Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20184808 Details

State:Alabama
Location:Dallas
Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Wylie W Mason Chancellor of the Middle Chancery Division of the State of Ala Setting in & for the 19th District at Cahaba in Dallas County (MASON, Wylie W.)
Filing Date:1848-October-7
Ending Date:1858-July-7

General Petition Information

Abstract:In 1839, Elizabeth Hassell of Hickman County, Tennessee, married Alexander C. Hamilton, who had many debts and no property. Elizabeth's father, Joseph Hassell, gave the bride 220 acres of land, and loaned the couple a family of slaves consisting of Sophia and her seven children. Before long, Hamilton had sold the land and one of the slaves. Joseph Hassell sued to recover his other slaves, but Hamilton refused to turn them over. Then in 1843, the two men reached a court sanctioned agreement, whereby Hassell gave the couple a life estate in the slaves, on the condition that the slaves not be subject to Alexander's debts and not be taken out of the state of Tennessee. The agreement also stipulated that, in case Elizabeth died without children, the life estate would be split between James Hassell and Alexander Hamilton. Later Elizabeth and Alexander sold Alexander's interest in the life estate to James, but later Alexander purchased the slaves back, a transaction attested by two bills of sale. Alexander later sold two more slaves. Elizabeth charges that Alexander then began to treat her "with great Cruelty & barbarity." Once, she said, he nearly choked her to death; he was also guilty of adultery. And one night in 1848, Alexander stole away, taking five of the slaves to Dallas County. Elizabeth seeks an attachment on the slaves, and a subpoena requiring her husband to answer charges. Related testimony reveals that Alexander was in the habit of frequenting houses of ill repute and even applied to a physician for medicine to treat a venereal disease. This case was filed in both Tennessee and Alabama, the latter being the state where James had taken the slaves; it went up all the way to the Alabama Supreme Court. Alexander and Elizabeth where divorced. In 1850, Elizabeth was awarded the slaves who had not been sold by Alexander; the slaves were delivered to her in 1852.
Result:granted; appealed; reversed; remanded
# of Petition Pages:11
Related Documents:PARs #20185007, #21484825, #21484848; Copies of Agreement, Maury County, Tennessee, Joseph Hassell, Alexander C. Hamilton, Elizabeth Hamilton, 28 September 1843; Court Order, Maury County, Tennessee, ca. 1843; Report of Register, Dallas County, Alabama, 9 October 1848; Bill of Complaint, Maury County, Tennessee, Elizabeth Hamilton, 20 October 1848; Supplemental Bill, Dallas County, Alabama, Elizabeth Hamilton, ca. 1850; Final Decree, Maury County, Tennessee, 28 March 1850; Certificate, William Trousdale, Governor of Tennessee, 21 May 1850; Agreement, Dallas County, Alabama, Elizabeth Hamilton and A. C. Hamilton, 5 December 1851; Orders, Dallas County, Alabama, November 1852--November 1853. Also included from Alabama Supreme Court Cases, Vol. 225, pp. 1-85, the following; Transcript, Supreme Court of Tennessee, 26 October 1850; Copy of Petition of Elizabeth Hamilton, Maury County, Tennessee, [20 October 1848]; Answer, Alexander C. Hamilton, 22 February 1849; Bill of Sale, Hickman County, Tennessee, Joseph Hassell to Alexander C. Hamilton, 9 December 1843; Bill of Sale, Alexander and Elizabeth Hamilton to James Hassell, 9 December 1843; Bill of Sale, Joseph and Mary Hassell to Alexander Hamilton, 17 November 1845; Depositions, Hickman County, Tennessee, David M. Belcher, Daniel B. Auglin, C[a]roline Bibb, 25 July 1849; Jennett M. Coleman, William W. Coleman, John Green, A. R. Richards, James H. Richards, James Auglin, William C. Allen, Washington P. Dodson, 8 September 1849; Deposition, John M. Bibb, 18 September 1849; Decree, 28 March 1850; Appeal Bond, 22 April 1850; Supreme Court Decree, 15 September 1851; Copy of Petition, Elizabeth Hamilton, Dallas County, Alabama, 7 October 1848; Agreement, Alexander Hamilton and Joseph Hassell, Maury County, Tennessee, 28 September 1843; Decree, 26 September 1848; Bond, 9 October 1848; Attachment, 9 October 1848; Subpoena, 9 October 1848; Answer, Alexander Hamilton, 2 December 1848; Deed of Gift, 5 September 1837; Bill of Sale, Alexander C. and Elizabeth Hamilton to Joseph Hassell, 26 March 1844; Bill of Sale, Alexander C. and Elizabeth Hamilton to Joseph Hassell, 26 November 1844; Bill of Sale, Joseph and Mary Hassell to Alexander C. Hamilton, 17 November 1845; Bill of Sale, Joseph Hassell to Alexander C. Hamilton, 23 April 1844; Original Bills, [7 October 1848], 1850; Decree, 10 April 1850; Orders, 1850-1857
Pages of Related Documents:95

People Associated with Petition 20184808

Slaves:12
Free Persons of Color:0
Defendants:1
Petitioners:2
Other People:5

Citation Information

Repository: Dallas County Courthouse Annex, Selma, Alabama

  • Records of the Circuit Court, Chancery Records 1852-1854 Vol. J
  • Volume: J
  • Page: 510-522, 542-548

Processing Information

Record Created:11/3/1995
Record Final Edited:11/14/1999
Record Last Updated on:5/10/2007 9:27:00 AM