Tuesday, November 28, 2023

David Pitman goes to court charged with Illicit Distilling

A week ago I sent an inquiry to the National Archives in Atlanta asking about the best way to request records relating to a Federal Court case(and possibly cases) in which my 2nd Great Grandfather was involved. I was pretty sure that the case was heard in the TN Middle District Federal Court.  I heard from them this morning with a quote on the cost of scanned copies.  I made payment as soon as I could get to my desktop computer and it was delivered to my email before lunch time!  How amazing is that?

This was my listing of Newspaper clippings mentioning David Pitman court case(s)

Newspapers.com - The Tennessean - 19 Nov 1873 - Page 4 David Pitman Federal Court  Continued
Newspapers.com - Nashville Union & American - 25 Nov 1873 - Page 4 David Pitman Continued to next term
Newspapers.com - The Tennessean - 25 Oct 1874 - Page 4 David Pitman Federal Court Illicit Distilling
Newspapers.com - The Tennessean - 21 Oct 1876 - Page 3 David Pitman Federal Court Illicit Distilling no action taken

U.S. Circuit Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Case #1152 US vs. David Pitman 
digitized by National Archives Atlanta Georgia 
delivered as a PDF file to Marie Cooke Beckman's Gmail acct. (Nov 28th, 2023)

Below is my transcription of the affidavit from the file that tells David Pittman's account of what happened that led to him being arrested and in court for illicit distilling.  

Affidavit(from Case # 1152)
US vs David Pitmon 

The United States vs David Pitman
In this cause the defendant David Pitman makes oath that he cannot go safely to trial at the present term of the court for the following reasons he has no Witnesses in attendance for the reasons that owing to his poverty he did not have the means to procure subpoenas for his Witnesses and have them executed affiant got Deputy US Marshal J Armstrong to summons one of his Witnesses, Isaac Cantrell, and he promised to summons  CB Cantrell but he was in the South trading and has been for several months and has not yet returned.  He can prove as he believes by both of said witnesses that he is not guilty of the charge against him he can prove by both said witnesses that he has never owned or had under his controls any still or stilling apparatus or been concerned? in any still since the war nor had no intent in any still nor has not been able to own any still or interest in a still. Affiant is very poor a wife and eight children and without means of support except by his daily labor.  He can prove the same facts by William Potter and John Terry that he can by C B Cantrell and he can further prove as he believes and in part as he knows that at the time of the alleged offenses he was hired to C B Cantrell to work on his farm.  He Cantrell owning a large farm and he Cantrell was also carrying on a Distillery and Mrs. Cantrell was unwell and requested affiant  go out and kill her a squirrel he got the gun and went out in the direction of the still house Thinking that direction was the surest way to find a squirrel but found none and when he came near the Still house there was no person there the doors was shut and he set his gun down by the door opened it and went in the still house to get him a drink of beer and just as he stepped up to where the beer was, the dogs he had brought with him came barking and J Armstrong and others came up Armstrong broke his gun and arrested him this is the truth of the transaction and affiant states that C B Cantrell, Isaac Cantrell, William Potter, and John Terry are witnesses whose evidence is material to his defense and he cannot go safely to trial without them or three of them that he expects to prove the above facts by them that they are within this district and that he has not possessed of sufficient means and is actually unable to pay the fees of such Witnesses therefore affiant prays that his cause be continued until the next term of this court and that he have the aforesaid Witnesses summoned to appear at the next term of this court as provided in section 878 of the revised statutes of the United States this application is made for justice and not for delay 
David Pitmon
April 25 1876

Calvin Bennett Cantrell--1st Battalion Co C Colm's 2nd Lt David's Father in Law also served in Colm's
Mrs. C B Cantrell--Amanda Lee married C B(his 2nd Wife) in Dekalb Co TN on 27 Nov 1870
Isaac Cantrell--Not sure which one this is but all of the Isaac Cantrells from Dekalb Co are kin to David's wife Mary Adcock.
William Potter--kin to Cantrells thru his mother's ancestry
John Terry-as far as I can tell he is NOT related to the Cantrells or Adcocks

No comments:

Post a Comment