Aspasia, a free woman of color vs. Francois Chouteau, Pierre Menard
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St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
March Term 1828

Petition of AspasiaAspasia

filed December 10th 1827

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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AspasiaAspasia
vs. Francois ChouteauFrancois Chouteau & Pierre MenardPierre Menard

Action for
Assault &
Battery &
false imprisonment

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To the Honorable the Circuit Court of
the County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis, Nov. Term 1829

The petition of AspasiaAspasia , a free woman
of colour represents, that she was born (as she
has always understood and believes to be true & is
ready to prove), of a negro woman in the Town
of KaskaskiaKaskaskia in the state of IllinoisIllinois, about the
year 18?6 - which said negro woman was
held in slavery in said state by one Baptiste
Gindreau, who held her till her death
that your petitioner was held and claimed as
a slave by said Baptiste Gindreau as
his slave from her birth [ untill ] a few years
since, when she was sold by him to PeterPeter Menard
MenardPeter Menard then & now an inhabitant of the
state of IllinoisIllinois - that soon after said Men
ard purchased your petitioner, he gave your
petitioner, as a slave into the possession of his daughter Bernice
who married FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau & that said
ChouteauChouteau has ever since exercised ownership & authority over & held your
petitioner as a slave in the city & county
of St. LouisSt Louis, where he now lives & has lived & held your petitioner as aforesaid for several
years past; And your petitioner represents
that she is advised and verily believes, that
according to the laws of the land she is a
free person and always has been - that she
has been for several years and still is
held & claimed by said ChouteauChouteau as his slave
deprived of her on natural rights & privileges
contrary to law, Equity & good conscience
by said ChouteauChouteau - your petitioner therefore
prays âthat she may be permitted to
sue as a poor personâ for her freedom
in the Circuit CourtCircuit Court of St. Louis County -
according to the form of the statute in
such case made and provided, and that she be permitted to make the said FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau & , Peter MenardPeter Menard and all other persons -

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whatsoever claiming your petitioner as a slave, parties to her said suit & your petitioner
will ever pray &c.

AspasiaAspasia her

X

mark
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State of MissouriMissouri
county of St. LouisSt Louis

Personally appeared
before me the undersigned
a Justice of the Peace within & for the county of St. LouisSt Louis, AspasiaAspasia , the same person
who subscribed the foregoing petition &
who being by me sworn upon her
corporal oath saith, that the facts setforth
in said petition on her aver knowledge are true and those stated
on the information of others she believes to be true.

AspasiaAspasia her

X

mark
sworn to & subscribed
before me this 10th day of December 1827

PeterPeter FergusonFerguson
Justice of the Peace
county St. LouisCircuit Court

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St. LouisSt Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court. November Term 1827

IsaacIsaac C. McGirkMcGirk presents the petition of AspasiaAspasia praying that she may be permitted
to institute suit against FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau and Peter MenardPeter Menard to Establish her
right to freedom and that she may be permitted to sue as a poor person therefore
the Court permits the said AspasiaAspasia to sue as aforesaid and directs that an action
of assault and Battery and false imprisonment be commenced against the said
FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau and Peter MenardPeter Menard in the name of the said AspasiaAspasia and assign
IsaacIsaac C. M. GirkM Girk and John BentJohn Bent Esquires as her counsel and it is ordered by the
court that the said defendants permit the said AspasiaAspasia to have a reasonable
liberty of attending her counsel and the court when occasion may require it and
that the said AspasiaAspasia the plaintiff shall not be taken or removed out of the
Jurisdiction of this Court and that she shall not be subject to any severity of
treatment on account of her said application for freedom

A True Copy of the order

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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In the Circuit CourtCircuit Court , March Term 1828
St. Louis County to wit

AspasiaAspasia , who is permitted to sue as a poor
person, by McGirkMcGirk and BentBent her attorneys, complains
of FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau & Peter MenardPeter Menard of a plea of
trespass with force and arms, for that whereas
heretofore to wit, on the first day of June in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and twenty six the said FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau ,Peter MenardPeter Menard
to wit at the county of St. LouisSt Louis aforesaid, an
assault did make in and upon the body
of the said AspasiaAspasia & her then and there
did beat, bruise & ill treat her the said AspasiaAspasia
and imprison her the said AspasiaAspasia ,
and her the said AspasiaAspasia then and there
kept and detained in prison against her will
and consent contrary to the law of the land
and without any reasonable or probable
causes, for a long time, to wit, for the term
of Eighteen months & five days and her the said AspasiaAspasia ,
they the said FrancoisFrancois & PeterPeter still detain in prison
and confinement contrary to the laws of
this state, and other wrongs to her the said
AspasiaAspasia then and there did, against this peace
& dignity of the state of MissouriMissouri; And the said
AspasiaAspasia aver, that before and at the time of
the committing the grievances aforesaid, that she
was and still is a free person, and that said
FrancoisFrancois & PeterPeter the defendants held & detained her &
still hold & detain her in slavery, wherefore the
said AspasiaAspasia saith she is injured and was sustained
damage from the said FrancoisFrancois & PeterPeter to the
sum of one thousand dollars, wherefore she
sues,

