Charlotte v. Tobias Watkins. Petition for Freedom


To the Honorable the Justices of the Circuit Court for the County of Washington, District Columbia -:

The petition of negro woman Charlotte of the City of Washington, in the County aforesaid humbly sheweth unto your Honours

That she is now held in possession by a certain Doctor Tobias Watkins, of the said City of Washington, claiming your petitioner as a slave for life. That your petitioner thinks herself entitled to her freedom for the following reasons, to wit

That your petitioner was held and owned in the state of Virginia, by a certain Miss       Brooke, an inhabitant of said state for many years previous to the Fall of the year 1818, as a slave for life. That in the Fall of that year the said Miss         Brooke of the state of Virga. as aforesaid, intermarried with a certain John Graeff then, and for a long time before, a resident and inhabitant of the City of Washington, in the County aforesaid. That the said John Graeff thereby acquired title to your petitioner and in the month of January AD. 1819, brought your petitioner from the State of Virga. into the County of Washington aforesaid, and filed in the [illegible] office a list, of which your petitioner here files a copy of Exbt. A. That the said John Graeff did not file any other list or certificate than the one [illegible] mentioned and your petitioner is advised that this is not such as one as the law of 1796. ch 67. secs.[?] S. 211 requirs to be filed within 3 months after removal of such slaves, because the list does not state in what manner the said John Graeff acquired title to the your said petitioner   nor mention "the name of the married person from whom the title was [illegible]" to him, nor has the same been any where "inserted in said list".

Your petitioner therefore prays that a Subpa. may issue for the said Doctor Tobias Watkins and that your petitioner may have a trial before this Honourable Court and she will ever pray and so forth.

Augst. Taney for Petitioner

Augt. 23. 1822.



Negro Charlotte
Tobias Watkins

Petition & Copy

Mr. Brent
File these & issue subpa.
Augst. Taney

filed 26th Augst 1822.