Folded letter sheet.
Red circular handstamp postmark:
HOPKINSVILLE . KY Apr 14
and red handstamp:
Mr Francis H. Dallam, Smithland Ky*
Shelby & Harmand
Filed & mld on
14 May 1851
answer of David Gray to a bill in chancery
filed against himself and others in the Livingston circuit court by
James Shelly and H. A. Harman.
This respondent for answer
to said bill unto so much thereof as he
has been advised it is material for him to answer, answers & Says that
it is true there is an action of ejection pending in the Livingston
circuit court in the name of Yancey Lipscomb and against the
complainants --- This respondent would state that on the 21st day of
April 1847 Daniel Lipscomb who was the owner of Six Sevenths of a one
thousand acre tract of land lying in the county of Livingston and state
of Kentucky granted by the commonwealth of Virginia to Yancey Lipscomb
in the year 1786 for Military services in the war of the Revolution
executed to this respondendent a power of attorney authorizing him to
act as agent in bringing a suit for said land which power of attorney is
herewith filed as an exhibit marked (No 1)
This respondent would
further state that in the year 1846 acting also as agent for the heirs
of Yancey Lipscomb he paid the sum of fifty Eight dollars & 33 cents to
the agent of the commonwealth of Kentucky the full amount of tax,
interest, costs & charges due on account of said land and said agent
conveyed the land o the heirs of Yancey Lipscomb as will more fully
appearley the exhibit herewith filed marked (No 2) and that be has since
up to the present time paid taxes on said land as agent of the heirs
This respondent has been and
is now acting as the agent of the heirs
of Yancy Lipscomb in attending to the said suit and their interests in
said land --- The title of heirs of Yancey Lipscomb in & to the land in
controversy in said action of ejection is, as this respondent has been
advised, good, valid and paramount to the pretender title set up by the
said James Shelly & H. A. Harman --- This respondent has been informed
believes and & So charges that the said Shelly & Harman, entered upon &
took possession of the land in controversy with full knowledge of the
paramount title of the heirs of Yancey Lipscomb and are not as he
has been advised entitled to any protection as bona fide occupants.
This respondent denies the charge of
Champerty** made against him in
said bill and here calls for full proof of all the allegations of the
bill of the bill now herein admitted and having fully answered prays to
be hence dismissed with his costs &c.
Christian county Sct
This day Daniel Gray
personally appeared before the undersigned a
justice of the peace in & for the county aforesaid and made Oath that
the matters & things contained in the foregoing answer so far as the
same Stated from his own knowledge are true and So far as related from
information believes them to be true --- Given under my hand
the 10th day of April 1857
W. S. Talbott, J. P.
*Smithland is the county seat of Livingston County.
Champertor: In criminal law,
one who makes or brings suits, or
causes them to be moved or brought, either directly or indirectly, and
maintains them at his own cost, upon condition of having a part of the
gains or of the land in dispute. One guilty of champerty. ~
Blacks Law Dictionary, sixth edition, 1991.
Kentucky, like her southern neighbor, Tennessee, is a Meets
and Bounds state. This lead to many a law suit over improper
surveys and, as such, keep the courts in both states very busy
untangling the rightful ownership of land tracts and made many
attorneys into wealthy men.
This case above,
Daniel Gray vs. James Shelly and H. A. Harman may have
also involved Adverse Possession. This is a legal term, for the
method of acquisition of title to real property by possession for
a statutory period under specified conditions.
An interesting discussion
of Kentuckys survey and court
/land battles can be found in The Frontiersman, a
Time Life book, 1977, pp 45, 70, in the chapter on Daniel Boone,
The legendary life of the ultimate woodsman.