Reekes, Thomas: Petition, Mecklenburg County
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To the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, your Petitioner Thomas Reekes of the County of Mecklenburg, humbly begs leave to represent that a negro slave by the name of Frank belonging to him was taken into custody under a charge of felony on the 27th day of February 1802, by the Sheriff of the said County, and a Court was appointed to meet for his examination on the fourth day of the ensuing month; that the said slave being taken out of your Petitioner's possession by the authority of the Commonwealth, your Petitioner was disabled from attending to him in sickness, and having recourse to medical aid for his relief; that the said slave, as your Petitioner believes, while in custody, being conscious of his guilt, and unwilling to be tried for the crime of which he was accused to wit, an attempt to poison a white man, took poison himself, and died thereof before your Petitioner had any notice of his being taken ill; your Petitioner, herewith exhibits the Return of the Sheriff, who executed the warrant for apprehending the said slave, by which it appears that he was in very good healthy, from the time when he came into his custody, untill the minute he was taken ill, which happened about half after eight o'clock in the morning of the day on which he was to have been tried and he expired at about half after ten o'clock the same morning. Your Petitioner also exhibits the affidavit of Thomas A. Jones and Francis Moody, two respectable neighbors, who state that they well knew the said slave Frank, that he was the only male labouring negroe of your Petitioner, that his labour was necessary for the support of your Petitioner's family, and that, in their opinion, he was worth the sum of one hundred and thirty pounds. Your Petitioner firmly believes that if the said slave had been tried, he would have been found guilty and condemned to death for the crime of which he was accused, and your Petitioner would, of course, have been paid