John Murry vs. Louis Menard and Clayton Tiffin
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To the Honorable the Judge of the Circuit Court
of the County of St LouisCounty of St Louis.

The Petition of John HenryHenry a free man of colour,
unto your honor, that your petitioner was born in the
Village of CahokiaCahokia, in the State of IllinoisIllinois, and is
now about thirty five years of age, and was born
of a black mother who was claimed and hild as a slave
in said State; And your petititioner further shows that
he was born since the passage of an Ordinance of
CongressCongress , for the Government of the then Territory
of the United StatesUnited States Northwest of the river OhioOhio,
passed on the thirteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord Seventeen hundred and Eighty Seven, in
which said Ordinance it is declared and ordained, that
Slavery or involuntary servitude, (Except for the pun
ishment of Crimes) shall not Exist or be allowed,
which said State was then a part of said Territory,
subject to the operation of said Ordinance. And
your petitioner saith, that he is advised, that under
the operation of said Ordinance he was born free
and of right is free according to the laws of the land
And your petitioner further shows, that one
Pensins, of said state claimed and held your peti
tioner in servitude, in the character of a slave, from
his birth, [ untill ] within a few years past, when your
petitioner passed from the possession of said Pensins
into the possession of Louis Pensins, the son of said
Pensins, by virtue of a deed of gift or sale.
And your petitioner further showeth unto your honor,
that same time after he came into the possession of
said LewisLewis Pensins, your petitioner of
obtaining his natural freedom, same time in the month
of January, in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and twenty five, entered into a verbal agreement & con
tract with the said LewisLewis Pensins to obtain his natural
liberty, whereby it was agreed, that the said LewisLewis
Pensins should liberate & discharge your petitioner from
servitude as a slave, for the consideration of the sum
of four hundred and fifty Dollars, to be paid by your

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Petitioner to said LewisLewis within three years, next ensuing the
date of making said contract, which said Term of three years
has not yet expired. And your petitioner saith, that in faith
of said agreement with said LewisLewis , your petitioner did, a
short time after the making of said contract, & in person
once thereof, pay unto the said LewisLewis Pensins the sum
of two hundred and thirty dollars, as part and parcel
of the said sum of four hundred and fifty dol
lars, two hundred of which said sum of two hundred
and thirty dollars was paid in money, and thirty dol
lars in two horses, at the sum of fifteen Dollars each.
And your petitioner further shows, that immediately
after said agreement was made between said LewisLewis &
your petitioner, and in pursuance of said agree
ment, the said LewisLewis Pensins did liberate & dis
charge your petitioner from his Service, and told
your petitioner that he might go free of him where
he pleased. And your petitioner further saith, that
after said Pensins had liberated and discharged him
from slavery & from his service in pursuance of
said agreement, that your petitioner did go at Large
in the full & perfect enjoyment of his liberty, &
Left St Clair CountySt Clair County in the said state of IllinoisIllinois &
came to the Town of St LouisSt Louis, with the intent of earn
ing money to pay the remainder of the said sum
of four hundred and fifty dollars to said LewisLewis Pen
sins, in pursuance of said agreement.
And your petitioner further saith that he resided in the
City of St LouisCity of St Louis in the perfect enjoyment of his natural
freedom for the space of several months, with the
Knowledge & Consent of said LewisLewis Pensins, and con
tinued in the uninterrupted exercise thereof, in pursuance
of said contract, & by virtue of being liberated & discharged
from slavery as aforesaid, by said LewisLewis , untill be
said LewisLewis Pensins, not regarding the natural & legal
rights of your petitioner to his freedom, under & by
virtue of said contract, and discharge, & under of by vir
tue of the said ordinance of congress, but intending
to cheat and defraud your petitioner out of the said
sum of money paid to him by your petitioner as afore
said, and to reduce your petitioner to a state of slavery
and servitude for life, came to St LouisSt Louis aforesaid, where

