Charles Shorter v. John Digges & Francis Digges. Judgment Record

 

Charles Shorter
against
John Digges and Francis Digges admors of Henry Digges.

Be it remember that heretofore, to writ, on the Twenty fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two; Charles Shorter by Gabriel Duvall his attorney, preferred and filed in the General Court here, his Petition for Freedom, which is in form following towit. To the honorable the Judges of the General Court; The Petition of Charles Shorter, humbly sheweth that he is held as a slave by Henry Digges of Charles County, although he is entitled to his Freedom, being descended in the female line from a Free white woman. He therefore prays that your honors will take his case into consideration and discharge him from the custody of the aforesaid Henry Digges, and that summonses may issue for his Witnesses, andsoforth. G. Duvall for Petitioner.

Thereupon, it is ordered by the Court here, that the writ of the State of Maryland of Summons issue against the said Henry Diggs to answer unto the Petition aforesaid of the said Charles Shorter, which was accordingly issued, directed to the Sheriff of Charles County in form following towit. The State of Maryland Sct To the Sheriff of Charles County, Greeting. You are hereby commanded to summon Henry Digges late of Charles County, that all excuses and delays set aside, he be and appear before the General Court, to be held at the City of Annapolis, on the second tuesday of October next, to answer the Petition of Charles Shorter, preferred against him for Freedom: Hereof he is not to fail, and fail not at your peril, and have you then and there this writ. Witness the honorable Samuel Chase Esquire Chief Judge of the said Court the Twenty fourth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two. Issued the 24th day of May 1792. G. Duvall John Gwinn Clk.

