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Guide to the John Tabor Kempe Papers
1678-1782 (bulk 1752-1774)
 MS 344

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Melissa Haley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on June 20, 2013
Finding aid written in English.

Container List

Series 1: Court Case Records, 1678-1778 (bulk 1752-1774), and Undated, Bulk, 1752-1774 1678-1778 and Undated

Scope and Contents note

The bulk of the court case records in this collection are for cases argued in the New York Supreme Court of Judicature. Other courts include the Court of Chancery, Court of Vice-Admiralty, New York General Sessions (in counties), New York General Quarter Sessions (in New York City), Court of Mayor and Aldermen, and the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Cases argued before the Governor and Council are also found in this series.

Court case records are arranged by the court in which a case was argued. Within each court, cases are divided into criminal and civil, then arranged alphabetically by defendant for criminal cases, by plaintiff for civil cases. Cases with multiple plaintiffs or defendants are filed under the first name to appear on the documents. In addition, this series includes documents for cases for which the court, plaintiff or defendant cannot be determined. Cases where the court venue is unclear, but plaintiff and defendant are evident, are filed under "Court Undetermined." Documents that are most likely related to a court case, but the court, plaintiff, and/or defendant cannot be determined are filed under "Case Undetermined." Many of these undetermined cases are represented by a single document.

Court case documents include briefs, presentments, affidavits, trial notes, complaints, statements of cases, indictments, memoranda, subpoenas, pleas, notices, depositions, rules, certiorari, narratios, replications, bail notices, trial notices, notes, petitions, jury lists, costs, and other relevant documents such as estate records or accounts. Many items are drafts or contemporary copies. Petitions not linked to any specific case are filed together within Case Undetermined.

All cases in this series have been entered into a separate database. The database information generally includes court, location, dates, items, plaintiff and defendant, and charge or suit for each case. A notes field also contains other pertinent information about the case, such as references to other relevant cases and correspondence. (Correspondence that was filed with individual court cases has been removed to Series II, and each item removed is listed in the notes field--additional correspondence not listed may also relate to specific court cases, as many letters were already filed separately). A complete report derived from this database is available for researchers, sorted by court. A separate report sorted by charge/suit is also available. The database can be searched by name or keyword--see Manuscript Department staff.

This collection also includes numerous land tenant ejectment cases. These suits were brought on the behalf of a fictitious current tenant, usually called "James Jackson," though other names were also used ("Peter Quiet," "John Denn"). Therefore, ejectment cases are filed by the first plaintiff to follow the fictitious name. The false names "John Stiles" and "John Turnout" were commonly used for defendants.

Political cases represented in this series include King vs. Alexander McDougall in the Supreme Court of Judicature for libel/slander, several trading with the enemy cases during the French and Indian War (especially the various George Spencer cases in the Supreme Court of Judicature and the Court of Vice-Admiralty), and a number of cases involving maladministration of Justices of the Peace.

Court case records also document the quotidian disputes of New Yorkers, particularly in assault cases, and sometimes reveal contentious relationships between men and women, masters and servants, ministers and their congregations, and neighbors. Women are present throughout the series as both plaintiffs and defendants, and a few cases include unkept marriage promises, and accusations of rape. Many cases involve disputes within religious institutions, particularly the Protestant Dutch Church. The King vs. Nepthali Hart Meyers, Hayman Levi, Daniel Gomez et al in the Supreme Court of Judicature details a violent disagreement within a NYC synagogue.

Several cases in this collection involve the accusation of slaves for various crimes; see King vs. Belinda, King vs. Venus, King vs. Falmouth, King vs. Pompey, in the Supreme Court of Judicature and  King vs. Abraham, King vs. Scipio in Court Undetermined. A number of cases concern slaves seeking their freedom, often claiming false enslavement in the American colonies; see  Juan Miranda vs. Cornelius and Sarah Van Ranst in the Supreme Court of Judicature, the case of Francis de Salas Cortilla in Governor and Council, and the cases of Vacan Beneto (petition), Simon Moore, Jacob Quaco, and the estate of William West, all in Case Undetermined.

