Lawrence v. Schooner Alexander
About This Case
In 1837, the Superior Court for the District of West Florida considered the case John Lawrence v. Schooner Alexander.
Unfortunately, this case file appears incomplete. The documents that remain outline the basics of the case, which involved a claim for outstanding wages by the sailor John Lawrence at the rate of $25 per month. This wage indicates that Lawrence was probably a first mate rather than an ordinary sailor. He had served aboard the schooner Alexander under the direction of Alexander Lamb, Master of the ship. The Alexander was owned by George W. Barclay.
The case was delayed on several occasions on account of witnesses being unable to testify. At the time of the trial, Lamb was absent in Apalachicola. Apparently, the case hinged on the forthcoming remarks of the said Lamb and another witness named Reid.
Lawrence also sought to recover $40 he had placed in the custody of Lamb for safekeeping. Upon completion of their voyage, Lamb refused to deliver both Lawrence’s regular wages as well as the $40.
The judge in this case ordered that the court seize the Alexander pending the outcome of the trial. As was customary in such cases, the judge ordered a placard be affixed to the main mast of the ship explaining that it must remain in port until the claims of Lawrence could be heard in court and ruled upon.