Alfred: Freedom Suit, Prince Edward County (Part 3 of 7)
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1 Procedings before the Circuit Court of Chesterfield County on the 10th day of May 1856 in the case of Betty & others Plts against Wilkins Hall Deft In TAB & TJ Be it remembered, that heretofore, to wit, at a circuit court continued and held for the said County on the 5th day of May 1856, the plaintiffs filed their petition in the words and figures following, to wit, To the Honorable John W. Nash, Judge of the Circuit Court of Chesterfield County The petition of Betty, Rebecca, Nelson, Peter, Aggy and her two children Caroline and Edmund, Sylvia and her three children Dolly, Winny and Vina, Joe, Orange, Isham, Isbell, Rachel, Sarah, Louisa, Maria, Mary, Sophia, negroes who were detained in slavery by Jordan Anderson the younger in his lifetime and are now detained in slavery by Wilkins Hall his Executor, but who claim to be free, humbly represents that they are descendants of Rachel a negro woman who was the slave of Jordan Anderson the elder, but was emancipated by deed made by him on the 7th and recorded in the County Court on the 8th April 1790, and by the will of Jordan Anderson the elder dated 1st January 1805 & a codicil thereto which were proved in the County Court of Chesterfield on the 9th December 1805 as will appear on reference to the said deed, will & codicil, copies of which will be filed with this petition That the said Rachel had four children born before the death of the said Jordan Anderson, the elder, and then living, to wit; the said Betty & three others: Milly, Isbell Esther, from whom your other petitioners the said Betty herself have descended. The testator departed this life in December 1805 and his widow who survived him died in the latter part of the same or in the following month. The said Jordan Anderson Junr qualified as one of the Executors & accepted the property given him by his father's will, and entered upon and occupied he land or some part of it until his death, when it passed to his children & grand children his devises. The land has since proved to be of great value, coal having been found on it, much greater than was then supposed. Your petitioner Betty charges that she became entitled to her freedom upon the death of the widow Jordan Anderson the elder, and your other petitioners that they have been entitled to their freedom ever since Their births respectivly; nevertheless they have been detained in slavery and are still detained as aforesaid Your