Saturday, August 23, 2008

James F. and Mary E. Blackburn vs. William R. Patman, etc.

I was going through some old files and found this set of notes. It was a chancery cause that I sort of transcribed at the Library of Virginia. This will give you an idea of the type of information you can get from a chancery cause. The notes may not be complete, I do not really remember doing this but I guess I did.

Henrico County Circuit Court Chancery Papers
James F. and Mary E. Blackburn vs. William R. Patman and cb’y
1924-001/CC (1)
Library of Virginia, Richmond
March 1, 2003

Bill filled March 30, 1886. Subpoenas issued in April 1886.

To the Hon. B. R. Wellford Jr. Judge of the Circuit Court of Henrico County, Virginia…. your orators James F. Blackburn and Mary E. Blackburn his wife that the said Mary E. Blackburn as one of the children of Ro. H. Brock decd lately of Henrico Co is interested in a small piece of land in said County on the old Deep Run Turnpike about Eight miles from the City of Richmond containing fifty acres with some improvements…which was allotted as dower to Mary Ann Brock ^now deceased the mother of said Robert H. Brock in the division of the real estate of Henry Brock decd…a plat showing the subdivision of the real estate of Henry Brock decd which was made in the year 1857 is of record in the Clerk’s office of the County Court and a copy of it will be filed herewith as part of this bill. The said Henry Brock left seven children, but some of them sold their interests in this Dower lot to the others and now only three of the children or the descendants of them are intrusted and as follow Martha A. Waldrop wife of P. A. Waldrop and daughter of Henry Brock decd owns her original one seventh, the children of Mary F. Patman decd wife of W. R. Patman owns three sevenths subject to the curtesy of their said father; their children Charles Patman and Sarah F. Lawrence wife of B. F. Lawrence and the children of Robt. H. Brock decd own three sevenths, the said R. H. Brock in addition to his own original one seventh interest having bought the one seventh of Richard Brock and the one seventh of his sister Elizabeth Philips who is now deceased…not having obtained a conveyance of this last named interest in his life time. Your orator James F. Blackburn has recently procured a deed from Oscar Philips the only child and heir of said Elizabeth Philips, decd which he will file in the papers of the Court…and he asks that the court to refund to your orator the charges incurred by him in getting this conveyance amounting to about ten dollars. The children of R. H. Brock are entitled to his interest…his will recorded in the county court…to be equally divided between…Mary E. Blackburn, William H. Brock, Robert J. Brock, Martha A. Marshall wife of John Marshall, Marcellus J. Brock, Emma J. Brock and George W. Brock (the last two are under twenty one years of age). The said land is not susceptible of being divided in Kind in any of the modes prescribed by the statutes without great injury to the rights of some of the parties interested and a sale thereof is both necessary and best for all. In tender consideration whereof your orators pray that Wm. R. Patman, Charles Patman, Benj. F. Lawrence and Sarah F. Lawrence his wife, P. H. Waldrop and Martha A. Waldrop his wife, Wm .H. Brock, Robert J. Brock, John F. Marshall and Martha A. Marshall his wife, Marcellus J. Brock, Emma J. Brock and George W. Brock be made factor dependant to this bill and required to answer (the said Emma J. and George W. Brock infants by a guardian…)…[to distribute] the proceeds of sale according to the rights of parties after paying the costs of this suit and all proper charges against said land and a reasonable fee to your orators counsel…

Answer of Geo. W. Carter, guardian for Emma and George Brock
July 10, 1886

…Reserving all benefit of exception &c., for answer to said bill this respondent says that he is unacquainted with the merits of the case as set out by complainants…

Answer of Marcellus J. Brock by counsel Minor and David
July 10, 1886

…he believes the allegations of said bill to be true, and does not object to the prayer of same that the case may go before a commissioner for all proper enquiries in the premises… [signed Marcellus J. Brock]

Commissioner Sand’s Office
July 31, 1886

Court order that the commissioners enquire as to the following:
1 - Who are the persons entitled to the lands in the bill you mentioned and the interest of each therein
2 - Whether the said land can be conveniently partitioned in kind among the parties entitled thereto in any of the modes prescribed by the statutes in such cases.
3- Whether it would be to the interest of all parties to sell the whole subject and divide the proceeds according to their respect in right therein.
4 - Report any other significant matters to the court

