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Alice: Freedom Suit, Arlington County

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To the honorable the judges of the Circuit Court of the district of Columbia for the County of Alexandria sitting in Chancery - Humbly complaining your oratrix Alice sheweth unto your honors that she formerly was held as a slave in the state of Maryland by one Francis Edelen (& whom she prays may be made a defendant to this bill) that she continued in the family of said Edelen for many years, that is until she was about sixteen years of age, during all which time she was treated by him with great kindness. That the said Edelen remained until after she had been discharged from his service, as he had always before been, an unmarried man. That about five years ago the said Edelen put into the hands of your oratrix a written paper, which he called her free papers - & from that time she considered herself as emancipated. But for some time she continued to go at large as a free person in the neighborhood of said Edelen, with his knowledge & approbation. That she then went openly, & she believes with the perfect knowledge of said Edelen) to the City of Washington, where she continued to reside unmolested until about the commencement of this fall (i.e. 1819). That your Oratrix has unfortunately lost the papers which was given to her by said Edelen when she was discharged from his service: and which she is informed & believes was a full & sufficient deed of emancipation and that she has heard & believes his circumstances have become very much embarrassed since that time, & that some short time since she was suddenly seized, thrown into jail, & sold to one Peter Mortey (whom also she prays may be made a defendant hereto) who is about to remove her to some part of the Southern or Western Country. That this complainant has been informed she was sold by a certain woman who has for some years