Malinda and Nelly, Free Persons of Colour, by and through Their Next Friend, Beriah Cleland v. Robert Wilburn
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In the St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court Oct Term 1823

County of St LouisCounty of St Louis Sct NellyNelly a free girl of colour
by Beriah ClelandBeriah Cleland her next friend complains
of Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn of a plea of trespass assault
and battery and false in-prisonment with
force and arms - For that heretofore to wit on
the first day of June in the year of our lord eighteen hundred twenty two, the said
RobertRobert with force and arms made an
assault upon the said NellyNelly to wit at the county
aforesaid and then and there beat bruised and
ill treated her the said NellyNelly and then there
imprisoned her the said NellyNelly and kept said
detained her in prison there without any
reasonable or probable cause whatsoever
for a long time to wit for the space of six
months contrary to the laws of this state
and against the will of the said NellyNelly
against the peace & dignity of this state and
to the damage of the plaintiff five hundred
dollars & therefore she brings suit &c

B Cleland next friend

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County of St LouisCounty of St Louis Sct
The State of MissouriMissouri

To the Sheriff of St Louis County Greeting

We command you to summon Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn that
he be and appear before the Judge of our Circuit
Court Court at the next term thereof to be held at
the city of St LouisSt Louis within and for the county
of St LouisSt Louis on the first monday of October next then
and there to answer unto NellyNelly a free girl of colour
who sues by her next friend, Beriah ClelandBeriah Cleland of a plea
of trespass, assault and battery and false im pris
onment with force and arms to the damage of said NellyNelly
five hundred dollars & have you then there writ.

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Witness Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk of
our said Court at office this 11th day of June 1823

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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No 8 Oct 1823

NellyNelly a free girl
vs
Robt WilburnRobert Wilburn

Issue a summons
Ds - $ 500

filed June 11th 1823

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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Executed this
writ by reading
it & the declara
-tion to the defend
-ant, on the 11th June 1823 in
the city of St LouisSt Louis

Jno K WalkerJohn K Walker
Shff

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County of St LouisCounty of St Louis Sct

This day personally appears in open court
Beriah ClelandBeriah Cleland and makes oath that he
is acquainted with MalindaMalinda and NellyNelly and
the said Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn in the petition mentioned
and has been acquainted with them for about
two years, that the said WilburnWilburn about two
years ago brought the said MalindaMalinda & NellyNelly to
this state and hired them as his slaves to this
affiant that said WilburnWilburn informed this
affiant that he had bought the said
MalindaMalinda & NellyNelly to this state for the purpose
of preventing an application for freedom in
the state of IllinoisIllinois where he said they had
resided with him for about four months
and were about to attempt to establish their
freedom that the said WilburnWilburn
he this affiant first knew him was and still
is a resident of the state of IllinoisIllinois and that
the said WilburnWilburn now holds the said MalindaMalinda
& NellyNelly in slavery
Sworn to June 11th 1823 in open court

Beriah ClelandBeriah Cleland

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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The Petition of
Malenda & NellyNelly to
sue for their freedom

filed June 11th 1823

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct. The State Of MissouriMissouri,

To any Judge or Justice of the peace of The state of IllinoisIllinois Greeting.

We reposing special trust and confidence in your integrity and circumspection do require and command
you that you cause to come before you such person or persons as shall be named to you by RobertRobert Wilburn
WilburnRobert Wilburn his attorney or agent and him her or them examine upon his her or their cor
poral oath (to be by you administered) touching their knowledge of any thing that may relate to a certain
matter of controversy. Now pending in our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , for the county of St. LouisSt Louis, wherein NellyNelly
a woman of colour is plaintiff and Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn is defendant
on the part of the said Defendant â and having reduced the said depositions so taken
by you as aforesaid into writing you are required to send the same together with this commission enclo
sed under your seal to our said circuit court, with all convenient speed.

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Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at
the town of St. LouisSt Louis, this Seventh day of January in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty three

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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NellyNelly a Woman of Colour
vs
Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn

St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
In vacation
January 7th 1824

On motion of the
Defendant by his attorney it is ruled that a
Dedimus issue to any judge or justice of the
peace of state of IllinoisIllinois to take the
depositions of witnesses to be read on the
trial of the above cause on the part of
the defendant

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

A true copy of the rule

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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NellyNelly a woman of
vs
RobertRobert Welburn

Ded: to IllinoisIllinois

field Febry 3rd 1821

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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State of IllinoisIllinois
Sangamon CountySangamon County

