Offered is an extraordinarily RARE, pre-Civil War, Negro slave document from Decatur County, Georgia, dated May 1837.
This document is an exceptionally rare piece of historical ephemera in that it is the actual, formal and legal lawsuit filed by slave owner, Esther Miller, along with 25 other named male citizens of Decatur County, Georgia, against one Cader Powell for the "offense of beating, whipping, and assaulting a slave without sufficient provocation."
The document goes on to state that Cader Powell assaulted "a certain male slave named Issac (property of Esther Miller) with sticks, fists, cow pokins, and other dangerous weapons and then did unlawfully whip beat him, so that the healthy body of service of said slave was greatly injured without sufficient provocation being first given by said slave to the great annoyance of the said Esther Miller, the lawful owner of said slave..."
While one would like to think that this formal lawsuit was filed as a result of the tremendous outrage against humanity felt by the 26 parties bringing the suit, one has to consider that this lawsuit was more likely filed due to financial considerations--that the cruelly assaulted slave, Issac's, monetary value as owned, usable property was greatly diminished as a result of his beating. It is quite reasonable to infer that the slave, Isaac, suffered permanent physical injury as a result of his beating and that his monetary worth was thus, permanently devalued.
Regardless of the motivation behind the filing of the lawsuit, to find such extant documentation describing the conditions of southern slavery as well as the objection of slave-owners to the cruel and inhumane treatment of a slave is rare indeed.
The document remains in excellent, all-original condition. It measures 7.75 inches wide x 9.75 inches long.