Ralph, a man of colour v. James Coleman and Duncan Coleman
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Deposition taken By virtue of a notice on monday
the fourteenth day of November in the year eighteen hundred and thirty one, Between the hours of eight
O Clock inthe forenoon and five O ClockPM of
that day, at the office of JosephJoseph V Garnier V GarnierJoseph V Garnier
in the city of St. LouisSt Louis, and to be read in evidence
in the trial now pending in the circuit court
of the County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Between RalphRalph a man
of color, who suesfor his freedom as plaintiff and
Coleman DuncanColeman Duncan defendant, on the part
plaintiff -

John SteeleJohn Steele being of lawful age and duly sworn
on his oath saith that to thebest of his recollection
he saw RalphRalph the plaintiff at the SalineSaline (in the month of October 1818)
Lick in IllinoisIllinois at work for one OwingsOwings who
was at the same time setting with John GordonJohn Gordon
of HopkinsHopkins County CountyHopkins County KentuckyKentucky who was the
reputed owner of RalphRalph and that
he understood from the conversation of said
Ownings & GordonGordon that they were settling
for wages for the past services of said
RalphRalph to the best of his recollection for the
amount of one or two years services
or part of two years but of the particular
length of time or the amount of the settlement
he can not be positive that
this affiant taught school in the neighbourhood
of & boarded with said GordonGordon

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the winter after he saw said RalphRalph at the
SalineSaline in IllinoisIllinois that in conversation with
said GordonGordon his recollection is that said
Gordan told this affiant that said RalphRalph
had worked at the SalineSaline
of IllinoisIllinois as early as the year 1814 or 1815
that he said GordonGordon had hired said RalphRalph
to work almost every year after the war
up to the time this affiant saw said RalphRalph
as above stated

Questions by Plaintiffs attorney

Question 1st what makes you to believe
John GordonJohn Gordon was the owner of RalphRalph
answer. I am induced to believe JohnJohn Gordon
GordonJohn Gordon was the owner of RalphRalph from
the fact that he exercised all the acts of
ownership common for masters to do in
that country & the common reputation
of the Country was that he was the master
of said RalphRalph .

Question 2nd Do you know that the plaintiff
ever after the times above referred to came in
to the possession of the defendant & did
you ever know him to exercise any acts
of owner ship over RalphRalph the plaintiff
answer I understood from the Defendant
that RalphRalph the Plaintiff belonged to him
by some transfer or other the particulars
of which I do not recollect also from the common
talk in the county but have no other knowledge
nor did I ever in RalphRalph in the possession of