Dist. Court of the U. S. for the Dist. of Col.
Clerk of the Court
“Fugitive Slave Cases, 1862,” May 15-19, 1862
(By file date or affidavit)
Original papers in fugitive slave cases before the Circuit Court of the U.S. for the District of Columbia consisting of claimants petitions, affidavits for arrest of fugitive slaves, warrants of arrest, depositions, court orders to deliver fugitive slaves to claimants, and related papers.
Transcribed from National Archives Microfilm Publication M433 “Records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Relating to Slaves, 1851-1863, Roll 3.
District of Columbia
Washington County to wit:
On this 15th day of May 1862 personally appeared in open court in the circuit court of the District of Columbia Dennis Duvall a citizen and resident of Prince George County in the State of Maryland and made oath according to law that he is the lawful owner and rightful possessor of the Negro slaves following, who were residing with him in said Prince George County until the event hereinafter (illegible), to wit, man Barzil (called Barzil West) about thirty three years old, Tom (called Tom Spriggs) about thirty years of age, Jacob (called Jacob Johnson) about twenty four years old, Lloyd (called Lloyd West) about twenty one years old, John (called John Jackson) about nineteen years old, Lucy (called Jackson) about thirty eight years old and her children Bill, 12 years, Lewis, 10 years, Frank, 8 years, Josephine, 3 years, Maria (called Maria Brogden) about thirty five years old and her children Dallas, 15, Flora, 3 years old, Harriet (called Harriet Spriggs) about twenty seven years old and her children Maria, 5 years, Dick, 4 years, Jim, 2 years, and Laura, nine weeks old, Ann (called Ann Johnson) about twenty years old and her child Emma two years old;
That the said Tom Spriggs left the residence of affiant in Prince George County aforesaid about the 9th March last, a fugitive from labor, against affiant’s will and is now a fugitive from service and labor; that all and every of the others alike said slaves above enumerated against the will and without the knowledge of the affiant left his residence aforesaid on the night of Monday the 12th of May instant and are now fugitives from labor and service due by them to him; that he has good reason to believe and does verily believe that the said slaves and each and every of them are now in the District of Columbia, and he prays the court that process may issued by the said circuit court commanding the Marshal of said District to take said slaves and bring them before this court that they may be surrendered and delivered up to affiant according to the statute in such case made and provided.
Test: Jno. A. Smith, Clk.
In Re Dennis Duvall
[Harriet --- Maria
Dick --- Laura her
Witness is Geo. W. Duvall of Dennis—son of complainant—knows the fugitives now present in court and which he now points out in the court viz Harriet—Maria—Dick & Laura—Harriet is 27 or 28 years old—Maria about 7 years—Dick about 4 & Laura an infant at the breast—They are the property of complainant—he owned Harriet about 12 or 14 years—purchased given to him by his grandfather and has resided with him ever since—children born at the residence of witness grandfather in P. G. Co. Md.—all slaves for life—his father resides in P. G. Co. Md.—held them as slaves then—up to Monday night last the time of their escape & escaped without his knowledge or consent.
Geo. W. Duvall of D.
Dennis Duvall claimant
John Jackson &
Bill – fugitives
Depo. Of Geo. W. Duvall of D.
In answer to counsel of fugitives says that he has no interest in the property of fugitives—
The claimant Dennis Duvall is the father of witness—and witness has no interest or property in said fugitives now in court and recognizes them as the slaves of claimant—claimant resides in P. G. Co. Md. Witness resides in same county with his father, and the fugitives resided on his father’s plantation—one of them was born on the place where his father now resides and the other where he previously resided—he last saw them in claimants possession on the 13th May last in the state of Md. and they were held and claimed by his father as his slaves.
After the 13th May he next saw them in Washington where he knows of his own knowledge that they were not here with the consent of his father—he was not present when they left—if he had, would have prevented them leaving.
—Witness came here with his father on the 15 May in search of said slaves—and has reason to believe that they were concealed or secreted.
Geo. W. Duvall of D.
Circuit Court of the District of Columbia
Be it known, and it is hereby certified that on this 12th day of June 1862 the Marshall of the District of Columbia, by virtue of and in execution of a certain warrant by this court issued and to him directed on the affidavit and petition of Dennis Duvall —————–
claiming John Jackson & Bill ————————– as fugitive slaves, the said Marshall now produces in court house the above named fugitives; and thereupon the court examined George W. Duvall of D.—a witness for said claimant, and being satisfied by the evidence of said George W. Duvall of D. that the said fugitives are slaves for life, the property of said claimant a citizen of the United States residing in Prince George County and State of Maryland, that the said claimant is the father of witness, that witness knows the fugitive John & Bill now in court and recognizes them as he property and slaves of his father; one of them was born on the plantation where his father now lives, the other on the place where he formerly resided, he last saw them in claimant’s possession on the 17th last, they are held and claimed by said claimant, and in his possession as his slaves for life and residing with him in said Prince Geo. County, and they now are fugitives from service and labor due by them to said claimant in said county.
It is by this court, on this 12th day of June 1862 ordered that the Marshal of the District of Columbia do deliver the said fugitives now in his custody to the said claimant to be taken back to the State of Maryland, to be there dealt with according to law; with authority to said claimant to use such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary to take and remove said slaves back to the said State of Maryland, the said claimant paying the costs and charges of their capture and detention.
By order of court
Test. Jno. A. Smith, Clk.
District of Columbia
Circuit Court of the District of Columbia
Be it known and it is hereby certified that on this 16th day of May 1862, the Marshal of the District of Columbia by virtue of and in execution of a certain warrant by the court issued and to him directed, on the affidavit and petition of Dennis Duvall claiming Harriet Sprigg and her children named Maria, Dick and Laura & other slaves, the said Marshal now producing in court here the above named Harriet, Dick, Maria & Laura, and thereupon this court examined George W. Duvall of D. by a witness for said complainant, and being satisfied by the evidence of the said George W. Duvall of D. the said Harriet and her children Maria, Dick and Laura are slaves for life, the property of the said Dennis Duvall a citizen of and residing in Prince George County in the state of Maryland; that the said Harriet was about 12 or 14 years of age given to the said Dennis Duvall by his father—that she has ever since resided with the said Dennis in Prince George County, and that her said children were since the property of the said Dennis at his said residence and that the said Harriet and her said children escaped from the possession of said Dennis on Monday night last, and fled to the District of Columbia.
It is this 16th day of May 1862 ordered by the court that the Marshal of the district of Columbia deliver the within named slaves now in his custody to Dennis Duvall or his authorized agent or attorney to be taken back to the state of Maryland to be there dealt with according to law; with authority to the said Dennis Duvall his agent or attorney to use such reasonable force and restraint as may be necessary under the circumstances to take & remove the said slave back to the said State of Maryland, he the said Dennis paying the costs and charges for their capture and detention.
By Order of Court