Missouri Compromise, Missouri is admitted to the Union as
a slave state and the expansion of slavery in the
Louisiana Territory is limited to states south of
the fall of 1822, the Robert Newsom family settles land on
the Middle River in southern Callaway County, Missouri
(about 9 miles south of Fulton).
||Celia, age 14,
arrives from neighboring Audrain County to become Robert
Newsom's first female slave, joining five male slaves on
his 800-acre farm....Callaway County's population is
13,827, including 9,895 whites.
age 60, rapes Celia in 1850 and continues to demand sexual
relations from his slave girl over the course of the next
five years. Celia gives birth to two children,
almost certainly fathered by Newsom. Her main duty
on the farm seems to be that of cook....Sometime before
1855, Celia enters into a romantic relationship with
George, another one of Newsom's slaves.
pregant again, either carrying the child of Newsom or
George, her lover. George demands the Celia stop
having sex with Newsom.
|June 23, 1855
rejected Celia's plea that he stop having sex with her,
tells Celia "he was coming to her cabin that night." At
about 10 p.m., Newsom leaves his house and walks the fifty
yards over to Celia's cabin. When Newsom advances
toward Celia, she strikes him on the head with a large
stick. He falls from the blow and Celia hits him on
the head on second time, killing him. She places
Newsom's body in her fireplace and lights a fire.
|June 24, 1855
Coffee Waynescot, Newsom's 12-year-old grandson, to spread
ashes from the previous night's fire along a path to the
stable....The Newsom family, concerned about Newsom's
disappearance, begins an investigation. William
Powell, leader of the search party, questions George, who
tells him "it is not worth while to hunt for him except
around the house." George tells Powell "he believed
the last walking [Newsom] had done was along the path"
leading to Celia's cabin. Powell and others search
Celia's cabin, but find nothing. Confronting Celia,
she initially admits that Newsom came to her cabin seeking
sex, but claims that after she struck him he left.
After more intense questioning, she confesses.
|June 25, 1855
arrested. Two justices of the peace conduct an
inquest into Newsom's murder. At the inquest,
William Powell, Coffee Waynescoat, and Celia provide sworn
statements concerning the murder. A six-person
inquest jury finds probable cause to charge Celia with the
murder of Robert Newsom.
|Summer of 1855
question heats up in Missouri and Kansas as pro-slavery
and anti-slavery forces clash in each state.
|October 6, 1855
arrives in Kansas to join his sons in the battle for a
|October 9, 1855
||The trial of
Celia opens in the Callaway County Courthouse in Fulton in
the courtroom of Judge William Hall. A
twelve-person, all-white, all-male jury is chosen.
|October 10, 1855
present testimony in the trial of Celia. The defense
presents evidence that the murder was committed in
self-defense. Judge Hall denies the defense's
request to instruct the jury that the killing was
justifiable if done to prevent a sexual assault. The
jury returns a verdict of guilty.
|October 11, 1855
move to set aside the jury verdict and grant a new trial.
|October 13, 1855
||Judge Hall denies the motion for a new trial and sentences Celia to be "hanged by the neck until dead" on November 16. Judge Hall refuses to issue an order staying execution until Celia's appeal could be heard by the Missouri Supreme Court.|
|November 11, 1855
||On the night of
November 11, five days before her scheduled execution (and
with no decision yet made on her appeal to the Missouri
Supreme Court), Celia escapes from the Callaway County
|Late November 1855
"returned" to jail, probably by the people who aided in
her escape. A new date, December 21, is set for her
|December 6, 1855
for Celia write a letter to Judge Abiel Leonard, a newly
elected member of the Missouri Supreme Court, arguing that
the refusal of Judge Hall to give certain requested
instructions constituted reversible error in Celia's case.
|December 14, 1855
issues dominate the headlines in both Missouri and Kansas
(where a full-scale civil war threatens to erupt), the
Missouri Supreme Court considers and rejects Celia's
|December 20, 1855
questioned in her cell and again claims that she alone was
responsible for Newsom's death. She tells her
interrogators "as soon as I struck him the Devil got into
me, and I struck him with a stick until he was dead."
|December 21, 1855
P.M., Celia is hanged in Fulton, Missouri.