This trial contains a record of the testimony, unusual for trials before the Revolution. Whites accused of felony were simply examined by the local justices, who determined whether they should be sent on the Williamsburg for trial before the General Court. For slaves accused of felony, the local justices served as a special court of Oyer and Terminer to avoid the additional expense of travel to Williamsburg. Hue and cry was a traditional way of raising the alarm in the community after a crime was committed.
At a Court held in Accomack County for the Examination of John Brown and John Scott n Suspicion of Felony, On Monday the xith day of September MDCCLXIX.
Present John Watts, James Arbuckle, Southy Simpson & George Stewart Gent.
George Holden Junr. is by the Court appointed Prosecutor on behalf of our Sovereign Lord the King.
The said John Brown and John Scott being sett to the Bar and Charged with Taking Sundry Goods feloniously from out of the house of Arcadia Broadwater in the night Time the Property of the said Arcadia said they were not thereof Guilty.
Shadrach Dennis being Sworn Saith that the goods now produced by this Deponent he got from John Scott one of the Prisoners at the Bar on the thirteenth day of August last having apprehended him on a Description of him by an Hue & Cry issued by Capt. John Watts one of the magistrates for this County whereby he was charged with Robbing Arcadia Broadwater of Sundry Goods that after he had Taken him he delivered up the Goods and said that he with the other prisoner John Brown had Taken them from the said Arcadia Broadwater out of her house Together with Some money and a Trunk in which were the said money and goods. That after he this Deponent had taken the said Scott and carried him to Snow Hill he there saw the said Brown who had been taken up before and he there confessed that he was present with the said Scott & assisted him in Taking the said Goods and had some money which he confessed was the property of the said Arcadia and Took from her house in the said Trunk and that the Particularly Species of
the goods so found are Contained in the Schedule to this his Deposition annexed and that John Brown also confessed that he had a silver Stock Buckle which was Taken at the same Time but had Lost it and that Both the Prisoners confessed That they had Taken also a Blanket which they have Lost in the woods where they Lay the night before they were apprehended. And further this Deponent Saith not.
Arcadia Broadwater being Sworn Saith That the several Goods contained in the Schedule to Shadrach Dennis's Deposition annexed (Except) a Brass Inkstand, a pair of Yarn Stockings, a pair of Small Shears & the Wallet are the property of this Deponent, & that She never Disposed of the same. That the Prisons [sic] at the Bar came to this Deponents house on the ninth day of August, & said they were Starving for Bread and Begged her to give them something to eat and that she took Compassion on them, and let them stay there that night and the next morning she set them to Work on their Request and at night they Took the Several Goods above mentioned, and some money to about the amount of Twenty Shillings and also a Silver Stock Buckle belonging to Jno. Blake Which Goods and Stock Buckle and a pocket Looking Glass and Some other articles which she hath not found were were Locked up in a Trunk (Except the pieces of Oznabrigs which she Looketh upon to be a canoe sail which they confessed they took & cut up) out of this Deponents house and further this Deponent saith not.
The Schedule to which Shadrach Dennis's Deposition refers, to wit,
"August 13th 1769. Memorandum of things I took from John Scott which the said Scott and his Companion stole as follows: 1 Country Linen Sheet, 3 white Linen handkerchiefs, 1 Lawn apron, 1 white Linnen do., 1 Jacket, 3 Women's caps, 1 Boys white Linnen Jacket, 1/2 Yard spotted calico, 3 small pieces white Linnen, 1 Small Calico Bonnet, 3 Skeins fine thread, 1 Ribband, 1 Cap Border, 1 pair woman's white gloves, 1 pr. Black do., 1 Girdle, 1 Black Silk Mitt, 1 Brass Inkstand, 3 small pieces Linsey Wolsey, 1/2 yd Cosinty Chex, 4 small pieces oznabrigs, 1 pair yarn Stockings, 2 short pieces Cap Tape, 3 Rows pins, 1 pair Small Shears, Two Boys hatts, 1 Silver Stock Buckle, 1 pr Locket [illeg.]
1 Wallet which the said things were in. Shadrach Dennis."
It is the opinion of this Court that they are Guilty of the said Felony and that they ought to be Tryed for the same at the next General Court, and ordered that they be committed to the custody of the Sherif to be removed to the Public Goal of this Colony.
Shadrach Dennis & Arcadia Broadwater Recognized in the Penalty if fifty pounds Sterling for their personal appearance on the sixth day of next General Court To Testify on behalf of our Sovereign Lord the King against the above John Brown and John Scott.