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McCormack, Anderson v. McCormack, Admr. of William, etc.: Chancery Cause, Halifax County (Part 11 of 16)

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21 McCormicks Admr agt McCormick & others & McCormick Agt H & J Showalters

Commissioners office June 25th 1851 In obedience to a decree pronounced in these causes at the prior adjourned Term of the Circuit Court of Halifax 1850 the undersigned one of the Commissioners of the Circuit Court of Franklin has to report that he gave the parties to the above causes notice that on the 16th day of January 1851 he would proceed at the Bushes Mill in the County of Franklin to take the accounts in the above decree directed, at which time & place Anderson McCormick and Henry and Joseph Showalters appeared but neither party being ready with the evidence they desired to offer by their request I adjourned over to the 13th of February 1851 at which time the same parties again appeared but Anderson McCormicks Counsel being not present and he being unwilling to commence taking the accounts in the absence of his Counsel I adjourned over at his request to the 13th of March following at which time the parties again appearing I proceded to take the evidence offered before me. Anderson McCormick being surprised by the testimony of the Defendants witnesses at his request I adjourned over to my office in Rocky Mount until the 21st of the same month at which time the Pltf & Defendants both concluding their evidence I proceded to state the preceding accounts - in explanation of which I beg leave to submit the following remarks - Account No 1 is a statement between Henry & Joseph Showalters and Anderson McCormick in which said Showalters are credited by $100 the amount for which Matilda was pledged and charged with her hire for five years at $20 per year the hire extinguishing the interest annually - Account No 2 is a statement between the same parties in which the Showalters' are charged with the hire of Matilda at the rate of $15 per year and the hires of her children from the age of ten years old at the following rates per year. the boys hire for the first 5 years after arriving at the age of ten at $15 per year, for the next 5 years at $30 per year, from that age up to the present at $60 per year - the girls from the age of ten at $10 per year, and credited by $15 per year for raising them to the age of ten. This account is stated up to the 1st of September 1851 at which [page] 22 time a ballance is struck in favour of the Plaintiff Anderson McCormick of $711.75. The evidence offered by the parties upon which to found this account is so conflicting that it has embarrassed me very much in arriving at any conclusion as to what would be a fair estimate of the expense of raising the children and of the value of their annual hires after arriving at a given age. Most of the Defendants' witnesses whose depositions are given in this case are known by me to be men of respectibility and intelligence. I know nothing against any of them, the Pltfs A McCormack summonsed Robert Harper and one or both of the Moores before me to testify in his behalf, but upon his refusing to take their depositions the Defts took them, this shows in what light they were received by the Plaintiff himself. All of the Plaintiffs witnesses are known by me to be men of intelligence and respectibility and the most if not all of them are the owners of slaves with families of young negroes upon their hands at this time in view of these circumstances and the great difference in the opinions of the witnesses I have been compelled to adopt pretty much my own views modified in some degree by the testimony of some of the witnesses — Account No 2 I offer as my own views modified but little by the evidence offered before me — Account No 3 is a statement between the same parties in which the Plaintiff is charged with the expense of raising the children of Matilda to the age of 9 years old at the rate of $30.18 per year and credited by the hire of Matilda at the rate of $7.50 cents per year and of her children at the following ratio. the boys at from 9 to 14 years of age at $10 62/100 per year, from 14 to 19 at $25 per year and from 19 years of age up at $52.50 cents per year. Maria from 10 years of age at $10 90/100 per year & Adaline and Amanda from the age of 10 at $4.71 cents. This account is founded upon the Depositions of M G. Casper, Samuel Helms, John R. Guerrant and Wm M Featherston witnesses for the Pltf and Robert Harper, John A Edwards and Henry and Edward Moore witnesses for the Defendants, it brings the Plaintiff in debt to the Defts in the sum of $704 83/100 this being the excess of the expense of raising the negroes over their hires. I have selected the evidence of these eight men in whose Judgment I place the most reliance as a fair average of the