Hannah: Freedom Suit, Arlington County (Part 1 of 3)
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of such service the said Stephen should emancipate his two children your Complainants Hannah and Peggy. That the said Charles did in execution of the said contract faithfully serve the said Stephen for the second term of seven years, whereby his children Hannah and Peggy became entitled to their freedom. That they were accordingly discharged by the said Stephen from his service and were from that time supported by their father during his life - Whether any deed of emancipation was executed your complainants know not. They have never been able to discover it, if it was executed - That after the said Hannah and Peggy became entitled to their freedom under the contract before stated, the said Hannah had a child she complainant Rebecca, and the said Peggy had six children named as complainants as aforesaid. That in the year the said Charles Jackson departed this life, and in the year the said Stephen West also departed this life - That Charles West who had been named executor in the will of the said Stephen, having renounced the Executorship, Arthur P. West, whom your complainants pray to be made defendant hereto, duly qualified as administrator with the will annexed - And that the said Arthur discovering that your complainants had no evidence of their freedom, seized on them as slaves and removed them from Prince Georges County in Maryland where they and the said Stephen and Arthur had resided, to Alexandria in the District of Columbia and there sold them as slaves to a Lothren trader, being well aware of the illegality of the act and that your Complainant could not be detained as slaves if within reach of the evidence of their right to freedom - All of which actings and doings of the said Arthur are contrary to equity and conscience and to the great injury and oppression of your complainant - In tender consideration whereof and in as much as your Complainants have no remedy in the premises as Common Law and can only be received by the interposition of your Honorable Court where matters of this kind, are properly cognizable, and to the end that the said Arthur may on oath, full, true and perfect answer make, to all and every of the matters before charged, as fully as if they were severally repeated and specially interrogated, and particularly that he may say whether the said Stephen West in his life time entered into the said contracts before stated with the said Charles Jackson or into either of them - Whether the said Charles on his part served the said Stephen as a servant - how long he did so - and under what contract and for what consideration - Are not your complainants Hannah and Peggy the children of the said Charles Jackson and of his wife Rebecca, and have they not always been taken and reputed