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where your petititioner was then lawfully residing, in
the full & legal exercise of his liberty, and seizedyour
petitioner by main force, and put your petitioner into
the common jail, as his slave, and your petitioner
further shows, that the said pensins, declaring that it was
lawful to cheat defraud, oppress & reduce your petitioner
to a state of slavery, did chain and manacle your pe
titioner, and put him on board a certain steam boat
bound for the City of Orleans, Consigning your petitioner
to one John G. Stephenson, then a commission mer
chant in the City of New OrleansOrleans, with orders to sell
your petitioner as a slave an account of him the
said Pensins, And your petitioner saith, that he was
conveyed to the said City of N. Orleans, and was delivered to
and sold by said John G. Stephenson, as the slave of
him the said LewisLewis Pensins, to One AndrewAndrew Shecksni
about the first of April in the year 1825, in the City
of New OrleansOrleans. And your petitioner further showeth
unto your honor, that being of indignant at the injustice
and oppressive fraud & injustice thus inflicted upon him,
your petitioner absconded from the possession of said
Shecksni, and after many hardships reached CahokiaCahokia
in the County of St ClairCounty of St Clair in the state of IllinoisIllinois, where
your petitioner again was in the possession of his â
natural & legal liberty. And your petitioner saith.
that soon after his last arrival at CahokiaCahokia, he was,
again forcibly seized by certain persons, who pretended
that your petitioner was and allying slave, & brought
your petitioner across the MississippiMississippi river and put
your petitioner in Jail, where he was unlawfully de
tained, untill he was taken out of prison by a certain
Louis MenardMenard , and a certain Clayton Teffin, both in-
habitants of the City of St LouisCity of St Louis, in the state of Missou-
ri, who now hold your petitioner in their possession
and custody as a slave, unlawfully, under the false
pretence that they are entitled and authorised to hold
your petitioner in their possession and custody.
And your petitioner therefore prays, that he may be

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permitted to produce the remainder of the said sum of
fourteen hundred and fifty dollars in Court, to abide the Judg
ment of the Court, in a suit which your petititioner prays
to be permitted to institute as a poor person, in the said
circuit court, against the said Louis MenardMenard and the
said Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin , for the recovery of his natural liberty
and freedom; and that your honor will please to Assign
your petitioner counsel in said cause, and make all such
orders in the premises as may be warranted by laws &
your petitioner will Ever pray, &c.

John MerryJohn Merry ,
By Joseph Charles Jr.
Atto at Law.

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John MerryJohn Merry
vs
L. Menard &
C. TiffinTiffin

Petition to be permi
tted to sue as a
poor person

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Upon view of the within petition it is ordered that
the said petitioner be permitted to institute a suit for
his freedom as a poor person and Joseph Charles Jr.
is hereby assigned as his counsel to prosecute said suit.
St LouisSt LouisSeptr. 30.th 1826.

WillWill C. CarrCarr

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And it is hereby further ordered that the petitioner in
the petition hereto annexed, have reasonable liberty to
attend his counsel and the Court where occasion
may require: and that the petitioner shall not be
taken or removed out of the jurisdiction of the Court
nor be subject to any severity because of his
application for freedom

WillWill . C. CarrCarr

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No 18

St LouisSt Louis Cricuit Court Nov. Term 1826

John MerryJohn Merry
vs
L. Menard and
C. TiffinTiffin

Petition to be permitted
to sue as a poorperson

Filed 30th September 1826
ArchdArchibald Gamble GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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State of MissouriMissouri
County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis

In the Circuit CourtCircuit Court
November Term 1826

John MerryJohn Merry a freeman of Colour who is
permitted by the Court to sue as a poor person, by his
Attorney J Charles assigned as counsel by the Court
complains, of Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin and Louis MenardMenard of a
plea of trespass. For that the said defendants heretofore
to writ on the twenty fifth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty six with force and arms at the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis unlawfully
an assault did make upon the body of said John and
then and there did beat bruise and ill treat him said John
and then and there imprisoned him said John and kept and
detained him in prison without any reasonable or probable
cause whatsoever against the will of said John and have
ever since kept and detained him said John in prison
and stillkeeps and detains him in prison against his
will without any reasonable or probable cause whatso
ever contrary to the laws of this state, and the said defendant
other wrongs then and there did to him said John
against the peace and dignity of the state

Wherefore the said John says he is injured, by said
defendants, and hath sustained damages to the amount
of six hundred dollars and therefore he sues

M GirkM Girk CharlesCharles
Attys.

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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis Ss
The State of MissouriMissouri

To the Sheriff of said County Greeting

We command you to summon Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin & Louis
MenardMenard that they be and appear before the Judge of our CircuitCircuit Court
CourtCircuit Court at the next term thereof to be held at the city of St. LouisSt Louis within
and for the County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis on the Fourth Monday in November next
then and there to answer unto John MerryJohn Merry a free man of color who
is permitted by the Court to sue as a poor person of a plea of trespass
to the damage of said plaintiff of six hundred dollars and have
you then there this writ.

