Contents and Arrangement

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

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

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.


Arranged alphabetically by the name of the creator, with unattributed materials at the end.

Collection History


AM 2020-61

Purchased from Between the Covers Rare Books in January 2020 .


The collection is open and will continue to grow.


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lisa Yankowitz during the summer and fall of 2010 . The finding aid was written by Lisa Yankowitz in January 2011 and is regularly updated with new acquisitions by Faith Charlton, Kelly Bolding, and Armando Suárez.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

North Carolina Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Mecklenburg County, N.C.), Indictment of Margaret Smith; General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection, C0140, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 36