Page Family Feuds Over Slaves: 1839
In his Caswell County will, Thomas Page (1770-1837) bequeathed numerous slaves to his heirs (four children). However, it appears that daughter Millie Page (who married William Fullington and moved to Missouri) absconded with more than her allotted share. At least that was the view of her brother Josiah Page (1803-1870) who had been appointed by their father as executor of the will.
In 1839, Josiah Page brought suit against William Fullington (husband of sister Millie Page) with respect to slaves Milly, Mary, Eliza, and Mary's infant child. The Caswell County Superior Court issued a summons to be executed by the Caswell County sheriff commanding him "to take the body of William Fullington if to be found in your County and him safely keep so that you have him before the Judge of the Next Superior Court of Law to be Held for the County of Caswell . . . ."
How the dispute was resolved is not known.
The Caswell County Sheriff at the time was Thomas L. Lea (1806-1867), father of the John Green Lea who headed the Ku Klux Klan when Senator John Walter (Chicken) Stephens was killed in 1870.
This case was based upon a writ of detinue:
In tort law, detinue is an action to recover for the wrongful taking of personal property. It is initiated by an individual who claims to have a greater right to their immediate possession than the current possessor. For an action in detinue to succeed, a claimant must first prove that he had better right to possession of the chattel than the defendant and second that the defendant refused to return the chattel once demanded by the claimant. Detinue allows for a remedy of damages for the value of the chattel, but unlike most other interference torts, detinue also allows for the recovery of the specific chattel being withheld.