Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10183901

State: Alabama Year: 1839
Location: Tuscaloosa Location Type: County

Abstract: Free man of color William Lewis asks for permission to remain in Alabama. Lewis explains in his petition that after the death of her owner, his wife, a slave, was taken to Alabama. Lewis followed her there. He notes that they have been married ten years and that he is skilled in the "Carpenter's and House-joiner's business." He adds that he has "always demeaned himself humbly and respectfully toward all persons, having been taught that the only way to pass through life smoothly was to attend to his own business." Affidavits by several white residents of the county attest to William Lewis's impeccable moral character and industriousness.

PAR Number 10380706

State: Delaware Year: 1807
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-three inhabitants of New Castle County petition for the gradual abolition of slavery. They state that "we ask not of your honourable body to put an end at once to slavery, but we desire, that a method may be fallen upon which shall make it gradually disappear." The petitioners also pray that a law be enacted “that no indented black servant within this state, shall by reason of his indentures be taken or carried out of this state, to any other state or place whatsoever, until the master of the said servant shall cause his said indentures to be recorded in the Recorder’s office of the county where he resides, and shall obtain the consent of such indented black servant” so as “to establish the right of such indented black servant, after the term of his service therein expressed is expired, to the full enjoyment of complete and perfect liberty and freedom.”

PAR Number 10380901

State: Delaware Year: 1809
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Zachariah Pritchett represents that "the parents of a certain negro lad named George who had been living as free people for near twenty years, placed their son out to service with your petitioner." He further relates that Ezekiel Anderson approached his father, Major Anderson, a justice of the peace, and "complained that your petitioner had obtained the possession of this negro lad whom the said Ezekiel claimed as his property (altho' free born and never bound to him, until lately the said Ezekiel has prevailed upon him without the knowledge or consent of his parents to bind himself before a justice of the peace).” Pritchett cites that Major Anderson issued a warrant that charged him with harbouring George and alleged that George was a runaway slave; George, whilst working in the field, was seized and delivered to said Ezekiel. The petitioner asks that Major Anderson be dismissed as a Justice of the Peace, on the grounds that he had conducted himself in a "most arbitrary" and oppressive manner and that he had knowingly subverted law and justice; moreover, Pritchett contends, "he is grossly ignorant of his office and of the powers vested in him by the law."

PAR Number 10381902

State: Delaware Year: 1819
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: James Lackey seeks relief from fines assessed after he and two other men were convicted of assault and battery with intent to kidnap. The charges were brought by Preston Moore, a free man of color, and Lackey's indented servant. Lackey argues that the fines are excessive, that Moore's character is questionable, and that the governor had already remitted the "odious part of the Sentence whereby your petitioner, and the other two Defendants were subject to stand in the Pillory for the space of half an hour." Lackey reveals that he purchased Moore, “with a view to have his Labour on the Farm,” from the New Castle jail, where Moore was imprisoned "for his evil Deeds."

PAR Number 10382308

State: Delaware Year: 1823

Abstract: Twenty citizens ask "for an alteration in the Law so far as respects masters & apprintises, the present Law bean hard on the master." All too often, the petitioners contend, an apprentice would remain with his master until he reached the age of seventeen or eighteen years and then would run away. If the runaway returned or was caught, the master was responsible for any illnesses "which would disable him from work so as to become a charge to the county." The citizens ask that the law be amended to strengthen the position of masters.

PAR Number 10382609

State: Delaware Year: 1826
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Isaac Davis owns three "manumitted" slaves and holds the indenture on a free black apprentice; they work on his farm in Cecil County, Maryland. Davis also owns a farm in Kent County, Delaware, and is "extensively engaged in agricultural pursuits" in both states; he has three black indentured servants--Charles Carpenter, Mitchel Davis, and John Davis--working his land in Kent County. Davis seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves and asks permission for his slaves to plant and harvest his crops in both states. He attests that he is "no slaveholder except as he occasionally buys and manumits them by which their eventual freedom is secured, And that the sole object of this petition is to enable him to avail himself of the reasonable labour of said slaves (so called) and apprentices in his own employment."

PAR Number 10382904

State: Delaware Year: 1829
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Elias Naudain seeks permission to sell the time remaining in his apprenticeship of James Rodney, a free person of color. Naudain, a blacksmith, recounts that Rodney "was bound to him" in 1826 and that Rodney shortly thereafter "ran away from me and left my employment on or about the night of the nineteenth or twentieth of February last." He further states that "on the night of the nineteenth my blacksmith shop was burned down" and that Rodney went to Philadelphia where he remained until 23 August, "when he returned to my neighbourhood and remained concealed until the night of the first of September on which night my stable was burnt down and six head of Horses burned in it." Naudain reports that his slave James Lee, along with Rodney, was jailed for the arsons and that each accused the other of putting "fire to the building." Revealing that he has been granted "a permit to sell the said James Lee out of state," the petitioner prays that he may be also allowed to sell "the balance of the time" Rodney may have to serve him."

