All the Right Names But. . . That Doesn’t Make It So!

Recently, I came across a database called Tennessee Supreme Court Case Index, 1809-1950 on Ancestry. My husband’s Williams family was there by 1805 and descendants of the various branches still live there today.

One interesting looking hit came up because one branch of the family, about whom I don’t know a lot, lived in Maury County, Tennessee and then in the part that became Marshall County by 1840.

In fact, one of the men who ended up in Marshall County was Charles Williams, along with a brother, Peter Williams.

This case involved a Charles W. Williams and Robert Cannon being sued in 1844 in a case that began in the Circuit Court. I knew that there was a tie by marriage to one Williams woman who married a Cannon, so this looked promising.

I quickly located this suit using the search engine and I was asked if I wanted a quote to print the file. I said yes and less than one hour later, the quote of $42.50 arrived. That was a bit steep and there was no way to tell how big the file was. I decided to bite the bullet out of curiosity and ordered the file.

The very next morning, it was waiting in my inbox, as I had requested a digital, rather than paper, copy of the file. 52 pages of the file are numbered and there are quite a few unnumbered pages after that. I’m guessing that the cost was probably 50 cents per page, which is not unreasonable for both a search and scan/print.

The pages are not terribly difficult to read, although there are a LOT of them:

This lawsuit is quite boring. It centered around the claim that Benjamin, Robert and William Williams, sons of William Williams Sr., who died in 1840, along with their brother, Charles W. Williams and Robert Cannon, had or didn’t have a business partnership that was or wasn’t dissolved and that Charles, who had left Marshall County, Tennessee for Tishomingo County, Mississippi, had retained a significant sum of money, estimated to be between $2000 and $7000, that belonged to the company.

Very few other people are mentioned in these papers and I was unable to determine whether or not these Williams brothers were related to my husband’s group, who had migrated from Virginia by 1805.

A relationship is very possible, as the men’s given names are extensively used in Dave’s Williams group, but they certainly weren’t unusual names.

The opening sentence in the crop above pointed me to more records – Benjamin Williams and Robert Williams & William Williams executors of the last will and testament of Wm. Williams Sr. deceased.

How did the lawsuit end? As usual, the wording is convoluted so much that it is difficult to figure out the final decision. The lower court decided that William Williams was not bound to the “pretended” settlement of Charles W. Williams with Robert Cannon. Not that I would bet anything on my interpretation, but I think the  Tennessee Supreme Court sent the case back to the Circuit Court because a different question was raised in the appeal.

The outcome is what was important to me, it was whether or not these were part of the extended Cumberland County, Virginia family.

My next step was to locate the will of William Williams Sr., which has been digitized and is viewable on FamilySearch.



2 thoughts on “All the Right Names But. . . That Doesn’t Make It So!”

  1. Quite clear handwriting, actually. My favorite part of your saga is where you follow up on more Williams names cited within the legal documents you purchased. Hope you’ll post about what you find!

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