Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10185702

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

Abstract: A slave sentenced to be hanged 17 April 1855 escaped from the Clark County jail. While chasing the black man and three white men who broke jail about the same time, the sheriff "sustained a considerable loss in the way of fees and actual expenses." He was able to capture the black man and two of the white men. He seeks compensation for his expenses.

PAR Number 10583301

State: Florida Year: 1833

Abstract: In 1832, Stephen, a slave belonging to the estate of Duncan McRae of Tomoka, East Florida, killed three oxen, two cows, and three calves while wounding seven oxen and two cows. The owner of the livestock, Douglas Dummett, asks that the captured and convicted Stephen be released from jail and released from a $300 fine imposed by a jury when a representative of the McRae estate pays him for damages.

PAR Number 10586102

State: Florida Year: 1861
Location: Escambia Location Type: County

Abstract: The slave Sarah was accused of arson and bound over "to be tried by a Jury and two Justices of the Peace in accordance with the ordinance of the State Convention passed in reference to the trial and punishment of Slaves for Capital Offenses." After three continuances, Sarah was found not guilty. For each "call of the case" justice of the peace R. J. Tennant journeyed twenty-five miles to serve with the jury. The petitioner, the second justice of the peace hearing the case, asks the legislature to pay Tennant $5 per day for his four days of work.

PAR Number 10586301

State: Florida Year: 1863
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: Owned by Rufus Dickinson, "a good and Loyal citizen of the Confederate States," the slave Ferd was charged in 1863 with rape. Ferd was tried, convicted, and executed, and Dickinson asks for compensation.

PAR Number 11000007

State: Mississippi
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Natchez resident Richard Terrell asks for a change of venue for the trial of his slave Henry, accused by another slave of burglary. Convicted once but granted a new trial, Henry "cannot have anything like a fair trial" in Adams County. The slave who accused Henry was a "man of bad fame."

PAR Number 11083004

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

Abstract: Elizabeth Fort seeks remuneration from the state after her slave Henry was executed for stabbing a white man with intent to kill. She is fifty-two years old and owns only two other slaves, a man and a woman, "capable of serving her, & providing a support for her declining years."

PAR Number 11083102

State: Mississippi Year: 1831
Location: Covington Location Type: County

Abstract: Jacob Duckworth seeks compensation for expenses incurred pursuing, apprehending, and prosecuting a "negro man" named Henry, who murdered his slave Peter. Duckworth informs the court that he journeyed into Alabama, through the Choctaw Nation, and as far as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before catching up with the fugitive. His expenses, "labor and travelling," amounted to $229.25. The court decree reveals that Henry was a slave, but no information is provided regarding his owner.

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 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 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 11278803

State: North Carolina Year: 1788
Location: Brunswick Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Lucas represents that his slave named Peter, "not liking the man your Petitioner placed him to work with, ran away." He further states that Peter was later apprehended for "having robbed an Hen house" and was "precipitately tried & executed, more your Petitioner believes from a supposed necessity of striking terror into a Gang of Runaways who infested the said Town & neighbourhood than from any particular act of villainy in the said Slave." Lucas "hopes that considering his misfortunes & low Estate ... will induce your Honors to indemnify him for the Execution of the said Negro which otherwise will increase his losses & at his private Expence have been made a Sacrifice to publick Policy."

PAR Number 11278904

State: North Carolina Year: 1788
Location: Brunswick Location Type: County

Abstract: "Old and well advanced in years," Sarah Dupre asks to be compensated for the loss of her slave, who had been "tried, Condemned, and Executed agreeable to Law" in March 1778 and "Was appraised by the Court who sat on his tryal to the sum of Eighty pounds." Dupre laments that she is "infirm in her Constitution, and thro' misfortunes is left with but barely sufficient to keep her above want." She therefore "earnestly intreats" the legislature "to direct that the said sum of Eighty Pounds aforesaid to [which] she conceives herself intitled be paid."

