Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11483505

State: Tennessee Year: 1835
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-nine petitioners represent that Benjamin McFarland is "the owner of two Slaves Named Solomon, and Abby his Wife." They disclose that McFarland is "desirous that Said Solomon & Abby may be emmansipated, on account of the faithful Services rendered by said Solomon and his Wife in Raising him, and his fathers family." Noting that McFarland has moved to Missouri, they point out that he "left a power of Attorney authorising application to be made to the Court of pleas &c of said County" to order that the sixty-year-old slaves be set free. The petitioners further report that Solomon and Abby "desire to remain in Said County after they are free." They therefore pray "that your Honorable body will pass a law Authorising them to live in Said State after they are set free for and during the remainder of their lives."

PAR Number 11484501

State: Tennessee Year: 1845
Location: Hamilton Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred sixty-one residents of Hamilton County seek permission for Parlour Washington and his wife, Celicia, to remain in Tennessee. They point out that the Virginia couple was “in the year 1840 ... emancipated, and freed from bondage as slaves." They further attest that the "said Parlour is a good industrious Mechanic, in the arts & trades of Tanner and Currier of leather, and also a good Shoe Boot and harness maker, and his Said mechanical Services [are] much needed and required by the Citizens in the section of Country." Averring that Parlour and Celicia boast a "good name, fame and reputation, as moral religious and upright persons," the petitioners pray "the enactment of a law specially permitting said Parlour Washington & his wife Celicia to remain as legal Citizens of this County."

PAR Number 11484503

State: Tennessee Year: 1845
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: John Mooring represents that "Morrison Artis a free Born person of colour was from his Infancy placed under the care and protection of your petitioner by the mother and binding of the court." He further states that said Artis has been "prosecuted and convicted of malicious Shooting and centenced to confinement in the Jail and Penitentiary of the state of Tennessee to hard Labour for three years which deprives your petitioner of three years service." Noting that the sentence corresponds with "your petitioners term," Mooring asserts that he will suffer "an Entire loss ... unless the Legislature of the state will Reimburse your petitioner by an appropriation adequate to [Morrison's] Labour."

PAR Number 11583701

State: Texas Year: 1837
Location: Travis Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis Jones, "a man of Color the Decendant of African Parents and Consequently barred by the Constitution of this Republic from exercising the privileges of a Citizen," emigrated to Texas in 1826 and was "received by the Empressario Stephen F Austin as a Colonist" and therefore entitled to a "League of Land" in 1831. Jones relates that "he selected and settled on a League of Land of which he been in peaceable possession for three years." Noting that "he has not received a title for the said Land," Jones prays that "Your honorable body will take into Consideration his peculiar situation and extend to him such relief as in Your wisdom may seem proper."

PAR Number 11583702

State: Texas Year: 1837
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: Kentucky slave Greenberry Logan was emancipated by his father, David Logan, and emigrated to Texas in 1831. He enlisted as a soldier in the War for Texas Independence and fought at the battle of Concepcion under James Fannin; in the battle to capture San Antonio in December 1835, under the command of Ben Milam, he received severe wounds in his right arm. The petitioner has been living with his wife, Caroline, a free woman of color, in Brazoria, where they keep a boarding house. Logan avers that his right arm is virtually useless and that he "had hoped that after the zeal and patriotism evinced by him, in fighting for the liberty of his adopted Country, and his willingness to shed his blood in a cause so glorious, he might be allowed the privilege of spending the remainder of his days in quiet and peace, but your [petitioner] has been informed that the Constitution contains a clause which prohibits all free persons of color from coming to or remaining in the country, unless by the consent of Congress." The Logans pray "that Congress will pass a law permitting your petitioners to remain in the country."

PAR Number 11583801

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Houston Location Type: County

Abstract: Joseph Walling states that he emigrated to Texas with the belief that he "Could Emancipate Three Negro Slaves." He informs the legislature that he found he was "prohibited by the constitution of this republic to Emancipate those Slaves without the consent of Congress." He therefore prays "Congress to Grant me the liberty to set free or emancipate my Slaves," a twenty-four-year-old woman and her two children. Walling notes that he has "Conscientious scruples of holding in Bondage Said Woman and her two children."

