Preston and Others v. George W. Coons, Administrator of the Estate of Milton Duty, et al.
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To the Honorable Bryan MullanphyBryan Mullanphy Judge of the Circuit CourtCircuit Court of St Louis County sitting as a court of Chancery:

HumblyHumbly complaining sheweth unto your Honor, your orators
and oratrices, Preston, Braxton, MaryMary , NatNat , Beverly, JesseJesse , JordanJordan
MadisonMadison , MalindaMalinda , , ClarissaClarissa , CarolineCaroline , JacksonJackson and MaryMary
infants under the age of twenty one years, who sue by BraxtonBraxton their
father and next friend, HowardHoward and JamesJames infants who sue by MalindaMalinda
their mother and next friend, Lowis and MargaretMargaret minors
who sue by their mother and next friend, Ann ElizaEliza and Beverly
minors who sue by ClarissaClarissa their mother and next friend, duly
EllenEllen a minor who sues by CarolineCaroline her mother and next friend,
NellyNelly , LucyLucy , LydiaLydia , and HarrisonHarrison , Henderson and HarryHarry minors
who sue by PrestonPreston their next friend, That they, being the slaves
of a certain MiltonMilton Duty of warren county and State ofMississippi MississippiMississippi,,
were some time in the month of March 1837 removed by said Duty
from that State, to the city of St LouisSt Louis and State of MissouriMissouri, where
he hired out such of your orators and oratrices as were in a situation
to be hired (and from time to time their hire which was very
considerable) and continued to reside, until the day of August 1838 when he departed this life. Your orators and oratrices further represent
that on the 26th day of October 1836 the said Duty made and
published his last will and testament which was proven before the
court of warren county in the state of MississippiMississippi on the 26th day of November 1838 and admitted to record. That John JJohn J Guion . GuionJohn J Guion and
David DDavid D . Gibson the executors named in said will having within refused
or neglectrd to qualify as such, at the January term of said court
in the year 1839HenryHenry Fernandis was appointed administrator
and qualified as such according to law, all which will more fully
appear by reference to an authenticated copy of said will herewith
exhibited marked (A) and prayed to be taken and considered as
part of this Bill. That by reference to said will your Honor will
perceive that, 1st all the personal estate of their testator
that the afterwards otherwise disposed of, should be approx

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to the payment of his debts. 2nd that if such estate was found
sufficient for that purpose, then certain slaves therein named
to be sold to pay off the remainder, (the slaves have referred to and
some others were sold by their testator before he removed from the
State of MississippiMississippi .) 3rd that all of your orators and oratrices
not otherwise disposed of and belonging to him on the day of his
death should be free and manumitted and sent to the State ofMissouri
MissouriMissouri. This last clause was carried into effect by the testator
himself, as herein before stated. The only specific legacies made
by said will are 1st the sum of five hundred dollars to a certain
Joel L. Anderson hereinafter prayed to the made a defendent to this
bill, 2nd a gold watch and chain, together with the moving
of this testator on hand at the time of his death to your orator
PrestonPreston ,, 3rd all the remainder of his personal estate to be distrubuted
as follows to wit: 1st one thousand dollars to your oratrice
MaryMary , 2nd the remainder if any to be equally divided between
your orators PrestonPreston and BraxtonBraxton . Your orators and oratrices

further represent that some short time after this testator arrived in
St LouisSt Louis he became acquainted with a certain David CoonsDavid Coons (hereinafter
prayed to be made a defendant to this bill) and made him
his financial agent, paid into his hand all money arriving from
the hires of your orators and oratrices as he received it, as also money
from other sources, only retaining as much as was necessary for
the payment of his ordinary expenses, which were inconsiderable.
The only occasion on which he had any use for
money otherwise than as aforesaid, was while he was engaged
in the pork himself, when he sometimes drew upon the said
David CoonsDavid Coons , for money to pay off such purchases, and
changes, until he became indebted to said David CoonsDavid Coons in the sum of between three and four thousand dollars for which or the
greater part thereof he to the said DavidDavid his notes or
due bills, with the understanding that they were to be paid off
out of the proceeds of his pork sent down the river to be sold.