Preston and Others v. George W. Coons, Administrator of the Estate of Milton Duty, et al.
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State of MissouriMissouri
St Louis County


This day James AdamsJames Adams personally
appeared before the undersigned and made oath that he
was a near neighbor and on intimate terms with MiltonMilton
Duty from a few days after his arrival as a resident
of St LouisSt Louis from MississippiMississippi until his death at which
time this affiant was present, and held him in his
arms when he died. That the said Duty visited this
affiants family more frequently and sociably than
that of any other person, being there nearly every evening
when this affiant was at home. That the
said Duty was free and open in his conversations
about the situation of his affairs. That on the arrival
of the said Duty from MississippiMississippi in 1837, this affiant
was present and heard a conversation between
the said Duty and SamuelSamuel Farnandis who had staid
during the next preceding with said Duty
in MississippiMississippi, at which time they were counting over
a large sum of money in MississippiMississippi bank notes
which Duty had brought with him from the
said state of MississippiMississippi, this affiant does not
know the amount of the same, but the same was
large, and Duty observed in said conversation that
it would at be sufficient to pay off all he
owed to every body in the world. He (said Duty) who
stated in said conversation that he had six thousand
dollars due to him in MississippiMississippi which was all that
remained due to him there. The negros of the said
Duty were hired out daily from shortly after the ar

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arrival of said Duty as a resident of St LouisSt Louis. The amount of
said hires was brought in to said Duty, which from
the number and value of the negros must have
been very considerable. That the said Duty informed
this affiant that as he the said
hires he deposited the same with DavidDavid Coons CoonsDavid Coons
of St LouisSt Louis. That said Duty lived in a very plain
economical manner, dressed very
plainy and boarded himself at very small [ expence ]
That in a few minutes some twenty five or
thirty after the death of the said Duty and before
his body was laid out a person came to the house
of the said Duty, (whom this affiant afterwards understood
to be GeorgeGeorge W Coons W. CoonsGeorge W Coons ) and without paying any
attention to the corpse, directed PrestonPreston one of the
negros of said Duty to bring forward the trunks of
the said Duty containing his papers money
and clothes, which was accordingly done and
the said Coon opened them and commenced overhauling
every thing in them. This affiant was engaged
with the corpse; but after having laid
it out he saw a considerable number of papers
torn up near the trunks upon observing which
he remonstrated indignantly with said George WGeorge W Coons .
CoonsGeorge W Coons against such conduct and proceedings and
asked him why he was disturbing the papers
of the deceased before his body was entirely
cold, to which he replied that he could
not help it - That during the said night
and after the said corpse was laid out, the