PAR Number 11583802

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Harris Location Type: County

Abstract: Nelson Kavanaugh, a freed slave from Kentucky who emigrated to Texas in 1837, states that "he has always demeaned and conducted himself in an humble honest and industrious manner." Kavanaugh seeks exemption "from the operation of the law requiring the expatriation of 'Free persons of colour.'" He reveals that "he is a single man without wife or children a Barber by profession and no friend to the abolitionists who he is well aware more than even the ill conduct of some of his colour and condition have drawn down upon us the ban of the Republic." He therefore prays that "your Honorable body will in your Kindness and justice pass a special act in his behalf permitting him to remain in the Republic." Fifteen citizens attest to Kavanaugh's worthiness "of the exemption for which he prays."

PAR Number 11583803

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Nacogdoches Location Type: County

Abstract: William Goyens states that "he is unfortunately a man of colour," who emigrated to Texas in 1830. Since that time, Goyens professes that he has "ever been identified with the feelings and interests of the Anglo American population and has born his humble part in their struggle." For the last five years, he has worked "in publick Services connected with the Indians," and "for the last two years he has the honour to have been appointed a regular Indian Agent -- for the Cherokee Tribe." He further notes that during the War for Texas Independence, he furnished "horses, provisions, and money - small as may have been these services they were at least equal to his ability." Stating that the Colonization Law entitles him to land, Goyens asks that a "League & Labor of Land may be granted him as a Head Right and that a Law may be passed to that effect in his favour."

PAR Number 11583805

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Fort Bend Location Type: County

Abstract: Robert Handy states that his indentured "negro boy" James Robinson journeyed with him to Texas in March 1835 or 1836 and that the two joined the army and saw action at the battle of San Jacinto. Handy recounts that "when a passport was offered him [Robinson] to return to his home and friends [in Philadelphia], he refused it and begged permission to remain and share the fate of those who met the Enemy." The petitioner further states that "while thousands of our citizens were retreating in panic and confusion to the United States, this single minded negro boy, though unacknowledged as a patriot, and bound by no ties of interest; still rose superior to every selfish consideration, and bravely breasted the storm of mexican invasion at the gloomiest hour of our fortunes." Handy asks the legislature to compensate Robinson for his bravery and services.

PAR Number 11583808

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Arriving in Texas in December 1835, Emanuel Carter took up residence in Red River County. He states that he can prove that he emigrated "at the time above" and that he is a free man of color. Declaring that "he has been a faithful and well disposed subject of the laws of the Country, " Carter therefore prays that an act be passed to permit him "to enjoy, unmolested, the privileges of a citisen so far as to be protected by the laws of the country, and to hold land and other property in his own name."

PAR Number 11583811

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-five residents support the request for citizenship of Edmund J. Carter, a free-born man of color who is honest, industrious, and "manfully Competent to discharge faithfully any of the privileges of citisenShip." Carter had emigrated from Tennessee.

PAR Number 11584001

State: Texas Year: 1840
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-three residents of Brazoria County seek an exemption from the laws prohibiting the residence of free persons of color in the Republic. Philadelphia-born James Richardson, a free black man who operates an oyster house and rest stop between Velasco and San Louis, is "useful to the public in a situation suitable to his class and at a locality where a white person equally serviceable could not be expected to reside." A man of "industry, sobriety, and correct deportment," Richardson served under John Bell during the War for Independence. In addition, Richards is sixty years of age and is not likely to promote "any of the evils" contemplated by lawmakers when they enacted the prohibition laws.

PAR Number 11584019

State: Texas Year: 1840
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-four residents of Brazoria County ask that Samuel H. Harden and his wife, Tamar Morgan, be permitted to remain in the Republic. Harden, a free man of color, arrived in Texas as early as 1822; she arrived in 1832, purchasing her freedom "with the proceeds of her own labor" two years later. The petitioners consider Harden and Morgan to be of "industrious habits, and general good conduct," and they "believe it would be both arbitrary and unjust to require them to leave the country, since they came here under laws that invited their emigration, and acquired rights and property to a considerable amount before those laws were changed." They pray that an act be passed "permitting Samuel H Harden and his wife Tamar Morgan to reside in the Republic."

