Lot 185: 2 manuscripts incl Justice of the Peace, 1837-47.
December 1, 2016
Falls Church, VA, USALive Auction
Description: [Law/Business] 2 manuscripts from Berks Co., PA. ++ Manuscript record of Thomas H. Jones, Justice of the Peace in Berks County, Pa., 1837-1847. Jones (1809-50) was a wealthy iron master and surveyor who lived in Antalaway, in Berks County. Brief records of suits, judgements, summons, subpoenas, appearances, fines, bails, etc. Plaintiffs and defendants listed in each case, totaling hundreds of people. Most cases involve suits for debt. Jones was especially busy during the Panic of 1837. Nearly all case records record a fee for Justice, but other fees variously include swearing plaintiff, final judgment, notice & referral, mileage [travelled by a party], constable, etc. On the occasions where a more formal trial occurred, the fees could include a base trial fee, subpoenas, a fee for the granting of a continuance, processing fee for bail, mileage & wages for evidence, entering return, and a transcript. One case yielded $13.90 in fees (p75), but most cases totalled under $2-- not out of the ordinary, but significant given the poverty of most defendants. Frequent default judgments. Case record is occasionally interrupted with the text of a contract. 2 such contracts appear on pp68-69, where John and Samuel Pfaff bound himself as an apprentice to the shew & bootmaking John was bound for 3 years, Samuel Pfaff for 5 years, 16 days to have sufficient meat, drink and apparel washing mending & lodging during the Service, to send him to school eight month also to send to the Minister if the said Samuel Pfaff desired the same John Pfaffs master, Aaron Shaffer, had the same last name as Isaac Shaffer, the constable who is named below most lists of the fees charged for any given case. Another boy is apprenticed to Joseph Sprays on p113, also to learn boot & shewmaking on unfavorable terms. Contemp leather with vellum corners. Internally disbound. Dampstained, some portions have spotting to inner margin. Various printed and/or handwritten items placed in, mostly but not entirely of a legal nature, largely summonses served by the constable. ++ Account book kept by William Stoudt in Berks County, 1850-59. Stoudt ran a sawmill and lumbering operation in Berks County in the decade before the Civil War. His business furnished boards, plank, scantling, and shingles for the construction of area homes and businesses. He also did some fine work, producing rafters, joists, paneling, and did some stone work as well. He mentioned working with hemlock, and white and yellow pine.  side-by-side pages, plus 5 more single pages, a handwritten index at front, and a few blank pages. Wove paper in contemp ¼ leather and marbled paper covers, typical wear (losses to spine, loose internally). ++ 4to. Sold with all faults. 3.8 Lb.