Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Murder Trial Of The Harden Family-1825.

In my hunt for surnames in the records at the Library of Congress I always stayed away from the records of Mexico as it seemed a world away, oh, I know I would find the names of diplomats, but many are well known and a lot has been written about them I was looking for names of the more common man. Then I ran across a report in the 25th., Congress Called: No. 332 House Document No. 351, United States and Mexico. This document was on the complaints of the citizens of the U. S. against Mexico. I got to looking through it, I know I would find a lot on shipping but I got a real surprise when I ran across a murder trial of a murder that happen in Tennessee. This trial would not only have repercussions in Tennessee but in Texas and Mexico as will. This trial will not only involve two States and a country but that of three family’s, the Harden’s, Porter’s and Williamson’s.

Note. This information is not put here to embarrass any family but to let these family’s know what their ancestors were doing at these time in history.

Instructions from the Department of State to diplomatic agents of the
United States at Mexico.


No. 27.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Poinsett.
DEPARTMENT or’ STATE,
Washington, April 21, 1828.

SIR Mr. Taylor has arrived, bringing the treaties of commerce and limits, recently concluded at Mexico, which will he immediately laid before the Senate for their advice and consent as to the ratification of them. It is probable that both will obtain their approbation.

I transmit, herewith, a transcript of judicial proceedings which have been instituted, in the State of Tennessee, against several persons of the name of Harden, who have been charged with the perpetration of an atrocious murder, and who subsequently fled to Texas, where they now are. An application for their surrender has been made by an agent sent from Tennessee for the purpose, hut without success. A copy- of the correspondence winch took place on tile occasion is herewith also transmitted.

You will apply to the Government of Mexico, and request the surrender of the accused. By one of the late treaties, provision is made for the reciprocal delivery of fugitives who have committed the crime of murder. But, until the exchange of the ratifications of that treaty, we have no right strictly to demand the surrender of these men. That exchange will probably speedily tyke place ; and, as the treaty makes no exception as to murders committed prior to its conclusion, none ought. perhaps, to be made in its practical operation. Without the exchange, the Mexican Government, moved by a sense of justice, and actuated by a disposition to preserve good neighborhood, may be induce to dire the delivery of the accused. Should such au order be given, they may be put into the custody of he agent from Tennessee, who is believed to be yet remaining within the Province of Texas If he shall have taken his departure, some other mode may present itself of having them safely brought to the United States, without unnecessary expense or the Mexican Government may be willing to arrest and detain them in custody until you communicate the fact to this Department, and some provision is made for their transportation to the United States.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. CLAY.
JOEL R. POINSETT, Extraordinary
and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico.

Accompaniments to the instruction of Mr. Clay to Mr. Poinsett, of
the 21st of April, 1828.
WASHINGTON CITY, April 1, 1828.

Sir : I have the honor to present, through you, to the President of the United States, the accompanying documents, forwarded to me for that purpose, by Joseph B. Porter, Esq., a respectable citizen of the State of Tennessee. He solicits the Government of the United States to ad him in having surrendered to justice the murderers named in the enclosed judicial record, who have fled from the United States, and taken refuge in the Province of Texas, within the Mexican dominions. The names of the murderers, as will be seen by an inspection of the record, are, Benjamin F. Harden, Benjamin W Harden, William Harden, and Augustine B. Harden. Swan Harden has been. taken, and is now in confinement in Tennessee.

Mr. Porter, whose son was one of the unfortunate persons slain, and at whose instance I make this application, employed an agent, during the last year, to go to the Province of Texas for the purpose of taking the offenders into custody, to the end that they might be delivered over to the judicial tribunals of the State of Tennessee for trial. That agent ascertained in what part of the Province they had taken refuge, but was unaide to take them into custody, for the reasons assigned in the enclosed correspondence between him and the commandant of the military division in that part of the Mexican dominions. Mr. Porter has abandoned all hope of bringing them to justice, unless he can obtain the favorable interposition of his Government in his behalf.
He therefore, through me, respectfully requests the President of the United States, if, in his opinion, consistent with the laws of nations and the obligations of the Government to its citizens, to cause a demand to be made of the Government of Mexico, to surrender these offenders to the authorities of the United States, that they may be dealt with according to law. Mr. Porter will, at any time when advised that it is proper to do so, send an agent to identify their persons. Any communications to him on the subject can be made through me. I will only suggest that the offenders have a numerous family of friends in the United States, and, if measures should be taken for their arrest, it will be prudent that it should remain secret, lest they should be informed of it, and he thereby enabled to escape. When the President shall determine on the course proper to be pursued, be pleased to advise me of it.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient and humble servant,
JAMES K. POLK.
Hon. HENRY CLAY,
Secretary of Stale, Washin1om City.

