Elizabeth Marshall Sues John O’Rear - or a Lesson Why You Should Not Sue Your Neighbor, 1761.

The O’Rears have never been a Litigious people. This seems to stem from the fact that they have been an orderly people and appear to get along well with their neighbors. I recall on visiting Cloverfield in 1930 meeting several old timers there who had known the last of the O’Rears who had lived there and invariably they spoke well of them, beyond the dictates of politeness for a stranger.

The O’Rears lived in Prince William and Fauquier Counties for almost 100 years before the Revolution and in all that time the name appears but once as a principal in a law suit,and perhaps in that law suit is a lesson for us. The principal was John O’Rear, whom I identify as No. 26 on my list, of John of Fauquier. This I deduce because the lawsuit was brought in Fauquier County by Elizabeth Marshall and John of Fauquier was a neighbor of the Marshalls at Fauquier. His son Daniel in his application for a pension for the Revolutionary War services states that he was personally acquainted with Thomas Marshall, a Major of the 3rd Regiment of Virginia Riflemen, under whom he served a tour of service in 1772.

In any event, John O’Rear and George Lathum were sued in trespass by Elizabeth Marshall with the specification that they

"---- with force and arms, to wit with clubs strike, whip &c one negro man named Joe belonging to the said plaintiff did assault beat would &c treat so that the aforesaid negro slave could not possibly attend or perform the lawful business of his said mistress whereby the same remains undone and she was deprived and lost the benefit and advantage of the labours of the said negro slave for a long time ----- they the said defendants then and those did to the said plaintiff against the peace of our soverign Lord the now King & to the damage of the said plaintiff twenty pounds."

The jury found the plaintiff but apparently was unimpressed by the damage to the "King’s Peace" or Ms. Marshall’s loss of Joe’s services -- they awarded her one penny damages.