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    [Civil War-Slavery]. Autograph Letter Signed by Judge William S. Mudd to John Gill Shorter, Governor of Alabama, Concerning the Conviction of a Slave for the Murder of White Man. Signed, "Wm S. Mudd." Four-page bifolium, 8" x 10", Elyton, Alabama; March 3, 1862. Letter from Mudd to Governor Shorter concerning the application for executive clemency for the enslaved man named Isham, who was convicted of murder.

    The letter reads, in part: "At the last term of the Circuit Court of this County, Isham a slave, the property of Wm. H. Hanby was tried and convicted before me of the 'voluntary manslaughter' of one George Mansfield Hagood a white person. I am informed that an application will be made for the exercise of Executive clemency in behalf of Isham, and I am requested to make a statement of the facts as testified to at the trial. Mr. Langford, a witness for the State, testified that on the night of the [blank] day of July last, he and the deceased blacked their faces, and otherwise disguised themselves as runaway negroes, and they, with two other persons, went over to the residence of Isham's master, for the purpose of arresting a runaway slave, said to be lurking about there, and for the purpose of detecting Isham in harboring the supposed runaway, they (the witness) & the others suspecting him of being guilty of that offense...made known their purpose and their suspicions to Isham's master....The dic[eased] to the corner of the cabin and struck the house with a stick, the witness being a little to one side but very close by. Isham came out of the cabin & around the corner, and as soon as he came in sight of dic[eased] he inquired who is there? Dic[eased] replied 'a partner.' Dic[eased] had scarcely uttered his reply when Isham discharged the gun and the dic[eased] fell mortally wounded & soon after died. Witness immediately cried out 'Isham don't shoot you have killed Mansfield.' Isham instantly said 'Lord Massa George why did you not speak?' Isham made no effort to escape, but remained until morning, aiding in the preparation of the dead body for burial.... It was proved by Mr. Hanby that once or twice before this, some person unknown, had been seen lurking about the premises, in the absence of Mr. Hanby.... A petition signed by most, if not all the jury, as well as by a large number of the citizens of the county, will be presented in behalf of Isham. There will also be presented a petition very numerously signed by citizens of the county against any Executive interposition. I have myself no opinion to give and no recommendation to make either one way or the other."

    William S. Mudd (1816-1884) was a jurist and legislator who came to Alabama from Kentucky in the early 1830s and settled with his family in Elyton, Jefferson County. He was one of the founders of the city of Birmingham, and served in the state legislature from 1843-48 and had a successful 25-year judicial career.

    John Gill Shorter (April 23, 1818 - May 29, 1872) was an American politician who served as the Governor of Alabama from 1861 to 1863. Prior to assuming the governorship, Shorter was a Deputy from Alabama to the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States from February 1861 to December 1861.

    Condition: Letter has the usual folds; otherwise good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 224

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