06 September 2012

Lawyer Needed

Some legal research is needed.
Anybody know where I can find a good lawyer?

No, it isn't for me. I'm not in any legal trouble (I hope). But my great-great grandfather may have been. It seems my great-great grandfather, James E. Leslie (1823-1875) was involved in a legal matter that was ultimately adjudicated by the Alabama Supreme Court during their January 1860 term. The court rendered a decision in the case of Purcell's Adm'r [Administrator?] vs. Mather which can be found in Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama, vol. XXXV, pp. 570-574. I found the text of the ruling via Google Books in a link supplied by Sharon Leslie Morgan. The ruling is brief but rather complicated and technical, concerning a contract my great-great grandfather made to hire a slave from another man, and the arrangements to pay for that hire. If the first link to Google Books I provided doesn't work, please go to the Google Books homepage, search for Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Alabama v. 35 and search inside the book for James E. Leslie.

I took one introductory law course in college years ago, but the legal issues in play in this case are way beyond my scant knowledge and ability to comprehend. What I'd like is for a lawyer to read the ruling and explain it to me in plain English (or in something as close to it as possible) so I know what's going on here. What are the issues involved? Was my great-great grandfather directly involved in this case or only peripherally involved in a dispute between other people? Was my great-great grandfather accused of or guilty of some kind of misconduct? I'd like to know in order to get some sense of the kind of person he was. Was he a saint or a scoundrel, or, like most of us, somewhere in between? Any help my fellow genealogists and family historians could give me in answering these questions would be a great help.

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