Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10182301

State: Alabama Year: 1823
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: Slave owner William Blake requests that Jacob, a slave he recently emancipated, be permitted to remain in the state. The law required that the Jacob leave Alabama within twelve months. Blake argues, however, that "in consequence of his family which he cannot remove, and in as much as he is an upright and honest man, and a useful machanick," Jacob should be permitted to stay. Blake had previously posted a $1,000 good-behavior bond.

PAR Number 10183901

State: Alabama Year: 1839
Location: Tuscaloosa Location Type: County

Abstract: Free man of color William Lewis asks for permission to remain in Alabama. Lewis explains in his petition that after the death of her owner, his wife, a slave, was taken to Alabama. Lewis followed her there. He notes that they have been married ten years and that he is skilled in the "Carpenter's and House-joiner's business." He adds that he has "always demeaned himself humbly and respectfully toward all persons, having been taught that the only way to pass through life smoothly was to attend to his own business." Affidavits by several white residents of the county attest to William Lewis's impeccable moral character and industriousness.

PAR Number 10185701

State: Alabama Year: 1857
Location: Coffee Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-seven white citizens of Coffee County seeks residency status for Narcissa Daniel, a "free colored girl about seventeen years of age," who had come to Alabama from Georgia with Allen Daniel, "a highly Respectable" citizen. Narcissa, the petitioners claim, was the "offspring of a white woman of high family." Mrs. Daniel was her best friend and Narcissa would prefer a "state of bondage to that of separation."

PAR Number 10378601

State: Delaware Year: 1786
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-one petitioners ask the legislature to more rigorously regulate the movements of people of color. They argue that "under the name and Character of Free Negroes many idle and evil-disposed Slaves througout this County stroll thro the same, some with, and some without passes or Certificates." There are also many black "Stragglers and Vagabonds From the Neighbouring Counties" who "come and go in similar Circumstances and under the same character, whereby their legal owners are for a long time deprived of their Service." They further assert that "numbers of Negroes who have been manumitted in other States and Countyes have come into ours, many of whom are likely to become Chargeable." They seek a law prohibiting "the Negroes aforesaid, from travelling Especially from one County into the other without a Written or printed pass or Certificate." The pass, "with the County Seal affixed thereto," should include the bearer's name and place of abode.

PAR Number 10378602

State: Delaware Year: 1786
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-nine petitioners ask the legislature to more rigorously regulate the movements of people of color. They argue that "under the name and Character of Free Negroes, many idle and evil-disposed Slaves througout this County, stroll thro' the same, some with, and some without passes or certificates." There are also many black "Stragglers and Vagabonds, from the neighbouring Counties" who "come and go, in similar Circumstances and under the same character, whereby their legal Owners are for a long time deprived of their Service." They further assert that "numbers of Negroes who have been manumitted in other States and Counties, have come into ours, many of whom are likely to become chargeable." They seek a law prohibiting "the negroes aforesaid, from travelling, especially from one County in to the other, without a written or printed pass or Certificate." The pass, "with the County's Seal affixed thereto," should include the bearer's name and place of abode.

PAR Number 10382701

State: Delaware Year: 1827
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: The chairman of the Wilmington Union Colonization Society expresses concern about the expanding free black population. Robert Porter argues that free people of color do not and cannot enjoy the most important civil privileges (voting and office holding), cannot associate with whites, and will not be accepted on a basis of equality. Porter defends the legally sanctioned separation by declaring that "our separation from these people is the effect of moral causes, the foundations of which we could not safely remove; amalgamation would demoralize society; the consequence of breaking up the present distinctions would be not to raise the free coloured people, but to sink all to a state of degradation yet unknown.” He therefore suggests "the removal of these people" to the west “coast of Africa” as the solution to what he describes "people by their very condition our enemies." In Porter's opinion, the American Colonization Society is deserving of more "of the resources of the National Government" and if the Society were able to make "this removal general and common, there can be no doubt, that this whole population would flow in a current in that direction."

PAR Number 10384905

State: Delaware Year: 1849

Abstract: One hundred ninety-nine petitioners request that the legislature amend an 1811 law "Entitled an Act to prevent the Emigration of free negroes and free mulatoes into this state, and for other purposes" that deemed all free persons of color who left and remained out of the state for more than six months non-residents and thus subject to certain penalties and punishments. The petitioners ask that the time of six months be reduced to thirty days.

PAR Number 10385301

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-seven "free colored citizens of Kent County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385304

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred twenty-one "free colored citizens of New Castle County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385309

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-six "free colored citizens of Kent County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 11000003

State: Mississippi
Location: Claiborne Location Type: County

Abstract: Drury Breazeale seeks to emancipate two slaves—a man named John, age fifty-eight, and a woman named Matilda, age forty-six—both of whom have been "faithful, industrious and obedient Servants, and rendering meritorious services."

PAR Number 11000008

State: Mississippi

Abstract: William Parker, a free man of color, asks permission to remain in Mississippi. Parker states that he arrived before the enactment of the law "prohibiting the emigration of Free negroes and Mulattoes into this State." He avers that he has accumulated property and remains married to a slave in the state.

