From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Hart v. Fanny Ann

In Montgomery County, KY, the 1803 will of William Hart granted freedom to his slaves when they turned 30-years old, along with all of their children, should they have any.

The slaves freed by Hart's will were Alsy, Lucy, Anna, Selina, and Turner. Lucy turned 30 in 1825 when her daughter Fanny Ann was 10 years old. William Hart's heir interpreted the will to mean that Lucy was free, but Fanny Ann would not be free until she turned 30. Fanny Ann filed suit in the Montgomery Circuit Court and was granted her freedom in accordance with the terms of William Hart's will. 

Hart's heir appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky, where the lower court's judgment was affirmed with costs on October 22, 1827. The point of contingency in the case was the word "with" and whether it denoted connection to. The courts were asked to determine whether, when a slave is promised freedom, the slave's children also should be freed at the same time.

For more see Hart v. Fanny Ann, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 22 Ky. 49; 1827 Ky.; and "Hart v. Fanny Ann" in A Practical Treatise on the Law of Slavery, by J. D. Wheeler [full-text in Google Books.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Montgomery County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Hart v. Fanny Ann
NKAA Source: A practical treatise on the law of slavery, being a compilation of all the decisions made on that subject in the several courts of the United States and State courts, with copious notes and references to the statutes and other authorities, systematicall

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hart v. Fanny Ann,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 27, 2022,

Last modified: 2020-09-29 17:28:52