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Thomas Dillon

Collection of Benton County court appearances of Thomas Dillon.

Court Documents pertaining to Thomas Dillon, Benton County 1838-1850

Information in this legal history of Thomas Dillon has been taken from the Chancery Records, Benton County, MO Volume A, Roll C714 and Circuit Court Records, Benton County, MO Volume A, Roll C714, Benton County MO Circuit Court Records Volume B and C roll C715, Probate Records of Benton County, Land records of Missouri (Fayette Abstract) Census and Marriage records of Benton and Cole County, MO. All sources are located on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, MO. These records were checked and double checked for accuracy of dates and information; however some errors in dates and transcriptions may exist. Dates of the court were often times embedded in the documents and only consist of one line and were difficult to pick out of the entire document. The numbering of pages in the index was also often in error. Every effort was made to present the information and interpretation as accurately as possible. I would like to thank the staff at the Missouri State archives for their assistance and our family attorney for help with the legal interpretation. There were other appearances of Thomas in the court records which were not listed in this document. What is presented here is a summary of a majority of court appearances. In some cases there were multiple entries for the same case and a continuance for the next Circuit court term and were repeats of information already presented or yielded no new information.

Chancery Court is a court of equity. Jurisdiction includes divorce cases, contract cases, worker compensation cases, title to estates, validity of wills, and adoptions and claims of minors. Circuit court is the name of court systems in several common law jurisdictions. Originally it meant a court that would hold sessions in multiple locations within its judicial district; the judge or judges would travel in a circuit in order to adjudicate cases across a wide area. Especially on the United States frontier, a judge might travel alone on horseback along with a group of lawyers. Abraham Lincoln was one such attorney who would ride the circuit in Illinois. In more settled areas, a stagecoach would be used. Eventually the legal caseload in a county would become great enough for a local judiciary. Most of these local judicial circuits have been thus replaced.

When the court cases list another citizen of Benton County the name had been replaced with "Citizen" or "Names Jurors". This was done out of respect to non-family citizens of Benton county during the time period covered. "?" represents words in the document which are illegible. When an unfamiliar legal term is used I have included the definition in italics. The plaintiff is always listed first and the defendant second. In most cases I have tried to stay true to the spelling and grammar in the original document. The old handwriting is very elaborate and is at times difficult to decipher, especially off of microfilm. The value of $1.00 in 1850 has been estimated to have a current value of between $15.00 and $30.00. For comparisons I have used a figure of $25.00. If you wish further details on any of these cases please e-mail me at robyn@familytomb.net I only check this account once a week, but be assured I will get back with you.

Benton County, Circuit Court, Volume A, 1835-1843

April 19, 1838 page 52:

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon

Indictment for an affray

*An affray is defined as:

1. When the affray charged is the fighting of two or more persons in a public place, the indictment, in effect, charges several assaults and batteries, and one bill is used to avoid several trials for same offense.

2. The public place need not be specified, and need not be proved.

3. As an indictment for an affray charges mutual assaults, one may be convicted and the other acquitted. The same law is equally applicable to both offenses.

This is the earliest record for Thomas in either the Chancery or Circuit court records of Benton County, MO

August 1838 Continuation of above case, page 54

State of Missouri vs. T. Dillon and "Citizen"

Indictment for an affray

"Now at this day came the parties afore said by their respective attorneys and upon motion of the parties and by (the) permission of the court here the said defendants have elected to be tried separately which is accordingly allowed."

It seems Thomas Dillon was involved in an altercation with this other citizen of Benton County and both parties wanted to be tried separately.

Next Page of the Circuit court records finds the final judgment of above.

Page 55

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon

Indictment for an affray

Plea Not Guilty

"Now at this day came the parties aforesaid by their respective attorneys and it is especially ordered that a venire peal directed to the sheriff of Benton County commanding the sheriff to summon a jury for the trial of the above cause to appear before the court forthwith. Wherefore "?" carried the parties aforesaid and therefore also cause a jury to wit: Names Jurors.

