George D. Baylor letter to Benjamin W. Leigh, 1837 October 21

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George D. Baylor letter to Benjamin W. Leigh, 1837 October 21



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[Page 1]


My son G: N: Baylor will [torn, illegible]u
a copy of a deed of Trust to which I [torn, illegible] party.

My children are anxious to remove with
me to the western country; and the purport of
this communication is to get your legal advice
(In writing) on the following points.

Will the trustee the brother of my late wife, be responsible to
my children if the negroes are removed from this
state to another? and can he surrender the
trust and thereby exonerate himself from responsi=
=bility? It will be perceived that by the deed, he
has a right to make a transfer of the trust =

2nd. Would the removal of the negroes; invalidate
the claim of my children to them in another
state; or render them liable (there) for debts of
my own which have been contracted here; subse=
=quent to the recording of the deed? -

Could the trust be transferred to me, or to my
son who is not of age?

4 What would be the method of making the transfer;
By decree of the county court, where the trustee resides,
or myself?

The property described in the deed
has been in my possession according to one of its
provisions; and your opinion which I shall

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rely on entirely for my government, will
be carried by myself to my brother in law; an[d]
I ha[ve no d]oubt he will be satisfied
wit[h] [torn, illegible] [b]oth of us have obtained other advi[torn, illegible]
my [torn, illegible] ly; and he will =

My Son will hand ten dollars
to Mr. Leigh and we will make up the
amount required by him if that is not
sufficient =

Very Respectully
Your Most Obt. Servt.
George D: Baylor

Caroline Co: Va. October 21 - 1837

A Copy of the deed referred to in the foregoing letter
has been submitted to and answered by us and I
give the following answers to the questions the
Letter propounds

1st. The brother would not be responsible to the children
by the mere act the removing of the slaves to another state. In the event
of G.D Baylors removal with his family to another state, I think
he would have a right to carry the slaves supposing that the removal
is a bona fide change of residence and the slaves carried for the sole purpose
of being employed in the service of the [illegible] In that

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Event however it would be the duty of the trustee to have the
deed registered in the sate to which the [torn, illegible]in
[su]ch manner as the laws of that state may [torn, illegible] protect
[torn, illegible] property from the creditors of or purchasers [torn, illegible]

2ndly. The removal woould in no degree invalidate the rights
of G.D. B's children: and the proper registration of the deed
as mentioned in answer to the 1st. question would give the
[illegible] security to those rights in the state to which the
removal may be as they have in this state.

3rd. The trust may be transferred: but it would not be proper
to make the transfer to G.D.B. or his infant son. The
trustee's duty is to control the improper acts of G.D.B. in
regard to the property should such acts be [torn, illegible]
and to make him trustee would be to make him supervisor over himself.

4th. If resort be had to a court for a decree to transfer the
trust, that may be to the court of either of the counties
most convenient to the parties. But such resort is not
necessary either to effect the transfer or for the safety
of the present trustee. The trust may be assigned by
a new deed from the trustee & G.D.B. & wife; conveying
the property subject to the same trust as a specified
in the existing deed. The union of G.D.B. & wife on such
a deed will fully justify the trustee & proprietor from his
responsibility, supposing the transaction fair (as I doubt not it
would) in its purposes. In case of such a transfer, and
the removal of the slaves the deed making the transfer

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should be registered in the state to which the slaves may be removed as suggested in the
fi[rst ans]wer

Robert Stanar[d]
Octr. 26th. 18[37]

Benjamin W. Leigh Esqr.

G. R: Baylor

Letter from my Brother

Original Format

Ink on paper


Baylor, George D., “George D. Baylor letter to Benjamin W. Leigh, 1837 October 21,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed December 6, 2022,

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