Virginia: In the High Court of Chancery March 16, 1798. Between Robert Pleasants, son and heir of Jon Pleasants, deed. Pltf. and Mary Logan, widow and administratix of Charles Logan, and divisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, deceased, Elizabeth Pleasants, administratix of Joseph Pleasants, deceased, Isaac Pleasants and Jane his wife, Samuel Pleasants, junior, Thomas Pleasants, junior, and Margaret his wife, Robert Langley and Elizabeth his wife, Daniel Teasdale and Margaret his wife, late Margaret Langley, Elizabeth Langley the younger, and Anne May, Defendants
Published in pamphlet form sometime in 1800 or after, this is one of a succession of cases the High Court of Chancery heard on the legality of the wills of John Pleasants III and his son Jonathan Pleasants that freed their slaves if and when the General Assembly passed a law making it legal to do so.
The decrees of June 7th, September 12th and 26th, 1798, are from the High Court of Chancery of Virginia. Later, in 1799, after the death of Mary Logan, the case was before the Court of Appeals as Pleasants v. Pleasants.
Letter text, 4 July 1776
- VIRGINIA:MARY LOGAN, widow and administratix of Charles Logan, and divisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, deceased, Elizabeth Pleasants, administratix of Joseph Pleasants, deceased, Isaac Pleasants and Jane his wife, Samuel Pleasants, junior, Thomas Pleasants, junior, and Margaret his wife, Robert Langley and Elizabeth his wife, Daniel Teasdale and Margaret his wife, late Margaret Langley, Elizabeth Langley the younger, and Anne May,
In the High Court of Chancery
March 16, 1798
Robert Pleasants, son and heir of Jon Pleasants, deed. Pltf.
On the motion of the Plaintiff by his counsel, the court doth order that the Defendants, who are in possession of any slaves that are the subject of controversy between the parties in this suit, do not carry or remove them, or cause them, or any of them, to be carried or removed out of the commonwealth during the pendency of this suit, or until the further order of the court.June 7, 1798
On the motion of Daniel Teasdale by his counsel, leave is given him to amend his answer, whereupon he filed the same.September the 12th, 1798BetweenRobert Pleasants, son and heir of John Pleasants,Pltf.And
Cary Pleasants and Mary Pleasants his wife, late Mary Logan, administratrix of Charles Logan, and divisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, Dec'd and others. Deft. And betweenNed, a pauper,Pltf.AndElizabeth Pleasants,Deft.
IN these causes, which came on last term to be heard the bills, demurrers and answers, and on the testaments of John Pleasants
and Jonathan Pleasants, and the Journal of the House of Delegates, exhibited and read, and were argued by counsel, the court on this twelfth day of September, in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight, overruled the demurrers, because the right to freedom proposed to be asserted by the plaintiff on behalf of certain men, women and children detained in slavery, which freedom the former owner of some of them and of the progenitors of others could not bestow, although solicitous to bestow it, during his life time, was, preserved, if it could be preserved, until enjoyment of the bless would be permitted by temporary and conditional bequests of the slaves, with a confidence that in an event which might remove the legal obstacle to deliverance from the thraldom. the legataries would fulfil the testator's desire, so that the intermediate possession of the legataries, if that desire were not inane was fiduciary, & in such a case, the elements, from which juridical arrangements commence, prove the question which hath occurred to be peculiarly proper for praetorian animadversion for decision before a tribunal erected especially to foster and effectuate conscientious fideicommissa: and upon that question which is the capital subject of disceptation and some others in consequence thereof the court declared its opinion in these terms, the condition which the testator, John Pleasants, enjoined the legataries, and which, if it were lawful, excepting the bequest they were obliged implicitly to perform, was not contrary to law. Such a provision for emancipation was not prohibited literally by the statute in 1748, the only instituted law then extant, which can be quoted for that purpose, enacting "that no slave shall be set free, "upon an pretence, except for services to be adjudged by the governor "and council to be meritorious," the statute operated only upon emancipations efficatious immediately, not those of which the efficacy was fortuitous; and ampliation of the statute giving it energy in cases of which similar predicaments might seem to require similar policy, is reprobated in this instance, where the defendants, in a court of equity, are invoking its aid to hinder the restitution of a right, of which they, on whose behalf it is claimed, and their progenitors, could not have been deprived without violation of equitable constitutional principles. An objection urged by one of the counsel for the defendants, if it were not misunderstood, namely, that John Pleasants, who dying before the statute permitted manumission of slaves, enacted in the year 1782, was never authorised to manumit his slaves, could not enjoy manumission of them in any circumstances, is founded upon a position conceived not to be true, unless the act required by the condition to be performed were a malum in se; that a condition requiring performance of an act, not whilst the performance would be unlawful,
