During her time in slavery, she cohabited with her white slave owner, Samuel R. Hearne, for whom she bore four children. Upon his death in 1866, Sam Hearne bequeathed his estate to their twenty-year-old son with the provision he take care of Azeline. When the son subsequently died in 1868, Azeline, as the sole legate, inherited his estate. In the years that followed, she was sued numerous times over the estate, including once by her own lawyer, and became the first freedwoman to be party to three separate civil suits that were appealed all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, as well as the first freed slave in Robertson County, Texas to be indicted on charges of perjury. Hearne's case has been cited as a typical example of the unfair treatment received by former slaves in the post-Civil War south.
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