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Glossary of Terms

Abatement, Plea of

A pleading to defeat an action because of a defect in the writ or declaration.
Account A matter of some type of debt and credit between parties, arising out of a contract, or a fiduciary relationship, or other legal duty.
Accounting A report of matters of debt and credit. Failure to provide such a report may incur liability.
Administrator A person appointed by the court to manage the property of a deceased person who has died without a will. Administratrix is the feminine form
Adminstrator de bonis non A person appointed by the court to manage the property of a deceased person who has died with a will but where the executor has died or been removed.

Ads., Adsm.


Abbreviation for "ad sectam," "at the suit of." Used in a pleading filed by the defendant, who would place his or her own name first. For example if a case was named Smith v. Jones and Jones filed a pleading, its heading could be Jones ads. Smith.
Affiant One who makes an affidavit; also termed a deponent.
Affidavit A voluntary, sworn statement by a party or witness in a lawsuit.
Agent A person employed by another (a principal) to act for him or her.
Alias execution A second or later execution issued where the original execution has been returned, lost, or extinguished.
Alias writ Literally, "another writ." An alias writ is one issued later, after the original writ was not been executed for whatever reason.
Alimony A court ordered allowance that one spouse pays to the other for maintenance and support while they are separated, while they are divorcing, or after they are divorced.
"Allegata et probata" Allegations and proofs. Evidence rules at the time required that the proofs must correspond with the allegations.
Annulment A judicial declaration that a marriage is void. Unlike a divorce, an annulment establishes that marital status never existed in law.
Answer A response to a complaint; the modern-day equivalent of a plea.
Appeal To remove a case to a higher court for review.
Appeal Bond A bond filed by the party appealing the case.
Appearance The act by which the defendant places itself before the court. An appearance could be general or special. A general appearance
Appellant The party who lost at the trial court level and who is asking a higher court for review - a synonym is "plaintiff in error."
Appellee The party who won at the trial court level and who is defending that result on appeal - a synonym is "defendant in error."
Appurtenance A right connected with the enjoyment or use of another thing; commonly used in deeds to refer to, for example, access to another tract of property.
Arkansas Advocate A Whig newspaper published in Arkansas, established in the 1830s, owned by Charles Bertrand and later by Albert Pike.
Arkansas Gazette Arkansas's first newspaper, established at the Arkansas Post by William Woodruff in 1819.
Arpent A measure of land in French and Spanish land grants; about 4/5 of an acre.
Arrears Money unpaid but due, such as interest, rent, wages, etc.
Arrest of Judgment The staying of a judgment after entry or the court's refusal to render or enforce a judgment because of a defect apparent from the record.
Articles of Partnership The instrument under which a partnership is begun or continued.
Assault and Battery An unlawful, unjustified touching of another. In these cases it appears as both a tort and a crime.
Assignee A person to whom property is transferred, or, more specifically, a person to whom a bankrupt or debtor transfers his estate for payment to creditors.
Assignment The transfer, usually of property.
Assignment of Errors A specification of the trial court's alleged errors on which an appellant relies in seeking an appellate court's reversal, vacation, or modification of an adverse judgment.
Assignor One who transfers property to another.
Assigns In the phrase “heirs and assigns,” persons to whom a buyer or beneficiary of property might convey it. In a land transaction, a deed “to A, his heirs and assigns,” meant that a fee simple absolute was conveyed.
Assumpsit An action of trespass on the case for breach of a contract, where damages are an unascertained sum.
Attachment The seizing of a person or property by the sheriff and subjecting it to the custody of the court to be held as security for the satisfaction of the plaintiff's claim. In the nineteenth century, the purpose of attachment was usually to coerce a defendant debtor to appear in court. If the defendant appeared and made bond, the attached property would be released. A writ of attachment was the document issued by the court commanding the sheriff to carry it out. A domestic attachment issued against a debtor who lived in the jurisdiction. A foreign attachment issued against a non-resident debtor - his goods within the jurisdiction could be seized.