STEAMBOAT HIGHLAND LADDIE.
Red River, April 5, 1827.

DEAR SIR: I arrived yesterday at Natchitoches from the Province of Texas, and embarked this morning for Alexandria. It will be necessary to give you a succinct account of my trip, and the causes of its failure. I was joined at Alexandria, in the latter part of the month of March, by Dr. Bills, the young gentleman whom you sent on for the purpose of identifying the Hardens and Colonel Lindsy. I had previously been up to Natchitoches aid made the necessary arrangements for the aid of the United [States ] garrison. near the Sabine river, for the conducting of the prisoners in safety to Natchitoches, the point of embarkation. Knowing, when I left Nashville, that General Gaines was on his annual inspection of the Southern posts of the United States, I followed him to New Orleans, and fond he lad embarked for Natchitoches. I pursued him thither, and obtained from him a positive order to the commanding officer, (Lieutenant Colonel Many,) of the garrison near the line, to have a guard sent to the Sabine river to receive from the Spanish authorities tile prisoners, and keep them in safe custody until they could he embarked on board of some steamboat to Nashville. having made this arrangement, and obtained from. Colonel Milum, empresario of the northern grant of Texas, a letter of introduction to the principal commandant of Texas, earnestly recommending the arrest and delivery of the criminals, I proceeded on my journey with Dr. Bills, and arrived at Natchitoches; h Texas. On the 30th of March I addressed a note to the commandant, and received an answer, both of which I enclose to you. A long personal interview took place between us I urged the necessity of delivering up the murderers I stated the atrocity of their crimes, committed under circumstances admitting of no palliation. He regretted very munch he could not comply with my demand. He stated he had peremptory orders to refuse and prohibit any arrest whatsoever. In our interview, Ito informed me he would not strenuously urge to the commander-in-chief the necessity of an immediate arrest ; and, if lie obtained the order, he would immediately have than taken into custody, and notify me of the fact at Alexandria it will be necessary for you to send me the Governor’s proclamation, and also get him to make a demand on the Governor of Louisiana for the criminals ; also procure a demand from the President of the United States on the Mexican Government for the murderers. The mode of doing all this on can get some friends to give you the necessary instructions. The Hardens are all in Texas, and I refer you to Dr. Bills for details. Should you decline prosecuting this affair any further, notify me of it immediately. You will please to remit me the amount of my expenses, which is S170 : this, by agreement, you agreed to do. I am entirely out of funds.
I am, yours, very respectfully,
MORGAN A. HEARD.
P. S.—Dr. Bills has strictly done his duty in this affair, and there is no longer a necessity of his remaining in this country.
M. A. H.

Natchitoches, March 30, 1827.

SIR I transmit to you the judicial proceedings of the State of Tennessee of the United States of the north, against certain persons therein named, who have been guilty of the most atrocious murders, and flea into the Mexican dominions, and now residing in Texas, on the Trinity river. I am authorized to demand of you those persons, and prepared to identify those persons by witnesses accompanying me. Upon an inspection of the documents accompanying this note, I trust you will have those felons arrested and delivered to the authorities of the United States of the north at the Sabine river.
I have the honor to be yours, respectfully,
MORGAN A. HEARD.
Don MATEO AHUMADA,

Don MATEO AHUMADA,
Military Commandant.

The above is a true copy of a communication made by Major Morgan A. heard to the Spanish colonel commandant at Nacogdoches, in the Province of Texas, for the delivery of the Hardens, who fled from Maury county, Tennessee, for the murder of Isaac N. Porter and William H. Williamson.
PLACEBO M. BILLS.
NACOGDOCHES, March 30, 1827.

STATE Of TENNESSEE, Rutherford county.

Pleas before the honorable William E. Kennedy, on of the judges of the circuit courts of law and equity within and for the State aforesaid, at a circuit court begun and holden for said county of Rutherford, at the court-house in Murfreesborough, on the fourth Monday in February, A. D. 1826, and in the fiftieth year of American Independence.

STATE OF TENNESSEE vs. SWAN HARDEN, and others.
Indictment for the murder of William H. Williamson and Isaac Newton Porter.


Be it known and remembered that on the 27th day of February, 1826, there was filed in the clerks office of .said court a transcript from the records of our Maury circuit court, in the words and figures following:
“At a circuit court begun and holden in and for the county of Maury, at the court-house of said county, in the town of Columbia, on the third Monday in December, (being the nineteenth day of said month,) in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, before the honorable Robert Mack, judge of the sixth judicial circuit of the State of Tennessee.

