Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20184004 Details

State:Alabama
Location:Talladega
Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Alexander Bowie Chancellor of the Northern Chancery Division of the State of Alabama sitting at Talladega for the fourth District (BOWIE, Alexander)
Filing Date:1840-February-29
Ending Date:1843-December

General Petition Information

Abstract:Josiah Houston of Talladega County asks the Court for a divorce from his wife, Matilda. Josiah claims that at the time of their marriage, Matilda "was pregnant a fact wholly unknown to your said orator and one which she artfully and designedly and fraudulently withheld from him." However, several months after their marriage, "her appearance indicated pregnancy." When confronted, Matilda denied that she was with child, assuring him "that his fears and jealousies should be quieted." Shortly thereafter, he writes, "to his great astonishment," Matilda was "delivered of a black child, the fruits of an illicit intercourse carried on between the said Matilda and a negro slave" belonging to her father. Because "Matilda in the above manner practiced a fraud too dark and damning to be tolerated in … a christian community, and whereby she cancelled and forfeited all obligations on his part to support, comfort assist and maintain her as well as all obligation to live with her as his wife," Josiah asks that the matrimonial bonds between them be dissolved. In an earlier petition, Matilda, a widow, had filed for divorce, alleging that her husband had abandoned her, had stolen her slave, and was getting ready to remove from the state and leave her penniless.
Result:dismissed
# of Petition Pages:3
Related Documents:PAR #20183901; Subpoena, Matilda Houston, 29 February 1840; Order, February 1841; Continuance, November 1842; Dismissal, December 1843
Pages of Related Documents:0

People Associated with Petition 20184004

Slaves:0
Free Persons of Color:0
Defendants:1
Petitioners:1
Other People:0

Citation Information

Repository: Talladega County Judicial Building, Talladega, Alabama

  • Records of the Circuit Court, Final Records 1843-1846
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  • Page: 55-56
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Processing Information

Record Created:10/24/1995
Record Final Edited:7/10/1999
Record Last Updated on:3/22/2007 1:57:00 PM