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Witness Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk of our
said Court at Office this Eleventh day of October in the Year 1826

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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Executed this writOctober 11th 1826, on Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin & Louis
MenardMenard by reading the same to them.

Fees $ 2

R SimpsonR Simpson Shrff

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No 18

St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
November Term 1826

John MerryJohn Merry a free
man of Colour
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin &
Louis MenardMenard

Narr.

The Clerk will please
issue a summons
the within action of as
sault battery and false
imprisonment, damages
$600.â L Charles Atty.

Filed 7th October 1826

Arch GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin
& Louis MenardMenard ads
John MerryJohn Merry colored man

Recd. Louis C. C. Louis 1827

Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin & Louis MenardMenard
& defend the wrong and injury and say
that they are not guilty in manner and form
thesaidJohn MerryJohn Merry thereof above alledgedagainst
them

-

And the Plff doth the clk
McGirkMcGirk for plff
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No 18

Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin
Louis MenardMenard

ads
John MerryJohn Merry
a man of color

Filed Nov 27th 1826

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clk

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County Of St. LouisSt Louis, Sct.
State of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of St Louis County....Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon JuliaJulia Banada - AlexisAlexis Ameleri
BaptisteBaptiste LebrunPierrePierre Bennet
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 April at the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, then and there
to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy, now pending in our said court, wherein JohnJohn Merry
MerryJohn Merry is plaintiff, and C. TiffinTiffin
and MenardMenard are defendants, on the part of the
plaintiff and have you then there this writ.

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Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at
the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, this 31st day of March in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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Executed this writ on BaptisteBaptiste Labrun &
PierrePierre Bennet March 31, 1827.AlexisAmelia
April 3rd 1827.JuliaJulia Barada not found.

1.604

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March 1827

John MerryJohn Merry
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin & MenardMenard

For
JuliaJulia Barada
x AlexisAlexis Amelin AmelinAlexis Amelin
x BaptisteBaptiste Labrun
x PierrePierre Bennet
for Plaintiffs

6 April

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County Of St. LouisSt Louis, Sct.
State of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of Saint LouisSt Louis County....Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun and
JulieJulie Bordeau
that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay, they be and appear in proper person before the Judge of our
Circuit CourtCircuit Court , forthwith at the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, then and there
to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy, now pending in our said court, wherein JohnJohn Merry
MerryJohn Merry is plaintiff, and ClaytonClayton Tiffin
TiffinClayton Tiffin and Louis MenardMenard are defendants, on the part of the
plaintiff and have you then there this writ.

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Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at
the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, this 6th day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty Seven

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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March Term 1827

John MerryJohn Merry
vs
Tiffin & Menard

for
+ BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun
JulieJulie Bordeau
for plaintiff
forthwith

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Executed this writ on BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun April 6th on
JulieJulie Bordeau April 9 1827

Service $1.00

for Simmonds Jr. Dp. Sheriff

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John MerryJohn Merry
vs
Clayton Teffin &
Louis MenardMenard

Taken by Consent D. of Parties attorney
on both sides present. Taken
at my office on this 6th day of April 1827

August Trottier of law full age
on the part of the defendants
the knows John MerryJohn Merry a negroe, the Plaintiff
in the above suit knows him from his birth
about 35 or 36 years ago he was born at his
house in CahokiaCahokia and was his slave he
got him by inheritance through his father
and another and John, from his said
father the said father and the other of said
John were negroe slaves he to his said
father. When said John was three
years old or there abouts he sold the father
mother and 6 he believes to Mr. Peuche
nan or said Peuchenan said him for them
question by Plaintiff attorney
where did your father to IllinoisIllinois
does not know.
did you know there John a slave in 1787. in the
state of IllinoisIllinois. he was not born his
father and mother were slaves the father
was a slave 60 years ago and the mother
40 or are one from his first knowledge he
knew her a slave he to his father.
defendant is 56 years ago. John is about
35 years old
question by defendants attorney
did your know the Mother of John to be
a slave 50 years ago. Ans I did she was
a negress
Sworn to and subscribed
beforeon the day and at the
place above written

Clement BClement B Purnore
Justice of the peace

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PierrePierre Bernet of [ lawfull ] age
on the part of Plaintiff

says he knows that MrPerceneau brought
John to this side to send him to New OrleansOrleans
and thats all Louis Perceneausaid in
deponents that the would
return the money he had paid for him he
would give him his freedom does not
know that the negroeever gavePerceneau
any part of the