Attest To witness, signifying by signing one's name.
Attorney in Fact Someone authorized to act for another under a power of attorney. In early territorial Arkansas, many parties hired attorneys in fact who were not trained in the law to represent them in court.
Audita Querela A writ used by a defendant where a judgment has been recovered against him but injustice would be caused by executing it.
Bail 1) The promise in writing to the court that the defendant will either appear in court or that the signers of the bond will pay the amount specified in the court's order fixing bail. 2) A person who obtains the release of a person under arrest by promising to guarantee his appearance in court.
Bailment, Bailee, Bailor The legal possession of property by someone not its owner. The bailee is usually the owner (one one with superior title) and the bailor the person in temporary possession.
Bailiwick The jurisdiction or district of a bailiff. In these cases, the term is used with regard to sheriffs and constables as well.
Barshear Plow A plow, probably iron, used with yoked oxen.
Battery See Assault and Battery.
Bench Trial A trial without a jury, in which the judge decides both issues of fact and of law.
Benefit of Clergy Exemption from capital punishment, earned by correctly reading a psalm from the Bible.
Bill The initial pleading in an equity case, similar to a declaration in a law case or a modern complaint.
Bill of Assurances The list, still so called in Arkansas today, of restrictions (restrictive covenants) to which property is subject.
Bill of Exceptions A statement of the objections made by a party during a trial, stating the objections and surrounding facts and circumstances. The trial judge would then sign the bill of exceptions and they would be entered in the record for the appellate court to review.
Bill of Indictment See Indictment.
Bond A written promise to pay money or do some act if certain circumstances occur or a certain time elapses.
Breach of Contract The failure to observe the conditions of a contract.
Brief on Appeal A written statement setting out the legal contentions of a party in litigation consisting of legal and factual arguments and supporting authorities, all based on the lower trial court record.
Burden of Proof The obligation of a party who alleges the existence of a fact or element in a complaint or affirmative defense to prove it.
Capias Latin for "may you take," a general name for a category of writs all requiring the sheriff to take the body of the defendant into custody.
Capias ad Respondendum A writ notifying a defendant of a suit and requiring a sheriff to arrest it, until the defendant can furnish security for the plaintiff's claim
Capias ad Satisfaciendum A post-judgment writ requiring the sheriff to take and hold the defendant until he can appear in court and satisfy the plaintiff's debt and/or damages. In territorial Arkansas, debtors could be imprisoned indefinitely, until they paid off their debts.
Cepi Corpus The sheriff's response in the return that he seized the body of the defendant pursuant to a writ of capias. Literally, "I seized the body."


A writ by which the record of a proceeding in a lower court is removed into a higher court for review.
Chancery A court of equity. Historically, solicitors (not attorneys) argued in chancery court before a chancellor (not a judge). Chancery courts do not have juries.
Chattel Moveable personal property. The most common chattels during this period were cattle and horses. Slaves were also considered to be chattels for some purposes.
Chose in Action Essentially, the right to sue, usually used in connection with intangible property such as promissory notes or rights under a contract.
Circular A printed notice intended for wide distribution. Typically during this period political literature was distributed by circular.
Code Duello A set of rules for duels, which were popular in Territorial Arkansas. An Irish code duello was adopted in 1777, and was probably the format followed most during this time period.
Cognovit An acknowledgment by a defendant that an action is justified and that the amount stated is owed to the plaintiff.
Collusion An agreement to defraud another or obtain something forbidden by law. In the nineteenth century, it was common for spouses to collude in order to obtain a divorce.
Common Pleas A type of court in early Arkansas which handled civil matters and/or did not travel a circuit.
Complaint The modern equivalent of a bill or declaration; the first document filed by a plaintiff in a civil action.
Consideration The reason or benefit which motivates parties to enter into a contract.
Contempt Disrespect of a court, punishable by fine or imprisonment.
Continuance The postponement of proceedings to another term of court. In the territorial superior court, this meant a delay of at least several months.
