Thomas Jefferson, a man of color v. Milton W. Hopkins, Doctor Samuel Prosser, and Charles Dexter
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State of MissouriMissouri
County of St LouisCounty of St Louis

ss Be it remembered that on the
12th day of December 1844 A
petition was filed in the St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court in
petition the words & figures following to wit: To the Hon the
Judge of the St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court the petition of
Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson a man of Color aged about thirty
years respectfully represents to your Honors that he
was born a slave in the state of VirginiaVirginia. Where he
resided until the year eighteen hundred and thirty five, that in the spring of that year, your petitioner
was brought by his Master one Charles Drexter to StSt Louis
LouisSt Louis in the State of MissouriMissouri where he resided until
the Spring of Eighteen hundred and thirty nine. that in the month of March or April of the year last na
-med his Master the Said Charles Drexter told your
Petitioner to one Doctor SamuelSamuel ProsserProsser who is a brother
of said Drexters Wife. that said [ said ] Doctors SamuelSamuel
ProsserProsser then resided and now resides at JacksonvilleJacksonville
in the State of IllinoisIllinois. that said ProsserProsser immediately
after becoming the owner of your Petitioner to wit:
in the month of April of the year Eighteen hundred and thirty nine took your Petitioner from St LouisSt Louis
in the State of MissouriMissouri and conveyed him to the CountyCounty of Morgan
of MorganCounty of Morgan in the State of IllinoisIllinois and there held him
to labor and service on his the said Prossers farm
[ situate ] within four miles of JacksonvilleJacksonville in the said
County of Morgan State of IllinoisIllinois. from the said month
of April until the month of December in the Same year
being for a period of almost eight months that petitioner
was employed during said time at ordinary farming
labor for the said ProsserProsser . that in the month of December
of said year last named, there began to be a good deal

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of talk in the neighborhood about said ProsserProsser holding
Petitioner as a Slave in said State of IllinoisIllinois and said
ProsserProsser fearing the interposition of the
authorities there came from JacksonvilleJacksonville in a carriage
with his father in law to his Farm where your petitioner/2 was at work, put petitioner into it and drove off and
brought Petitioner to St LouisSt Louis in the State of MissouriMissouri
and there hired him out. And now does and ever since
has received the rewards of Petitioners labor. That
Petitioner now is and has been for the last two years
and now in the possession of one Milton W. HopkinsMilton W Hopkins who
holds Petitioner in Slavery as a hireling from said
ProsserProsser . Your Petitioner believes that he is entitled to
his freedom and prays your Honor for leave to sue as
a poor person, in false imprisonment against said Milton
W. ProsserHopkinsHopkins in order to establish his right to freedom
and he will pray &c ThomasThomas Mark JeffersonJefferson . StateMissouri
of MissouriMissouri St Louis County vsThomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson a man
of Color being duly sworn says that the matters and
things contained in the foregoing petition are true
ThomasThomas his mark JeffersonJefferson Sworn to & subscribed the 10th day of December 1842 Alphonso Wetmore Justice of the
Peace. Upon which petition the following orders were
made. County of St LouisCounty of St Louis State of MissouriMissouri is Being
Satisfied that the foregoing Petition contained sufficient
matter to authorize the commencement of a Suit. I
do make the following orders - I wish that the said ThomasThomas Jefferson
JeffersonThomas Jefferson a man of Color be allowed to sue as a poor
person to establish his right to freedom and also assign
F B. Murdock, Esq. as his Counsel. Second that
that the said Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson has reasonable Liberty
to attend his counsel and the Court as occasion may
require