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North Carolina Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Mecklenburg County, N.C.), Indictment of Margaret Smith, 1773 July 29

 Item — Box: 36

Scope and Contents

Consists of a manuscript document from the North Carolina Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, that summarizes the case of Margaret Smith, an indentured servant of William Sipards who was accused of giving birth to a child out of wedlock, and shortly thereafter, concealing the death of the infant, who died under unexplained circumstances, by asking a man who was enslaved to her employer to bury it. Notably, Smith was indicted by a jury of twelve women, all listed by name, who were gathered by "Street Searching." Martin Pfifer (also spelled Phifer, 1720–1791) presided over the case as Justice of the Peace. Regarding the case of suspicious death, the jury's verdict reads: "we Return by our forewoman that Margaret Rote Smith, Servant of William Sipards, Does appear to have had a child & afterby her own Confession she had a Child & Confessed as followes that she had a child on the Monday before Jacob Slough was married with Christian Obenshine's Daughter and on Tuesday Night being the night of the wedding she wanted her Master's Negro to bury it he s[ai]d. he would not But took it and Carryed it away but where she new not til afterwards the Negro told her he had Carryed it to Mathias Mitchel's Barn." The document is signed by the jury's forewoman, whose name appears to be written as Abigil Shuan or Shuar.


  • Creation: 1773 July 29

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.


1 box

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English