Contract During the nineteenth century, a category of actions encompassing debt, covenant, account, special assumpsit, and general or indebitatus assumpsit.
Coroner An county official who enquires into the causes of sudden or violent deaths.
Covenant Broken An action under common law to recover damages for the breach of a contract under seal.
Conversion An action for damages for the taking of property, still used today.
Corporal Oath An oath taken by kissing or laying a hand on the Gospels.
Count A separate and independent statement of facts which constitute a cause of action, or legal theory under which a suit is brought.
Court A tribunal constituted and present at the time and place fixed by law for judicial investigation and determination of controversies.
Court not of Record A court whose records are regarded at most as prima facie evidence–and not as conclusive evidence.
Court of Record A court in which proceedings are recorded and records may be offered as conclusive evidence of facts stated.
Coverture The legal condition of a woman during marriage. Prior to the Married Women's Property Acts, in general married women could not own property in their own names.
Covin Connivance between two individuals to defraud a third.
Cow-Hiding Whipping with a leather strap or whip. Cow-hiding was an appropriate punishment for someone too low in status to challenge to a duel.
Cross Bill A bill brought in equity by the respondent against the petitioner.
Curator A guardian.
Damages Compensation in money, recovered in court by a plaintiff who has suffered loss or injury to its person, property or rights.
Debt The name of a type of action to recover a "sum certain" of money. During this period in time debtors could be jailed as a sentence.
Decedent A deceased person.
Declaration Similar to a complaint today, it was the statement of the plaintiff's cause of action, filed with the court to begin a lawsuit.
Dedimus A writ allowing testimony to be taken, usually by deposition. Also known as a writ of dedimus potestatem (meaning "we have given power"). A court order formerly used to commission a person to take action such as acknowledging a fine and appointing an attorney for representation in a court.
Deed of Bargain and Contract Probably intended to mean a "deed of bargain and sale," a deed that promises that the seller of land is the owner but does not promise that there are no "encumbrances" against the property, such as a mortgage.
Deed with General Warranty A deed that guarantees in general that the seller of land is the owner, that there are no encumbrances against the property, and that the seller will defend the buyer against all lawful claims to the property.
Defalcation Reduction of a claim by a counterclaim.
Default The failure to appear (as in court) or to perform (as on a bond).
Defendant In a civil case, the party denying the allegations of the plaintiff; in a criminal case, the person accused.
Demise During this time period, to lease for a term of years and include promises of the lessor's good title and covenant of quiet enjoyment.
Demurrer A pleading stating that although the facts alleged in a complaint may be true, they do not state a legal cause of action, and thus do not require an answer from the defendant. Today, such a pleading is termed a motion to dismiss.
Deponent One who testifies by deposition.
Deposition A witness's out of court testimony that is reduced to writing for later use in court.
Deposition De Bene Esse A deposition that can only be used upon proof that the witness is unable to attend trial, and that must be taken in the presence of a judge.
Detinue One of the common law forms of action, detinue was used to recover chattels from one who has acquired possession of them. Whereas conversion actions are instituted when the plaintiff seeks to recover damages, detinue actions are instituted to obtain recovery of the property itself. It was commonly used to recover slaves.
Diminution of Record A defect in the record which may be alleged by one of the parties on appeal.
Dirking Stabbing with a dirk, a kind of knife.
Discharge To satisfy a debt or judgment, or to be relieved of duties, or to be set at liberty.

The ceasing of proceedings in an action where the plaintiff voluntarily ends them; similar to a dismissal today.

Divorce a Mensa et Thoro Latin for "divorce from table and bed." A lesser type of divorce by which the parties are separated and forbidden to live together but remain married. The forerunner of modern judicial separation.
Divorce a Vinculo Matrimonii Latin for "divorce from the chains of marriage." A total divorce of husband and wife, dissolving the marriage and releasing the parties wholly from their matrimonial obligations. This type of common divorce, which bastardized any children from the marriage, was granted on grounds that existed before the marriage.
