Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Joseph Tilley Papers Pt. 2: The Petition

They came! (About 3 weeks ago!)... Greene County, Missouri Circuit Court Records concerning the case of Joseph Tilley vs. John Dent that I blogged about here .
 
Joseph Tilley vs.John M. B. Dent
Greene Co., MO Circuit Court Record
Green County, Missouri Archives
Filed March 3, 1865
Date Filed: March 3, 1865 ( on reverse)
State of Missouri  { In Probate & Common
County of Green     Pleas Court, May Term 1865                                

Joseph Tilley,  Plaintiff

         Against

John Dent,   Defendant 

                        Plaintiff states that the defendant is indebted to the plaintiff in the sum of Two Hundred and Eight dollars for the services of plaintiffs children as follows

         To  Services and labor of Boy Frank
                for Eight Months @ 10$                            80.00

          "   Services and labor of Boy Ned for
               Eight Months @ 10$                                   80.00

          "   Services of Girl Mariah
               for 8 Months  @ 6.00                                  48.00
                                                                                $208.00
Plaintiff therefore asks judgement against the defendant for the sum of Two Hundred and Eight dollars.
                                                            Lindenbower
                                                            Attn. for Plff

Joseph Tilley Plff makes oath and says the above petition and the matters therein as stated he believes to be true
                                                                       his
                                                            Joseph X Tilley 
                                                                      mark

Mariah  mentioned above is my third gr-grandma Mariah Tilley born abt. 1847, died in 1930.  Although she was the oldest child, her work was worth less than that of her two younger brothers. Frank was born about 1849, and Ned was born in 1854.  So in 1865 they were about 18, 16, and 11 yrs of age. They also had another sister named Charlotte born about 1855 meaning she would have been about 10 years old. Why she was not working alongside her siblings is a mystery. I also wonder what Jospeh and his wife Elizabeth were doing while the kids were working.  

Initially when I read the petition, I thought this was a case of sharecropping gone wrong where the white land owner refused to pay for work done. But the dates made me go hmm...  a quick google search and according to wikipedia, 

" As one of the border states, Missouri was exempt from President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation decreeing the freedom of slaves in all territory then held by Confederate forces. Governor Thomas C. Fletcher ended slavery in Missouri on January 11, 1865, by executive proclamation."

This would means that Joseph Tilley sued John M. B. Dent only about two months after slavery ended. How or why then would he be suing for 8 months worth of work. All I could think of was that perhaps his owner allowed for him to hire out his children's labor for profit. When I first found out this case existed, the bulletin mentioned that John Dent may have owned Joseph at one point.

This posed two new questions:
  1.)  Was John M.B. Dent the former owner of Joseph and his family? 
  2.) Could Joseph be suing his former owner for labor performed during the last months of
        slavery?
  3.) Did Joseph just hire out his children to Dent with the permission of his slave owner?

So many questions.... to be continued...