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The Brooker Collection - Additional Materials

daniel r. coquillette rare book room - boston college law library

Examples of Early Assault Complaints: The Banton/Elliot Wars

 

Complaint of Elliot v. Banton (Document #2081)
In what may have been "the shot heard around the town of Bristol," on July 22, 1806 Daniel Elliot swore an oath in front of Justice of the Peace Robert Huston that a "fether bed and bed cloths to the value of one hundred dollars" had been stolen from his home. Elliot evidently had reason to suspect that the purloined goods were in the home of William Banton, and he asked Huston to issue a search warrant. Huston agreed, and issued a warrant directing the County Sheriff to search Banton's home and, if the goods were found, to seize them along with Mr. Banton and bring them into court. On the reverse of this document, Deputy Sheriff Ebenezer Flint wrote that he had performed the search and had found the missing items in Mrs. Banton's possession, whereupon he brought both her and the bedding before Justice Huston. Gift of Robert E. Brooker III.

Front and back views of Elliot v. Banton complaint. Transcriptions of the front and back of the complaint are also available; for the clearest view, mouse over the document and click the small box that appears in the lower right corner.

Elliot v. Banton Complaint Elliot v. Banton Complaint - Verso

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Complaint of Banton v. Elliot (Document #1025)
The saga resumes a few months later on October 8, 1806. These two companion documents are especially interesting because they give the story of the case and also its outcome. As before, both of these documents were prepared by Justice of the Peace Robert Huston. Huston first summarized William Banton's sworn testimony as follows: Banton complained that Daniel Elliot "did then and there with force and arms abuse and evely treat" Banton and his wife, did "strike, grasp, shake and stone" Banton and strike him with a stick, call him "many opprobrious names," spit tobacco juice in his wife's face, and accuse the wife of "working her passage to England (meaning by whoring)." No mention was made of the missing bedding. Huston then directed the Sheriff of Lincoln County to bring both parties and some witnesses before him to testify. On the reverse of the document, the Constable attested that he had brought all parties before the court. Gift of Robert E. Brooker III.

Front and back views of Banton v. Elliot complaint. Transcriptions of the front and back of the complaint are also available; for the clearest view, mouse over the document and click the small box that appears in the lower right corner.

Complaint of Banton v. Elliot Complaint of Banton V. Elliot - Verso

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Disposition of Banton v. Elliot (Document #1036)
This document is a summary of the case and its outcome. Elliot proclaimed his innocence, and after "a full hearing of the cause and due examination of the witnesses," Huston found Elliot not guilty and free to go. Banton was ordered to pay Elliot's court costs as well as his own. Gift of Robert E. Brooker III.

Disposition of Banton v. Elliot. A side-by-side view of the document and its transcription is also available; for the clearest view, mouse over the document and click the small box that appears in the lower right corner.

Disposition of Banton v. Elliot

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Closed View of an Early Trespass Complaint

 

Closed View of Trespass Complaint

Complaint of Allen v. Maher, Maher & Kerr (Document #2341)
This attractive legal document is a complaint filed October 21, 1816 in the New York Supreme Court - the state's lower, or trial, court. The issue involves a plea of trespass on the case. The entire document consists of three pages, and is completely handwritten on both sides and folded as shown here. Note the seal of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and the string tie. Gift of Robert E. Brooker III.

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