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Alfred: Freedom Suit, Amelia County

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[left page] that no advantage may be taken of them, that can conveniently be prevented, but let them have woodland as well as cleared &c. all which will fully and at large appear by reference to an office copy of the said will, and certificate of probat herewith exhibited as a part of this petition. That the testator departed this life in December 1805, and his widow who survived, departed this life in the latter part of December 1805, or in the early part of January 1806. That the said Jordan Anderson junior accepted the property devised and bequeathed to him by his fathers said will, under the said will. Your petitioners are advised and charge that under the will of Jordan Anderson senior, they became entitled to their freedom, on the death of the testator, the enjoyment of which was only posponed until they should respectively attain the age of twenty one years, and until the death of the testator's widow. That they have illegally detained in slavery from the respective periods at which they respectively attained the age of twenty one years, as have all their children from their respective births: but especially all who have been born of your petitioners respectively since your petitioners respectively attained the age of twenty one years. Your petitioners the premises considered pray this honorable court to make the proper order admitting them and their children to sue Jordan Anderson Junior for their freedom in forma pauperis, in this honorable court, who now detains them and their children in slavery; and to assign your petitioners and their children counsel to institute and prosecute their suit, and to make all necessary and proper orders, to protect your petitioners and their children from maltreatment and abuse; and to afford your petitioners and their children a fair trial of their claim to freedom; and your petitioners will ever pray &c. [right page] To the Honorable John W. Nash, Judge of the circuit court of Chesterfield County. The petition of Betty, Rebecca, Nelson, Peter, Aggy, and her two children Caroline, and Edmund, Sylvia and her three children Dolly, Winny and Vina, Joe, Orange, Isham, Isbell Rachel, Sarah, Louisa, Maria Mary, Sophia, negroes who were detained in slavery by Jordan Anderson the younger, in his lifetime, and are now detained in slavery by Welkins Hall his Executor, but who claim to be free, humbly represents, that they are descendants of Rachel, a negro woman who was the slave of Jordan Anderson the elder, but was emancipated by deed made by him the 7th and recorded in the county court on the 8th April 1790 and by the will of Jordan Anderson the elder dated 1st January 1805 and a codicil thereto which were proved in the county of Chesterfield on 9th December 1805: as will appear on reference to the said deed, will & codicil, copies of which will be filed with this petition. That the said Rachel had four children from before the death of Jordan Anderson the elder and then living to wit: the said Betty and three others, Milly, Isbell, Esther, from whom your other petitioners have descended. The testator departed this life in December 1805 and his widow who survived him, died in the latter part of the same, or in the following month. The said Jordan Anderson Junr. qualified as one of the executors and accepted the property given him by his fathers will; and entered upon and occupied the land or some part of it, until his death; when it passed to his children & grand children his devisees. The land has since proved to be of great value, coal having been found on it, much greater than was then supposed. Your petitioner Betty charges that she became entitled to her freedom upon the death of the widow of Jordan Anderson the elder and your other petitioners that they have been entitled to their freedom