Casefile Clues

14 January 2013

He Is a Good Neighbor

It is not often you find statements from an apparent divorce case published in a newspaper from 1814. It is even more unusual to find one of the published statements signed by a female.

That's exactly what I came across when I continued my search for Sledd references in the newspapers in  Genealogybank.com  This item, from a Richmond newspaper, references an apparent court case in Nottoway County, Virginia, in 1814. Apparently the wife of John A. Robertson accused him of various behaviors against her and their children.

Testimony in Robertson's support is given by several individuals, including John Sledd and his wife Sarah.

Date: Saturday, April 23, 1814  


Paper: Virginia Patriot (Richmond, VA) --obtained on 

 Genealogybank.com

The last name of Sledd is not very common. There are only two John Sledds in the 1810 Virginia Census--one in Amherst County (my ancestor and not the one providing testimony in 1814) and another in Powhaton County. There is also a John Sledge in Bedford County in 1810 as well. All of these locations are clustered. At this point, it seems probable that the John Sledd providing testimony in the court case is the one in 1810 in Powhatan, but more research needs to be done.

County Map of Virginia
obtained on http://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/stco_outline/cen2k_pgsz/stco_VA.pdf

Of course, one must not get too focused on scandalous stories involving extended family members.

There are several other names mentioned in the news clipping, which was located online at  Genealogybank.com  My immediate step would be to search for those names in the 1810 census. It appears as if the statements might have been in response to some legal action filed against a John A. Robertson in Nottoway County, so a search for additional records should be started there. There may be additional information on the deponents in the court records and other names of people providing testimony. All of these names would help establish connections between the Sledds and others who knew or worked for the Robertson family.There may be more detailed testimony that provides more information about Sledd. His residence (at least county) may be given as a part of and statements he made out.

If Sledd did work as an overseer, it is possible that he worked as an overseer for other plantation owners as well and that he may have moved and could have lived in several counties.

We've blogged about Sledds in Virginia newspapers before--including an incident involving an unnamed Sledd man in Bedford County, Virginia who killed a slave in 1811.