Sworn and subscribed to
at the place first above



his PierrePierre & Bennet
mark

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BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun of [ Lawfull ]age also
sworn on the part of Plaintiff.
Says heknows nothing about it
sworn and subscribed to on the

day and at the placeabove written

Clement BClement B Purnore
Justice of the Peace

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LewisLewis Perceneau of [ Lawfull ]age also sworn
are the part of the Plaintiff.

says his in violation with the negroe
the negroe that he would not
his master any longer but if he wouldgive
him time hewould get the money he
Perceneau had given for him. Perceneau gave him one month to get and then
received the for two week in one. my son
never received the money that I ever
heard or anyproperty from said negroe
sworn and subscribed to
on the day and at the place
abovewritten
Clement BClement B Purnore
Justice of the peace

his
Louis & Perceneau
mark

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I ClementClement B BClement B Purnore a Justice of the Peace
within and for the county of St. LouisSt Louis in the StateMissouri
ofMissouri MissouriMissouri do herebycertify that AugustTretier
PierrePierre BennetBaptisteBaptiste LeBrun and Louis.

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Pierceman the deponentswere by meseverally
sworn to testify the whole truth of their knowledge
touching the matter in controversy aforesaid
that they were examined and their examination
the writing and by them respectively
subscribed in my presence on the day and
at the place in that behalf all first aforesaid

Clement BClement B Purnou
Justice of the Peace

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Deposition
in the
case of
John MerryJohn Merry a black man
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin & Louis
MenardMenard
in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court
County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis
Taken by

5 Certificates $1.25
40 oaths 25
512 words 50
4 2
$4.00

filed April 9th 1827

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clk

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Depositions taken by consent and to be read in evidence on the trial
circuit court of the county of St. LouisSt Louis, Between
John MerryJohn Merry Plaintiff and Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin and Louis MenardMenard defen
dants on the part of the said plaintiff.

JulieJulie Bourdeau being duly sworn or her oath saith that
a certain Louis Perceneau told her they that he had
bought a horse cart, of his negro man namedJeanJean Mane
did say for how much - he further stated to her that on
his return from atribe his father had given him
all his slaves - that he then told the said slaves that they
were his property and must go with him. That the said
JeanJean Mane, the slave above named took all his things,
left the house of his former Master the father of the said
Louis Perceneau and went to reside with his own father
that said Perceneau told her that he intended to get out
of the said Negro JeanJean Louis, all he could, and then send
him down to New OrleansOrleans. That the said JeanJean Louis
was permitted to go at large as he pleased. heard
Perceneau say that the said Negro wished to purchase his
freedom and further saith not
Sworn to subscribed this
10th day of April 1823
before me
J. L. Grameri Esqr.

her
JulieJulie & Bourdeau
Mark

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JohnJohn Merry MerryJohn Merry
vsTiffinTiffin and Menard


Julie Bourdeau

Clerk circuit court

filed April 12th 1821

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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County Of St. LouisSt Louis, Sct.
State of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of St Louis County....Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon Joseph GarnierJoseph Garnier

that setting aside all manner of excuse and delay, he be and appear in proper person before the Judge of our
Circuit CourtCircuit Court , forthwith at the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, then and there
to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy, now pending in our said court, wherein
JohnJohn Merry MerryJohn Merry is plaintiff, and
TiffinTiffin and MenardMenard are defendants, on the part of the
plff and have you then there this writ.

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Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at
the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, this 12th day of April in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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March 1827

John MerryJohn Merry
vs Tiffin & Menard
for N
for Plff

G. B Penrose's fees
as interpreter in
this case $1.00

A G clk

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Executed this writ on for V Garnier
April 12 1827

$ 50

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John MerryJohn Merry
vs.
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin &
Louis Menard

Baptiste LeBrun a witness in
this case, claims seven days attendance, 3.50
miles travel, at five cents per mile,

The above named BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun being sworn, says, that he was summoned in the
above case, on the part of the plaintiff, and attended seven days at the March term, 1827;and that he is a resident of the state of
IllinoisIllinois and that he has not claimed attendance as witness in any other case during the same time.

Sworn to and subscribed, before me, thisthirteenth day of April 1827.

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk

his BaptisteBaptiste LeBrun
mark

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Jno Merry
vs
Tiffin & Menard

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[missing figure]

March Term 1827

Merry
vs
Tiffin & Menard

Baptiste Lebrun $7.

