Petition #20284606


In 1846, Edward L. Pryor files a suit against his brother-in-law, Benjamin F. Ryburn. Pryor asks the court to validate his claim to a female slave named Julia and her two children, who were taken away from his possession by Ryburn three years earlier and have since remained in the latter's possession. During the ensuing trial, several deponents revealed that Pryor had received Julia in 1826 as a wedding gift from his father-in-law, Matthew Ryburn; but Montgomery Ryburn, another Ryburn son who also called to depose in the case, claimed that he had heard his father say that Julia was only a temporary loan to his daughter and ownership had never passed to Pryor. Other depositions also reveal that in 1830 Julia had been seized and sold to pay for debts incurred by Pryor; she was purchased and temporarily remained in the possession of Samuel Pryor, Edward's father. By 1832, however, Julia had returned to Edward's possession. All these events had taken place in Tennessee. In 1836 or 1837, the Pryor and Ryburn families moved to Arkansas where they farmed together. During this time, Julia and her two children were moved around; sometimes they were hired out to one William H. Moore, sometimes they were found on the family farm. In 1843, however, the farming partnership was dissolved and the Ryburn brothers, Benjamin and Montgomery, thought it prudent to take Julia away from Pryor and return her and her children to the Ryburn family. They claim that they had heard rumors that Pryor was about or had already sold Julia. They kept her and her children until Pryor filed his suit. In 1850, four years into the trial, a jury in Lafayette County where Pryor had originally filed his suit returned a verdict in favor of Pryor. However, before the verdict was returned, Pryor had filed another suit asking for a change of venue, claiming that the inhabitants of the county were under the undue influence of the Ryburns and thus prejudiced against him. The change of venue was granted and the suit tried again in Hemptstead County, where the jury again found in favor of Pryor. By that time, Julia had born another child. Ryburn asked for a new trial; his request was overruled; he appealed to the Supreme Court of Arkansas.

Result: Denied.

23 people are documented within petition 20284606

Or you may view all people.

Citation information

Repository: University of Arkansas at Little Rock, School of Law, Little Rock, Arkansas