Church v. Warner collection (1813-1814)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, August 2019
Manuscripts Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: Church v. Warner collection
Creator: Ohio. Court of Common Pleas (Coshocton County)
Inclusive dates: 1813-1814
Extent: 16 items
Abstract:
This collection is made up of 16 documents pertaining to a slander trial in the Ohio frontier during the War of 1812. Aaron M. Church sued Wright Warner for accusing Church of being a Tory and for "aiding and assisting" the British. Church was ultimately successful in his suit.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

2012. M-4906.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copyright

Copyright status is unknown

Preferred Citation

Church v. Warner Collection, David P. Harris Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan

Arrangement

The Church v. Warner collection is housed in a binder along with David P. Harris' transcriptions, notations, and essays.

History

"During the beginning period of the War of 1812, when the Americans were suffering humiliating defeats in the northwest (e.g., the surrender of Detroit in the summer of 1812 and the defeat and massacre of American troops at the River Raisin in early 1813), rumors--ultimately proving unfounded--spread that the Indians were on their way to the Coshocton area to massacre and burn, causing considerable anxiety among the settlers and helping to explain the Church-Warner trial.

The trial pitted two early Coshocton lawyers against each other: Aaron Church sued Wright Warner for slander, claiming $1,000 damages for Warner's 'saying of the [Plaintiff] that he was a Tory and was aiding and assisting the British.' Church made these charges in August 1813--early in the second year of the War of 1812--and by the time the trial ended a year later, a number of the well-established citizens of Coshocton had served as witnesses. In August 1814, the jury found for Church but concluded that the damage done to his reputation merited a penalty of just $5" (David P. Harris, "Church vs. Warner: An 1814 Trial for Slander in Coshocton, Ohio," introduction accompanying the Church v. Warner Collection).

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 16 documents pertaining to a slander trial in the Ohio frontier during the War of 1812. Aaron M. Church sued Wright Warner for accusing Church of being a Tory and for "aiding and assisting" the British. Church was ultimately successful in his suit.

The manuscripts present include:

  • Praecipe for summons in the case (August 26, 1813)
  • Writ of summons for Wright Warner (August 26, 1813)
  • Declaration by Church (November 23, 1813)
  • Wright Warner's plea (December 2, 1813)
  • Praecipe for the subpoena (December 3, 1813)
  • Nine writs of summons (23 witnesses by the plaintiff and nine by the defendant, December 3, 1813-August 11, 1814)
  • Bill of exception (August 16, 1814)
  • Jury's verdict (August 1814)

Subject Terms

Subjects:
  • Coshocton County (Ohio)
  • Libel and slander--Ohio.
  • United States--History--War of 1812.
Genre Terms:
  • Civil court records.
  • Legal documents.

Contents List (Request Materials)

Request materials for use in the Clements Library
Container / Location Title
Volume   10, David P. Harris Collection  
Church v. Warner Collection,   August 26, 1813-August 16, 1814 [series]

Additional Descriptive Data

Bibliography

This finding aid draws heavily on original research done by the collection's donor, David P. Harris.