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Trial of Sam (slave of Nathaniel Francis)

September 3, 1831 - Executed


At a Court of Oyer and Terminer summoned and held for the County of Southampton on Saturday the third day of September 1831 for the trial of Sam a negro man slave belonging to [Nathaniel] Francis of this county charged with insurrection and murder.


Present: Carr Bowers, William B. Goodwyne, Robert Goodwyne, James Trezevant and Ores A. Browne, Gent. Justices.


The court being thus constituted Meriwether B. Broadnax Attorney prosecuting for the Commonwealth filed an information against the said prisoner Sam and thereupon the said Sam was set to the bar in custody of the jailor of the County and being arraigned of the premises pleaded not guilty to the information—the court having appointed Thomas R. Gray counsel for the prisoner in his defense and


Levi Waller a witness for the Commonwealth & being sworn says that the prisoner Sam was one of the insurgent negroes that came to the witnesses house on Monday the 22d day of August last, the witness is positive that the prisoner was present for he saw him there and has known him well for several years and he saw the prisoner go with others in the house in which the/witness’s family was murdered./


The Court after hearing the testimony and from all the circumstances of the case are unanimously of opinion that the prisoner is guilty in manner and form as in the information against him is alleged 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 according to law and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgment it is considered by the Court that the prisoner be taken hence to the jail from whence he was taken where he is to be securely kept until Friday the ninth day of September instant on which day between the hours of ten o’clock in the forenoon and two o’clock in the afternoon of the same day the prisoner is to be taken by the Sheriff to the usual place of execution and there to be hanged by the next until he be dead, and the Court values the said slave Sam to the sum of four hundred dollars.


The Court will allow Thomas R. Gray the sum of ten dollars as his fee for defending the above prisoner Same.

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