Smith Thompson (Jan. 17, 1768 - Dec. 18, 1843)

Relationship to the Speculation Lands: 
Thompson served as a judge concerning the validity of certain signatures when deeds of the Speculation Land Company were called into question. He was also an advisor to the Coxe family.
Born on January 17, 1768, died December 18, 1843. Smith Thompson served as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court as well as a U.S. Secretary of the Navy. Thompson, born of Ezra Thompson and Raches Smith in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York, was appointed to the New York Supreme Court 1802. Two of Thompson's most significant  opinions were those concerning the Amistad Trial and the Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, in which Thompson's voice was the dissenting one and he declared that "despite their weakened status, the Cherokee constituted an independent sovereign nation." Furthermore, Thompson was often known as a judge who looked after minority interests. Justice Thompson asserted that the Cherokee constituted an independent sovereign nation, a doctrine that later became constitutional law in Worcester v. Georgia, (1832).   
On-Site Links:
0192 - True and Perfect Copy of the Proceedings of the Superior Courts in Rutherford and Lincoln Counties, signed by John Michael, Clerk of the Court, dated April 12, 1841. The case began in April 1828 in Rutherford County and was transferred to Lincoln County in 1832 as in the judge's opinion a fair and impartial trial could not be held in Rutherford County due to the number of interested parties. The case was not concluded until 1835, in part due to the number of continuances. The case began as a Breach of Contract against Richard Roe brought by John Doe over use of land for a contract period of ten years, beginning January 1, 1828. The land in question was located on the waters of the Broad River and Buffalo Creek, 1. John Doe was physically removed from his farm and the land and sued for $1,200 for "mental anguish". 2. It evolved into a case of who actually owned the land - Richard Roe or Bronson et al. 3. Affidavits filed by Arthur Bronson, Joshua Forman, Agent, and Samuel L. Gidney stated that Bronson, Hoyt, et al owned the land. 4. Two surveys of the land are included in the Court records. 5. A jury trial was held with twelve jurors seated. 6. The jury awarded $6.00 to the defendant and ordered Peter Stephen Du Ponceau (One of two trustees of Tench Coxe's land holdings) to pay court costs of $83.50. (It is unclear if Du Ponceau or his agent was in fact Richard Roe.) Also see Item 77/294 in this Section. 
  American National Biography, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pages 578-580.