Present, said judge presiding; George M. Martin, clerk of said court
and Nimrod Porter, sheriff. The sheriff returns into court the following copy of a record from the clerk of the court of pleas and quarter sessions for the county of Maurv, in the following words, to wit: At a court of pleas and quarter sessions, begun and holden for the county of Maury, at the court-house in the town of Columbia, on the third Monday in July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ‘twenty-five, being the eighteenth day of said month, before Abraham Looney, Nicholas J. Long, and John C. Wormley, justices of the peace, presiding; Joseph B. Porter, clerk ; Nimrod Porter, sheriff— Ordered by the court that the sheriff summons the following persons, good and lawful men of the county of Maury, to serve as jurors at the next term of the circuit court of said county, viz: William Edmondson, David R. Mitchell, Samuel J. Rogers, Nicholas J. Long, John Mack, Hugh Douglass, Samuel Oliphant, John D. Love, Richard A. L. Wilks, William Allen, Alexander Cathey, Abraham Looney, Griffith Cathay, James Black, John Miller, Hugh Brown, Solomon Bunch, John Mathews, Abner Mathews, John Gilchrist, George Reese, John Gordon, (D. R.,) William Hunter, John Jamison, and John W. Record; and that he sumSmons William Rentford and John Kilcrease, to serve as constables.

STATE OF TENNESSEE, Maury county.
July term, 1825.

I Joseph B. Porter, clerk of the court of pleas and quarter sessions, in and for said county, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true cpoy the record of the said court.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name and affixed my seal of office, at office, this nineteenth day of December, in the year 1825.
JOSEPH B. PORTER, Clerk. [L. S. ]

The sheriff also returns into court the venire facias to him directed, in the following words and figures, to wit:
STATE OF TENNESSEE, To the sheriff of Maury county, greeting:

You are hereby commanded to summons the following person, good and lawful men of said county, to serve as jurors at the next December term of the circuit court, to wit : William Edmondson, David R. Mitchell, Samuel J. Rogers, Nicholas J. Long, John Mack, Hugh Douglass, Samuel Oliphant, John D. Love, Richard A. L. Wilks, William Alien, Alexander Cathey, Abraham Looney, Griffith Cathay, James Black, John Miller, Hugh Brown, Solomon Bunch. John C, Abner Mathews, John Gilchrist, George Reese, John Gordon, (D. H.,) William Hunter, John Jamison, and John W. Record ; and also summons William Rentford and John Kilcrease, to serve as constables. Ilerein fail not, and have you then and there this writ.
Witness Joseph B. Porter, clerk of our said court, at office, this third Monday in July, 1825.
JOSEPH B. PORTER, Clerk.

Endorsed: Issued the 10th of August, 1825. Came to hand the same day issued.
N. PORTER, Sheriff.

Executed by myself and deputies in the time required by law.
Nimrod Porter, Sheriff.

Out of the persons by the court of pleas and quarter this county appointed, and by the sheriff summoned to be a venire in this court, a grand jury of good and lawful men of this county, to wit: John Miller, Nicholas J. Lou a, Alexander Cathey. Samuel J. Rogers, James Black. John D Love, Abraham Looney, William Allen. Hugh Brown, John Mathews, Hugh Douglass, Griffith Cathey, and William Edmondson, of whom John Miller is appointed foreman, are elected by ballot, drawn by a boy under ten years of age, and are empannelled, sworn, and charged to inquire for the body of the county aforesaid; and under the care of John Kilcrease, an officer sworn to attend them, withdrew to consider of presentments, &c. John Kilcrease, one of the constables returned by the sheriff, as ordered by the venire facias, was elected and sworn to attend the grand jury during this term.

WEDNESDAY, December 21, 1825.

The grand jury returned into court a bill of indictment for murder against Swan Harden, Benjamin V. Harden, Augustine B. Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin F. Harden.
Endorsed, “A true bill. JOHN MILLER,
Foreman of the Grand Jury?
“JOSEPH B. PORTER, Prosecutor.”

And also endorsed, John Porter, Peter J. Voorhies, Jesse W. Egnew, Nimrod Porter, Peter R. Booker, Abner Prewett, John Gordon, William Cherry, James Bobbins, and Joshua Guest, all sworn and sent to the grand jury.
GEORGE M. MARTIN, Clerk.

