Slaves may be emancipated by will if that instrument provides for their removal from the state.
Facts of the Case
Ephriam Pool’s last will bequeathed the following slaves to his executor, George Stewart: Harriett, Eliza, Laura, John, and Will. He further provided that they be taken to Cincinnati, Ohio, furnished with a comfortable home, and liberated. Finally, he ordered the liquidation of his estate, with the balance to the freed slaves to be controlled by Harriett and distributed equally among the others upon her death.
Pool’s heirs asked the Dallas County Probate Court to consider the possibility that Harriet exercised undue influence over Pool. The two were involved in a relationship and Eliza, Laura, John, and Will were their children. Pool’s brothers and sisters refused to associate with him because of the relationship and believed that he had cut them out of the will because of this.
The Court’s Decision
Judge George Washington Stone delivered the court’s opinion. He upheld the will, citing Chief Justice William P. Chilton’s decision in Atwood’s Heirs as the primary authority. Pool’s will had specifically provided for the slaves’ transportation outside Alabama for liberation, which made it legal. In Evans v. Kittrell, Stone had held a contract for emancipation invalid because it did not specifically call for the slave’s emancipation outside Alabama.
*The court heard this case previously in 33 Alabama 145.