Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 21185902 Details

Location:St. Louis
Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Hon. Samuel M. Breckinridge Judge of the St Louis Circuit Court (BRECKINRIDGE, Samuel)
Filing Date:1859-October-18
Ending Date:1863-May-7

General Petition Information

Abstract:Louisa Lewis seeks permission to sue as a poor person to establish "the right of herself, and of her minor son George to freedom." Louisa claims that seventeen years ago her mother Lizzie, alias Elizabeth Dickson, a free person of color, purchased Louisa "for the purpose, and on the condition that she should be free." Louisa argues that, inasmuch as it is illegal for free persons of color to own slaves in Missouri, the "purchase of petitioner by her mother operated as a deed of manumission." Fourteen-year-old George was born three years after "the emancipation of your petitioner" and has lived as a free person his entire life. Henry W. Hart, the administrator of Elizabeth Dickson's estate, now holds Louisa and George as slaves. Louisa asks the court to recognize her status as a free woman. Depositions in the court record reveal that George, whose color is "nearly white," attended "common school with white children." Before her mother's death, Louisa spent time in Chicago with her husband, a former slave manumitted by St. Louis mayor, John How. A deposition from Martha Brown intimates that Louisa passed for white while in Chicago.
Result:petition granted; supplemental petition filed; granted; appealed; affirmed
# of Petition Pages:2
Related Documents:Transcript of Circuit Court Record with Index, 18 October 1859--ca. September 1860; Clerk's Certificate, 22 September 1860; Supreme Court Opinion, 7 May 1863
Pages of Related Documents:33

People Associated with Petition 21185902

Free Persons of Color:1
Other People:2

Citation Information

Repository: Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, Missouri

  • Records of the Supreme Court, Case Files
  • Record Group:
  • Document Number
  • Box: 627
  • Folder:
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Processing Information

Record Created:11/30/1996
Record Final Edited:8/19/2002
Record Last Updated on:5/7/2008 2:28:00 PM