In 1822, Turner Christian of Charles County, Virginia, gave the following slaves to his grandchildren, the petitioners: Suggy, William, Hannah and her children Charles, Suckey, Fanny, and Marsha. Shortly thereafter the petitioners moved with their father, Tyler Hardyman and his wife, Catherine, to Jefferson County, Alabama. In 1824, Hardyman, claiming ownership of the slaves, sold Suggy, William, and Creasey, Suggy's daughter born after execution of the deed of gift, to Mark Harris. Harris then sold Creasey to John Riley. After Riley's death, Elizabeth Riley, his mother, took possession of Creasey. The petitioners have already filed a bill for the recovery of Suggy and her children from one Octavius Spencer. They now sue Elizabeth Riley for the recovery of Creasey. The petitioners assert that Hardyman has disposed of all of their property in order to pay his debts, leaving them in "depressed circumstances." They ask the court to nullify the sale of the slave and recognize their rightful ownership. In addition, the petitioners argue that the slave is a "family negro" in that she belonged to their grandfather and their father. They further state that they "have all that persona[l] regard that is commonly felt and entertained for property of this kind by all familys possessing it is now from motives of the highest humanity and benevolence to the negroes herself that" they seek the recovery of the slave. The petitioners also request compensation for the slave's hire and an injunction preventing Riley from selling the slave beyond the jurisdiction of the court.
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Repository: Shelby County Archives, Columbiana, Alabama