Throwgood Smith et ux et als vs Mary Stith et al 1785 - Transcribed by Gail M. Walczyk
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Smith & al
vs . . . Bill & Answer
1785 March Decree for part

To the worshipful the Justice of Northampton County in chancery

Humbly complaining sheweth unto your worships your Orator and Oratorixes Thorogood Smith and Mary Blaikly his wife, Christopher Johnston and Susanna his wife, William Stith and Janet Carson Stith and Lucy Stith, infants by the said William Stith their next friend; that by the last will and testament of Griffin Stith Senr late of the said County decd duly proved in the court of Northampton afsd, (a copy whereof greater certainty is hereto annexed) the said Testator among other things bequeathed to his wife Mary Stith, her choice of eight of his Negro Slaves, to her and her heirs; and also to his Eldest Son Griffin the following Slaves namely Sue, Isabel, little Jim, Sam, Adam and Jack to him and his heirs; and having also taken notice in his said Will of the provision he had already made for his son Drury Stith and his deceased Daughter Elizabeth Stringer; proceeds to dispose of the residue of his slaves in the following words, to wit, Item all the rest of my Slaves not disposed of by this my last will, I give to be equally divided amongst the following of my children, towit, William Stith, Mary Blaikly Smith, Susanna Johnston, Janet Carson Stith, and Lucy; which said Slaves when as divided, I give to my said last mentioned children respectively, to them their heirs and assigns forever; my daughter Mary Blaikly Smith and Susanna Johnston, being accountable in the division of said Slaves, for the Slaves I have already put them in possession of; the said Slaves of which they are so possessed to be included in their dividend if the above rediduary part of my slaves and provides in this manner that in the division of Slaves to be made as above, that my daughter Janet Carson Stith shall have the Negro Girl Sal; and my daughter Lucy Stith, the negro Girl called Ariana: And your orator and Oratorixes further shew unto your worship that the said Mary Stith wife of the said Testator and deviser as afsd hath actually determined her election of eight of the Slaves remaining in the said testator's estate, after the delivery of the six Slaves so as afsd bequeathed to the said Griffin Stith, and which said Slaves so as aforesaid elected by the said Mary Stith in pursuance of the [-----] given as afsd; are as follows Namely Great Dick, young Dick Son of old Billy, Milly, Betty, Lucy, Fanny, Davy & Toney whereby the residuary part of the said testator's Slaves, now subject to the provisions contained in the said Will as aforesd and which is the immediate object of this bill, is become fully ascertained, and are as follow, namely Beck, Sarah, Will, Old Billy, James, Tom, Aleck, Jim, Nath, Stephen, Billy the younger, Tom the younger, Dick the younger, Julius, Johnny, Sue, Wilson, Mary, Judith & Ben - - - -

And your orators and oratrixes further shew unto your worships that since it is admited are the parts & behalf of your orators & Oratrixes that two young Negro fellows and one negro Girl, has been actually delivered to your Oratrix Mary Blaikly Smith by the said Testator in his lifetime; and that a negro wench and two small children with a Negro Girl has been also delivered by the said testator to your Oratrix Susanna Johnston; your orator & oratorixes hoped and expected that the said residuary part of the said Slaves might be immediately divided among your orators and Oratrixes pursuant to the directions of the said Will. But now so it is may it please your worships that said Mary Stith wife as afsd of the said testator and the said Griffin Stith, eldest Son & heir at law as afsd combining and confiderating together have, under various Pretences, refused to submit to a division of the said residuary part of the said Slaves, as in justice and equity they ought to do. In tender consideration whereof and forasmuch as your Orators & Oratorixes are remediless by the strict rules of the common law and are only & properly relievable in a court of equity where matters of this nature are cognizable: to the end that the said Mary Stith and Griffin Stith may on their corporal oaths, true and perfect answer make to all and singular the premises as fully and clearly as if the same were herein particularly repeated & interrogated; and more particularly that they may set forth and declare whether the said testator had or did mot make his will in the manner above recited? Whether any legal objection can be formed to the provisions contained therein? Whether the said Mary Stith hath or hath not determined her election? and whether in consequence thereof she hath not taken the Slaves so chosen into her actual possession on her own absolute right? And finally that they the said Mary Stith and Griffin Stith may be compelled to submit to the division of the said residuary part of the said Slaves, conformath to the several bequests above recited & contained in the said Will. May it please your worships to grant unto your Orators and Oratorixes the commonwealth's most gracious writ of Subpoena, to the said Mary Stith & Griffin Stith to be directed commanding them at a certain day & under a certain penalty therein to be limited & incerted to be and appear before your worships in chnacery, then and there to answer the premises & to stand to and abide such other & further order and decree in the premises as to your worships shall seem meet & agreeable to equity & conscience and your Orators & Oratorixes shall pray &c
Geo: Corbin pr Complts

The Joint and several answers of Mary Stith and Griffin Stith Respondents to the bill of complaint exhibited against them by Thorowgood Smith and Mary Blaikly his wife, Chirstopher Johnston and Susanna his wife, William Stith, and Jannet Caron Stith and Lucy Stith infants by William Stith their next friends, Complts

These respondents, now, and at all times hereafter, saving and reserving to themselves all and all manner of benefit and advantage or exception to the manifold untruths and uncertainties in the said bill of complt contained for answer thereto, or to so much thereof as these respondents are advised is material or necessary for them to answer unto; they answer and say; that true it is that the said Griffin Stith Senr made his will in the manner set forth in the said bill, and that a division of the residuary part of the Slaves of the said testator, ought immediately to take place, since these respondents are well satisfied with the possession & property of the Slaves given them by the said Will; Nor had these respondents any further objection to the said division, than such as arose form their wishes to have the transaction confirmed by a decree of this worshipfull court. Wherefore they pray to ve hence dismissed with their Costs &c
Mary Stith
Griffin Stith

Smith & ux &c
vs . . . Decree for partition

At a Court held for Northampton County the 8th day of March 1785

Thorogood Smith & Mary Blaikley his wife
Christopher Johnson & Susanna his wife
Wm Stith, & Jannat Carson Stith &
Lucy Stith infants by the said Wm Stith their next friend
vs . . . In Chancery
Mary Stith & Griffin Stith

This cause was this day heard upon the bill & answers - On Consideration thereof it is decreed & ordered that John Harmanson, Littleton Savage, Walter Hyslop & Bowdoin Kendall (or any two of them) do make partition of the Slaves Beck, Sarah, Will, Old Bill, James Tom, Alick, Jim, Nat, Stephen, Billy the younger, Tom the younger, Dick the younger, Julius, Johnny, Sue, Wilson, Mary Judith & Ben in the bill mentioned by Sale or otherwise according to the last Will & Testament of Griffin Stith decd & that they make report thereof her at the next court
A copy
Wm Stith Cl:C


_____. Northampton County VA Chancery Causes, 1721-1816. Throwgood Smith et ux et als vs Mary Stith et al, 1785-003. Local Government Records Collection, Northampton County Records. The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Accessed 26 Mar. 2009<>.

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