Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History & Culture Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva's Black History

Record Detail

Record #32 from Abstracts of Petitions to Southern County Courts, 1775-1867

Part of Series B
Microfilm Reel in Collection Series 7
Microfilm Frame on Reel 716
Accession Number (identifies petition on microfilm) 20984615
County Dorchester
State Maryland
Year Legislative Petition Filed 1846
Abstract of Petition Stephen Cornish claims he is being held as a slave in bondage by Jacob Willson. Cornish "alledges himself to be free, and entitled to enjoy his liberty" and he requests his freedom. The court record shows that Cornish argues his freedom based on the will of Beauchamp Harper, which manumitted him and set the expiration of his term of servitude at 1 January 1817. In the settlement of Harper's estate, Cornish and six other slaves were sold in 1797 to an unspecified purchaser to pay off the estate's debts. The appellate case hinges on whether Cornish's manumission was "in prejudice of creditors." The lengthy appellate decision characterizes the case as involving "many important principles of Maryland law {which are] of deep concern to creditiors, manumitted slaves, and slaveholders; and, indeed, to all beneficiaries and representative of estates, the owners of which have inserted in their wills clauses for the manumission of slaves."

If you are citing this record, please use the following format:

[Author (if known)], Abstracts of Petitions to Southern County Courts, 1775-1867, [Date (if known)], Enduring Connections: Exploring Delmarva’s Black History, Nabb Research Center, Salisbury University.

Pinned records can be viewed at any time by clicking the More menu in the top right corner of the page, then selecting My Pinned Records.