Tennessee Supreme Court Case Files
Tennessee State Library and Archives
Range: 32
Section: D
Shelf: 2
Box 281
Middle Tennessee
About 40 Pages


This case is about Keziah Murphee, widow of Levi L. Murphee suing Thomas B. Murray, her attorney, for failing to complete his services for which he was paid. She paid Murray to attend to her interest in her deceased husband's estate - about dissenting from her husband's will and having her dower in the real estate set off to her. She said that Murray told her he would get $6000 for her. She states that Murray did not attend to the business properly. The application for dower was not properly made among other things. He eventually abandoned her case.

Murray denies that the application for dower formed any consideration. The note was in consideration for attending to the dissenting from the will and for balance due him for defending a suit her husband had against her for Divorce in the Chancery Court of Livingston and for prosecuting a suit for Divorce & alimony for her against her husband. That he at her request after the note was executed procured a decree to have Dower assigned her & also an order for to have her year's support set apart to her. He told her at the time that he could not be present when the report of the Commissioners to assign dower was near. That if there should be anything wrong with it, he would attend to it later.


Murphee, Watson, Murray


Putnam County, Tennessee


  • K. M. Murphee widow of Levi Murphee.
  • Benjamin "Ben" Watson brother of Keziah M. Murphee.
  • Levi L. Murphee died in June 1855.
  • When Levi L. Murphee was alive, he sued Keziah M. Murphee for divorce; and she counter sued for Divorce and alimony at the Chancery Court in Livingston.
  • The estate of Levi L. Murphee was worth a considerable amount.
  • The Last Will & Testament of Levi L. Murphee, late citizen of Putnam County was presented in open court. The will was proven in open court by the oaths of Thomas C. Webb & Lewis Barnes, the subscribing witnesses. Levi M. Pistole, Executor
  • James M. McKinney, Lewis Barnes, W. H. Barnes, T. C. Webb, P. Bohannon, William Webb, Bluford Finley, James Bartlett & Stephen D. Burton entered into and acknowledged bond in the sum of $25,000.
  • Upon motion, the court appointed Dudley Hunter & Stephen B. Lyle Commissioners in connection with the county surveyors Isaac Buck to lay off dower to the said Keziah M. Murphee out of all the land that he the said Levie L. Murphee died seized and possessed of.
  • Stephen B. Lyles, Burton Marchbanks, Dudley Hunter be appointed commissioners to set apart a years provisions or support.


