Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kicking Butt in 1789, Isaiah and Joel Jr Phillips

I discovered an interesting court case while researching Phillips in Wilkes County, Georgia. This case concerns Isaiah and Joel Phillips Jr., sons of Joel Phillips. Both were born about 1760. I found this in the Georgia Archives



According to the plaintiff, John Hardee, Isaiah and Joel Phillips Jr, "on the fifth day of December in the year of our [Lord] one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine in the county aforesaid, with force and arms, to Whit, with Swords, Staves, Gunns, knives, Clubs, fists & feet, made an assault upon your petitioner, and then and there did beat, wound and evily treat, so that his life was Greatly dispared of and other enormities then and there did, to your petitioner against the peace and dignity of the State, and against the welfare of the Inhabitance thereof, to the damage of your petitioner, five hundred pounds."

In other words, it appears Isaiah and Joel beat the stew out of John Hardee, and he was suing for five hundred pounds. Unfortunately none of the juicy details were included in the four page document.

Isaiah and Joel (or their attorney) were required to appear in court the fourth Monday in July 1790. They were charged with trespass, assault, and battery.

There appears to have been a jury trial, and the defendants were found guilty. The funny thing is, they were only required to pay 10 pounds instead of the 500 pounds that John Hardee was suing for.

I was curious as to how this would work out in today's money. I found a nice currency converter at the National Archives. It converts old money to new, at least to 2005's standard, which is close enough for me.

John Hardee sued for 500 pounds.
In 1790, £500 would have the same spending worth of 2005's £28,015.00.
A little google search and
28015 British Pound equals
42797.11 US Dollar

And the result:
In 1790, £10 would have the same spending worth of 2005's £560.30

A little googling with that result and we come up with this:

560.30 British Pound equals
855.94 US Dollar
It looks like they got off fairly easy. It is not stated if they had to pay this individually or together. Either way it's a BIG drop from what they were being sued for.

It makes you wonder what was in those court minutes, doesn't it?