Preston, a man of color v. George W. Coons
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To the Honorable John M. KrumJohn M Krum , Judge of the
St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court:

Your petitioner,
PrestonPreston , a man of color, would humbly
represent to your Honor that he was purchased
and held as a Slave by one MiltonMilton Duty,
in his lifetime, since deceased, that the said
Duty, being then a resident of the State of MisMissouri-
sissippi, by his last will and testament,
dated the 26th day of October A.D. 1836,
directed that, at his decease, your petitioner
amongst other slaves which he then owned,
should be manumitted and set free
and sent to the State of MissouriMissouri, if
the laws of said last mentioned State would
permit the same Your petitioner further
represents that the said Duty himself, in
his lifetime to wit; in the month of March
A.D. 1837 removed your petitioner amongst
other his said slaves, to the State of MissouriMissouri
and in the month of August A.DAugust Chouteau . 1838,
departed this life in the city and county
of St. LouisSt Louis and State of MissouriMissouri, having
made are other will than the our last
mentioned; that the said will was,
as your petitioner is informed and believes,
established and admitted to Probate in the
Probate Court of Warren CountyWarren County in the StateMississippi
of MississippiMississippi, on the 26th day of November A. D. 1838, and on the 22nd day of June A. D. 1839 was recorded - as the last will
and testament of the said Duty in the
County , and letters

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of administration thereof granted to one GeorgeGeorge W
WGeorge W . Coon, of the said city and County ofCounty of St Louis
St. LouisCounty of St Louis, who now as your petitioner
verily believes, wrongfully and unjustly
holds your petitioner in slavery. Your
petitioner therefore humbly prays that he
may be permitted to prosecute this his
suit for freedom as a poor person, that
counsel may be assigned him, and that
the orders, prescribed by Statute in such
cases, may be made in his behalf,
and, as in duty bound, will ever pray
&c.

PrestonPreston Duty x his Mark

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State of MissouriMissouri,
St. Louis County
ss.

This day personally appeared
before the undersigned, PrestonPreston , the above
named petitioner, who being duly sworn
on his oath saith that the facts stated
in the foregoing petition are true to the
best of his knowledge and belief.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 29th Day of May 1844.

PrestonPreston Duty x his Mark

Alphonso WitmoreAlphonso Witmore
Justice of the peace

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State of MissouriMissouri
St. Louis County
ss.

PrestonPreston , a man of color,
plaintiff in this action, complains of GeorgeGeorge W Coons
W. CoonsGeorge W Coons , defendant in the same, of a plea
of trespass and false imprisonment: for
that the said defendant on the twenty fifth day of May at the county aforesaid, with
force and arms assaulted the said plaintiff,
and then and there beat, bruised, and ill-treated
him, and then and there imprisoned him, and
kept and detained him in prison there with-
out any reasonable or probable cause what-
soever, for a long time to wit: for the space
of six hours there next evening, against
the will of the said plaintiff contrary to
the laws of the State of MissouriMissouri and
against the liberties of the people thereof:
and the said plaintiff in fact avers that
prior to, and at the time of the Committing
of the grievances by the said defendant
against the said plaintiff above mentioned,
the said plaintiff was, and still is, a free
person and that said defendant held
and still holds said plaintiff in slavery,
against the peace of the State of MissouriMissouri
and to the damage of the plaintiff five
thousand dollars and therefore he sues.

Risque & TownsendTownsend
for plff.

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PrestonPreston (a man of colors
vs
George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons

Suit for freedom
let summons five

Risque & TownsendTownsend

Filed &c. May 30.

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Let the usual
orders he entered
& R. & T. affiants
Counsel

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County Of St. LouisSt Louis, ss.
The State of MissouriMissouri,

To the Sheriff of St. Louis CountyâGreeting:

We command you to summon George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons , if he
be found in your County, that he be and appear
before the Judge of our Circuit CourtCircuit Court , on the first day of the next term thereof, to
be held at the City of St. LouisCity of St Louis, within and for the county of St. LouisSt Louis, on the
third Monday of November next, then and there to answer unto PrestonPreston ,
a man of color, of a plea of trespass. & false imprison-
ment,
to the damage of said plaintiff Five Thousand
dollars: And have you then there this writ.

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Witness, John RulandJohn Ruland , Clerk of our said Court,
with the seal thereof hereto affixed, at office, in the
city of St. LouisSt Louis, this fourth day ofJune in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-four.

