Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20185204 Details

State:Alabama
Location:Madison
Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Chancellor of the Northern Chancery Division of the State of Alabama sitting at Huntsville for the 32nd District (, )
Filing Date:1852-August-31
Ending Date:1858-January-8

General Petition Information

Abstract:Emily Cornelius states that she had fled from her home with her three-month-old son, for fear of the violence inflicted on her by her husband, William Cornelius, a "habitual drunkard." She contends that William treated her in a most "cruel barbarous & inhuman" manner; he inflicted "violent blows with his fists & feet;" and he menaced her with threats of "the most dreadful character" including death. On one occasion, in a drunken rage, he even struck his own mother, who lived on the plantation. Emily seeks a divorce, custody of the child, and alimony as the court "may deem meet." Cornelius is a man of considerable wealth and property, Emily explains, worth between thirty-five and forty thousand dollars. He owns more than eight hundred acres of plantation land and "about thirty five" slaves. In addition, he "has a valuable crop of Corn & Cotton growing on his said plantation & a considerable Amount of good debts due to him." In response, Cornelius admitted that he occasionally drank to excess, but denied that he ever physically abused his wife. In any event, she knew he drank from the beginning. On their wedding day in 1845 he could barely stand and suffered from one of the "worst of his paroxysms of intoxication" during his life.
Result:partially granted; appealed
# of Petition Pages:4
Related Documents:Copies of Schedule A-Inventory of Land and Slaves, William Cornelius, 1852; Summons, William Cornelius, 1 September 1852; Answer, William Cornelius, 1852; Orders, 3 December 1852, 30 May 1853, 1 February 1854, 7 December 1854, 8 June 1855; Final Decree, 9 June 1855; Complainant's Exceptions, June 1855; Defendant's Exceptions, June 1855; Appeal Bond, 29 June 1855; Decree, Alabama Supreme Court, 8 January 1858; see also Copy of Bill of Complaint, Emily Cornelius, 1 August 1852, and related documents, in Alabama Supreme Court, Cases, Cornelius v. Cornelius, volume 221, January 1858, pp. 1-8, 88-9, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.
Pages of Related Documents:21

People Associated with Petition 20185204

Slaves:26
Free Persons of Color:0
Defendants:1
Petitioners:2
Other People:2

Citation Information

Repository: Madison County Public Library Archives, Huntsville, Alabama

  • Records of the Chancery Court, Chancery Records 1857
  • Record Group:
  • Document Number
  • Box:
  • Folder:
  • Book: C-24-26
  • Volume: V
  • Page: 605-18
  • Microfilm:

Processing Information

Record Created:11/7/1995
Record Final Edited:7/16/1999
Record Last Updated on:5/29/2007 9:29:00 AM