At a Court of Oyer & Terminer held for the County of Brunswick on Saturday, the 31st day of October, 1789, for the trial of Robin a Negro man Slave, the property of Hunphrey Traylor of Dinwiddie County, charged with Feloniously Robbing Bottom Steagall of a Gun, & wounding him with a knife.

    Present; William Thornton, Benjamin Blick, James Harrison, John Stith, & Edward Birchell, Gentl.
    The prisoner was led to the bar, & being arraigned, &c.&c., Plead Guilty, and for trial put himself upon God and Court. And on examining the  the witnesses and considering the circumstance of the case, the Court are of the opinion that the said Negro Man Slave, Robin, is guilty of the said offence, and do accordingly pronounce Judgement that he be hanged by the Neck till he be Dead, Dead, Dead. And ordered that the Sheriff of this County cause Execution of this Sentence to be done on the Fifth day of December next, between the Hours of 12 and 2 of the Clock, of the same day; and thereupon the Court having taken into consideration the Value of the said Negro Man, Slave, Robin, do accordingly value him to Sixty Pounds Current Money.
 The minutes of these proceedings were signed,
William Thornton.
Copy--Teste:
Chas. B. Jones, D.C.B.C.

    On the trial of Robin, a Negro Man Slave, the property of Humphrey Traylor, at a court held for that purpose on the 31st day of October, 1789, Bottom Steagall of Lawful age, being sworn, Deposed & said that on the 4th day of August last, as he was Walking round and off Corn field of his, he discovered the said Robin in his field gathering & eating peaches, and on going up to him & questioning him, he said that he belonged to Col. Allen, but not being able to tell his overseer's name gave him reason to suspect he was a runaway, & ordered him to go before him to his house; the said Robin had a knife in his hand pealing & eating of the Peaches, and fter going about One hundred & fifty yards, they came near a thickett of Bushes, when all of a sudden the said Robin turned about upon this Deponent and seized the gun which he had in his hand, and fell to cutting him with the knife till he had stabbed and cut him in about 12 places, and dispossed [sic] him of his Gun, and this Deponent further said that finding his gun was gone, he retreated back some distance, and that the said Robin pursued him and continued to stab him untill he had cut him in several other places, which last cuts occasioned the blood that had settled from the first wounds in the Lower part of his Bosom to gush out in a large stream, when the said Robin dissisted and walked off with this deponent's gun; and this deponent further said that he supposed that the said Robin expected he had killed him or he would not have left him.
 Whereupon the said gun being produced in Court, this Deponent further said that it was the Gun which the said Robin took from him and that it was his property, and that it had been Robed [sic] of many of the Ornaments and very much disfigured since it was taken from him by the said Robin.
 And further this deponent said not.

 I do hereby certify that the above appears to be a true state of the Evidence and facts which were produced in the triall of Robin a Negro, Man Slave, the property of Humphrey Traylor, when he was condemned by the Court of Brunswick, Bottom Steagall being the only witness.
Teste:
Chas. B. Jones, D.C.B.C.

Brunswick County, October 31st, 1789.
 We, whose Names are hereunto annexed, sat on the thial [sic] of Robin, a Negro Man Slave, the property of Humphrey Traylor, when he was condemned for Feloniously Robbing and Stabing Bottom Steagall of the county of Brunswick of, and carrying away his Gun, and from principles of Humanity, do recommend him to his Excellency Beverly Randolph, Esquire, Governor of this State, as an object of Mercy.
William Thornton,
Benj'n Blick.

[Endorsement on back of the last written paper signed by Thornton & Blick: "Negro reprieved Nov. 12, '89."]
 

Wm. Barksdale to Wm. Fontain, Petersburg, December 1st, 1789.

Dear Sir,
 I have your favor the 29th ulto., accompanying a letter to my Care, sent by Mr. E. Harrison, directed to the Sherriff Brunswick, for Robin's reprieve; I accordingly hired an express & sent up for fear of the letters miscarrying; the man has return'd, & brought the Sherriff's ret'n, & reports that its impossible the fellow can survive untill the time in which he is suspended for, say 1st Friday in next month. I did not suspect it was a Partial reprieve at the time I hired a man to carry it out; he says the fellow is Iron'd up against a wall, standing, bear of clothes, exposed to the cold, without fire, in a mancholy [sic] situation, as well as in very greate pain. There are holds boore threw the Loggs, & Iron bolts threw fastining the outside with a key. From this information you may judge the situation he must be in. He is almost reduced to a skelleton from the cruel treatment he gets from the gard. Humanity has taken its flite from the people if that county that are privy to the circumstances. Mr. Traylor is now here present, & says unless a reprieve can be Immediately got, the fellow had better be hanged at once, as it will be easing him of a very tedious & lingering pain, which is more terrible than death. He says the fellow has perfully made his peace, as he was constantly praying while he was present, & desires to be hanged sooner than undergo the Torture of his present fate. Should the fellow be kept untill the time of his suspension, & should not dy within the time, Mr. Traylor says he cannot be worth within Twenty pounds of the prise he was to give. The fellow must be inevitably frost bitt, should nothing else befall him. These things considered, there had better be something done decisive. Traylor has agreed either to pay the money which he was to give, or take the certificate if the fate of the fellow can be determined in the course of a few days, before he recieves further injury. Steagall, the man that took the boy up, swears he will put him to death on his being relieved, being determined he shall lose his life.
I am Yr. Mt. Hl. Sr.

[reprinted in W.P. Palmer, and Sherman McRae, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers, (Richmond, 1885), vol. V, pp. 47-50.]

Read an earlier runaway ad placed by Traylor [1770].



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