Date Original

1849 May 11-1835 August 22


This is a court case in which the man named Wade is suing for his freedom from Elijah Bettis, who assaulted and re-enslaved him despite the will of his deceased father, Dr. Elijah Bettis, senior. According to the will written in 1835, Wade, a mulatto boy who was about 9 years old at the time, was to be freed upon his reaching the age of 20.


State of Arkansas
County of Lawrence
In the Circuit court
May Term A.D. 1849
Wade a mulato[sic] who by the leave of
the Court sues as a poor person for to
establish his freedom Plaintiff in
this suit by Attorney complains of
Elijah Bettis defendant in this
suit of a plea of his - - - false im-prisonment.
For that the said Defendant on the
first day of January A.D. 1849. to wit at
the County of Lawrence aforesaid
with force and arms assaulted the
said Plaintiff and then and there seized
and laid hold of the said Plaintiff and
with great force and violence, then and
there imprisoned the said Plaintiff, and
Kept and detained him in prison there,
without any reasonable or probable cause
whatever for a long space of Time to wit
for the space of three months. And the
said Plaintiff - - - that before and at
the time of the Committing of the grieven
-ces above in this court were timed, was and
still is a free person, and that the said
Defendant then held and still holds the
said Plaintiff in Slavery; Contrary to
the laws and Customs of the state of Arkan
=sas and against the will of the said
Plaintiff, and to the damage of the said
defendant one hundred dollars there----
sues and C Byers and P--- for
Dr Elijah Bettis
Deed of gift
To Elijah Bettis
Oberton Bettis This Indenture made and
entered into this 13th day of June in the year of our
Lord Christ Eighteen hundred and thirty five and
of the Independence of the united states fifty ninth
Doctor Elijah Bettis senior of the County of Lawrence
and Territory of Arkansas and formerly[sic] of Wayn County
and State of Missouri on the James Campbell and John
B Conner one of the County of Lawrence and Territory
of Arkansas as aforesaid and one of the County of
Wayn and state of Missouri both of whom I the said
Elijah Bettis senr[senior] do by these presents nominate consti-
tute ordain and appoint special trustees and ---tity to
Recieve the donation herein as follows to be given to them
in trust for the use Benefit finilly[sic] at his arriving at
at the age of maturity to my well beloved
Son Elijah Bettis being my only son now about Eleven years
old all and singular the land negros horses cattle and
other stick and money that I may have in after specify in
on the second part witnesseth[sic] that I the said Elijah
Bettis senior of the first part do by this presents for and
in consideration of the great Love I have for my said
Son Elijah Bettis Junior on account of his tender
age - - - love and reciprocal affections for me his aged
father also for his redy[sic] obediance[sic] all my commands
and wishes all which I esteem a good and bonified
Consideration I the said Dr Elijah Bettis hath this
day and by thes[these] presents given granted and delivered
unto James Campbell and John B Conner in whom
I have great and unlimited confidence in trust and
for the use of my said son Elijah
[on attached page] This is the Exhibit "A" referd[referred]
to in the Petition of Wade who peti-
=tions to sue for his freedom
Byers and Pallusan
attys[attorneys] for Wade
all and singular as follows to wit
Bill C - alias William a light collored[sic] boy about
about[sic] Eighteen or twenty years of age Andrew
a mulatto boy about sixteen years of age Criss a black
woman thirty-five years of age and her two children
Wade mulatto Boy about nine years old Martha -
Martha a mulatto girl about seven years old Beck
:alias Rebeca a mulatto girl about twenty years of age
and her three children Caroline a girl about five
years old G--- a boy about three years old and
Howard a boy about one year old all mulattos
all Slaves for life except Wade and Martha who
are to be free at twenty years of age Mary a black
Girl about fourteen years old and Ellen a light
colored girl about fourteen years of age both of
which Slaves for life and I the said Elijah Bettis senr.[senior]
Contemplate shortly to make my Last will and testement
in which I may take Ocassion[sic] to will to my said son
a small legacy in addition to the above described negro
property which may consist as above Mentioned of a
