Petition #11680903


In April 1808, Virginia slaveholder Thomas Bayly died leaving his daughter, Margaret Ker Robins, six slaves, Jack, Peter, Ladock, Rachel, Agnes, and an infant Letty. Immediately after Bayly's death, Bowdoin Robins, Margaret's husband and a resident of Maryland, took into his possession Jack and Rachel, both house servants, and after the crop was finished in the fall he received the others. Bowdoin Robins's land was on the boundary line between Virginia and Maryland, and their dwelling was located in the state of Maryland. In February 1809, Bowdoin Robins died, bequeathing the slaves to Margaret. Immediately after her husband's death, Margaret went "to her friends in the County of Acomac in the state of Virginia and brought with her the said slaves," unknowingly violating the law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state of Virginia. When she discovered her error, Margaret also learned that, as a penalty, the slaves might be "taken from her by the overseers of the poor and sold." At the same time, she was advised by counsel that she would further compound her error by returning the slaves to Maryland, where they would be entitled to their freedom. Margaret Robins, desirous to remain in the county of Acomac with her friends and relations, pleads with the court to allow her "to retain" her slaves "that she does possess and raised in her father's family."

Result: Reasonable.

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Citation information

Repository: Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia