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Trial of Daniel (slave of Richard Porter)

August 31, 1831 - Executed


[p. 72] At a court of Oyer and Terminer summoned and held for the County of Southampton at the Courthouse on the 31st day of August 1831 for the trial of Daniel, a negro man slave the property of Richard PorterJack, the property of Everett Bryant, Moses, the property of Thomas Barrow, Tom, late the property of Caty Whitehead, Jack, late the property of Caty Whitehead, Andrew, late the property of Caty Whitehead, Davy, late the property of Elizabeth Turner, Stephen, the property of Thomas Ridley, and Curtis, the property of Thomas Ridley, charged with feloniously consulting, advising & conspiring with each other and divers other slaves to rebel and make insurrection and making insurrection and taking the lives of divers free white persons of this Commonwealth—


Present: Jeremiah Cobb, James D. Massenburg, Alexander P. Peete, James Trezvant and Orris A. Browne. Gent. Justices.


Meriwether B. Broadnax, attorney for the Commonwealth filed an information against the prisoners above mentioned [struck through: and the court doth appoint William C. Parker, Esq., Att. at Law to defend the prisoners.]


And thereupon Daniel a negro man slave the property of Richard Porter in the said information mentioned was brought into Court and set to the Bar in Custody of the Jailor of this county and the Court doth assign William C. Parker, Esq., Atto[rney] to defend the prisoner and as the prisoner being duly arraigned of the premises pleaded Not Guilty to the Information and


Levi Waller a witness on behalf of the Commonwealth was sworn and disposed as follows. That on Monday the 22d August 1831 a number of negroes, say between 40 and 50, came to the house of the witness mounted on horse back and armed with guns swords and other weapons—the witness and all his family attempted to make their escape and the witness did make his escape but did not proceed far from his house before he hid himself in sight of the house where he could see nearly all things that transpired at the house—That the witness saw the prisoner Daniel & two other negroes named Aaron & Sam go into a log house where the witnesses wife and a small girl had attempted to secrete themselves—he saw the negroes come out of the house and the prisoner Daniel had his the witnesses wifes, scissor chair in his hand—the witness then made for a swamp farther from the house and was pursued by two of the negroes but they did not overtake him—After the negroes had left the witnesses house the witness returned to the house and found his wife & the small girl as well as many other members of the family murdered and an infant child mortally wounded who died the Wednesday evening following.


Nathaniel Francis also a witness for the Commonwealth was sworn and deposed to the following facts—that a number, say between 50 and 60 free white persons were murdered on Sunday night the 21st & Monday morning the 22d of August 1831 by a number of negroes, and [p. 73] it was generally believed that there was insurrection among the negroes of this county.


Sampson C. Reese also a witness for the Commonwealth being sworn says that he was in company with a number of other gentlemen and in pursuit of a company of negroes who were from report in a State of insurrection in this County—That they came up with the insurgents at Mr. James W. Parkers—the first negro he saw after getting to Mr. Parkers gate was the prisoner at the bar on Dr. Musgraves horse—the witness shot at the prisoner—the prisoner had no arms that the witness saw—


Richard Porter a witness on behalf of the prisoner being sworn—says he was told the prisoner had surrendered himself and was going to his the witnesses house and the prisoner was at home Monday morning—he saw nothing uncommon about the prisoner.


The court after hearing the testimony and on due consideration thereof are unanimously of opinion that the prisoner is guilty in manner and form as in the information against him is set forth and it being demanded of him if anything for himself he had or knew to say why the court should not proceed to pronounce judgment against him and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgement it is considered by the Court that the prisoner be hanged by the neck until he be dead and that execution of this judgment be done upon him the said Daniel by the Sheriff of this County, on Monday the 5th day of September next between the hours of ten o’clock in the forenoon and two o’clock in the afternoon of the same day at the usual place of execution. And thereupon the prisoner is remanded to jail. Memo: The Court value the said slave Daniel to the sum of one hundred dollars.




Ordered that Richard Porter pay to William C. Parker the sum of ten dollars for a fee for defending his slave Daniel who has been tried and convicted of conspiring to rebel and make insurrection.



Court Minute Book, Southampton County, Virginia, 1830-1835:

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