Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

1 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Monmouthshire Assizes, continued.…


plaintiff, had provided the means for the second trial of this matter. But the circumstances of the first trial were so remarkable,, as detailed to them by Isaac Morgan, that it was necessary that he should call their attention to what he had stated with reference to the occurrences of 1857. The learned gentleman then reiterated the particulars of that trial, and the statement made by the plaintiff respecting it, and observed that his story was only important, however, as showing that in 1^57 there was some manoeuvring going on between the father and son>—although the former denied having anything to do with the son, or that he knew the property at Graigwith was the Morgans's, but thought it was the Pantygoitre estate, and took no trouble about it. After further com- menting on the plaintiff's conduct at that time-, and the circumstances of his bringing the present action, the learned counsel said his client took possession of the estate on the death of Rachel Morgan, not at twelve o'clock at night, but between six and seven in the even- ing nor did he take possession of it with pistols, or place a guard over it; but being the heir to the property he took possession of it, as he was entitled to do. The ad- viser of his client, Mr Waddington, of U :ok.a gentle- man who was well known, and to whom his friend had done no more than justice by the tribute which he had paid to him—at once openly showed to every person who desired to make a claim to the estate what was the evi- dence of Mr. Nicholl's title. All the persons who set up claims were perfectly satisfied with the explanation given; and it was not until the year 1857 that the parties in this action set up any claim at all as being connected with the family, or having the most remote title to the estate, The deeds which would be produced on the part of Mr. Nicholl would precisely show what was his title to the property, this matter having undergone an investigation in the year 1857. The learned advocate then remarked upon the singular cir- cumstance that his learned friend had not given his Lordship or the jury the slightest intimation as to what the real question between the parties was, or what was the point upon which the verdict was to turn. The principal point, however, was as to whether the particular John Morgan was brother to William, and son of William Morgan, the common ancestor. His client, Mr, Nicholl, was descended in a direct line from Elizabeth Morgan, who was the sister of William Morgan, and he would now hand up to his Lordship the pedigree. The Solicitor- General, after observing that the Morgans, through whom nib piainim claimed, were never connected with the family in question at all, proceeded to trace the pedigree with great perspicuity down to the time of Rachel Morgan, at whose death, in 1854, the line became broken; and they had therefore to ascend the pedigree and see who was the nearest relation; and in doing so they cameto the three daughters of William Morgan the first-Elizabeth, Mary, and Ann. Mary and Ann died without issue, but Elizabeth married Mr. John Morris, of the Pant. Mary married Henry White, but her issue failed in 1823. Elizabeth, who married John Morris, had a daughter, Eleanor Morris. She married Mr. Bond. They had a daughter, Eleanor Bond, who married Mr. Iltyd Nicholl; and the issue of that marriage was the Rev, Iltyd Nicholl, and Mr, Nieholl and his son were the parties who entered into possession of the estate, their title being derived from the Elizabeth Morgan who married John Morris, They were the lineal descendants from that Elizabeth, who was descended, from William Morgan, called the common ancestor. ,Olv, wltIr 1 to that title, it had been proved before, j and it would be proved again, as clearly as it was possible to prove a pedig-ree. For the plaintiff it was contended that Isaac Morgan was the son of William, and Wiliiam the son of Edmund, and Edmund the son of John. All that was quite clear upon the certificates, but where his point failed was this, and it was the point to which his Lordship's attention and theirs must be directed, and the only point which would require the least attention in this case, viz.: whether that John Morgan was or was not the son of the William Morgan mentioned as the common ancestor. The Solicitor-General then dwelt upon the fact of Morgan being a common name—that of John Morgan being to be found in the register of almost every parish, and he proceeded to say that it was attempted to be proved that John Morgan was the son of William by putting in a paper, purporting to be a copy of the registry of his baptism in 1706, but all that appeared in that register, which they said represented the name of John, were the letters "H. N." This entry was in the registry of the parish of Llanover, and the date of the baptism was "17th of March, 17^6." The Solicitor- General, in remarking upon this register, said it had been thought a wise precaution by those who had the charge of the defendant's case to have the registers of all the parishes in the district at hand, and, fortunately, they had the original register of the parish of Hanover, from which the certificate was said to have been taken, and from that it would be seen that there were no H. N." at all there, as those letters were only written in pencil; and, in the next place, instead of its being the son of William Morgan "it was "the son of Giles Morgan." After some further comments upon the discrepancies between the original and the copy of the register, the