John W. Williams papers, 1822-1835 and undated
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- Williams, John W.
- John W. Williams was a Philadelphia lawyer. A small collection of legal papers, correspondence, and clippings chiefly concerning an 1835 lawsuit in which Robert Aitken of Baltimore alleged that a mulatto girl living in Philadelphia was Emily Winder, the daughter of Milly Winder. Milly Winder was Aitken's former slave whom he had freed in 1824, while keeping her daughter as his slave. Aitken claimed that the child had been stolen from him and given to Jacob Gilmore and his wife, free African Americans, to raise as their child. John W. Williams handled Aitken's suit for the girl's return. Includes affidavits, subpoenas, and notes on the testimonies of both black and white witnesses for the defense and the prosecution, including the testimony of Milly Winder, who told of her attempts to locate her daughter after she was freed.
- 0.1 Linear Feet
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and content:
Samll collection of legal papers, correspondence, and clippings chiefly concerning an 1835 lawsuit in which Robert Aitken of Baltimore alleged that a mulatto girl living in Philadelphia was Emily Winder, the daughter of Milly Winder. Milly Winder was Aitken's former slave whom he had freed in 1824, keeping her daughter as his slave. Aitken claimed that the child had been stolen from him ten years earlier and given to Jacob Gilmore and his wife, free African Americans, to raise as their child. Gilmore claimed that the defendant could not be the slave Aitken was searching for, in that he claimed that a woman gave the girl to him and his wife several years before Aitken's slave went missing.
Papers include the notes and evidence compiled by John W. Williams, the lawyer for the plaintiff Aitken, to present the case before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The lawyer for the defense was David Paul Brown. Witnesses for the defense claim to have known Emily as a little girl in Philadelphia prior to 1825, and believed her to be white, while witnesses for the prosecution claimed Emily was Aitken's missing slave. Includes the testimony of Milly Winder, who told of her attempts to locate her daughter after she was freed and who claimed that the woman in question could not be her daughter that went missing. This case occurred before the passing of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which removed the possibility of a court trial prior to the removal of an alleged fugitive slave.
Collection arranged chronologically within one folder.
- Acquisition information:
- The John W. Williams papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift in 1973.
- Processing information:
Processed by Rubenstein Library staff, 1973
Encoded by Jessica Carew, May 2012
Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 1973
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- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
- Lawyers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History
Personal liberty laws
Freedmen -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States
Fugitive slaves -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Children, Black -- United States -- History -- 19th century
Families, Black -- History -- 19th century
African American families -- History -- 19th century
African Americans -- Pennsylvania -- History
Women slaves -- United States -- History
Slaves -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States
Slavery -- Maryland
Slavery -- Law and legislation -- United States -- Cases
Slaves -- Emancipation
Slavery -- United States -- Legal status of slaves in free states
- Williams, John W.
Williams, John W.
- Maryland -- Race relations
Baltimore (Md.) -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century
Pennsylvania -- Race relations
Pennsylvania. Courts of common pleas
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[Identification of item], John W. Williams Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.