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Daniel Tourneur not guilty

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

When Governor Andros restored the English form of government in New York, the first case brought to the new court at New Harlem was the case of Widow Jacqueline Tourneur vs. Elizabeth Nightengale Disosway. The "old antagonist", Mrs. Disosway, had many times accused and slandered the name of Jacqueline's husband, Daniel Tourneur, claiming he had killed a man in his old home of France.

Even though Daniel was deceased, Jacqueline saw the new court as an opportunity to settle the matter, once and for all, and it appeared to end in justice. Mrs. Disosway's apologetic appeal was entered as follows, on January 19, 1675:

"The Defendant brought into ye Court her suplicatory peticon, in which was her acknowledgement for her wrong and injury to ye Plaintiff's husband; which ye Court accepted off, conditionally she behaved her selfe well, and pay all costs."

But it wasn't over yet. Within three months, Mrs. Disosway repeated the offense and the court grew tired of the case and it was dismissed. Jacqueline and her son, Daniel, Jr., "had suffered so much annoyance from the story that they finally rented their village property and moved over to Montagne's Flat, where the young man had holdings inherited from his father".

According to "New Harlem past and present; the story of an amazing civic wrong, now at last to be righted", and other sources, the allegations were false:

"The accusation against Tourneur had its foundation in the fact that the elder Tourneur had drawn his sword in self-defense, in company with several of his companions, during a political quarrel in France. In the course of the melee a man was killed. Tourneur, with others, fled. The Disosways had held this taunt over Tourneur's head whenever the Magistrates displeased them."

Later, the Tourneurs and Disosways settled their differences and the Disosways moved to Staten Island in 1684. Read more about the circumstances of the melee here.


  • New Harlem past and present; the story of an amazing civic wrong, now at last to be righted, by Carl H. Pierce, W.P. Toler, and H.D. Nutting, 1903, p. 50, 91-92.

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