Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20183901 Details

Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Chancellor of the Northern Division holding the Chancery Court for the fourth District at the Town of Talladega
Filing Date:1839-August-10
Ending Date:1840-February

General Petition Information

Abstract:Matilda Houston seeks title to the slave Dinah and an injunction against her husband, Josiah Houston. Dinah was given to Matilda by her father James Allums while she was married to her first husband, D. Allen. When Allen died, his estate was settled and "the said nigro [sic] Dinah was allotted to your oratrix as her portion in part of the said Estate." Three years later Matilda married Josiah Houston. Matilda describes her marriage to Houston as one where "they have lived hapily & peaceably together until within the last five or six weeks past." Josiah, she states, has now "secretly become estranged in his affections towards your oratrix." She claims that he has attempted and succeeded in stealing Dinah and is preparing to move to Texas, and that he "is determined to abandon her and leave her penniless in the world." Matilda seeks an injunction to prevent her husband from leaving the state with the slave. She further asks the court to place the slave in safekeeping and to arrest Josiah Houston. Finally, the petitioner asks that the court order Josiah to furnish her with some means of support. The court dismissed the suit, reasoning that a husband has absolute title to property brought to the marriage by his wife. The court also alludes to Josiah Houston's claim that he had reason to abandon Matilda since she had given birth six months after they were married to a "mulatto child" fathered by a slave -- the husband of Dinah.
# of Petition Pages:3
Related Documents:PAR #20184004; Deposition, Sarah Jackson, 9 January 1840; Certificate of Justices, 9 January 1840; Dismissal, February 1840
Pages of Related Documents:4

People Associated with Petition 20183901

Free Persons of Color:0
Other People:1

Citation Information

Repository: Talladega County Judicial Building, Talladega, Alabama

  • Records of the Circuit Court, Final Records 1839-1841
  • Volume: 1
  • Page: 226-28; 237-40

Processing Information

Record Created:4/29/1998
Record Final Edited:7/10/1999
Record Last Updated on:3/20/2007 1:46:00 PM