Petition #20185324


Harriet Hooper, a free "yellow" woman of color, and her six minor children, Ellen, William, Mary Jane, Zachariah, Eliza Ann, and Joseph seek their rightful legacy from the estate of the late John Hooper. Now residing in Ohio, Harriet asserts that the said John fathered her said children and held her and them in slavery; John Hooper's last will and testament, executed 28 May 1848, however, manumitted Harriet and her children. She states that said will stipulated that the executor, Zachariah L. Hooper, should take the family "to the State of Ohio and free them, then settle them comfortably in the Country and after settling them, to place in some solvent Bank in Ohio the sum of ten thousand dollars." Harriet reports that "the said sum of Eighteen hundred dollars constitutes the whole & the only monies & legacies paid to your Oratrix and the said Six children mentioned in the will" and that the said executor used these funds to pay all the expenses of moving the family from Alabama to Ohio. Charging him with having "fraudulently, wilfully and unlawfully converted the said sum of ten thousand dollars to his own use," the petitioners pray that Zachariah L. Hooper be decreed to perform "all his duties as such under & by virtue of the provisions of the last will & testament of his testator for & on behalf of your Oratrix & six children" and that the sum of ten thousand dollars "be applied ... for the benefit of the said Complainants." Harriet insists that the executor's failure to "to perform or execute that trust" has "reduced [her family] to utter poverty & destitution" and that "she and her six children aforesaid have not been settled comfortably in the state of Ohio according to the provisions and directions of the said last will & testament, but they are now uncomfortable poor and destitute."

Result: Granted; appealed; reversed.

22 people are documented within petition 20185324

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Citation information

Repository: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama