Research


Scope and Content Note

Petitions were submitted by creditors for the issuance of a warrant of attachment, ordering a sheriff to seize the real and personal property of a debtor for payment of his debts. The proceeding was available when a debtor could not be arrested, either because he had absconded or concealed himself, or was not a resident of New York. Accompanying the petition are affidavits of disinterested witnesses that the debtor had absconded or was non-resident, and report by a judge that a warrant has been issued.

Very infrequently there are other documents, such as an inventory of debtor’s property, proof of publication of notice of attachment, and pleadings if the case was litigated. Almost all documents relate to debts incurred in New York City. Most petitions were submitted to the Recorder of the City of New York or to a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the City and County of New York. A few were submitted to a Supreme Court justice. After July 1, 1847, the petitions were submitted to a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, or to a justice of the Supreme Court (New York County).