Susan Bordley v. Anne Tilley. Affidavit of Richard Ponsonby


26th June 1810.

I do hereby certify, that I have known Susan the Petitioner at least 36 years, during the whole of which time she has been in the Neighbourhood of Bladensburgh, except the last twelve or fifteen months she has lived in the City of Washington. I have reason to believe and do firmly believe, that the Petitioner Susan Boadley, her Parents and sister Dinah were brought from Pennsylvania to Maryland near 40 years ago, the property of Mr. James Miller who bought them (as he informed me) in Philadelphia. The first of my having any knowledge of Susan was in the year '72 or '73 when she probably might have been about eight or nine years of age, and she then waited on her Mistress Mrs. Miller in Bladensburgh, and I often heard Mrs. Miller call her, her favourite girl Susan because (as Mrs. Miller said) she was so remarkably black and smart. and Susan was usually sent by her Mistress to tell Mr. Miller and the young Gentlemen in his store to come to dinner. Shortly after Mrs. Miller's death which happen'd some time in the year '74 or perhaps early in '75, Susan and the rest of Mr. Miller's people he had in Bladensburgh were remov'd to his Plantation about four miles from Bladensburgh, where Susan's father named Fortune, her Mother named Phillis, her sister named Dinah and her brother named Toney then were. Susan remain'd at the Plantation some years; afterwards, perhaps about the year '78 or'79 Mr. Miller hired her to Miss Molley Tilley near Bladensburgh where she continued several years. After Susan left Miss Molley Tilley, she liv'd near Bladenburgh 'till the last twelve or fifteen months or thereabout, she has been hired in the City of Washington.

Rd Ponsonby

Washington County, District of Columbia - to wit - On this 26th day of June 1810, Came Richard Ponsonby before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace for 'said County, and made Oath on the Holy Evangely of Almighty God, that the above Certificate contains a true and faithful relation and statement of facts relative to his knowledge of Negro Woman Susan who calls herself Susan Boadly and has petitioned the said Washington County Court for her freedom. She is the property of Mrs. Ann Tilley. Sworn before, and Certified by Thos Fenwick


Did you know or even hear of Captn James McCubbin. Answer - Have heard of him but never knew him - nor what occupation he follow'd.

Did you ever hear where the Petitioner Susan, and her father & mother were landed here when they arrived here. Answer - I was informed that they were landed at Queen-Ann, and then carried to Mrs. Pottinger's, where they remain'd until Mr. Miller married the daughter of Mrs. Pottinger late in the year 1771. And shortly after Mr. Miller's marriage, I was credibly inform'd, that they were brough to Mr. Millers farm near Bladenburgh, to wit Susan's father named Fortune, her mother named Phillis and her sister Dinah. Susan was kept in Bladensburgh to wait upon her Mistress where she remain'd until the death of Mrs. Miller in 1774, or 1775. After her Mistress' death she was remov'd from Bladenburgh to her Masters farm.

Had they any foreign dialect in their speech. Answer - Old Fortune and Phillis had a foreign dialect, but the Children had not. I know that Phillis had three children - Susan the Petitioner, Dinah who died a slave, and Toney who who belongs to Major Thomas Owen Williams, and is a slave. Toney, I have reason to believe, was about three or four years of age when he was brought here. Is Mr. Miller now living. Answer he is now living at Glasgow in Scotland, or was living when heard from lately, and left this Country in the year 1787. since when they have been the sla property and in the possession of Mrs. Ann Tilley Mr. Miller's daughter.

My knowledge of Susan the petitioner happen'd in this way. I was long and intimately acquainted with her Master Mr. Miller and frequently at his house when he liv'd in Bladenburgh. There I often saw Susan and noticed her Mistress, Mrs. Miller to be very fond of her. When Susan was at her Master's Plantation I frequently saw her there. and whilst she liv'd with Miss Molley Tilley, and since she left Miss Molly Tilley I often saw her and spoke to her. In short I have known Susan ever since the year '72 or '73. a period of about 37 years, during which time, to my certain knowledge, she has liv'd in this neighbourhood. When I first knew Susan, to wit in the year '72 or '73 she appear'd to be about 8 or 9 years of age. she now may be about 45 or 46 years old. perhaps something older or something younger.

Rd Ponsonby
City of Washington, 30th June 1810


Washington County, District of Columbia - to wit - on the 30th day of June 1810, came Richard Ponsonby before me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace in and for said County, and made Oath on Holy Evangely of Almighty God, the aforegoing Certificate and answers to Interogy are Just and true to the best of his knowledge and belief.

Sworn before, & certified by Henry M. Queen

Admitted so far as competent testimony.
F S Key for Deft.
John Law Atty for Plff


Certificate and Affidavit of Richard Ponsonby relative to Negro woman Susan belonging to Mrs. Ann Tilley.

26th June 1810.