original was handed to the jury, who examined it through a powerful magnifying glass, and the learned advocate remarked that where property of the value of £ 70,000 or £ 80,000 was at stake, there was not wanting persons wicked and dishonest enough to mutilate and tamper with a register. The speaker then went on to remark upon the burial registers, stating that the John Morgan buried at Abergavenny in 1739 was not John Morgan the son of William Morgan—and remarking that the name of Morgan was common as blackberries in the registers of all the parishes of the district. He further referred to a deed of settlement made by William, the common ancestor, in favour of his son William and also to a presentation of a jury, about the same time, in which William the second was described as the only son and also in a deed of gift, executed in 1741, lie was described b to be the only son and heir of William the first; and none of these documents had ever been impeached in tue sttgntest degree. Besides this, even if John had died before the deed of settlement in 1741, there would surely have been left to his children some legacy by the grandfather, but he never mentioned them in his will. Again, it was said by the plaintiff that Edmund Morgan Morgan and his brother Walter were taken care of by two maiden aunts, Elizabeth and Ann, after their father's death, which was said to have been in 1839, whereas he would prove beyond all doubt that Elizabeth had been married for a period of nine years at that time. Be then went on to say that there were three distinct registers of John Morgans, of the burial of John Morgan, in the Abergavenny register; another of the burial of John, the illegitimate son of William Morgan, in the Llanfihangel register; and the third, in the Llanover registry, was the baptism of John, the illegitimate son of William Morgan. Therefore, he argued, there was nothing to show that John Morgan was the son of the common ancestor. He then alluded to the documents, which, lie said, while they clearly shewed that John Morgau, through whom the plaintiff claimed, had uo existence, also proved that the defendant, Mr. Mcholl, was the heir-at-law of the property by his descent from Elizabeth, daughter of the first William. The learned advocate then further reviewed minutely the evidence of the witnesses, several portions of which he designated as pure fabrications, and at the conclusion of his address witnesses for the defence were called. Iltyd Nicholl, the defendant, was called and said I live at Usk; was married, in 1807, to Eleanor Bond; her mother was not alive at this time; my wife died in 1831; my mother-in-law's maiden name was Eleanor Morris; her mother was Elizabeth Morris; she subse- quently was a Mrs. Rogers I am 81 years of age my mother-in-law's name was Elizabeth Morgan; I learnt that from my mother-in-law William Morgan, of Mam- liilad, was her uncle; he had two daughters, Rachel and Ann; I knew them well; they had a brother William; their father's name was William [Defendant made a cor- rection, and said their father's name was John not Wm. Morgan, and was uncle to Rachel and Ann];—Wm.Morgan was the name of the father of William and John, and that was my mother-in-law's uncle knew John White, of Pontypool he was a relative of my mother-in-law's grandmother, and brother to Elizabeth Morris; I am not quite sure of this; remember Rachel Morgan's death; heard of it early in the morning, or about 11 or 12 o'clock at night, and then went over with my son to Pantygoitre; stayed there till morning, and then put a man in posses- sion I took away the deeds 1 could find, and carried them to my own house at Usk got Mr. Waddington to inspect and take care of them. Cross-examined by Mr. Huddleston John Lewis was not in possession when I went over to Pantygoitre; had a telegram from Mr. M'Donnell, at Bristol, that Rachel was dead never asked him to telegraph; Mr. M'Donnell had nothing to do with it, but I asked him to telegraph they got it about six o'clock, but I did not get it until about 11 o'clock, when I went with my son to take pos- session at Pantygoitre we went by daylight, at 11 or 12 at night (laughter); it was in the month of September it was after dark—night, dusk, but not quite dark my son George was with me people would wonder why I went so fast, if I went earlier I went to the house, rang the bell, and asked if we could have a bed there did not tell them I had come to take possession I afterwards got all the papers I could possibly find stayed there a day or two, and left a man named Lewis in possession he was a clerk to Mr. Waddington I do not think he had a blunderbuss or pistols; went over to Mamhilad; had an iron chest from there which contained papers and deeds it was taken to Usk; the chest was locked: did not break it open can't say how it was opened—rather think the blacksmith picked the lock; took possession of the papers and they were handed to Mr. Waddington; this was before the sister was buried; looked over the house to see if there was any will; believed there was none I thought there was none; don't know why I thought so; believe William Morgan, Rachel's brother, had destroyed the will made in my favor; don't remem- ber that William Morgan burned the will in my presence; don't recollect being troubled about the will; never asked him about it; I don't know whether I asked Rachel to make a deed of gift but she did; saw this deed at Usk, after her death, amongst the papers; did not ask her to give me a deed of gift.—Q. What was the necessity if you were the next of kin, to ask for a deed of gift ?