A young slave woman known by no other name than Celia grew tired of being r@ped repeatedly by her master. Celia was 19-years-old at the time of the murder of her slave owner. On the night of June 23, 1855, she fatally clubbed her owner as he walked up to her cabin. She later told reporters that she killed her owner because the Devil got in to her. Her trial raised questions about the treatment of slaves and their right to fight back when being abused.
Robert Newsom and his family arrived in southern Callaway County, Missouri around 1820. He owned eight-hundred acres of land and several livestock. He also owned 5 male slaves. During the summer of 1850, Newsom decided to purchase a young fourteen-year-old slave girl by the name of Celia from a neighboring county. Shortly after Celia arrived on the farm she was r@ped by Newson. For the next five years Newsom made trips to Celia’s cabin and repeatedly r@ped her. In 1851 and 1855 Celia gave birth to two of Newsom’s children, one of which was a son.
It was not long before a male slave began to like Celia. George, a long time slave of Newsom’s began to spend time with Celia, and he often stayed in her cabin on many occasions. Celia became pregnant again which made George upset and he wanted her to put an end to being sexually used by Newsom. George gave Celia an ultimatum telling her it was either him or old man Newsom. Even during Celia’s pregnancy Newsom continued to make her have sexual relations with him.
On June 23, 1855, Newsom approached Celia’s cabin around 10 p.m. that night. Newsom walked to Celia’s cabin and told her it was time for her to perform her sexual duties. Celia knew Newsom was coming and had placed a stick in a corner. She allowed Newsom to back her into the exact corner where the stick was and grabbed it and raised the stick and hit Newsom over the head. He groaned and then Celia struck him until he was dead.
Celia burned Newsom’s body in her fireplace. She took the bits of bones from the fireplace and crushed the larger fragments with rocks. She put his belt buckle, pocket knife, and buttons in a small box. Earlier in the morning Celia asked Newsom’s grandson, Coffee Waynescot, to take the ashes of his grandfather (which the young boy didn’t know) and spread them along the path leading to the stables.
The search for Newsom eventually led to George, the #black slave who gave Celia the ultimatum. George told the investigators that there was no reason to look no further than close to home, and the last walk Newsom took was probably to the Negro cabin. At first Celia denied knowing anything about the murder of her rapist slave owner. But, she eventually told the truth, and the investigators located the ashes and belongings to Newsom. Celia’s trial came at a time of heightened tensions over the issue of #slavery. In 1854, Congress had passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowed settlers in those territories to decide for themselves whether to permit slavery within their boundaries. Celia was later hanged the gallows on December 21, 1855. Celia always denied having any help in the murder of Newsom and told reporters that when she struck Newsom with the stick, the devil got into her and she struck him until he was dead.
read more of the original story at: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/celia/celiaaccount.html