different species of property all which together with
above discribed[sic] I do by this presents empower to take into
possession by thes[sic] above mentioned trustees to conduct to
manage to sell apart of the personal Estate thus conveyed
and given if necessary hereby requireing[sic] the said trustees not
to sell under any Consideration any of the slaves
use manage hire and Conduct if in afit[sic] and a proper
maner[sic] for the use and benefit of my Son Elijah Bettis
Junr.[junior] and upon his arriving at the age of twenty one years
of age and settle and adjust all their said acts and ---
with my Son Elijah and deliver over all and singular
to him the negroes and money and effects may be in there
hands at that time and as it is my wish to give my
said son a finished education as I may not live to
attend to that matter
finelly[sic] myself I wish on my demise that the said
trustees to Keep him steadly[sic] at some respectable school
or institution during his minority and out of the sales
of personal property him and rents and to pay all the
costs and charges of a finished Education and we James
Campbell and John B Conner do by these
promise jointly during the lifetime of bothe[sic] of us and
Individually in the Event of the pemature[premature] death of either
of us to manage and adjust the necessary affairs as
Aebolving[sic] an us as trustees of the ^(minor) Elijah Bettis Junr-
as required in the aforegoing[sic] deed of gift and further
at the term of his becoming of lawful age to deliver all
and singular the aforesaid property to gether[sic] with
what is Contemplated as a legacy in any will that may be
made in his favor even to him And I the Said Elijah
Bettis Senr. do by thes[sic] presents as life is uncertain
on the part os all and and[sic]wishing that the object
I have in view may not fail of then desired efficts[sic]
nominate constitute and appoint my well beloved Brother
Oberto Bettis of the County of Wayn and State of
Missouri a residuary trustee who is hereby empowered
to act in the Event of the failure of either of the
two above mentioned trustees upon his entering
himself and subscribing his name as a party to
this instrument
In testimony Where of we and each of us have
severly[sic] here unto Set our hands and seals this day
and date above within Intentition[sic] before assigned
Signed Sealed and delivered in presents of us
B F Payne
Joseph Porter
Thos[Thomas] S Drew
Elijah Bettis
Overton Bettis
Territory of Arkansas
County of Lawrence
Be it Remembered that on
This the 22nd day of August
AD 18[3]5 before me David W Lowe Clerk of the Circuit
Court in and for said County Personally came
Elijah Bettis within named and acknowledged the
within deed or instrument of writing to be his own
voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes
there in expressed
Given under my hand and seal
of office this 22nd August AD 1835
D W Lowe Clerk
Territory of Arkansas}Ss
County of Lawrence
I David W Lowe Clerk
of the Circuit Court and Exofficio[sic] recorder in and for
said County do hereby Certify that on the 22 day of
August AD 1835 the foregoing Deed gift on instrument
of writing was filed for Record and was duly recorded
in my office in Book D Page 291 and following
In testimony Whereof I have hereunto set my
hand and affixed my seal of office on this
22nd day of August AD 1835
D W Lowe Clerk
State of Arkansas}SS
Lawrence County
I L.B. Toney Clerk of the
Circuit Court and
Exofficio recorden[sic] in and for the County aforesaid
do hereby Certify that this is a tru[true] Copy of the
record in my office
In Testimony werof[whereof] I have hereunto
Set my hand as Clerk of said Court
and exofficio Recordenof said county
and affixed the seal of office
on this 30th day of April AD
L B Toney

Physical Description

Documents; 12.25" x 7.75"


Slavery; Freedmen

Geographical Area

Lawrence County (Ark.)




Lawrence County (Ark.) Circuit Court records, MSNE.0070, Box 52, Folder 55

Resource Type



Lawrence County (Ark.) Circuit Court records, MSNE.0070


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives

Recommended Citation

Wade v Elijah Bettis (Jr.): Petition of Wade - Exhibit A, Lawrence County (Ark.) Circuit Court records, Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives, Powhatan, Arkansas.


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Wade  v  Elijah Bettis (Jr.): Petition of Wade - Exhibit A