-A. To make it certain to my satisfaction; I had no doubt, but wished something to show for it; I told her so; don't know where the deed of gift is, nor do I know who drew it up; saw it at Usk; don't know whether it was in a lawyer's handwriting; suppose it was drawn up by Mr. M'Donnell; he is dead; did not say anything about this at the last trial.—Q. Your object was to make it this at the last trial.—Q. Your object was to make it certain to your satisfaction; did not Mr. M'Donnell and you take the deed of gift to Rachel, and she said she would not sign it ?-A. No; she said you are the heirs without the deed; this was only a day or two before her death; it was Mr. M'Donnell who drew up the deed of gift; think it was from his suggestion that the deed was drawn up; both of us took the deed; don't know that she refused to sign it, don't remember; it was read to her by Mr. M'Donnell; I don't know whether she did sign it or not; won't undertake to swear that she did not sign it; Mr. M'Donnell had the management: suppose he brought it back; don't know where 1 saw the deed of gift last; told Mr. Waddington about it; don't remem- ber that I told him that Rachel Morgan refused to sign it; don't know whether it was signed or no when I handed it to Mr. Waddington; suppose I said something about the deed at the last trial; forget whether it was signed or not; said to Rachel I hope you have made a will; that was said at Clifton; she was very ill, and she said, "I have settled my affairs; and what she had Mr. Wad- dington was in possession of; Mr M'Donnell was at Clifton during her last illness, and suggested many things in regard to her affairs; he suggested the drawing of a will; don't know whether he drew a will; rather think he did; can't recollect whether there was a second witness called into the room to witness it; can't recollect if it was read over to her; whilst these matters of busi- ness were going on I left the room; was away for a short timecan't recollect whether she refused to sign it; think she did siga both the will and the deed; I don't know whether Mr. M'Donnell took it awav: don't know wherp I saw it next; don't know whether I have seen it since her death; forget whether I told Mr. Waddington; I did say that Rachel said there was no occasion for a deed or will; can't remember whether she signed one or the other; didn't ask William Morgan or Ann to make a willj didn't take possession of the furniture, but 1 did of the money in the bank; the furniture was sold by auction; the proceeds were not given to me; don't know who had the money for the furniture; the money in the bank might have been several thousand pounds. Re-examined by the Solicitor-General: When exa- mined on the last trial my memory was better than now when excited or troubled my memory is very bad, some- times worse than others know of no other relations of the Morgans of Pantygoitre except my family; previous to 18,57 (the last triat) "I had not heard or known of the Morgans of Croesllanbro setting up a claim; my family have been in possession of these estates since 1854. George Whitlock Nicholl, sou of defendant, who said he was a barrister and magistrate for the counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan, was next examined. He corroborated the evidence of his father in the main. lie had spoken to Rachel aud Ann Morgan about their kindred, but had no recollection of speaking to William about it; heard from his mother that John Morris was of the Pant, Llantillio Crossenny, and that he married Elizabeth Morgan; she was my great grandmother and was the daughter of William and Eleanor Morgan •' this was what my mother had told me- Witness proceeded to give a history of the^ pedigree, and said lie' was treated by Rachel as an affectionate relation; had heard of relations of Rachel's mother who were badly off- their name was Jones, and they lived at Llanfibby- don't know that any of them were at the funeral- I married, in 185o, my cousin, against the wish of Rachel Morgan, who died in 1854; Rachel had told me that her ucaruat relation ou her father's aide was my mother; she told me this in 1851; in fact, she told me that she was the only relation on her father's side went to Panty- goitre at twilight on the day of Rachel's death, to take possession on behalf of my brother Iltyd, who is older than I, and who claims through my mother; my father and I having no claim in the least a man named Haines was left in possession, but don't think he had pistols; there was a reason why we took possession thus nastily, but it ha'1 no reference to any claims of the Morgans of Croesllanbro. Gross-examiueu uy Mr. Huddleston: Was not intimate with both ladies from 1851 to 1853 it was incorrect she died in 1851; have been engaged with Mr. Wad- dington in making out a pedigree chart for nearly 20 years; am rather fond of genealogical pursuits, where my own family are concerned; explained to my mother that if Mr. Morgan had a brother, my brother could not be the next heir; asked the question of her in order to get a negative; asked my mother twice, in order to make assurance doubly sure;" did not distrust my mother's answers made a memorandum of it, and carried it to Pantygoitre; asked Miss Rachel Morgan questions upon it. in order to make a pedigree tree have missed the paper did not make a copy of it; heard nothing of a chest at Mamhilad; don't believe there was one; knew nothing of a deed of gift; did not go to Clifton. Re-examined: My father was high sheriff of the county, and Mr. Morgan, Graigwith, was also sheriff. Mr. Waddington, solicitor, Usk, examined by Mr. Gray, Q.C., produced a number of documents, the prin* cipal of which were a marriage settlement of Elizabeth Morgan, married to John Morris, dated 2nd September, 1747; and a deed of gift from William Morgan the first to William Morgan the second, dated 30th June, 1741. The whole of those documents had been given access to. He also produced the copy of the will of William Morgan the first, dated 1741, in which he bequeathed all his pro- perty to William the second. He further produced the entries in the registers of the birth and burial of Eliza- beth Morgan, of the burial of John Morris, and of the marriage of George Bond with Eleanor Morris in 1771; also the certificate of the birth of Eleanor Bond, and of her marriage with Iltyd Nicholl, dated August 11, 1807. 