December 21, 1825.
Which indictment is in the following words, to wit:
State of Tennessee, Maury county circuit court, December term, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five:


The grand jury for the State of Tennessee, empannelled, sworn, and charged to inquire for the body of the county of Maury aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do present and say, that heretofore, to wit, on the first day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five, Benjamin F. Harden, of said county, yeoman, Swan Harden, of said county, yeoman, Benjamin W. Harden, of said county, yeoman, William Harden, printer, Augustine B. Harden, of said county, yeoman, not having the fear of God before their eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, with force and arms, at the town of Columbia, in the county of Muary aforesaid, in and upon one Wi1lian H. Williamson, then and there being in the peace of God and of the State aforesaid, feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, did make an assault and that the said Benjamin F. Harden, a certain pistol, of the value of five dollars, then and there charged with gunpowder and eight Leaden hails, which pistol he, the said Benjamin F. Harden, in his right hand, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did shoot off and discharge to, at, against, and upon the said William H. Williamson; and that the said Benjamin F. Hardin, with the leaden balls aforesaid, out of’ the pistol aforesaid, then and there, by force of the gunpowder aforesaid, by the said Benjamin F. Harden shot off and discharged as aforesaid, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike, penetrate, and wound the said William H. Williamson, in and upon the back of him, the said William H. Williamson, between the lowest points of the shoulder-blades of him, the said William H. Williamson, giving to him, the said William H. Williamson, then and there, with the leaden bails aforesaid, so as aforesaid by him, the said Benjamin F. Harden, shot off and discharged out of the pistol afore.. said, by force of the gunpowder aforesaid, in and upon the hack of him, the said V. H. Williamson, between the lowest points of the shoulder blades of him, the said William H. Williamson, one mortal wound, of the depth of seven inches and of the breadth of half an inch, of which said mortal wound, he, the said William H. Williamson, then and there instantly, to wit, on the day arid year aforesaid, did die ; and that said Swan harden, Benjamin W. Harden, William Harden, and Augustine B. harden, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, were present, aiding, helping, abetting, comforting, assisting, arid maintaining the said Benjamin F. Harden, the felony and murder afore.. said in manner and form aforesaid to do and commit. And so the grand jurors aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do present and say that the said Benjamin F. Harden, Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, William Harden, and Augustine B. Harden, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, in manner and form aforesaid, did kill and murder the said William H. Williamson against the peace and dignity of the State.

And the grand jurors aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do further present and say, that afterwards, to wit, on the day and year aforesaid, the said Augustine B. Harden, Swan Harden, Benjamin N. Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin F. Harden, not having the fear of God before their eyes, hut being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, with force and arms, at the town aforesaid, in the county of Maury aforesaid, feloniously, willfully, and of their own malice aforethought, did make an assault in and upon one Isaac N. Porter, then and there being; and that the said Augustine B. Harden a certain pistol, of the value of six dollars, then and there charged with gunpowder and three leaden bullets, which pistol last aforesaid, he, the said Augustine B. Harden, in his right hand, then and there had and held, then and there feloniously and willfully, and. of his malice aforethought, did shoot off arid discharge to, at, against, and upon the said Isaac N. Porter; and that the said Augustine B. Harden, with the leaden bullets last aforesaid, out of the pistol last aforesaid, then and there, by force of the gunpowder last aforesaid, by the said Augustine B. Harden, shot off and discharged as aforesaid, then and there feloniously, willfully, and of his malice aforethought, did strike, penetrate, and wound the said Isaac N. Porter, in and upon the left side of him, the said Isaac N. Porter, giving to him, the said Isaac N. Porter, then and there, with the leaden bullets last aforesaid, so as last aforesaid shot off and discharged by him, the said Augustine B. Harden, out of the pistol last aforesaid, by force of the gunpowder last aforesaid, in and upon the said left side of him, the said Isaac N. Porter, a little above the lowest rib of the said left side of him the said Isaac N. Porter, one mortal wound of the depth of eight inches and of the breadth of half an inch. of which, mortal wound last aforesaid, he, the said Isaac N. Porter, then and there instantly died; and that the said Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin F. Harden, then and there, feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, were present aiding, helping, abetting, coin forting, assisting, and maintaining said Augustine B. Harden, the felony and murder last aforesaid, in mariner and form last aforesaid, to do and commit; and so the grand jurors aforesaid, upon their oath aforesaid, do present and say, that the said Augustine B. Harden, Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin F. harden, then and there, feloniously, willfully, and of their malice aforethought, in manner and form last aforesaid, did kill and murder the said Isaac N. Porter, against the peace and dignity of the State.
THOMAS B. CRAIGHEAD,
Solicitor General of the ninth solicitor district in the State of Tennessee.

State us. Swan Harden, Benjamin w. harden, and William Harden.
Indictment for murder.

The defendants are arraigned and charged on the bill of indictment, and plead not guilty; and for their trial put themselves upon the country, and the solicitor general likewise.

Stale vs. Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden.
Indictment for murder.

