Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 21284804

State: North Carolina Year: 1848
Location: Robeson Location Type: County

Abstract: John O. Daniel seeks a writ of habeas corpus for his slave Robert who is accused of murdering a free man of color named Henry Pink Humphreys and is now imprisoned.

PAR Number 21485150

State: Tennessee Year: 1851
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: The executors and heirs of the late Nicholas Perkins seek to sell a slave from his estate. By his will, Perkins ordered his slaves distributed among his heirs. His daughter, Agatha Sally Marr, and her husband received twenty slaves, including a sixteen-year-old named Ann. Ann, who served as a nurse, was "impulsed by some motive" to give the Marrs' infant daughter, Mary E. B. Marr, "a dose of Laudanum which caused the death of the child and said slave has been prosecuted in this court for the crime of Murder," but she has been acquitted. Despite Ann's acquittal, the Marrs are "unwilling to receive her again in their family." The petitioners, in their capacity as estate executors, pray that they be permitted to sell Ann and be allowed to purchase another slave for their use. The petition is accompanied by testimony from Ann's trial, including the testimony of several slaves. Mr. Nichols, the Marrs' overseer, testifies that another slave named Tom may have compelled Ann to give the child an overdose. Nichols believes Tom and Ann may have been engaged in a sexual relationship. Several witnesses suggest that Ann may have poisoned the child because she did not want to accompany the Marr family on an upcoming trip to Alabama.

PAR Number 21485229

State: Tennessee Year: 1852
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: George Conley, a free man of color, seeks a divorce from his sixteen-year-old wife, Josephine, a free woman of color. Conley states that they were married in 1851 and that they lived together happily "for a short time". However, Josephine soon lost interest in the marriage and took an openly defiant step against her husband when, one day, she refused to make his dinner. When Conley "insisted to know of her what was the matter," she responded that she did not love him. She asserted "that there were men whose little fingers she cared more for than she did for complainants whole body." Josephine abandoned their home and since then "has been, almost perpetually keeping the company of other men, married and single, gallanting with them day and night, receiving and reciprocating love, in a most wanton and disgraceful manner." He charges that she has repeatedly committed adultery with a slave named Barney. Conley prays for a divorce "and that his relations to her may for all future time be as though the said marriage had never taken place." In her answer, Josephine states that she left Conley because he and his family physically and verbally abused her. She further accuses him of committing adultery "with a woman of color named Ester who belongs to one Jeremiah Gibson & who is old enough to be the mother of complainant."

PAR Number 21680501

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

Abstract: The petitioners claim they are being "holden in slavery by Lewis Allen." They cite four generations of free ancestors: their mother, "a free woman of colour, named Amey;" their grandmother, Sarah Colley; their great grandmother, Frances Evans; and their great great grandmother, Jane Gibson. Fearful that Allen "will sell them, as slaves without the limits of this commonwealth; as he hath already sold several of the family aforesaid in North Carolina," the petitioners seek "a prohibition ... against Allen and all other persons." They note that "the complainant Charles Evan is now tied and confined to be sent from Richmond, and probably out of the country by the order of Lewis Allen." They include court documents from the freedom suit of their cousin, "Thomas Gibson, alias Mingo Jackson," who "recovered his freedom" from a certain David Ross. Depositions from Richard Wills and John Meriwether provide a vivid oral history of the petitioners' ancestors; a genealogical chart traces the family back to the petitioners' great great great great grandmother, adding two more generations that are not referenced by the petitioners in their petition.

PAR Number 21686007

State: Virginia Year: 1860
Location: Petersburg Location Type: City

Abstract: Elizabeth Armistead "free woman wife of Joseph Armistead" seeks a divorce from her husband, a free man of color. The petitioner laments that the said Joseph "has frequently been insufferably abusive to her and drove her away from his house, until to protect herself from his violence and mal treatment she was compelled to fly his residence and seek refuge in the house of her mother Nancy Walden." Armistead further reveals that her husband has cohabited with another woman, living "with her in open adultery, having his washing done by her and sleeping with her contrary to his marriage vows." Noting that "the only property owned by your oratrix is one moiety of a lot and tenement ... which will become mine at the death of my Mother," the petitioner prays that she "may be entirely divorced and the marriage be dissolved" and that her said real property "will not be subject to his demands or use, or any way liable to his debts."