John James Spears is the husband of my wife’s 1st cousin 3x removed, Sarah Jane Broad.
Sarah Jane was born in 1849 and her birth is registered at Congleton, Cheshire in the December quarter. Her parents are James Broad and Ann Owen. The common link between my wife and Sarah Jane is James Owen and Martha Brockhouse, my wife’s 3x great grandparents.
On 1 September 1870 Sarah Jane married John James Spears in Manchester, Lancashire. James was born at Newton Heath, Lancashire in 1848. After their marriage they lived in the Chorlton area of Manchester – John James working as a warehouseman.
John James found himself the subject of a County Court action for damages and the case was reported in the Manchester Evening News on Friday 10 February 1899. The case was also reported in the Bradford Daily Telegraph (images from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).
A TALE OF DOG AND HORSE
SINGULAR COUNTY COURT ACTION
His Honour Judge Parry, sitting in the Manchester County Court, today, heard an action for damages for injuries to a horse belonging to Messrs. Eastman’s, Limited, butchers. Mr. Langdon appeared for the plaintiffs, and Mr. Cobbett represented the defendant, John James Spears, warehouseman, Lister Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.
Mr. Langdon said that in November last Mr. Harris, sub-manager for the plaintiff firm, was driving along Everton Road, when a sable collie dog, belonging to the defendant, rushed out of the house, barking furiously, and rushed at the hind legs of the mare. The result was that the mare became restive, and kicked out and injured her legs by striking the steps of the vehicle. The animal was valued at £40, and it had to be sold for £21, while it was, later on, re-sold for £15.
Harris, the sub-manager for the plaintiffs, stated that the mare was a four-year-old, and was bought in Ireland last August for £28. The defendant’s dog had frequently rushed at the mare.
In reply to Mr. Cobbett, witness said he could not say that the dog bit the mare.
Mr. Langdon said the case was taken under 28 and 29 Vic., chap. 60, wherein it was provided that the owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for injury done to cattle or sheep. That, he contended, placed the responsibility on the owner who kept the dog at his own peril. There was a similar case decided in 1868, when a horse, which was being driven along, suffered injuries through kicking out in consequence of being bitten by a dog.
His Honour asked what magisterial jurisdiction there was over ferocious dogs, and Mr. Cobbett said the justices were at liberty to order them to be kept under proper control or to be destroyed.
His Honour said a dog might not be ferocious or mischievous, but might bark and jump about with pleasure.
Mr. Langdon said a dog might, for its own pleasure, go into a larder and steal a leg of mutton, but that would be mischievous.
Considerable argument followed as to whether the statute intended that there should be actually injury inflicted by the dog, Mr. Langdon contending that the injury arising from the action of the dog was sufficient for his claim.
His Honour reserved his decision until the 23rd inst.
So everyone involved in the case had a couple of weeks to wait for the Judge to decide the outcome of the case. As promised he gave his ruling on 23 February 1899 and fortunately the Manchester Evening News reported it for us.
SINGULAR ACTION AGAINST DOG OWNER
His Honour Judge Parry, at the Manchester County Court this morning, gave judgement in the case of Eastmans, Limited, v. John Jas. Spears which was before the court recently. The claim was for £21 11s 6d damages alleged to have been caused to the plaintiffs’ horse and cart in consequence of the defendant’s dog barking and frightening the animal. The plaintiffs, for whom Mr. Langdon appeared, are butchers, and Mr. Cobbett represented the defendant, who lives in Lister Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock. The Judge stated that the facts of the case were that a carter was driving a horse and cart along the roadway when a dog barked and the animal bolted. The horse kicked the step of the vehicle and so injured itself. He (the Judge) found that the dog did belong to the defendant, but that it was not a mischievous animal. The dog rushed and barked but it did not bite the horse. The injuries caused to the horse did not naturally arise through the barking of the dog and that there must be judgment for the defendant with costs.
I’m sure John James and his sable collie were very relieved at the outcome. Not so much Messrs. Eastman’s Ltd.