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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

Re: Book- Free in Chains
In Response To: Book- Free in Chains ()

Here's more on the Findley/ Fendley family from the Powhatan County court order books (which I just received yesterday).
Samuel Findley and Sarah Findley were probably two of the members of the family who won their freedom in Chesterfield County about 1772 since they appear as free persons in Powhatan County court in 1780. Sarah complained to the court that Jacob Cohan was trying to sell her son Arthur Findley as a slave. Samuel Findley sued and was sued by Jacob Cohan in court in 1780.

However, Sarah's children James and Bess Findley were still held as slaves by Elijah Clay, son of Charles Clay. They brought suit for their freedom from Elijah Clay in February 1782. Clay delayed the case at every session of the court until November 1785 when Bess agreed to a dismissal of the suit. In July 1786 Clay avoided admitting that the Findleys were entitled to their freedom by manumitting James as he would any other slave.
In November 1788 Bess Fendley renewed her suit, and in November 1790 a jury found in her favor. The court bound her children as apprentices to Elijah Clay on condition he not remove them from the county.

I have not come across Arthur Findley in the early census or tax lists. Does the book say what happened to him?
Paul

Orders 1777-1784, Library of Virginia microfilm.
p.150, 18 May 1780, On the motion of Sarah Findley on behalf of her child Arthur Findley. It appearing to the court that Jacob Cohan hath sold the said Arthur Findley, a mulatto, for a slave. It is ordered that the sheriff take the said Cohan into custody until he give security in the penalty of 10,000 pounds.
It is ordered that Lucy Marshall be summoned to appear at next court to show cause why she holds in service James Findley and Bess Findley children of Sarah Findley.
p.151, Samuel Findley against Jacob Cohan. On motion of the plaintiff, the deposition of William Byrd be taken.
20 July, p.150, Arthur Findley a mulatto boy against Jacob Cohan on the motion of the plaintiff it is ordered the defendant give security in the penalty of 10,000 pounds either to deliver the plaintiff whom he sold as a slave to the court on or before September court next or surrender himself up to abide by the further proceedings of the court herein.
17 August 1880, p.155, Lucy Marshall & Elijah Clay be summoned to next court to show cause why they detain in service James, Bess and Archer Mulattoes.
p.163, 21 September 1780, Jacob Cohan against Samuel Findley. Suit be dismissed, plaintiff recover against the defendant his costs.
p.165, Samuel Findley against Jacob Cohan. next court
p.187, 21 February 1782, On motion of James Findley, an Indian, by David Flournoy his next friend, leave is granted him to sue Elijah Clay in forma pauperis for his liberty which the said Clay withholds.
On motion of Bess Findley, an Indian, by David Flournoy her next friend, ditto
p.233, 18 July 1782, Samuel Findley v. James Cohan, suit dismissed.

Orders 1784-86, p.2, 17 June 1784, churchwardens of Southam Parish bind Archer Findley child of Sarah Findley's to Thomas Hubbard to be a carpenter.
p.19, James Findley pay Thomas Hall 435 pounds of tobacco for 3 days attendance and coming and returning 45 miles.
p.60, 16 September 1784, James Findley, Indian, v. Elijah Clay. Jurors upon their oath do say ____
ditto, Bess Findley. Jurors do say ___
22 July 1785, p.192, James & Bess Findley pay Lucy Marshall 400 pounds of tobacco for attending 16 days
Mary Christian for 5 days.
p.247, 17 November 1785, Bess Findley, v. Elijah Clay. Trespass, assault and battery. This cause is dismissed by order of the plaintiff.
p.259, James Findley against Elijah Clay. Continued.

Orders 1786-91
p.25, 20 July 1786, James Findley v. Elijah Clay. It is considered by the court that the cause be dismissed.
Elijah Clay came into court and acknowledged the freedom of James Findley heretofore held in slavery by him. Therefore it is considered by the court that the said James Fendley be emancipated agreeable to an act of the General Assembly entitled "an Act to Authorize the manumission of slaves."

p.319, 17 July 1788, Motion of Bess Findley in Forma pauperis. She is allowed to bring suit against Elijah Clay to obtain her freedom.

p.351, 18 September 1788, James Findley against Elijah Clay for debt due by account. Plaintiff recover 2 pounds, 5 shillings with interest from 25 December 1786.

p.370, 21 November 1788. Bess Findley v. Elijah Clay. The plaintiff came into court and prayed a discussion of the suit which prayer was rejected by the court.
Ordered the deputy attorney for the Commonwealth of this County do institute a suit against Elijah Clay to obtain the freedom of Fanny, Effa and Sall children of Bess Fendley.
On the motion of James Fendley, Indian, he has leave to prosecute the suit in behalf of Bess Fendley his sister against Elijah Clay to obtain the freedom of the said Bess Findley.

p.613, 21 October 1790, Bess Findley against Elijah Clay. Jury find plaintiff Bess is free and not a slave. Damages one penny besides costs.

p.625, 16 December 1790, Overseers of the poor bind Sally and Effee, children of Bess Fendley, to Elijah Clay, provided he do not remove them out of the county.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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