PAR Number 11279107

State: North Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Duplin Location Type: County

Abstract: John Housman laments the loss of his slave Sampson, who was hanged for various felonies, including robbery and assault. Housman claims that he was entirely ignorant of his slave's behavior and did not know that Sampson had bludgeoned a white man with a hatchet head. Housman, now "far advanced in life" and the head of a large family, asks for relief.

PAR Number 11279304

State: North Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Nash Location Type: County

Abstract: Sheriff Archibald Griffin avows that he did "Execute an Hang'd a certain Negro woman Named Beck the property of Sarah Taylors" and that "the fees have been hitherto Five pounds for Each Execution in Criminal cases." Griffin states that he "is without Redress unless thro this Honorable Assemblys Equitable & Just interposition." Beck was tried and convicted of poisoning Harry Taylor Sr., Harry Taylor Jr., and Samuel Taylor.

PAR Number 11279604

State: North Carolina Year: 1796
Location: Chatham Location Type: County

Abstract: James Massey states that he "had the misfortune ... to have an only Negroe fellow by the name of Hardy, through the persuation of a company of thieves to commit a robery & breaking open a bar room." Massey recounts that Hardy "was tried and found guilty of the offence aforesaid ... and sentenced by three Justices of the peace to be hanged." The petitioner further reports that "a number of respectable inhabitants, as well as a number of the Jurors who tried said negroe slave, petitioned His Excellency the Governor to extend his Mercy towards the said Slave." Massey laments that the Governor did send a reprieve said sentence, "but unfortunately for your petitioner the messenger sent for that purpose had the misfortune of loosing his Horse whereby the reprieve came too late." Massey therefore prays that he granted "such relief as the justice of the case may require."

PAR Number 11280406

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

Abstract: Widow Charlotte Foorte seeks compensation for her "negro man named Sam, implicated in a charge of the late conspiracy of the negroes." Foorte reports that Sam "was convicted on the testimony of less weight than that" given against others "who escaped the rigor of the Law." Adhering to the "prevailing maxim that in many instances it is right to make an individual sacrifice, for the great & general good of the community at large," she nonetheless "feels the loss of property" along with the "great expense of 20, or 30 Arm'd men, order'd out by the authority of the Maj. General" to capture said Sam. The petitioner therefore prays "for such relief in the premises" as in "wisdom & good conscience may be right."

PAR Number 11280512

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

Abstract: Kinchen Massengale seeks compensation for his slave Plato, one of the ten or so slaves convicted and executed for their role in the Bertie County "rising or conspiracy of the negroes" in 1802; four or five slaves involved in the incident were convicted and "sent away" and not executed. Massengale submits that Plato was "of considerable value to him, being the only slave he possessed." Noting that the owners of said slaves not executed "have received compensation equal to their value," the petitioner "hopes your Honourable Body will take his hard case under your serious consideration (he being in indigent circumstances) and grant him such relief as you in your wisdom may think proper."

PAR Number 11282005

State: North Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Rockingham Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighteen-year-old Alexander Roach reports that his sixteen-year-old female slave "was apprehended upon a charge of murder" and that she was committed to the Rockingham jail; she was later "tried and convicted of said murder, but it being suggested that she might be pregnant her executed was respited until the last day of June at which time she was executed for sd. murder." Roach discloses that he is an orphan and "that the only property which he possess'd was said negro girl and a negro boy about eleven years old." He further states that the jail fees and "costs attending the trial and execution" equal more than $100. He considers "the case an extremely hard one upon him" in that he was deprived of his "likely" negro girl and now faces being "cast into [the] world poor and indebted." He therefore, "thro the medium of this petition," thought it proper "to petition your Honourable body for such relief as you may think proper."

