before me, Amos Sanders, justice of the peace for said county, Henry
Stalcop, of said county, (residing on a farm of Samuel & W. Meeteer,
immediately adjoining the Factory and works of Thomas Massey) who on
his solemn oath voluntarily deposeth and says, That early in the
summer of 1818, this deponent called on George Russel, justice of
peace, (living in Newark, in the county aforesaid) for advice
respecting a supposed injury this deponent received from Thomas
Massey; and that after a statement of the supposed grievance made by
this deponent to the aforesaid justice Russel, he the said justice
Russel replied and told this desponent, that the best Law he the
said justice Russel could give him, the deponent, was to give the
aforesaid Thomas Massey a damn’d good thrashing ; that in
consequence of said advice, this deponent committed a violent
assault and battery on the aforesaid Thomas Massey, and within an
hour after committing the outrage, he this deponent went to the
office of the said justice Russel, and told him the said justice
Russel how he had beat and struck the aforesaid Thomas Massey, upon
which the said justice Russel laughed and appeared much pleased and
told this deponent, “It was the best day’s work he had ever done,”
and that nothing could be made of it but an assault and battery, and
to insist on the justice that the said Massey should apply to, to
decide it; and that if it went to court and the fine was oppressive,
that he would get the Governor to remit it, and that there was
enough that would help him, (this deponent) and throw in money to
pay all court charges.
This deponent further testifies that he should not have dared to
have committed such an outrage had he not been encouraged and
advised by the said justice Russel; and that the said justice has
spoken in the hearing of this desponent and others very
disrespectfully of the said Thomas Massey whilst in his office, on
his official duties – and further this deponent saith not.
(Signed) HENRY STALCOP.
Sworn and subscribed, Dec.19, 1818, before me.
(Signed) AMOS SANDERS
NEWS OF THE “GOOD
THRASHING” TRAVELED FAST
STATEMENT BY DR. THOMAS HANDY
I do certify that I was sent for by the within named Thomas Massey
immediately after the outrage was committed on him, and found him
much cut and bruized about the head, face, ears and breast, his
cheek badly cut, bleeding at the ear and mouth, bled him, dressed
his wounds, and considered him very severely and inhumanly mangled.
(Signed) THOMAS W. HANDY
EMPLOYER AND ANOTHER JOIN IN
‘OFFICIALLY’ ON THE DISCUSSION
I certify, that I
accidentally stopped at the house of Thomas Massey, on my return
from Wilmington and found Doctor Handy there, and was informed of
the outrage: in a few minutes after, on my return home, I met the
within named Henry Stalcop at the office of justice Russel in
Newark, and told him to follow me home, which he did immediately;
and on questioning him, he told me precisely in substance what he
has deposed and sworn to in the annexed affidavit.
(Signed) SAMUEL MEETEER.
Samuel Meeteer was the farm owner and employer of Henry Stalcop.
He was also the next-door neighbor of Thomas Massey. Newark is the
westernmost town in Delaware and now the location of the University
I also certify, that after hearing of the outrage committed on Thos.
Massey, I called on Justice Russel of Newark and after some
conversation with him on the subject of Stalcop’s breach of the
peace, etc and that Stalcop would be severely dealt with, the said
Justice Russel replied “for the matter of that, he (the said Justice
Russel) knew enough [people?] that would throw in a five dollar note
to help Stalcop out” or words to the same signification.
(Signed) HENRY WHITTELEY
The relationship of Henry Whitteley to Justice Russel, Henry Stalcop
or Thomas Massey is unknown.
These four affidavits were published as a group in the Wilmington
newspaper but not as official legal notices by the New Castle County
Court. They appeared as a paid ‘ADVERTISEMENT’. It would be
interesting to know who had the idea to publish them in the
One cannot help but get the impression that Thomas Massey was not
held in high regard by his neighbors and that those giving the
affidavits were secretly delighted about the “Damn’d Good Thrashing”
administered to him by Henry Stalcop. At least five well-respected
people including two Justices of the Peace, the Doctor and the owner
of a large business were solidly behind Henry Stalcop.
Publishing the affidavits may have been a way to direct the case
should Henry Stalcop ever be taken to court. Interesting to note
that Justice Russel took Henry Stalcop to a second Justice of the
Peace, Amos Sanders, who wrote out and supplied the wording of the
main affidavit for Henry Stalcop to sign. So far no record of Henry
Stalcop being brought before the Court in New Castle County for
Assault and Battery on Thomas Massey has been found.