Abby: Freedom Suit, Petersburg City (Part 1 of 2)
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Cloe and Aggy a small girl, that the said Mary Bradley hired them out as she thought proper for many years and had possession of them until the death except Dilcey and Aggy whom She agreed should be sold to pay for a piece of College Land in Sussex on which she died in the year 1790 that the said Mary Bradley during her life used the said Slaves and the increase of the females as her own absolute property. That after the death of the said Mary the right to such of the said Slaves and their increase as had not been disposed of by her devolved upon and was noted in William Ragsdale, Mary Sturrock wife (11) of David Sturrock, Surah wife of this officiant the children of Elizabeth wife of Stith Parkham who died in the life of her mother and in David Bradley the only surviving child of the said Mary Bradley by her second husband the aforesaid Parsons Bradley. That Abby and Sally two of the present complainants have been from the time of their birth considered and reputed to be the Children of the above named Cloe and that the said Mary was possessed of them as her own absolute property at the time of her death. That the other complainants are Children of the said Sally according to general Reputation and belief. And this Affiant further saith that having understood and having good cause to believe that the said Mary frequently expressed a desire that her slaves should be emancipated at her death and declared that she would emancipate them by her will, be in right of his wife (and he believes all the others interested of proper age to Assent) agreed that the said David Bradley might execute a Deed of emancipation to the said slaves in his own name; which was done accordingly in September of the year One thousand Seven hundred and Ninety two since which time neither this affiant in right of his
wife nor any of the Children of the said Mary Bradley as far as he knows or believes have pretended to any Claim or demand in or to the said negroes or any of them. And this affiant repeats solemnly that the said David Bradley was only interested one fifth part in the said Slaves and that they could before the said deed of emancipation was executed be liable only in that proportion for his debts. He further saith that the reason that the said of emancipation was executed by the Said David Bradley only was this. That he lived with the said Mary until the time of her death and that the negroes of course remained with him at the time of her death and therefore as most of the others interested in them lived at some distance and in other Counties it was thought most advisable that the deed of emancipation should be in Bradleys name exclusively. Given under my hand the thirteenth day of June 1804[.] John Osborne, Alderman C. Town of Petersburg Sct William Ragsdale this day made oath before me a Magistrate of the said Town that about thirty six years ago he sold and delivered to his Mother Mary Bradley at that time widow of her second husband Parsons Bradley decd. the following Slaves to wit Cloe, Dilcey[,] Dick and Aggy as her absolute property in consideration of her renouncing and giving up to this Affiant her dower in the estate of her first husband Godfrey Ragsdale of whom this Affiant was the heir at law. That said during Mary Bradley during her life used the said Slaves and the increase (12) of the females as her own absolute property and made sale of two of them Aggy and Dilcey. That the said Mary departed this life some time in or