Violet v. Henry W. Ball. Petitioners' Interrogatories to William Ball


a woman of colour and her children Chloe & Winny
Henry W. Ball

Petition for Freedom in the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for the county of Washington

Interrogatories to be administered to William Ball of Northumberland County Virginia a witness to be produced sworn & examined on part of the Petitioners in the above named cause against the said Henry W. Ball Defendant pursuant to an order of the said Court before Mr. Mottrom Ball——— a Justice of the Peace of the said State of Virginia in & for the county of Northumberland aforesaid

First: Do you know and if you do [illegible] have you known the Petitioners & Defendant above named, either & which of them?

Secondly: Where was Violet born and raised? Was it in Virginia? When was she taken from Virginia to Washington County in the District of Columbia? And by whom? Who was her master or owner at that time?

Thirdly: After being taken to Washington County aforesaid how long did Violet remain there and when was she sent to Virginia again? And by   whom? And for what purpose? Had she been sold? Or was she directed by Henry W. Ball to be sold by you or any other person? And did you sell or did any other person sell or agree to sell her in Virginia pursuant to such direction?

Fourthly: When was Violet sent back? or when did she go back to Washington? And do you know any thing relative to any sale of Violet and her children not included in the foregoing interrogatories? Were not her children Winny & Chloe sent with her to Virginia to be sold? And were sold or bargained or agreed to be sold to any person by direction of H.W. Ball?—Please state all you know relative to this transaction.—

Atty for Petitioner

State of Virginia
Northumberland County
to wit


State of Virginia Northumberland County sct.

William Ball of the county of Northd of lawful age being by me duly sworne to make true answers to foregoing interrogatories, deposeth & sayeth & followeth — to the first interrogatory that he does know the petitioners Violet and her children Winny and Chloe. That he has known Violet from [illegible] child, and her two children the petitioner this affiant [illegible] about three years after the defendant [illegible] Henry W. Ball his affiant also knows and has known from his birth— he being a younger brother of this affiant

To the second Inter. he saeth that Violet was born in and raised in Virginia. And removed from this county about seven years ago to Fairfax by the defendant— but when and by whom she was removed to the District of Columbia, this affiant of his own knowlege knows not—she was then the property of the defendant

To the third Int saeth affiant that he knows not how [illegible] District of Columbia. She [illegible] the spring of 1811—to the best of this affiants recollection—with her two children—the petitioner— by the permission of her master—the deft on a visit to her husband she had not been [illegible] sold—nor can this affiant say positively that he was connected[?] or requested by the deft to make sale of the petitioner or either of the[?] that this affiant did not sell nor did any others sell or appear to sell them in Virginia pursuant to such direction—

to the fourth Inter. he saeth that Violet and her children were sent back to Washington by the deft in the summer or fall of 1811— and that between[?] nothing [illegible] to deny[?] sale of the petitioner not included in this foregoing interrogatories and the answers therto[?].

Question by the defts counsel— After having been permitted by her master the deft. to return to Virginia on a visit to her husband—Did or did not Violet refuse to return to his services which required by him. State your knowledge fully on this subject—


Answer. After Violet and her children had remained a month or two in this county — this affiants having been requested by the deft by letter to take them in his possession and procured a conveyance for them to Washington— went to Mount Zion. Where they then were and pursuant to to the request of the deft. directed her to return with her children to the house of this affiant which she promised to do. She then went to get her clothes— and [illegible] so that she could not be found, when this affiant was about to return home— he then took her two children—the petitioners—home with him. and they remained at this affiants house until after the arrival in Northumberland in the course of the following summer of the deft by whom directions were Violet and her children were sent up to Washington by water[?] she having absconded from the possession of this affiant until after her masters arrival—and further this affiant saeth not.

William Ball

Virginia Northumberland County sct

Sworn to before the subscriber a justice of the peace for the county and state aforesd at the courthouse of said county between the hours of 10 in the morning and three in the afternoon on Tuesday 10th of May 1814. the petitioner and the deft being both present by [illegible]

Mottrom Ball