The Papers of Roger B. Taney, 1792-1820



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Roger B. Taney practiced law in his home state of Maryland long before he became an influential member of President Andrew Jackson's cabinet and later wrote the majority opinion in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford case (1857) as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Taney (1777-1864) handled many of the cases in this collection just as he began his political ascent in state politics. The papers featured here are legal documents from his law practice in Frederick, Maryland. Most items fall between 1805 and 1818. Of special note are the cases concerning slaves.

These papers offer a unique opportunity to examine Taney's legal career in its formative years before he rose to national prominence.


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Abraham Crapster and Abraham Jones v. John L. Lawrence, ca. 1808

Abraham Crapster and Abraham Jones filed suit against John Lawrence because he was indebted to them for just over £15. After repeatedly refusing to repay the debt, Crapster and Jones claimed injury with damages amounting to £50.

2 pages: 0% indexed, 100% transcribed
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Barton Garrott v. John Garrott, after 1802

Barton Garrott sued John Garrott for £158 and eleven shillings. Roger B. Taney was the attorney for Barton Garrott who maintained that due to John's failure to repay a loan of £158 and eleven shillings upon demand, Barton incurred damages worth £200.

2 pages: 0% indexed, 50% transcribed
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Benjamin Joy v. Carlton Tannehill, 1813

In this subpeona, Benjamin Joy claimed that Carlton Tannehill had been bound as his apprentice, but Tannehill ran away. Joy further claimed that he believed Tannehill would run away from justice, thereby avoiding the decision of the court unless the court forced him to give security for his...

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Brief for James Allston, President and Directors of the Union Bank of Maryland v. Thomas Contee Worthington, 1812

Brought to court by James Allston, this case revolves around the debt accrued by Thomas Contee and Alexander Contee prior to their deaths. They first borrowed $788.17 and then went back to him to borrow the same amount again. Upon their respective deaths, however, the debt was still outstanding....

4 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Ely Dorsey v. Samuel Stoner's Heirs, 1818

This small document appears to correct an earlier agreement.

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Jacob Kiles v. Joseph Grabill

A petition made by Roger B. Taney on behalf of Joseph Grail. The Justice of the Peace for Frederick County, MD had previously found against Grail and in favor of Jacob Kiles for the use of George Morningstar, which amounted to a sum of £9 eleven shillings plus interest. Grabill petitioned that...

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Jacob Winter v. Jonathan Haslett

Taney represented Jacob Winter in this case. He filed this petition to have a decision rendered against Winter, and in favor of Jonathan Haslett, for $20 plus interest accrued overturned. Previously, John Huston, a Justice of the Peace for Frederick County, had ruled against Winter. Winter...

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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List of clients' names and fees, n.d.

This single piece of paper contains various clients names and charges / payment amounts.

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Morrison v. Petticord, 1811

Taney, representing David Morrison, filed this petition on Morrison's half to attempt to reverse a previous ruling that stated Morrison owed Greenberry Petticord one pound, three shillings, and nine pence. Arguing that this judgment was against the equity and right of Morrison, Taney asked the...

2 pages: 0% indexed, 100% transcribed
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Nathaniel Marshall v. Gabriel Mattingly, ca. 1808

Roger Taney represented Nathaniel Marshall in this case. Marshall accused Gabriel Mattingly of attacking him with swords, clubs, knives and fists. Marshall claimed $300 worth of damages in this suit againt Mattingly.

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Negro Jim v. William Curren, 1792-1806

This case revolves around a Petition for Freedeom filed by Negro Jim against William Curren. Curren contended that Jim, an African American slave, had runaway in 1784 from his previous master, Mr. Patterson of Maryland and attempted to assume an identity as a free African American at the...

11 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Peter Brengler v. George French, 1814

This document contains the oaths and commissions to appoint Commissioners (in this instance, George Nichols) in the case of Peter Brengler v. George French that was held in Boonsborough, Washington County, Maryland. Included is the oath taken by the selected Clerk, Henry Locker.

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Peter Shriner v. Peter Boyer, 1810

Peter Boyer accused Peter Shriner of trespassing on his property by breaking and entering into the tobacco house and stealing tobacco. Taney defended Shriner. He maintained that at the time of the alleged robbery the land known as The Resurvey (where the Tobacco house was situated) in fact was...

2 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed
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Philberd Greenweal v. Joseph Magruder, n.d.

In this colorful statement, Philberd Greenweal maintains that he is of exemplary character and reputation. Taney filed this document on Greenweal's behalf with the court against Joseph Magruder who apparently was spreading malicious rumors about Greenweal, including allegations that Greenweal was...

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Slips of paper containing names and in some instances notes about cases. 1807-1820

This folder contains slips of paper pertaining to the cases and clients handled by Roger B. Taney and his clerk, Mr. William Ritchie. Many of the pieces only include dates and the case names. Some note the the type of case and costs associated with the litigation.

43 pages: 0% indexed, 0% transcribed

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