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Moses Cleveland Autographed Signed Legal Document, 1819 August 23-November 25: Suffolk County, New York 

Collection Number
SC 460

OCLC Number

Moses Cleveland, 1770-1848

Acquired from Antipodean Books.

Extent, Scope, and Content Note 
Legal document; folio; 20 cm. x 33 cm.
Moses Cleveland's legal judgment between George W. Booth and James Horton, Jr. dated August 1819 and November 1819.

Arrangement and Processing Note
Processed by Kelsey Renz, intern assistant in Special Collections and University Archives, October 2015.
Editing and website by Kristen J, Nyitray. Updated May 2019.


Restrictions on Access
The collection is open to researchers without restriction.

Rights and Permissions 
Stony Brook University Libraries' consent to access as the physical owner of the collection does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. It is the sole responsibility of the user of Special Collections and University Archives materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to publication.  

Moses Cleveland Autographed Signed Legal Document ( 1819) Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries.

Historical Note
This legal document was written by Moses Cleveland (1770-1848), a Justice of the Peace in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. A consultation of Southold Town Records, 1683-1856, Volume, III, suggests the two parties involved in the suit, George W. Booth and James Horton the second, resided in Southold. Both names appear in records of the town’s occupants and in correspondence. James Horton the second was an appointed “fence viewer,”; he was responsible for keeping track of livestock activity and assessing damages caused by livestock disturbing fences and entering private property. No record of Booth’s job title or employment status could be located at this time.

In this judgment, Cleveland orders that Horton Jr.’s “goods and chattels” be sold in order to provide the money he owed Booth  in damages. If goods and property could not be sold, however,  Cleveland ruled that Horton Jr. should be taken to jail until he can appear in court. Cleveland also rules that Horton must pay “lawfull money of the state of New York.”

Based upon records of transactions and disputes in Southold within this time period, it is likely that Horton Jr. owed Booth for failing to collect monies or an adequate amount of payment for damage to Booth’s property. Conversely, Horton may have falsely accused Booth’s livestock of trespassing and collected money from Booth injustly. It is also possible that Horton Jr. failed to pay Booth for goods and/or services rendered (pg 111). Cleveland does not state the reason for the suit in his judgment and no other record of the case has been found at this time in newspapers, town records, and archival repositories.

In the second page of the judgment, Cleveland grants Horton an “exemption” because he is not a “freeholder and has a family within this state.” He also records that Horton is paying his debts in small installments of two and three dollars at a time and has lessened his debt to date. A freeholder is considered to be the owner of a property. It can be inferred that Cleveland has granted Horton an exemption from paying “lawfull monies” or taxes, because he does not own a property in Southold and has dependents.

Cleveland, Moses.
Horton, James, -- Jr.
Booth, George W.
Actions and defenses -- New York (State) -- Suffolk County.
Damages -- New York (State) -- Suffolk County.
Costs (Law) -- New York (State) -- Suffolk County.
Actions and defenses.
Costs (Law)
New York (State) -- Suffolk County.




Suffolk County Js.  To any constable in

Said county. Greeting-Whereas judment

Has been obtained before me Moses Cleveland one of

The Justices of the peace of said county on the 23 rd    day

of August ^ 1819   at the suite of George W. Booth against

James Horton 2nd  For the sum of twelve dollars and seven=

=ty one cents damages and fifty nine cents cost lawfull

Money of the State of New York:  These are therefore in the

Name of the people of the ^ said  state To command you forth=

with the levy of the goods and chattels of the said James

Horton 2nd  and make sale thereof to the amount of the said judgment. together with nineteen cents for


Execution; and have the money before me with in thir

=ty days from the date of this precept and for want

of such goods and chattels take the body of the said James

Horton 2nd and him convey and deliver unto the keeper

of the common qoal of said County who is herby

commanded to  receive and keep him in his custody

In the said qoal until he be thence delivered by

Due course of law Moreof fail not at your peril

but make due return according to law given under my

hand and seal this 25 th   day of September 1819

Damages $ 12..71

Cost -------..59

Execution Cost ------58

---------- Moses Cleveland{ Justice of the peace



Endorsement for Exemption

Suffolk { Js. I Moses Cleveland the Justice in


The within execution named do hereby

Certify that  James Horton 2nd -- also in the same

Named--hath on ^ the hearing before me of the said within

Course-proved to my satisfaction that he is not a

Freeholder and has a family within this State

Sept 26 th 1819

Moses Cleveland


September 25 th 1819 paid cash------$2..00

November 25 th 1819 paid cash=$3..75