Harriet Scott Petition Transcript

Harriet Petition – Front

To the Hon. John M. Krum, Judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court.

The petition of Harriet, a woman of color, states, that she is claimed as a slave by one Irene Emerson, of the County of St. Louis in the State of Missouri, widow of the late Dr. John Emerson, surgeon in the United States army, now dead. That about eleven years ago, petitioner was brought from the state of Virginia, by one Major Taliaferro, and carried to Fort Snelling, on the St. Peters river in the territory of Iowa.

That after living there, doing labor & services to the said Taliaferro, for about three years, he the said Taliaferro, sold petitioner to the said Dr. John Emerson, then also stationed at Fort Snelling, who kept and retained her there for about a year after he became the owner of her, part of the time in his own charge and part of the time in charge of Major Plimpton and a Mrs. Anderson. That afterward said Emerson was ordered to Fort Jesup in Louisiana, and having married there, he had petitioner summoned to that post from Fort Snelling. After remaining at Fort Jesup, about 6 months, the said Emerson went back to Fort Snelling on the St. Peters river in Iowa territory and took petitioner with him where she remained with him as a servant about a year longer, and from thence was brought to St. Louis County aforesaid, where he left her in charge of his wife, while he proceeded to Florida. That said Emerson is now dead and his widow the said Irene, claims property in her as a slave, but believing that under this state of fact, that she is entitled to freedom, she prays your honor to allow her to sue in said Court the said Irene Emerson in order to establish her right to freedom and she will pray be,

Harriet + of color

Harriet Petition – Back

State of Missouri Harriet, (of color) being sworn, says that the facts set forth in the forgoing petition are true.
St. Louis County

Sworn to & submitted

Harriet + of color

The 6th day of April 1846

Before [undetermined]

The judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court grants the petitioner leave to sue [ etc. as prayed for,] and orders:

First, That the petitioner Harriet be allowed to sue, on giving security satisfactory to the Clerk, for all costs that may be assigned against her.

Second, that said Harriet have reasonable liberty to attend her counsel and the Court, as occasion may require; and that she be not removed out of the jurisdiction of the Court, and that she be not subject to any security on account of her application for freedom

John M. Krum
Judge, St. Louis Circuit Court

Last updated: September 19, 2023

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