Date Original



This collection includes letters of notification and depositions of testimony given to court appointed officials.

Biographical/Historical Note

On August 30, 1850, Andrew Estes, a farmer who lived on the Osage River in Miller County, Missouri, filed a Writ of Replevin, against Willis A.J. Clinton, of Crawford County, Arkansas. A Writ of Replevin, is a lawsuit to recover property believed to be unlawfully taken. Estes, an elderly man who suffered from epileptic seizures, relied on his slaves for his personal care and the management of his home and farm. Due to concern for his health and the future of his slaves, he arranged a conditional sale with his son, John G. Estes on July 18, 1849, to buy his slaves with the stipulation that he keep them together as a family. In further consideration, the son agreed to build a house for his father closer to his own home in order to provide care and support for the remainder of his life. The slaves owned by Estes were: Milley, age 40; Bob, age 23; Angeline, age 18; Sam, age 19; Betty, age 16; Melissa, age 14; and Ned, age 18. They were to remain with the senior Estes for as long as he lived and then Milley was to be freed. A bill of sale was drawn up on June 16, 1850, in the amount of $1,800. However, in July 1850, John Estes, without his father’s approval, sold the slaves to Willis A.J. Clinton of Arkansas. With a bill of sale from John Estes, Clinton went to Missouri and abducted the slaves from the home of Andrew Estes with the intent of reselling the family in the south. After finally locating the whereabouts of the slaves, Andrew Estes traveled to Van Buren, Arkansas, and filed suit in the Crawford County courthouse to recover them. The case was later moved to Franklin County, Arkansas. Depositions of witnesses were taken by court appointed officials, for both the plaintiff and the defendant. In 1856, a judgment was rendered in favor of Andrew Estes by the Franklin County Circuit Court.

The main premise of the case was that Andrew Estes, recovering from the effects of a recent epileptic attack, was in no condition to execute a contract. His medical condition and unusual behavior at the time of contract was testified to by several witnesses. The ruling of the Franklin County Circuit Court was later upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court, in 1859.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"


African Americans--Arkansas--History--19th century; Law--Arkansas--History; Slavery--Arkansas--History--19th century; Slavery--Missouri--History--19th century

Geographical Area

Arkansas; Missouri; Crawford County (Ark.); Camden County (Mo.)





Resource Type



Arkansas-Missouri slave case records, MS.000374


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Arkansas-Missouri slave case records, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History