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Lemmon: Freedom Suit, Augusta County

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Virginia Kanawha County Sct. Pleas held before Justices of the Court of Kanawha County the 14th day of August 1812 and in the 37 year of the Commonwealth Be it remembered that heretofore to wit at a Court held for the said County, at the Court House thereof on the 2nd day of August 1811 on the motion of Lemmon a black man who is detained in Slavery by John Reynolds who was appointed by the Court of this County to collect and preserve the property of Joseph Holmes deceased of this County. He is allowed to sue the said John Reynolds in this Court for his freedom in forma pauperis and James Wilson Esq. is assigned his Council to prosecute the said Suit. Whereupon the said Council made an exact statement of the circumstances to the Court with his opinion thereupon, in the words following to wit To Worshipful the Justices of Kanawha County the Humble petition of Lemmon a black man, Sheweth that he was the property of Joseph Holmes decd late of Kanawha County and Commonwealth of Virginia, at the time of his death, that the said Joseph Holmes legally executed, signed sealed and published his last Will and testament which a verry [very] Short time before his death was inadvertently destroyed without the Knowledge or participation and against the wish of the said Joseph Holmes who afterwards verbally expressed his desire that the provision of the said Will should be carried into effect. That the the said Will your petitioner was emancipated and set free from Slavery or directed so to be. Notwithstanding the premises John Reynolds who was appointed by this Worshipful Court to collect and preserve the property of the said Joseph Holmes decd. hath taken your Peititioner [petitioner] into his possession as of the estate of the said Joseph Holmes decd. and detained your petitioner in Slavery. Your petitioner further sheweth that by reason of his poverty he is unable to prosecute for his freedom unless he be admitted to so in forma pauperis. Your petitioner therefore most humbly prays Your worships that he may be admitted to prosecute the aforesaid John Reynolds for his freedom, that he may be admitted so to do in forma pauperis, and that W. James