but when it would, if ever it should be lawful, that such a condition to be performed, not after an intolerable length of time, is unlawful seems an absurd position upon the doctrine of perpetuities, if applicable to any cases, in which human liberty is challenged, can not be found an objection against the slaves existing at the death of the testator, John Pleasants, or against the slaves born after, of mothers existing before his death; for their cases are examples of the legitimate periods, during which emergence or lapse of contingent dispositions may be suspended, namely, where events before the termination of a life or lives existent, or of a life or lives immediately succeeding the existent, must fix the destiny. Here the slaves for whose benefit the testator intended the bequests are first, those of whom he was POSSESSED at the time of his death, and secondly, those of whose MOTHERS he was so possessed. The period of time during ability of the slaves to enjoy when the legislature should permit them to enjoy this benefit was suspended, did not excede the tolerated period. I was during the lives of them, who survived the testator, and of them who were born after his death, of mothers surviving him, so that, in equity, of the slaves, on whose behalf this prosecution was instituted, they who were thirty years old or older, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty two, when the statute authorising manumission was enacted, were, at that time entitled, they, who born before his death are not yet thirty years old, will be when they shall attain that age, intitled to freedom, they who were born between the times of the said testator's death and of enacting the said statute will be when they shall attain the same age intitled to freedom, and they who have been born since the said statute was enacted, were at their birth entitled to freedom; and the plaintiff not only the heir but the surviving executor of the said John Pleasants, is the proper party to vindicate the that freedom, and require fulfilment of his desire repeatedly declared in his testament, and the court doth direct one of the commissioners thereof to report a catalogue of the slaves aforesaid, distinguishing the times when, according to the foregoing opinion, any of them ought therefore to have been and hereafter to be liberated from servitude, and stating accounts of profits, to which they who have been wrongfully detained are intitled.
September 26th, 1798.
The Defendants Cary Pleasants and Mary his wife, late Mary Logan, administratix of Charles Logan, and devisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, deceased, Elizabeth Pleasants, administratix of Joseph Pleasants, deceased, Isaac Pleasants and Jane his wife, Samuel Pleasants, jun. and Thomas Pleasants, junior, and Margaret his wife, in the first suit, and the defendant
in the other suit prayed an appeal from the decree pronounced in these causes on the twelfth day of the present month, which is allowed them on their giving bond and security in each suit in the penalty of twenty pounds, with such condition as the law requires.
June 5th, 1799
In these causes, in order that the decree of the Court of Appeals, which certified by the clerk thereof in the following words - "At a Court of Appeals, held at the Capitol in the City of Richmond, the sixth day of May, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine, Cary Pleasants & Mary Pleasants his wife, late Mary Logan, administratix of Charles Logan, and devisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants, deceased, Elizabeth Pleasants, adminstratrix of Joseph Pleasants, Isaac Pleasants and Jane his wife, Samuel Pleasants, jun. and Margaret his wife, appellants against Robert Pleasants, son and heir of John Pleasants, appellee, and Elizabeth Pleasants appellant against Ned, a pauper, appellee, upon appeals from a decree of the High Court of Chancery, pronounced the twelfth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight. "This day came the parties by their counsel, and the court having maturely considered the transcript of the record, and the argument of the counsel, is of opinion that there is no error in so much the decree of the said High Court of Chancery, as overruleth the demurrers of the appellants Mary Pleasants, Isaac Pleasants and Samuel Pleasants, jun. for want of jurisdiction in the said court; but that there is error in some of the principles, on which the decree upon the merits is founded,and part of the reasoning thereupon is note approved by this court, therefore it is decreed and ordered, that so much of the said decree as overruleth the said demurrers be affirmed, and that the residue of the said decree be reversed, and this court proceeding to make such decree as the said High court of Chancery should have pronounced, is of opinion, that although the testators at the time of making their respective wills had not power to manumit, and if they had devised them upon conditions that the devisees should emancipate them immediately, the condition being unlawful would have been void, and the property vested, yet the condition that they should become free when the law would permit it, was not of that sort. That to apply the rule respecting the limitation of the remainder of a chatted upon too remote a contingency, with all its consequences, to the present case, would be too rigid, but that a reasonable principle ought to be adopted to suit its peculiar circumstances, which is this,that if the event happens whilst the slaves remain in the possession of the family without change by the intervention of creditors
