Lewis: Freedom Suit, Cumberland County
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Lewis &Tom To the venerable, the justices of the county court of Cumberland sitting. Your petitioner humbly begs leave to represent to your worships that he was the slave of John J Reynolds deceased of this county where he served faithfully during his life and since the death of the said Reynolds he has been illegally detained in slavery by his representatives. That his former master the said Reynolds during his life in consideration of his fidelity, good conduct, and the many valuable services which your petitioner had rendered him, determined that after his death your petitioner should serve no other man but have the entire control and disposal of himself. That the sd Reynolds expressed this resolution and intention of emancipating your petitioner frequently during the latter part of his life not only to your petitioner but to his family and many of his neighbors and also that he expressed the sd [said] intention a very short time before his late illness as your petitioner will be able to prove by the persons whose affidavits are herewith filed and by many others of his friends and associates. Your petitioner begs leave to state further that some very short time Before the death of the sd Reynolds and after he had made his will which has since been admitted to record in this court in which he has expressly excepted your pet. from the specific legacies therein contained, said he had not disposed of of your pet. by that will. That he did not intend that to regulate the destiny of your pet but intended at some after time to make some provision whereby your petitioner should after his death be emancipated. And your petitioner confidently believing that if John J Reynolds his former master had not died suddenly and unexpectedly that he would have made the provision which your petitioner will be able to prove he intended to make. Therefore your pet. prays permission of this court to commence and prosecute a suit for his emancipation in the form and manner proscribed by the act of the Legislature of Virginia, made and provided for the relief of paupers illegally detained in Slavery.