National Archive Microfilm Publications Microcopy No. 434
Habeas Corpus Case Records of the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia 1820 – 1863
Roll 1 – 1820 – 1843
Habeas Corpus for Henry Gantt
To the Honorable William Cranch Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, County of Washington
The petition of John Henry Gantt humbly sheweth unto your Honor that he is now confined in the jail of Washington County charged with having intended to facilitate the running away of a Negro girl the slave of Mrs. Norah Diggs of Prince George County, in the state of Maryland. Your petitioner further sheweth unto your Honor that he hath been advised there is no law authorizing his commitment under such circumstances, and upon such a charge a copy of the warrant and commitment is herewith filed.
Protesting that he is innocent of this charge or any others which subject him to imprisonment, he prays that your Honor will grant him the writ of Habeas Corpus returnable to your honor immediately, that the fact and alleged ground of his imprisonment may be duly inquired into and for such others and further relief in the premises as to your honor may deem just and proper.
G. H. Bradley
The United States of America
District of Columbia, to wit
To the Marshal of the District of Columbia, you are hereby commanded that you have the body of John Henry Gantt who is now confined in the jail of Washington County, in your custody as it is said, by whatever name he may be called therein, together with the cause of his detention and commitment, before the Honorable William Cranch, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of the District of Columbia at his chambers in the City Hall in the city of Washington, immediately, to do, receive, and submit to what shall then and there be considered of him in this behalf; and have you then and there this writ with your doings thereon.
Witness my hand W. Cranch, Chief Judge of the said Court this 28th day of Sept. 1831
W. Brent, Clk.
District of Columbia
Washington County, to wit
The Marshal respectfully makes the following return, that he has body of John Henry Gantt with the cause of his detention, which commitment issued by Robert Clarke Esq. one of the Justices of the Peace for the County aforesaid, in one he is committed as a slave and the other he is charged with intending to facilitate the running away of a slave the property of Mrs. Norah Diggs, and for no other cause, all of which is respectfully submitted by Henry Ashton, Marshall.
The Honb. William Cranch,
District of Columbia
Washington County, to wit
Whereas complaint hath been made to me the subscriber one of the Justices of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid by George H. Diggs on oath that John Henry Gantt (a free colored man or boy) hath, or did intend to facilitate the running away of a Negro girl named Eliza, the slave of Mrs. Norah Diggs of Prince George County, Maryland on Sunday the 25th of September 1831, & knowing her to be such, contrary to the Act of Assembly in such case made and provided, these are therefore to command you to take the said John H. Gantt and bring him before me or some other Justice of the Peace for said County to answer the premises and further to be dealt with according to the act of assembly entitled “An Act relating to Servants and Slaves and of an additional supplementary act to the act aforesaid.” Witness my hand and seal this 27th day of September 1831.
To Elson Dove, Constable
District of Columbia Washington County, to wit,
to the Marshal of the District aforesaid you are hereby commanded to receive into your jail and custody the body of John H. Gantt charged with intending the facilitating of the running away of the slave of Mrs. Norah Diggs of Prince George County, Md. and him safe keep until he shall be discharged by due course of law.
Given under my hand and seal the 27th day of September 1831.
Habeas Corpus for John Henry Gantt
28 Sept. 1831
The within named John H. Gantt having been brought before me by virtue of the within writ &c, it appearing to my satisfaction by the oath of Joseph H. Bradley that the said John is free, and having examined upon oath Jethrow Dove, Merritt Tarleton & Mrs. Norah Diggs & not finding any reasonable cause to charge the said John with any offence cognizable by law, and being of opinion that the cause stated in the warrant of commitment issued by Robt. Clarke Esq. dated the 27th instant is not sufficient to justify his detention, I have ordered the said John to be discharged from his imprisonment.
29th Sept. 1831