Monday, July 21, 2008

Wilmington District Superior Court Minutes

Oct. 1760 - Nov 1783

June 1, 1768

The Honble. Harton Howard Esquire Chief Justice, associate justices The Honble Manrow Moore Esq and "The Honble Richd Henderson, Esq.

On this day Richard Seymore and Noel Williams alias Noel Brasswell were tried on an unspecified felony and both found guilty. Prosecution witnesses, the "Evidences sworn", were James & Susannah Kennedy, and Joseph Kirkland, who had brought these boys back from South Carolina to where they had fled. The Seamores were neighbors of the Bracewells in Orange County.. The jury contained 12 men from the Wilmington area with no apparent connection with the defendants. Court adjourned.

On Thursday, June 2, The court tried Noel Williams alias Noel Braswell, Thomas Seamore & Richard Seamore' on charges of Horse stealing. Defendants pled not guilty, and the "Jury fined the Defendt Guilty & that he had no land &c in each case. Wm Hooper Council for the deft. moved for an Arrest of Judgment. Motion overruled--" page 136 "The Prisoner Noel Williams being arraign'd pleaded not guilty whereupon a Jury was impanneld & Sworn who upon their oath say that the said Prisoner Noel Williams otherwise called Noel Bracewell is guilty of the Felony whereof he stands charged in the Indictment and that the said Prisoner had no Lands or tenements Goods or Chattels at the time of the Commiting the Felony or at any time since to their Knowledge upon which the Prisoner being again brought to the bar the Court Proceeded to pass Sentence upon the Prisoner in manner following. To Wit that he shall be taken from the Bar to the place from whence he came & from thence to the place of Execution there to be hanged by the Neck until he should be dead and that the Sherriff should do Execution of the said Sentence on Friday the Tenth day of this Instant June between the hours of Eleven and Two". In exactly the same words, the death sentence was passed on to Thomas and Richard Swamore.

The Virginia Gazette May 12, 1768
An excerpt of a letter from Wilmington in North Carolina, dated the 6th ???
"I am sorry to find, by the last accounts from home, that we have no prospect of obtaining leave of a new esission of paper currency, as unless some medium is fallen on to answer the end of a circulating currency in trade, no business can be carried on in this province: Our exports being bad, we receive very little specie ); and, if my information is right, the currency now circulating, does not exceed five Shillings each person. Our public tax this year is 7 s., 6d per poll and there is already laid on 8s ?? for the next; exclusive of this, we have a duty on spiritous liquors of 6 d. per gallon, besides county, parish and other internal taxes. The people, however, far from grumbing, knowing these taxes to be necessary for the support of government, would cheerfully pay them, if it was in their power; it is not, and what will be the consequence, I cannot tell; I am afraid there will be much consufion. Persons of property will not accept the sherriff's office in several counties, because, if they do, they are obliged to collect the taxes; individuals suft consequently suffer for want of an executive officer to serve precepts and make execution: This in a short time must put a stop to al credit, and of course occasion a stegnation of all benefits.___I have the pleasure to inform you, that one Captain Kirkland, from the back part of your province, about 10 days ago, brought down to this town, three of the most notorious robbers and horse-stealers that have lately infested the bordrs of the two Carolinas; Two of the Seymour's; and Noel Williams. It is suppofed they were concerned in robbing Mr. M'Dougal, of Kingftos?, on the Waccamas: Since the commitment of the above, two others have been taken and committed. They must remain in jail til the 7 of May next, when the court will fit, and by which time I hope more of them will be catched: As one of them has turned King's evidence, he will probably give information of many more of that desperate gang. The Governor has ordered a party of militia to guard the jail till the court, left they should escape; this will prevent it."--

The Virginia Gazette July, 28, 1768
"By Captain Ward from N Carolina we learn that three of the principals concerned in horsestealing, and other outrages committed some time since on the frontiers of that province, were lately tried, comdemned, and hanged at Wilmington; and that the militia who had done duty in guarding the goal for some months past were discharged from that service.
We further learn from North Carolina that the destressed situation of that province, occasioned by the restrictions of trade, and the arbitrary conduct of some, who were intrusted with liberties of their country, had caused great commotions; that great numbers of the inhabitants in the back parts had assembled together in order to get their aggrievances redressed, and that they had sent an express to the Governour, who is gone to inquire into the cause of their complaint."

The Virginia Gazette Sept. 8, 1768
"August 16. Laft Friday Mr. Ifaac Waldron, ? one of our pilots, arrived here in his pilot boat from Cape Fear, who informs us that a few days before he left Brunswick, express arrived there from Orange County, in that province, where brought an account of about 300 of the back inhabitants having assembled together and come down to the town of Salisbury in order to free a few notorious horsestealers, & c. who were committed to goal there; that in open violation of the laws they broke open the said goal and took those criminals out, after which they sat fire to it, which in a short time was entirely consumed to ashes, and then marched off in triumph with their refuted friends, not meeting with any interruption all the while, as the people were not able to oppose them."

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