Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11081303

State: Mississippi Year: 1813
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: Hancock County sheriff Amos Burnet seeks $99.05 in reimbursement for transporting William Smith, arrested for stealing a slave, from Hancock to Claiborne County as ordered in a writ of habeas corpus issued by Judge Walter Leake.

PAR Number 11081501

State: Mississippi Year: 1815
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioner, Benajah Randle, informs the court that a few months earlier, an American Indian brought to him a slave by the name of Toney, who, after questioning, was found to belong to one John Brown of Wilkinson County. Randle, mindful of his duties as a good citizen, took the slave over to Washington jail in Adams County. The slave died in jail a short time later. Illiterate, poor, and with a large family, Randle seeks reimbursement for expenses incurred in fulfilling his responsibilities.

PAR Number 11081502

State: Mississippi Year: 1815
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: In June 1812, Solomon Whitley traded with Isaac Waters for a female house servant named Hannah. A few months later, Whitley accused Waters of stealing Hannah, and Waters was jailed in Franklin County. Because of an "insufficient" jail, the accused was transferred to Jefferson County, where he posted a $500 bond using two slaves as security. This, according to Whitley, gave him a chance "to make his escape with your petitioners Negro," while the two slaves were turned over to the territorial government. Whitley complained that he was the only one hurt by the theft and that his wife was weak and unable to do "domestic labor which she has been oblidge to do since Walters have deprived her of her help." He asks for relief.

PAR Number 11082701

State: Mississippi Year: 1827
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Bryce claims that he purchased at a sheriff's auction in Wilkinson County a purported runaway slave named George for the sum of $301. When it was learned that George was in fact a free man of color named Harry Singer, also known as Henry, Bryce lost his purchase money. He presented a claim to the county but received only $187.03. He asks the legislature to make up the difference and pay him "the amount actually paid into the treasury of his county."

PAR Number 11082702

State: Mississippi Year: 1827
Location: Amite Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1825, William Norman and James Hill were witnesses for the state against John H. Watson, accused of "negro stealing." Watson was found guilty but gained a retrial and then broke out of jail and escaped. The two witnesses seek reimbursement for the expenses. There was no law, they said, "under which the Auditor can Audit our Claims."

PAR Number 11083308

State: Mississippi Year: 1833
Location: Simpson Location Type: County

Abstract: William Tolar and Rolin Williams seek compensation for expenses incurred apprehending three escaped prisoners from the Simpson County jail. The three included Samuel Pool, charged with larceny, and two slaves held as runaways. The pursuers "ran great risk & peril of their lives." Tolar was severely cut by one of the slaves and unable to do "any Kind of labour for near two months."

PAR Number 11085401

State: Mississippi Year: 1854
Location: Pike Location Type: County

Abstract: Robert Bacot asks for reimbursement of $50 paid to slave catcher Isaac Brumfield for the apprehension of an escaped prisoner, a slave named Green who was charged with the attempted rape of a white woman. Bacot informs the court that the escape was not due to any failure of duty on his part.

PAR Number 11085901

State: Mississippi Year: 1859

Abstract: In the summer of 1858, a slave named Peter, owned by Dr. E. A. Miller of Wayne County, was employed on the railroad near the town of Enterprise. The petitioners claim that Peter "caught and by force violated the person of a beautiful young Lady by Committing a Rape." Captured the same day, he was jailed and tried within twenty-four hours. In the presence of the young woman and her parents, Peter was tried and found guilty by a jury sitting in magistrate court. That night he was taken from jail by a mob and hanged. A committee of five townspeople seeks compensation for Miller for the loss of his property.

PAR Number 11085919

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

Abstract: Billard Filmore, a free man of color, seeks a special act making him a slave for life to James J. Lindsey, a lawyer in the town of Fulton. At a recent court session, Filmore was charged with the attempted murder of a slave. He was desirous of procuring counsel in his defense and was "looking to the law recently passed by your Honorable body respecting free Mulattos in Said State."

PAR Number 11086009

State: Mississippi Year: 1860
Location: Marshall Location Type: County

Abstract: Marshall County "jailor" C. T. Furr requests compensation for expenses incurred while housing a slave named Anthony, accused of burning a gin house. Anthony was tried and released. Incarcerated on 26 October 1858, Anthony, the property of W. S. Taylor, remained in jail until 19 April 1859, a total of 166 days. At 40 cents per day, and $2 for two turn keys, the county should be reimbursed $68.40.

