Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11285203

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

Abstract: Eighty-eight Northampton County residents seek to exempt James Langford from the North Carolina law requiring emancipated slaves to leave the state. They aver that Langford "has a good moral character, is exceedingly industrious and demeans himself [well]." They further note that "by his industry and economy he has been enabled to purchase his freedom, but he is unwilling to leave the home of his childhood and sever the ties of husband and father" as "his wife and children are slaves and cannot go with him." The petitioners therefore pray that a law be passed "allowing him to remain in the State." They believe that "by doing so you will have the gratitude of a deserving but humble man, and the thanks of the community in which he resides."

PAR Number 11285405

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

Abstract: John Cook represents that "he is the owner of certain Slaves named Handy, Polly, & Louisa, formerly the property of Archibald McLauchlin." He further states that the said Handy raised "a sufficient sum to purchase himself, his wife Polly & daughter Louisa with a view to their ... emancipation." Describing the family as "sober humble upright industrious & good persons & of consistent character," the petitioner therefore prays "that an act may be passed by your Honorable body emancipating said slaves Handy & his wife Polly & daughter Louisa."

PAR Number 11285601

State: North Carolina Year: 1856

Abstract: Seventy-six residents of North Carolina represent that "Robert a slave aged about Sixty five years, now the property of Nathan B Hill, has been well known to us for many years, that he has always born the name and character of being a faithful, honest, and meritorious servant; and that anything that may be done for him towards freeing and granting him the rights of a freeman will not injure the public." Hill adds that the said Robert "has a wife and family here with whom it is his desire to remain."

PAR Number 11285606

State: North Carolina Year: 1856
Location: Wayne Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-eight residents of Wayne County join the two owners of Sam and Sookey, "two aged persons of color," in requesting that the said slaves be freed. They aver that the enslaved couple "paid full prices for their freedom and by an honest, humble, sober, peaceable inoffensive and correct deportment through a long life gained the respect and confidence of those among whom they have lived." The petitioners avow that they "are now far advanced in life, Sam being above seventy years old and Sookey about sixty-eight" and that they are thus "too old to attempt to emigrate to a free country." They further note that Sam and Sookey "desire to spend the short remnant of their days in the County of their nativity, the home of their affection and the land of their birth."

PAR Number 11381505

State: South Carolina Year: 1815
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Thomson recounts that "his Mollato Man Sam absconded himself" in 1811 "after which he was taken and lodged in Newbury Gaol." Thomson, unable to retrieve said slave in a timely fashion, reports that said slave "was by the Sheriff or Jailor of said Gaol ... sold at public or otherwise made sale of." He further states that "after Deducting expences of Confinement Commissions & costs Mr R. Boyce [sheriff] paid over the Balance into the Treasury of the state." Thomson therefore "Humbly prays that he may have the said ballance paid unto him."

PAR Number 11381506

State: South Carolina Year: 1815
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Thomson recounts that "his Mollato Man Sam absconded himself" in 1811 "after which he was taken and lodged in Newbury Gaol." Thomson, unable to retrieve said slave in a timely fashion, reports that said slave "was by the Sheriff or Jailor of said Gaol ... sold at public or otherwise made sale of." He further recounts that "after Deducting expences of Confinement Commissions & costs Mr R. Boyce [sheriff] paid over the Balance into the Treasury of the state." Thomson therefore "Humbly prays that he may have the said ballance paid unto him."

PAR Number 11382015

State: South Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Laurens Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Garlington states that he purchased "a negro man Tom by trade a House Carpenter" in 1822 for $853 at the "Sale of the Estate of Charles Simmons"; Tom was "at the time between the age of forty and fifty." He further adds that said purchase was made "with a promise and understanding that whenever the said Tom should work and labor for your petitioner by way of accounting & paying" the purchase price, with interest thereon, Garlington would "manumit and Set free the said Tom." Attesting that "said Tom has now fully & amply paid & satisfied" him "in the purchase money and interest," Garlington complains that "the laws of this State at this time prevent your petitioner from putting his promises into execution." The petitioner therefore prays that he be granted "the privilege of manumitting and setting free the said Tom, though it should on imposing the condition of requiring the said Tom to give reasonable Security to be and remain of good character which he has hitherto sustained."

