Matthew Phipps v. Jacob Huffman, 1841, Owen County, Indiana

On 8 March 1841, a deputy constable of Jackson Township, Owen County, Indiana was ordered to seize property belonging to Jacob Huffman. This was because Huffman owed Matthew Phipps nearly seven dollars, plus interest which amounted to what the court called “a large sum,” that sum being five dollars.

Matthew Phipps (also Mathew Phips) owned a store in Bowling Green, Clay County, as well as a farm in adjacent Owen County. This record must have been one of the very last pertaining to him before he disappeared later that year. After an apparently unsupported story about his supposed death while away on business in New Orleans, he was quickly proclaimed dead in Owen County, where some of his outlaw relatives had infiltrated local government.

From Owen County, Indiana Civil Court Book 3:]

[p. 362:]

Matthew Phipps.
Jacob Huffman,
Scire facias on Transcript.

Be it remembered that heretofore to wit: on the 8th day of March in the year 1841, is issued from the office of the clerk of our said circuit court a Scire facias herein which is in the following words and figures to wit: “State of Indiana, Owen County sct. The State of Indiana To the Sheriff of Owen County Greetings whereas Matthew Phipps, obtained Judgement against Jacob Huffman, on the 16th day of January 1841 at said county before Joseph Cochren, a Justice of the peace of said county, (he having full power and authority to act, as such justice of the peace according to law) to render said Judgement,) for the sum of six dollars, seventy five cents and costs of suit, and interest thereon amounting to a large sum to wit: the sum of five dollars. And whereas afterwards to wit: on the 22nd day of January 1841, an execution was issued on said Judgement by the said Justice of the peace, under his hand and seal directed to Z. Beaman, Depty constable of Jackson Township who received the same and on the 21st day of February 1841, returned the same to the office of the said Justice, endorsed, “no money made no property found whereon to covy. [for “convey”?] by Z. Beaman, Dept. constable.” And whereas afterwards to wit: on the day and year last aforesaid it was made known to the said Justice, (he still continuing to be such Justice of the peace) that the said defendant possessed real estate, in said county subject

[p. 363:]

to execution, and whereas afterwards to wit: on the 2nd day of March, 1841 the plaintiffs filed a certified transcript of the sd. [i.e. said] Judgement, & proceedings, in due form of law in the clerks office of the circuit court of sd. county which sd. transcript was then and there entered of record in the order book of our said circuit court by Thomas C. Johnson, the clerk thereof all of which appears of record. And whereas said Judgement yet remains in full force unreversed, and wholly unsatisfied, and execution yet remains to be made as is on the part of the said plff. [i.e. plaintiff] alledged and we being willing that right & justice be done in the premises: Therefore you are hereby commanded that you make known, to the said Jacob Huffman, that he be and appear before the Judges of our said circuit court on the first day of their next term hereafter to be holden at the court house in Spencer to shew cause if any he can [presumably “if any reason he can show” but with words missing] why the said plaintiff, shall not have execution against his goods and chattles lands and tenements, for the said Judgement interest and costs. And herein he will not fail at his peril. And have you then and there this writ: witness Thomas C. Johnson, clerk of the Owen circuit court and the seal of the said circuit court, this 8th day of March, A. D. 1841
(L S.) T. C. Johnson, Clerk.”

And afterwards to wit: at the March Term of our said circuit court in the year 1841. Come the plaintiff by Mr. Champer, his counsel and the deft. [i.e. defendant] being thrice called comes not, and it appearing to the satisfaction of the court that said defendant, has been duly served with process ten days before the first day of this Term of This court.

It is therefore considered by the court here that the plaintiff, recover of the defendant, the sum of eight dollars, and forty two cents together with his costs, by him in this suit expended, and that he have execution against the goods, & chattles, lands, and tenements, of the said defendant therefor.


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