Nelly Jackson v. Thomas Tebbs. Petition for Freedom


To the Hon: the Judges of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, sitting for the County of Alexa.

The petition of Nelly Jackson a negro woman humbly sheweth unto your Honors: That your petitioner is unjustly detained in a state of Bondage: for that William Carr late of Prince William County in the State of Virginia, did by his last will and testament duly moved and recorded in the County Court of Prince William aforesaid amongst other things give and devise as follows: Viz. "I give and bequeath to my son John Carr during his natural life the lands [illegible] (here the testator describes certain tracts of land) with negro Lucy and all her children, Jim Harry and Viney, I say I give the said recited Lands & Negroes to my dear son Jon Carr during his natural life, & then to his child or children, if any living at his death; if none to my daughter Betsey Tebbs & my son William Carr during life, & then to their children to be equally divided. My will and desire is that the negroes bequeathed to my dear children shd remain with my dear wife during her life unless she should marry, in that case my will and desire is, that my slaves should go immediately to those to whom they are devised, and that none of them be sold out of the families to whom they are devised. if offered for sale by any of them out of the family of my wife, my daughter, and my sons, that they be immediately liberated, and I do hereby desire they may be free to all intents and purposes" You petitioner shews unto   your Honors: That she is one of the children on the aforesaid Lucy and upon the death of Jno Carr who died without issue was elotted[?] under the will of the said William Carr to Betsey Tebbs his daughter in the said will named. That afterwards towit, in the month of August in the year 1814, your petitioner was offered for sale, and she believes actually sold to a certain Jesse Timms by by a certain Thomas Triplett of Loudoun County in the State of Virginia by the authority and direction of the said Betsey Tebbs. Thus by the will of the said William Carr and by the law of the land, as she has been advised and believes, your petitioner has become entitled to her freedom. It is therefore prayed of this hon: Court that she may be allowed to sue therein in forma pauperis for the recovery of her freedom, and that she may obtain counsel to be assigned her by the Court &c. &c. &c.

Nelly Jackson


I have examined into the will of William Carr and find that clause in the said will respecting the bequest of negro Lucy and her children correctly stated in the foregoing petition. I am also informed; that the facts of the petitioner (who is one of the children of the said Lucy) having been by the authority of Betsey Tebbs, one of the daughter of the said William Carr offered for sale or actually sold to Jesse Timms, will be proven by several respectable wi witnesses I am therefore of opinion that the petitioner is probably entitled to her freedom; and that the leave prayed for to institute suit for the recovery thereof, ought to be granted.

J. D. Simms


Nelly Jackson
Thos. Tebbs.

Petition & Statement of facts

1816. November Term 8th day. Upon petition &c leave granted to commence a suit in forma pauperis for her freedom & ordered that she be committed to the custody of the Marshal until the said Thomas Tibbs shall give Bond and Security entd as the Law directs in $800 conditioned to have the said pauper forthcoming to answer the Judgment of the Court

Apl. Term Judgt. for Plf.