April 1, 1843, Carson v White Primary Evidence

Dublin Core


April 1, 1843, Carson v White Primary Evidence


In 1844, prior to migrating to Oregon Territory, David Carson was accused of mistreating an enslaved girl named Ann Eliza, who was only 16 at the time. Though we only have limited evidence and understanding of this case and its history, it shows us that David Carson had the potential for violence and debauchery - the accusations of this legal battle - and that this behavior could have continued into his relationship with Letitia Carson. While there is no evidence whether David ever owned Letitia, and the state of their relationship still remains unclear - the details of the Ann Eliza case prove that David did own an enslaved woman, and mistreated her in both sexual and violent ways, suggesting that he could have possibly continued this behavior into his time with Letitia. Additionally, this abhorrent mistreatment of a young Black girl provides insight into how David may have considered Letitia and suggests that their partnership was not as equal as one may think.

This page is evidence presented by Susannah White that David Carson agreed to treat Ann Eliza with care under his supervision and ownership. It reads, "I Susannah White have this day hired to David Carson my negro girl Ann Eliza for twelve months and said Carson does hereby bind himself to furnish said girl with good & sufficient clothing suited to the season but if she should be sick said S White is to pay all medical attention. Said Carson hereby binds himself to treat said girl humainly and not expose her so as to endanger her health or produce illness and said Carson furthermore binds himself in consideration of the services of said girl for the above period to pay said Susannah White the sum of forty dollars payable at the end of the above named time. Given under my hand & seal this 1St April 1843. David Carson (seal)"


Platte County Circuit Court


Platte County Historical Society






Bob Zybach


Copyright: Platte County Historical Society






Legal Document




Platte County, Missouri


Platte County Circuit Court, “April 1, 1843, Carson v White Primary Evidence,” Letitia Carson Digital History Collection , accessed March 3, 2024, https://letitiacarson.omeka.net/items/show/360.

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