Twelve good and lawful men who being duly elected tried & sworn to will & truly try the "?" within joined between the parties aforesaid an their oath aforesaid as say that the said Thomas Dillon is guilty in manner and form as charged upon him in the indictment aforesaid and do as "?" a fine of one dollar and fifty cents against the said Thomas Dillon-Therefore it is considered by the Court here that the said Thomas Dillon do pay a fine of one dollar & fifty cents to the said State of Missouri as afford by the "?" aforesaid and the cost and charges in this prosecution in this behalf laid out and expended and that the said state have hereof execution-"



Thomas is found guilty by a jury of twelve men and required to pay all court cost and a fine of $1.50 which is the equivalent of about $32.50 today.

On the next page of the circuit court record the other party in the incitement admits to his guilt and throws himself on the mercy of the court. He is fined $5.00 and all court cost.

November 4, 1839

Thomas is listed as an applicant for land in Benton County. From the above court case it seems he was not only living in Benton County prior to November 4th but "involved" with his neighbors.

May 19, 1840:

Thomas sells part of his land for $700.00 to another citizen of Benton County. This would be about $18,000 dollars in today's market. Obedience is named as wife of Thomas Dillon.

August 20, 1840:

Thomas Dillon vs. "Citizen"

Trespass on the case for Slander

Slander: A type of defamation. Slander is an untruthful oral (spoken) statement about a person that harms the person's reputation or standing in the community. Because slander is a tort (a civil wrong), the injured person can bring a lawsuit against the person who made the false statement.

Now this day come the parties aforesaid by their respective attorneys and therefore the said defendant by his attorney moves the court here to strike out all the

words in said plaintiffs declaration charging said defendant with marking plaintiffs hogs whereupon all and singular the premises being seen and heard, the words are by order of the court here stricken out and thereupon also came a jury to wit. Names jurors, twelve good and lawful men who being duly elected tried and sworn to will and truly try the issue joined between the parties aforesaid whereupon the said plaintiff although solemnly demanded comes not but makes default nor doth he from prosecutes his actions aforesaid against the said defendant wherefore the said jurors are wholly discharged from giving any verdict of and upon the premises aforesaid. Therefore it is considered by the court here that the said plaintiff take nothing by his said writ and that the said defendant go thereof without day; And it is further considered by the court here that the said "Citizen" recover against the said Thomas Dillon his cost and charges by him about his defense in this behalf laid out and expended and that he have thereof execution.





My interpretation is Thomas brought suit against another citizen for slander. The slander occurred with the marking of a pig. From the definition of slander I don't think it meant ear notching of a pig for identification, I think Thomas accused the "Citizen" of entering his property (Thomas's) and then writing something slanderous on his pig. Thomas lost the case and was ordered to pay all cost incurred by the defendant due to the litigation. It would be interesting to know what was marked on the pig and what words of Thomas's were not to be considered by the court.



The very next court case was:

Adam Dillon vs. Thomas Dillon

Appeal

Debt on Note.

Plea: failure of consideration

Failure of consideration: The refusal or inability of a contracting party to perform its side of a bargain.



*I believe this Adam Dillon was the son of Meredith Dillon, making Adam the nephew of Thomas.



Now this day come the parties aforesaid by their attorneys and thereupon also comes a jury to wit: Names Jurors. Twelve good and lawful men who being duly tried and swan to well and truly try the issue joined between the parties aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid find that the said defendant owes and is justly indebted to the said plaintiff in the sum of ten dollars and eighty cents and that the said plaintiff hath sustained damage by reason of the detention thereof to the sum of sixty six cents There fore it is considered by the court that the said Adam Dillon recover a against the said Thomas Dillon the said sum of ten dollars and eighty cents for his debt as curtained to be due and owing as aforesaid and also the said sum of sixty six cents the damages aforesaid together with his cost and charges by him about his suit in this behalf laid out and expended and that he have thereof execution.



Thomas owed Adam $10.88 plus $0.66 in damages for a total of $11.54 and court cost. In today's dollars a little less than $300.00





Benton County, Circuit Court 1842-1846, Volume B



December 19, 1842

"Citizen" vs. Thomas Dillon and Hiram K. Dillon

There was some dispute about a title. To be continued next term. It was difficult to determine who won this case.



June 1, 1844

Thomas Dillon

Hiram K. Dillon

Vs.

