Robert Thomas v. Henry Pile. Deposition of Sophia Leigh


Robert Thomas
against the
Revd Henry Pile

Charles County sct. May 19th 1792. Then came Sophia Leigh before me one of the Justices of the peace for the County aforesaid and being duly sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almighty God declareth in Answer to the several questions put to her as suggested by the Council for the parties; and as all she knows in the matter—

That she has known the Defendt as well as she can recollect about 40 years and the petitioner since he was a child. That she knew the Mother, Grandmother and great grand mother of the petitioner. His mother named Judah, his grandmother Phia, and his great grandmother Betty Mingo. That she never heard that either his grandmother or great grandmother ever claimed their freedom or that Betty Mingo were descended was descended from a white person, or a free person, and that she never heard of any Claim being set up by any of the family to freedom 'till the Petitioner did it. That she has known Phia now in the possession of Mr Pile, about fifty or sixty years, and Judah who is about forty years old, she has known from an Infant. That she never knew, or heard who Betty Mingo's Mother was. That she never knew or heard of any, Sister or Brother of Betty. That Betty Mingo was a bright mulatto and had long Hair for one of her colour, and she always thought (tho never heard it so said) that the said Betty was descended from a white person. That she has knew Betty about fifty or sixty years ago in the possession of Mr Henry Wharton and after his Death she lived with to his Daughter Mrs. Pile Mother to the Defendt with whom she contind as a Slave until she died about twenty years ago. She has understood, but does not remember from whom, that Mr Wharton did get Betty Mingo of some one of the Stone family with whom Mr David Stone was connected, but does not recollect who or what was the Christian name of the person who owned her before she belonged to Mr. Wharton. That she knew a Daughter of Betty's called Peg who lived with John Semple who got her of David Stone as this Depont always understood, but whether he bought her, or how he got her she knew not. That said Peg was the only child of   the aforesaid Betty Mingo ever known by the Depont before the said, Betty belonged to Mr Wharton, after which she had several besides the petitioners grand mother to the number of six. That she always heard that Peg while she lived with David Stone belonged to him as Slave, and that she was black. That she knows nothing reputing Peg's having Children, or of the particulars of her death. That when Peg lived with John Semple she was his Cook, and was well known as such. That this deponent knew Peg all the time, of her living with Semple in Port Tobacco and never heard either from herself or any other person that she claimed her freedom. That all of the family descended from Betty Mingo were brisk, lively and active people, and remarked for being valuable House Servants and Cooks. That all the family with whom she was acquainted or ever heard of were considered Slaves, and that she never heard any person, either before or since, the present petition, say that any of them was entitled to freedom, except themselves since the Petitioner came forward with his Claim. That Betty Mingo was mother to Phia who is mother mother to Judah, who is mother to the Petitioner. That this Deponant never heard the said family were called, or called themselves Thomas 'till the petitioner claimed his freedom. Signed.

Sophia Leigh

Taken and sworn before
Henry H Chapman

Taken in [torn page] filed by and[?] admitted to be read in Evidence.
G. Duvall for petrs.
Philip B Key for Defdt

Sophia Lei's Deposition



filed 31 Oct. 1794