All the Petty Horses

Nathaniel Lenox did little in 1816 to earn the goodwill of his neighbors. For throughout that year he engaged in equine related larceny.

On January 15, Nathaniel Lenox found the home of Jacob Fuqua and with “force and arms” stole from him a “silver plated curbed bridle bit” worth eight dollars.

Not content with his new bridle bit, Nathaniel Lenox appeared in the Cherokee Nation on the first day of May. There he came upon Frederick Ice and stole a “certain bay horse of the value of one hundred dollars.” Now this case is interesting because the prosecutor, the person that the Mississippi Territory is suing on behalf of, is Thomas Ice – so it appears that a male relative of Frederick’s is taking up his cause.

The jury very quickly found Lenox not guilty of stealing a horse from Frederick Ice. However it took the court longer to deliberate on the theft of a bridle bit from Jacob Fuqua as Louis Winston, the attorney general, delayed his sentencing to the November term.

However, once the second Monday in November arrived Judge Obadiah Jones deemed it prudent to dismiss the charges against him because it appeared “to the satisfaction of the court that the said Nathaniel Lenox is dead.”

No word on if Jacob Fuqua ever got his bridle bit back.

The Territory vs. Nathaniel Lenox, Minute Book of Madison County Mississippi Territory of the Superior Court in Law and Equity, 1811-1819. p. 179/144-180/145 (1816).

The Territory vs. Nathaniel Lenox, Minute Book of Madison County Mississippi Territory of the Superior Court in Law and Equity, 1811-1819.p. 209/169-211/170 (1816).

The Kidnappings of Claiborne Griffin

The kidnappings began in the spring of 1811.
Jesse Daniel and Claiborne Griffin both appeared before the court during the July 1812 term. They each accused the other of vicious assault and abductions. The first case, Claiborne Griffin vs Jesse Daniel, alleges that March 1811, Jesse Daniel came upon Claiborne Griffin with “clubs, swords, and staves,” and did “beat wound, imprison and evil beat him.”
Daniel then dragged Griffin back to his home where he imprisoned him “without an reasonable cause and contrary to law,” for about a day.
This assault takes on significant context when considering the very next suit. For, Jesse Daniel responded to Claiborne Griffin with a case of his own. In early 1811, Griffin apparently came up from a place called “Bever about four miles below Twickenham” with “swords, staves & al.” Now, other cases from this time period describe a simple geography around modern day Huntsville, with areas known primarily by simple descriptors like Hickory Flat or “the beaver dam fork.” So it might be that Griffin lived by a creek just south of Huntsville/Twickenham.
Either way he arrived in town with his swords and set to kidnapping the “goods and chattels” of Jesse Daniel – four slaves named Nancy, Rachel, Abaline, and a fourth whose name was probably Arlotin. They all went to “Bever” for about a day before Daniel came to collect.
In light of the original raid, and the violence typical of the time and place, it was almost expected that Jesse Daniel would fall upon Claiborne Griffin until “his life was greatly despaired of.”
The first jury found Daniel not guilty and the second ruled that Griffin owed him $87 for his troubles.
Claiborne Griffin vs. Jesse Daniel, Madison County Court Record Book 1811-1813. p. 72-73 (1812).
Jesse Daniel vs. Claiborne Griffin, Madison County Court Record Book 1811-1813. p. 73 (1812).
William Kavanaugh vs. Thomas Patterson, Madison County Court Record Book 1811-1813. p. 92-94 (1812).

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