or purchasers since the contending parties would be those whose interest had been contemplated by the testators, the bequest ought to take place, but that the case of such intervening claims not being in the view of the testators it ought to be considered how far they should in equity prevent the devise of the manumission from taking effect. So far therefore as concerns the the family, the court would have had no difficulty in decreeing in favor of the paupers, if the wills had directed a general emancipation, when permitted by law, and the legislature had permitted it without any condition annexed; but a difficulty arises from the testators' not having directed a general manumission, when allowed by law, but a limited one, directing that all future generations of these people born whilst their mothers were under thirty should serve to that age, founded by no doubt, upon considerations of the interest of his family, and that of the slaves on which middle state the legislature have not declared their will, and on the other hand the legislature have permitted an unlimited emancipation, but annexed a condition imposing upon the the person liberating certain terms for the sake of the community, of which the persons making voluntary manumissions might judge, whether they would do the act upon these terms and use their pleasure: and on these terms the testaters have not declared their minds whether they would or would not have compelled the devisees against their inclination to emancipate subject to them. Under this difficulty, the court endeavored to model a decree to effect the purpose of the paupers without essentially violating the wills, and is of opinion that the limited manumission, according to the modifications, in the wills of the testators, can alone take place and be decreed, and that the terms for securing the public against the maintenance of the aged or infirmed, cannot be equitably imposed upon the devisees. It is therefor further decreed and ordered, that all the slaves of which the testators were possessed as their property, at the time of their respective deaths, not subject to the claims of the creditors or purchasers, before stated, and who are now above the age of forty five years, and their increase, born after their respective mothers had attained the age of thirty years (so soon as Robert Pleasants the executor, the several trustees, or any other person, shall in the courts of the several counties in which the said slave respectively reside, enter into bonds, with approved security, payable to the justices then sitting in each court, and their successors, with the condition that the said slaves shall not become chargeable to the "public, or enter into one such bond for the whole General Court,) and sit such as are now above thirty and under the age "of forty-five years immediately shall be emancipated and set
free to all intents and purposes, in like manner as if they had been born free; and that all who are now under the age of thirty, and whose mothers had not attained that age at the time of their birth, and all their future descendants, born whilst their mothers are in such service, do serve their several owners, until they shall respectively attain the age of thirty years and they be in like manner free, and when their freedom shall severally take effect according to this decree, there shall be delivered to each of them, by their respective masters or mistresses, a certificate, written or printed, attesting their freedom in such form as shall be directed by the said High Court of Chancery. That no account ought to be taken of profits, it being unused in such cases and less reasonable in this very difficult one. And the cause is remanded to the said High Court of Chancery for a state to be taken of the present condition of the several persons, and their rights ascertained, according to the principles of this decree, also for further proceedings to be had respecting the claims of Elizabeth Pleasants and Daniel Teasdale to part of the slaves, under paramount to the will of John Pleasants, and the claims of the creditors of Charles Logan, upon proper statements of the facts and exhibits relative thereto, which they are to be at liberty to introduce in the said court, which is ordered to be certified to the said High Court of Chancery. A copy, J. Brown, C.C," if it be not misunderstood by him, whom the law requireth to enter it as his own, may be excepted; this court doth direct that a commissioners thereof do report, first the names and sexes of the slaves of which the testators intended by the said decree, were possessed, as their property at the time of their respective deaths, not subject to the claims of the creditors or purchasers in the decree stated and who were, when the decree was pronounced, above the age of forty five years, and their increase, born after their respective mothers had attained the age of thirty years (so soon as Robert Pleasants, the executor, the several trustees or any other person shall in the courts of the several counties, in which the said slaves respectively reside, enter into bonds, with approved securities payable to the justices then sitting in each court, and their successors with condition that the said slaves shall not be become chargeable to the public, or enter into one such bond for the whole in the General Court) and all such as were, when the decree was pronounced above thirty and under the age of forty-five years, and secondly, the names and sexes of the slaves of which the testors were possessed as their property at the time of their respective deaths, and who were, when the decree was pronounced, under the age of thirty, and whose mothers had not attained that age at their birth: and this court doth order, that when the freedom
of the slaves shall severally take effect, according to the decree of the Court of Appeals, there shall be delivered to each of them, by their respective masters of mistresses, a certificate, written or printed, attesting their freedom in this form: --- is emancipated and set free according to the decree of the Court of Appeals, in May, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine.