In Persuance of the Confidance Reposed
in me by the Circuit Court of the
County of St LouisCounty of St Louis State of MissouriMissouri
A Subpoena Issued for SamuelSamuel L
Irwin and ElizabethElizabeth Smithe as
Directed by Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn and
proseeded to take and did take the
deposition of SamuelSamuel L Irwin and
ElizabethElizabeth SmithSmith Taken and
Returned as the Law Directs this 21 Day of January 1824

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AbrahamAbraham Sinnard

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State of St LouisSt Louis
Sangamon CountySangamon County
S S

In Persuance of a Dedimus to me
Directed by the Circuit Court of the
County of St LouisCounty of St Louis and State of MissouriMissouri
a Subpoena issued for the attendance of
SamuelSamuel L Irvin on the Twenty first day of January AD Eighteen Hundred and Twenty four Between the hours
of Six AM and Six PM at which
Time the Said SamuelSamuel L Irwin
attended and was Examined on his oath
Touching a matter in Controversey now
Pending in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court for the
County of St LouisCounty of St Louis wherein NellyNelly
a woman of Coulor is Plaintiff and
Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn Defendant

As Touching the Matter as afforesaid
the Deponant Saith that in the
Last of october 1821Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn
brout as above to his Residences
on Richland Creek Sangamon CountySangamon County
then MadisonMadison and keept her till
some time in December the Same Year
at the time Said wilburn braut
NellyNelly to this place he told me
that he intended to move to MissouriMissouri
Boath before and after said wilburn
Braut NellyNelly to this place and at Sundry
times he told me he intended to
move also said wilburn said his
Improvement to me in July 1821

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and in Consequence of his wife's
not being in a Situation to move he
was Detaind as he told me and in
December 1821 said WilburnWilburn took NellyNelly
from this place and said he was going
to Misoury to make a Crop and he
Could not Stay himself but intended
to Leave NellyNelly and his boys and Come
back for his family and further the
Deponant Saith not This 21 Day of January 1824

Sworn to and subscribed
before me the under
Signed one of the
acting Justices of
the peace in and
for the County and
State afforesaid

AbrahamAbraham Sinnard
Justice of the peace

SamuelSamuel L Irwin

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State of St IllinoisIllinois
Sangamon CountySangamon County

In Persuance of a Dedimus to me
Directed by the Circuit Court of
the County of St LouisCounty of St Louis and
State of MissouriMissouri a Subpoena issued
for the attendance of ElizabethElizabeth SmithSmith
on the Twenty first Day of JanuaryAD Eighteen Hundred and Twenty four Between the hours of Six
A M and Six P M at which time
the said ElizabethElizabeth SmithSmith attended
and was examened on her oath

Touching a matter in Controversy
now Pending in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court
for the County of St LouisCounty of St Louis where
NellyNelly a woman of Colour is
Plaintiff and Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn
Defendant as Touching the matter
as afforesaid the Deponant Saith
that in October or November 1821
I was Cauld on to attend
said wilburn's wife in Child bed where
I saw a black Child probbable her name
was NellyNelly and I herd said WilburnWilburn
Say that he did not know what he
should Do in Consequence of his wife
being Sick he Should have to Leave

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Part of his family and go to MisouriMissouri
And Further the Deponant Saith not
This 21 day of January 1824

Sworn to and subscribed
before me one of the
acting Justices of
the peace in and for
the County and State
afforesaid

AbrahamAbraham Summond
Justice of the peace

Elisabeth SmithSmith

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State of IllinoisIllinois
Sangamon CountySangamon County

I CharlesCharles Clerk of the
Circuit CourtCircuit Court for SangamonSangamon County CountySangamon Countydo
hereby certify that AbrahamAbraham
before whom the wish in deposition was
taken is and was at the time thereof
to wit on the 21st day of January 1824
an acting Justice of the peace for
said County of Sangamon
in witness whereofI have he
reunto set my hand &
affixed the seal of said
Court in said County
the 26th day of January 1824

CharlesCharles

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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct.

The State Of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of St Louis CountyâGreeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon Thomas Wilburn & Jno S Wilburn
that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay they be and appear in proper person before the Judge of
our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on the Sixth day of February at the city of St. LouisSt Louis,
then and there to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy now pending in our said
court, wherein NellyNelly a free Girl plaintiff,
and RobtRobert Wilburn WilburnRobert Wilburn defendant,
on the part of the Deft. and have you then there this writ.

Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this 3rd day of Feby in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty four

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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Executed this writ on Thomas Milburn & John S Wilburn
Feby 3rd 1824 in the City of St LouisCity of St Louis

Jno SimondsJohn Simonds Jr D Shff


Service $1.00
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NellyNelly a Free Girl
vs
Robt WilburnRobert Wilburn

for

Thomas Wilburn


Jno S Milburn

for Defts
6th Feby
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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct.