PAR Number 11382104

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

Abstract: Mary Warham represents that, "in consequence of the faithful services and general good conduct" of her slave Simon, she "many years since covenanted and agreed with the said Servant to manumit him upon his paying the sum of Four hundred Dollars." She further acknowledges that "Simon has paid the sum so contracted for before the passing of the Act of 1820, wherefore your Petitioner ought to manumit him." Warham therefore prays that "your Honorable Body would in consideration of the premises manumit ... the said slave Simon." The Act of 1820 "on this subject prevents her" from freeing Simon.

PAR Number 11382105

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

Abstract: John Warren reports that John, "formerly the property of Mr. Wigfall," called upon "your subscriber ... with a Sum of money the savings of his industry; and beg'd him to advance in addition thereto, a Sufficiency to purchase Said Slave, with a View to his Manumission." Warren reveals that he complied with John's request and purchased him when he "was offered for Sale in February last." The petitioner now prays "your honourable Body to enable him to fulfill the trust reposed in him, by enacting such a law as will be adapted to his Case and not prove inconsistent with the interest and Safety of the State."

PAR Number 11382108

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

Abstract: Frederick Kohne represents that he purchased the slave Will in 1816, at which time he agreed in writing "to Secure to the said Will his freedom from Slavery in consideration that he the said Will would pay to your Petitioner the sum of three hundred Dollars, and continue to Serve your Petitioner for four years & two months." Kohne declares that Will faithfully fulfilled his obligations and is in "strict compliance with the contract." The petitioner reports, however, that he "was unable to comply with the terms of contract by reason of his absence from the State" and on his return "he was prevented from performance of his agreement because of the act of your Honorable body" passed in December 1820 prohibiting the emancipation of slaves "except under the special sanction of the Legislature." Kohne therefore prays that the "said Servant Will," who exhibits "good Character & Industry," be emancipated and set free.

PAR Number 11382127

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

Abstract: James Hamilton represents that in the winter of 1820 he "was induced at the solicitation of a faithful Slave of the name of Robert belonging to the father of your petitioner to assist him in the purchase of his Son William belonging to a Wm Hall of Charleston." Hamilton states that the said Robert intended to repay the purchase price "from the profits of his Trade as a Bricklayer." He further notes that said agreement "was then in conformity with the subsisting Law to have his Son William a Boy of fourteen years of age emancipated." The petitioner reports, however, that he "is unable to fulfil his pledge" due to "the Act passed at your last session." Hamilton therefore prays that an act be passed "declaring the said William to be emancipated and forever free."

PAR Number 11382227

State: South Carolina Year: 1822
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Appointed by the Court of Common Pleas as the guardian of "a Negroe wench named Catherine who claims her freedom," J. E. Holmes asks that the slave be emancipated. Owned by Peter Catonet, a Charleston merchant, Catherine was purchased by Dr. Plumeau with the understanding that she could purchase her freedom for three hundred dollars, a sum far below her value. A contract was entered into between the owner and slave in the presence of Catonet and his wife. Catherine fulfilled her part of the bargain, but when Dr. Plumeau died his heirs denied any knowledge of the agreement. In a court case it was shown that the doctor had been "in the habit of inducing Masters of Slaves to sell them for a less price than the Value- under pretense of emancipating them - and then defrauding the Slaves themselves." It was also proved that Catherine had been "working out and carrying in Wages - for a period sufficiently long to have pd double the sum," and she had paid the interest on her purchase price. By civil law, the petitioner explained, slaves could make contracts with permission of their masters. When the case was appealed, the judge ruled that the guardian should petition the state legislature, "as by a late law they were constituted the proper Tribunal to decide upon Cases of this nature."

