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Brotherton & Weekping Indian Communities of NJ

Federal Court Action

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Copy of Legal Services Contract, ca. 1818:
 

Whereas a suit has been Instituted and is now pending in the District Court of the United States for the State of New Jersey, in which Josiah Foster, of the State of Pennsylvania, late of N: Jersey is Plaintiff, for the recovery of certain lands devised to the Said Plaintiff by Charles Moolis, and whereas the said Josiah Foster has constituted David Jones of he City of Philidelphia, and Burr Woolman of Burlington New Jersey his lawful attornies for prosecuting the said suit. -

Now I the said Josiah Foster, in consideration of the Services rendered and to be rendered and the Expenses incurred by the said attornies in prosecuting said suit, do hereby authorize and empower them to retain in their hands for their own use and bihoof, in the event of Judgment being rendered in the laboru in my [cause], the sum of one thousand Dollars otherwise they are to receive no compensation for their Services -

And it is expressly understood and agreed between the said Josiah Foster Plaintiff as above said, and his attornies so constituted and appointed, that the before mentioned one thousand dollars shall be full & complete satisfaction and compensation for sevices to render as well as all costs of suit (except council and attornies fees) but every other expense that has or may occur in prosecuting the said claim.

Witness’s                                                      Seal

Notes on the Foster family connections related to these documents:

Josiah Foster was a prominent member at the Evesham Monthly Meeting (Society of Friends, or Quakers).  The following his a short review of his family tree.  You'll note that his son-in-law was David Jones, and the 1819 letter below was written by Benjamin Hollinshead, his grandson by his daughter Hannah.  The world of the Friends was very small in colonial New Jersey, and Foster's claim on the Weekping tract set many of his fellow Friends strongly against him, including Enoch Evans and Bethuel Moore, other members of the same Meeting.

Josiah Foster from Rhode Island, b. 1682 d.         married Amy Bordon (of Bordentown fame) b. 1685:  their son,

William Foster, b. December 1706/07, d. 1778; m. 1729 to Hanna Core, b. 1710;  their children:

Sarah b. 1729   Elizabeth b. 1731  Hannah b. 1734  Rebecca b. 1736  Amy b. 1738  Mary b. 1740  Josiah b. 1743   Martha b. 1745  Abigal b. 1747  Phebe b. 1741  William b. 1751   Lydia b. 1757

Josiah Foster, b. 1743 (he was 35 when his father William Foster, the Indian Commissioner, died)     married Rachel Burr b. 1743;  their children:

1.Hannah, b. 1768 married Edmund Holling[g]shead in 1789 and their children were Rachel (b. 1790), Josiah (b. 1791) Benjamin (b. 1794) and Mary (b. 1795).  Benjamin is the author of the letter appearing below.

2. Mary, b. 1770, married Samuel Clements

3. Rebecca, b. 1772 married David Jones in 1797 (David was Foster's attorney in the litigation)

4. Lydia, b. 1775 married Richard Sheppard in 1797

5. Rachel, b. 1778

All of these records come from the monthly minutes of the Burlington County monthly meetings.

 

Court Papers from Federal District Court, New York to be added:

 

Letter from Foster's Grandson on the Outcome of the Trial:

Burlington 10 Mo. 7. 1819   fifth day evening

Dear Grandfather,

It is with proud satisfaction I am enabled to inform you that the trial is ended and thee is Victorious!

The Judge delivered his Charge to the Jury yesterday about noon, in which he explained his opinion decidely that the will was a good one. - This was the only matter of doubt in the minds of the Jury.

The judge having settled the first question, the Jury returned their verdict in a very few minutes.

As to the validity of the will, they had not the least hesitation (as they afterwards said) throughout the whole course of the trial - Not a solitary fact was produced to prove to the Contrary - and this investigation, I trust has satisfied every unprejudiced mide of the purity and integrity of thy Conduct -

I went up on Wed [?] day & Continued there till the close of the trial, after the Judge had delivered his Charge they abandoned the cause as helpless - there appeared to be no acrimony among the opposite parties, and I presume that all Contention will cease. We parted in good humour. Further particulars must be deferred for verbal communication - I wrote a letter this morning buth the steam boat left me. I however forwarded it this evening via Phil.a and it will probably reach thee tomorrow but as it was not certain when it would get to hand and a favorable opportunity offering to send one direct had induced me to write [ ] [ ] - With my warm Congratulations on the honorable termination of a suit which has ended in the total discomfiture of envy and malevolence, and has established thy repution on a pedastal that never can be shaken. I remain very sincerely Thine.

Benj M Hollinshead     In great haste

[on reverse:]     Josiah Foster       Haddonfield         Particular

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