Docket A book containing abstracts of various aspects of court cases.
Domestic Attachment See Attachment.
Dower The portion of a deceased husband's estate to which the wife was entitled, by law. At this time it consisted of a life estate in 1/3 of the real property and slaves that the husband had owned while alive. Property transferred by the husband before death might also be subject to dower if the wife did not give her permission to the transfer.
Draft A bill of exchange. Today we know them mostly as checks, but during this time period because there was no paper currency, they were used far more frequently.
Eagle A type of gold coin issued by the U.S. Treasury and worth $10.00. During this period, eagles, half eagles and quarter eagles were minted.
Ear-Cropping A form of criminal punishment in some places during this time period.
Ejectment An action to recover land from the defendant's wrongful possession. During this time, in some cases a legal fiction was used involving a completely nonexistent plaintiff and defendant.
Elisor The legal equivalent of a sheriff. Territorial statutes authorized a court to appoint an elisor to execute the duties of a sheriff where he was disqualified on account of interests or prejudice.
Equity Simplified, a branch of jurisprudence separate and different from the common law. Historically, the chancellor, or special chancery courts, heard cases in equity. In equity there were no juries, and causes of action, methods of proof and remedies differed from those of the common law. Today in virtually all states equity has "merged" with the common law. However, at the time of these cases, the judges would sit "in chancery." "Solicitors," not attorneys, would file "bills," not declarations.
Equity of Redemption The right to pay off a mortgage and regain full ownership of property, after one has defaulted but before the foreclosure sale.
Error, Writ of A commission by which the judges of a higher court are authorized to examine a record upon which a judgment was given in a lower court and to affirm or reverse it.
Error Coram Nobis This is an unusual procedure in which the defendants inform an appellate court of facts not on the record despite their due diligence. It is modernly considered an extraordinary remedy and is more often denied than approved. According to the modern Arkansas Supreme Court, it is allowed only under compelling circumstances to achieve justice and to address errors of the most fundamental nature. There is a strong presumption in favor of the validity of the prior decision and the prior ruling is upheld unless a great injury or injustice would result. Due diligence requires that the defendants be unaware of the fact at the time of trial; that he could not have, even exercising due diligence, have presented the fact at trial; or upon discovering the fact after the judgment against him, did not delay in bringing the petition. According to the modern Arkansas Supreme Court, coram nobis relief is only available to address certain errors of the most fundamental nature falling within one of four categories: (1) insanity at time of trial; (2) coercion of guilty plea; (3) withholding of material evidence by prosecutor; or (4) a confession by third party occurring between conviction and appeal. (See Echols v. State, 125 S.W.3d 153 (Ark. 2003).
Escrow An instrument, usually a deed but possibly a contract, delivered to a third person to hold until a condition is performed by the proposed grantee.
Execution Carrying out some act to its completion. A will is executed by its signing and attestation by the testator and witnesses. A money judgment is executed by seizing and selling the property of the debtor.
Execution de bonis propria A judgment allowing execution on an administrator's individual property rather than the property of an estate, as when the administrator mismanages the estate.
Executor The one named by a person writing a will to administer the decedent's estate. The feminine form is executrix.
Exemplification An official transcript of a record, for use as evidence.
Ex Parte A proceeding without an adverse party.
Faro A game of chance; players bet on the top card in the dealer's deck.
False Imprisonment Confinement or detention of a person without sufficient authority. A victim of false imprisonment could sue for habeas corpus, or for damages, usually using the form of action of trespass.
Fee Simple A type of land ownership. A fee simple absolute is the most complete ownership of land possible under the common law (and also today in the U.S.).
Felony A more serious crime, as contrasted with a misdemeanor.
Femme Covert  
Fieri Facias  
Foreman The leader of a grand or petit jury, who speaks for the jury.
Foreign Attachment See Attachment.
