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Admr. of Hiram Jordan vs. Margaret Swann, etc: Chancery Cause, Frederick County (Part 1 of 4)

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over the title, your orator and the trustees thought it most prudent not to sell. Your orator knows that said Sylvester Jordan for many years has been considered and recognized as a free man, that as far back as 25 'January 1840 he purchased the lot aforesaid of Robert Barr Jr in his own name, received the deed for it in his own name, & that he afterwards built a house on it, Rob Barr Jr doing the brick work & that he in his own name executed a Deed of trust to secure the debt due to Barr and paid it off and the release was executed to him, and during all this time his wife was living, permitted this to be done and by her conduct held him out to the world as a free man, and your orator upon the faith of all these facts, and that said Sylvester always passed as a free man became the security in the obligations to Mrs. Swann, and your orator submits to the court that it will not now be permitted that said Catharine if she were living or her children who are voluntary claiming under her, shall set up the claim that he was a slave to her and they deceived and defraud others. Respondant submits that under all these circumstances and after this lapse of time, his emancipation will be presumed, if he was ever the slave of his wife, and if that will not be presumed, that the court will not permit her children voluntary claiming under her, to set up the claim that he is a slave and thus defraud those who had the right to believe that he was free from his course of dealing &c.to his wife. If he was a slave, the title is still in said Robert Barr Jr,. who your orator is satisfied is willing to convey it in such a manner as to carry out the intent of the parties. The said Hiram O. Jordan contributed largely to the building of the house on said lot and said Sylvester Jordan on the 1 Mar 1856 granted by this estate to send [service?] for [Holdcome?] of $500, and also to Lucinda Jordan for $80. advanced by her It is proper to state that after said notice your orator was appointed administrator of the estate of said H. O. Jordan. The personal estate exclusive of the wife & children {if they are slaves) amounts to about $40 or $50. It may be proper to state in this connexion, that said Maria the wife of said Hiram O Jordan, has had four children since he purchased her, viz. Sarah Catharine, Elizabeth Frances, James William and an infant named John a few months old. They have not been emancipated, but it was understood that they were to be emancipated by said H. O. Jordan or by Mrs. Swann, and therefore to secure the debt the Deed of trust was given upon the house & lot by Sylvester Jordan, so your orator has recently been informed by the gentleman who acted as agent for Mrs. Swann, altho such an understanding was not known to your orator when he became the surety in said obligations but apprehensive that the wife Maria might die or go away the Deed of trust was required by complainant and your orator understands that the said Maria claims the right to freedom in behalf of herself & her children. Your orator would prefer that they should be free if the house and lot is liable to the payment of the said obligations, as he liking from what he now understands, such a result would carry out what ever the object of the parties. If from any cause however the house & lot is not liable, your orator is advise that said Maria & her children are liable for the payment of the debts of said H. O Jordan, but especially for the debt contracted in purchasing her. Your orator therefore desires the court to decide whether the said house & lot or the said Maria & her children are liable for the payment of said obligations. He thinks it probable that the small amount of personal property will pay the other debts & expenses of administration. Catharine Jordan the wife of said Sylvester Jordan is dead as before stated, but no one has administrated on her estate, she left several children viz. Lewis now living, Sarah, & Lucinda also living Baylor who died after his mother leaving a child named Sylvester, there were other children, who died in the lifetime of their mother without issue. Hiram O. Jordan who died recently leaving the children above named who are his heirs if they are free; and if they are not free, the said Lewis, Sarah and Lucinda will be his heirs, unless his father Sylvester Jordan is free, in which event he will be the heir. To the end that Justice may be done your orator prays that said Margaret Swann, James P Riely, David W Barton, Philip Williams, Sylvester Jordan, Lewis Jordan, Sarah Jordan, Lucinda Jordan Sylvester Jordan child of Baylor Jordan, Maria Jordan & her infant children Sarah Catharine, Elizabeth Frances, James William & John, and Robert Barr Jr may be made defendants to the bill and answer the same upon oath, the adults in proper person, the infants by guardians ad litem, that the court will decide whether the said house & lot is liable for the payment of said obligations or not; if not liable, whether the said Maria & her children are to be regarded as slaves liable for the payment thereof or not, and that such other & further relief as is proper may be granted &c. Sarah Jordan lives in Lynchburg, Margaret Swann in Clark county and the other defendants in Frederick county.