Division of the slaves of Henry Fletcher
Including the emancipation of Ichabod
22 December 1804 - Transcribed by Gail M. Walczyk


Jane Fletcher by Etc vs Susanna Fletcher Infant Etc 1804-005

Fletcher
vs. . . . . Chy
Fletcher &c
Bill

To the worshipful the Justices of Accomack county in chy Humbly complaining sheweth unto your worships your Oratrix Jane Fletcher an infant by Wm. Finney her next friend That a certain Henry Fletcher jr. late of this county being in his life time to wit, on the 3d day of Decr. in the year 1803 seized and possessed of a considerable real estate, beside a large personal estate in which were included the following slaves, to wit, Levi, Nehamiah, Tab, Rose, Sarah, Phillip, Comfort, Lotty Bob, Abraham, and Ichabod, did upon the day and year afsd at the county afsd Ichabod, did upon the day and year afsd at the county afsd duly make & publish his last will and testament in writing, which was attested as the law requires, by which after devising Certain real estate therein described to his son Wm. Fletcher, and also bequeathed certain specific legacies to his sd. son, he directed that his sd. Slave Ichable should upon payment of the sum of fur Dollars to his estate be free, and all the remainder part of his Estate he bequeathed to his two daughter to wit, our Oratrix & his daughter Susanna Fletcher equally to be divided in which residuum were included among other things, the slaves afsd, except the sd. Ichabold so left to be free; and having so made his last will and testament as afsd, after to wit, on the ____ day of ______ of 180_ departed this life leaving is sd. will in full force, in nowise cancelled, revoked or altered, and leaving his three children afsd. and a Widow, to wit, Patty Fletcher, since intermarried with a certain Asa Dix and since his death to wit, on the ____ day of ______ 1804 the sd. which being exhibited in this court for proof, the same was then proven by the subscribing and attesting witnesses there to in the manner required by law, and was admitted to record, all of Which will more fully appear by the sd. will so of record to which your Oratrix refers. --- That the sd. Henry Fletcher jr. not having made any provision, by is sd. will for his sd. widow, she has since his death, and with in the time limited by law for that purpose, relinquished all benefit under the same, before the court and claims, among other things, her dower in the sd. slaves; --- which Dower she claims to have equal to one full third part of all the sd. slaves including the sd. man Ichabod so directed to be free, and to be made up to her out of the other slaves so bequeathed to your Oratrix and her sd. Sister Susanna.--- And your Oratrix further sheweth that it would greatly conduce to the advantage and interest, as well of your Oratrix and her sd. sister, as of the sd. Asa Dix and wife Patty to have a division of sd. slaves made between your Oratrix & her sd. sister, and also an assignment of the Dower of the sd. Patty of such part of sd. slaves so bequeathed to Your Oratrix & he sd. sister as she may by law be entitled to. But so it is may it please your worships that by reason of the infancy of your Oratrix as well as of her sd. sister the sd. Susa the same cannot be done so as to be valid, binding and effectual without the aid and interposition of your worships in Chancery, To the end therefore that a division of sd. Slaves so bequeathed to your Oratrix and he sd. Susanna may be made equally between them according to the will of their sd. father, and that the dower to which the sd. Asa Dix and Patty his wife in right of sd. Patty are entitled may be assigned to them there out, may it please your worships to grant to your Oratrix the CommonWealths writ of Spa to the sd. Susa Fletcher and Asa Dix & Patty his wife to be directed Commanding them on a certain day & under a certain pain therein to be limited and inspected they be & appear before your worships in Chy then & there to answer the premisses.
Wise for Complt.

The answer of Susanna Fletcher infant by Thos. Fletcher her guardian, specially appointed to defend the suit brought agt. her and Asa Dix & wife, By Jane Fletcher. This defendant for answer saith that she admits it to be true that Henry Fletcher jr. the father of the Complainant made his will at the time and in the answer set forth & charged by the Complt. in her bill; that the slaves mentioned in sd. bill are included in the residuary bequest thereof; that he left the sd. Patty his widow, who has since intermarried wt. sd. Asa Dix and who is still living, and who has a is stated relinquished all benefit under sd. Will, claiming her dower agreeable to law --- she also admits that it would be equally beneficial to all parties interested as afsd to have a division of sd. slaves, and an assignment of dower made as is sought for the Complt by her bill, but by reason of the infancy of the Complt & of this deft. the same cannot be done but by the decree of your worships, --- This deft therefore submit to such decree in the premisses as this court may think to be cognant to the right and justice of the case. Thos Fletcher

The answer of Asa Dix & Patty his wife to the bill of complaint of Jane Fletcher agt them & Susa Fletcher exhibited These Defts. for ansr. say that they admit it to be true that the sd. Hy. Fletcher made his will the time & in the manner as is set forth by the Complt in her bill, & that he bequeathed the residuum of his estate to the Complt. and the sd. Susa. in which were included the slaves,, afsd. --- That the Deft Patty who was the widow of sd. Henry not being satisfied at the provision made for her by his sd. will, did, in this court, within one year from the time of his death, renounce all benefit she might claim by the same will, and claimed to have that provision made for her by law; be reason whereof as these Defts are advised she has become entitled, to one third part of the slaves Whereof sd. Henry died possessed not withstanding one of them to wit the sd. Ichabod in emancipated by sd. will, to be held by her as her dower; and as in this case there are enough of sd. slaves of those which are not set free, to make one third part of the whole number whereof the sd. Henry died possessed, she is entitled to have her sd. dower of these not set free, as they are advised. --- They have no objection to have the sd. Dower assigned, and admit it will be beneficial to all concerned to have it done & therefore submit to such decree herein as to your worships shall seem consistent with equity & the right of the case
Asa Dix

In obedience to a Decree of the Court of Accomack bearing Date November 1804 to us directed --- we the subscribers Have assigned to Asa Dix & Patty his wife in right of said Patty for her dower of the slaves of Henry Fletcher, deced, one Negro Man named Levi valued to forty Pounds & one do named Nehemiah valued at fifty five pounds. --- we have also divided the remaind of said Negroes between Jane and Susannah Fletcher as follows (to wit)

To Susanna Fletcher  
Philip £40.00.00
Rose 45.00.00
Sarah 40.00.00
Bobb 11.00.00
Total  £136.00.00
   
To Jane Fletcher  
Abraham  £36.00.00
Tabitha 50.00.00
Comfort 30.00.00
Lotty 20.00.00
Total £36.00.00

the said Asa Dix & his wife being willing to take the two Negroes above for dower though not of one third of the Value of the whole slaves ---Given under Our Hands this 22 day of Decembr 1804
Jno. Burton
Zadok Nock

Memos

Draw bill and answer to Divide Slaves viz. Levi, Nehemiah, Tab, Rose Sarah, Phillip Comfort, Lotty, Bob, Abraham. --- Between Jane & Susa. Fletcher under the will of Henry Fletcher jr. decd --- also to lay off Dower for Asa Dix in sd. Slaves, in right of Patty his wife late widow of sd. Hy. Fletcher. Ichabod left to be free


Sources:

_____. Accomack County VA Chancery Causes, 1727-1805. Jane Fletcher by Etc vs Susanna Fletcher Infant Etc 1804-005. Local Government Records Collection, Accomack County Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Accessed 29 April 2012.


© Copyright 2013 by Gail M. Walczyk