Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halls of Justice, New Durham Township, La Porte County, Indiana

The stories genealogists miss by not looking at court records:

Theodore Hagaman sued Lucas and Arthur Hixon for killing his dog and making his wife very ill (23 December 1879).

Davidson Brothers (dry goods and clothing) sued Mary Gutath for money she owed them (3 April 1880).

Lana Heiden sued Henry Bogue for bastardy (15 October 1881 -- before birth records were kept).

Albert Tuley sued William Tuley over a bay horse (15 December 1881).

William Webber bought two stoves -- a Loyal Acorn and a Black Acorn -- from Rathbone Sard and Co. in Chicago . . . and didn't pay (12 September 1882).

Polish workers Steppen Aushinsky and Josef Kusz (their names mangled in the record) sued Samuel Davis for their pay for cutting wood (14 May 1883).

Charley Brown failed to work on the road (6 July 1897).

Rosebell Livingston found a stray year-old heifer (4 April 1899).

Not many of Indiana's Justice of the Peace court records have survived; they may perhaps have been regarded as personal property rather than public property. One beat-up book ended up in the county clerk's office. Sometimes legible, it recorded cases heard by various justices between 1879 and 1906, most of them in New Durham Township (around Westville) in La Porte County.

I abstracted the cases and wrote the introduction, Callie McCune proofread them, and the Indiana Historical Society has published them as "La Porte County, New Durham Township Justice of the Peace Court Record Book Records, 1879-1906," part of Online Connections, the digital counterpart to their twice-yearly The Hoosier Genealogist: Connections published on paper. They're free to browse and search -- for those with New Durham research targets, or just for those with an interest in grass-roots litigation more than a century ago.

Harold Henderson and Callie McCune,  “La Porte County, New Durham Justice of the Peace Court Record Book Records, 1879-1906,″ Indiana Historical Society On-Line Connections, 2013 (http://www.indianahistory.org/our-services/books-publications/magazines/online-connections/regional/LaPorteCoNewDurhamJPRecs.pdf : viewed 13 October 2013).

Harold Henderson, "Halls of Justice, New Durham Township, La Porte County, Indiana," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 22 October 2013 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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