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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Samuel Daniel to Samuel Johnston
Daniel, Samuel
June 20, 1783
Volume 22, Pages 630-631

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At February Court day, in the morning, I acquainted John Davis I intended to petition the Court for an order to build a Mill on New Hope, adjoining his Land. He said he was willing I should. I asked him to sell me an Acre of Land adjoining my Mill seat. He said he would if I would give him 20 shillings Cash, which I did—You see by his receipt sent you by my son. He always seemed to be desirous for the Mill to be done, and often came to assist me gratis. As I well knew the water would flow on some of his land, I asked him if he could not agree between ourselves upon the damages. He said he would agree to leave it to the Gentlemen The Court had appointed to value the 2 acres of Land, and we formally did agree before several witnesses, and the men were sworn by Mr. Robert Campbell the same day, to lay the damages and view the Land before I stopped water to see the Quallity, and when the water had risen to its head they were to meet again and give their opinion. Since that time he has altered his opinion and will not agree a mill shall be built there at any rate, altho’ he was lawfully summoned to answer my Allegations, he never appeared in Court to make the least objection. But has in a very sneaking Manner sold a piece of his land 38 rods long and 2 rods wide to John Booth In order to turn the water from my mill, which I can prove was sold by Davis to Boooth for that purpose only. As I am not able to ride to see you, I desire to know your opinion; In the first Place, whether Davis can be compelled to stand to his agreement concerning the Damages By the flowing of the water on some of his Land; and, Secondly, whether he has a right, after giving me privilege to build the Mill, and now it is almost ready, to go to work to clandestinely destroy it by such Schemes; and, Thirdly, whether I may lawfully stop water and go to grinding immediately, or not before the water is settled; fourthly, I desire to know which is to be punished, Boooth or Davis, if their scheme is not lawful, and whether they can’t be no way prevented from digging a ditch which will totally ruin the Mill seat for ever, if it is once done, and my mill seat, which cost me near £100, will be totally lost if they can’t be prevented from doing it. Likewise I desire to know if John Boooth has a right to build a Mill on his

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own Land and flow the water on mine without any order of Court or any leave or paying me any damage, which is the case and has been these several Years, which is within a mile and a half of my mill below. He is so offended at my building my mill he threatened my life and property in a private Manner to me only, and let no one hear him do it. But my Mill he publicly swears it shall not stand. As he is a very desperate Savage sort of Man, I don’t think that my life or property safe. I shall be exceeding obliged to for your advice how to act in the whole, and your fee shall be paid with Honor as soon as I am able to ride to you. Please to let me have your opinion in writing by my son, and what your fee is, and you will much oblige,

Your most obed’t Serv’t,

June 20th, 1783.

1 Q. Can Davis be compelled to stand to his agreement?

2 Q. Can he by Indirect means defeat the mill?

3 Q. Can Querist proceed to compleat his Mill?

4 Q. Who can be punished for attempts to Injure the Mill?

5 Q. Can the digging a ditch which will destory the Mill be prevented?

6 Q. Can Booth build a mill on his own premises which will flow back the water and prejudice Daniel’s Mill?

7 Q. What means shall be taken to secure Daniel’s Person and property from the attacked violence of Booth?

Rec’d July 5th; answr’d July 6th, 1783.