Adams’ Minutes of the Trial1
Middlesex Superior Court, Charlestown, April 1773
Prescot vs. Priest.
Gilbert’s Hist. of Common Pleas.4
Gershorn Fletcher. 55 Years, Prescott the Grandfather of Plaintiffs, have possessed it, and Plaintiffs since and knew they possessed the Grist mill and fulling Mill,6Keep in Possession of the Forge where the Saw mill was.
David Goodhue.7 Priest 30 Jany. 1771. took lever out of Prescotts Gate, and tossed it into the Stream. The Gate shut down. Knows Possession 8 years. Dam broke but cant say, who broke it. Heard Priest say the dam would not stand long, a Week before it was tore up.
Jona. Pierce. Priest told me that the upper Dam would not stand, that it would be tore down—the night before it was done. Plaintiffs have been in Possession. Upper dam built in 1771. Upon Prescotts Land—about 30 or 40 Rods above the other. A benefit to all alike when let out.
Moses Goodhue. Forgot what Priest said, but think he said it would not stand long. The Forge had the longest Use of the Stream, when not Water eno. for all the Mills.
Nat. Prentice.8 A Lever, Joel kicked off into the Stream. Joel came into Mill without leave, and shut down the Gate.
1. In JA’s hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185.
2. Lowther et ux. v. Kelly, 8 Mod. description begins Modern Reports; or, Select Cases adjudged in the Courts of K.B., Chancery, C.P. and Exchequer, London, 1682–1738; 12 parts. description ends 115, 88 Eng. Rep. description begins The English Reports; 176 vols. A collection and translation into English of all the early English reporters. description ends 91 (K.B. 1722): Husband and wife sued on an indenture. The wife dying, the husband was allowed to proceed under the statute 8 & 9 Will. 3, c. 11 (1697), note 6 below.
3. Judge Cushing’s report of the present case (Doc. IV) suggests that the case cited was Middleton v. Croft, Hardw. description begins Cases temp. Hardwicke. Cases argued in Court of King’s Bench, 7–10 K. George II in the time of Lord Hardwicke, and Lord Lee, also two in Equity, determined by Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, Dublin, 1769. description ends 395, 95 Eng. Rep. description begins The English Reports; 176 vols. A collection and translation into English of all the early English reporters. description ends 255 (K.B. 1737): When husband and wife declare in prohibition, and take a partial judgment, and the husband dies before costs allowed, the widow may take her costs upon suggestion of the husband’s death.
4. Gilbert, Common Pleas description begins Geoffrey Gilbert, History and Practice of the Court of Common Pleas, Dublin, 1737. description ends 242–248, treats at length the subject of abatement by the death of parties.
5. Francis Dana, counsel for the Prescotts.
7. Goodhue was a clothier (cloth maker) who operated the fulling mill next to the Prescotts’ gristmill. Deposition of Nathaniel Prentice, SF 148100.
8. Prentice, who was approximately 15 years old at the time of the events in question, was then David Goodhue’s apprentice. His deposition indicates that the Prescotts encouraged him to “shadow” Priest’s activities around the dam and the mill. Deposition of Nathaniel Prentice, SF 148100.