PAR Number 11584104

State: Texas Year: 1841
Location: Harris Location Type: County

Abstract: Originally from Richmond County, Georgia, Zylpha Husk, a twenty-seven-year-old free woman of color, moved to Texas about five years ago. She states that she has always conducted herself in an "obedient and respectful" manner and that she has a thirteen-year-old daughter. She confides that compliance with the law requiring her to leave "before the first of January next would bear heavily upon herself and her daughter ... as she would know not where to go if driven hence." She therefore "prays your Honorable body to grant her permission to reside in the Republic as heretofore with her daughter Emily." Forty-eight citizens acknowledge that Husk "has conducted herself well and earned her living by Honest Industry in the capacity of a washerwoman."

PAR Number 11584110

State: Texas Year: 1841
Location: Austin Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry Lynch, a free person of color, came from Alabama to Texas in 1838. He states that he has acquired the "good opinion of the citizens" and that "he is desirous now of remaining in the country & promises to behave himself as becomes his condition in life." If his request to remain in Texas indefinitely is denied, however, Lynch asks that he be allowed to stay for a year in order to collect his debts. The petitioner agrees "to enter into bond for his good behavior and to comply with the requisitions of the law."

PAR Number 11584201

State: Texas Year: 1842
Location: Houston Location Type: County

Abstract: Migrating to the Republic during the struggle for independence, Henry Tucker, a free man of color, was promised residency under the existing laws. Having "expended what little means he brought with him to this country in procuring himself a home," he laments that "should he now be forced to leave the country he would be totally ruined." He asks to remain in the Republic. Nine citizens attest to Tucker's character and they "most respectfully recommend him to your honorable bodies as one of those class of individuals who in our opinion is entitled to relief."

PAR Number 11584701

State: Texas Year: 1847
Location: Smith Location Type: County

Abstract: When free woman of color Nancy Flournoy moved to Texas from Louisiana, she was "not aware until she arrived here that the laws of the state did not sanction her remaining here." She states that she now finds herself "liable to be dealt with according to their provisions and notwithstanding her good disposition thereof, she is liable on the shortest notice to be compelled to leave or be sold as a slave." Flournoy therefore requests permission for herself and her twenty-year-old son, Thomas Jefferson Flournoy, "who is in the same predicament," to remain in Texas.

PAR Number 11585201

State: Texas Year: 1852
Location: Tyler Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-nine residents of Tyler County recommend that free man of color Moses Bryant be permitted to remain in the state "under such restrictions as you may see proper." They explain that Bryant followed his slave wife from Mississippi to Texas when his wife's owner, petitioner William Harrison, migrated. The petitioners view Bryant to be "a peacable orderly man & further he is able and willing to give good Security for his good behavior."

PAR Number 11585302

State: Texas Year: 1853
Location: Dallas Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighty-seven residents of Dallas County ask that Lewis Edmondson, a free man of color, be permitted to remain in Texas. While the slave of Peter Singleton of Tennessee, Edmondson married a slave belonging to William Edmondson; in his will, Singleton emancipated Lewis Edmondson and appointed William Edmondson to be Lewis's guardian. They further report that Edmondson moved to Texas about 1849, bringing with him Lewis and Lewis's family. The petitioners assert that Lewis "is well Known & respected as an honest industrious and a useful man in the Community." In "consideration of the Sacred obligations of honorable pretention to the marriage right, the endearment of wife and children, the hapiness of a human being, the peace of Society, the Security and comfort of the owner of his wife," the petitioners pray that an act be passed "for the relief of said Lewis and permit him to be and remain a Citizen of the State of Texas."

PAR Number 11585402

State: Texas Year: 1854
Location: Panola Location Type: County

Abstract: Edward P. Black states that he married Rebecca A. Jarnegan in DeSoto County, Mississippi, in 1844, whereupon they moved to Texas and inherited eleven slaves, valued at $4,500, from the estate of Rebecca's deceased father; Black laments that his wife died in childbirth a year later. He charges that three of his wife's brothers, "armed with pistols made an attack on petitioner and drove off said eleven negros then being in the possession of petitioner and also took at the same time said child the issue of said marriage." Black recounts that "in the defense of said child and said property of said child petitioner opposed force to force and for doing which petitioner was indicted in said County for the crime of murder," for which he was later acquitted. He reports that he then "was obliged to sue for said property and did so in said County." Black points out he has lately been appointed guardian of his son's estate and that said estate "is fully able to pay said expenses" of prosecuting the said matter. He therefore prays "the passage of an act allowing him to pay out of said estate" the expenses incurred in the recovery of his son's property.

