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CASES RULED AND ADJUDGED IN THE SUPREME COURTS OF LAW AND EQUITY AND FEDERAL COURT FOR THE STATE OF TENNESSEE BY AND OF THE JUDGES OF THAT STATE, BOOK THE THIRD. This early hand written legal book contains entries describing cases and opinions brought before the forerunner of the TN State Supreme Court, from May 1805 to Nov. 1808. It opens with a case in the Mero District (later known as Nashville) of "Jackson and Evens," over whether a contract made in another state should be subject to the statute of limitations of that state or of Tennessee. The book continues to detail cases argued in the Mero, Washington and Hamilton Districts involving slave rights, property and contract disputes, horse auctions, and even the authorization of George Roulstone to publish law journals. There is extensive writing recording the opinions of judges John Overton, Hugh Lawson White, and David Campbell, who served during this time period. (Overton, in particular, seems to have had much to say on many of the cases, and the book may have been written in his hand). 277 pp. 11 1/2"H x 7 1/4"W. Note: Tennessee's early legal system relied on a series of Districts, added as the then-territory became more populated. The 1796 Constitution of Tennessee formally instituted the frontier practice of having 2 types of courts: an "inferior" Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions (which heard law cases involving modest sums of money or property and minor punishments) and the Superior Court of Law and Equity, considered the "superior" court. The Superior Courts of Law and Equity had sole jurisdiction over cases punishable by loss of life or limb and cases of greater dollar value. They also served as courts of appeal, for those dissatisfied a Court of Pleas decision. The three traveling Superior Court judges heard cases in Jonesboro (Washington District), Knoxville (Hamilton District), Carthage (Winchester District), Clarksville (Robertson District), and Nashville (Mero District). Many of Tennessee's leading pioneers served as Superior Court judges, including Andrew Jackson (who stepped down in 1804), John Overton (who took Jackson's place), John McNairy, Archibald Roane, and Willie Blount.
PROVENANCE: Descended in the family of Judge John Overton through his daughter, Elizabeth Overton Lea of Nashville to present consignor.
CONDITION: Covers and spine in fragile condition with most of the leather worn away, front cover fully separated, half of first page missing. The interior pages, however, remain in good readable condition with soiling/light oxidation and small losses at edges, and light toning.