William E. Gardner petitions through his guardian, Richard B. Purdom, for the return of a slave, Harry, and compensation for his hire while in the possession of Nathan Smith and William Vesey. Gardner states that in 1819, Penelope Gardner inherited from her father Abner Eason of Bertie County, North Carolina, "a certain negro man slave named Harry to hold during her life and after her death to go to her child or children." William Gardner charges that after his mother's death in 1832, William Dougherty, Penelope's second husband and administrator of her estate, conspired with Nathan Smith, his court-appointed guardian, to cheat and defraud him out of his rightful legacy. The court "in ignorance of the facts thus suppressed," gave Harry to the defendant Dougherty, who in turn sold him to Smith "for the sum of three hundred dollars, about one half of his then value." In July 1832, Smith sold the slave to William Vesey. Gardner asks that Smith's settlement of his guardianship accounts be reopened and "that said Harry be restored to him," along with $125 per year as compensation for his hire.
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Repository: Madison County Public Library Archives, Huntsville, Alabama