Forms of Action Obsolete today, but in the 19th century United States and earlier, the classes into which legal actions were divided. Each one required different pleadings. At this time in territorial Arkansas they were account, assumpsit, covenant, debt, detinue, ejectment, replevin and trespass on the case.
Fraudulent Misrepresentation Falsely representing a statement as a fact.
Full Faith and Credit Clause The clause of Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution that requires states to recognize each others' laws, records and court rulings.
Garnishee A person who is indebted to or or holds property for a debtor. The creditor can garnish this property.
"Goods, Chattels, Lands and Tenements"  
Government Draft  
Grand Jury A jury of "inquiry" or "inquisition" which listens to complaints and accusations and decides whether to find bills of indictment in criminal cases. In territorial Arkansas, the sheriff would summons twenty four men of stature and good reputation to serve on a grand jury. Only sixteen needed to be present for the jury to function, and no more than twenty three could be present.
Habeas Corpus, writ of A document employed to bring a person before a court, most frequently to ensure that the person's imprisonment or detention is not illegal.
Hames Parts of harness apparatus that are attached to the collar and hold the traces.
Heir A person who inherits property from a decedent by operation of statutes of intestacy, which specify how an estate will be distributed when there is no will or it does not apply.
Indictment, Bill of A document issued by a grand jury against a person charging that person with committing a crime. For an indictment to issue, the grand jury must find there is probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the evidence is likely to show that the person charged is the person who committed the crime. The grand jury will find either a “true bill,” or “not a true bill.”
Indorsee The person to whom a note or other negotiable instrument is assigned by indorsement.
Information A complaint filed with a grand jury in order to secure an indictment.
Injunction A writ, traditionally issued by a court of chancery, to halt the commission or continuance of a particular act.
Inquiry, Writ of A writ issued after a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff, directing the sheriff and a jury to determine the amount of the plaintiff's damages.
Insolvent The 19th century equivalent of "bankrupt." For most of the 19th century no bankruptcy laws existed. When a debtor became unable to pay creditors, they could sue and the debtor could be adjudged insolvent. At this time debtors' prison existed in the United States; states did not begin to abolish it until the 1830s.
Interlocutory Decree An intermediate judgment that determines a preliminary or subordinate point or plea, but does not finally decide the case.
Interrogatory Traditionally, a set of written questions, prepared by counsel, for the examination of a party to a suit in equity.
Intestate Deceased, without a will.
John Doe  
Joinder In pleadings of the nineteenth century, the addition of something, such as an additional issue or party. When used in the phrase “traverse and joinder” it usually means a denial of something the opposing party has alleged and the reaching of the central issue to be decided at trial.
Jointly and Severally Liability that may be apportioned either among two or more parties or to only one or a few select members of the group, at the adversary's discretion. Thus, each liable party is individually responsible for the entire obligation, but a paying party may have other rights from non-paying parties.
Judgment The final, official decision of a court upon the rights and claims of the parties in a particular action or suit.
Jury Usually, a group of persons selected according to law and given the power to decide questions of fact and return a verdict in the case submitted to them. This is the definition of a petit jury. Another term used for petit jury was "traverse jury." See also Grand Jury.
Justice of the Peace An official of a lower rank than a judge having limited jurisdiction in civil matters. In early (and later) Arkansas, most justices of the peace were not attorneys.
Keel boat  
Larceny Theft. The taking and carrying away of the goods of another.
Letters of Administration  
Levy The act of the sheriff which satisfies a writ of execution--seizing the property of a judgment debtor.
"Levity collusion or restraint"  
Lex Loci  
Libel Defaming someone in writing. At this time it could be either a crime or a tort.
Malicious Prosecution One of the forms of trespass on the case. The plaintiff had to prove that the charge originally brought against the plaintiff was brought by the defendant; that the charge was false; and that the plaintiff was innocent.
Misdemeanor A crime lesser than a felony.
Motion for a New Trial A request to the court by the losing party for a conviction or judgment to be set aside and a new trial held.
Motion for Rule  
Murder The unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.
