Fugitive Slave Cases – Catherine J. Gaston vs. Isaac Sharkey

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.

Catherine J. Gaston vs. Isaac Sharkey

To the Honbl the Justice of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for the County of Washington-

The petition of Catherine J. Gaston, presenter, respectfully presents:

That she is the owner of a certain mulatto slave man named Isaac Sharkey and owned and held him as a slave for life in the District of Columbia aforesaid, when the said Isaac Sharkey escaped and fled from the said District and from the possession of your petitioner. And is now, as your petitioner has been informed and believe, in the State of New York. That your petitioner is prepared to address and exhibit before your honor, full and satisfactory proof of the escape of said slave and that he owed and still owes, service and labor as such slave to your petitioner. She prays your honor to hear and examine the proof which she is prepared to address on the premises: And that a bond thereby may be made according to the Act of Congress in such case made and provided: and that an authenticated transcript thereof may be made and delivered to your petitioner, in the end that the said slave may be reclaimed & received in the manner provided by said Get.

For your petitioner rule we pray.

Catherine J. Gaston by Mr. (illegible) her Solicitor & Atty.

In the matter of Catherine Gaston: claiming to be the owner of Isaac Sharkey a fugitive slave. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia for the County of Washington March Term 1851—- In open Court personally appeared George W. Graham, he being duly sworn deposes and says:– That he knows a certain mulatto slave named Isaac Sharkey:–whom this deponent cannot now describe with perfect accuracy, but who according to deponents recollects is about thirty to thirty five years of age: about five feet ten or eleven inches high: a mulatto: eyes light colored: no particular marks recollected other than as above. That this deponent knows the said Isaac Sharkey to be a slave for life the property of the above named Catherine Gaston. That this deponent knew the said Isaac Sharkey to be held and owned as a slave by the said Catherine Gaston in the County of Washington in the District of Columbia: and knew him to have been held and owned before that time by the late Judge William Gaston the father of the said Catherine, who received her title from his estate. That the said Isaac Sharkey to being a slave for life and owing service and labor as such slave to the said Catherine Gaston escaped and fled from the said District of Columbia, about two years ago and is now a fugitive slave.

Test. Jno. A. Smith, Clk 1st April 1851 In the matter of Catherine J. Gaston claiming her fugitive slave.

Wherefore the said petition having been read and considered by the Court it is ordered that the said Catherine Gaston have to address and exhibit to the court her proof in support of the matter of the said petition. And wherefore the said Catherine Gaston proceeds to make proof thereof here before the Court. And the said proof having been duly heard and examined by the Court. It is therefore on this first day of April 1851 by the Court here considered and adjudged, that the said Catherine Gaston hath here made due full and satisfactory proof to the court that the before named Isaac Sharkey is the slave of the said Catherine Gaston, and that being such slave and owing service and labor to the said Catherine Gaston and held by her as such slave in said District of Columbia, he did escape from the District of Columbia, and from his said owner and is now a fugitive slave: of which said Isaac Sharkey the general description with such convenient certainty as may be, hath been now proven before this court to be as follows-that is to say- That the said slave is a mulatto man named Isaac Sharkey, and is about the age of thirty to thirty-five years: about five feet ten or eleven inches high: & has light colored eyes. Wherefore the said Court doth order that a record be made of the matter and as aforesaid proved, as also is the said general description of the said fugitive slave, and that a transcript thereof authenticated by the atty. taken of the clerk and of the seal of the said Court, be delivered to the said Catherine Gaston or her duly authorized agent or attorney in fact, to be (illegible) in accordance with the Act of Congress as such case made and provided.

By Order of Court Test. Jno. A. Smith