Benjamin Murphy v. George G. Douglass
Between April 27 and 29, 1822, Benjamin Murphy's attorney William Trimble filed various documents to commence a lawsuit against George G. Douglass in the Superior Court. Murphy alleged that in return for goods and merchandise Douglass had signed a promissory note in 1819 to pay Murphy in coffee and sugar, to be delivered at Murphy's house on the Arkansas River.
Murphy alleged that Douglass had never paid on the note and claimed damages of several thousand dollars. He further swore on oath that Douglass did not live in the Arkansas Territory but he believed that John Douglass (no doubt a relative) did, and had possession of some of George's property.
Superior Court Clerk David McKinney issued a writ of attachment commanding the sheriff of Pulaski County to seize $3000 worth of Douglass's property. On May 6 Deputy Sheriff Robert C. Pickett filed a return reporting that he had not found any property of George Douglass and had summoned John Douglass to the August term of court as a garnishee.
Murphy filed an interrogatory with the court to be asked of John Douglass at the August Term. In December, William Woodruff, publisher of the Arkansas Gazette, appeared before Samuel Anderson, the justice of the peace for Big Rock Township, and swore that he had published the court order for Murphy v. Douglass in his paper for four consecutive weeks. Deputy Clerk Thomas Newton filed the affidavit. Also during the December Term, John Douglass appeared and answered the interrogatory, testifying that he had no property of George's.
In March 1823 Court Clerk McKinney issued a subpoena for Wright Daniel and Edmund Hogan to appear at the April Term of the Superior Court and testify for Murphy. Deputy Sheriff Thomas Newton served the subpoena on Hogan, in Little Rock on April 2, and on Daniel in Big Rock Township on April 16.
At the April Term, the record book indicates that John Douglass was dismissed from the lawsuit. At the August Term, George Douglass failed to appear. A default judgment was entered against him. The court ordered that a writ of inquiry be issued so that the correct amount of damages could be determined.
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