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John MerryJohn Merry
vs.
Tiffin & Menard

Alexis Amelia a witness in
this case, claims seven days attendance, $3.50

miles travel, at five cents per mile,

The above named Alexis Amelia being sworn, says, that he was summoned in the
above case, on the part of Plaintiff, and attended seven days at the March term, 1827;and that he has to travel the number of miles above charged, in attend-
ing Court; and that he has not claimed attendance as witness in any other case during the same time.

Sworn to and subscribed, before me, 13 day of April 1827.

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk.

A Amelin

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Jno Merry
vs
TiffinTiffin andMenardMenard

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[missing figure]

March Term 1827

Merry
vs
Tiffin & Menard
A Amelin $3.50

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John MerryJohn Merry a man of Color
vs
ClaytonClayton Tiffin TiffinClayton Tiffin and
Louis MenardMenard

In the Circuit CourtCircuit Court
of St. Louis County March Term 1827.

John MerryJohn Merry the plaintiff in this cause being
sworn in open Court, upon his oath saith,
that the application for an appeal prayed by him in this cause from
the [ judment ] or decision of this court against him
to the Supreme CourtSupreme Court , is not made for the pur
pose of vexation or delay, but because this
affiant verily believes himself aggrieved by the
decision or judgment upon which the appeal
is prayed.

sworn to before
methis16th April 1827

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clk
John Merry

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John Merry
vs Tiffin & Menard
affidavit for
appeal

Filed 17th April 1827

Archd GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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John MerryJohn Merry a man of colour
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin and
Louis MenardMenard

March Term 1827

Be it Remembered, that on the trial
of this cause, it was proved on the part of the
plaintiff, that John the Plaintiff in now about
thirty five or thirty six years of age; that he
was born in the family of Tratien
in the village of CahokiaCahokia in the now state of Il
linois: that the mother of said John was held and
claimed as a slave in IllinoisIllinois tell her death: that
John the Plaintiff was born & continued in a state
of slavery in IllinoisIllinois till about five or six years
ago, when said plaintiff entered into a contract or agreement
with Louis Perceneau who then held him as a
slave in IllinoisIllinois, for the freedom of himself, his
wife and two children, and by said contract or agreement agreed
to pay to said Perceneau for the freedom of
himself, his wife and two children, the sum of
nine hundred dollars, which said sum of
nine hundred dollars was to be paid within
the term of three years. thatsoon after the
said Contract was entered into between said Per
ceneau and the plaintiff the Plaintiff went at large in the
full exercise of his natural freedom, for several
months, part of the time in IllinoisIllinois & under the
Eye of said Perceneau and part of the time
in St LouisSt Louis in MissouriMissouri; that said Perceneau
acknowledged to one of the witnesses, that the plain
tiff had paid to him, as a part of the money to
be paid by him for the freedom of himself,
his wife & two children on said contract, the sum
of two hundred dollars in money and two horses
of the value of fifteen dollars each: that said
Perceneau also acknowledged to said witness, that
he intended to deprive John of his liberty and put
him on board of a boat & send him to OrleansOrleans
to be sold as a slave: that said Perceneau
further informed the witness, that he intended to cheat
John the Plaintiff out of all he had paid on
said Contract, by sending him to New OrleansOrleans to
be sold as a slave. It was further proved
a few days after said Perceneau had declared his
intention of depriving the plaintiff of the liberty he

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then enjoyed and of cheating him out of all
the money paid him by the plaintiff a
said contract, that the plaintiff was sure on
board of the steam boat general BrownBrown , then
Lying at St LouisSt Louis confined in Irons, and that said
boat was bound for and did in a ahort time -
sail from St LouisSt Louis for OrleansOrleans. that said Per
ceneau was also an board of said boat at the
same time with plaintiff for a short time before
it sailed, that the plaintiff, after being put on
board said boat, was absent for several years
and that, at the time of the commencement of this
action up till the day of trial of this cause said
plaintiff was has been in the possession and custo
dy of ClaytonClayton Tiffin TiffinClayton Tiffin one of the defendants.

The defendant by his counsel then produced
and offered to read the following deposition
of August Trotier, to writ (here set out Trotier's
deposition). The following deposition of Louis -
Pinconeau, the father of Louis Pinconeau the
party to the contract with John the plaintiff
was read on the part of the plaintiff, to writ,
(here set out the deposition of Louis Pinconeau)
No other evidence material to the cause at
was given on either side, and the
defendants by their attornies then prayed the
court to instruct the jury as follows, to writ,
1st that if the jury find that the plaintiff
was born a slave in IllinoisIllinois of a negro
mother, held in slavery there before the year
1787,unless they find that the said plain
tiff has been emancipated by his owner
they ought to find for the defendants.