Wm. H. Brock deposition
November 18, 1886

Q - Name, age, occupation
A - W. H. Brock, age 34, Henrico County, Fa Carpenter
Q - Are you William H. Brock from the suit
A - Yes, Sir
Q - Who were the heirs of Henry Brock, decd entitled to 50 acres assigned to widow Mary Ann Brock, decd as her dower interest
A - Robert H. Brock, W. R. Brock, John J. Brock, Mary F. H. Brock who was the wife of W. R. Patmon, Martha A. Brock who married P. H. Waldrop, Sarah Brock who married A. M. Lawrence and Oscar Philips, son of Elizabeth Phillips, daughter of Henry Brock
Q -State the interest of Robert H. Brock’s heirs in the land
A - First, his right as an heir of Henry Brock, 1/7th. Portion purchased of Oscar E. Phillips and wife by deed dated October 8, 1878. The interest of W. R. Brock was purchased by my father Robert H. Brock, this I know both because I heard my father say so, and because…this deed was left among my father’s papers which was turned over to J. W. Southward? Sheriff and administrator of said Robert H. Brock.
Q- What other interests do you know about?
A - Mrs. Patmon died entitled to her own interest and that of J. J. Brock from when my father bought it as trustee for her, I know this from having seen a receipt …my father for the interest of said John J. Brock. Mrs. Waldrop still has her interest. As for the remaining interest that of Mrs. Lawrence, I know nothing other than heresay.
Q - Can it be partitioned?
A - Do not know.
Q- Do you think it better to sell the land?
A - Ok with that
Q - How do you know your father had 1/7th to begin with?
A - By him telling me so several times; I remember particularly about the time he bought these (three) interests
Q - Did he ever tell you that he sold his own interest and the which he bought of W. R. Brock, to Mr. W. R. Patmon?
A - No
Q - You said your father got a deed from W. R. Brock, when and what interest
A - I forgot the date, the dower interest

Sands asks that William produce the deed if he can. [Signed Wm. H. Brock]

W. R. Patman and children deposition
December 11, 1886

There is some question as to the competencey of both William Brock and William Patman as witnesses but since William Brock is the only representative of Robert H. Brock, deceased and William Patman is the representative of Mary F. H. Patman, deceased, it irons out.

Q- Age, residence, occupation
A - will be 55 next February, reside at 712 W. Marshall St., Richmond, works as a teamster
Q - Are you the same W. R. Patmon in the suit?
A - yes, I married the daughter of the late Henry Brock. Her name before marriage was Mary F. H. Brock.
Q- Is Mary F. H. living?
A - No
Q - Did she leave children?
A - Three, but one died in infancy. Two living are Ch. W. Patman and Sarah F. Patman, now Mrs. Sarah F. Lawrence.
Q - Are you and your children entitled to any of the dower, and if so, what?
A - 5/7. 1/7 from wife’s inheritance. Bought 2/7 from R. H. Brock who had bought 1/7 from W. R. Brock, bought 1/7 interest of J. J. Brock and that 1/7 of Mrs. Sarah F. Lawrence who was Sarah F. Brock.
Q - Did you ever get any papers to that effect.
A - Yes
Q - Look at the paper marked A.M.L, what is it?
A - deed for interest of Sarah F. Lawrence, wife of A. M. Lawrence.
Q - Now look at the paper labeled J. G. B., found in the papers of the late R. H. Brock, in possession of J. W. Southward, Sheriff of Henrico Co. and state what it is.
A - receipt dated August 1859 signed by J. J. Brock for his interest in the widow’s dower.
Q - Was Robert H. Brock trustee for your wife?
A - yes
Q - was W. H. Brock correct when he said that his father owned 3/7 of the dower at the time of his death?
A - no
Q - You claim 5/7th but only show evidence for 3/7th. Prove the other 2/7th.
A - Papers do exists, I do not have them, I guess they were in posession of Robert H. Brock as trustee from my wife and children.
Q - How was R. H. Brock constituted as trustee and what were his powers?
A - think he was appointed by the court with general powers
Q - When did you buy the R. H. and W. R. Brock interests and for how much?
A - 1859 or 1860. The papers are destroyed. Paid $100 per share.
Q - What was the nature of the papers and why were they not admitted to record?
A - I supplied a receipt marked J. J. B.
Q - Was the interest bought in your own account of that of your wife?
A - bought on my wife’s account and paid for with her money
Q - When did you buy the Lawrence part?
A - After I bought the R. H. and W. R. but before the war.
Q - Why is it that you bought the R. H. and W. R. with your wife’s account and the Lawrence with your own?
A - Mr. Lawrence lost his horse and came to my house and offered me his wife interest for a mule that I owned.
Q - When was the deed from Lawrence to you made?
A - 13 September 1886
Q- Why was this deed made?
A - Because I bought and paid for the property
Q - Look at the J. J. B. receipt and tell who signed it and who wrote it.
A - I think the signature is that of J. J. Brock and the receipt was written by R. H. Brock.
Q - Did R. H. Brock manage and control the dower land?
A - Yes
Q - Can the land be fairly divided?
A - no it must be sold
[his mark]

