05 October 2014

No First Name For Mr. Sledd Who Murdered a Slave in 1811

It's not really a surprise when records leave out one key piece of information. But it certainly is frustrating. It is even more frustrating when the individual committed a crime that appeared in several contemporary newspapers of the era, all of which apparently copied the item from the original newspaper in which it appeared. Newspapers copying items from other newspapers (and indicating the source) was a common practice in the early 18th century.

I first learned of the 1811 slave murder when searching for references to my Sledd family on  Genealogybank. The vast majority of  Sledd references before 1850 in  Genealogybank refer to this murder--which was not what I was actually looking for. A search of GoogleBooks located the reference below (which has been mentioned before on this blog). Unfortunately none of the online references provides the first name of Mr. Sledd and "new" (at least to me) newspaper references to the incident fail to provide a first name for Mr. Sledd.

This is not the first time I've written about the 1811 slave murder. But now I've given up on locating an online reference to his complete name.

A London publication provides a summary of the incident which parallels the contemporary newspaper accounts.

 The entry on page 160 which discusses the incident appears below.

Sources indicate that the records of the Virginia State Penitentiary do not go back far enough to mention this specific incarceration. Chancery court records for Bedford County, Virginia, are online at the Library of Virginia, but those are not criminal records and those records to not contain a reference to the court case.

This is a case where online materials may not answer my question and it looks like I need to access materials in the Bedford County Courthouse or the Library of Virginia in order to answer my question as to which Sledd man is referred to in these documents. It is also possible that the full name of Mr. Sledd is listed in local newspaper accounts of the incident.

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