June 7th, 1799
Thomas Pleasants of Beaverdam, James Pleasants of Goochland, William Mosely, Frederick Woodson and William Bentley, or any three of them, are appointed commissioners for performing the order made in these causes on Wednesday last, in place of a commissioner of the court.
September 10th, 1799
On the motion of the plaintiff in the first suit by his counsel, Benjamin Goode, George Williamson, Abell Janney, James Denson Ladd, Robert Evans, John Nicholas and John Ponsonby are added to the commissioners heretofore appointed to perform the order made in these causes on the fifth day of June last, who, or any two of whom are empowered to execute the same.
Virginia,---In the High Court of Chancery, May 22nd, 1797.
Ned, . . . . . Plaintiff.
Elizabeth Pleasants, . . Defendant.
On the motion of Ned, who is detained in slavery by the defendant, he is allowed to sue his said mistress in this court, in forma pauperis, and John Warden is assigned his counsel to prosecute the said suit; and it is ordered, that his said mistress do not presume to beat or misuse him upon this account, and that she suffer him to come to the clerk's office for commissions to take the depositions of his witnesses and to attend their examinations and the trial, and commissions are awarded the parties to examine and take the depositions of their witnesses.
LIST OF NEGROES in the possession of Samuel Pleasants, held under the wills of John & Jonathan Pleasant; whose ages were ascertained by Thomas Pleasant, James Pleasants. William Moseley and Frederick Woodson, on the 19th day of August, 1797.
Persons above the age of 45 years.
David, Saunders, Ceasar, York, London, Nanny, Charlotte, Sall, Arthur, Will, Maria, Judy, Phillis, Poader -- In all 13.
Persons between the age of 30 & 45 years old.
Sterling 1, Frederick 2, Joe, Phil 4, Tom 5, Harry 6, Jacob Powder 7, George 8, Jacob 9, Dull 10, Ben 11, Pender 12, John Powder 13, Silvia 14, Frank Cozens 15, Chloe Cozens 16, Peter 17, Aggy 18, Bob 19, Fanny 20, Nelly 21, Betts 22, James 23, Patty 24, Lucy Gloster 25, Cuffy 26, Sukey 27, Sukey 28, Amy 29.
Persons born of mothers after they were 30 years old.
Jack 1, George 2, Pender 3, York 4, Amy 5, Eve 6, Joe 7, Neily, 8, David, 9, Molly 10, Rose 11, Kate 12, Jacobs 13, Phebe 14, Lucy 15, Delphia 16, Lilly 17, Mourning 18, Tabb 19, Caesar 20, Sally 21, Mourning 22, Hampton 23, Jerry 24, Aggy 25, May Anne 26, Alice 27, Amy 28, Rachel 29.
Persons judged to be infirm and unable to earn a support, entitled to freedom when 30 years old.
Nancy 25 years old, Isabel, born 1782; John, born July 1788 - In all 3.
Persons born of mothers under 30 years old, and entitled to fredom [sic] at that age.
When to be discharged.
Solomon May 1772 May 1802 Dorcass February 1782 February 1812 Hannah October 1784 October 1814 Lucy April 1787 April 1817 Sterling April 1789 April 1819 Peter January 1792 January 1822 Joe September 1794 September 1824 Charlotte April 1784 April 1814 Biddy April 1786 April 17th 1816 Mourning 1787 1787 Decemb. 25 1817 Winter 1789 1789 October 1819 Gabriel 1792 1792 March 1822 Lewis May 1794 May 1824 Rainey September 1796 September 1826 Ben February 1799 February 1829 Frank May 1777 May 1807 Hannah May 1779 May 1809 Thornton July 1781 July 1811 Henry December 1786 December 1816 Milly February 1789 February 1819 Ridley September 1791 September 1821 Frederick October 1793 October 1823 Frank April 1795 April 1825 Ben May 15th 1782 May 15th 1812 Luke July 1784 July 1814 Nat March 1789 March 1819 Isaac March 1788 March 1818 Alace April 1790 April 1820 Betty August 1775 August 1805 Beck June 1795 June 1825 Phil May 1797 May 1827 Ned Abrey August 9th 1799 August 9th 1829 Critty March 1777 March 1807 Sall October 1778 October 1808 Janey February 1784 April 1814 Hester November 1786 November 1816 Patience March 1783 March 1813 Milton April 1785 April 1815 Anderson May 1787 May 1817 Clarissa June 1789 June 1819 Caroline July 1792 July 1822
When to be discharged.
