Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Common Pleas Court Record for Abel Armitage, 12 March 1880

In February I posted newspaper articles noting Abel Armitage's appearance in the Common Pleas Court of Jefferson County, Ohio.  In March, I posted the results of my searches to find where the court records of those cases might be.

Now, in April, I'm happy to report that Joyce Humphrey, another descendant of Abel (and his second wife, Ann), went to the Jefferson County Genealogical Society office, searched the journals, and found some records.  She noted that the newspaper dates were not consistent with the docket and journal entries she found.  (Reminder to self:  Never take a newspaper article as absolute truth.)  I'm transcribing only the journal entries in this post.  She gave me permission to post and share these documents.  Thank you, Joyce!

The first image of a journal entry is for Abel Armitage vs. The City of Steubenville and is dated March 12, 1880.

Journal page 23
March Term 1880

Friday March 12" 1880  8½ oclock A.M.
Court met pursuant to adjournment
Present Hon. James Palnick Jr. Judge

Abel Armitage                  }
v.                                     }     Civil Action Verdict
The City of Steubenville   }
The jury heretofore impanneled and
sworn to try this cause, after hearing the evidence
arguments of counsel and charge of the Court return to open Court the
following verdict in [uniting touch?]:  We the jury in this case being duly
impanneled [sic] and sworn do find for the plaintiff and assess his damages
at the sum of One hundred and fifty ($150) dollars  E. H. McFeely [?] Foreman.

Notes and Comments
Is this the case that was announced in the February 14, 1879, issue of The Steubenville Weekly Herald.  At that time Abel was asking for $2,500.00 in damages.

The notice in the March 5, 1880, issue of The Steubenville Weekly Herald gave the court date as March 11.  Was the court so busy on the 11th that Abel's hearing was postponed until March 12?  Did this necessitate his being in court both days?

In this case Abel was awarded the sum of $150.00.  The Inflation Calculator tells me that $150.00 in 1880 was equal to about $3784.00 in 2016. 

Was he able to collect the money from the City of Steubenville?  Steubenville's City Council journals are available online at FamilySearch.  When I browsed through them a month ago I was impressed with how much detail they contained.  Perhaps there is a record of money being paid to Abel. 

If this case was settled in 1880, Abel and/or his wife must have filed at least one more case against the City of Steubenville.  The last image Joyce sent dates to 1883.

This is the first of several more court records I'll post.  Thanks again to Joyce Humphrey for sharing so generously.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. I think that should be "in writing to wit." It is interesting that he asked for such a large amount and was awarded such a small amount. But I suppose that is like today's cases when people seek millions yet settle for thousands.

    1. Good eye, Wendy. Thanks! I wonder if people who regularly read court documents have an "eye" for court language and see it more quickly than those of us who don't.

      I thought the difference in the amount requested and the amount he settled for was interesting. Is it more common for people to accept less than be given the amount they requested? (I don't have much experience with court cases like this one.)

      Thanks for the help transcribing. I appreciate it!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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