Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20185116 Details

State:Alabama
Location:Mobile
Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Joseph W. Lesesne Chancellor of the first Chancery District in the Southern Chancery Division in the State of Alabama (LESESNE, Joseph W.)
Filing Date:1851-April-3
Ending Date:1852-February-23

General Petition Information

Abstract:In 1847, urged by a friend named Oliver W. Austin, Susan J. Proctor invested her savings in slave property. She purchased a woman named Virginia for six hundred dollars. She permitted Austin to act as her agent and "effect the trade," paying him three hundred dollars and borrowing three hundred dollars from him in the form of sixty-/ninety-day note. On 17 July 1847, Virginia, who was pregnant at the time of the purchase, gave birth to a boy, who was later given the name of Fernandez, but went by the name of Charles. When Proctor paid off the debt and asked for the title to the slaves, Austin argued that he could not give her the title for the baby until he had been named. Three years later, on a trip to New Orleans, Proctor decided to make that city her new home, and charged her agent in Mobile, James L. McKean, with effecting the transport of Virginia and the three-year-old boy. As the two slaves were boarding a boat in Mobile, however, the sheriff seized the child under a suit brought by Austin claiming title to the boy. In a subsequent jury trial, Austin said he had purchased Virginia and then sold her to Proctor. The baby, however, was his and he claimed ownership. The jury, appraising the child's value at eight hundred dollars (Proctor said the boy was worth three or four hundred dollars), awarded the boy to Austin. Proctor sued, and won a judgment; Austin appealed with a "Writ of Error" to the Alabama Supreme Court, but lost when the Court dismissed the writ.
Result:granted; appealed; upheld
# of Petition Pages:11
Related Documents:Sheriff's Receipt, 4 April 1851; Subpoena, 4 April 1851; Sheriff's Return, 7 April 1851; Demurrer, Oliver W. Austin, 12 April 1851; Decree, 8 January 1852; Decree Pro Confesso, 23 February 1852; Continuance, April 1852; Writ of Error, 27 February 1852; Error Bond, 27 February 1852; Citation in Error, 1 March 1852; Sheriff's Return, 1 March 1852
Pages of Related Documents:10

People Associated with Petition 20185116

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

Citation Information

Repository: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama

  • Alabama Supreme Court Cases, Record Book June 1852
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  • Document Number
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  • Volume: 153
  • Page: 1-19
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Processing Information

Record Created:7/15/1996
Record Final Edited:7/6/1999
Record Last Updated on:5/24/2007 10:43:00 AM