Peter Spence, 1802 Deposition, Davidson County, Tennessee


Depositions from the Estate File of William Ridge


State of Tennessee    )
Davidson County     )

"In Obedience to a commission to us directed from the Hon'ble the Judges of the Superior [Court] of Law & Court of equity for the district of Salisbury & State of North Carolina, we have proceeded to take the deposition of Mr. PETER SPENCE of lawful age, and he being sworn agreeable to law in the suit of equity in the district aforesaid, wherein JONATHAN HAINES as the next friend of the orphans of WILLIAM RIDGE is Plaintiff, and WILLIAM TYRELL LEWIS, WILLIAM COOK & others are defendants, Deposeth and Saith--

That he is and hath been well acquainted with WILLIAM T LEWIS one of the present defendants & with the Negroes sued for by JONATHAN HAINES. That two of the said negroes, to wit, SALL, and NAN, WILLIAM RIDGE the original owner did in the presence of this deponant in the month of May 1780 declare that he had given the said two negroes to the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS for his inlisting and puting a man into the Continental Service in the place of his son GODFREY RIDGE, which he said the said LEWIS had done, and that this deponant understood him the said RIDGE that he had given the said WILLIAM T LEWIS a Bill of Sale for the said two Negroes, and also that he had delivered to the said W. T. LEWIS the aforesaid negro named NAN, at the time he executed the said bill of sale for the aforementioned negroes, and had further promised to deliver the aforesaid negroe SALL shortly thereafter. This deponant further declares that when the aforesaid conversation took place between this deponant and the said WILLIAM RIDGE in the said month of May 1780 that the said WILLIAM T.LEWIS was there and at that time in possession of the aforesaid negroe NAN in consequence of the contract that he had made with the said WILLIAM RIDGE as aforesaid.

This deponant further declares and saith that some time after the aforesaid conversation took place between this deponant & the said RIDGE, and in the summer of 1780, the tories raised in this deponants neighborhood in the County of Surry, and went over to the British, as was then said, and amongst the tories who thus went over to the British was the aforesaid WILLIAM RIDGE, and that this deponant then and at that time understood that the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS had not received from the said WILLIAM RIDGE the aforesaid negroe named SALL, but that there was a certain Captain JOSEPH CLOUD in the county aforesaid from Dan River who had raised a company of men to pursue the tories. That the said Captain CLOUD & his party came into the neighbourhood of this deponant, and then & there did take possession of the aforesaid negroe named SALL, as the property of the said WILLIAM RIDGE on account of his being a tory & going over to the British and sent the said negroe named SALL to the home of him the said Cpt. CLOUD; and that it was (as well as this deponant can recollect) some time in the winter following, that the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS got possession of the said negroe named SALL from the said Captain CLOUD by virtue of the right to the said negroe SALL vested in the said W. T. LEWIS by the aforesaid bill of sale from the said WILLIAM RIDGE to him the said W. T. LEWIS for the said negroe SALL.

This deponant further saith, that he lived a little upwards of a mile from the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS'S dwelling in the said County of Surry in the State of North Carolina before, at the time & after the aforesaid contract took place between the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS and the said WILLIAM RIDGE & the aforesaid negroes named SALL & NAN now in dispute between the said parties. That he was well acquainted with both of the said parties LEWIS & RIDGE and with the men generally of Captain SALATHIEL MARTIN'S Company, and declares that he, this deponant, never knew of any man in said company by the name of THOMAS RIDGE, a person in whom this deponant understands, the said JONATHAN HAINS has called to declair something that should have been transacted between the said LEWIS & RIDGE relative to the said negroes named SALL & NAN in the said year of 1780 and that this deponant thinks, that if there had been a man in that part of the country of the said name THOMAS RIDGE that he should certainly have either seen or heard of him at that time.

This deponant further saith that he does not at this time recollect that the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS has ever been out of the possession of the said negroes named SALL & NAN from the periods at which he received as aforesaid, to the present day until by his own permission.