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 11382503

State: South Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Newberry Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Frederick Shumpert represents that, on the 27 August 1825, his "negroe man Jim (or James Wilson)" agreed "to purchase himself of y'r Petr at the sum of five hundred dollars." Shumpert reports that the said Jim "has paid and secured to be paid the said sum of money" and that he "is desirous of manumitting the said Jim," upon the terms “that the said Jim should leave the state within a reasonable time and he has stated the same to the said Jim, who has agreed thereto.” The petitioner notes, however, that "owing to the existing laws of this state, without the assent of y'r Honorable body he is unable to do so." Shumpert therefore prays "your Honorable body to pass an act enabling him to manumit enfranchise and set free the said Jim or James Wilson upon his leaving the state within a reasonable time."

PAR Number 11382504

State: South Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Newberry Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Frederick Shumpert represents that, on the 27 August 1825, his "negroe man Jim (or James Wilson)" agreed "to purchase himself of y'r Petr at the sum of five hundred dollars." Shumpert reports that the said Jim "has paid and secured to be paid the said sum of money" and that he "is desirous of manumitting the said Jim," upon the terms “that the said Jim should leave the state within a reasonable time and he has stated the same to the said Jim, who has agreed thereto.” The petitioner notes, however, that "owing to the existing laws of this state, without the assent of y'r Honorable body he is unable to do so." Shumpert therefore prays "your Honorable body to pass an act enabling him to manumit enfranchise and set free the said Jim or James Wilson upon his leaving the state within a reasonable time."

PAR Number 11382609

State: South Carolina Year: 1826
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: In 1817, "prior to the passage of the Act to prevent the emancipation of slaves," Thomas Rivers "entered into a contract for a certain sum of money" to set free a slave named Henry; the sum in said contract was "the value of the said slave" and was paid by Henry's parents, "coloured persons." Rivers, “being advanced in life,” explains that on account of the slave's youth "it was deemed most expedient that the formal part of the regulations respecting emancipation, should not be pushed until the said slave should have attained a more mature age." Noting that the 1820 Act requires that he petition the legislature "for the regular Emancipation of Slaves," the petitioner declares that he is "desirous of doing justice to the parties who have contracted with him respecting the emancipation of the Said Slave." He therefore "applies himself to the liberality of your Honorable Body hoping under the peculiar circumstances above stated the contract being perfectly legal at the time it was entered into," that "he may be permitted to emancipate the said slave named Henry."

PAR Number 11382610

State: South Carolina Year: 1826
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: In 1817, "prior to the passage of the Act to prevent the Emancipation of slaves," Thomas Rivers "entered into a contract for a certain sum of money" to set free a slave named Henry; the sum in said contract was "the value of the said slave" and was paid by Henry's parents, "persons of colour." Rivers, “being advanced in life,” explains that on account of Henry's youth "it was deemed most expedient that the formal part of the regulations respecting emancipation should not be pushed until the said slave should have attained a more mature age." Noting that the 1820 Act requires that he petition the legislature "for the regular Emancipation of Slaves," the petitioner declares that he is "desirous of doing justice to the parties who have contracted with him respecting the emancipation of the said slaves." He therefore "applies himself to the Liberality of your Honorable Body hoping under the peculiar circumstances above stated the contract being perfectly legal at the time it was entered into," that "he may be permitted to emancipate the said slave named Henry."

PAR Number 11383013

State: South Carolina Year: 1830
Location: York Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Jeremiah Dickey, a free man of color who purchased his freedom, states that during his time as a slave, he had married a mulatto woman, the slave of Robert Manning. Before their marriage, his wife "was delivered of a female child--whose father was a white man." Dickey states that he purchased Jincey from her owner and now seeks to emancipate her. He therefore prays that he be permitted to free his sixteen-year-old step-daughter "under the name Jensey Dickey."

PAR Number 11384704

State: South Carolina Year: 1847
Location: Chester Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Gill represents that his father, Col. George Gill of Chester District, stipulated in his will that "a slave named Andy in his possession at his death should be under the care of his son C. S. Gill and to have as much land as he could cultivate, and no work imposed on him"; when the said George died in 1844, the bequest was instituted. He further reports that shortly thereafter the said C. S. Gill died, and, in accordance with the will, Andy was permitted to purchase himself. The petitioner now prays "your Honorable Body, to take into consideration the case of the Said Slave, who has been a faithful Servant, & is now quite old (being 51 years of age) and permit him to remain in the State of South Carolina and be free."