McGirk & Bent Attos


for pltff
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State of MissouriMissouri
3rd Judicial Circuit

On reading the within petition
and affidavit, it is ordered that
the within named AspasiaAspasia be permitted be permitted
to sue as a poor person according to the form
of the statute in such case made and provided
and IsaacIsaac C. McGirkMcGirk & John BentJohn Bent Esquires an
assigned as her counsel; It is further ordered that the
said AspasiaAspasia have reasonable liberty to attend
her counsel & the court when occasion may require it,
And that the said AspasiaAspasia shall not be taken or
removed out of the Jurisdiction of the Circuit CourtCircuit Court
for the county of St. LouisSt Louis nor be subject to any
severity because of her application for freedom

Given under my hand at
ChambersChambers this 30th May 1827

WillWill C. CarrCarr
Judge 3 rd Circuit

.
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No 5

St.Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
March Term 1828 St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
March Term 1828

AspasiaAspasia
vs
Francois ChouteauFrancois Chouteau & Peter MenardPeter Menard

narr.

This is an action of
assault & Battery &
false imprisonment
issue a summons

McGirk & Bent

for Plff.
Filed 10th December 1827

Arch GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis

The State of MissouriMissouri

To the Sheriff of St. Louis County Greetings

We command you to summon FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau and Peter MenardPeter Menard that they be and appear
before the Judge of our Circuit CourtCircuit Court at the next term Thereof to be held at the city of St. ouis within and
for the county of St. LouisSt Louis on the fourth monday of March next then and there to answer onto AspasiaAspasia
of a plea of trespass with force and arms wherefore the said AspasiaAspasia saith that she hath sustained
Damage from the said FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau and Peter MenardPeter Menard to the
sum of the Thousand 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 December in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eighteen Hundred and tweney seven

Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk

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County of St. LouisCounty of St LouisSct.

The State of MissouriMissouri

To SullivanSullivan Blood greeting

Where as it has been represented to our CircuitCircuit Court
CourtCircuit Court now in session within & for the County ofCounty of St Louis
St. LouisCounty of St Louis upon the affidavit of AspasiaAspasia a
woman of color that you unlawfully detain
her the said AspasiaAspasia in your custody
these are therefore to command you that without
delay you bring the body of the said AspasiaAspasia
before our said CircuitCircuit Court CourtCircuit Court now in session
at the city of St. LouisSt Louis, and that you certify
at the place and time aforesaid the cause of
her Caption and detention now given under

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my hand and seal of court at St. LouisSt Louis this
14th day of December 1827

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Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble clerk

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In obedience to the within writ of state that I have the
girl AspasiaAspasia in my custody by the direction of My attorney AllenAllen who claims to be the agent of Pierre MenardPierre Menard
St. LouisSt LouisDec 14 1827

S. Blood

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To the Honorable the Circuit CourtCircuit Court within and for the
county of St. LouisSt Louis

The petition of AspasiaAspasia a free woman of color
showeth that the is detained and restrained of her Liberty in
the custody of SullivanSullivan Blood constable of the
of St. LouisSt Louis that this is not thus detained and restrained of
her liberty for any criminalor supposed criminal matter
wherefore she prays the writ of habeas corpus to be directed
to the said SullivanSullivan Blood commanding him on a day
certain to have the body of your petitioner before your
Honourable court and thus you will make said other
and further with in the premises as to per that been
meet and your petitioner

AspasiaAspasia her

X

mark
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County of St. LouisCounty of St Louis

AspasiaAspasia being duly sworn on her
oath saith that the fact filed in the above petition
are true

Sworn to & subscribed
this 14th day of December 1827 Before me

AspasiaAspasia X her mark

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AspasiaAspasia
Petition for Habeas Corpus
14th December 1827

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County of Saint LouisCounty of Saint Louis

The State of MissouriMissouri

To the sheriff of St. Louis County Greeting

We command you to summon Pierre MenardPierre Menard (impleaded with
Francois ChouteauFrancois Chouteau ) that he 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. LouisSt Louis on the fourth monday of july next
then and there to answer unto AspasiaAspasia of a plea of Trespass with
force and arms wherefore the said AspasiaAspasia saiththat she has sustained damage from the said Peter MenardPeter Menard and Francois ChouteauFrancois Chouteau
to the sum of one thousand Dollars and have you then there this
writ