This deponant further saith that he in the latter part of this summer or first part of the fall in the said year 1780 he this deponant understood that the said WILLIAM T LEWIS was robbed by a certain JOHN GOINS brother in law to the said WILLIAM RIDGE and a certain NICHOLAS COMBS nephew to said RIDGE, and that a great many of the said LEWIS'S papers were found scattered about and a number destroyed and amongst those destroyed was supposed to be the bill of sale from the said RIDGE to the said LEWIS for the aforesaid two negroes named SALL & NAN. And further this deponant saith that he understood that the said LEWIS had made application to WINNY RIDGE the wife of the said WILLIAM RIDGE (as her husband the said WM RIDGE was then said to have been killed the the hanging rock in the state of South Carolina), JOHN FIELDER the son in law of said WM RIDGE and GODFREY RIDGE the eldest son of the said WILLIAM RIDGE, to get from them another bill of sale for the said two negroes named SALL & NAN,they being supposed to be the persons who would then have the management of the estate of the said WM RIDGE then deceased as aforesaid. And they the said WINNY RIDGE, JOHN FIELDER & GODFREY RIDGE being well acquainted with the execution & delivery of the aforesaid bill of sale for the said negroes SALL & NAN, by the said WILLIAM RIDGE to the said WILLIAM T. LEWIS in the said year of 1780 as before mentioned, which bill of sale so demanded by the said LEWIS from the said WINNY RIDGE, JOHN FIELDER, & GODFREY RIDGE, they did execute to said LEWIS for the said two negroes named SALL & NAN, as this deponant afterwards understood, but he never heard any of the said parties WINNY RIDGE, JOHN FIELDER & GODFREY RIDGE say that they had executed any such bill of sale.

Further this deponant saith that he well remembers that a few years after the before mentioned transactions relative to the said negroes SALL & NAN took place as aforesaid, that he understood that the said W. T. LEWIS had found at his fathers house, Maj. LEWIS in Wilkes County in the said State of North Carolina the original bill of sale for the said negroes SALL & NAN (executed to said LEWIS by the said WM RIDGE in the year 1780 as herein before stated) amongst some of the papers of the said LEWIS'S, which had been bundled up by his overseer at the time of the robbery of his the said LEWIS'S house was discovered and the papers then scattered about was collected together, and sent to his fathers house as aforesaid by the said overseer.

Question asked this deponant in behalf of the defendants.

Are you acquainted with the characters of JOHN COMBS- WILLIAM COMBS- MASON COMBS- THOMAS COODY- GODFREY COODY- WILLIAM COODY and JOHN STACEY if you are relate what you know of them and their characters generally.

Answer

They were, I believe, all relatives of the aforesaid WILLIAM RIDGE- were generally considered infamous and abandoned characters amongst them acquainted with them- for they were all said to be tories and some of them were charged with the murder of a certain Mr. Bradley in Maclenburg County in the State of North Carolina in the year 1780 on their return from the battle of the hanging rock in the State of South Carolina, the discovery of which murder was made in this neighborhood, by the sleve buttons & gun of the murdered man being found in the possession of some of them and the rest of them indeed the whole was generally charged with stealing of Horses, Cattle and Hogs and in short they were generally considered as being capable of doing every thing infamous and dishonest.

Further this deponent saith not.

Sworn to and subscribed by the above named deponant before us at the Court house of Davidson County in the town of Nashville in the ninth day of January 1802.

Peter Spence

John Nichols J. P. (seal)
Thomas Talbot J.P. (seal)

We do hereby certify that the deposition of PETER SPENCE was taken at the court house of Davidson County in the town of Nashville on the ninth day of January 1802.

In witnesseth whereof we have hereunto set our hands & caused our seals to be affixed this the 9th day of Jan'r 1802.

John Nichols J. P (seal)
Thomas Talbot J. P (seal)

I except against the reading of the within Deposition of PETER SPENCE 1st Because the notice is not sufficient in point of the N'o of days between the service of notice & the time of taking the deposition- 2d. Because PETER SPENCE is not named in notice- 3d Because the commission mentioned in the deposition is not taken agreeably to the commission issued it is not in the same cause-The commission is to a cause wherein RIDGE'S orphans are by their next friend JONATHAN HAINES are plts and LEWIS & others dets.  and he one ___ted in Deposition is wherein JON'N HAINES as the orphans next friend is plt & LEWIS & others Defts. 4 The deposition is not signed the Captain. J.W. Atty for plts.


References Cited

NC State Library and Archives, CR085.508.136, Estate Records, Rowan Co., NC, Folder: William Ridge (1785)

North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, Rowan Co., NC; Folder: William Ridge; viewed 9/9/2012 at www.familysearch.org

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