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Waterford, Adam, d. 1835



Adam Waterford was born a slave during the last quarter of the 18th century but was emancipated at some unknown date prior to March 1817. On May 26, 1811, he and Betsey Day, described in contemporary records as "people of colour," were married in Tazewell County, Virginia. In March 1817 the Tazewell County Court granted Waterford permission to settle within that county, "his being an emancipated slave and a man of extraordinary merit." His purchase of two tracts of land in Burkes Garden, Tazewell County, may have occurred about this time, but by April 1817 he was residing in Sullivan County, Tennessee, where he purchased 206 acres of land from Adam Miller.

Due to debts owed by Adam Waterford, Isaac Baker, a resident of Washington County, Virginia, unsuccessfully filed suit in the Circuit Court of Sullivan County, Tennessee, to eject Waterford from his Sullivan County property. Baker threatened to institute a second suit, and in May 1829 Waterford obtained an injunction against Baker in Chancery Court in Rogersville, Tennessee. Baker successfully petitioned for a transfer of the case to the United States District Court at Knoxville, Tennessee. The suit was filed in federal court in 1830, but the final decree was not issued until 1840.

Both Waterford and Baker died before the final disposition of the case. Waterford died between March 20 and May 11, 1835, while Baker died in the fall of 1830.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Adam Waterford vs. Isaac Baker Case Transcript

Identifier: AppMs-0314
Scope and Contents The collection consists of an 1841 handwritten transcript of an 1829-1840 case transferred from the Chancery Court in Rogersville, Tennessee to the United States District Court of East Tennessee. The case concerned disputes over debt between Adam Waterford, a free person of color, of Sullivan County, Tennessee, and Isaac Baker of Washington County, Virginia. Major issues included disputes over tracts of land in Tazewell County, Viriginia and Sullivan County, Tennessee; the sale of forty head...
Dates: Issued: 1841