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

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-rine undertook to purchase said Sylvester for, as well as Respondent recollects, Some $250. Next the Respondent then being a young Man and the oldest son of said Catharine, from the [illegible] of his labour contributed largely the amount necessary for the purchase of said Sylvester. But that the bill of sale for him, drawn as Respondent has heard & believes, by Col: [illegible] Smith of Berryville, Clarke County Va. was made to said Catharine, and that thereby said Sylvester was conveyed to her, as Respondent has heard and believes, as a Slave for life, and that he never was emancipated Respondent believes and therefore [owns?] that the said deed of trust alleged in the sd bill of the complainant to have been Made by said Sylvester for his indemnity &c, if Made at all, was not made with the knowledge of Said Catharine, or with her [illegible] in any way. Also, that he believes and therefore avers, that she was equally ignorant of the other dealings & [illegible] , detailed in said bill as tending to Slaves, [illegible] , that said Sylvester was ever a free man, or that he he was held out as such to the World, by the said Catharine. He avers also that the [illegible] of said deed of trust, if made at all, was not made with, by Respondent's knowledge and assent, as he believes, that, as hereafter shown, he had an equitable right and interest in said house & lot, said in the bill to have been so conveyed on trust, and therefore would, if he had been appraised of the execution of said deed of trust, or the intention to execute it, have objected thereto, and resisted it by all Means in his power. Said bill of sale for said Sylvester, Was, As Respondent has heard & believes, carefully [illegible] by said Catherine during her life & kept in her possession - together with a Number of papers which belong to the Respondent and should he [have departed?] with her, as he was labouring man working about where he could get work, for safe keeping - That after her death, the Respondent knowing then his said Mother, Catherine, kept said bill of sale &c, also referred to, [illegible] in order to get [illegible] of them as were his, but could not find them and always believed & still believes that said Hiram O Jordan had Seized upon the whole of them, and withheld them from him, and that he kept them, including said bill of sale amongst his papers and that after his death, and the qualification of Complainant as his administrator, he took possession thereof, and still has them in his possession, and so believing he avers that such was the case, and asks that the complainant hereby be compelled to produce and exhibit said bill of sale, for the inspection of this Court. In this [connection?] Respondent [illegible] to state, that said Hiram O Jordan could make & Enter as Respondent has heard & believes If however the Respondent should be mistaken in the belief that said bill of sale is in the possession of said Complainant, he does not doubt that it was in that of said Hiram O Jordan up to the date of his death, and that if not destroyed, it is now amongst his papers and probably in the possession of said Maria. Said Respondent further answering saith, that altho it may be possible and he is informed is the fact that the Lot referred to in said bill was nominally conveyed to said Sylvester: yet was if such was the case, that it was the [illegible] of the person who wrote the deed [therefor?] , or other papers [concerned?] with said Jordan, as it was understood to have been Made in the Name of said Catharine, for her own an and that of such of her children as contributed to raise the purchase Money therefor, and to defray the expense of writing thereon a [dwelling?], and putting an [endorser?] [illegible] the same. The [illegible] of the purchase Money for said lot, was furnished by said Catharine from her own means and money that this Respondent furnished to her for that purpose: And the expense of erecting said dwelling &c, was principally defrayed by this Respondent, in Money & labor together. Some considerable hauling [illegible] , to assist in paying for the [illegible] in said dwelling, was [illegible] done by said Sylvester under the direction &c of Catherine, to whom, as before stated, he belonged. He may also have done other hauling [illegible] with the erection &c of said dwelling &c, but if so, the Respondent does not at present recollect, that such was the fact, and the [illegible] of his labour, [illegible] of [illegible] belonged to said Catherine, may have been appropriated to some interest & to the purchase of said lot and the [illegible] of said dwelling &c, and some of the other transactions [illegible] them with [illegible] through some Mistake or [error?] of purchaser of the person, or persons, also [illegible] the witness consented with [illegible] , may also have been in his Name. Neither said Catharine, or this Respondent could read writing; not could said Sylvester or any other member of the family of said Catharine, except said Hiram O Jordan, could read writing, nor indeed was printing [illegible] . Under these circumstances, this Respondent always believed, neither knowing then, or now, the form in which the business was arranged, that a large interest was secured to him as said Lot &c, as he well knew he was entitled to the same until some four years ago Some time previous however to the 7th day of Jany 1854, this Respondent heard by some means, that the said Lot &c, had not been conveyed pursuant to said understanding &c, and that there was matters in it, to [illegible] him his part interest therein, as an [illegible] for the means [illegible] he had contributed, as above state, for its purchase and the erection of said dwelling &c; but that it had been conveyed absolutely to said Sylvester. In consequence of so hearing, he prevailed on said Sylvester, to meet with him in consulting Counsel as to the best means of [correcting?] the [illegible] securing to him his witnesses in the Subject. [illegible] , counsel was [illegible], to return all the facts [illegible] disclosed, including that of said Sylvester being or was supposed a Slave, and the result was the invention of the paper herewith exhibited marked Respondent [illegible] No 1.