"Citizen"

A case for Trover, to be heard the next term. Eventually found for the defendant. Thomas pays court cost.

Trover: is a form of lawsuit in common-law countries for recovery of damages for wrongful taking of personal property. Trover belongs to a series of remedies for such wrongful taking, its distinctive feature being recovery only for the value of whatever was taken, not for the recovery of the property itself.



Probate Court

June 17, 1845

Thomas Dillon is made Administrator of Hiram K Dillon

I take this to mean Hiram had passed away; there is no record of Hiram in the 1850 census.

November 10, 1845

Thomas is appointed Justice within and for Cole Township, Benton County.

Benton County Marriages

May 12, 1846:

Marriage to Adelaide Portia Dorsey




Benton County, Circuit Court 1846-1855, Volume C



May 26, 1846 pg. 375

State vs. Thomas Dillon

Assault with intent to kill

Thomas was found not guilty of this charge on page 387,

May 28, 1846.



March 13, 1849:

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon

Indictment for an assault with intent to kill

Plea Not guilty

Now at this day comes again the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf and the said Thomas Dillon being also here present in his own proper person and therefore who also comes the jury viz: Names Jurors. And the said jury having now heard the render of the testimony in this case and the arguments of counsel and the instructions of the court and the jury aforesaid upon thus oath aforesaid day that they cannot agree as to verdict upon the premises aforesaid and it is further contend that this cause be continued until the next term of this circuit.

March 13, 1849:

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon and Katherine Barnes

Open and Gross Lewdness and Lascivious Behavior

Now at this day comes the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf and the said defendants being also here present. And therefore the said defendants pray a continuance until the next term of this court and for good cause shown, this cause is continued until the next term and it is ordered that the defendant, pay the cost of the continuance and that execution be issued for the same.

It seems Thomas had gotten himself in to a bit of trouble in a fight and then with a Ms. Katherine (Catherine in census records) Barnes. Both cases were continued until the next term of the circuit court.

Benton County Chancery, 1838-1854, Volume A

Thursday, March 22 1849

Divorce for Adelaide Dorsey and Thomas Dillon filed in Chancery Court. Case to be heard next term.

Not surprising Thomas and Adelaide file for a divorce after the assault and lewd charges against Thomas and Catherine.



Benton County, Circuit Court 1846-1855, Volume C

September 09, 1849

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon Katherine Barnes



Now this day comes the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf and on his motion it is ordered that an attachment be issued for Names "Citizens" witness summons on the part of the state returnable tomorrow morning.



State summons witnesses to appear in court the next day. Apparently they did not; the next entry dealing with Thomas is not until September 20, 1849.

Chancery Records

September 19, 1849:

Divorce granted from Adelaide Portia Dorsey



Benton County, Circuit Court 1846-1855, Volume C

September 20, 1849

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon

Indictment for assault

Now at this day comes the circuit who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf, and the said defendant being also here present, and therefore by consent of parties and by order of the court this case is continued until the next term of this court.



September 20, 1849

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon Katherine Barnes

Indictment for gross Lewd and Lascivious

Now at this day comes the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the state of Missouri in this behalf and the said defendants, being also here present, and therefore by consent of parties and by order of the court, this case is continued until the next term of this court.



March 18, 1850

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon Katharine Barnes

Indictment for gross Lewd and Lascivious



Thomas's lawyer asks for his release until the trial, release denied.





March 19, 1850

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon

Indictment for an assault with intent to kill

Thomas's lawyer asks for his release until the trial, release denied.

August 18, 1850

Catherine Barnes is enumerated with Thomas Dillon, his son John and I assume her children: Henry, M.A. (Mary Ann), Milton, W.A.(William), Calvin, H.(Hezekiah), and C.A.(Chloe) Barnes.