This day comes Thomas B. Craighead, solicitor general for the State, as well as the defendants in proper person; whereupon the defendants set forth a sufficient cause, and support the same by their affidavit, and also the affidavit of Martin Torry, Thomas Wilson, and Major Willis, three respectable disinterested persons of Maury county, thereby showing to the court that a fair and impartial trial cannot be had of this cause in this county.

And the defendants further objecting to the venire being changed to either of the counties of Williamson, I3edf├┤rd, Lincoln, or Cues, on the ground that they are not free front like exceptions, supporting their objection by said affidavit; and it having been assented and agreed to by the solicitor general on the part of the State, arid the prosecutor in this cause, that said counties are not free from like exceptions, and the same appearing to the satisfaction of the court, and tile solicitor general objected to the venire being charged to Lawrence, Wayne, Hickman, or Harden counties, and supporting said objection by the affidavit of the prosecutor, showing to the satisfaction of the court that a fair and impartial trial cannot he had iii either of those counties; and the county of Rutherford being. in the opinion of the court the nearest adjoining county, free from tile like exceptions; and it being agreed here in court by the solicitor general on the part of the State and the defendants in proper person, that Rutherford county is the nearest adjoining county free from the like exception ; and that all the causes for change of venire and objection against the counties objected to arid considered by the court, and in the opinion of the court the cause and objections are good, and the truth thereof evident and supported credibly It is, therefore, considered by the court, and ordered, that the venire in this cause be changed to Rutherford county. and that the cause be tried there by the next circuit court of said county, to he holden at the court house thereof, on the fourth Monday in February next. And it is further ordered, that the sheriff of this county delver the bodies of the defendants safely to the jailer of said county of Rutherford, in the common jail thereof, on or be- fore the said fourth Monday in February next, by ten o’clock A. M., and that the jailer of said county of Rutherford receive and safely keep them in said jail until delivered by due course of law.

Slate of Tennessee vs. Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden, Indictment for murder.

Peter R. Booker, Abner Pillow, David Black, Richard B. Pasmore, Jesse W. Egnew, John Gordon, jr., Caleb Thomas, Erwin J. Frierson, John Porter, John L. Petillo, William K. Hill, Nimrod Porter, John B. Broom, James Bobbins, William A. Stevenson, Edmund Harris, Richard Looney, John W. P. McGuinsey, Thomas Brown, Hezekial Ward, William Henderson, Westley Weatherspoon, Henson Grove, Joel B. Saunders, Abner Prewett, Joshua Guest, Peter J. Voorhies, Netherland Tate, and William Clieny, come into court, and severally acknowledge themselves indebted to the State of Tennessee in the sum of two hundred dollars, to be levied of their goods and chattels, lands and tenements, respectively; to be void on condition that they make their personal appearance at the court-house, in the town of Murfreesborough, on the fourth Monday in February next, to give evidence in behalf of the State against Swan Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin W. Harden, on a bill of indictment for murder, and not depart thence without leave of the court.

Slate vs. Swan Harden, Benjamin W Harden, and William Harden.
Indictment for murder.

Ordered, That the clerk of this court immediately certify to the clerk of the Rutherford circuit court, that the venire in the above cause is changed to that county, in order that each party, on application, may obtain subpoenas for witnesses returnable to the first day of the next circuit court.

State vs. Swan Harden, Benjamin W Harden, and William Harden,
Indictment for murder.

William Cooper comes into open court. and acknowledges himself to owe and be indebted to the State of Tennessee in the sum of two hundred dollars, to be levied of his good and chattels, lands and tenements; but to be void on condition that he make his personal appearance in the town of Murfreesborough on the fourth Monday in February next, to give evidence, in behalf of the State, on a bill of indictment against Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden, for murder, and shall not depart thence without leave of the court.

Slate vs. Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden, Murder.

Joseph B. Porter, the prosecutor in this cause, comes into court and acknowledges himself indebted to the State of Tennessee in the sum of five hundred dollars, to he levied of his goods and chattels, lands and tenements; to be void on condition that he make his personal appearance at the courthouse in the town of Murfreesborongh, Rutherford county, on the fourth Monday in February next, then and there to prosecute and give evidence, in behalf of the State, on a bill of indictment for murder against Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden, and not depart thence without leave of the court.

Bill of costs in Maury circuit court.

Clerk’s fees---------------Dol. Cts.

Indictment----$60.
Finding of the grand jury----$25.
Arraignment----$25.
Seven affidavits ----$1.75
Two motions and orders----$.96
Change of venire----$.40
Thirty-one recognizances----$6.20
One hundred and six subpoenas----$21.20
Taxing costs----$.40
Transcript----$1.60
Seal and certificate----$.80
Total costs----$34.41

Sheriff N. Porter—one hundred and three subpoenas----$25.65
Coroner P. G. Voorhies—three subpoenas----$.75
Total costs----$26.40

State’s witnesses.

