William Thornton v. George Graham. Special Verdict


Will Thornton
Geo. Grahams admr

We of the Jury find that the Petioner was a Virginia born slave and held by Mrs. Graham the mother of the defendants intestate, as a slave in the state of Virginia untill the period of her death, which happened in the year 1819. That upon the death of the said Mrs. Graham the said slave descended to and became the property of her son the said George Graham the defendants said intestate. That the said George Graham then resided in the District of City of Washington in the District of Columbia, and sent for the said Petitioner with several other slaves of his, to come to the said City of Washington with the intention of take taking them from thence to a farm of his in the State of Kentucky

That the petitioner was at that time hired to one John Stith in Virginia and did not come with the other slaves. That the said Geo. Graham sent to Mr. Stiths for the said negro William Thornton Petitioner and waited in Washington several days for him, but finding that he did not come, the said Graham went with his other slaves to Kentucky without him, and on his return found the said petitioner here in Washington, and he has resided in Washington ever since as the slave of the said Geo. Graham.

We find that the said George Graham resided in Virginia till the year 1814 and was then appointed by Hon Mr. Monroe Chief Clerk of the War Department, and upon his receiveing[?] the said appointment he came to Washington to reside, and   has resided here ever since untill the period of his death which took place since the institution of this suit

We find that he remained in the office of Chief Clerk of the War Department untill the year 1814 at which time he was a Director of the Office of Discount[?] & Deposits of the Bank of the U. States at Washington. That while he was a Director of the said office that is to say in the year 18     he was appointed President of the said office, and continued to act as President of the said office untill the year 18     when he as appointed commissioner of the General Land Office and he continued in that office untill the period of his death.

We find that the said George Graham never intended the City of Washington as his permanent residence, and always declared and intended that as soon as he was out of office he should go to Kentucky where his people and property were. And that his said residence here was a sojournment, to continue so long as he remained in office under the General Government.

If upon this case the Law should intitle the petitioner to his freedom, then we find for the petitioner, but if upon the said case the law should be for the defndt. then we find for the defendant.