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AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum

FPOC Court Records - Who They Were

I posted this information to the board last week, without an explantation. I want to viewers to see my connection to those who are named in these documents.


1. 1808, Nancy Lewis is charged with Larceny against her employer, Kezia Hildrup.

Nancy Lewis was my maternal Grandmother six times removed. She is the daughter of my direct ancestor, Charles Lewis who served in the Revolutionary War out of Fredericksburg. I doubt that Nancy was stealing anything from her employer. Not only did Nancy work for Kezia Hildrup, she also worked for her mother. However, she would have had not recourse against the word of a white woman.

2. 1817, Nancy Lewis is charged with receiving stolen goods. The stolen goods were a slave that belonged to Samuel Owens.

I found several instances of my Lewis and Jackson ancestors assisting slaves in escaping.

3. 1821, William Jackson was suing for wages he earned while working on the Scooner, Ann and Maria.

William Jackson was an Uncle five times removed. He was also a Carpenter in Fredericksburg and worked for the largest contractor of the time, Philip Terrier.

4. 1821, Commonwealth against Nancy Lewis & Maria Washington for an affray - ordered to be committed.
The above parties were brought forth this morning & after a strict examination of witnesses were ordered to receive 10 lashes each on their bare backs. The sentence awarded in the above case has been revoked at the special instance of Mr. Shed who agree to pay a fine of $4 for their discharge.

Whipping was not a punishment reserved for slaves.

5. 1822, Peace Warrant issued against John Cruson for an assault upon the person of Nancy Lewis, a free woman of color, for beating & whipping her with a cow skin whip in an unlawful & cruel manner.

In case anyone was under the illusion that FPOC had it better than slaves. I found many instances of my female ancestors being assaulted and whipped throughout Virginia.

6. 1822, William Bell, mariner, was arrested by order of the Magistrates in open court for an assault upon the person of Nancy Lewis & committed for want of security until discharged by due course of law.

Another assault case against my ancestor.

7. 1823, Warrant issued against John Stewart for an assault on Maria Jackson and for supposed Lunacy.

Maria Jackson was the daughter of Nancy Lewis, and my direct ancestor. According to her description in the Free Negro Registry she was about 5'3" tall, and a Mulatto. Her husband, Samuel Jackson was arrested several times for harboring slaves. Samuel died in 1830, and Maria was deceased also deceased by 1830.

8. 1827, James Jackson (probably Patty Bowdens' stepson), a free man of color, having been charged with abusive and indecorous language towards Mrs. Frances Taylor, was sentenced to receive 10 lashes on his bare back & to pay fines.

This is similar to the, "Whistling at a white woman", that Emmitt Till was accused of. All a white woman had to do was point the finger and accuse a black man.

9. 1830, William Lewis, a free colored boy, brought to this office by B.R. Hillyard charged on the oaths of John Lewis, his father, Redd Toombs & Jesse Wayte with having wounded & maimed his sister Maria Lewis by throwing stones at her, he is therefore ordered to Jail.

Maria is the daughter of Nancy Lewis, who is the daughter of Charles Lewis, and William is of course, her brother. Maria must have died shortly after this incident, as her children were orphans. Samuel also died in 1830. I do not know how true this court document is, as William Lewis stood bond for Maria's daughter, Elizabeth Jackson, in 1839. Elizabeth Jackson was the daughter of Maria and her husband Samuel Jackson. I got the impression that William Lewis raised the children after the death of Samuel and Maria. Samuel Jackson left his house to his children (Ann, Walter, and Elizabaeth Jackson), when he died in 1830.

10. 1783, Ambrose Lewis plaintiff, Mark Towel Defendant; Ship account for wages on the Schooner of Capt. Mark Towel.

Ambrose and Charles Lewis were Seamen during the Revolutionary War. Ambrose has quite a few court cases where he is a plaintiff and defendant.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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