PAR Number 11585601

State: Texas Year: 1856

Abstract: Louisiana resident Henry Michel Thibodaux seeks to bring thirty-five slaves and five free persons of color into Texas. He explains that his wife, "on her dying bed," requested that he emancipate his slave Marguerite and her two children, along with two other slave children. He further recounts that "the said emancipated servants have remained in his family, and serve him and he wishes to take them with him to Texas." Thibodaux states, however, that he "is informed that the introduction of free colored people is contrary to the laws of Texas." He therefore "respectfully prays that an Act of the Legislature may be passed, permitting him to take his said five emancipated servants to the State of Texas, and allowing them to remain in the State."

PAR Number 11585702

State: Texas Year: 1857
Location: Jackson Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel McCulloch came to Texas with his father, Samuel McColloch the elder, in 1835. He recounts that "he entered the military service of Texas" and took part "in the storming of the Fort at Goliad," where "he received a severe wound in the right shoulder." McCulloch notes that "he was the only one of the Texan Troops wounded in that action, and the first whose blood was shed in the War of Independence." The petitioner laments that "by the Laws of the Country, for the Independence of which he has fought and bled, and will suffer, he is deprived of the privileges of citizenship by reason of an unfortunate admixture of African blood, which he is said, without any fault of his, to inherit from a remote maternal ancestor." Having never applied for the lands "to which he was entitled under the Mexican Government," McCulloch seeks the "quantum of land that is allowed to other persons, who were citizens of the Country before the declaration of Independence" and asks that he and his children be granted the rights of citizenship.

PAR Number 11586001

State: Texas Year: 1860
Location: Gonzales Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen-year-old John Blackwell petitions the legislature for the authority to control his own affairs. Blackwell, a farmer, "feels and believes that he is competant to attend to his own business, and to exercise all the rights, privilleges, and functions of a free man." He further explains that "he is the legal owner of property that is suffering and accumulating him nothing by reason of the opportunities being with-holden from him, of availing himself of higher wages a healthful location -- prudent care of his slaves and a higher rate of interest on money." He states that "some of his Slaves being old, and many of them little children that require the fostering hand of a good Master instead of the abuse and neglect to which a hired condition subjects them." Blackwell therefore prays that "your Honorable Body will enfranchise him, and confer on him the powers and privileges of a free man, to possess himself of the control of his estate."

PAR Number 11680504

State: Virginia Year: 1805
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Virginia native Richard White moved to the territory south and west of the Ohio River, later Tennessee, where he acquired a plantation and slaves. Upon his return to Virginia, he did not bring back his Tennessee slaves with him, which the law would have allowed him to do, because he already had more slaves in Virginia than he could employ. Since that time, he has deeded his Tennessee land to one of his land and is now desirous to bring his Tennessee slaves to Virginia. He seeks the legislature's authorization to do so, assuring them that his intention is not to "sell or dispose" of them.

PAR Number 11680603

State: Virginia Year: 1806
Location: King William Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1797, Ann Raines departed this life, having bequeathed to her relative, Samuel Jones Catlett, the petitioner in the case, a life estate of several slaves. At that time, Catlett was a resident of Virginia where he had been born and lived his entire life. By 1802, the life estate he had received from Ann Raines consisted of sixteen slaves, including two children who had not yet been named. That year, Catlett decided to try his luck in Georgia, where his brother, John Catlett, farmed; he left Virginia, taking his sixteen slaves with him. After three years in Georgia, however, he decided that it "would not be to his interest" to settle permanently in that state and he returned to Virginia. His slaves being at that time working on making a crop for his brother, an agreement was reached between the two men whereby the slaves would stay in Georgia until the first of January 1807. He has now discovered that Virginia has passed a recent law was to restrict the importation of slaves into the state; he will thus be prevented from bringing his slaves back to Virginia in early 1807 unless the legislature intervenes on his behalf. He explains to the legislature that he has "determined to reside permanently in this state" and that the use of the slaves "would be entirely lost to him unless he shou'd be authorized to bring them back." He provides assurances that he has no intention to dispose of the slaves as he has a responsibility as the owner of a life estate to steward the property for the person who will ultimately inherit it.

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