Next Friend One who acts for the benefit of an incompetent or minor plaintiff, but who is not a party to the lawsuit and is not appointed as a guardian. During this period, married women and children could require a next friend in order to sue in court.
Nil Dicit  
Nolle Prosequi  
Non Assumpsit The name for a general denial in an action for assumpsit.
Non est factum  
Nonsuit A judgment against the plaintiff, given when it is unable to prove its case or when it refuse or neglects to proceed to trial
Notary Public
Note A writing containing a promise of the signer (or maker) to pay a specific person, or order, or bearer, a definite sum of money at a specific time. More business was done by notes in territorial Arkansas than today, because paper money did not exist and coin was scarce. Notes served as a substitute for paper money. Banks issued their own notes, which were used as currency.
Nudum Pactum A simple agreement not enforceable as a contract.
Nullem est erratum A plea to the assignment of errors in a coram nobis proceeding; equivalent to demurrer, admitting the truth of the error assigned but insisting that in law it is not error.
Nul Tiel Record A plea denying the existence or accuracy of the alleged record upon which an action has been brought.
Oath A promise with an invocation to a supreme being to witness and punish the oath maker if he breaks the promise.
Opinion The court's written statement explaining its decision in a given case.
Orator A plaintiff or petitioner in an action in chancery. The feminine form is oratrix.
Oyer A reading. For example, the defendant may "crave oyer" of a pleading; in other words, petition to have it read in court.
Pardon The act or an instance of officially nullifying punishment or other legal consequences of a crime. A pardon is usually granted by a governor or the President.
Parol Testimony  
P.D. Abbreviation of pro defendente, "for the defendant."
Penal Sum The monetary amount specified as a penalty in a penal bond. A penal bond is a promise to pay a penal sum in the event of nonperformance.
Perjury The crime of lying under oath.
Personal Representative  
Petition A formal written request presented to a court or other official body.
Petitioner A party who presents a petition to a court or other official body, especially when seeking relief on appeal. Can be a synonym for "appellant."
Petit Jury See Jury.
Pirogue A type of canoe, usually small and made from one log. It is generally a small, flat-hulled boat that is associated with West African fishermen and teh Cajuns or Louisiana.
Planks and Scantling A reference to a quantity of wood used for construction purposes; generally consists of various sizes of broad and narrow strips of wood.
Plea A general meaning is a suit, as in “court of common pleas.” In this data base, however, usually it is the defendant's answer to the plaintiff's declaration. Comparable to an answer today.
Plurias Capias  
Pot Trammel An adjustable hook for a fireplace, to hold a pot.
Power of Attorney  
P.Q. Abbreviation of pro quaerente, "for the plaintiff."
Praecipe The plaintiff's request to the court clerk to issue a summons or writ of replevin.
Preemption Right  
Presentment An accusation initiated by the grand jury itself, not from an information.
Principal (1) One who authorizes another to act on his or her behalf as an agent; (2) in relation to a bond, the person primarily liable.
Pro Actone  
Pro Quer See P.Q.
Process The means by which the defendant is made to appear and answer the plaintiff's declaration. At this time, there were three means of process: summons, attachment or arrest.
Promissory Note See Note.
Pro persona  
"Proper Person"  
Public Vendue  
"Put on the Country"  
Quaerens Plaintiff.
Recognizance An obligation recorded in a court with a condition to do a particular act, such as to appear in court in a criminal trial. A recognizance is a type of bond.
Remand To send back a case from a higher court to a lower, for resolution of a particular matter or for a new trial.
Replevin A writ against the wrongful detention of property, by which the plaintiff seeks the return of the property.
Replication A response a plaintiff may file after a defendant files an answer or plea, either denying the defendant's response or alleging some new matter or justification consistent with the plaintiff's original declaration or bill.
Return A court officer's bringing back of an instrument to the court that issued it. Usually found with a venire writ, a subpoena, a writ of attachment, or a capias writ.
