Appeal from Circuit Court, Clay County
Freeman Vs. Strong
ACTION: Reversed

Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
Strong and Others.
Apr. 20, 1838.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTSON delivered the opinion of the Court:
Three several writs of error bring up, from the County Court of Clay county the following orders for revision:

As the acts authorizing county courts to bind out children in certain cases give but a special and limited jurisdiction, the record, in every such case, must show the facts from which the jurisdiction results--as that the person bound was an infant, an orphan, or otherwise in the condition described in the act; that the parent, next friend, or person with whom the apprentice lived, was summoned, &c. If the record is deficient in this respect, the whole proceeding may be annulled.

"State of Kentucky, Clay County Court, December term, 1836--on motion of Thomas Strong--ordered that the clerk of this Court bind Washington Freeman and Hiram Freeman to the said Thomas Strong, to learn the art and mystery of farming, upon the said Strong entering into bond agreeable to law."

"On motion of Edward Davidson--ordered that the clerk of this Court bind Elizabeth Freeman, infant child of George Freeman, to said Davidson, to learn the art and mystery of spinning and weaving by the said Davidson entering into bond with the Clerk agreeable to law."

And at a subsequent term of the same Court, an entry was made for recording "indentures" in the three cases. But the clerk has certified that foregoing order as constituting a complete record--without certifying any bond or indenture.

As the jurisdiction of the County Courts over orphans and poor free children, colored and white, whose parents are unable or unfit to rear them properly, is limited and special, every order for binding a child as an apprentice, should exhibit the facts required by law for giving jurisdiction.

In these cases, the record is altogether too meagre. It does not show that the children were orphans; nor that the parent or next friend or person with whom they lived, had been summoned, or had appeared in Court; nor, so far as the two male children were concerned, that they were even infants. Wherefore, all these orders, tested by the record alone, as they must be by this Court, are clearly erroneous.

Wherefore, each of the orders for binding out the several plaintiffs in error must be set aside and held for nought.


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