PAR Number 11282304

State: North Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Tyrrell Location Type: County

Abstract: Joseph and Anne Wynn state that their daughter Mary "was murdered by a number of negro slaves” on the day after Christmas in 1822. They further reveal that among said slaves were "Charles and Vina the property of your memorialist Joseph and Jack the property of your memorialist Anne." The petitioners report that said slaves were tried, convicted, and executed for said crime and that they "have cheerfully borne the loss of property incurred by the execution of said slaves to satisfy the demands of public Justice." The Wynns express, however, that paying the expenses incurred from jailing said slaves for nine months and the costs resulting from their prosecution, conviction and execution "will greatly distress them, and as in truth they are not able to pay them without making great sacrifice of the little property that now possess." They therefore humbly pray that they be provided $350 "for the payment of the costs aforesaid."

PAR Number 11282305

State: North Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Lenoir Location Type: County

Abstract: Philip Miller reports that his slave Toney was convicted of murder and executed after "a long imprisonment." Miller, a man of "moderate circumstances," represents that he "has been compelled to pay all the costs incidental to the prosecution of said slave." Feeling "himself little able to bear all these expences -- and as he did every thing in his power to advance the claims of Justice," the petitioner "conceives that it would be an act of Justice & humanity in the Legislature to refund him the amount which he has paid as costs in the above prosecution." The Legislature rejected his prayer, in part because "it would be improper to make him the allowance asked for out of the public monies; by which means, persons, who either from religious scruples, inability or other causes, do not own Slaves would be compelled to pay their proportion, and therefore could never be similarly situated."

PAR Number 11283807

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

Abstract: Twenty-two citizens of Rockingham County seek compensation for Abner Webster, the owner of three slaves who were "convicted of the murder of Wm G. Comer which said Negroes were executed." They argue that "when the publick good requires the property of any Individual it is justice that the publick Should pay to such individuals a fair price for the property so used by the publick." They therefore pray that a law be passed "that the owner of slaves shall receive pay for such slaves as may be executed." The petitioners point out that it was Webster himself who "used every exertion after the murder had been commited to arest and bring his said negroes to justice and that without his aid so nobly manifested it would have bin difficult to have arested them the said negroes and as such we your petitioners respectfully request your body to remunerate him."

PAR Number 11378503

State: South Carolina Year: 1785
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Joseph Warnock seeks compensation for two slaves who were tried, convicted and executed for having poisoned his family. Warnock relates that, "after the Establishment of Peace," he "had hope to have rested from the toil of war, by returning from camp to his family & to have shared in domestic happiness with a wife & Six Children." He laments, however, "that in the midst of these pleasing prospects your petitioner & his whole family were most wantonly & Cruelly poisoned" by two of his slaves, whereby two of his children died. Warnock, "highly distressed," prays "Such relief as in your wisdom your honorable house shall think meet."

PAR Number 11378505

State: South Carolina Year: 1785
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Joseph Warnock seeks compensation for two slaves who were tried, convicted and executed for having poisoned his family. Warnock relates that, "after the Establishment of Peace," he "had hope to have rested from the toil of war, by returning from camp to his family & to have shared in domestic happiness with a wife & Six Children." He laments, however, "that in the midst of these pleasing prospects your petitioner & his whole family were most wantonly & Cruelly poisoned" by two of his slaves, whereby two of his children died. Warnock, "highly distressed," prays "Such relief as in your wisdom your honorable house shall think meet."

PAR Number 11379205

State: South Carolina Year: 1792

Abstract: Josiah Culbertson seeks compensation for a slave convicted and executed for murder "some time in March Last." He prays "your Houners to take the matter into your Consideration and allow me Pay for sd Negro as I am not of surcumstance sufficient to Loose him altogether."

PAR Number 11379403

State: South Carolina Year: 1794
Location: Marlborough Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thomas Bingham represents that in 1776 "a negro man slave named Toney the property of your petitioner was tried and executed agreeable to Law for Commiting a rape on the body of a white woman." Bingham further asserts that "a certificate of his appraisment and Execution were placed in the hands of Gen Tristram Thomas to return to the Auditors office but he unfortunately lost the Same." The petitioner therefore prays that his case be considered and that he be granted "such relief as in your Wisdom shall seem meet."

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