Thomas Moore, Administrator of the Estate
Thomas Curran v. Richard Searcy
This case involved a dispute between Richard Searcy, a territorial attorney and judge, and Thomas Moore, the administrator of the estate of Thomas Curran, one of the earliest settlers of Batesville. On October 20, 1826, Thomas Moore filed a bill of complaint in chancery against Searcy. Moore was represented by Townsend Dickinson, and he alleged that Curran and Searcy had purchased two tracts of land from the United States, south of Batesville on the White River, next to land owned by Charles Kelly and Hartwell Boswell. The pleading incorrectly describes the land, stating that the second tract is in Township 15 North Range 6 West, lying below Batesville. To lie below Batesville the land would have had to be in Township 13. Apparently Searcy was listed as the sole owner on the patents. Curran had died insolvent, owing money to creditors, and Moore sought to compel Searcy to convey to Curran's estate the half interest that Moore alleged it owned.
Searcy answered that Curran owed him approximately $238.00. Of this total, $54.23 was from a note that Curran had made in return for scrip lent to him by Searcy, which Searcy introduced into evidence, The rest stemmed from a debt that Curran had owed to James Campbell, the administrator of the estate of Pierre LeMieux, an even earlier Batesville settler. Searcy was Curran's surety, and as the surety, Searcy was liable if Curran did not pay. Searcy did not want to convey any interest in the land until he received payment for his debt from Curran's estate.
The case was continued several times. Finally on April 22, 1828, the court issued its opinion, which was later included in Hempstead's Reports. The court decided that Curran did indeed own an interest in the land, and since there were a number of creditors, Searcy could not place himself above the rest by retaining title in his name. The court ordered Curran's interest in the land sold at a public sale at the Independence County courthouse on July 21, after advertising the sale in the Arkansas Gazette, and the proceeds from the sale divided proportionately among all of the creditors. This is essentially the same resolution as would occur today; creditors receive pro rata shares of the probate estate.
On April 14, 1829, Thomas Moore appeared in court and reported that he had conducted the auction the previous January. John Redmond bought Curran's undivided half interest in one of the tracts for $80 and Richard Searcy the other for $40. This meant that Redmond and Searcy now owned the first tract as tenants in common, and Searcy alone owned the other tract.
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