[transcribed from documents in William Becknell, et al., v. Joseph Robidoux, Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Case Files, Box 2, Folder 7 (Microfilm C32813), Missouri State Archives]
Territory of Missouri
County of Howard
The United States of America
To the sheriff of said County: Greeting.
We command you that you summons Joseph Robideau that he be and appear before our circuit court to be holden at the house of Joseph Jolly in Cole Fort within and for the County of Howard on the second Monday in April next then and there to answer William Becknell, Julius Emmons and Ira A. Emmons of a plea of trespass on the case to their damage two thousand dollars.
And have you then and there this writ.
Witness Gray Bynum, Clerk of Howard Circuit Court, this Eleventh day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventeen and the forty first year of the Independence of the United States.
[signed] Gray Bynum
[original complaint was filed in April 1817 term]
Territory of Missouri
County of Howard
Amended declaration at July term 1817
At a circuit court of the northern circuit of July term one thousand eight thousand and seventeen, to wit, William Becknell, Julius Emmons and Ira D. Emmons by their attorney complains of Joseph Robideaux of a plea of trespass on the case. For that whereas the said Joseph on the thirtyeth day of December eighteen hundred and sixteen at Fort Cooper in Howard County and within the jurisdiction of this court in consideration that the said William, Julius & Ira had leased from the said Joseph a certain keel boat of the said Joseph then there being and in consideration of the undertakings and promises of the said William, Julius and Ira hereafter mentioned, to wit, that the said William, Julius and Ira would take into their own charge and care the said boat of the said Joseph together with all the rigging and implements of the said boat and would enter into a written agreement to and with the said Joseph and with Jeremiah Connor for their security, that they [ ] the next ensuing spring thereafter as the season of the year and the state and condition of the Missouri River would admit them they the said William, Julius and Ira would ascend the said River and as their own charge & expense take on board said boat all the goods and lading of the United States then in care of said Joseph and stored at Fort Cooper aforesaid and without loss damage or unnecessary delay transport and carry and deliver the said goods and lading of the United States to the said Joseph at Fort Osage, & then deliver the boat to him the said Joseph at Fort Osage or at Fort Cooper landing which said Joseph might choose in good order reasonable ware only excepted. He the said Joseph then and there in consideration of the undertakings and promises by them the said William, Julius & Ira made as aforesaid to said Joseph did undertake and promise that they should have possess and use the said boat of him the said Joseph from the said thirtieth day of December aforesaid until they should have time to carry the goods and lading of the United States aforesaid to Fort Osage, and that they should be at liberty (previously to carrying said lading to Fort Osage) to load said boat with a load of salt or any other load that they may think fit and descend the said boat with the same as low down the river as St. Louis, and that he the said Joseph would furnish two good hands to work down in said boat as far as St. Charles, and that they the said William, Julius and Ira should be at liberty to take on board said boat and ascend the river aforesaid therewith any kind of loading they should think fit for their own benefit and profit [ ] the said William, Julius and Ira aver that they were willing and did then and there offer to comply with and to perform all and singular the undertakings and promises by them to the said Joseph in this behalf made and did execute with Jeremiah Connor their security a written agreement conditioned for the performance of the same with the said Joseph made as aforesaid and then & there offered the said writing to the said Joseph and requested him to execute the same on his part, and to do and perform his said several undertakings and promises by him made in that behalf. But the said Joseph to do or perform the same or any part thereof or any part thereof neglected and refused, to wit, at Fort Cooper in the county aforesaid on the day and year last aforesaid, and the said William, Julius and Ira aver that reposing special confidence in the undertakings and promises of the said Joseph made by him as aforesaid did make ready [ ] on the shore of the Missouri a great quantity of salt with the intention and under the expectation of embarking the same on board said boat and by reason of the neglect and refusal of the said Joseph to perform and comply with his said undertakings and promises as aforesaid the said salt remained a long time exposed to the inclemencies of the weather and was thereby greatly damaged and wasted, and the said William, Julius & Ira were also by the reasons aforesaid delayed and hindered & prevented from taking their said salt to market & thereby lost the same, to wit, at the county aforesaid on the day & year aforesaid. Yet the said Joseph well knowing the premises and not regarding his undertakings and promises by him made in this behalf as aforesaid but [ ] and [ ] he injured & [ ] the said William, Julius & Ira, hath not performed those undertakings and promises or any part thereof but hath wholly refused & still refuses although thereto [ ] request, to wit, at Howard aforesaid & on the day & year aforesaid and to the damage of the said William, Julius & Ira two thousand dollars and therefore they bring their suit.
[signed] J.G. Heath
Att. for Pltf
[filed April 14, 1817]
Julius Emmons &
And the said defendant by this attorney come and defends the wrong and injury where &c. and says that he is not guilty of the premises above laid to his charge in manner and form as the said plaintiffs have above thereof complained against him. And of this he the said defendant puts himself upon the county &c.
[signed] George Tompkins
Attorney for the defendant
And the said Plaintiffs doth the like &c.
Deposition of James Taylor
The deposition of James Taylor taken pursuant to [ ] from the clerk of Howard Circuit Court to be read in evidence in a suit in the said Circuit Court between William Becknell, Julius Emmons and Ira A. Emmons plaintiffs and Joseph Robideau defendant. Taken before George Jackson, a Justice of the Peace of Charleston Township in Howard Territory of Missouri.
James Taylor the deponent being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God deposeth and saith that he this deponent was present on the 30th day of December last when the above named plaintiffs and the above named defendant made an agreement concerning the hiring the boat of the said Robideau [ ] deponent understood the agreement between the parties to be as follows, viz, that the said Robideau agreed to let the said Becknell & Emmons have his the said Robideau’s boat to carry a load of salt down the Missouri and was to furnish them with two hands to work down in said boat as far as Saint Charles for which the said Becknell & Emmons agreed to ascend the Missouri again with said boat so soon as the season would permit them and take on board the goods of the United States then in the care of said Robideau stored at Fort Cooper and at their own expense carry them in said boat to Fort Osage and there deliver them, after that done to deliver said Robideau his boat either at Fort Osage or Fort Cooper which said Robideau might choose. This deponent further states that the said Becknell & Emmons offered to comply with their agreement and reduced the agreement between them into writing and Executed the same on there part which writing this deponent subscribed as a witness. Said writing was offered to said Robideau for his signature which he refused.
1 Question by plaintiffs: In consequence of their bargain with Robideau did Becknell & Emmons get ready a boat of salt to descend in Robideaus boat?
Answer: Yes. They did.
2 Question by plaintiffs: Would the season of year have permitted [ ] carried off the load of salt in said boat if the said Robideau had let them have it?
Answer: Yes it would. The weather was good & the Missouri clear of ice.
[signed] James Taylor
Sworn and subscribed to before me the subscribing Justice of Charleston Township and County of Howard. Given under my hand this 25th day April 1817.
[signed] George Jackson, J.P.
November 15, 1817 Dismissal Entry
[transcribed from Howard County, Mo., Circuit Court Vol. 1816-1818, pp. 119-20]
William Becknell & others
And now at this day came the parties by their attornies, whereupon came also a Jury to wit Elisha Todd, John Thornton, William Brazel, William Grooms, John Earthman, William Callahan, Joseph Boggs, Ezekiel Williams, Reuben Gentry, Francis Travis, David Boggs, Hiram Fugitt, who being elected tried and sworn the truth to speak upon the issue joined between the parties,
Whereupon the plaintiff being solemnly called came not.
Wherefore it is considered that the plaintiffs take nothing by their writ, but that the defendant recover against them his costs and charges by him about his defence in this behalf laid out and expended.