Richard B. Pasmore, 3 days----$1.50
David Black, 3 days----$1.50
Edward Harris, 3 days----$1.50
H. Grove, 3 days----$1.50
John Porter, 3 days----$1.50
William Bradshaw, 3 days----$1.50
Joshua Guest, 6 days----$3.00
John B. Brown, 3 days----$1.50
Abner Pillow, 3 days----$1.50
Hezekial Ward, 3 days ----$1.50
Nimrod Porter, 3 days----$1.50
Total cost----$18.
Sub. Total----$78.81

STATE OF TENNESSEE, Maury circuit court, December term, 1825:

I, George M. Martin, clerk of said court, do certify that the foregoing is a transcript of the record and proceedings in the case where the State of Tennessee is plaintiff, and Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, Augustine B. Harden, William Harden, and Benjamin F. Harden are defendants, in an indictment for murder, in our said Maury circuit court, in as full and ample a manner as now appears in my office.
Witness my hand and private seal, (having no seal of office,) at office in Columbia, this 18th day of January, 1826.
GEORGE M. MARTIN, Clerk.

Affidavit of Swan Harden and others.

The above-named defendants make oath that they are charged with the murder (or aiding therein) of Isaac N. Porter and William H. Williamson; that the said Isaac N. Porter was the son of Joseph B. Porter, clerk of the county court of Maury, and he, the said Isaac N. Porter, for several years past had performed the duties of said office; and, as these defendants believe, the said Isaac N. Porter was much esteemed by his numerous friends, and his death much lamented. The high sheriff of the county, and one of his deputies, are also cousins of the said Isaac N. Porter; and, in addition to the above, there is a large, respectable, and influential family connexion of the said Isaac N. Porter in this county, whose feelings are much engaged in carrying on this prosecution.

These defendants also state that they are charged with aiding in the death of William H. Williamson, who was a young man of much merit, and highly esteemed, as is believed, by all his acquaintances, who are numerous and respectable. These defendants state, that although neither of them is charged with actually taking away the life of either of the deceased persons, or doing any act calculated ii. itself to produce such event, (hut the same is charged upon the other defendants named in the bill of indictment,) yet great exertions have been used by the friends of the deceased, and by the enemies of these defendants, to produce an impression on the public mind of their being participators in the deaths of the said Isaac N. Porter and said Williamson. These defendants also state, that immediately after the occurrence took place, Joseph B. Porter, who is the prosecutor, and a man of influence, caused a statement to be made, and published the same in two newspapers printed iii Columbia, and which circulated extensively in this county, and which statement strongly implicated the whole of the defendants in the murder of the deceased; which statement, as published in said newspapers, is here produced as part of this affidavit. These defendants, and each of them, do verily believe that, owing to the prejudice which has been produced, and now actually exists in this county against them and each of them, neither of theta can have a fair and impartial trial in the county of Maury.

These defendants also state, Isaac N. Porter, deceased, and Joseph B. Porter, the prosecutor, have numerous respectable and influential family connexion residing in both Giles and Williamson counties, who, as is believed by these defendants, feel much solicitude in the event of this prosecution. They also state, in Bedford county, as they have been informed and believe, a handbill similar to the statement contained in the newspaper above referred to, was reprinted and circulated extensively through that county, by persons residing there, who are hostile to these defendants.

These defendants also state, that some of their enemies in this county, who are not, so far as they know, particularly the friends of the prosecutor or the deceased, have much means of influence in the county of Lincoln; and these defendants are apprehensive that the same would be used to their prejudice, should the trial take place in that county.
Your petitioners, therefore, pray that the venire be changed to some adjoining county; and they believe that none of the counties above named are so.

SWAN HARDEN, WILLIAM HARDEN, Benjamin W. HARDEN.

Sworn to in open court, December 22, 1825.
GEORGE M. MARTIN, Clerk.

Martin Toney, Thomas Wilson, and Major Willis, make oath, that, owing to the prejudice which exists against the defendants in Manry county, they do not believe that a fair and impartial trial can be had in said county at this time.
MARTIN TONEY, THOMAS WILSON, MAJOR WILLIS.

Sworn to in open court, December 22, 1825.
GEORGE M. MARTIN, Clerk.

Joseph B. Porter, prosecutor in this case, makes oath, that the defendants have several blood relations living in Hickman, Lawrence, Wayne, and Harden counties, who have shown themselves to have a deep interest about the event of the case; that some of these are men of very extensive influence, and he is informed and verily believes have exerted that influence, so that they have produced a feeling and prejudice in favor of the defendants in the mind and disposition of people, to such an extent in these counties, that the State cannot have a fair and impartial trial in any of them; and he therefore prays that the venire in this case may not be changed to any of those counties.
JOSEPH B. PORTER.

