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).