Spiers v. Willison - 8 U.S. 398 (1808)
U.S. Supreme Court
Spiers v. Willison, 8 U.S. 4 Cranch 398 398 (1808)
Spiers v. Willison
8 U.S. (4 Cranch) 398
In this case it was decided:
By the act of assembly of Virginia of 1758, no gift of a slave was valid unless in writing and recorded, but parol evidence may be given of the existence of a deed of gift to show the nature of possession which accompanied the deed.
Error to the District Court for the District of Kentucky in an action of detinue for certain slaves.
The plaintiff below, Rebecca Willison, claimed title to the slaves under her grandmother, and at the trial offered parol proof that the grandmother, while Kentucky was a part of Virginia, had given them to her by a deed, which was lost. To this testimony the defendant below (the plaintiff in error) objected and prayed the court to instruct the jury that the said deposition was not legal evidence in this cause, and that at the time this gift was supposed to be made, no gift of a slave in Virginia was valid unless made in writing, which writing was afterwards reduced to record, which motion was overruled by the court, and the defendant excepted.