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Court Record

Court Records,

Berkshire County Courthouse

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Inferior Court of Common Pleas

May 28, 1781

Volume 4A, page 55, Number 1

Brom & Bett vs. J. Ashley Esq.

This court record was still available for viewing by the public in the Berkshire County Courthouse until November 1998 when it along with certain other records were moved to the Supreme Judicial Court, Archives and Records Preservation, 1300 New Court House, Boston, Massachusetts [copies are available from this source].

A microfilm of this record is available at the

Berkshire Athenaeum

1 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield, Massaaachusetts

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 55 of Volume 4A - Image 1:

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 55 of Volume 4A Image 1

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 55 of Volume 4A - Image 2:

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 56 of Volume 4A - Image 2

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 56 (Last Line) of Volume 4A - Image 3:

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 56 (Last Line) of Volume 4A - Image 3

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 57 of Volume 4A - Image 4:

Mumbet's Court Case Record Photocopy of Original Page 57 of Volume 4A - Image 4

Easy to read Transcript of the above record:

 

Transcript of Case No. 1

Brom & Bett vs. J. Ashley Esq.

Book 4A, page 55

Inferior Court of Common Pleas

Berkshire County

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

1781

Transcribed by Brady Barrows at Berkshire County Courthouse 1998

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Begin Record:

Brom A Negro Man and Bett a Negro Woman both of Sheffield in said County of Berkshire. Plaintiffs against John Ashley of Sheffield aforesaid Esq. Defendant In a plea of replevin wherein the [aF] Brom and Bett prayed out a plevinces writ of Replevin, signed by the Clerk of our said court, dated the twenty eighth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty one which is as follows (to wit) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To the Sheriff of our county of Berkshire his under Sheriff or Deputy Greeting. When we have often commanded you that justly and without delay you should cause to be replevied Brom a Negro man of Sheffield in our said county Laborerer, and Bett a Negro Woman of Sheffield aforesaid. spinster, whom John Ashley Esq. and John Ashley, JurR. Esq. both of Sheffield aforesaid have taken and being [~o] taken detain (as it is said) unleys they were taken by our special command, or by the command of our Chief Justice, or for Homicide, or for any other just cause, whereby according to the Usage of this Commonwealth they are not Replevigable, or that you should signify to us the cause, wherefore the said John Ashley and John Ashley Jun. have taken & detained said Brom & Bett and you having returned unto us that you have repaired unto the houses of John Ashley and John Ashley Jun. Esqs to Replevy the said Brom & Bett according to the tenor of our aforesaid Writ but the said John Ashley Esq did not permit a delivery of the aforesaid Brom & Bett to be made because he attested the said Brom & Bett were his servants for life, thereby claiming a right of servitude [*es*ons] at the said Brom & Bett. We unwilling that the s. Brom if he be a Freman and the said Bett if she be a Free Woman, by such taking and claim should be deprived of the Common law, command you if the said Brom & Bett shall find you Sufficient Security of being before our Justices of our Inferior Court of common Pleas to be holden at Great Barrington within & for our s. County of Berkshire on the third Tuesday of August next to answer unto the aforesaid John Ashley Esq. if they shall find you such sufficient Security then in the meantime that you cause to be replevied the aforesaid Brom and Bett according to the tenor of oure aforesaid writs; and besides if the said. Brom & Bett shall have made you secure of their complaint as aforesaid then summon by good summoners the said John Ashley Esq that he be before the Justices of our s. Court on the third Tuesday of August next to answer unto the said Brom & Bett of the takeing and claim aforesaid, and have there then the names of the Pledges in this Writ tested by Wm Whiting Esq. at G. Barrington this twenty eighth day of May as aforesaid. Then did Brom & Bett appear by their attorneys Tappin Reeve and Theodore Sedgwick Esq and the said John Ashley Esq. Comes also (by his attorneys John Canfield Esq & David Noble Gental) and says that the s. Brom & Bett ought not to have and maintain their suit aforesaid against him but that the same ought to be abated and dismissed, because he says that the said Brom & Bett are & were at the time of Receiving the original Writ the legal Negro servants of him the s. John Ashley during their lives, and this the said John is ready to verify and hereof prays the Judgment of this Court, and that the said Suit may be abolished. and the said Brom & Bett by their said attorneys (John Reeve and Theodore Sedgwick Esqs) say that their suit aforesaid ought not to be abated because they say that they are not, nor are either of them, nor were they, or either of them, at the time of the giving the original Writ, the Negro servants or servants of him aforesaid John Ashley during their lives and this they pray may be inquired of by the County and the said John Ashley (by his a.f Attorneys) like=wise both the same and after a full hearing of this case the evidence therein being produced. the same case is committed to the Jury Jonathan Holcom Foreman and his fellows who being duly sworn return this verdict that in this case the Jury find that the aforesaid Brom & Bett are not and were not at the time of the purchase of the original writ the legal Negro servants of him the said John Ashley during their life and [afsefs] thirty shillings damages wherefore it is considered by the Court Adjudged and determined that the said Brom & Bett are not, nor were they at the time of the purchase of the original writ the legal Negro of the said John Ashley during life, and that the said Brom & Bett do recover against the said John Ashley the sum of thirty shillings lawful silver Money, Damages, and the Costs of this suit Paned at five pounds fourteen shillings and four pence like Money and hereof the s. Brom & Bett may have their Executions. The said John Ashley appeals from the Judgment of this Court to the Supreme Judicial Court to be holden at Great Barrington within and for the County of Berkshire upon the first Tuesday of October next: and John Ashley Jun. Esq. Recognizes with [sureties] as the law Directs for the said John Ashley his prosecuting with assest this appeal at the said Supreme Court & c. as on file____

End of Record

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