Rhubin August 1793 August 1823 Arthur August 1795 August 1825 Mary Decem. 23 1775 Decem. 23 1805 Fanny January 1792 January 1822 Bob May 28th 1795 May 28 1825 Celia May 28th 1798 May 28 1828 Toney May 1776 May 1806 Janey December 1775 December 1805 Phebe January 15 1797 January 15 1827 Judy January 31 1799 January 31 1829 Doll November 1774 November 1804 Ursula May 1789 May 1819 Peyton August 1791 August 1821 Julia August 1793 August 1823 Grace October 1795 October 1825 Jim January 1798 January 1828 Charles August 1774 August 1804 Will December 1776 December 1806 Bridget November 1783 November 1813 Watt August 1770 August 1800 Rachel May 1778 December 1808 Maria August 1795 November 1825 Aggy March 1798 March 1828 Lydia September 1780 September 1810 Moses March 1797 March 1827 Charles Novemb. 3 1798 Novemb. 3 1828 James October 5 1788 October 5 1818 Anthony April 23 1791 April 23 1821 Myrtilla Novemb. 29 1792 Novem. 29 1822 Lucy August 28 1794 August 28 1824 Isaac Novemb. 18 1796 Novem. 18 1826 Judy Novemb. 5 1798 Novem. 5 1828 Judith August 1793 August 1803 Duncan August 1793 August 1823 Hall March 1780 March 1810 Caesar August 1788 August 1818 Gloster August 1793 August 1823 Nancy August 1790 August 1820 Caesar May 1774 May 1804 Aggy August 1777 August 1807 Celina August 1795 August 1825 Milly August 1790 August 1800 Stephen November 1777 November 1807 Phillis August 1772 August 1802
When to be discharged.
Jacob September 1790 September 1790 Abby February 1782 February 1812 Mingo October 1797 October 1827 Jim December 1777 December 1807 Eve June 1779 June 1809 Phillis December 1781 December 1811 Lavinia June 1783 June 1813 Gloster December 1784 December 1814 Tom June 1786 June 1816 Frank December 1787 December 1817 Lucy December 1789 December 1819 Mike June 1791 June 1821 Abraham June 1793 June 1823 Jessee December 1778 December 1808 Tabb December 1780 December 1810 Cuffy December 1782 December 1812 London December 1786 December 1816 Biddy December 1788 December 1818 Nelly December 1785 December 1815 Sall September 1787 September 1817 Nanny May 1791 May 1821 Poll May 1795 May 1825 Judy January 1781 January 1811 Adeline May 1799 May 1829 Amy August 1773 August 1803 Joe June 1781 June 1811 Corey December 1782 December 1812 Moses December 1784 December 1814 Molly May 1786 May 1816 Patty October 1789 October 1819
In all 115.
List of NEGROES in the possession of Isaac W. Pleasants, held under the wills of John & Jonathan Pleasants; whose ages were ascertained by Thomas Pleasants, James Pleasants, William Mosely and Frederick Woodson, on the 19th Day of Aug. 1799.
Persons above the age of 45 years.
Persons between 30 and 45 years old.
Janey 1, Phillis 2, Hannah 3, invalids, Peter 4.
Persons born of mothers under 30 years old and entitled to freedom at that age.
When to be discharged.
Billy November 1778 November 1808 John January 1781 January 1811 Sall June 1782 June 1812 Gaby December 1783 December 1813 Charles December 1784 December 1814 Sall June 1773 June 1803
The above lists was taken agreeable to a decree of the High Court of Chancery. Given underour hands the day and year above written.
William Moseley, Frederick Woodson,
James Pleasants, Thomas Pleasants.
List of Negroes in possession of Robert Cary Pleasants, and formerly possession of Charles & Mary Logan, held under the wills of John & Jonathan Pleasants, whose ages were ascertained by William Moseley, William Bentley & Frederick Woodson, commissioners by the High Court of Chancery for that purpose, August 23rd, 1799.
Persons above 45 years old.
