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Lemmon: Freedom Suit, Augusta County

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Will and Testament Signed Sealed and published and delivered this 18 day of May 1811 to be the last Will and Testament of Joseph Holmes in the presents of __ &c. The evidence taken in Open Court to prove and support said Will or Copy. The evidence of James P. Prior one of the witnesses to the last Will and testament of Joseph Holmes lately deceased taken in Open Court, This Witness being first duly sworn to relate his recollection of the said Will deposeth and Answereth in the manner following Question 1st. Did you sign the last Will and testament of Joseph Holmes of which the foregoing is the substance at his request in his presence as his last Will and Testament. Answer I did with this difference that to the best of my recollection the residue of the estate after the legacies etc. was to be divided between his brother in law McGuire and Mr. Conrad. Question ? did you see him sign the Will himself? Answer I did. 3rdly was he in his proper senses. Answer I believe he was. The Testimony of John Stewart another of the witnesses to the same Will. Question. did you see Joseph Holmes sign his last Will and Testament of which you believe the foregoing to be the Substance? Answer Except Mr. Conrad was mentioned in the Will Whether as a legatee or not I don't know. Answer I did. Did you sign it as a witness in his presence and at his request? Answer I did. Was he in his senses? Answer I believe he was. The testimony of Charles Neal relative to the said Will and Testament of Joseph Holmes deceased, being duly sworn deposeth and saith. Question. Did you see Joseph Holmes sign his last Will and Testament of which the foregoing is the substance? Answer I did except that Mr. Conrad was to inherit half the residue after the legacies were paid. 2ndly Did you sign it at his request and in his presence? Answer I Did. Did you think he as in his proper senses? Answer. I Did. That the Defendant John Reynolds after administration granted to him as aforesaid and before the institution of this suit [forcibly?] against the will of the said Lemmon took possession of the Plaintiff Lemmon as of the goods and chattles [chattels] of the said Joseph Holmes Deceased and holds him the said Lemmon in possession and in Slavery forcibly against the Will of the said Lemmon. If the Law be for the plaintiff we find for the Plainiff one cent damages - and if the Law be for the Defendant, we find for the Defendant" And time is taken by the Court to consider of its Judgment to be given thereupon etc. And at this day viz the 14 day of August 1812 first aforesaid came the parties by there attorneys, and thereupon the matters of Law arising upon the Special Verdict (as aforesaid) being argued it seems to the Court here that the law is for the Plaintiff. Therefore it is considered by the Court that the Plaintiff recover against the defendant one cent the damages by the Jury in their Verdict assessed. From which Judgment the Defendant prayed an appeal in to the next Superior Court of Law holden for Kanawha County which is allowed accordingly. A True Copy from the Records

Teste J. Bryan, CCK And for reasons appearing to the Court this Appeal is continued until the next Term. And now at this day to wit: at a Superior Court held as aforesaid on the day and year first herein mentioned came the parties by their Attorneys thereupon the transcript of the record of the Judgment aforesaid, being seen and inspected and the arguments of Councel [Council] heard, It seems to the Court that the Judgment of the said County Court is erroneous, in this; that Judgment on the Special Verdict aforesaid out to have been for the defendant, Therefore it is considered by the Court, that the said Judgment, be reversed and annulled and this court proceeding to give such Judgment as the County Court ought to have given