This Respondent Denies the
Charge of Champerty
~ 10 April 1857 ~
Christian County Kentucky
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Folded letter sheet.
Red circular handstamp postmark:
       HOPKINSVILLE . KY Apr 14
and red handstamp:
       PAID and 10
       Mr Francis H. Dallam, Smithland Ky* Docket:
       Daniel Gray
       vs. }
Shelby & Harmand
       Filed & m’ld on
       14 May 1851


       The separate answer of David Gray to a bill in chancery filed against himself and others in the Livingston circuit court by James Shelly and H. A. Harman.
       This respondent for answer to said bill unto so much thereof as he has been advised it is material for him to answer, answers & Says that it is true there is an action of ejection pending in the Livingston circuit court in the name of Yancey Lipscomb and against the complainants --- This respondent would state that on the 21st day of April 1847 Daniel Lipscomb who was the owner of Six Sevenths of a one thousand acre tract of land lying in the county of Livingston and state of Kentucky granted by the commonwealth of Virginia to Yancey Lipscomb in the year 1786 for Military services in the war of the Revolution executed to this respondendent a power of attorney authorizing him to act as agent in bringing a suit for said land which power of attorney is herewith filed as an exhibit marked (No 1)
       This respondent would further state that in the year 1846 acting also as agent for the heirs of Yancey Lipscomb he paid the sum of fifty Eight dollars & 33 cents to the agent of the commonwealth of Kentucky the full amount of tax, interest, costs & charges due on account of said land and said agent conveyed the land o the heirs of Yancey Lipscomb as will more fully appearley the exhibit herewith filed marked (No 2) and that be has since up to the present time paid taxes on said land as agent of the heirs ---
       This respondent has been and is now acting as the agent of the heirs of Yancy Lipscomb in attending to the said suit and their interests in said land --- The title of heirs of Yancey Lipscomb in & to the land in controversy in said action of ejection is, as this respondent has been advised, good, valid and paramount to the pretender title set up by the said James Shelly & H. A. Harman --- This respondent has been informed believes and & So charges that the said Shelly & Harman, entered upon & took possession of the land in controversy with full knowledge of the paramount title of the heirs of Yancey Lipscomb and are not as he has been advised entitled to any protection as bona fide occupants.
       This respondent denies the charge of Champerty** made against him in said bill and here calls for full proof of all the allegations of the bill of the bill now herein admitted and having fully answered prays to be hence dismissed with his costs &c.

Daniel Gray
Christian county Sct
       This day Daniel Gray personally appeared before the undersigned a justice of the peace in & for the county aforesaid and made Oath that the matters & things contained in the foregoing answer so far as the same Stated from his own knowledge are true and So far as related from information believes them to be true --- Given under my hand
the 10th day of April 1857
W. S. Talbott, J. P.

       *Smithland is the county seat of Livingston County.
       Champertor: In criminal law, one who makes or brings suits, or causes them to be moved or brought, either directly or indirectly, and maintains them at his own cost, upon condition of having a part of the gains or of the land in dispute. One guilty of champerty. ~ “Black’s Law Dictionary,” sixth edition, 1991.
       Kentucky, like her southern neighbor, Tennessee, is a “Meets and Bounds” state. This lead to many a law suit over improper surveys and, as such, keep the courts in both states very busy untangling the rightful ownership of land tracts and made many attorneys into wealthy men.
       This case above, Daniel Gray vs. James Shelly and H. A. Harman may have also involved “Adverse Possession.” This is a legal term, for the method of acquisition of title to real property by possession for a statutory period under specified conditions.
       An interesting discussion of Kentucky’s survey and court /land” battles can be found in “The Frontiersman,” a Time Life book, 1977, pp 45, 70, in the chapter on Daniel Boone, “The legendary life of the ultimate woodsman.”

From the Collection of Frederick Smoot.
Provenance: Bob Friedman, Postal History Dealer, 1998

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