2 that no contract that may have been
much between the plaintiff John MerryJohn Merry and
Louis Pinconeau, relative to the freedom or
slavery of the said John, as the same was
spoken of by by the witness is sufficient in
law to entitle the said plaintiff to his freedom

3rd that even if Pinconeau made a
contract with said plaintiff to set him free
on the payment of a sum of money such

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contract could not operate to effect his eman
cipation untill the entire payment of the money
4th there is no evidence before the jury
of any act of any one of the successive
owners of said JohnJohn Merry MerryJohn Merry , which can in law amount to an emancipation of said
John:

To the giving of which said instructions to the
jury, the plaintiff by his counsel objected; but
the court overruled the objection and gave
said instructions to the jury.

The plaintiff by his counsel there proved the
court to give to the jury the following instruc
tions, to cuit:

1st that if the jury believe from the evi
dence, that John the plaintiff was born in
the now state of IllinoisIllinois, subsequent to the
passage of the ordinance passed by the congress
of the United StatesUnited States on the 13th day of July, 1787, for the government of the Territory of
the United StatesUnited States, Northwest of the River OhioOhio
that they ought to find for the plaintiff.

2nd If the jury believe from the evidence
that the plaintiff contracted with Louis Pin
coneau in the state of IllinoisIllinois, for his freedom
and was set at Liberty by said Pinconeau
in pursuance of said contract, that they
ought to find for the plaintiff, unless they
also find that said plaintiff was not to be
free till all the purchase money to be -
given by said contract for his freedom was first
to be paid.

3rd That unless the jury believe from the evi
dence that John the plaintiff or some of his ma
ternal ancestors were held in slavery in the
now state of IllinoisIllinois before or at the time of
the passage of the ordinance passed by the -
congress of the United StatesUnited States on the 13th July 1787 for the government of the Territory of
the United StatesUnited States northwest of the River OhioOhio, by
a French or Cannadian or inhabitant or inhabitants

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or other settler or settlers of the Kaskaskias,
St Vincents, or the neighboring villages who processed
him, her or themselves a citizen or citizens of
the State of VirginiaState of Virginia at or previous to the passage
of said ordinance, that they ought to find for
the plaintiff. To the giving of the said instruc
tions prayed prayed for by said defendant and re
fusing to give to the jury the said instructions
prayed for by the plaintiff, and to all of said
decisions of said court, the said to paintiff by
his counsel excepts, and praying the courts that this his bill
of Exceptions may may be allowed, signed and seated
for a testimony, by the Judge, and be made a part of the record
in the proceedings of this cause, which is
done accordingly

WillWill . C. CarrCarr

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[missing figure]

Merry
vs
C Tiffin

Bill of exceptions

filed May 7th 1827

A GambleArchibald Gamble
Clk

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[missing figure]

State of MissouriMissouri
Third Judicial District

. Supreme Court May Term 1827

"John MerryJohn Merry
vs
Tiffin & Menard

Error from St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
The case is that an action of assault of battery
was brought against the defendants in Error, by John for his freedom, the
record shows that the mother of the plaintiff, before the ordinance of
Congress of 1787 was holden as a slave, in the Territory Northwest of
the Ohio RiverOhio River in that part now called IllinoisIllinois. And that after said
ordinance the said mother was still holden in IllinoisIllinois as a slave, &
while so holden and about 36 years past, in the IllinoisIllinois, John was born
and that he was holden there as a slave until lately â The counsel for
John asked the Court to the Jury, that by virtue of said ordinance,
under these circumstances. John was intitled to his freedom, which
the Court refused, many other points were made in the Court below,
and assigned for Error, none of which, will we notice: as we are
with the Plaintiff in Error on the point above stated. The Ordinance
is found in the first vol of the laws of the U. S.; P.480, the 6th
article says that there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude in said Territory, otherwise than for the punishment
of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
this case is not within the exception, we cannot undertake
to give these words a construction: No words are to be construed,
unless a doubt arises. here there is doubt. The ordinance
is positive that slavery cannot exist, and shall me, or any other
Court say otherwise, But it is constructed by the Counsel of the
defendants. (Tiffin & Menard.) That although the words are clear