In some instances, the court in which a case was argued was determined through the use of an outside source, especially Julius Goebel Jr. & T. Raymond Naughton's Law Enforcement in Colonial New York: A Study in Criminal Procedure (1664-1776) (NY : The Commonwealth Fund, 1944). Daniel Allen Hearn's  Legal Executions in New York State, 1639-1963 (N.C. : McFarland & Co., 1997) was also consulted. Both are referenced in the note field of the database when applicable. Further information on many cases in the collection can also be found in these sources.

Note: Many cases contain alternate spellings for the names of plaintiffs and defendants. The most common was used for indexing; alternate spellings are also included in brackets. A number of documents contain the abbreviation "ads," i.e. John Smith ads. William Thomas. With this abbreviation, the defendant is listed first and the plaintiff listed second, rather than the more common Thomas vs. Smith, or Thomas agt. Smith. Other abbreviations found in the collection are "ex dem" meaning "upon the demise" (used in ejectment cases) and "qui tam" meaning the plaintiff has launched a civil suit on behalf of the state.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, A-B
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, C
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, D
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, E-G
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, H
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, J-K
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, L
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, Lydius
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, M-N
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, O-R
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, S-T
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, U-Z
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Criminal, Van Renselaer
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, A
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Ba-Bri
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Bro-Bu
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Ca-Co
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Cr-Cu
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Da
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, De-Dy
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, E
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Fa-Fo
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Fr-Fu
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, G
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Ha
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Hardenbrook vs. Bogert
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, He-Hy
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, J
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, K
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Kempe vs. [ ...? ]
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, La-Leake
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Lefferts-Lo
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, M
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, N-P
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Ra
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Re-Ru
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Sc
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Se-Si
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Sm-Sp
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, St
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Swords
Box: 6 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Ta-Ti
Box: 6 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, To-Tr
Box: 6 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, V
Box: 7 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Van Schaack, McGinnis vs. Sharpe
Box: 7 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Wa-Welch
Box: 7 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Wetherhead-Wh
Box: 7 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Supreme Court of Judicature, Civil, Wi-Wo
Box: 7 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Chancery, Annely vs. Lewis
Box: 7 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Chancery, B
Box: 7 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Chancery, Bailey vs. Buvelot
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Chancery, Blouin vs. Wittmer
Box: 8 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Chancery, Blouin vs. Wittmer
Box: 8 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Chancery, C-D
Box: 8 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Chancery, H-J
Box: 8 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Chancery, Leadbetter vs. Harison et al
Box: 8 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Chancery, Leadbetter vs. Harison et al
Box: 8 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Chancery, Leadbetter vs. Harison et al
Box: 8 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Chancery, M
Box: 9 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Chancery, Pemberton
Box: 9 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Chancery, R-S
Box: 9 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Chancery, T-W
Box: 9 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Chancery, Van Beverhoudt vs. Bayard
Box: 9 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Chancery, Van Beverhoudt vs. Bayard
Box: 9 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Chancery, Wittmer vs. Blouin
Box: 9 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Vice-Admiralty, Criminal
Box: 9 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Vice-Admiralty, Civil, A-R
Box: 10 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Vice-Admiralty, Civil, S
Box: 10 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: General Sessions
Box: 10 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Mayor and Alderman
Box: 10 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Oyer and Terminer
Box: 10 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Other Courts
Box: 10 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: New Jersey Courts
Box: 10 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Governor and Council
Box: 10 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Governor and Council
Box: 10 Folder : 9 Court Case Records: Governor and Council, Daniel Nimham
Box: 10 Folder : 10 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Criminal, A-H
Box: 11 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Criminal, J-P
Box: 11 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Criminal, R-W
Box: 11 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Civil, A-D
Box: 11 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Civil, E-H
Box: 11 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Civil, J-N
Box: 11 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Civil, P-Si
Box: 11 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Court Undetermined, Civil, Sm-W
Box: 11 Folder : 8 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, A-F
Box: 11 Folder : 9 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, G-L
Box: 11 Folder : 10 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, M
Box: 12 Folder : 1 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, N-T
Box: 12 Folder : 2 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, U-W
Box: 12 Folder : 3 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, William Pride
Box: 12 Folder : 4 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, Wills
Box: 12 Folder : 5 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, Petitions
Box: 12 Folder : 6 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, Lunacy Commission
Box: 12 Folder : 7 Court Case Records: Case Undetermined, Various/Fragments

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