Signed and sworn to in open court, December 22, 1825
GEORGE M. MARTIN, Clerk.

And now, at February term, 1826, of said Rutherford circuit court, to wit, on the 3d day of March, the said Swan Harden, Benjamin W. Harden, and William Harden, were led to the bar in custody of the sheriff of said county; and thereupon came the State of Tennessee, by Samuel H. Laughlin. Esq., attorney general of the sixth solicitorial district of said State; and it being demanded of the prisoners if they were ready for their trial, and the said Swan harden having declared that he was ready to proceed with his trial, and demanded of the court that he should be tried separately and alone from the other prisoners, which was allowed by the court; and thereupon came (good and lawful men of the county of Rutherford aforesaid) John Etter, Abraham S. Davidson, Solomon Beesby, James Jones, Adam Simmons, ,James Vaughn, Larkin Johnson, Peter Arnold, and Charles Nibs, who, being elected by time said Swan Harden as part of the jury to try the issue between him arid the said State of Tennessee, were left in the care of an officer sworn to attend them, and keep them separate and apart from the other citizens, until to-morrow morning, nine o’clock ; the sheriff not being able to summon a sufficient number of good and lawful men, out of whom a jury could be made, before that time.

Whereupon, on the 4th day of March, 1826, the said Swan Harden was again led to the bar in custody of the sheriff of said county; and the jurors who were on yesterday elected and left in tire care of an officer until this day, Came into court; and came also Edmund Rucher, Joseph Spence, and Fountain P. Crockett, who were also elected to try the issue joined between the said State and the said Swan Harden. And it appearing to the court, from his affidavit and the statement of his physician, that Charles Niles, one of tire jurors elected as aforesaid, is so much indisposed that he is unable to serve in this case, he was, on motion, and by consent of the parties, discharged, and John R. Tench was elected in his room and stead the said jurors, all of whom are good and lawful men of said county, were then tried and sworn well and truly to try, and a true deliverance make between the said State of Tennessee and the said Swan Harden, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say that the said Swan Harden is not guilty of the murder, in manner and form as charged in the bill of indictment, but that he is guilty of feloniously slaying of the said William H. Williamson and Isaac N. Porter, in manner and form as charged in the bill of indictment. And it being demanded of him if he had any thing to say why sentence of the law should not be pronounced upon him, he answered that he had nothing more to say than he had already said; and prayed his benefit of clergy, which was by the court here allowed.

It is therefore considered by the court that the said Swan Harden be forthwith, in the presence of the court here, branded in the brawn of the left thumb, with the letters M. S.; that he be imprisoned three months in the jail of Rutherford county, and pay the costs of this prosecution; and that the sheriff of Rutherford county be forthwith charged with the execution of this sentence.

The said defendant, being dissatisfied with the foregoing sentence and judgment of the court, prays an appeal, in the nature of a writ of error, to the supreme court of errors and appeals for the fourth judicial circuit, at Nashville, in the County of Davidson, on the first Monday in January next; which is granted him, upon his entering into a recognizance of two thousand dollars, and Alien Brown and William Brady in the sum of one thousand dollars each, for his appearance at said supreme court. Where.. upon, the said Swan Harden, and Allen Brown and William Brady, personally appeared in open court, and acknowledged themselves indebted to the State of Tennessee., to wit, the said Swan Harden in the sum of two thousand dollars, and the said Alien Brown and William Brady in the sum of one thousand dollars each, to be respectively levied of their goods and chattels, lands and tenements; but to be void on condition that the said Swan Harden make his personal appearance at the next supreme court of errors and appeals for the fourth judicial circuit in the State of Tennessee, to be holden at the court-house in the town of Nashville, county of Davidson, on the first Monday in January next, to answer a charge of the State against him for murder, and not depart the court without leave, and to abide by and perform the sentence, judgment, and decree of said court.

STATE Of TENNESSEE, Rutherford county.

I, William Ledbetter, clerk of the circuit court of said county, in the fourth judicial circuit of said State, do certify to whom it may concern, that the foregoing contains a just and true transcript of the record and proceedings in the ease State of Tennessee vs. Swan Harden and others, in said circuit court, for the murder of William H. Williamson and Isaac N. Porter.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of said court to be affixed, at office in Murfreesborough, January 25, A. D. 1828.
WILLIAM LEDBETTER.

STATE OF TENNESSEE.

I, William E. Kennedy, one of the circuit judges in and for the State aforesaid, do hereby certify that William Ledbetter, whose name is subscribed to the foregoing certificate, is now, and was at the time of signing the same, clerk of the circuit court for Rutherford county, and that his said certificate is in due form of law.
Given under my band and seal, this 18th day of February, 1828.
WILLIAM E. KENNEDY.