0 witness produced several other documents, upon which he was cross-examined. Mr. James then put in a number of certificates of the births, marriages, and deaths of most of the persons referred to in the pedigree, and amongst them the extract from the register of Llanover. The Court adjourned about seven o'clock. THURSDAY. His Lordship took his seat at half-past nine o'clock. Mr. Matthews produced the original Llanover register, which contained the partially obliterated entrv, and also a number of other registers, after which he called j Eleanor Ann Nicholl, daughter of defendant, who stated: I was very intimate with Rachel and Ann Morgan and their brother William; recollected a conversation with Rachel during her brother's lifetime; she told me my i mother was their maie heir; I asked how a woman could 3 be a mule heir, and she replied my mother was her nearest relation on her father's side; remember another > conversation after my mother and Rachel's brother were J dead, the sister Ann being then alive; she was speaking } of my brother George, and said she must make her will, t as she intended tu leave their property to myself and my t brother George; she used the word "their" property; t she said if there were not a will the property would BO t to the eldest brother Iltyd. u<|dieston •' The first conversation took place t betore VV illiam died, which is about 20 years ago; Rachel t was a communicative lady, and very likely talked about t was a communicative lady, and very likely talked about I these things before visitors whom I have met at her 3 bouse; have no doubt that people not interested in tha 3 succession beard her statements; none of those people r a'6 here never heard of old Wiliiam Morgan beinjj fond ot drinking or destroying a will. I William Jenkins, teuant of the Mamhilad estate, de. r posed to a conversation between his uncle and Mr. Wm [ Morgan, when the latter said that after he was gone the l property would go to the Nicholls; witness also had a conversation with Miss Rachel, at Pantygoitre, shortly betore her de^tb, when she said her property would go to j tiie Nicholls.- Witness was cross-examined by Mr. Huddie- ston, but his testimony was not shaken. Henry Phillips, formerly manager of the Monmouth Glamorgan Bank, at Usk, said he at one time kept Rachel Morgan's accounts, and remembered on one occasion her speakmg of the disposition ot' her property to the Nicholls —that she intended giving Graigwith to George, and lantygoitre and Mamhilad, would of course, she said, <n> to Iltyd, as their mother was her nearest relation; should think that was within a year of her death. Alexander Shepard: I was medical attendant to Miss Morgan, and visited her frequently at Pantygoitre have heard her speak of the Nicholls as her nearest relations on her father's side, and that Iltyd would inherit Pauty. goitre property if she did not make a will. Charles James Parkes, deputy steward of the manor of Wentsiand and Bryngwyn, produced some documen- tary evidence, which was, however, ultimately with- drawn. On the oath of a short-hand writer, some evidence taken at the last trial was put in; and the Rev. Joshua Evans was examined as to the copy of the Llanover register, and he said that in the first copy he made he omitted the H. N." because he did not see those letters; but he was subsequently enabled to do so by the aid of a glass, and he then added them to the copy. The Solicitor-General then summed up the evidence for the defence in a speech of great length contendin.- that plaintiff had given no proof of any such peton as the alleged John Morgan, son of William of Mam- Mnv/ ,CVef' bT- That was a John Moigan, father of Edmund Morgan, was all that Ivir} been proved; out what they ought to have proved they entirely failed to do-to establish that the John Morgan in question was the son of William Morgan. In revifw- ing the evidence for the plaintiff, he designated it as J HUt, noun tne paper it was written on, or the trouble taken 111 wntmg It; whIlst, on the other hand, the defendant had proved his descent in an unbroken line. He quoted largely from the documentary evidence in support of his statement, and, in conclusion, asked the jury confidently to confirm the defendant in tho pos- session of the property of which he had rightfully become possessed. Mr. Huddleston's speech, in replying on the whole case, was most able and exhaustive. Not a point raised by the defendants was left undealt with; and the address which lasted three hours, was listened to with great attention and interest by a crowded Court. His Lordship summed up at great length, presenting the voluminous mass of evidence to the jury very impar- tially and lucidly, and then directed the jury that the question for them to determine was whether the plaintiff had satisfied them that John Morgan, through whom he claimed, was really the son of William Morgan, of Mamhilad. ° The jury, after retiring for a few nautilus, returned with a. verdict for the defendant. i