Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10182605

State: Alabama Year: 1826
Location: Limestone Location Type: County

Abstract: Free person of color Francis Hamlin purchased his daughter, Susan Locklear, from James Sims of Limestone County. Hamlin seeks to emancipate his daughter, who is married to Thomas Locklear, a free man of color.

PAR Number 11000013

State: Mississippi
Location: Claiborne Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners ask for the emancipation of Samuel Martin's family. Three years before Martin, a free man of color, purchased his wife and three children. A related petition reveals that Samuel Martin had been freed a number of years earlier by his owner, J. W. Thomson.

PAR Number 11000014

State: Mississippi Year: 9999
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: William Moreton and his wife, Violet, were emancipated by Jesse Carter in Louisiana about 1814. The Moretons left their daughter, Charlotte, in the possession of Carter, as a slave for life. After Carter's death, the couple bought Charlotte for $352. Moreton now petitions to free his daughter. He writes, "Your Petitioner although' a colored man is not devoid of feelings of humanity and nature & considers it against the laws of nature to hold his own offspring in a state of servitude."

PAR Number 11081601

State: Mississippi Year: 1816
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Adams County residents ask the legislature to pass acts of emancipation for the family of Ben Vousdan, who died in 1816 without providing for their freedom. The petitioners note that Ben Vousdan was a former slave, freed in 1802 by the will of his late owner, William Vousdan. Ben married a slave named Mary, whom he purchased from Stephen Minor, and the couple had five children: Louisa or Lucy, Rachel, Sandy, Mary Anne, and Benjamin. Ben and his wife lived "as free persons, separate and apart, to themselves," but when Ben died in 1816 his family remained legally in bondage. The petitioners argue that Ben intended to free them and was attempting to have a will drawn up to that effect when he died.

PAR Number 11083001

State: Mississippi Year: 1830
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Theodore Richey asks the legislature to pass an act of emancipation to free a woman slave named Ama. Richey states that Ama married an "honest and industrious free man of colour," who had saved his earnings and is willing to purchase her freedom. Ama is a woman of good character, Richey asserts, and could provide adequate security against becoming a public charge.

PAR Number 11083005

State: Mississippi Year: 1830
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Working and saving for many years, free man of color Jeremiah Gill purchased his wife, Amy, and daughter, Betsey, from one Caleb Reed. Now being "advanced in years," Jeremiah Gill asks the legislature for an act of emancipation for his family. He feared that if he were to die his wife and daughter might "through the tyranick grasp and relentless cupidity of some unfeeling wretch, be deprived of that portion of liberty, which the sweat of your petitioner's humble brow has purchased for them." In a related petition, filed the same year, one Theodore Richey presented Amy, whom he calls Ama, for emancipation, claiming her as his property. In this petition, Jeremiah Gill's prayer is granted; Amy and Betsey are set free and are given the last name of Gill. At the same time, the legislature also grants freedom to another slave named Rachel, whose emancipation was sought by one Lewis L. Glover.

PAR Number 11279504

State: North Carolina Year: 1795
Location: Anson Location Type: County

Abstract: Abraham Jones, a free person of color, discloses that he "labours under the unhappy disadvantage of having Seven children by a woman Slave formerly the property of one Westerfield, with whom he has intermarried, and who he has since bought and purchased as his own property." Jones is fearful that his said children "are in danger of being continued in bondage or may be after your petitioner's death without some legal provision made in their favour by the General Assembly." He therefore prays that his seven children "to wit; Isaac Jones, Jacob Jones, Susanna Jones, John Jones, Abraham Jones, Thomas Jones, and Lewis Jones may be emancipated and from henceforth enjoy the protection and benefits of the laws and constitution of this State, in the same manner as others of their colour who were born free."

PAR Number 11279605

State: North Carolina Year: 1796

Abstract: William Brown, a free man of color, submits that "with care and Industry he has been able to purchase from Mr. Reading Blount a Wench by the name of Phillis with whom by the consent of Mr. Blount he had previous intermarried." Realizing that "his children will be Slaves contrary to his wish without the interposition of the General Assembly," the petitioner is "imbolden'd" to ask that a law be passed "to emancipate his said wife Phillis." Twenty-six subscribers avow that "William Brown & wife ... have always conducted themselves orderly & honestly."

PAR Number 11279701

State: North Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Anson Location Type: County

Abstract: Abraham Jones, a free "mixt Blooded man," avows that "about forty years past he purchased a Certain Woman of Coller by the name of Lydia of one John Westerfield & paid honestly for her & hath Since had Six Children by said Woman." Jones expresses "very great uneasyness" concerning the possibility that "when your Petitioner dyed his Wife & Children woud be Slave." He therefore prays that "your Honourable Body Will take my Case into your Consideration & give your Petitioner Such Relief as in your Wisdom shall seam meet." Twenty-nine subscribers attest that Jones "hath always behaved himself as a man of Choler ought to do & further supports the carrecter of an honest Industrous man & think his case to be [heard] and ought to be Redrest by passing a law of Liberation."

