Date Original



This is the statement of the defendant, William Kellett, in response to the slander suit brought against him by Betsy Hardin.

Biographical/Historical Note

In an effort to avoid paying a potentially hefty judgement against him for slander, William Kellett penned this laughable retraction regarding his damaging statement of Betsy Hardin. Evidently, he heard on the rumor mill that Betsy had a child out of wedlock that she left behind in Missouri. Betsy was furious over the accusation and filed a slander suit. Kellett's response first denies he said such a thing, then allows that he might have said it while drunk, and finally admits to saying it but asserts he believed it was a total lie. He concludes by praising Betsy's reputation.


Territory of Arkansas, Lawrence County, Union Township: Whereas there has been
statements made to Betsy
Hardin that I should have
stated against her carrecter[sic]
which statement has caused her to bring suit
in court against me in saying that she had a
melato[sic] child in Belview[sic] and had to leave her
country the assersion[sic] I deny every say
ing if I did I was intoxacation[sic] or so out of my
senses that I did not know what I said for I ackn
owledge the report to be a lye[sic] and grownless[sic]
and without any fondation[sic] whatever -
I further acknowledge that I did say something
about a flying report of her having
a child in Belview which I believe was raisd[sic]
by some lying malicious person and I believe
to be a lye[sic] and did believe it to be a lye[sic]
when I mentioned it but did it through a
rage of mallice[sic] against the family in a
melicious[sic] way for no other cause but revenge
But I acknowledge I have lived a close
neighbor to her and her father for the sum
of about six years and she has behaved her
selfe[sic] a prudent and virtuous young woman as
any other woman that is in our county as
far as I have heard or have knowledge.
William Kellett[signature]
On the eigth day of May 1822
William Kellett personally apeared[sic] before me
an acting justice of the aforesaid county
and territory and acknowledged the within
stipulated to be his free and voluntary act
William Janes[signature]
William Kellett to J. Hardin, William Kellett acknowledgement, Filed for record May 18th 1822 - - -
[upside down] Territory of Arkansas, County of Lawrence: Be it remembered that in the
eighteenth day of May in the
year of Christ eighteen hundred and twenty two, the
within and foregoing was - - - for record which was
the same day duly recorded in Book B pg 378 and 379
Hy. Sanford, Clerk

Physical Description

Document, 8" x 12.5"


Documents; Manuscripts; Law; Gossiping; Cursing; Rumor; Children; Libel and slander


William Kellett

Geographical Area

Union Township, Lawrence County (Ark.)




MSNE.0070, Box 11, Folder 872

Resource Type



Lawrence County (Ark.) Circuit Court records, MSNE.0070


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

Recommended Citation

Slander: Betsy Hardin v. William Kellett, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.


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United States History


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Slander: Betsy Hardin v. William Kellett