Tom 1, Pompey 2, Will 3, Cato 4, Ned 5, Doll 6, Rachel 7, Amy 8, Jacob 9, Ned Gwin 10, Billy 11, Sarah 12, Richard Sharp 13, Nat 14.
Persons between 30 and 45 years old.
Nelly 1, Fanny 2, John Grey 3, Rachel Grey 4, David 5, Jessee 6, Mirtilla 7, Easter 8, Grace 9, Bob (son of Judy) 10, Sam Binns 11, Mirtilla 12, Mary 13, Mourning 14, Caesar 15.
Persons born after their mothers were 30 years old.
Anthony 1, Arthur 2, Louisa 3, Emmily 4, Ned 5, Daniel 6, Bob Grey 7, Paul Grey 8, Tarlton 9, Bartley 10, Critty 11, Sukey (a cripple) 12, Charlotte 13, Milly 14, Billy 15, Sally 16, Jack 17, Tom 18, Ursula 19, Moses 20, Jack 21, Mirtilla 22, Jesse 23, Kesiah 24, Frederick 25, Tom 26, Doctor 27, John 28, Rachel 29, Sally 30, Gaby 31, Winny 32, Diey 33, Elijiah 34, Caesar 35, Mourning Woodson 36, Fanny Woodson 37, Sam Woodson 38, Joseph Woodson 39, Lewis Moseley 40, Letty Moseley 41, Sterling 42, Peter 43, Frank 44.
Persons born of mothers under 30 years old and entitled to freedom at that age.
When to be discharged.
Hampton December 1782 December 1812 Mourning August 1789 August 1819 Polly Copland March 1783 March 1813 Fanny Copland December 1785 December 1815 Dick Copland August 1787 August 1817 John Copland August 1789 August 1819 Sam Randolph August 1770 August 1800 Edith March 1779 March 1809 Lucy August 1770 August 1800 Lydia March 1780 March 1810 Tabitha August 1778 August 1808 Effee February 1793 February 1823 Isham February 1791 February 1821 Lavinia February 1795 February 1825 Polly December 1797 December 1827 Charles March 1798 March 1828 Henrietta August 1794 August 1824 Phillis August 1781 August 1811 Molly March 1783 March 1813 Stephen August 1784 August 1814 Ben March 1786 March 1816 Nancy (a cripple) August 1787 August 1817 Sam Binns, Jun. August 1789 August 1819 Dick Baugh May 1771 May 1801 Beck March 1798 May 1828 Kate November 1772 November 1802 Jacob May 1774 May 1804 Ned May 1777 May 1807 Judy August 1784 August 1814 David November 1778 November 1808 Nancy March 1795 March 1825 Shasteen August 1796 August 1826 Betty Ampy August 1773 August 1803 James April 1790 April 1820 Thruston August 1795 August 1825 Bentley April 1794 April 1824 Addison May 1799 May 1829 Frank February 1794 February 1824 Haskins May 1795 May 1825 Henry August 1796 August 1826 Peyton July 1798 July 1828 Lewis August 1776 August 1806
When to be discharged.
George August 1787 August 1817 Harrison September 1791 September 1821 Peter August 1780 August 1810 Biddy March 1782 March 1812 Kitty August 1790 August 1820 Abraham January 1780 January 1810 Fleming August 1781 August 1811 Saunders March 1782 March 1812 Little Billy August 1785 August 1815 Judy August 1787 August 1817 James August 1787 August 1817 Emanuel August 1795 August 1825 Janey August 1797 August 1827 Lucy August 1772 August 1802 Sam August 1775 August 1805 Lewis April 1777 April 1807 Ned August 1779 August 1809 Sarah August 1781 August 1811 Aby April 1783 April 1813 Reubin December 1784 December 1814 Hannah March 1792 March 1822 Peggy March 1794 March 1824 William August 1796 August 1826 Johnson July 1798 July 1828 Matilda January 1796 January 1826 Sukey November 1797 November 1827 Joe August 1775 August 1805 Milly March 1777 March 1807 July August 1779 August 1809 Aaron March 1781 March 1811 Davy August 1783 August 1813 Sukey August 1785 August 1815 Billy April 1783 April 1813 Phillis April 1778 April 1808 Simeon August 1779 August 1809 John April 1781 April 1811 Sylvia August 1782 August 1812 Watt April 1784 April 1814 Mourning March 1798 March 1828 Robin Cuffy March 1777 March 1807 Alexander August 1778 August 1808 Pero April 1786 April 1816 Billy Woodson August 1782 August 1812 Davy Woodson April 1781 April 1811 Joseph Moseley August 1779 August 1809
The foregoing lists were made in pursuance of a decree of the High Court of Chancerry. Given under hands the day and year above written.