PAR Number 11279812

State: North Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: Lemuel Overnton, "of mix'd Blood but free Born," acknowledges that he "did faithfully Serve in the Last American Warr with Great Britain." He further reveals that, "by Consent," he was able to marry a slave woman named Rose and "had my Eldest Son John by her." Overton states that he was able to purchase said Rose and John and that he has a second son named Burdock. The petitioner prays that his case be taken into consideration and that his wife and two sons be emancipated and called "after his own name Overnton."

PAR Number 11280004

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-two citizens of Montgomery County support the petition of Daniel Shad, a free person of color, who seeks to emancipate his family. They report that Shad, "since his emancipation in the year 1798," purchased his wife Betty and that "since that time she has had one child by the name of Winny." They therefore "humbly prayeth your Honourable Body to take this case into your wise consideration and emancipate his wife, and child, by the name of Betty Shad & her Child by the name of Winny Shad."

PAR Number 11280104

State: North Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Madelene St. Risque, a free woman of color of Edenton, represents that "she was sometime past intermarried with a negro man named Major, then the slave of Henry Eelbeck" and that in September last she "purchased all right and title which said Henry had in the said Major." St. Risque now "humbly prays that your Honorable body would condescend to take the premises into consideration and pass such Act as may appear, to your Honorable body most fit to emancipate the said Major, your humble Petitioners husband."

PAR Number 11280205

State: North Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanly, a free man of color, submits that he purchased "a negro male of the age of two years, named John, whom he considers his child"; in 1801, he purchased "a mulatto child named John, who is the result of a matrimonial connection between your Petitioner and Kitty." Stanly, of the opinion that "it is inconsistent with nature, for the parent to wish his child in a state of vassalage, either to another or himself," asks that said children be manumitted. He requests that two-year-old John be "known in future by the name of James Florence" and that the other child "hereafter to be known & distinguished by the name of John Stewart Stanly."

PAR Number 11280404

State: North Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Harry Ash, “a freeman of Colour," represents that he purchased his wife America from Milla Clarke in 1802; in 1803 "his Wife the said America was delivered of a daughter named Jemima." Desirous that his wife and child "should be entitled to the privileges of free persons of Colour," the petitioner prays that the Legislature "Liberate them by the names of America and Jemima Ash."

PAR Number 11280805

State: North Carolina Year: 1808
Location: Brunswick Location Type: County

Abstract: Blackwell McAlester states that "he was manumitted & set free by his former owner for meritorious services" and "that by his own honest Industry He raised a sufficient Sum of money to purchase his Grandson." Noting that the child "is too young to have rendered meretorious services to his master," the petitioner "therefore humbly requests your honorable Body to grant to an old Man the Freedom of his Grand Child by passing a Law emancipating him by the name of Joseph Blackwell."

PAR Number 11282502

State: North Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-five citizen of Chowan County ask that fourteen-year-old Peggy and seven-year-old Nancy, the daughters of Christopher and Charity Burkitt, be freed. They represent that the said Christopher, a free man of color, purchased Charity and Peggy in 1812 and that this past fall "the said Christopher procured the emancipation of his wife but the presiding Judge declined decreeing the emancipation of the children -- deeming them on account of their tender years not within the meaning of the Act of Assembly." The petitioners therefore pray "that the case of said Christopher may be taken into consideration and that his said two children may be emancipated." The citizens attest that "the characters of said Christopher & his wife are good and that his children are of docile dispositions."

PAR Number 11283202

State: North Carolina Year: 1832
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Manumitted by his master for meritorious service, John Dunn Scott acknowledges that he "purchased his wife & only son." He reports that he "has in consequence of her good behaviour obtained permission to liberate her, but was unable to obtain like permission as respects to the boy on account of his tender years." Scott therefore "beseeches your permission to give freedom to the only child of a parent now far advanced in the Journey of life & who at best can only hope for but a few years and who while a slave scrup[u]lously performed his duty to his master, & who, now a freeman bows with reverence to the laws of this country."

PAR Number 11283808

State: North Carolina Year: 1838
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry Patterson, a free person of color, seeks to free his wife whom he has purchased. Patterson, "a bricklayer & Plasterer by trade," asserts that "he & his said wife have been brought up in the City of Raleigh and as to character for industry, quietness & good order in general he appeals for himself & his wife to all the respectable inhabitants of this City." Fearing "that if he were to die without a Will his Brothers & Sisters would become the owners of his wife & she might be sold a slave for life for their debts," he also submits that "if he were to make a will he cannot liberate her, nor make any other disposition of her according to law." Patterson therefore states that "to your Hon Body alone can he look for help & redress."