STATE Of TENNESSEE.

Samuel Houston, Governor in and over the same, to all who shall see
these presents, greeting:

Know ye, that William E. Kennedy, who made the within certificate of the official character of William Ledbetter, was, at the time of making the same, (February 18, 1828,) one of the circuit judges in and for the State of rpe1flessee duly commissioned and sworn; that all faith and credit are due and ought to be given to his official acts as such; and that his said certificate is in due form of law.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the great seal of the State to be affixed, at Nashville, this 3d day of March, A. D. 1828.
SAMUEL HOUSTON.

By the Governor:
DAVID GRAHAM,
Secretary of Slate.
[Translation.]

PRINCIPAL COMMAND OF TEXAS,
Nacogdoches, March 30, 1827.

In virtue of my not having orders from my Government for the delivery of any individuals residing within this department, under my command, to any nations who may claim them, I cannot comply with your request of this day, to which I do respectfully answer. Nevertheless, I shall transmit to his excellency the Commandant General all the judicial documents you were pleased to address to me, and shall represent to his excellency the urgent necessity that, in my opinion, arises for the public good of the mutnal delivery of criminals who take refuge in either of the two sister republics, in attention that his excellency may recommend it to the supreme Federal Government, who only can take a definitive resolution, and dictate convenient orders on the subject. Offering to you my most distinguished consideration and respects. God and the laws.
MATEO AHUMADA.

Major M. A. HEARD.

APRIL 5, 1827.
I do hereby certify that the above is a true copy of the original translation from the Spanish letter from Don Mateo Ahumada to Major M. A. Heard, in answer to his note of the 30th of March, 1827.
PLACEBO M. BILLS.

DEPARTMENT OF state
Washington, April 15, 1828.

SIR: I have received and submitted to the President your letter of the 1st instant, stating that certain persons of the name Harden, having perpetrated a murder within the State of Tennessee, had fled from justice, and taken refuge in the Province of Texas, one of the United Mexican States, and requesting the interposition of this Government with that of Mexico to procure the surrender of the fugitives. Your letter is accompanied by a transcript of judicial proceedings which have been instituted against the accused, and by a correspondence which has taken place between an agent Sent for the purpose of obtaining the custody of the fugitives, and a magistrate in the Province of Texas, who appears to have declined causing them to be delivered up.

We have no right, by the law of nations, to demand the surrender of these persons, and such a demand would, probably, not be complied with. Nations sometimes reciprocally bind themselves by treaty to deliver up fugitives from justice; but we have no treaty by which the Government of the republic of Mexico is now hound to surrender persons of that description. The mutual surrender of fugitives from justice, in cases of murder and forgery, has formed a subject of negotiation between the United States and Mexico, and has been provided for in a treaty which has been recently concluded at Mexico, but the treaty has not yet been ratified by tie Governments.

Under these circumstances, the desired application would be, probably, fruitless. The Executive has no power, upon an application from Mexico, to surrender any persons escaping from that country and taking refuge in ours ; but, if it be desired, I will direct Mr. Poinsett to request the surrender of the accused, and take the chances of the application.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY CLAY.

Hon. J. K. POLK,
House of Representatives.
WASHINGTON City, April 21, 1828.

Sin: I have received your note of the 15th, in answer to mine of the 1st instant, in which you express the opinion that, in the absence of any treaty stipulation between th United States and the Government of Mexico, we have no right by the laws of nations to demand the surrender of offenders against our laws, who have fled from justice and taken refuge within the Mexican dominions. You express a willingness, however, “if it be desired,” to “direct Mr. Poinsett to request the surrender of the accused, and take the chances of the application.” The crime of the Messrs. Harden (the persons named in the judicial record which I had the honor to enclose to you in my former note) was one of an aggravated character, and I therefore respectfully ask that such request may be made through Mr. Poinsett, and that the result of the application may be communicated to Mr. Porter, through me, as soon as it is known to you. Be pleased to inform me whether Mr. Poinsett will be instructed on the subject at an early period. I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant.
JAMES K. POLK.

The Hon. HENRY CLAY,
Secretary of State, Washington City.
DEPARTMENT of STATE,
Washington, April 28, 1828.

The Secretary of State presents his respects to Mr. Polk, and has, the honor to inform him that, agreeably to the request contained in his recent correspondence with this Department, the proper instruction has been transmitted to Mr. Poinsett, to request of the Mexican Government the surrender of the Hardens, charged with murder in the State of Tennessee, and who have fled within the limits of the Government of Mexico.

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