by Lisa Y. Henderson
State v. Rachel Freeman, 49 NC 5 (1856).
Rachel Freeman, a free colored woman and an indentured servant to Abraham Whitfield, was indicted for burning his dwelling-house in Cumberland County. There was no direct evidence, but the lower court admitted circumstantial evidence, including the fact that Rachel had been a servant during two earlier arson attempts. The Supreme Court noted that this evidence no more fingered Rachel than another servant and held that she was entitled to a trial with a new jury as she had been convicted on the basis of irrelevant testimony and circumstantial evidence.
Rachel Freeman appears in neither the 1850 nor 1860 censuses of North Carolina.