Petition #20185308


In the mid-1840s, Eliza, a slaveholding widow, married Barnabas Strickland, a migrant from Georgia, described as charming, intelligent, "a man of Specious manners & respectable appearance & a Minister of the Gospel." The couple signed a prenuptial agreement giving Eliza control over her land and slaves. She soon discovered that Barnabas was not only heavily in debt (although he owned a slave woman and her children), but was inept in managing the plantation. She invited her son-in-law, George C. Burns, to come and help her but he left after conflicts with Strickland. Sometime around the year 1848, Barnabas agreed to turn over her slaves to his wife in payment for money owed her; the slaves were nevertheless taken from her possession. Shortly thereafter, Barnabas arranged to purchase slaves in his wife's name, but later sought to make this property his own. Eliza "resisted," and asked her son, William Boswell, to come and take over the plantation. The husband said he would "deliver up control" only if his wife turned the title of her slaves over to him. Fearing he might cause trouble and embarrassment, and after consulting with a lawyer, she agreed. He then mortgaged the slaves, took the cash, and fled from the county. At midnight, on New Year's Eve 1852, creditors sneaked on to her plantation, rounded up the slaves, and took them away. She filed suit against the creditors as well as her husband but the sheriff reported that they were "not found in my County."

Result: Dismissed.

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Citation information

Repository: Dallas County Courthouse, Selma, Alabama