PAR Number 11086502

State: Mississippi Year: 1865
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: W. S. G. Walker requests compensation in the amount of three thousand dollars for his slave named Caroline, who died in jail awaiting trial on charges of burning his house. Due to the war, the Circuit Court was never held, either in November 1861 or April 1862, and, after fifteen months in jail, the slave died.

PAR Number 11184601

State: Missouri Year: 1846
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: On 14 January 1845, John Smith's slave Maryland was jailed by the judge of the St. Louis criminal court as a witness in the case the State v. G. W. Goode. The black man was released after sixty-three days. Smith claims he suffered "loss and great inconvenience" and asks to be compensated "the usual fees."

PAR Number 11184602

State: Missouri Year: 1846
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioner states that in November 1844 he asked that his slave William be placed in jail as a runaway and kept there for safekeeping until such time as he could dispose of him. However, on 11 January 1845, the judge of the St. Louis criminal court ordered that William testify in the case of the State v. G. W. Goode. William was confined sixty-six days, during which time Beirne could neither use his services nor dispose of him, all to his master's "great inconvenience, prejudice and damage." Beirne seeks payment of the "usual fees in such cases."

PAR Number 11184604

State: Missouri Year: 1846
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: St. Louis County jailer explains that two runaway slaves--Edward Ellsey and William Anderson--were committed to his jail in 1843 and kept there for a considerable period until they were sold at auction. Anderson, for example, remained incarcerated 478 days. The jailer asks for reimbursement of expenses over and above the amount brought in when the two were sold.

PAR Number 11278202

State: North Carolina Year: 1782
Location: Hertford Location Type: County

Abstract: Joseph Benthall, guardian of Susanna Benthall, requests that Joseph Wood, a justice of the peace in Northampton County, be removed from office. Benthall explains that his ward's "Negro Wench named Hagar had been secretly conveyed out of the County near four years ago" and that he searched and found her, now with a child, in Edgecomb County and took her to Northampton. He charges that "James Knight with a general Warrant Signed by Joseph Wood ... did by Violence sieze & carry the said Negroes away, barbarously wounding" Benthall's brother in the process. The petitioner recounts that he questioned Wood's authority, whereupon “Wood ordered your Petitioner to be confined in Hallifax Jail ... to be tryed as he said for Negro Stealing." Benthall, "on behalf of the good Citizens of this State," prays that the legislature may "direct the said Wood to be removed from his Magisterial Seat & be forever disabled from holding a Commission as a Justice of the Peace in future."

PAR Number 11278705

State: North Carolina Year: 1787
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Harvey recounts that his slave Toney "was charged with having committed a Robery for which he was tried by a Special Court, and the said negroe man Toney was adjudged guilty by the said Court & sentenced to be Hanged which Sentence was executed on the 13th day of Jany 1787." Harvey claims that his agent had sold Toney "at the time the Negroe was taken into custody" and that the purchaser, James Powell, refused to pay part of the purchase price. Left to "Arbitration," Harvey states that his agent was forced "to refund the money by him Received and that the Loss should be his." Harvey therefore prays that he be granted "such sum for the said Slave as you in your Wisdom shall think Just."

PAR Number 11279004

State: North Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Tyrrell Location Type: County

Abstract: James Jones Jr., constable of Tyrrell County, represents that "he was ordered to carry Zadock Nowis, a felon, from Tyrell to Edenton." He further relates that Nowis "was afterwards convicted & was ordered by the Court to be Sold to pay the fees & Charges of his Commitment." Noting that Nowis "did not sell for enough to pay the Prison fees," the petitioner "prayeth Relief from this Honble Body."

PAR Number 11279801

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

Abstract: Randal Parks seeks a reprieve from the death sentence imposed upon him "for stealing Negroes as the laws in this case direct." Currently "in Jail in the Town of Halifax," Parks "begs leave to represent ... that a petition was drawn and signed by a number of respectible Persons in the Town and County of Halifax praying his Excellency the Governor to pardon him from the execution of the sentence." Now being advised to seek a pardon from the General Assembly, Parks prays "that a pardon may be issued relieving him from the agonies of death, when it is likewise the request of many of those who are acquainted with him."