John RulandJohn Ruland , Clerk.

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I acknowledge myself bound for all costs that may accrue in the above cause.
Witness my hand and seal, at St. LouisSt Louis, this day of 184

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plea filed 15 p 292 Mo to dismiss reasons thereto filed 16 p 292.
Mo overruled 16 p 247. Jury empannelled& submits to nonsuit Jany 21 1846. 17 p 49.
Mo for new trial filed 17 p 57> Mo Contd 17 p 122. contd 19 p 566. Contd by consent 18 p 349.
Discontinued at plff costs. a January 29 1849 19 p 32.

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No. 34

In the St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court.
November Term 1844.

PrestonPreston , a man of color,
vs
George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons
Summons. 10th June

Trespass & false imprisonment.
Damages $ 5000.00.
Risque & TownsendTownsend , p. q.

It is ordered that said petitioner, (Pres-
ton) have leave to sue as a poor person &
the Count assigns means Risque & TownsendTownsend
as counsel for said petitioner; and it is further or-
dered that said petitioner have reasonable liberty
to attend his counsel & the Court, as occasion may
require; that he be not removed without the
jurisdiction of this court, and that he be not
subjected to any severity on account
of his application for freedom.

Filed June 4th 1844.

John RulandJohn Ruland , Clerk.

14
Free. in forma paupers (114)
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Executed this writ in the CountyCounty of St Louis
of St. LouisCounty of St Louis on the 10th day of June 1844 by
offering to read it and the declration, to GeorgeGeorge W Coons
W CoonsGeorge W Coons which he refused to hear - Also by
reading to the said George W CoonsGeorge W Coons the orders
of the Judge endorsed upon this writ

Fees $ 1.50

William MilburnWilliam Milburn Shff
by A. C. OsburnOsburn Depy

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PrestonPreston (a man of color)
vs
George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons

In the St. Louis CircuitCircuit Court
CourtCircuit Court
Nov. Term 1844

And now comes the said defendant, George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons
by his attorney, and says that he is not guilty
of the said several supposed grievances or either of
them in manner and form as the same are by the
said plaintiff in his declaration above charges
and alleged against the said defendant and of this
the said defendnat puts himself upon the county

And for a further plea in this behalf, the said
defendant says that the said plaintiff at the time
of the commencement of this suit a free person
in manner and form as in said declaration
alleged and of their the defendant puts himself upon
the country

J B Walker
Atty for Deft.

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PrestonPreston (a man of color)
vs
George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons

Plea
J B Walker
Atty for Deft

Filed Novr 18th. 1844

John RulandJohn Ruland Clerk

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PrestonPreston of Color
vs
Geo M Coon admin of
MiltonMilton Duty Decd

In St. Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
April Term 1845

And the said defendant
by attorney comes and moves the court to
dismiss the above entitled cause for the following
reasons.

1. Because the process issued in this
cause was illegal and granted without authority
of law

2 Because the said plaintiff had
no right to install an action without first
filing an affidavit according to the provisions
of the statute in such case made &

3 Because there is no sufficient affi-
davit filed herein

4 Because the said supposed affi-
davit is illegal & informal

5. Because said plaintiff being a
negro he could not make an affidavit
against the deft who is a white man

6. Because the complaint and
affidavit are in other respects informal
and insufficient

7. Because the clerk acted with
out legal authority in permitting the
plaintiff to sue in manner aforesaid

WalkerWalker Hudson & HudsonWalker Hudson atty
for deft

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PrestonPreston of Color
vs
Geo W Coon admin

Motion to dismiss
WalkerWalker Hudson & HudsonWalker Hudson
Attys for deft

Filed 9 May 1845

Jn RulandJohn Ruland Clerk

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PrestonPreston (of color)
vs
George W. CoonsGeorge W Coons

In St Louis Circuit CourtCircuit Court
November term 1845

The plaintiff moves the court to set aside the nonsuit
and grant a new trial in the above entitled cause for
the following reasons, viz.

1. That the Court improperly excluded on the trial
legal & competent evidence offered by the plaintiff

2. That the Court improperly refused to allow the motion
made on behalf of the plaintiff for a rule or
the Judge of Probate to produce in Court a word
being necessary evidence for the plaintiff

TownsendTownsend

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PrestonPreston (of color)
vs
Geo W. CoonsGeorge W Coons

Mo. for new trial

Filed 2d Jany 1846

Jn RulandJohn Ruland Clk