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Trial of Sam (slave of Peter Edwards)

September 28, 1831 –  Executed


[September 20]


Sam a negro man the property of Peter Edwards was this day set to the bar in custody of the jailor of the Court (the Court summoned for his trial having failed to meet) whereupon for reasons appearing to the Court the trial of the said Sam is adjourned till the next Court.




[October 17]


Sam a negro man slave the property of Peter Edwards who stands charged with feloniously conspiring to rebel with divers other slaves and did on the 22d August 1831 rebel and make insurrection, and M.B. Broadnax attorney for the Com. filed his information against the said Sam who was thereof arraigned pleaded not guilty, and James S. French was assigned counsel for the prisoner and thereupon witnesses were sworn and examined Touching the premises, to wit,


Ben a negro man slave the property of Newit Harris, being sworn and charged, states that on Monday morning, August 23d about 10 o’clock he saw the insurgents approaching his masters house that the prisoner was with them and had something which he does not know whether it was a gun or a stick, that the prisoner was mounted, and rather in the rear, that Sam and the Insurgents with the prisoner among them pursued him, that he does not know whether /he/ could have escaped from the others if he had been so disposed—


Nathl. Francis of full age being sworn saith that with several others went to Peter Edwards, /where/ (the mother of the prisoner /lives/) about 10 o’clock Tuesday night, after the Sunday of the Insurrection that one of the party went to a negro house, the mother of the prisoner insisted that some-body was there, he does not know whether she denied it but heard the other insisting that some of the negroes were there—that the next he saw they had the prisoner in custody, he being under the house, during the remarks of the prisoner person enquiring for him—That does not know when the prisoner went under the house upon cross examination states that he lives 8 or 9 miles f


Peter Edwards a witness introduced for the prisoner states that the prisoner was a negro of good character that his overseer told him that the prisoner got home Two hours “by sun” Monday morning. Upon being cross examined states that he lives about 8 or 9 miles from Parkers field, and that the prisoner might have gotten home about 3 hours by sun the time his overseer states and have left Parkers field after the insurgeants had retreated—


Levi Waller of full age was sworn states that he was hid in the bushes some part of the time that the insergeants were at his house, that he saw two of them engaged in murdering his family that he did not see the prisoner engaged, but saw him at some distance wiping his eyes. That he heard Nat tell the prisoner to get on his horse, when they were about to start. The prisoner seemed not disposed to get up, but did get up and go off with them, that he does not know whether he was forced to go with them. That he does not know whether he cou’d have escaped if he had been so disposed—


The evidence being thus closed & the prisoner being /by James S. French/ fully heard, by counsel. The court after hearing the testimony and all the circumstances of the case are unanimous of opinion that the prisoner is guilty of the offence whereof he stands charged. Therefore it is ordered that he be taken from thence to the jail from whence he came, there to remain till Friday the 4th of November next. On which day between the hours of 10 o’clock in the fore noon and 4 o’clock in the afternoon it is ordered that he be taken by the sheriff of this county to the place of usual execution & then & there be hanged by the neck till he is dead—


And the court value the said slave to four hundred and twenty five dollars—


James S. French is by the court allowed the sum of ten dollars for defending said slave.


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