Lemmon: Freedom Suit, Augusta County
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Orator petitioned the County Court of Kanawha, to be permitted to bring Suit in forma Pauperis against John Reynolds the administrator who held your Orator as a Slave etc. The said Court of Kanawaha granted your Orators petition, (which will fully appear by a reference to the record). That Councel was assigned your Orator and proper process issued etc. That the said Suit progressed regularly on this docquet untill [until] the June term 1812 when a Jury was impounded to try the fact Whether your Orator was a free man or a Slave, That the said Jury found a special Verdict (after having all the testimony before them;) and in which is contained the last will and testament of the said Joseph Holmes deceased, That the court took time to consider of what Judgment they ought to give on the Law arising on the special Verdict (as contained in the record) and at August Term 1812, the matters of law arising on the special Verdict as aforesaid being fully argued the Court of Kanawha County gave Judgment in favour of your Orator, And from which said Judgment the Administrator John Reynolds prayed an appeal to the next Superior Court of law for Kanawha County, which was granted him etc. And at the last Term of the Superior Court of Law for Kanawha County (April 1813) the appeal was argued before the Superior Court of Law which said Court has rendered the Judgment of the County Court and your Orator is now in the possession of the said John Reynolds, as the property of the said Joseph Holmes decd. etc. Upon which Judgment of the Superior Court, the Counsel that was assigned your Orator prayed an appeal to the high Court of Appeals in this Commonwealth. But your Orator is advised that redress or relief may be had in your Honourable Court. Your Orator is advised briefly to state the reasons upon which the Superior Court of Law gave Judgment. Which were that the Will of Joseph Holmes deceased had been destroyed. That the County Court had no power or right to admit any other than written Wills to record. That in the first instance there ought to have been a Suit in Chancery to set up or establish the Will that was destroyed by accident and that your Orators only relief was in a Court of equity etc.
Your Orator therefore prays that the Will which has been found by the Jury; that was empannelled [impelled] to try the fact &c. and which is contained in the record, may be set up, reinstated, and established by your Honour in your Honourable Court, and that your Honour will decree that the provisions of the same shall be carried into effect particularly that your Orator may have the judgment of his freedom and the legacy bequeathed to him and that your Honour will grant such other and further relief as may seem to your Honour, right and just. Your Orator therefore prays that the said John Reynolds administrator of Joseph Holmes decd. Edward McGuire and Elizabeth his wife Elisha Boyd and his wife, Moses and Gertrude his wife, Hugh Holmes, David Holmes, Andrew H. Holmes, Rebecca Gerrard may be made Defendants to this Bill of Complaint, and that they be compelled to answer all their and Singular the premises, as fully and as plainly as if they were again particularly set forth and interogated. [interrogated]. And that the said John Reynolds be bound in a penalty not to convey away your Orator to any person until the determination of this Suit. But that he may remain in his the said John Reynold's possession etc. Your Orator also prays that by reasons of his poverty he may be admitted to sue in forma Pauperis, and that an attorney practicing in your Honourable Court may be assigned Your Orator as his Counsel or attorney, And that your Honour will be pleased to grant to your Orator the Commonwealths most most gracious writ of Subpoena & your Orator will ever pray etc. Lemmon Nash Legrand, the husband, and Rebecca Legrand, Elizabeth Legrand heir of Legrand dcd.