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Witnes Archibald GambleArchibald Gamble clerk of our said
Court office this twenty fifth day of March One thousand eight Hundred and twenty eight

ArchibaldArchibald gamble Clerk

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AspasiaAspasia
vs
MenardMenard impleaded

And the said deft by his attorney comes and defends the force and injury where and
sayshe is not guilty of the Trespass assault & battery
above laid to his charge in manner
and form to the said plantiff have above thereof
complained against him of this he puts himself
on the county

And the said plantiff
doth the like

IsaacIsaac C. McGirkMcGirk atto.

for plantiff

B. Allen atto.


for deft
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AspasiaAspasia
vs
MenardMenard

filed December 6th 1828

A Gclk

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In the circuit court
3rd judicial circuit
November term AD 1828.

AspasiaAspasia
vs
Pierre MenardPierre Menard

Be it remembered that on the trial
of the above cause it was proved that AspasiaAspasia
the plaintiff in their action is a mulatto and
was born subsequent to the passage of the ordinance
entitled âan ordinance for the government
of the territory of the united states north west of the
river OhioOhio passed by the Congress of the UnitedUnited States
StatesUnited States on the 13th day of July in the year 1787 of
a negro woman in the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia in
the late north western, then IndianaIndiana Territory and
now state of IllinoisIllinois that the mother of the said
plaintiff was owned and held in slavery by a French inhabitant of the aforesaid village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia whowas a citizen of the same before the conquest of the country by VirginiaVirginia
and afterward and that the plaintiff was born of such mother
while as held in slavery and was herself raised and held
there in slavery from her birth till some time in
the year 1821 when she was purchased by the deft
Pierre MenardPierre Menard of the same village by him
immediately given to his son in law Francois Choteau then and now living in the town of St. LouisSt Louis state of MissouriMissouri who claimed and held in
slavery as his property till the 10th day of December in the year 1827 when the said FrancoisFrancois Chouteau ChouteauFrancois Chouteau
returned her in consequence of the claim
she made to her freedom, to the said Pierre MenardPierre Menard
who at the time of the commencement of
this saith and now claims her as his slave that the
mother of the said plantiff has a negro woman
slave owned and held as such in the town of KaskaskiaKaskaskia
aforesaid before at and after the passage of the
ordinance aforesaid and no other evidences was
given on either side and the case being tried by the court neither party requiring a jury where upon the deft moved
the courtto instruct the jury decide

1.That if they find from the testimony that the
mother of the plantiff was a negro woman & was legally held in slavery
and at and after the date of the ordinance passed by the congress of
the UnitedUnited States StatesUnited States on the 13th day of July 1787 - entitled "an ordinance for the government of
the territory of the united states north west of the
river OhioOhio" at the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia and the plantiff
was born of such mother subsequent to the
passage of the ordinance aforesaid and at the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia she the plantiff
aforesaid is not entitled to her freedom ; which instruction

2.the court refused to give to which refusal the deft
by his counsel excepts.
The deft also moved the court to instruct the jury
that if they find from the testimony that the

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1. That if they find from the testimony that the matter
of the plaintiff was a negro woman legally held
in slavery before & at & after the date of the ordinance passed by the Congress of the United StatesUnited States on the 13th. Day of July 1787. entitled . âAn ordinance for the
government of the Territory of the United StatesUnited States northwest
of the river OhioOhio" at the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia
in the late northwestern territory & the plaintiff
was born of such mother subsequent to the passage
of the ordinance aforesaid, as the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia
aforesaid she the plaintiff is not entitled
to her freedom, which instruction the court refused
to give, to which refused the Deft.by his
counsel excepts.

The deft by his counsel also moved the court to decide.

2. That if they find from the testimony that the

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Mother of the said pltff was a negro woman
legally held in slavery before & at & after the passage of
the ordinance entitled âan ordinance for the
government of the Territory of the United StatesUnited States north west of the
river OhioOhioâpassed by the Congress of the UnitedUnited States
StatesUnited States on the 13th day of July in the year 1787.
by a French inhabitant of the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia
in the northwestern territory & who was a citizen of
the same before the conquest of the country by VirginiaVirginia
& afterwards that the pltff was born at the village of KaskaskiaKaskaskia
aforesaid of such mother while so held in slavery.

By such French inhabitant though subsequent
to the date of the ordinance aforesaid, she, the
pltff in not entitled to her freedom which instruction
the court refused to give to which refusal
the Deft. by his counsel excepts & prays
that these his exceptions may be signed
sealed & made of part of the record which is one accordingly.

WillWill C.CarrCarr .

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AspasiaAspasia
vs
Menard

Bill of exception

filed Dec. 6th 1828

A GambleArchibald Gamble Clerk