PAR Number 11284205

State: North Carolina Year: 1842
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Molly Horniblow, a seventy-five-year-old free woman of color who was manumitted "in consequence of long, faithful and meritorious services to her owners," asks that her forty-four-year-old son, Marcus Ramsey be freed. She states that she purchased her son and that he is "now and a long time past a Barber in Edenton." She further avows that said Ramsey has always been "honest, industrious and obedient, faithful and attentive to the interest of those who of right have had control of him." Noting that "there is no one to whom her property can descend," the petitioner therefore prays that "you will pass an Act liberating him to remain in the State."

PAR Number 11284602

State: North Carolina Year: 1846
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: John Malone, a fifty-six-year-old free black man living in Raleigh, "is anxious to emancipate and set free from Slavery his said wife & son Edmund before he dies." Malone represents that, "by hard work and close economy," he "has been able to lay by a little money and property and though a free negro he has done this without exciting the suspicion of white gentlemen against his honesty, but so that he may appeal to the whole community in favour of his claims to a good reputation." He further states that he applied "a part of his earnings ... to the purchase of his wife Cherry and more recently to the purchase of their son Edmond." The petitioner therefore "earnestly beseeches the General Assembly of North Carolina to set free his wife Cherry and Son Edmund by the respective names of Cherry Malone and Edmond Malone" and that they be allowed to remain in the state.

PAR Number 11285201

State: North Carolina Year: 1852
Location: Wayne Location Type: County

Abstract: Five residents of Wayne County join Hilary Croom, "who was born of a woman of respectable parentage though his father was reputed to have been a slave of Colour," in requesting that Croom's three children "be free at their arriving to the age of twenty one years" and that they all be allowed to remain in the state. The white petitioners boast that Croom, alias Coor, "is one of the best blacksmiths we have" and that he "sustains a fair industrious character." They further report that he was previously expelled from the state of Alabama and that now he faces yet another law requiring him to emigrate from his home state or pay a heavy fine. The petitioners therefore pray that "Hilary Croom be suffered to remain with us."

PAR Number 11285401

State: North Carolina Year: 1854
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-six Richmond County residents ask that the son of James Dunn, "an honest & industrious man," be emancipated. They state that Dunn "was formerly a slave but by his energy he bought himself and then his Mother & wife and afterward his son Louis." Noting that Dunn is now "old & desires to leave his Son Free," the petitioners pray that it may "be the pleasure of the Legislature to Set him Free."

PAR Number 11382109

State: South Carolina Year: 1821
Location: Laurens Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Allen Kelley, a free person of color and a blacksmith by trade, states that "he purchased in the year 1821 his son George a Slave for whom he paid the Sum of Six hundred and four dollars." Kelley prays that he be granted "permission to indulge in so humane and desireable an object in manumitting & setting free his said son George Kelley."

PAR Number 11382307

State: South Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Mitchell states that James Powell, "an old servant of your Petitioners family [who] had previously obtained him his manumission," died in 1820. He further represents that said Powell had executed his will wherein he stated that "it is my will & request that my son James immediately after my death shall be made free." Mitchell states that he "fully intended to act upon the said Will as soon as circumstances should render it expedient but that [his] retired habits of life in the country and his ignorance of the forms of business induced him to postpone his interference." Revealing that the elder Powell had purchased his son's freedom, Mitchell anxiously avers that the younger Powell “in consequence of the unforeseen difficulty arising from the recent legislative restrictions upon manumission is altogether unprotected at a time when the public excitement calls for vigilant supervision; That his character is a case omitted in Law he is the Slave of nobody and at the same time is not a freed negro.” The petitioner therefore prays that it be declared that "the said James the son of the aforesaid James Powell deceased [be] emancipated and made free."

PAR Number 11382801

State: South Carolina Year: 1828
Location: Richland Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Patterson, a free man of color born in Columbia, seeks to free his wife Sally, his son George, and his daughter Candice. Patterson, "a carpenter by trade," could "not raise a Sufficient Sum to affect that desirable and anxious object" of purchasing his family "until after the passage of the act prohibiting the freeing of slaves." The petitioner reports that he "made the purchase of his wife and Son in 1821 and paid for them One Thousand Dollars a Sum far beyond their value, his Son being at that time about Seven years old, and his wife not worth more than an ordinary female house Servant"; his daughter Candice was born after he had purchased his wife. "Anxious that they should be placed on a footing with himself," Patterson prays that "your Honorable Body ... will take the peculiar circumstances of his case into consideration and make his wife and children free."

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