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Tatum, Nathaniel & Isham: Petition, Madison County

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To the General Assembly of Virginia. The undersigned legatees of Isham Tatum Sr. decd., late of the County of Madison, respectfully represent and shew that said Isham Tatum decd. [deceased] died in said county in the year of 1850, having first made his last will and testament by which he directed that his negroes Jim, Jeptha, Thaddeus, and Timothy should be free whenever the youngest of them should become 21 years of age, but made no provision for removing them before the limits of the Commonwealth except to give them the sum of ten dollars each; that there are no means belonging to the estate of the testator which can be applied to the removal or maintenance of said negroes; that on or about the 27th of December 1857 the youngest of said slaves will become of age, and they will then be free by the terms of the will aforesaid - but without the means of leaving the commonwealth and will be left burthen [burden] upon the public, without masters or protectors, contrary to public policy and in violation of the laws of this state. Your petitioners further represent that one of said negroes is super annuated and worthless, utterly unable to leave the state or maintain himself: Under these circumstances they petition that said slaves may be sold for the benefit of the said testator's estate and that an act of the General Assembly may be passed to