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First Among Equals:
Plaintiff's Win Collections Cases

"D. M. Jesse & John J. Thompson vs. John Palmer (1861)"

By Adam Attwood

Overview: In D.M. Jesse & John J. Thompson v. John Palmer (1861), the writ/subpoena summoned Palmer to appear before the District Court of Walla Walla on the charge that he owed money to Jesse and Thompson. The debt comprised of funds owed for sundry clothing and food goods. Although the list of items appears to be from a store, the case documents were written as if the plaintiff is a two-person partnership. This case is one of the examples of the precariousness of the territorial credit system.

Source: D. M. Jesse & John J. Thompson vs. John Palmer (1861). Case 301. Frontier Justice Records. Washington State Archives-Eastern Branch, Cheney, WA.

Subject: Collections, Business

Synopsis: The plaintiffs were suspicious that the defendant would leave town if ordered to pay his legitimate debt. This is an example of the precariousness of the territorial credit system that individuals and businesses were a part. The economic downturn of the 1860s made matters worse.

Text:

Territory of Washington
County of Shoshone
D. M. Jesse
&
John G. Thompson Plffs
vs
John Palmer Deft

In the District Court in and for Walla Walla County First judicial District Washington Territory October Term A.D. 1861.

Whereas an application has been made by D.M. Jesse & John G. Thompson plaintiffs for a Writ of Attachment founded upon certain Bills of merchandise. Now therfore [sic] we the undersigned bind our selves in the Sum of Two hundred and fourteen ($214.00) dollars for the payment of which we hereby bind ourselves our heirs and assigns formerly by these presents to pay all costs that may be awarded to said defendant and all damages he may sustain by reason of said Attachment not exceeding the Sum of Two hundred dollars.

Wittness [sic] our hands and seals this 10th day of September A.D. 1861

D. M. Jesse
done in presence of James Fulton

 

To the Sheriff or any Constable of said County greeting:

In the name of the United States you are hereby commanded to attach and safely keep the goods, chattels, moneys, credits and effects of John Palmer or so much thereof as shall satisfy the Sum of One hundred and fifty-seven dollars and nineteen cents ($157.19) with interest and costs of suit in whosoever hands it may be found in your County and to provide that the goods and chattels so attached may be subject to further proceedings, thereon as the Law requires and of this writ make legal service and due return.

Given under my hand
This 10th day of September A.D. 1861
E.S. Brady [signed]
Dept Clerk 1st Judicial District

Transcribed by Adam Attwood

The Complaint

D. M. Jesse ) ) In the District
John G. Thomson [sic]) Plantiffs [sic] )Court in and for
vs- )the County of Walla
John Palmer ) Deft )Walla October term
A.D. 1861

Said Plaintiffs complain of said Defendant says that said defendant is justly indebted to them in the sum of One hundred and fifty seven dollars and nineteen cents due for goods and merchandize furnished said defendant by said plaintiff at the aforesaid instance and request of said defendant that said defendant although owing the same neglects and refuses to pay the same although frequently [___] as to [___] wherefore Plaintiff asks judgment against said defendant for the aforesaid sum of One hundred and fifty seven dollars and nineteen cents together with costs of suit.
D. M. Jesse
John G. Thompson

Territory of Washington )
County of Shoshone )

Personally appeared before the undersigned deputy [___] Clerk for Walla Walla County and for the County of Shoshone D.M. Jesse and the partners in the above entitled action who being duly sworn say that the foregoing complaint is [___] of his own personal knowledge except as to those matters and things [___] stated on information and [___] and as to those matters and things he [___] believs the same to be [___] In [___] and sworn to before me this 10th day of September 1861. D. M. Jessee [sic]
James Galbreath Clerk
1st Judicial district By E. S. Brady Deputy Clerk

 

Transcribed by Adam Attwood