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enough in themselves. Yet that when we look at the Cession Act
of VirginiaVirginia and the whole of the Ordinance, that there is much
room to doubt if these general positive words ought not to be
so understood as to admit those who were slaves in that Country,
at the adoption of the ordinance, and their decendants, to continue
so. Because the ordinance says in another place, that the
Inhabitants shall be protected in the just preservation of their
rights and property, and by the Act of Cessions of VirginiaVirginia, it is
stipulated, that the Inhabitants shall be protected in the enjoyment
of their rights and liberties. 1st. Vol. Laws U S 473. The whole of
these instruments taken together, are unable to create any doubts
in our minds, as to the meaning of the 6th Article of the Ordinance.
The express words in the Cession Act of VirginiaVirginia, that the Inhabitants
shall be protected in the enjoyment of their rights and liberties.
are Completely satisfied by securing to them the enjoyment of such
rights as they then had, and not that the things or objects that
might then happen to be property, should be so through all
future time, this man was not then born, and when he was
born into existance the law forbid slavery to exist, and at the
time of making the Cession Act, this man John was not property
and at the time of his birth, he could not be property. There
is nothing in the Cession Act forbidding CongressCongress to fix and point
out those things which might afterwards be the subjects of property
According to this view of the subject. John is free. The Judgment is
reversed with casts and sent back to the circuit Court for a new trialâ

I ThompsonThompson Dauglass Clerk of the Supreme CourtSupreme Court of the

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State of MissouriMissouri for the Third Judicial District do Certify
the above to be a true Copy of the opinion of said Court in the
case of John MerryJohn Merry vsClayton TiffinClayton Tiffin and Louis MenardMenard

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Witness my hand and seal of office this
twenty fifth day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven, and of the Independence
of the United StatesUnited States of AmericaAmerica the fifty first.

W. Douglas Clk

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[missing figure]

John MerryJohn Merry
vs & opinion
TiffinMenard

Copy â $0.76
Certificate of seal â 0.50
Tax an seal â 1.00
$2.26
paid by TiffinTiffin

filed July 25th 1827

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clk

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[missing figure]

County Of St. LouisSt Louis, Sct.
State Of MissouriMissouri,

To The Sheriff Of St Louis County....Greeting:

You are hereby commanded to Summon John Walker
Sullivan Blood Joseph WaltonJoseph Walton 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 Eighth day of August at the City ofCity of St Louis
St. LouisCity of St Louis, then and there to testify and the truth to say in a certain matter of controversy, now pending
in our said court, wherein John MerryJohn Merry
plaintiff, and Tiffin & Menard
defendant, on the part of the plaintiff, and have you then there this writ.

[missing figure]
Witness, Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble , Clerk of our said Circuit CourtCircuit Court , at
the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, this 31st day ofJuly in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven

A GambleArchibald Gamble

Clerk, C.C.
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[missing figure]

Executed on Sulvn Blood July 31 1827 on
John KJohn K Walker WalkerJohn K Walker & for Walton Augt 3 1827
by reading to them the same

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[missing figure]

July 1827

John MerryJohn Merry vsTiffinMenard

for John K WalkerJohn K Walker
SullivanSullivan Blood
Joseph WaltonJoseph Walton

8th August for plff
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[missing figure]
John MerryJohn Merry
a man of color
vs
ClaytonClayton Tiffin TiffinClayton Tiffin and
Louis MenardMenard

Suit for freedom
under the statute

Be it remembered that at the trial of this
cause the plaintiff, in order to support the slave
on his part the following depositions .
The deposition of AugusteAuguste taken by consent of parties
at the office. April 6th 1827.

AugusteAuguste of lawful age, being swornon the
part of the defendants. He knows John MerryJohn Merry
a negro, the plaintiff in the above writ; knows him
from his birth about 35 or 36 years ago; he was born
at his house in CahokiaCahokia and was his slave He
got him by inheritance though his father & mother
said John from his, said deponent's father. The
father and mother of said John were negro slaves
belonging to his said deponent's father. When said
John was three years old or thereabouts, he sold
the father, mother and child, he believes, to Mr
Pinceneau, as said Pinceneau paid him for them.

Question by plaintiff's attorney.

When did your father bring them to IllinoisIllinois?
Ans. He does not known.

2. Did you know him, John, a slave in 1787, in the
state of IllinoisIllinois? A. He was not born; but his

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his father & mother were slaves. The father
was a slave 60 years ago, and the mother 40, or
more. From his first knowledge he knew her as a
slave belonging to this father. Deponent is 56
years old, and John is about 35 years old.

Question by defendants attorney. Did you know
the mother of John to be a slave 50 years ago?
Ans: I did she was a negress."

Deposition of PierrePierre Bennet, taken as above.

