AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Estate of Magdeline Masse - FWOC
DIGITAL LIBRARY ON AMERICAN SLAVERY
PAR Number 20882514
Abstract: Rosalie, Annette, and Jean François Masse, free people of color, seek to obtain the property of their late sister, Magdeline Masse, a free woman of color and the widow of Etienne Seme. The petitioners aver that Magdeline died in September 1824 possessed of a large property, including developed land and slaves. They believe that, as the “nearest heirs and legal representatives,” they are entitled to the estate. However, five people of color named Pierre, Louis, Esope, Jean Louis, and Marie Louise have “wrongfully claimed possession” of the estate. The petitioners believe that Esope, Jean Louis, and Marie Louise “are really slaves for life, altho' they pretend to be free.” The petitioners pray that Pierre and Louis, free men of color, be compelled by the court to “deliver up” the estate to them, the rightful heirs, and to pay $500 damages. In addition, they pray that Pierre and Louis be “injoined and inhibited from committing any waste or damage or doing any injury whatever to the said tract of land.”
DIGITAL LIBRARY ON AMERICAN SLAVERY
PAR Number 20882833
Abstract: Pierre Esope Fusilier, a free man of color, begs the court to recognize him as the only heir of the late Magdelaine Masse, a free woman of color and the wife of the late Etienne Sem Fuselier, also a free person of color. Pierre Esope asserts that he is the natural son of the late Etienne Sem Fusilier. Pierre Fusilier claims that he was born a slave, but that Etienne and Madgelaine freed him in 1797, according to the wishes of his previous master, Auguste Soileau, and then adopted him. Both of these acts were officially recognized by the court; therefore, he is "entitled to the same rights as a child of their lawful marriage." Now, Rosalie and Jean François Masse, free people of color, have set up claim to Magdelaine Masse Fuselier's succession, "falsely alleging" to each have "a right of one third of the property real and personal of the said Magdelaine." Fusilier asks to be declared and recognized as the only heir and representative of the estate and thus exclusively entitled to all property belonging to the succession. He further prays that the defendants be inhibited from setting up further claim to the property. An inventory of Magdelaine Masse's estate reveals that she was owned ten slaves. An answer from the defendants also reveals that Pierre Esope had been estranged from his parents for a number of years, and remained so until their respective deaths, because of their disapproval of his "concubinage" with a "mulatress" by the name of Clemence Issard. The answer does not specify whether Clemence Issard was free or in bondage.
PAR Number 20882803
Abstract: Pierre and Louis, free men of color, seek an injunction against a writ of possession executed against them by Rosalie and Jean François Masse, also free people of color. The petitioners claim that they are two of the legatees of the late Magdelaine Masse, a woman of color. By the terms of a judgment rendered in 1827, the Masses recovered "only two undivided third parts of the tracts of land and cattle given" to them "by the testament of Magdelaine Masse." The land remains undivided and the petitioners have been living on it for some time. The petitioners explain that "writ of possession has lately been issued" against them, "in & by which the sheriff of the parish of St. Landry has been ordered to put the said Rosalie and Jean François in possession of the property." The petitioners claim that they "run the danger of being compelled to depart from a tract of land of which a third part belongs to them." They pray that the writ be deemed "illegal and void" and that the defendants pay them $500 in damages. In addition, they pray that the defendants be enjoined from bringing further proceedings against them. A related document reveals that the late Magdelaine Masse was married to a man named Etienne Sem Fuselier, and that the couple had adopted Fuselier's "natural" son named Pierre Esope Sem. Pierre Esope Sem intervenes into the case, claiming to be the only legitimate heir.
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