Can I Get A Witness?

If the opportunity to get old court records ever presents itself, and the circuit clerk asks if you want everything in the file, SAY YES! I am loving these court records. The witness lists have been pure genealogical gold for me.

I overcame being overwhelmed by the handwriting in the indictment of Jacob Myers for Felonious Assault to get to the point where I am starting to make some sense of it. We think of court recorders as being the person with the little machine that they tap as they hear testimony like we see on television. That capability didn’t exist in the mid-1850s; testimony was written in longhand, which might account for the rough handwriting.

Here is an example of some of that testimony. The person being questioned was Susan Myers, oldest known daughter of Jacob Myers. (The name at the top, Emily Branscomb, is another daughter’s mark from the previous page of testimony.)

Susan Myers testimony
Susan Myers testimony1

I finally spotted the q for question and A for Answer in this. That helped me understand what I was seeing.

The discovery that excites me in this court case comes from one of the references to witnesses who were called for the defense.

Witness List case #227
Witness List case #2272

I didn’t notice it at first. It wasn’t until a couple days passed, and I had time to digest all this that my memory of the name Susan Breedlove was activated during one of those golden thought moments that we get before or after sleep or in the shower. Uh, is Susan Breedlove also Susan Myers?

Well, let us see.

Susan Myers marriage record.
Susan Myers marriage record.3

Not enough to confirm, but a start. The date falls within the range of the known dates of the court case.

1860 Census Susan Breedlove
1860 Census Susan Breedlove4

George Minick is a known cousin. This is in Linn County, Missouri, one county is situated between Linn and Putnam. The infant male named Jacob is promising. A look at the 1900 US Census in Putnam County Missouri in Elm Township shows us a Jacob M Myers living with his wife Amanda and their 8 children. Next I found this in the Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1909-1982 on Ancestry.com:

Jacob Myers Breedlove
Jacob Myers Breedlove5

Susan named her first born after her ‘pap’. So, yes, Susan Myers is Susan Breedlove.

The other part of the page that includes the above witness list indicates that both Susan Breedlove and David Myers weren’t found the second time they were summoned. This is for part of the proceeding that took place on a later date. Now we know that Susan Breedlove was in Linn County. Turns out David was also in the same township and range in Linn county as his sister, living with the Minick family in household #99. Bless George Minick’s heart; he was enumerated twice that year, he’s also listed as living with the Minick family. David Myers is also shown as not being found to testify at the trial.

I haven’t found Susan or James Breedlove in subsequent census records yet. It might be that their only child together was Jacob Myers Breedlove. In my next post, I’ll reveal what I learned about the other Breedlove children listed in that 1860 Census. Hint: a pleasant surprise.

_________________

1 Putnam County Courthouse,1601 Main St. Room 204, Unionville, MO 63565, Circuit Court Case #227: Testimony

2 Putnam County Courthouse,1601 Main St. Room 204, Unionville, MO 63565, Circuit Court Case #227: Witnesses for Defense

3 Missouri Marriages, 1750-1920, Family Search.

4 1860 US Census, Missouri, Linn, Township 59, Range 18, pg 625, HH# 169

5 Iowa, Select Marriages Index, 1909-1982 on Ancestry.com

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