Item #8345 [Manuscript indictment of Abner Meeker for abusing one “Negro Dolly.”]. M. Baldwin.
[Manuscript indictment of Abner Meeker for abusing one “Negro Dolly.”]

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[Manuscript indictment of Abner Meeker for abusing one “Negro Dolly.”]

Northwest Territory, 1 June 1801. 1 p. in ink, 13.375” x 8.125”, docketed on verso. CONDITION: Very good, paper tape repair on verso to horizontal fold.

A manuscript indictment of a Chillicothe innkeeper for violence against a Black woman, written by a talented and colorful U.S. attorney just two years before Ohio joined the Union as a free state.

Meeker, an innkeeper of Ross County in the Northwest Territory, is here indicted for his repeated abuse of a Black woman named Dolly, “commonly known by the name of Negro Dolly.” Meeker “on the first day of May in the Year of our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and one & at divers other times…did make an assault with force and arms and her the said Dolly then and there with sticks stones clubs whips and Fists did beat wound and evilly treat,” and finally “did then and their unlawfully with force and arms Imprison and confine and her the said Dolly there kept and detained in Prison and Confinement from the said first day of May until the first day of June.” This treatment is characterized as an “evil example of all others in like case offending” and a violation “against the Peace and Dignity of the United States and of this Territory.” The indictment is signed “M. Baldwin, Atty for United States.”

Michael Baldwin, born in Connecticut in the 1770s and educated at Yale, traveled to the Northwest Territory in 1799 and by 1801 had been appointed U.S. Attorney for the new internal revenue district northwest of the Ohio River. Baldwin “at once forced recognition of his energy, learning and sparkling intellectual gifts; and almost as speedily developed his uncontrollable love of liquor, fun and frolic” (Evans & Stivers). He was an important advocate for Ohio Statehood, traveling with future Ohio governor Thomas Worthington to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Jefferson in 1801, and on at least one occasion inciting “the Bloodhounds,” the local rabble-rousers with whom he caroused, to riot for his cause. Baldwin’s vices soon outran his political career, however, and he died, sidelined, in 1810.

REFERENCES: Evans, Nelson W. and Emmons B. Stivers. History of Adams County, Ohio from its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time (1900), p. 508; Sears, Alfred Byron. Thomas Worthington : Father of Ohio Statehood (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998), p. 43.

Item #8345

Price: $1,800.00

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