Rachel v. William Walker
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State of MissouriMissouri. sct.
Supreme CourtSupreme Court . Third Judicial District. June Term 1835.

Tuesday July 5th 1835.
Court met pursuant to adjournment present all the Judges

William WalkerWilliam Walker

Appeal from St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court .

Now at this day come the parties by their respective attornies and thereupon all
and singular the premises are by them submitted to the Court, who having heard the argu-
ments of Counsel and being sufficiently advised of and concerning the premises it is consi
-dered and adjudged that the judgment aforesaid in form aforesaid by said Circuit CourtCircuit Court
rendered be reversed, and for nought held and esteemed, and it is further considered that said
cause be remanded to the said Circuit CourtCircuit Court for further proceedings therein in conformity with
the opinion of this Court herein delivered and that the said RachelRachel recover of the said WilliamWilliam Walker
WalkerWilliam Walker
her costs and charges by her about the prosecution of her appear in this behalf expend
-ed and that she have thereof execution. opinion filed

RachelRachel a woman of color

Opinion of the Court delivered by McGirkMcGirk Justice

RachelRachel the plaintiff in error brought an action according to the
Statute for freedom the defendant WalkerWalker pleaded not guilty and a verdict and Judgment
were given for the defendent. it appears by the Record that in the Fall of the year 1830 E. J. Langham
then residing in the MissouriMissouri territory at or near the mouth of the StSt Peters PetersSt Peters came to St LouisSt Louis and
that one J. B. W. Stockton then sent by Witness to Major Brant of St LouisSt Louis to purchase a slave that
the plaintiff was purchased for said StocktonStockton and was by the Witness taken up to him to FortFort Snelling
SnellingFort Snelling at St PetersSt Peters in the same fall: that there said StocktonStockton held her as a slave till the fall of the year
1831 when he removed to PrairiePrairie du ChienChien taking the said RachelRachel with him as his slave at which place
he held her in slavery till about the spring of the year 1834 when he took her to St LouisSt Louis and sold
her. that Fort SnellingFort Snelling is on the west side of the Mississipi river and north of the State of MissouriMissouri
and in the Territory of the United StatesUnited States; that said StocktonStockton before he bought said RachelRachel had
resided at Fort SnellingFort Snelling about two years and was still residing there when he bought the
plaintiff having just married, that StocktonStockton while he resided at fort snelling was an officer of
the U.S. Army. attacked to troops there, that while StocktonStockton was at PrairiePrairie du ChienChien he was also
an officer in the service of the U.S. Army. that PrairiePrairie du ChienChien is in the MichiganMichigan territory and a East
of the Mississipi, that RachelRachel was only employed in attendance on StocktonStockton and his family. it
appeared also that RachelRachel was never employed otherwise than as a private servant in immedi
-ate attendance on StocktonStockton and family and all the time StocktonStockton held her as aforesaid he was in

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the service as an Officer of the Army. it also appeared that WalkerWalker the defendant held under
StocktonStockton . upon this State of evidence the Circuit CourtCircuit Court instructed the Jury that the law was that
& said StocktonStockton was an officer of the Army while he held the Plaintiff in Slavery Stationed at
Fort SnellingFort Snelling and Fort Crawford by the proper authority and if he employed the plaintiff
during that time only in personal attendance on himself and family that such residence of
the plaintiff has been proved does not entitle her to her freedom. This opinion was excepted to
motions were made for a new trial for misinstruction which were overruled.

So sustain this Judgment Mr. GambleArchibald Gamble contends that all the cases heretofore decided proceed on
the ground that a residence in the N.W. Territory was contrary to the Ordinance of 1787 and
amounted to a forfeiture of the property of the owner of a Slave for a violation of the Ordinance and
that by all the decisions made by this Court exceptions are allowed to exist, which Exceptions to
the positive words of the Ordinance must be raised of necessity. one case allowed by the Court is
this that if a person be passing through the Country with slave property which he has a right
to do if high waters detain him with his slave and he resumes his journey as soon as
may be the time he necessarily St aid with his slave shall not be considered as a residence
so as to work a loss of the slave. He then contends that in this case StocktonStockton was a Soldier of
the American Army and as such was bound to be and remain wheresoever his superior
officer should command him to be, that the slave was only with him as a servant not a slave
and being obliged by law to be and romain in a country where slavery is forbidden he had a
right to have his servant there also. Mr SpaldingSpalding answers this argument by saying that although
this officer was bound by law and authority to be and remain in a country where slavery is
not allowed yet no law nor public authority required nor compelled him to take this
person there as a slave nor as a servant.

Having Stated the substance of the arguments on both sides we will proceed to laydown
the law as we understand it. it may not be unprofitable to state again the principles on which
this Court has heretofore rested in the many decisions heretofore made in regard to this Ordinance, it
seems that the ingenuity of counsel and the interest of those disposed to deal in slave property will
never admit anything to be settled in regard to this question. the ordinance of 1787 for the
government of the North Western Territory declares that neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude
shall exist in the same. The first case decided by this Court was that of WinneyWinney vsWhitesideWhitesides -
the facts of that case were that after the making the Ordiance WhitesideWhitesides the owner of WinnyWinny
removed from N Carolina to IllinoisIllinois and brought with him WinnyWinny and resided there three or four
years and left there and removed to MissouriMissouri and took with him the Slave, in that case the Court
declared that such residence by fore of the Ordinance manumitted the slave in that case the