PAR Number 11384705

State: South Carolina Year: 1847
Location: Chester Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Gill represents that his father, Col. George Gill of Chester District, stipulated in his will that "a slave named Andy in his possession at his death should be under the care of his son C S Gill, and to have as much land as he could cultivate, and no work imposed on him"; when the said George died in 1844, the bequest was instituted. He further reports that shortly thereafter the said C. S. Gill died, and, in accordance with the will, Andy was permitted to purchase himself. The petitioner now prays "your Honorable Body, to take into consideration the case of the Said Slave, who has been a faithful Servant, & is now quite old (being 51 years of age) and permit him to remain in the State of South Carolina and be free."

PAR Number 11480101

State: Tennessee Year: 1801
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-seven Nashville residents represent "that a negro man called Bob, who now is & has for a number of years been an inhabitant of The Town of Nashville, has by his industry and economy raised money & purchased himself but cannot injoy that freedom which through his labour & perseverance he has become intitled." They therefore "hope you will by act of your Honorable body emancipate Said negro Bob giving him all the priviledges that is usually Given to persons in a Similar Situation."

PAR Number 11482101

State: Tennessee Year: 1821
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Cockrill asks that the slaves Sam and Harry be emancipated; the slaves had belonged to Thomas Malloy of Davidson County, who died about 1800. He reports that their sister, a mulatto slave named Sophy who had been freed by Malloy in his lifetime, persuaded the executors of Malloy's estate to free Sam and Harry on condition that the slaves find a benefactor to pay the estate $900 and that they work off the debt to the benefactor. Cockrill admits that he "accordingly through charity & pity for said coloured people paid up the nine hundred dollars, and acknowledges that he has been completely reimbursed by them." He represents that Sam and Harry "have served faithfully every person they have undertaken to serve so far as he knows or has heard." The petitioner therefore "asks the Legislature to pass a law for their emancipation."

PAR Number 11482602

State: Tennessee Year: 1826
Location: Humphreys Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty residents of Humphreys County ask the legislature to grant free people of color Sampson and Nancy the right to use the surname "Black" and "a right of distribution of property." The petitioners state that the said Sampson "acumulated a sum of money sufficient to purchase his own freedom from his [original owner] and also sufficient to purchase his wife a woman of colour from her former owner who was both duly Emancipated in open court." Avowing that the couple has acquired a "sufficient stock of property for their support," the petitioners assert that Sampson and Nancy are "respectable citizens." They therefore pray "that your Honorable body should give the said Sampson the name of Sampson Black and the said Nancy the name of Nancy Black and their two children ... the names of Wilson Black and Nancy Ann Black."

PAR Number 11483107

State: Tennessee Year: 1829
Location: White Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred three residents of White County support Stephen Hill's desire to prove his own accounts. They represent that Hill "has by his own industry and labour purchased his freedom" and that he "is by trade a tanner, in which business he is now engaged." The petitioners acknowledge that "by the Acts now in force in this State, he is deprived of the privilege of proving by his own oath the accounts which he has against those who deal with him" and that "being deprived of so great a privilege subjects him to considerable loss, in his line of business." The petitioners therefore pray he be allowed "the privilege to prove by his own oath all accounts to which he may hereafter create by credit or otherwise in the same manner and under the same regulations and restrictions that free white citizens of said State are now permitted to prove accounts."

PAR Number 11483201

State: Tennessee Year: 1832
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry Ripley seeks permission to emancipate Bill, a slave belonging to his late father. Ripley reports that said slave has been in his family for many years and that his father made arrangements for Bill to purchase his freedom from the proceeds accrued from hiring out himself. The petitioners note, however, "from the late act of Assembly on the subject of Emancipation, and the restrictive system adopted by other states, your memorialists discover that his just intentions of emancipating cannot be realized, unless said slave emigrates to Africa. To this alternative, in this instance, slavery would be prefered." They therefore pray "that an act of the General Assembly may be passed by which the said man Bill may be emancipated from slavery" and that he be allowed to remain in Tennessee.

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