List of negroes, formerly the estate of John Pleasants, deceased, and by his Will given to his grand daughter Margaret, his wife of Thomas Pleasants, jun. under certain conditions, and now held as part of the estate of the said Thomas Pleasants.
No. 1 Pender, born in 1742, 57 years of age 2 Tom, her son, 1759, 40 do. 3 Biddy, of do. 1761, 38 do. 4 Oliff, of do. 1765, 34 do. } all free. 5 Obra, of do. 1762, 31 do. 6 Lewis, of do. 1774, 25 do. born after his mother was 30 years of age.
List of negroes, held under the wills of John & Jonathan Pleasants, as part of the estate of Charles & Mary Logan, dec. in Henrico county.
7 Lucy, born in 1746, 53 years of age 8 Sylvia Gray, her daughter 1769, 30 do. 9 Charles Gray, son of do. June. 1791, to be free in 1821 10 Peter Gray, of do. June. 1793, do. 1823 11 Patty Gray, of do. Sept. 1798, do. 1828 12 Sylvia, daughter of Phillis 1755, do. 44 years old. 13 Billy, son of do. Jan. 1787, born free 14 Tom, son of do. Oct. 1788, do. their mother being 30 years old at their birth. 15 Mary Loudon, born in 1753, 46 year old. 16 Beck, daughter of Sucky, Sep. 1775, to be free in 1805 17 David, son of de. March 1797, do. 1827 18 Anna of do. May 1799, do. 1829 19 Sally, daughter of Sukey, Sept. 1784, born after her
mother was 30 years of age.
} born free
Henrico county, September 21st, 1799.
Pursuant to a commission to us directed, from the High Court of Chancery, We have examined into the ages and sexes of several negroes in a decree of the said court mentioned, and agreeable to the above statement, which we hereby certify to be just, to the best of our knowledge and belief.
Robert Pleasants, son and heir of John Pleasants, Plaintiff,
Cary Pleasants and Mary Pleasants his wife, late Mary Logan, administratrix of Charles Logan and devisee of John Pleasants & Jonathan Pleasants deceased, Elizabeth Pleasants, admininstratrix of Joseph Pleasants, deceased, Isaac Pleasants, and Jane his wife, Samuel Pleasants, junior, Thomas Pleasants, junior, and Margaret his wife, Robert Langley and Elizabeth his wife, Daniel Teasdale and Margaret his wife, late Margaret Langley, Elizabeth Langley the younger, and Anne May, Defendants.
And between Ned, a pauper, Plaintiff, and Elizabeth Pleasants, Defendant.
The Court, this twenty-fourth day of September, in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine, taking into consideration the report of William Moseley, William Bentley and Frederick Woodsonl and also the report of Benjamin Goode, George Williamson and Abel Janny, persuant to the decretal order made in this cause on the fifth day of June last, to which reports were no exceptions, doth approve and confirm the same: in consequence whereof the slaves in the said reports mentioned to be above thirty and under the age of forty five years, are immediately entitled to certifites attesting their freedom, in the form prescribed by the said decretal order.
A LIST OF NEGROES found in the possession of Daniel Teasdale and others, which appear to be derived from the wills of John Pleasants and Jonathan his son.
In the possession of Daniel Teasdale the following Negroes, the issue of Suky, now dead, who was devised by the said Jonathan Pleasants to Margaret the wife of the said Teasdale.
Suky dec'd at the time of her last child's birth, was aged 41 years.
1. Isabel, her daughter, aged 21, free in 9 years. 2 Hampton, her son 20, do. 10 3 Molly, 14, do. 16 4 Frank, 13, do. 17 5. 6. 7. Jack, 11 years; Suky 8 years, and Peter 4 years; all born free, as their mother was then 30 years of age. 8. Numa, aged 21, son of Fanny, free in 9 years.
