Inferior court petition charging a man with “seduction . . . debauchery, & carnally knowing a young girl “by which she became sick & pregnant”. Daniel Stephens.

Inferior court petition charging a man with “seduction . . . debauchery, & carnally knowing a young girl “by which she became sick & pregnant”

Forsyth County, Georgia: Oct 24, 1860. Unbound.

This three-page Inferior (civil) Court document was filed by Daniel Stephens seeking damages from Leland Vaughn for the seduction, debauchery, and carnal knowledge of his daughter, Nancy, which caused her to become pregnant. U.S. Census records show that Nancy was only ten years old when this petition was filed.

The document is in nice shape and reads in part:

“The petition of Daniel Stephens showeth that he is about to commence his action on the case for seduction in the Superior (criminal) Court . . . against Leland Vaughn . . . for the Seduction . . . committed upon Nancy Stephens [his] daughter and servant [which included] debauching & carnally knowing the said Nancy by which she became sick & pregnant with child. . . . [after which he] lost the services of the said Nancy . . . [amounting to] the sum of Five Thousand Dollars damages.”

As a result of the petition, the Inferior Court set Leland Vaughn 's bail in this civil court at $2,000. Very good. Item #009347

Although in the early years of the 19th century, “southern statutes stipulated execution for white men convicted of rape, and . . . in cases involving the sexual assault of female children, . . . by the mid-nineteenth century . . . most States in the South imposed lesser penalties. . . “ See Bardaglio’s “Rape and the Law in the Old South” in The Journal of Southern History, Nov 1994. This was the case in Georgia, as the state code in 1860 specified imprisonment at hard labor for not less than two years nor more than twenty.

The results of both this civil and Vaughn’s criminal trial as well are certainly worthy of additional research.

As of 2019, there are two similar documents for sale in the trade, however both are related to the rape of an adult rather than a child. The Rare Book Hub shows one similar document has been sold at auction, also regarding an adult rather than a child, and OCLC shows that two similar documents, also for adult rapes, are held by an institution.

Price: $250.00

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