Petition #20183702


The children and widow of William Bryant, deceased, seek to be recognized as heirs. They state that in 1818, Bryant left his wife, Rodicy, in Jasper County, Georgia, and moved to Alabama, where he lived the remainder of his life. Bryant owned considerable property when he died, including more than twenty slaves valued at twenty thousand dollars. After Bryant's death, his son, Needham Bryant, moved to Alabama to administer the estate, hiring John H. Peters, to obtain the letters of administration. Peters, however, put the letters in his own name and proceeded to manage the estate. When Peters advertised fifteen slaves and other property for sale, the heirs protested. Peters argued that he had recently found a will which directed him to sell the property and to give one hundred dollars to a "negro woman Sally & the same amount to several other negroes." In addition, this will stipulated that Bryant's land in Georgia be divided among his children, excluding Needham Bryant, William Bryant Jr. and Bryant's widow from any inheritance. The heirs challenge the validity of the will and ask the court to recognize their claim to Bryant's estate. They also challenge Peters's right to administer the estate. In response, Peters asserts that the complainants "Needham William Nancy Elizabeth Lurany and General J. Bryant are not free white persons capable of being citizens of this state that they are persons of color, commingled with the negro race and wholly incapable of inheriting the property and estate of said William dec. who was a free white man," and that they are not "the next of kin of William." However, it is not on this ground that Peter challenges the right of the Bryant family to inheritance in the remainder of his lengthy answer to the charges.

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Citation information

Repository: Talladega County Judicial Building, Talladega, Alabama