Revivor A revival of a suit which has been abated by the death or marriage of any of the parties; done by a bill of revivor. The resulting revival effects a reintstatement of the force of an old judgment.
Richard Roe
Road, Memphis to Little Rock
Robbery The crime of taking personal property from a person, against his will and by force or fear.
Ruling The outcome of a court's decision either on some point of law or on the case as a whole.
Sct., SS., St.

From “scire licet,” Latin for as one may know. Synonymous with “to wit.” Appears at the heading of court documents.

Schedule An attached list or inventory.
Schedule of Assets  
Scire Facias A judicial writ, in most cases to execute or revive a judgment.
Seal The impression, or any representation of an impression, on a writing which attests to its genuineness. There are two types of seals in these documents: the seal of the court, found on documents issued by the court, such as records, transcripts, subpoenas, etc.; and individual seals, which can be found next to people's signatures. Some documents such as deeds were not legal unless a seal accompanied the signature.
Security (1) A writing which guarantees the certainty of a specific thing such as payment or performance; (2) a surety.
Seed Horse  
Service Delivering of writs, summones, subpoenas, etc.
Setoff Where the defendant acknowledges the plaintiff's demand but sets up a demand of his or her own.
Shovel Plow Really a cultivator, used to loosen the soil and kill weeds.
Show Cause Order  
Slander Speaking untrue words to injure another's reputation or livelihood.
Solicitor In this database, an attorney who represents a client in a court of equity, as opposed to a court of law.
Special Bail Bail amount necessary to keep a defendant within a jurisdiction.
Statute A law passed by a legislative body.
Statute of Limitations A time after which a plaintiff cannot sue.
Stay of Execution  
Subpoena The same as a summons, only it carries a legal penalty for failure to comply.
Subpoena Duces Tecum  
Summons A writ directing a sheriff to summon a defendant to appear in court. A court had no power to summon someone not resident. For example, the Arkansas Superior Court could not legally serve a summon on someone living in the Mississippi Territory commanding them to appear as a defendant in Arkansas.
Surety A person who promises to be answerable for the debt, default or miscarriage of another, the "principal."
Swingle Tree Apparatus connecting harness traces to a cart, plough or other implement.
Syndic A business agent.
Tenants in Common  
Tenor & Effect  
Teste To act as a witness.
Tort A private wrong. At this time torts included trespass, trespass on the case, trover, ejectment, detinue and replevin.
Traverse In nineteenth century pleading, a denial of some fact alleged by the opposing party.
Traverse Jury See Jury.
Trespass One of the tort actions. To recover for trespass a plaintiff must prove an immediate injury to its person, property or rights, committed with force. Trespass includes the forms of assault and battery, trespass de bonis asportatis, and trespass quare clausum fregit. Trespass vi et armis means "by force and arms" and at this time was synonymous with general trespass.
Trespass on the Case One of the tort actions. To recover for trespass on the case, a plaintiff had to prove a tort not committed by force, or a tort where the injury was consequential and not immediate, or the injured property or right was intangible, or the plaintiff did not have a possessory interest in the injured property. Trespass on the case included the forms of alienation of affection, malicious prosecution, libel and slander, deceit and similar actions.
Trespass Vi et Armis ("trespass by force and arms") At common law, an action to recover damages for an injury done where the immediate act itself causes the injury, either to the plaintiff's goods, lands or person.
Trover One of the tort actions, brought against a defendant who converts the personal property of another to its own use.
Trial de Novo  
True Bill See Indictment.
Trustee One who, having legal title to property, holds it in trust for the benefit of another and owes a fiduciary duty to that beneficiary.
"Use of"  
Variance in Pleadings  
Venire, Writ of A command directing a sheriff to assemble a jury; "venire facias" in Latin.
Verdict A jury's finding or decision on the factual issues of a case.
Voir dire  
Writ of See the specific subject matter of the writ, e.g. Attachment.
Writing Obligatory A written contract under seal.
"Wrong & injury"  



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