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Trial of Shadrack (slave of Ann Key)

September 13, 1831 – Executed


At a Called Court of Oyer and Terminer held for Sussex County at the Courthouse on Friday the 2nd day of September 1831 for the trial of Solomon a negro man Slave the property of Nancy Sorrley of the County, Preston and Nicholas negro men slaves the property of Hannah Williamson of the County, Jim and Isaac negro men slaves the property of Samuel Champion of this County, Fed and Shadrack negro men slaves the property of Ann Key of this County, Boson and Frank negro men slaves the property of William Peters of this County, Booker a negro man slave the property of Samuel A. Raines of the County and Squire a negro man slave the property of George Goodwyn of this County charged with having uttered, used and spoken seditious words and threats to conspire and rebel and to assist and aid the blacks to murder the whites of this Commonwealth.


Present William Parham, William Thornton, Henry L. Harrison, Robert Eldridge, & Robert Key, Gent. Justis.


For reasons appearing to this Court the trials of the aforesaid prisonsers are adjourned to Monday the twelveth day of the present month.


William Parham, J.P.




[September 12]


The trial of the prisoners Preston, Nicholas, Solomon, Shadrack, Jim, Isaac, and Boston for reasons appearing to the Courts is continued until tomorrow.




[September 13]


Shadrack a negro man slave the property of Ann Key of this County was led to the bar in custody of the Jailer of this County and having James S. French Esquire assigned as counsel to defend him in his behalf pleaded not guilty to the offence for his trial putteth himself upon God and this Court. Whereupon sundry members were charged and examined on behalf of the Commonwealth to wit.


Beck a negro slave the property of Solomon D. Parker says that on Tuesday morning Ann Keys Jenney told the prisoner in her presence that her mistress had said that if the negroes came she knew that Fed would join them. The prisoner said he would join them too.


Robert Key says on Monday evening he had walked out and on his return his mother asked him if he had seen Mr. [illegible] who had been there and told her that the negroes were in insurrection – heard it soon afterwards from another person. His mother said to him that if there was any insurrection she had no doubt but what Fed would join. [I]n the evening the two Mr. Parhams came there for protection. On Tuesday morning his mother made the same observation about Fed that she had done the evening before.


The Court after hearing the evidence and maturely considering the same and the prisoner being heard in his defense by and through his counsel is of opinion that the prisoner is guilty of the offence of which he stands charged and do sentence him to be hanged by the neck until he is dead and it is ordered that he be remanded to Jail there to be safely kept until Friday the 23rd day of the present month. And its further ordered that the Sheriff of the County do then between the hours of ten o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon carry the aforesaid sentence into execution.


The Court assess the value of the said slave Shadrack to be four hundred fifty dollars.


Ordered that Ann Key pay James S. French twenty dollars for defending her slaves Fed and Shadrack the former acquitted and the later condemned to be executed.

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