The Acquittal of the Slaves, Ira and Stuart

I may be onto some­thing with the slaves in the Gra­ham fam­i­ly of Mon­roe Coun­ty, West Vir­ginia.

A cou­ple of days ago, I post­ed a piece about the slaves men­tioned in David Gra­ham’s His­to­ry of the Gra­ham Fam­i­ly (1899). These includ­ed a woman named Dian­na and called “Dine.” I not­ed:

Dian­na, or “Dine” was giv­en to Flo­rence Gra­ham, and lived to see the end of slav­ery. Since David Gra­ham says in 1899 that she “died only a few years ago,” she is prob­a­bly in the cen­sus in 1870 and 1880.

Look­ing fur­ther, I found on Google Books the vol­ume Reports of Cas­es Argued and Deter­mined in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Vir­ginia1 by Cor­nelius C. Watts, Attor­ney Gen­er­al and Ex Offi­cio Reporter. I will tran­scribe and post the case, “Gra­ham et. al. v. Gra­ham et. al.” on this site. It is 27 pages long, span­ning pages 598–624 of the Report of Cas­es. For now, though, the impor­tant thing is that the case proves that Dian­na (or “Dinah,” as she is called in the case) was the moth­er of two slaves, Ira and Stu­art.

The names Ira and Stu­art are famil­iar to me, as they are the slaves who were charged with the mur­der of my 3rd great grand­moth­er, but quick­ly acquit­ted. Here are some notes I took from the coun­ty court records, on micro­film at the Library of Vir­ginia.

16 Octo­ber 1854
The attor­ney for the Com­mon­wealth by con­sent of the Court saith that he will not fur­ther pros­e­cute on behalf of the Com­mon­wealth against Stu­art (a Slave the prop­er­ty of Joseph Gra­ham) charged with mur­der.

There­fore it is ordered that he be dis­charged from his impris­on­ment.

16 Octo­ber 1854
Ira a slave (the prop­er­ty of Joseph Gra­ham) charged with Mur­der was led to the bar in cus­tody of the jailor of this Court and there­of arrigned and plead­ed not guilty, diverse wit­ness­es being sworn + Exam­ined; the pris­on­er ful­ly heard; upon con­sid­er­a­tion where­of the Court is of the opin­ion that the pris­on­er is not guilty of the mur­der afore­said, it is there­fore con­sid­ered that the pris­on­er be dis­charged from his impris­on­ment.2

So, Dian­na was the moth­er of Ira and Stu­art, who were acquit­ted of mur­der in 1854. But, can I find them in the 1870 cen­sus? Tune in tomor­row.…

1 Cor­nelius C. Watts. Reports of Cas­es Argued and Deter­mined in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Vir­ginia, Vol. XVI, 1879–80, Wheel­ing: W. J. John­ston, 1881.
2 Coun­ty Court Order Book 6, Mon­roe Coun­ty, VA (now WV), 1848–1854, p. 638, 16 Octo­ber 1854. Micro­film reel 10, Library of Vir­ginia, Rich­mond, Vir­ginia.

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