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Barbara: Freedom Suit, Scott County (Part 1 of 2)

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(9) the bill of Complaint of Barbara, who call herself therein, a free woman of Colour, filed in said Court against this Deft and others. This defendant first demurs to the said plts bill, and contends that he is not bound by the law of the land to answer the same. And if any further or other answer should be required of this deft. for such answer, after reserving to himself the right to except at all times, to the numerous informalities, faults, vulgarities and false statements, in said bill contained, he says, that he believes, there is a written instrument which purports to be the will of his father Stephen Osborn dec'd, such as that first mentioned in the complts bill; and that the validity of that instrument as such will, is now in controversy in a suit pending in the Superior Court of Chancery, a copy of the proceedings & pleadings in which he herewith exhibits. This deft however cannot discover how that will, be it valid or not, can effect his right to the two slaves James Washington and Lucinda, or how it can effect the right of those slaves as to their claim to freedom, and as to the other portion of said bill this deft cannot well understand from it, whether Barbara is claiming those two children as her slaves, or whether she is claiming them for Austin Day as his Slaves, or whether she is suing in this form for the freedom of said two children. This deft however denies that she has any right to sue for either of these objects, as she is herself a slave. This deft knows nothing of his father's ever making any such promise to Barbara, & of his giving any such notice to her as that mentioned in the bill, in relation to her children thereafter to be born; nor does he believe that any such contract ever was made between said Stephen & Barbara, and he positively denies the same. And if any such contract as that alleged, ever was made he contends that it was absolutely void because from mental imbecility he was for many years before his death incapable to contract. This deft expressly denies too that any such contract as that alledged, was ever made with Austin Day, or that said Austin ever paid as is stated of $65. in