Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jesse STANTON's children removed from indentured service (1841)

In February 1840, the Hendricks County Probate Court found that Jesse Stanton was guilty of criminal neglect of his children, and ordered Jeremiah Prather, the Liberty Township overseer of the poor, to indenture Stanton's children, so that they could be provided for and learn a trade. Indenture records show that in April 1840, 3 of his children were bound out:

  • Nathan Stanton (born June 25, 1830) - bound to Ezekiel Simmons until age 21
  • Sarah Stanton (age 11 years, 8 months, 4 days) - bound to Amos S. Wills until age 18
  • John Stanton (age 4 years, 11 months, 4 days) - bound to John Carter until age 21

Jesse Stanton then sued (the case was titled Jesse Stanton vs. the State of Indiana ex rel Jeremiah Prather) and in December 1841, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the judgment, saying that the law authorizes the overseer of the poor to apprentice poor children only if their parents are dead or are unable to provide for them. The court noted that the allegation against Stanton was only that he criminally neglected their wants, not that he was not properly able to provide for them. The Supreme Court's opinion noted, "However reprehensible his conduct may have been, he did not by mere neglect to perform his duty in providing for his family, subject the disposal of his children to the jurisdiction of the overseer of the poor, nor to that of the Probate Court."

source: Hendricks County Probate Order Book 3 (11 November 1839 - 14 February 1844).

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