Kentucky’s Second Governor Answers Fraud Charges
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Sworn deposition made by James Garrard towards the end of his second term as governor of Kentucky, defending himself against a lawsuit brought by Philemon Thomas with respect to land claims and sales. JAMES GARRARD.
Manuscript Document Signed as Governor. Court deposition. Bourbon County, [Ky.], March 5, 1804. Countersigned by witness Laban Shipp. 4 pp., 13 ½ x 8 ¼ in.
Garrard answers “a Bill of Complaint” against him by Philemon Thomas relating to a bond he executed to John Tanner “for the conveyance of 130 or 140 Acres of land being part of a Preemption of 1000 Acres granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia” to him “as assignee of William Holiday.” Garrard claims that he “was induced to make said sale by the false representations that were made to this Deft. [Garrard] by the aforesaid Tanner, that the said Tanner had at the Date aforesaid acquired an interest in a Military Survey on the Ohio river in the name of John David Woolper for which interfered with this Defendants Preemption aforesaid and as this Defendant held the eldest legal title...the Deft informed him that he did not mean to disprove of his claim provided Woolpers Military Survey left within his claim as much as 250 Acres as it would make an agreeable little plantation.”
Granting Kentucky land to Revolutionary war veterans, coupled with uncertain surveys (and undoubtedly some corruption), led to myriad lawsuits as the courts attempted to sort out the claims. Philemon Thomas, who brought the suit, was born in Virginia, served during Revolutionary War and later moved to Kentucky. He was a member of Kentucky’s Constitutional Convention and was elected to both the Kentucky House and Senate. In 1806 he moved to Louisiana, and was in the House of Representatives for two terms. The document was recorded, and is signed, by Laban Shipp.