For anyone interested in discussing the evidence presented in this trial (and the subtext of that “evidence”, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following court documents present strong evidence that supplements corroborating y-dna studies conducted by descendants of William, Joseph and Christopher Ammon Burnett: that Julius Saunders was the father and Priscilla Carter the mother of each of the three boys:
Virginia Superior Court of Law Holden for Bedford County, to wit:
Williamson Burnett complains of Julius Saunders in custody ___ for this, to wit, that the said Defendant on the 6th day of June in the year of our Lord 1805 and at divers other days and times, between that day and the 12th day of April of the year 1810 at the Parish of Russell & County aforesaid and within the Jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Law holden in and for the said County, with force and arms ___ on Priscilla, the wife of the said Plaintiff, did make an assault, an her, the said Priscilla did there ravish, be with, and carnally know, and from the home of the said Plaintiff did take with him, whereby the Plaintiff lost & was deprived of the company & comfort of his said wife. And also for this to wit that the said Defendant on the 6th day of June in the year of our lord 1805 and at divers other days & times between that day & the 12th day of April in the year 1810 at the Parish of Russell in the County aforesaid & within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Law holden in and for the said County, with force and arms on the said Priscilla the wife of him, the said Plaintiff did make an assault, and her the said Priscilla did then & there ravish, be with and carnally know, and did take & keep her the said Priscilla from him, the said Plaintiff, whereby the said Plaintiff lost and was deprived of the comfort & company of his said wife; and other outrages he, the said Defendant than & there committed; whereby the sad Plaintiff hath sustained damages to the value of $5000 & therefore he sues.
1810 (October 20)
Williamson Burnett vs Julius Saunders (Bedford County in Superior Court of Law)
The deposition of Susannah Hale taken at the house of Mr John Newlen this 20th day of October 1810 of Lawful age bing first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God deposeth and sayeth that as well as she can recollect in the summer of 1804 she was at Williamson Burnett’s when a dispute took place between said Burnett & his wife. Said Burnett told his wife that if she stayed with him he shold (should) put her under the negroes. His wife replied if that was to be the case she wold (would) go away. This deponent further sayeth that in short time she started to go home & that the said Williamson Burnett’s wife started with her; they had not gone far before Williamson came after them and asked his wife to go back. His wife replied that she cold (could) not go back on his terms and further his deponent sayeth not.
[Susannah Hale (X-her mark) Sworn to before us this 20th day of October 1810. Samuel Hancock, William Hopkins]
The deposition of Charles Raley of Lawfull age taken at the house of John Newlen in said county being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God deposeth and sayeth as well as he can recollect in March Eighteen Hundred and Seven he happened at Julius Saunders ____ house & after some conversation it was mentioned by some one in company that Williamson said he believed that the youngest child that his had was Julius Saunderses son. Said Julius Saunders answered and said we are commanded to multply & replenish the Earth and further this deponent sayeth not.
[Charles Realey. Sworn to before us this 20th day of October 1810. Samuel Hancock, William Hopkins]
In obedience to a commission issued from the office of the Superior Court of Law holden for Bedford County to us directed, we have caused Nancy Saunders to appear before us this 7th day of September 1811 at the house of Pleasant Saunders in the County of Franklin who being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God the truth to say in a matter of controversy in said court depending wherein Williamson Burnett is plaintiff and Julius Saunders is Defendant – deposit & saith:
That some time after the Plaintiff and his wife had parted she was at the house of Philemon Saunders where she happened in company with the Plaintiff and a conversation took place between herself and the Plaintiff respecting his separating himself from his wife, she asked him the reason of their separation & why he whipped his wife to which he replied, “because she was so saucy”. This deponent told him it must have proceeded from lies or he must have seen something between the Defendant Julius Saunders and his wife, he replied he had seen nothing only their talking together, and said he was told his wife had been a bad woman ever since she had grown up, and if white men only had been indecently familiar with her he could put with it and further said he was told the morning after he had married hr that she was given to whoredom, th he had watched her since and had seen many mean actions committd by her, that he had talked with her and tried to persuade her to leave them off.
Question by the Plaintiff:
Did not you see a shild of my wife’s who bore a great resemblance to the Defendant?
Ans: I did.
Question by the Plaintiff:
How did myself & wife live togther before this affair broke out?
Ans: Very well as far as I ever knew.
Question by the Plaintiff:
Do you know whether the Defendant has visited my wife since our separation?
Ans: I heard so
. . . and further sayeth not.
Th same is accordingly certified by us.