September 9, 1850

State of Missouri vs. Thomas Dillon Katherine Barnes

Indictment for Lewd and Lascivious behavior

Now at this day comes the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the state of Missouri in this behalf and the said defendants being also her present in their own proper person and being "?" of and concerning the "?" and how they will acquit themselves there of say that they are not guilty of the misdemeanor aforesaid in the indictments aforesaid above specified in manner and form as is "?" alleged against them and for them trial put themselves upon the County and the circuit attorney who prosecutes as aforesaid both the "?" and therefore also comes a jury viz: Names Jurors. Twelve good and lawful men who being dully elected tried and sworn to will and truly try the issue given the parties upon their oath say that the said Thomas Dillon and Katherine Barnes are not guilty of the premises aforesaid in the indictment above specified in manner and form as is th? Alleged against them. Therefore it is considered that the said Thomas Dillon and Katherine Barnes of and from the "?" aforesaid in the indictment aforesaid above specified be discharged and that they go thereof without day.



September 10, 1850

State of Missouri vs Thomas Dillon

Indictment of an assault with intent to kill

Plea not guilty



Now this day comes the Circuit attorney who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf and the said Thomas Dillon being also here present and therefore also comes a jury viz: Names Jurors. Twelve good and lawful men who being duly elected tried and sworn to will and truly try and a true deliverance make between the State of Missouri and the said Thomas Dillon



September 11, 1850

State of Missouri vs Thomas Dillon

Indictment for an assault with intent to kill

Plea Not Guilty

Now at this day comes again the circuit attorney who prosecutes for the State of Missouri in this behalf and the said Thomas Dillon being also here present and thereupon also comes the jury viz Names Jurors. And the jury aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do say that the said Thomas Dillon is not guilty of the felony aforesaid in the indictment aforesaid above specified in manner and form as is therein alleged against him. Therefore it is considered by the court that the said Thomas Dillon "?" the premises aforesaid in the indictment aforesaid above specified be discharged and that he go thereof without day.





Random Thoughts:

After a year and half Thomas is found not guilty of both charges. I can only speculate how this impacted the family in what is still today a small conservative community. It is curious there is not much in the Benton county histories about the Dillon family. The family was one of the first in Benton County; collectively they owed large tracks of land and have many descendants in the area today. Perhaps there was some shame or embarrassment about the antics of Thomas. Maybe family members were unwilling to contribute or overlooked when the county history was compiled. In Thomas's defense while reading through the court cases during this period there were many Benton county citizens charged with similar behaviors and also found not guilty. There were many charged with worse crimes and others with what seems to be outrageous charges by today's standards. "Playing cards on a Sunday" and "Disrupting a religious service" were very common charges which were brought to trial under a full jury during this time. Thomas's behavior may not have been out of character with the times and circumstances of the day. As a genealogist I am grateful to Thomas and his many court appearances, they add a fullness and vitality to an ancestor which can not be achieved through census and marriage records.

Catherine Barnes is found still living in Benton County in the 1860 census and in Cole County on the 1870 census. Her daughter Mary Ann married Thomas's son John Dillon in Benton County on April 15, 1852. They can be found in Newton County in 1860, but there is no sign of John in the 1870 census. Mary Ann Barnes-Dillon married Mathew McNery (McNevy, McNerry) in Cole County on August 28, 1868. John must have died during this time or perhaps the couple was divorced. I tend to believe he died, only because Mary and Mathew McNery were married in the Methodist church, few couples of the time were granted a church marriage if a divorce was involved and no John Dillon with the correct birth date and place can be found in the 1870 census records. I also believe Mary Ann is listed in the Cole County 1873 census; however the record is difficult to read and until further research is done can not be certain it is she.

Catherine had one more child in 1855, named Jacob. I have not found any record of a Mr. Barnes or a father to Chloe or Jacob in fact any of Catherine's other children. Contact with Barnes family researchers has been made in hopes of finding out what happened to Catherine and who is the father of her children. She has not been found in the 1880 or subsequent census records. Her child Chloe was born around the time charges were filed in the March 1849 circuit court term. The prior court had adjourned in September of 1848. The incident in the assault case and the lewd and lascivious would have happened between September of 1848 and March of 1849. I believe a fair bit of speculation could be made about the parentage of Chloe and Jacob. I have not found any court records for Thomas after September of 1850.

About November of 1855 documents for the Estate of Thomas Dillon begin to appear in Probate court, indicating the passing of Thomas.


Owner/Source  rbehen 
Date  2008 
ID  552 
Linked to  DILLON Thomas Jefferson 

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