W. R. Brock deposition
No date

Q- age, name, occupation, residence
A - I am 54 the sixth of this month, live in Richmond and am a carpenter
Q- Are you related to the late Henry Brock
A - I am his son
Q - Who are the owners of the interest in the late Mary Ann Brock’s dower?
A - Property was bought by my brother Robert H. Brock for my sister Mary F. Patmon, the part belonging to myself which I had previously sold to my brother Robert H. Brock and also his, Robert H. Brock’s portion. My brother RHB purchased the interest of my brother J. J. Brock also for my sister Mary F. Patman. He purchased also the interest in my sister Sarah M. Lawrence for the said Mary F. Patman, and my sister Mary F. Patman owned an interest in this property. 5/7ths owned by Mary F. Patman’s heirs.
Q - What about the other 2/7th?
A - Robert H. Brock owned 1/7th that he purchased of Oscar Philips, whose mother was Elizabeth Brock, one of the distributes and the other 1/7 is owned by my brother-in-law, Patrick H. Waldrop.
Q - When did you sell to RHB?
A - do not think it was later than 1859.
Q - Was RHB trustee for MFP?
A - I understood it so
Q - Did any paper pass in the interets you described?
A - RHB told me that he had them a few days before he dide
Q - Did RHB ever claim any of the interest he bought for MFP as his own?
A - No
Q - Were you intimate with RHB and would he have told you had he claimed such interests?
OBJECTION - Speculation
A - “I believe he would sir. Because I looked up to him as my best counsellor.”
Q - Did you mean to include the Lawrence interest in the 5/7 RHB got for MFP?
A - Yes, he held it as trustee
Q - How do you know he was acting as trustee and not buying them on his own account?
A - he tended to my sister’s affairs and settled off some debts by selling a negro boy and a portion of the same money was paid for this said land that was purchased by my brother for my sister Mrs. Patman.
Q - What was the amount of the debt, what did the negro boy sell for and what did the land sell for?
A - debt was about $160. Don’t remember what the boy sold for. Paid $100 a share for 3 (mine, JJBs and his own)
Q - Did Patman ever lay claim to the land during RHBs lifetime?
A - Yes
Q - You said that RHB had papers showing MFP ownership - what kind?
A - “From what he said, they must have been receipts. He said to me, when he was very sick, a few days before he died, that he was uneasy and bothered, that if he should die, that Patman’s children might have trouble in getting possession of this property. I then asked him if he had any papers to show that it had been purchased. He said that he did have some, but no deeds. That was about all that passed, except that I told him that I hoped that he would not die.”
Q - How many interest did the papers account for?
A - did not say
Q - Mr. Patman says he gave a mule for the Lawrence property. Are you mistaken when you say that RHB bought it for MHP?
A - I do not know what was paid but RHB bargained for it.
Q - Do you have any interest in the land in dispute?
A - no
Q - Look at AML deed that proports to be between AML and wife to WRP in his own right. Do you stick to your first statement?
A - RHB bargained for it as trustee but how it was paid for was unknown.
[signed Wm. R. Brock]

