James Ash v. William H. Williams. Defendant's Bill of Exceptions


Negro James Ash
William H. Williams

Upon the trial of the issue in this case the petitioner by his counsel, to support the issue on his part above joined, produced & gave in evidence to the jury the last will & testament of Maria Amna T. Greenfield hereto annexed; and it was admitted that the said testatrix died at the county of Prince Georges in Maryland soon after the date of said will in the year 1824. That upon her death Gerard T. Greenfield, the executor named in said will duly proved the same in the Orphans court of said county, where the slaves & other property left by the testatrix were; and took out and took of issue of all the slaves & other personal property of the testatrix as her Executor &c That the petitioner is one of the slaves devised in said will to said G T Greenfield and following towit and took letters [illegible] as such Executor; that the said G. T. Greenfield is the same person mentioned & described in said will   will to whom several portions of the slaves of the testatrix, under various limitations, & the residue of her estate, are devised.

That the petitioner is one of the slaves named & devised in that clause of the said will which is in the words following, towit,
[insert the clause (a)]
That the petitioner was a slave born & the property of said testatrix at the time of her death.

That the said G. T. Greenfield, upon the death of said testatrix, took possession of the petitioner & the other slaves demised to him in said will, and held the same as his slaves so demised to him, from that time till the 18th day of December last, when, before the institution of this suit, he sold the petitioner to the defendant.

That the said G. T. Greenfield at the time of the date of said will, & ever since   resided in the state of Tennessee; with an interval of between two & three years that he removed sojourned after the death of the testatrix, in Prince George's County aforesaid for the purpose of settling his business.

Whereupon the court was of opinion, & instructed the Jury that by the fact of such sale of the petitioner the estate of property in the petitioner so demised to said G. T. Greenfield ceased & determined, and the petitioner thereupon became entitled to freedom as claimed in his said petition. To which opinion & instruction of the court the deft by his counsel excepted &c. and this his bill of exceptions is sealed &c this first day of May 1840.

W. Cranch (seal)
B. Thruston (seal)