The State Of MissouriMissouri,
To The Sheriff Of St Louis County-Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon Berrah Cleland

that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay he be and appear in proper person before the Judge of
our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on the Sixth day of February at the city of St. LouisSt Louis,
then and there to testify and the truth so say in a certain matter of controversy now pending in our said
court, wherein NellyNelly plaintiff,
and RobertRobert Wilburn WilburnRobert Wilburn defendant,
on the part of the plaintiff and have you then there this writ.

Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this Fifth day of February in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty four

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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NellyNelly
vs
WilburnWilburn

for

B. Cleland


6th Feby for
plaintiff
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Executed this writ on BeriahBeriah Cleland ClelandBeriah Cleland Feby 6th 1824

J. K. WalkerK Walker Shff

Service $0.50
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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct.
The State Of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of St Louis County-Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon Thomas Wilburn, Jno S
Wilburn
that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay they be and appear in proper person before the Judge of
our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on the 11th day of June at the city of St. LouisSt Louis,
then and there to testify and the truth so say in a certain matter of controversy now pending in our said
court, wherein NellyNelly is plaintiff,
and Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn is defendant,
on the part of the Deft and have you then there this writ.

Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this 16th day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty four.

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
June Term 1824

NellyNelly
vs
Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn

for

John S Wilburn


Thomas Wilburn


for Defendant
June 11th
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Executed this writ on Thos Wilburn & John S. Wilburn June 9th 1824

Jn Timonds D Shff

Service $1.00
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The State Of MissouriMissouri,
County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct.

To The Sheriff Of St Louis CountyâGreeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon Patrick WalshPatrick Walsh Beriah
Clealand

that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay they be and appear in proper person before the Judge of
our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on the 11th day of June at the city of St. LouisSt Louis,
then and there to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy now pending in our said court, wherein NellyNelly is plaintiff,
and Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn is defendant,
on the part of the plaintiff and have you then there this writ.

Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this 16th day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty four

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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StLouisSt Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
June Term 1824

NellyNelly
vsRobert WilburnRobert Wilburn

for

X Patrick WalshPatrick Walsh


X Beriah Clealand


for plaintiff
June 11th
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Executed on
P. WalshP Walsh on
the 29th April 1824
on B. Cleland June 9 1824

J. K. WalkerK Walker Shff shff


service $1.00
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The State Of MissouriMissouri,
County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Sct.

To The Sheriff Of St Louis CountyâGreeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon
Patrick WalshPatrick Walsh
that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay he be and appear in proper person before the Judge of
our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on theforthwithday of at the city of St. LouisSt Louis,
then and there to testify and the truth so say in a certain matter of controversy now pending in our said
court, wherein NellyNelly is plaintiff,
and Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn is defendant,
on the part of the plaintiff and have you then there this writ.

Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this 11th day of February in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty four

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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Feb. Term 1824

NellyNelly
vs
WilburnWilburn

for

P. WalshP Walsh


forthwith
for plff
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Executed on
P. WalshP Walsh on
Jno. K. WalkerJohn K Walker
Shff
fees 50 cts

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Robert Milburn
adm
NellyNelly

And the said WilburnWilburn by his
attorney comes and defends the
wrong and injury when &c. and says that the said NellyNelly ought not to have or maintain
her aforesaid action thereof against him
because he says that the said NellyNelly is
his slave, without this that the said NellyNelly at
the time of the commencement
of the said suit was a free person and
of this he puts himself upon the Country &c.


StrotherStrother & Cozny
for deft

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NellyNelly
WilburnWilburn
plea

Filed Oct. 13 1823

AG Clk

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To the Honorable the Circuit Court of the County ofCounty of St Louis
St LouisCounty of St Louis

The petition of MalindaMalinda and NellyNelly free persons
of Colour, held in Slavery, humbly represents.
that your petitioners were held as slaves
by a certain Robert WilburnRobert Wilburn that some time
in the year eighteen hundred & twenty and while
your petitioners were so held in slavery, taking
your petitioners with them, removed to and arrived in
the State of IllinoisIllinois, where he immediately com
menced residing and has ever since continued to
reside that the said WilburnWilburn kept and held
your petitioners as slaves, in the said StateIllinois
of IllinoisIllinois for the period of about five months
when your petitioners being about to apply
to the courts of that state to establish their freedom he the said
WilburnWilburn with a view to defeat and hinder
that application removed your petitioners
to the State ofMissouri MissouriMissouri and there holds your
petitioners in slavery - Wherefore your petitioners
pray that they may be permitted to sue in
your honorable court as a poor person to
establish their right of freedom as aforesaid
upon the facts of aforesaid

MalindaMalinda
&NellyNelly
by their next friend

Beriah ClelandBeriah Cleland