PAR Number 11279813

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

Abstract: Sixty-nine citizens seek clemency for Randal Parks, "a very young man" convicted "of stealing negroes" and condemned to death for said crime. They aver that Parks "sometime ago removed into this state from Virginia and from the neighbourhood and protection of a very respectable family," whereby he was "not only deprived of their advice and example, but was also exposed to the company of evil disposed persons by which means the said Randal owing to his youth, easy temper and complying disposition was induced to engage in the crime for which he now stands convicted." They therefore pray "your Excellency to grant him a pardon.”

PAR Number 11280003

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

Abstract: William Moore requests compensation for the loss of a horse that died during a pursuit of outlaws. He explains that, "from a wish to suppress Villiany," he participated in the apprehension and jailing of "men of notorious Characters" who were later convicted of "forgery & Stealin of Negros and Selling them." Moore further reveals that his "excessive rideing & great exertions ... killed or at least Occationed the death of a valuable Horse" that cost him $210; said loss forced him to mortgage his "One negroe and he a very Valuable fellow." As a cripple, Moore claims that he is "altogether Unable to work" and support his "very large & helpless family of small children." He therefore requests that he receive "such an allowance from the public of said State as may be Adequate to his losses."

PAR Number 11280403

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

Abstract: Polly Murrell asks that her husband, James Murrell, be pardoned "for selling a free person of color." She states that said James "was sentenced to suffer death" for said crime but that "a number of respectable Gentlemen" petitioned for mercy and "His Excellency did Grant a reprieve" which deferred “the time of his Execution." Polly reports that she has been to South Carolina "for the purpose of getting back said free person of colour, and finds he is dead." The petitioner therefore "prays the Legislature to grant a pardon to the said James Murrell," who is currently "in Salisbury Gaol under sentence of death."

PAR Number 11280509

State: North Carolina Year: 1805
Location: Orange Location Type: County

Abstract: Johnston Craig and William Blackwood request compensation for the expenses incurred in traveling to testify at the trial of John Perry, a man "confined in Goal in the District of Edenton ... under a charge of stealing a negroe Boy and horse." They report that the said Perry "broke Goal and made his escape" the day before they arrived in Winsor. The men therefore pray the "Treasurer be directed to pay to them such sums of money as may appear to your Honorable body to be adequate to their trouble and expence in traveling four hundred miles at the Instance of the state of North Carolina."

PAR Number 11280514

State: North Carolina Year: 1805
Location: Sampson Location Type: County

Abstract: Stephen Carrol represents that in January 1805 he pursued an accused murderer by the name of Jonathan Chevers, a free man of color also called John White, "with great labor and pains and at great expence and by continued perseverance at length arrested the body of the said Jonathan Chevers and lodged the same in the district Jail for the District of Fayetteville." He reports that the said Chevers "was tried for said murder and by a verdict of a Jury fully convicted thereof but afterwards as your petitioner ... believes received the pardon of the executive of this State." The petitioner asks that an act be passed allowing "to be made some remuneration for the services rendered to the public and the expence & labor which your petitioner suffered and underwent."

PAR Number 11280809

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

Abstract: Lucy Crockett charges that her husband William abandoned her shortly after their marriage and that "she was possessed of several valuable slaves and other property" that the said William "in a few months squandered and sold." Lucy further reveals that she was pregnant and poor when William left her "to wander about." Noting that her husband has been jailed "for the passing of Counterfeit Bank Notes," the petitioner prays that a law be passed to secure to her "all property which she may hereafter acquire free from the controul of said William Crockett" and that William "not be allowed to disturb or molest her property hereafter acquired, nor have any more controul over her or her property than if they had never been married."

PAR Number 11281003

State: North Carolina Year: 1810
Location: Bertie Location Type: County

Abstract: William H. Green, sheriff of Bertie County, requests compensation for housing in jail two prisoners and three witnesses. He states that Allen Bilch, accused and later executed for horse stealing, remained in jail for 254 days; Anthony Wiggins, accused and executed for murder, remained in jail for 162 days. Green also states that "negro Tom, Mary Manly and Winifred Wiggins were committed as Witnesses against the sd. Anthony Wiggins ... and continued one hundred and forty six days each when they were discharged." Asserting that his expenses have not been fully reimbursed, the petitioner insists that "the legislature in stipulating the allowance prescribed by law for the maintainance of prisoners, it never was their intention to tax any one individual with the Cost of bringing to punishment the violators of the law."

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