At which said second tuesday of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two, being the day of the return of the said aforegoing writ of summons, comes into the General Court here, the said   Charles Shorter, by his attorney aforesaid, and the sheriff of Charles County to whom the said writ of summons was in form aforesaid directed, makes return thereof to the Court here, thus endorsed towit. "Summoned, James Simmes, Sheriff." Whereupon, comes into the General Court here, the said Henry Digges by Francis Digges his attorney; And on motion of the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, it is ruled by the Court here, that the said Henry Digges recognize in the usual form andsoforth: Whereupon a certain John Digges of Charles County, present in Court here, acknowledges himself to owe and stand justly indebted to the State of Maryland in the sum of One hundred pounds current money, to be levied of his body, goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to and for the use of the said State of Maryland, on condition that the said Henry Digges do not remove the said Charles Charter out of this State, nor obstruct him from attending this Court from time to time, in support of his Petition for Freedom, exhibited in the said Court against the said Henry Digges, and in the mean time to feed, cloath and use him well, and pay whatever satisfaction the Court shall adjudge for the services of the said Charles Shorter from this Term to the time of the judgment, with Costs. And the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid, defends the force and injury when andsoforth, and prays leave of the court here to imparle until the second tuesday of May next, and to him it is granted; the same day is given to the said Charles Shorter also. At which said second tuesday of May in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety three, come again into the General Court here as well the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, as the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid: And the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid, as before, defends the force and injury when and soforth, and prays leave of the Court here further to imparle until the second tuesday of October next, and to him it is granted; the same day is given to the said Charles Shorter also. At which said second tuesday of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three, come again into the General Court here, as well the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, as the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid: And the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, files in Court here the Deposition of Henny Butler, which is in form following towit. Henny Butler aged sixty seven years or thereabouts being sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God [incomplete image]   family of Raphael Neale of Charles County deceased; which Raphael Neale she always understood and the son of a Anthony Neale, and this she understood from her young mistress, daughters of the said Raphael Neale, whom she has often heard talk about their Grandfather of Anthony Neale; that she well knew a mulatto woman named Patty who belonged to the said Raphael Neale, who was called Patty Shorter, and who would always talk about her Freedom when she was made mad by any of the family. That the knew the said Patty from the time she the Deponent was a child, and she was a woman when she first knew her; and she had children older than the Deponent, two of which she remembers, and they were named Nel and Betty; that she also knew other children of Patty Shorter, towit, Ned, Clem, and Jack, and Nanny & Peggey, and Ned is now living, and is owned by Mr Plowden of St. Marys County; that Peg, Clem & Jack are dead, but the Deponent does not know whether Nanny is dead or living; that the aforesaid Patty Shorter lived in the house with the Deponent until John Lancaster married Betsey Neale daughter of the aforesaid Raphael Neale, when he gave her to his daughter; and the Deponent saith that she frequently saw her after she lived with the said John Lancaster in Charles County and that she died in his possession a great many years ago. Being asked to whom Nel the daughter of Patty belonged when she died? Answers, after the death of Raphael Neale, his widow gave her to Thomas Taney who married a Daughter of the said Raphael Neale named Polly and that Nel died at Taney's, she thinks after the death of her master. That Betty died at the aforesaid John Lancaster's and Peggy at the aforesaid Taney's. Being asked if she knew any of the children of the aforesaid Nel? answers, she does. Terry who belong to Mrs Chunn, and who has petitioned against her; Jem, brother of Terry who belong to Thomas Reeves; Nase, another brother, but she does not know to whom he belongs; Jenny who belongs to Mrs Bradford; and Betty, who she thinks belongs to John Smith. Being asked, if she knows any of Betty's children? answers, she knows Nelly who belonged to John Lancaster and Clem who belongs to the same person, and Ned, who belongs to   the widow Boarman, who was a daughter of William Neale, deceased. Being asked if she knew any of Pegg's children? Answers, she knows but one, named Fanny who did belong to the aforesaid Taney, but to whom she now belongs the Deponent knows not. Being asked if she knows any of the children of Nanny, daughter of the aforesaid Patty Shorter? Answers, she does not; that Nanny went away from the neighborhood when she was a young woman, that she belonged to John Lancaster and was given by him to one of his daughters who married Totty Coombes. Being asked if Patty Shorter had any sisters that the Deponent knew? Answers she had one named Jenny who belong to Roswell Neale, brother of the aforesaid Raphael Neale; that Jenny was a mulatto woman, and the Deponent knew her when she the Deponent was a girl; that Henny Neale daughter of Raphael Neale married Basil Brooke, and Raphael Neale her master gave her to the said Henny his daughter before her marriage, and she went to live with the said Brooke and lived with him, one year in Calvert County, and he afterwards moved to St Mary's County, and lived not far from Roswell Neale; Being asked if she knew any of Jenny's children? Answers, she knew but one and her name was Lucy, who was older than the Deponent; and the said Lucy afterwards belonged to William Neale son of the aforesaid Roswell Neale; and the said Lucy had several children which this Deponent knew, vizt Bob, Basil, Jim, Henny, Mary, Anne & Charity; And the Deponent has heard she had a daughter named Chloe but she never saw her that she knows of; that Bob has petitioned for his Freedom; and Basil also has petitioned and against Charles Carroll; Jim belongs to Mrs Bradford; that Henny belongs she has understood to Mr Barnes at Port Tobacco; that she does not know to whom Mary Anne, and Charity belong. Being asked if she knew any other sister of Patty Shorter? Answers she did not, but has heard her sister Betty who was born in Raphael Neale's family say Patty had another sister named Molly; that Betty the Deponents sister was many years older than the Deponent, and was her mother first child as she has understood. And there were six or seven children between Betty and the   Deponent who was the youngest child of her mother; that her said sister Betty has told her that Molly belonged to Neddy Neale brother of Raphael Neale. Being asked if she ever heard and from whom that Patty Shorter beforementioned was descended from a white woman? Answers, she did not. Being asked if she ever heard how her Master Raphael Neale got Patty Shorter? answers, she never did. The Deponent further saith that she knows Charles, who petitioned for his Freedom against Henry Digges, and knows his mother Terry, and has known Terry many years; that many years ago Terry and the Deponent lived close together, the deponent with Basil Brooke, and Terry belonged to Henry Digges and lived on the Plantation that did belong to Edward Digges when he was living. Being asked if she knew the mother of Terry? says she has been her, but was not acquainted with her. Her name she understood was Sal and she belonged to old Robert Brent; and she has heard Charles's Grandfather, Ned Butler call the said Sal, Sal Short. Being asked if she understood, and from whom, that Sal was a descendant of Patty Shorter or Jenny Shorter? Answers she has not. Sworn to 22d Octo 1793. Before Bullen. Whereupon the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid, as before, defends the force and injury when and soforth, and prays leave of the Court here further to imparle until the second tuesday of May next, and to him it is granted; the same day is given to the said Charles Shorter also. At which said second tuesday of May in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety four, come again into the General Court here, as well the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, as the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid: And the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid, as before, defends the force and injury when and soforth, and prays leave of the Court here further to imparle until the second tuesday of October next, and to him it is granted; and the same day is given to the said Charles Shorter also. At which said second tuesday of October in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety four, come again into the General Court here, as well the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, as the said Henry Digges by his attorney aforesaid: Thereupon further process [incomplete image]   and upon the premises aforesaid, between the parties aforesaid, by order of the Court here is continued until the second tuesday of May next. And now at this day towit, the said second tuesday of May in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety five, comes again into the General Court here, the said Charles Shorter by his attorney aforesaid, and the said Henry Digges doth not come; Whereupon, come into Court here, John Digges and Francis Digges by Francis Digges their attorney, and suggest to the court here, that since the last continuance of the Petition aforesaid, and before this day, the said Henry Digges departed this life, and that since the death of the said Henry Digges administration of all and singular the goods and chattels, rights and credits, which were of the said Henry Digges was in due form committed and granted by the Orphans Court of Charles County to them the said John Digges and Francis Digges, and which they now produce to the court here, whereby it sufficiently appears to the Court here, that the said John Digges and Francis Digges are administrators of the said Henry Digges, and thereupon have administration andsoforth. And the said John Digges and Francis Digges administrators as aforesaid by their attorney aforesaid, offer themselves ready for trial upon the Petition aforesaid, and the Testimony thereon offered: Thereupon, on motion of the said John Digges and Francis Digges administrators by their attorney aforesaid, it is considered by the Court here that the Petition aforesaid be dismissed andsoforth.

Test. John Gwinn Clerk.