Petition of B. F. Lawrence
November 9, 1897

B. F. Lawrence…show unto the Court that on the 26th day of November, 1888, having before purchased at public sale the property hereinafter described…Special Commissioners…deeded to him all that certain tract of land lying in the County of Henrico about eight miles from the City of Richmond, on the Broad-Street road, containing about fifty acres of land, being the same property which was left as the dower property of Mary Ann Brock, deceased;…that since said purchase he has received an offer for said property, and is now desirous of selling the same, but that objection has been urged by the Examiner of title, that no deed ever actually passed from J. J. Brock, one of the children of the said Mary Ann Brock, conveying to R. H. Brock, Trustee, for Mrs. Mary F. H. Patman, his interest in said dower property; that whilst the Court decided that Mrs. Patman’s children were equitably entitled to said property, that there was no actual deed, and that the legal title was still outstanding. Your petitioner whilst not admitiing the claim of said Examiner to be sound in any particular, still desires to satisfy the proposed purchaser by obtaining such deed, and now, inasmuch as the said J. J. Brock departer this life long prior ro the institution of this suit, and left surviving his certain children, it is necessary that they should be made parties to this suit (the widow of the said J. J. Brock having made a quit claim to your petitioner for her dower right in the interest of the said J. J. Brock). Your petitioner is informed that the said J. J. Brock left surviving his two daughters, Aramentha and Johnanna Brock, but that both of these daughters subsequently intermarried one with Dr. W. F. Davison and the other with R. H. Ford, but that both of them died leaving surviving them a husband and certain children, the said Aramentha Davison dying on [blank], leaving one child, Ferdinand Davison, who is a boy now thirteen years of age; that Johanna died on [blank], leaving four children, Eddie W. fourteen years old, Leon O. twelve years old, Oscar L. ten years old and Virgie G. six years old. [Petitioner asks that all of these infant children, with guardians, be made party to the suit for him to gain proper title]. [Signed B. F. Lawrence].

Petition of George H. Alvis by Jas. W. Anderson, Atty.
May 23, 1923

George H. Alvis…present owner of a tract of land on the Broad street road, in Henrico County, containing 77 ¼ acres, more or less; that 50 acres, thereof, was formerly the dower tract of Mary a. Brock, widow of Henry Brock, deceased; that at her death the remainder under the will of said Henry Brock passed to his seven children; that the suit of Blackburn v. Patmon…was instituted to settle the estate…the dower tract was sold to B. F. Lawrence…later on it was ascertained that John J. Brock, one of the seven devisees of Henry Brock, had sold his one-seventh interest in the dower tract to Robert H. Brock, trustee for Mary F. H. Patmon, evidenced by the receipt for the purchase money therefore dated August 16th 1859...but said John J. Brock never conveyed his interest by proper deed…B. F. Lawrence, then owner of said property, filed his petition in said cause on November 9th, 1897, praying that the heirs-at law of said John J. Brock be made parties to said suit and that the court direct a deed by commissioners to said B. F. Lawrence for the purpose of vesting in him the outstanding legal title in the one-seventh interest…this decree of June 15th 1898, O. B. 15 p. 410...the court adjudged that B. F. Lawrence was entitled to the legal title in said one-seventh interest, and directed deed to him and his assigns by decree of June 15, 1898.…D. B. 161 A p. 397...upon a recent examination of the title to said property it was ascertained that John J. Brock died intestate, leaving as heirs-at-law: Araminta Brock (who married W. F. Davidson) and died leaving Ferdinand Davidson, sole heir-at-law; Jonanna Brock, who married R. H. Ford, and died intestate leaving Eddie W., Leon O., Oscar L. and Virgie G. Ford, heirs-at-law, all infants at that time, but now adults; that summons issued to said infants which were served on their respective fathers, who accepted service, but no guardian ad litem was appointed to protect their interests; that objection, therefore, has been made that the legal title to said one seventh interest has not properly been divested form said heirs of John J. Brock; that Ferdinand Davidson, we are informed, resides in Washington, D.C., Eddie W. Ford resides at 243 Vine Street, Leon O. Ford at 2410 or 2414 W. Cary Street, Oscar L. Ford at 2014 Gilbert Street and Virginie G. Blankenship, nee Ford at 230 Vine or Temple Street. Your petitioner prays that a proper deed vesting the legal title of the one-seventh interest formerly owned by John J. Brock may be decreed to him; that Ferdinand Davison, Eddie W. Ford, Leon O. Ford, Oscar L. Ford and Virgie G. Blankenship may be made perties defendant to this cause…

I do not know if this was the actual end of the file. I may have just quit at this point.

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