|Plantiffs Motion to Prosecute Suit|
May 25, 1865
John Dent Defendant
Joseph Tilley comes and moves the court for leave to
person prosecute the above suit as a poor person without securing the payment of the costs of such suit, and he states that he has but recently become a free person , and has a large family to support and is unable to prosecute his suit and pay the costs thereof, that he believes he has a good and just cause of action against the defendant which will be lost if not permitted to prosecute the suit without securing the payment of the costs and that he is a stranger here and unable to obtain personal security for the payment of the costs.
Joseph X Tilley
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 25th May 1865
John W. Lisenby , Clerk
So, Joseph Tilley, my 4th gr-grandfather, a recently freed slave not only filed a law suit against a white man in Missouri in 1865, but he didn't let a little thing like being too poor to pay for it deter him in receiving what was owed to him. It's a remarkable feeling to know that I come from people like Joseph!
Courage is defined as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.Joseph, who despite the odd's against him, despite the circumstances of his environment, had the "Courage" to press ahead and go for what was owed to him and his family, my family.
I also learned from this part of the court files that he was recently freed and new to the area. I now know when about my Tilley family settled in Springfield, Greene Co., Missouri. I haven't found them in the 1870 census as of yet, but I have them in an 1876 Missouri Census, and in the 1880 US Census. It does show that he became (or perhaps was already) a Gardner. It also list both he and his wife's (my 4th gr-grandmother) birthplaces as Maryland. So - from Maryland, to Arkansas, to Missouri is the route of Joseph and Elizabeth's migration as slaves/free people. I can only wonder and hope to one day discover just how many owners they may have had... While it doesn't list whether or not he owns or rents, or his worth, it really doesn't matter. He may have been destitute, but he was most definitely resolute!
More to come....:)