JONES V. FORT, 36 ALABAMA 449 (1860)


A slave hired to work on a plantation could be employed to raise a gin house if that task became necessary during the term of the hire.

A slave hired to work on a plantation could not be loaned or rehired to aid in raising a gin-house.

Facts of the Case
Rachel M. Jones hired a slave named Orange to her son-in-law, Squire Lowry, to work on his plantation sixteen miles from Marion, Alabama, for one year. One of Lowry's sons, John, loaned Orange to neighbors--Elias W. Fort and Gabriel H. Fort--to assist in raising a gin house. During the course of this work, Orange was struck by a falling timber and killed. Dallas County Circuit Court charged the jury that the Forts were not liable if John Lowry had the authority, express or implied, from his father to loan Orange to them.
The Court's Decision
Judge R.W. Walker wrote the decision for the Alabama Supreme Court. He ruled that a slave hired as a plantation hand might well assist in raising a gin house, should the need arise, but he could not be hired or loaned to another for that purpose because of the unusual danger involved.

Go to the AU Archives's Agricultural History Website

Go to the AU Archives and Manuscripts Department Homepage