Title: Legal documents pertaining to the Easter Plot of 1802 [Decimalized .01-.16]
An archive of legal documents related to the Halifax County, Virginia trial of slaves following Sancho's Rebellion, also known as the Easter Plot of 1802. Includes six indictments, five mittimus warrants, one arrest warrant, and four writs of summons. Sancho, a participant in Gabriel's Rebellion of 1800, instigated a slave uprising intended to take place on or around Good Friday 1802. The ferment spread through southern Virginia (including Halifax County), and northeastern North Carolina. In his book "Gabriel's Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 & 1802," Daniel Egerton notes that Sancho was a ferryman (a bondman whose work required extensive absence from his home plantation). Unlike Gabriel, Sancho sought to enlist a small dedicated group of followers, using his mobility as a ferryman to do so. The goals of the uprising included freedom, the right to earnings, and equitable distribution of property. Though no whites were killed during the rebellion, Sancho, Absalom, Frank, and Martin were sentenced to death after a co-conspirator (Abram) supplied information to authorities. Abram was also sentenced to death after others testified against him. The five men were hung on 15 May 1802. The only female participant, Phebe (spelled various ways in the following documents), was released. The death sentences were carried out despite Jefferson's advice that the conspirators be transported to Africa, possibly as indentured servants, rather than executed. Coupled with Gabriel's Rebellion of 1800, Sancho's 1802 plot led Virginia legislators to clamp down more tightly on slaves' nighttime activities and on free blacks' ability to work.