A court document recording the settlement of a debt owed by Lancaster McNay through the transfer of five enslaved women and girls, 1839.

During the Panic of 1837, as currency lost value and lenders requested payments, many people found themselves in debt with no way to pay their creditors, which sometimes resulted in the seizure of their property. This writ, or document, from the county court of Lawrence County, Alabama, authorizes the sheriffs of the state to collect a debt owed by a man named Lancaster McNay to Horatio D. Newcombe and Ezra Webb. The notation on the reverse side of the document records what was seized to settle McNay’s debt of $169.74 ¾. In this document, teste means the witnessing or concluding of a clause or writ (a court document) and levy means to collect by legal authority or to seize property.


The State of Alabama
Lawrence County

To any sheriff of the state of Alabama; -- [GREYTING?]

We command you, that of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements of Lancaster C. McNay, late of your community, you cause to made the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars and 75 cents, which Horatio D. Newcombe and Ezra Webb copartners in trade under the name + style of H D Newcombe & Co. lately in our County Court of Lawrence County have recovered against the said Lancaster C. McNay for debt, also the sum of Eighteen dollars and 99 ¾ cents which to the said H D Newcombe & Co in the same court were adjudged for their damages which they have sustained as well by reason of the detention of the said debt, as for their costs in that behalf expended; whereof the said Lancaster C. McNay is convicted as appears to us of record; and that you have said moneys before the Judge of our said County Court on the third Monday in July next, to render to the said H D Newcombe & Co of their debt, damages and costs aforesaid.-- And have you this writ at the office of the Clerk of said Court three days previous to the third Monday in July next. 1839

Witness Wiley Gallaway Clerk of our said Court, at office the 12th day of February 1839 and of the Independence of the United States of America, the sixty-3rd year.

Issued the 12th day of February 1839

Wiley Gallaway CLERK


[Column 1]

CLERK’S FEES Issuing Writ

Cop of Writ
Entering Sheriff’s return - .12 ½
Docketing cause - .12 ½
Filing Declaration
Entering appearance of party - .25
Issuing Subpoena
Entering continuance
Entering Order of Court - .25
Trial, Swearing July Witnesses and recording verdict -.62 ½
Entering up Judgement - .18 ¾
Issuing Execution - .50
Recording acknowledgement of satisfaction of Judgement, - .12 ½
Making complete final record, - .50
Taing cost and copy - .50
[Total fees from Column 1] $3.18 ¾

Teste Wiley Gallaway Clerk

[Column 2]
Clerk’s fees brought forward - $3.18 ¾
Attorney’s fee, - 2.00
Jury Tax


Serving Writ
Returning Writ in Sheriff’s Office,
do. do. Clerk’s do.
Leaving Cop with defendant
Taking Bail Bond, assigning and returning the same,
Summoning Witness
Empanelling Jury
Returning Fi. Fa- in Sheriff’s Office -.12 ½
do. do. Clerk’s do. - .12 ½ [Total of these two lines] .25
Half Commission for levying,
Taking delivery Bond.

[Total fees from column 2] $5.43 ¾

[Reverse - Center]

HD Newcombe & Co vs. Fi Fa / C176
Lancaster C. McNay

Debt - $150.75
Dam $13.56
Cost $5.43 ¾
[Total] $169.74 ¾

[Judgt?] Jan 21 1839

Rec[eive]d Feb. 16th 1839
[Levied and not[e?] time]
to sell July 12th 1839
D F W Valliant, Sh[eri]ff
Peters attn.

[Reverse - left perpendicular text]

Levied an five Negroes (to wit) Mariah, a yellow woman and her three children [vis.?] Cintha, Mary & Jane and girl named Ann about 13 years old also one sorrel Horse saddle and bridle
June 13th 1839 D F W Valliant, Sh[eri]ff