Thursday, February 15, 2018

ARKANSAS, Union County: Quillan (1857)

There was a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Arkansas over the legality of granting slaves freedom in the future. Joshua Averiett willed his slave Phebe and 18 of her children/granschildren to be freed after 7 years service. When that didn't happen she went to court.

Phebe et al. vs. Quillan et al.

It is my wish and desire that all my slaves both in Louisiana and Arkansas or wheresoever the same may be should be set free at the expiration of seven years after my death my nephew William Jacob Averett to have charge of said slaves to receive the revenue arising from the same. 

Relying upon the above clause as a testamentary grant of freedom to them, Phebe and eighteen others, her children and grand children, on the 20th September 1857 filed their bill on the chancery side of the Union Circuit Court against William Jacob Averett and others as heirs of Joshua Averett the deceased testator and against John Quillin and Thomas AW Sledge, the last two of whom are charged to be holding them in a State of slavery with intent to make that condition permanent.  That they have divided the plaintiffs among them in some way unknown to the plaintiffs with the view of appropriating them as slaves for life to the use and disposition of themselves, the said Quillin and Sledge Sledge is charged to have the general control of the plaintiffs and under letters of administration annexed to the will although Quillin and Sledge claim the right of property in them by virtue of a purchase from William Jacob Averret who was the general legatee of the testator Joshua Averett.

The only name I can find is Phebe's but the notes of the court case can be found here.

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