Petition #20482603


Iris Smethers paid Mary Greenfield, the mistress of Letty Brown, $4 a month for Letty's labor in her laundry business, allowing the slave two or three days a week "to work for herself & raise money" to purchase her freedom. Letty informed Smethers that John Lowe "was about to befriend her" by buying her from Greenfield. Lowe promised Letty he would free her when she paid the balance due of $210, but Smethers contends that Lowe actually bought Letty "to hold as a slave for his own use." Letty has now paid Lowe almost all of the agreed upon sum, but he contends "that said promise was made only to Letty herself, who being a slave at the time, the promise is not binding." Letty has since had a son of whom Lowe "has taken forcible possession," claiming the boy as his slave as well. The petitioner seeks to subpoena Lowe requiring him to answer the charges levied against him and requests that the court require him to manumit Letty and her child, upon her paying any amount that is due for her freedom.

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Citation information

Repository: National Archives, Washington, D. C.