  • Last Will and Testament of Levi L. Murphee


  • 4 Jun 1855: In the Chancery Court in Cookeville
    • The Last Will & Testament presented in Open Court.
    • Levi L. Murphee's death was proven by Thomas C. Webb and Lewis Barnes.
    • Levi Pistole was appointed Executor.
    • James M. McKinney posted bond $25,000 with the following securities: Lewis Barnes, W. H. Barnes, T. C. Webb, P. Bohannon, William Webb, Bluford Finley, James Bartlett, and Stephen D. Burton.
    • Letters of Testimony was issued to Levi Pistole.
    • Keziah M. Murphee dissents from the Will.
    • Dudley Hunter and Stephen B. Lyle were appointed Commissioners to lay off dower for Keziah M. Murphee. Isaac Buck is appointed Surveyor.
    • Dudley Hunter, Stephen B. Lyle, and Burton Marchbanks were appointed Commissioners to set up 1 years support.
  • 02 Jul 1855: Court house at Cookeville. Justices present R. D. Allison, Chairman. William C. Bounds, John Terry, quorum. R. N. Dowel, Lee R. Taylor, A. G. Davis, Thomas Cooper, John S. Watson, Jesse Clark, R. G. Duke, E. L. Thompson, James M. McKinney, J. D. Hyder, Moses A. Jared, Justices Present. Order to lay off dower.
  • 06 Aug 1855: Quorum Court held at the Court House in Cookeville. Present R. D. Allison, Chairman, John Terry & W. C. Bounds, quorum. A. G. Davis, J. D. Hyder, Thomas Cooper, William Webb, R. G. Duke, H. H. Bryant, Justices Present. Isaac Buck, county surveyor of Putnam County, L. B. Lyle & Dudley Hunter appointed by court to lay off dower. They attempted to present their report to the court, which was not received. It was objected to by executor Levi M. Pistole on the grounds that his time did not receive notice.
  • 16 Apr 1856: E. L. Thompson, J. P. Putnam County summons K. M. Murphee to court to answer questions.
  • 10 May 1856: Endorsed and set for trial before Lee R. Taylor, Esq. at his house.
  • 10 May 1856: Judgement in favor of the Plaintiff.
  • 10 May 1856: Appeal Bond with K. M. Murphee & Thos. T. Watson
  • 15 Apr 1857: The case was heard.
  • 14 Aug 1857: The debt was appealed.
  • 12 Apr 1858: Court house Putnam County. Hon. John L Goodall Judge Presiding. Jurors: John Grime, John Jackson, James McCully, John W. Mills, John H. Young, William Gentry, Robert Gentry Jr., R. L. Lindsey, A. G. Davis, David Maxwell, Joel Algood, & Joseph Holladay.
  • 16 Apr 1858: Keziah M. Murphee makes her statement to the court. H. H. Dillard is the witness.
  • 22 Apr 1858: Keziah M. Murphee & Benjamin Watson indebted for $500 to Thos. B. Murray.
  • 22 Apr 1858: Keziah M. Murphee & Benjamin Watson indebted for $250 to Thos. B. Murray
  • 12 Aug 1858: Circuit Court of the 4th Judicial Circuit. Hon. John L. Goodall, Judge. Thomas B. Murry vs K. M. Murphee } Debt Appeal. Jurors present: A. G. Davis, J. D. Hyder, Thomas Cooper, William Webb, Lee R. Taylor, James M. McKinney, R. G. Duke, H. H. Bryant, E. L. Thompson, Isaac Lollar, and R. N. Dowell.
  • 22 Aug 1858 - Murray responds to the case. Joseph D. Walling was the acting Justice of the Peace.
  • 19 Sep 1859: K. M. Murphee vs T. B. Murray was hear in the Chancery Court at the Courthouse in Cookeville. Hon. Samuel M. Fite, Chancellor.
  • 19 Oct 1859: Appeal bond given from Thos. B. Murray & S. H. Colms in the sum of $500 to K. M. Murphee.
  • 15 Dec 1859: Decree entered.


  • Thomas T. Watson aged 54 years
  • Russell Moore, aged 31
  • Lucy Watson, aged 74 years
  • Ben Watson, aged 34 years
  • S. H. Colms


  • Keziah M. Murphee
  • Quarles, Solicitor for Murphee
  • Thomas B. Murray of the county of Warren
  • Denton & Washburn, Solicitor for Murray
  • Hon. Samuel M. Fite, Chancellor
  • Stephen H. Colms, Solicitor
  • H. H. Dillard
  • Jno. L. Goodall, Judge
  • Thomas T. Watson
  • Benjamin H. Watson
  • Justices
    • John Terry
    • Isaac Loller
    • William C. Bounds - appointed Chairman
    • J. M. McKinney
    • J. D. Hyder - appointed to act as one of the quorum
    • Thomas Cooper
    • William Webb
    • R. H. Dowel
    • H. H. Briant Lee
    • R. Taylor
    • John Madewell


  • Clerk Mills
  • Isaac Buck
  • Sheriff Dyer
  • Sheriff W. J. Perkins
  • Justice Lee R. Taylor
  • Justice E. L. Thompson
  • Justice J. M. McKinney
  • Const J. Henry
  • H. H. Dillard
  • R. Burks, Shff of Warren County
  • S. P. Penebaker, Cons
  • A. J. Gamble, Shff
  • C. J. Bohannon
  • T. T. Watson
  • Russell Moore