PAR Number 11000016

State: Mississippi
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A free man of color named Malachi Hagins states that he is descended from several generations of free ancestors. His grandmother was a white woman, and his father died in the American Revolution fighting on behalf of the "Revolted Colonies." Hagins notes that he moved to Mississippi twenty-two years ago, married a white woman, fathered nine children, and acquired land, cattle, and nine slaves. He is now subject to being driven from his country and having his property confiscated and his life put in jeopardy "for want of the guardian protection of the Laws of the Land." He asks for an act to give him "security & protection, such rights and liberties" as the legislature might deem "humane, politick and right."

PAR Number 11082201

State: Mississippi Year: 1822
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: John Forsyth asks to emancipate Hanah, described as "of yellow Complexion, Aged about forty years," and previously owned by Edward Brooks. She was "Verry faithfull, honest, and dilegent," a nurse who tended to family and friends during the "malignant fevers" in 1817 and 1819. She also saved her former master's property when his house was going up in flames. Forsyth seeks permission for her to remain in the state and notes that he has posted a bond guaranteeing that she will "never become a public charge."

PAR Number 11082904

State: Mississippi Year: 1829
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: Natchez barber William Hayden, a man of color, says that the Mississippi Act passed in 1822 concerning slaves and free people of color might well "produce absolute ruin to his prospects." He states that he has a good business, a good reputation, and owns property. In constant danger "of being driven from his home," he asks for "a special act exempting him from that part of the said act which requires his removal from the state."

PAR Number 11083008

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

Abstract: Thirty-three citizens of Natchez ask that a free woman of color named Esther Barland, the owner of a lot a ground and a house built by the fruits of her own industry, be permitted to remain in Mississippi. She should not be subject to the penalties of the 1822 act concerning "Slaves, free Negroes, and mulattoes," they contend, because of her industry. The governor's proclamation demanding rigid enforcement of the 80th and 81st sections of the 1822 act caused her much anxiety. She is "much grieved at the idea of being driven from the Land of her home and her friends to find shelter she Knows not where."

PAR Number 11085701

State: Mississippi Year: 1857
Location: Rankin Location Type: County

Abstract: An aging Louis Curan asks to manumit his slave Letty, and her four children: Rosina, age seven; Sarah, age four; Henry, age two-and-a-half; and Hiram, age one. He points to the "Meritorious Services rendered by the said slave Letty for the last ten years" as his justification. Once freed the slaves would be required to leave the state within three months.

PAR Number 11085903

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: The mayor and other officials and citizens in the town of Shieldsborough write in behalf of twenty-seven free persons of color who are "useful members of the Community." They request that they be exempted from a bill now before the legislature that would "exclude from this state all the Free Negroes and mulattoes without any distinction, after the First of July A.D. 1860." Euphrosine Labat is the widow of Joseph Labat. Other free persons of color mentioned in the petition are Euphrosine's daughter, Adèle, her husband Louis Piernas, and the couple's four children, Louisine, Mimi, Louis, and Voltaire; Joseph Labat, Euphrosine's son, and his wife Celestine, and their three children, Charles, Honoré, and Cloraine; Euphrosine's three unmarried children, Aimée, Sylverine, and Pierre; and the children of her late daughter Emelia, Arthur, Myrtile, Joseph, and Gracieuse Jolly. They also include the Barabine family.

PAR Number 11085904

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Hinds Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-four citizens of Hinds County write in behalf of Joseph Nelson, a good house carpenter who is "sober & respectful in his deportment." They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free persons of color from the state.

PAR Number 11085905

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Kemper Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-three citizens of Kemper County write in behalf of Gillam, a free person of color "of good character" and a carpenter by trade. They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state.

PAR Number 11085906

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Hinds Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-four citizens of Hinds County write in behalf of A. L. Chevis, who "has conducted himself with honesty, sobriety, & humbleness; never having, to our Knowledge, indulged in any Conduct Calculated to render his residence here objectionable." He had worked as a barber and bricklayer. His wife is a slave, and they have eight slave children. The petitioners request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state.

PAR Number 11085907

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Copiah Location Type: County

Abstract: Residents of Copiah County say that free person of color John Hunter "universally has always deported himself in an humble and praise worthy manner." He is a carpenter by trade. They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state.color from the state.

PAR Number 11085908

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Warren Location Type: County

Abstract: Warren County residents say that Green, a free man of color and a gin wright, is sober, industrious, and very useful as a planters' supply man. He has lived in the area nearly thirty years, and his wife also resides on the Harris plantation. They request that he be exempted from the bill pending in the Senate designed to drive free blacks from the state. The bill, they said, had passed the House.

PAR Number 11085909

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Warren Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifteen Warren County residents say that Green, a free person of color, is a very useful ginwright whom the planters of the county would find very difficult to replace. Formerly the slave of the late Dr. Hartwell Harris, he had lived in the area nearly thirty years. They request that he be exempted from the bill, pending in the state Senate, designed to drive free blacks from the state. They wish to reassure the Legislators that their request is not to be construed as an objection to the pending law, but as an exception to its operation for a very special case.

PAR Number 11085910

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Hinds Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred and fifty-six Hinds County residents support Edward Hill, a free man of color residing in the town of Raymond. Hill, a blacksmith, was temperate, honest, and industrious and managed an extensive and successful business. They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state. The petitioners wish to reassure the Legislators that they "vindicate the soundness" of the pending policy "which prompted the enactment," but that they believe that an exception in this case "would not be violative of the spirit of the law or incompatable with" the welfare of the state.

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