R.K. Call vs. Jeter
About This Case
In 1843, the Florida Territorial Court of Appeals considered the case of Richard K. Call, George K. Walker, and Isaac W. Mitchell v. William L. Jeter.
This case involves the settlement of a debt following the death of the creditor. Sometime prior to his death in November 1839, George L. Fauntleroy acquired a promissory note issued by the Union Bank of Florida in the amount of $14,000. Fauntleroy’s wife apparently died shortly thereafter and the note passed to a Mr. Le Baron. At some point the note passed into the custody of William L. Jeter, who sought compensation, plus interest and damages, from Call, Mitchell, and Walker.
All three defendants in this case were intimately involved with the formation of the Union Bank of Florida. Call, twice territorial governor, was also involved in banking, railroads, and plantation slavery. Likewise, Walker and Mitchell also had various investments tied to the rich land of the Red Hills region.
Part of this case involved the value of the note in question. Several witnesses testified to the fact that the value of the note dropped perhaps 60% between the time Fauntleroy obtained it and the proceedings of the case after his death. Furthermore, neither side was able to determine the exact interest set by Fauntleroy for repayment, or whether the note was to be repaid in Union Bank money or other currency of like value.
The defendants’ case rested on their objections to the ways in which the court conducted the case and admitted evidence, as well as the lack of clarity surrounding the transference of the note from Fauntleroy to Le Baron, and finally, to Jeter.
Eventually, after a protracted legal battle, the court recognized a writ of error on behalf of the defendants and the case moved to the U.S. Supreme Court. At this point, the case file ends. Like many similar cases in territorial Florida, this case illustrates the vast web of land, investment, and family ties that connected many of Tallahassee’s early white residents.