9. Charles, her son, born in December, 1783, now 16. 10. Chloe, October, 1785, now 14 11. Tom, September, 1787, now 12 12. Jack, April, 1789, now 10 Of course Charles is free in 14 years, Chloe in 16 years, and Tom and Jack born free, their mother then 30 years. 13. Jenny, aged 35, in the possession of Robert Pleasants, jun. 14. Cis, her daughter, born Sept. 1783, 16 years, free in 14. 15. Betty, 14, 16. 16. Sally, 12 18. 17, Jenny, 11, 19. 18. Sharper, 7, 23. 19. Fanny, April 1794 5, Born free
} their mother
20. Charles, Decemb. 1796, 3, 21. Jack, March 1799, 6 Mo. 22. Will, aged 56 years } In the possession of Robert Langley's estate. 23. Cesar, 61, 24. Benjamin, 76, and 25. Lucy, his wife, 61 26. Sharper, 38, of Hannah, now free.
In consequence of a commission to us directed, from the High Court of Chancery, we have examined into the ages and sexes of several Negroes which appears to us to be comprised in a decree of the said court ordering the said commission, and having placed the same against the name of each Negro, according to the list upon the first page of this paper, and also the list upon page the third, continued to page the fourth, and do hereby certify the same, to the best of our knowledge, in Dinwiddie county, this eighteenth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine.
A List of Negroes that are part of those, or the descendants of those Negroes, appraised as the estate of John Pleasants, of Curles (deceased, in the month of August 1773, said to have been sold to him the said Pleasants, by Robert Langley, now deceased, and which appears to have been made previously liable by an instrument of writing now on record in the county of Dinwiddie, for the payment of £300 currency, due Roger Atkinson, now dec'd, dated October the 21, 1765, and which are now in the possession of the different persons placed opposite to their names, or at the head of each list.
In the possession of Daniel Teasdale, held in right of his wife
Margaret, daughter of Robert Langley.
1. Amy, a Negro woman, 49 years old. 2. Sampson, man, 33 do. of Hannah 3. Chloe, woman, 30 do. of do. 4. Jacob, son of Amy 20 do. 5. Dick, of Pendar, 28 do. 6. Letty, of do. 26 do. 7. Ned, of do. 24 do. 8. Billy, of Chloe, 12 do. 9. King, of do. 7 do. 10. Patty, of do. 5 do. 11. Eve, of do. 4 do. 12. Chloe, of do. 2 do. 13. Joe, of Letty, 4 do. 14. Pendar, of do. 2 do. In the possession of Thos. Lewis, in right of his wife Ann,
daughter of Robert Langley
15. Jack, of Hannah, aged 35. 16. Hannah, of Amy, 16. 17. Fanny, of do. 14. 18. Lucy, of do. 12. 19. Hannah, of do. 12. 20. Davy, of do. 29. In the possession of Robt. Pleasants. jun. in right of his
wife Elizabeth, daugther of Robt. Langley
21. Pendar, aged 46 years. 22. Peter, 42. 23. Israel, of Amy, 10. 24. Betty, of Pendar, 18. 25. Jack, of do. 17. 26. Beck, of do. 14.
In the High Court of Chancery, March the 19th, 1800.
The Court, this nineteenth day of March, in the eighteen hundredth year of the Christian area, taking into consideration the report of Abel Janney, and John Ponsonby, bearing date the eighteenth day of September in the last year, to which report was no exception, doth approve and confirm so much thereof as relates to the descendants of the Negro slave Suky, said to have been devised by Jonathan Pleasants to Margaret, the wife of Daniel Teasdale; in consequence whereof such of the descendants of the said Suky, mentioned in the said report to be above thirty and under the age of forty five years, are immediately intitled to certificates attesting their freedom on in the form prescribed by the decretal order made in this cause on the fifth day of June last.
The foregoing Orders, Decrees, and Reports, are true copies from the originals, in the suits of Pleasants & c. v. Logan, et al, and Ned, a pauper, v. Pleasants.
- American Bibliography
- George Wythe and Slavery
- Pleasants v. Pleasants
- S. Bassett French Biographical Sketch
- Virginia: In The High Court of Chancery, March 16, 1798. Between Robert Pleasants, Son and Heir of John Pleasants... and Mary Logan ([Richmond, VA], 1800?)
- Robert Pleasants, in Wikipedia.
- "VIRGINIA: In the High Court of Chancery, MARCH 16, 1798," Encyclopedia of Virginia.
- "Virginia: in the High Court of Chancery, March 16, 1798. Between Robert Pleasants, son and heir of John Pleasants, dee'd. Plif. and Mary Logan, widow and administratix of Charles Logan, and devisee of John Pleasants and Jonathan Pleasants ..., Evans Early American Imprint Collection, Text Creation Partnership, University of Michigan Library.