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Jacob: Chancery Cause, Halifax County (Part 1 of 2)

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The answer of Isaac Medley Executor of Philip E. Vass & admr. with the will annexed of Philip Vass to a bill of complaint exhibited against him in the circuit superior court of Law and Chancery for the county of Halifax by Jacob, Mary, Sam, Meriwether, Patty & Matilda, persons of colour, who by leave of court sue in forma pauperism. This respondent reserving and saving etc. for answer to said bill or so much thereof as he is advised it is material for him to answer answers & says that he admits that he is Executor of Philip E. Vass decd. - and also is Admr. with the will annexed of Philip Vass decd. - he admits the will of Philip E. Vass, as set forth & made a part of the plaintiffs bill, the will of Philip Vass as likewise set forth, and the record of the proceedings of the County Court of Halifax for the division of the slaves of the said Philip Vass decd. & that the plaintiffs were assigned as alledged to the said Philip E. Vass Est under the will of the said Philip Vass decd. This respondent has always been willing since the payment of the debt, of the said Philip E. Vass & of Philip Vass Senr. (which he admits are now discharged) to liberate the plaintiffs provided that under a fair construction of the whole will and all the specification and provided conditions thereof the plaintiffs are entitled under the laws of this county to the benefits intended them by the testator Philip E. Vass. Your respondent however understands there is great doubt among the distributees of P. E. Vass whether the provisions of the will in relation to the plaintiffs are valid & effectual for that purpose and fearing that he may be held responsible