SHE was guardian of their persons and properties and not her new husband? Comments or thoughts would be welcome.)

Matthew and Minerva had one child of their own -- David Clinton Starbuck, born 1871 -- before Minerva died in 1873. Matthew married one more time, to Ellen Cook around the year 1875 or so. (I don't know the dates for sure since Cumberland County records from 1843-1885 were lost in a fire.) Matthew then moved to Benton County, Arkansas and lived out the rest of his days there. He died in 1902 and is buried in the Gamble Cemetery in Centerton in Benton County.

(*The headstone photos came from a great site called Cindy Marcell's Family Cemeteries. It's located at

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Browning v. Beck, Pt. 2 - Another Charge Is Added

Three months passed as Julia Ann Browning and her father Samuel waited for the next term of the Harrison County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas to resume. By mid-June of 1837 Julia was likely very busy taking care of her son Washington, now nearly three months old, and assisting her mother Margaret with daily household chores. Samuel had ample time to stew on the case and when the term finally did roll around he took the action of filing his own case against the father of Julia's son. His filing brought about the writing of a summons calling James Beck to appear before the court.

Of all the charges that Samuel could have chosen to levy against James Beck (Base Seduction being one; I saw references to it here and there amongst the subpeonas in the case files) it is of note that he settled on the charge of Trespass. I considered this a moment. The practical side of me understood that Samuel could use this to establish concrete reasons why Beck's actions had made financial burdens greater on his family and demand the court award him greater restitution. Still, a part of me rebelled. There were aspects of it that aroused my righteous indignation as a 21st-century parent and equality-minded American. I felt introducing the idea of Trespass into the case made the vibe of the case change. Was the goal the proper dispensement of responsibility for the welfare of a child, or did Samuel have another motive? Did he consider Julia's ability to perform services for him of more importance than her meaning as his daughter? Was his anger and shame in her behavior showing?

I got my answers in a search on the legal definition of trespass in the 19th century. The search referenced Bouvier's Law Dictionary (, published in 1856. It offered up information that clarified the practical aspects of the case as well as touch upon what I felt was the heart of the issue. I was reading through the definition when the term "Trespass On the Case" rang a bell. I checked and sure enough, the wordage in the summons calling James Beck to account in Samuel's suit was actually Trespass On The Case! I'd missed it entirely the first time because as you can see in the image, the words weren't capitalized and I'd made the assumption that the three words after "Trespass" were a qualifying statement instead of a title reference. Oops! I spent some more time getting an in-depth understanding of the legalese involved. I didn't want to miss anything else!

My first question was why Samuel didn't pursue Seduction as his primary charge. Surely, I thought, that would be the kind of charge to arouse the ire of the men -- all probably fathers of daughters -- that had been selected to the jury against Beck?

SEDUCTION. The offence of a man who abuses the simplicity and confidence of a woman to obtain by false promises what she ought not to grant.

2. The woman being particeps criminis, has no remedy for the mere seduction, nor is there, to the discredit of the law, a direct remedy in her parents. The seducer may be sued, though not directly or ostensibly for the seduction; but for the consequent inability to perform those services for which she was accountable to her master, or to her parent, who, for this purpose, is obliged to assume that less endearing relation; and if it cannot be proved that she filled that office, the action cannot be sustained.

The definition was quaint; antiquated and definitely discriminatory. No surprise there. What was clear, though, was why Samuel couldn't sue for Seduction and why he used the words he used in the statement he prepared for his suit against Beck (a statement featured in the next installment of this series.) A woman's parents (or master, i.e., husband or guardian) were required to take on the role of "employer" regardless of their love or affection for the woman in question and account for her worth in the form of the duties she was obliged to perform. Woe betide those who couldn't prove their daughter or wife or charge was a servant in some way!

Samuel's counsel, Dewey and Stanton, advised Samuel to seek a suit of Trespass. There were two different types of Trespass in Samuel's time -- remedy and tort. While today it appears that only one of the two exists (trespass is considered a tortious act, as it almost always carries with it the potential to obtain damages from the offense) in the 19th century remedy trespass was distinguished from tortious trespass. The distinction seems blurry -- the one (tort, a wrongful act that results in injury) might not necessarily lead to the other (remedy, or damages.) The type of trespass that Samuel was encouraged to consider fell under the tort banner. This sort of Trespass is defined in Bouvier's as

…An unlawful act committed with violence…to the person, property or relative rights of another. Every felony includes a tres-pass, in common parlance, such acts are not in general considered as tres-passes, yet they subject the offender to an action of trespass after his conviction or acquittal.

2. There is another kind of trespass, which is committed without force, and is known by the name of trespass on the case. This is not generally known by the name of trespass. See Case.

As mentioned in the definition above, Samuel's case fell under the subordinate clause of the trespass law. I looked at its definition and followed the necessary links to get a well-rounded idea of what Samuel was doing.

TRESPASS ON THE CASE, practice. The technical name of an action, instituted for the recovery of damages caused by an injury unaccompanied with force, or where the damages sustained are only consequential. See Case.

2. For injuries to the relative rights, as for criminal conversation, seducing or harboring wives; debauching daughters, but in this case the daughter must live with her father as his servant, see Seduction. When the seduction takes place in the husband's or father's house, he may, at his election, have trespass on the case.

I bolded the relevant wording in the last definition, since Julia admitted James Beck had entered her bed, in her father's house. There's every indication Julia had wanted this to happen -- after all, he was in her house and her sister was there and she didn't scream or resist! Regardless of her intent, the law of the time allowed for the opportunity to remove a woman's share of mutual responsibility under the umbrella of women's simplicity. Trespass On the Case gave Samuel the legal right to have his own separate charge drawn up against James Beck regardless of his daughter's willingness or resistance. After reviewing all the definitions, the charge Samuel had levied -- Trespass On The Case -- was the one he had most cause to levy and the one most likely to grant him the outcome he desired. He'd likely been advised to do exactly that by his counsel.

Next time we'll see what Samuel had to say on the case he'd implemented against the man who gave him his first grandchild. Samuel made his statement of cause and submitted it to the court very soon after the warrant was issued and served for James Beck in the June Term, 1837.

Posts In This Series:

Pt 1 - The Case Is Introduced

Pt 2 - Another Charge Is Added

Pt 3 - Samuel's Statement of Trespass On The Case

Pt 4 - Famous By Association?

Pt 5 - State Your Name Please

Pt 6 - Witnesses For The Defense

Pt 7 - The Witnesses Wilson

Pt 8 - The Cases Are Resolved

Pt 9 - What A Web We Weave

Pt 10 - Another Famous Name?

(As an aside, it appears James was a bit of a rounder. I found another case from a different woman at nearly the same time, accusing Beck of bastardy as well! I meant to get a copy of it but for some reason when I returned home it was not in my pile of copies. I think I accidentally skipped over the pages. Ah well, next time! I highly recommend the Bouvier's Law Dictionary I referenced above for all your 19th century law term needs!