"Says he knows that Mr. Pinceneau brought John
to this side to send him to New OrleansOrleans, and that
Louis Pinceneau said, in deponents presence that if the
negro would the money he had paid for him, he would
give him his freedom. Does not know that the negro
ever gave Pinceneau any part of the price."

Deposition of Louis Pinceneau, taken as above.

"Louis Pinceneauof lawful age being duly sworn
on the part of the plaintiff, says, his son in con-
cession with the negro, the negro observed that he
would not serve his master any longer; but if he
would give him time, he would set the money
he, Pinceneau had given for him. Pinceneau
gave him one month and then continued the
time for two weeks more. My son never received
the money, that I ever heard or any property form said
negro."

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The plaintiff also proved by verbal testimony that
sometime about two years ago, SullivanSullivan Blood
(by the command of Louis MenardMenard , one of the defendants,
who said he was agent for same lesson in New OrleansOrleans,
who claimed John as his slave) crossed the river into
IllinoisIllinois, to get John the plaintiff that John was
delivered to him in IllinoisIllinois, by who lives
in CahokiaCahokia, that he brought him John, to StSt Louis
LouisSt Louis and put him in jail for safe keeping, where
he remained a few days (day 3 or 4) and was then
taken out and sold by MenardMenard to TiffinTiffin , the
other defendant. That TiffinTiffin had possession of him
For some time, and hired him out by the day to one
Mr. WaltonWalton from sometime in June til about
the first of August 1826. There was no proof of any pos
session of or control over the plaintiff, had on exercises
by either of the defendants, since the time last above
mentioned; It was however in proof that for a long
time past said John has been going about as
a free man, and hired himself to one of the witnesses
who spoke to TiffinTiffin another subject and received
for answer. that he, TiffinTiffin , had nothing to do
with him; adding that he, John had gained his
freedom. And no other material
was given in the cause

And therefore the defendants by their
counsel, moved the court to instruct the Jury

"That if the plaintiff be a negro, born of a negro
mother, at or near Kahokia in the now state of

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IllinoisIllinois. That the mother was held in slavery by
one of the ancient French inhabitantsof that Country
before the year1787. That the plaintiff was born
and held in slavery and transmitted from hand
to hand as a slave repeatedly, from the time of his
birth, till within a few years past, there is
no law, which of itself and independently of some
act of his owner, can operate his emancipation.

Which instruction the Court refused to give as
prayed, but on the contrary, decided and instructed
the Jury that whatever might he the opinion of this
Court, if felt bound by the decision of the supreme
Court of the state to instruct them (and the court
did accordingly instruct them) that render the
circumstances mentioned in the instruction above
prayed for, the ordinance of CongressCongress passed in
the year 1787, for the government of the territory
north west of the River OhioOhio, can and does operate
the emancipation of the said John, the plaintiff.

To which opinion and decision of the Court the de
fendant by their counsel except and tender this
their bill of exceptions, and pray that the same
may be signed for a testimony, which is done
accordingly.

WillWill . C. CarrCarr

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St LouisSt LouisJuly term 1827.

John Merry
Bill of Exceptions
Tiffin & Menard

filed Septr 21st 1827

A G clerk

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[missing figure]
John MerryJohn Merry
vs
Clayton TiffinClayton Tiffin
and Louis MenardMenard

The defendants by E BatesEdward Bates their counsel move
the court to instruct the jury

That if the plaintiff be a negro born of a negro mother
at or near CahokiaCahokia in the now state of IllinoisIllinois,
that the mother was held in slavery by one of the
an ancient French inhabitants of that country
before the year1787 that the plaintiff was born and held in slavery
and transmitted from hand to hand as a slave
repeatedly, from the time of his birth till within
a few years past, there is no law, which of itself
and independently of some act of his owner, can
operate his emancipation.

refused

2 that the plaintiff, being a negro, they ought to
presume that he is a slave, until the contrary
be shown

given

3 That if the jury find that the plaintiff
was born a slave in IllinoisIllinois of a negro
mother, held in slavery there before the
year 1787,unless they find that the said
plaintiff has been emancipated by his
owner they ought to find for the defend
ants

given

4 That there is no evidence before them
of any act of any one of the

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owners of the said plaintiff which can
in law amount to an emancipation
of this said plaintiff.

given

5 That the mere fact that the plaintiff is a
free man, gives him no right to recover in
this case unless it also appear by evi-
dence that at the defendants restrained him
of his liberty at the time of filing his petition-
ers the 30th September 1826.

given