Constit1

William Bailey Smith Papers

The Children of Peter Smith of Round Hill battled over the large estate left by their brother ‘Bailey’, the incomparable explorer. Bailey Smith was a confirmed bachelor and had no children at the time of his death. His will was contested by siblings who each wanted a share of the man’s earthly kingdom. The story played out in court and it involves the accusation the Bailey’s will was forged by Moses Smith and Richard Taylor.

From the Court Records:

To the Honorable, the Judge of the Davis Circuit Court in Chancery sitting the Bill of Complaint of Presley Smith Senior and [Nancy] Boggess Brother and Sister of William B. [Bailey] Smith late of Daviess County who departed this life without lawful issue leaving his Brothers and sisters or their representatives his heirs at law–that the said Smith died on the 19th day of October in the year 1818 intestate as it was until lately believed.

But that lately–at the May Term in the Present year of the Daviess County Court Moses Smith and Richard Taylor have produced a paper which they pretend to have been the will of the said William B. Smith–which has been on the testimony produced by the said Taylor and Moses Smith admitted to record by the County Court of Daviess and the said Moses and Taylor supposed to qualify as the executors to the said will–which said pretended will and the said orders of the County Court are herewith filed and made part of this Bill–Your orators expressly charge that the said testament is not the last will and testament of the said Wm. B. Smith, as they believe and that the same was not subscribed and executed by him–

Your orators charge that the said William B. Smith died possessed of several tracts of land and a considerable personal property in the County of Daviess–and a large and valuable landed estate in the County of Henderson–that your Honors will perceive that by the said pretended will the said persons are directed to expose the whole of the said property both real and personal to sale, and in fact the said persons have advertised a considerable part of the said property to sale on the 12th day of June past, which will tend much if carried into effect to embarrass and invade the rights of the complainants–and to disburse the personal property–wherefore they pray your Honors the circumstances considered to enjoin the said Moses and Richard Taylor from selling or otherwise disposing of the said Estate until the validity of the said will can be tried–and that they be compelled to preserve the same from injury and waste–

That an issue may be directed to be made up and tried, whether the said will is the last will and testament of the said Wm. B. Smith– and that the said Moses Smith and Richard Taylor and William W. [Wigginton] Smith and James S. [Simpson] Smith and Joseph Layton may be made defendents to this Bill that Your Honorable Court will be recorded to decree such other or Further relief to the complainants as they may be justly entitled to–and as in duty bound will ever pray be

William Bean and Thos. Towles
Attys. for compts.
————————

State of Kentucky.–Robert Boggess this day personally appeared before me Benjamin Shackelford one of the Circuit Judges in and for the State of Kentucky and made oath that the statements of the written bill so far as they are related of his own knowledge are true and so far as they are related from the information of others he believes them to be true. Given under my hand this 7th day of June 1819.

B. Shackelford

Smith Heirs vs William Smith Exrs.

To the Clerk of the Davis Circuit court-

Let an injunction go according to the prayer of the written bill on the complainants entering into bond in your office with Elijah King their security in the penalty of one thousand dollars conditioned as the law directs. Given under my hand this 7th day of June 1819.

B. Shackelford    Filed 11th June 1819     Geo. Handley Clerk

July term, 1819
1st August

The Commonwealth of Kentucky to the sheriff of Daviess County…You are hereby commanded to summon Moses Smith and Richard Taylor, William Wigginton Smith, James Simpson Smith and Joseph Layton to appear before the Judge of Daviess Court at the Court House in Owensborough on the first day of our next July term to answer a bill in chancery exhibited against them in said Court by Presley Smith Senr. and other heirs of Nancy Boggess, deceased, and this they shall in no wise omit under penalty of 100 pounds each and have them there this will witness George Handley clerk of our aforesaid [Court] at the court house aforesaid, this 11th day of June 1819 and in the 28th year of the Commonwealth.
George Handley

{Author’s Note: On back of this document one finds the initials  ‘N. B.’ which I believe refers to Nancy Boggess. To enjoin the written names Moses Smith and Richard Taylor from selling or otherwise disposing of the estate of the late William Bailey Smith, deceased, until the validity of the last will and testament of the said deceased can be tried, by order of the Honorable Benjamin Shakelford, Judge.}

Know all men by these presents we Presley Smith Senr. and Elijah King are held and firmly bound unto Moses Smith and Richard Taylor, William W. Smith, James S. Smith and Joseph Layton in the sum of $1,000.00 current money to be paid to them and heirs, executors, etc….for which payment will and truly to be made we bind ourselves our heirs…jointly and severally firmly by these presents seal with our seals and dated this 11th day of June 1819.

The conditions of the above obligation is such that whereas in a suit in chancery about to be commenced in the Circuit Court for Daviess County in which the above bound Presley Smith Senr. and other heirs of Nancy Boggess are combined and the said Moses Smith, Richard Taylor, William W. Smith, James S. Smith and Joseph Layton are defendents the said Presley Smith and other heirs of Nancy Boggess have prayed for and obtained from the Honorable Benjamin Shackleford …an injunction in chancery enjoining and restraining the said Moses Smith and Richard Taylor from selling or otherwise disposing of the estate of William B. Smith, decd., until the validity of the last will and testament…can be tried and vaus if the said complainants shall cause their said injunction to be made perpetual or in case the same shall be dissolved shall set and pay to the defendents all such damages and losses as shall be adjudged against them upon the hearing and determination of the said suit and injunction in chancery then the same obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

E. King Attorney in fact  for Presley Smith

The Commonwealth of Kentucky to the sheriff of Muhlenberg County….You are hereby commanded to summon James Simpson Smith, William Wigginton Smith, John Bailey Smith, Elias Guess Smith and Aaron C. Smith to appear before the judge of the Daviess Circuit Court at the court house in Owensborough on the first day of next April term to answer a certain bill in chancery filed against them and others in said court by the heirs of Presley Smith and others and this they shall not omit under penalty of 100 pounds and have them there this writ witness George Handley clerk of our said court at the court house aforesaid the 15th day of December 1819.

{Author’s Note: that summon states “to answer a certain bill…filed…by the heirs of Presley Smith.” The earlier bill had been filed by Presley Smith himself. This would seem to indicate that Presley died between June 11, 1819, and December 15, 1819.}

Commonwealth of Kentucky, Daviess County.

This day George Smith personally appeared before me one of the Commonwealth’s Justices of the peace for the county aforesaid and made affidavits that Elizabeth Hornbuckle, Levi Blackwell, and Patsey Blackwell late Patsey Smith and Presley Wheeler Smith heirs and legatees of Peter Smith, deceased are not inhabitants of this Commonwealth who are defendents in a suit…Elijah King and others are complainants.

George Smith   Benj. Duncan

{Author’s Note: This George Smith is our own Great (GGF3) Grandfather George Rudolphus Smith.}

The answer of Moses Smith to a bill of complaints in libeled against him…by Presley Smith’s heirs. He avers and saeth that he was not present when the will of William Bailey Smith was signed, sealed, acknowledged and delivered to the witness. He said that if the will is a forgery he is ignorant of the fact. He saeth he believes it to be a genuine will and the actual deed of the said Smith. He denies all fraud…He prays to be hence dispensed with this case.
Moses Smith