Joseph Jefferson, a free man of Colour vs. James McKnight, William McCutcheon
View original image: Page  003
[missing figure]

State of MissouriMissouri
County of St LouisCounty of St Louis

In the circuit court July term 1826

To the Honorable, the Judge of the cir
cuit court of said county.

The petition of JosephJoseph Jefferson JeffersonJoseph Jefferson
a mulatto man, aged about twenty seven years,
humbly represents to your honor, that he was born
in the state of VirginiaVirginia from a black mother, and free
white father, whose name is Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson , in a
state of Slavery, following the condition of his mother
the said JeffersonJefferson , that father of your petitioner being
the mster of your petitioner that when
your petitioner was only of the age of about four
years, as your petitioner is informed the said
Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson , the there owner of your petitioner
about that time sold your petitioner as a
slave to one James McKnightJames McKnight , an condition
that said McKnightMcKnight should not hold your petitioner
in slavery any longer, than to your petitioner
should arrive at the age of twenty one
years of age; but should then discharge your
petitioner from slavery, suffering your petitioner
to go at large in the full enjoyment of his actual
rights and privileges, as a free man man
And a petitioner representats, that the siad
James McKnightJames McKnight , brought your
petitioner along with him many years ago,
from the state of VirginiaVirginia to the then territory
now state of MissouriMissouri, when he the said McKinght
resided ever since, and held your petitioner
in his possession and custody, for sometime,
as his slave. That about fourteen years
ago the said James McKnightJames McKnight , as your petitioner
is informed, sold your petitioner as a slave
is McKnightMcKnight , the father of the
said JamesJames , but upon what precise conditions
or times, your petitioner is ignorant, but your
petitioner has be informed and believes, that
the conditions of said sale, by James McKnightJames McKnight
to TimothyTimothy McKnight , McKnightTimothy McKnight his father, with the same
under which said JamesJames purchased your petitioner
from the said Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson , above mentioned,
and that the said TimothyTimothy McKnight McKnightTimothy McKnight
the father of the JamesJames was informed and was
cognizant of the conditions under which said
JamesJames bought your petitioner as aforsaid, at the

View original image: Page  004
[missing figure]
turn your petitioner was sold by said JamesJames to
TimothyTimothy McKnight McKnightTimothy McKnight , the father of said JamesJames .
And your petitioner further represents to your honor
that the said Timothy McKnightTimothy McKnight held your petitioner
in his custody and posession as his slave during
his life time, which was terminated not long since by
death that your petitioner, after the death of said
Timothy- McKnight, came into the posession &
custody of William McCutchenWilliam McCutchen , of the county of
St LouisSt Louis, & State of MissouriMissouri, who your petitioner
to the same in lieu of the said
Timothy McKnightTimothy McKnight deceased, and that said
McCutchen has held your petitioner ever since the
death of said Timothy-Mcknight deceased, in his
possession and custody as his slave, as your pe
titioner is informed and believes, under the pretence
that your petitioner was left to him as a legacy
by the last will and testament of the said
Timothy McKnightTimothy McKnight deceased; that your petitioner,
[ altho ] he has long since arrived at the
age of twenty one years, is still held & claimed
by the said McCutchen as his slave for life, deprived
of his natural freedom and personal litherly
contrary to the terms of the saidcontract between
the said James McKnightJames McKnight and the
said Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson , above mentioned, and
contrary to and in contempt of the laws of the
land, and contrary to equity and good can
secure, as your petitioner is advised & believes
In tender consideration whereof, your petitioner
prays that (in order that full and ample
justice may be done to him) he be
permitted to institute his action of apauld
& battery and false impresonment, agrument
the said william McCutchen, and the
said James McKnightJames McKnight , and all other person
who may set up a claim to your petitioner
as a slave, claiming under, by or
through the said JamesJames , to try the
right of your petitioner to his claim of
freedom and that your honor will make
all the necessary orders and deceases, which
may be deceased necessary & proper, in whalf
of your petitioner, & that he may be permitted
to sue as a poor person; & your petitioner

will ever pray de
next L. C. McGirk

JosephHis X MarkJeffersonJefferson