PAR Number 10384508

State: Delaware Year: 1845
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: William Hudson informs the General Assembly that Abraham Conway, a free man of color, bound his son, John Conway "unto your petitioner" in 1835 until the said child "should arrive to the age of Twenty-one years." Hudson complains that "the said Apprentice was discharged from the service of your petitioner by the Court on account of the said Justice having neglected and refused to have the Indentures Recorded." Noting that John's services "were becoming to be of any benefit unto your petitioner," Hudson asks that an act be passed "legalizing the Indentures of binding so as to enable him to be entitled to the services of the said John Conway for the unexpired term thereof ... as fully as if the said Indentures had been Recorded."

PAR Number 10384702

State: Delaware Year: 1847
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Nathaniel Wolfe laments that his "indented servant by the name of Elias Handy, negro," was indicted and convicted of rape and "was sentenced to be sold to highest bidder for a term of 14 years." Wolfe represents that "a certain O. Holmes of Florida" purchased said Handy for $158. Citing that he "has lost the services of said negro Boy," the petitioner prays that a law be passed "directing the state Treasurer to pay to him the balance of the said one hundred and fifty eight Dollars, after deducting all costs and expenses."

PAR Number 10384903

State: Delaware Year: 1849

Abstract: Twenty-nine residents of the Camden area seek a special legislative act to punish the "notorious Samuel D. Burris, well known to a large portion of the community whose conduct is highly reprehensible ... being a notorious character, who is going about the county they believe persuading and enticing slaves Servants and apprentices to run away and leave their Homes, to the great disadvantage of the Community." They point out that Burris "was accused, apprehended, tried and found Guilty agreeable to Law, after which he was Sold as Servant, and bot by some men who suffered him to go about amongst as and continue the same unjustifiable employment." The petitioners "request Your Honors to pass some Law to reach his Case and effectully stop such conduct."

PAR Number 10385301

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-seven "free colored citizens of Kent County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385303

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-nine citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385304

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred twenty-one "free colored citizens of New Castle County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385305

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-two citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385306

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-one citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385307

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-three citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385308

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two hundred and ninety-seven citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 10385309

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-six "free colored citizens of Kent County" petition the government to repeal two acts passed 5 March 1851 entitled "An act in relation to free negroes and slaves" and "An act to amend the Act entitled 'An act concerning apprentices and servants.’" Finding said laws to be "grievously oppressive," the petitioners point out that they "endeavor to perform the duties of good, orderly citizens, and it bears hard on us not to be allowed the privilege of seeking to do better elsewhere without losing our residence and being subject to arrest, fine, imprisonment and sale, provided we return temporarily to visit our families and friends." They, like their "white brethren," profess the "peace of the christian religion, and not to be permitted to assemble together, as we have been accustomed, to ask counsel of God for the salvation of our souls hereafter, and for making us more upright in this life, works against both our spiritual and temporal interest." They therefore "hope and pray" that the legislature will "deem it meet, to repeal the aforesaid acts."

PAR Number 10385310

State: Delaware Year: 1853
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-six citizens of New Castle County believe that an "Act of Assembly passed at Dover, March 5, 1851, entitled 'An act in relation to Free Negroes and Slaves,' in our opinion, works great injury to the white inhabitants of the State, as well as injustice to an unfortunate and degraded class of our population, and ought to be repealed." They argue that said law is driving free people of color out of Delaware and into New Jersey and Pennsylvania, "where their just rights are better protected"; the effect of this exodus results "in a scarcity of laborers and increase of wages." In addition, the petitioners point out that steamboat and vessel owners have suffered a loss in their revenue, as free people of color "now go to our sister States" to attend "their religious meetings;" The citizens ask that an act amending "An act concerning apprentices and servants" also be repealed as they believe said law is "unnecessarily oppressive and uncalled for." They therefore "ask the repeal of the above mentioned laws because they are operating adverse to the interests of the State."

PAR Number 11083006

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

Abstract: As executor of Patrick Foley's estate, Francis Evans asks for the emancipation of "a certain negro Slave named Burwell." In his will Foley had stipulated that, five years after his death, the slave should be freed. Evans is complying with this stipulation.

PAR Number 11085921

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

Abstract: The grandson of a white woman, free man of color Johan Perrot seeks a special act allowing him to become the slave of Reverend Charles Hailey. In 1844, he journeyed with Hailey, who whom he was apprenticed, from Anson County, North Carolina, where he was born, and settled with him in Kemper County, Mississippi. Perrot is now about twenty-three years old and views Hailey as "a Kind Master and friend." For the past two years Perrot has been an invalid. He would "vastly prefer going into Slavery, than to be compelled to leave."

PAR Number 11085928

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

Abstract: Kemper County citizens most respectfully pray that the petition of free man of color named Johan Perrot be granted as consistent with "good policy." Perrot explains in his petition that he is the grandson of a white woman, that he was born in North Carolina and apprenticed there, while still a small boy, to the Reverend Charles Hailey. He came to Mississippi in 1844 and has since resided in the state. As he is an invalid, he is unable to leave the state and would like to become the property of Reverend Hailey, who has been a kind master to him.

PAR Number 11283803

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

Abstract: Christopher Vickrey represents that in 1824 "a free coloured boy was by the Said Court, bound to your memorialist." He further states that he was "under the belief" that said twelve-year-old "was taxable" whereby he "returned him on his list of taxables"; Vickrey annually listed and paid "a poll tax for the Said boy up to the year 1837." Having learned that he "was not required by the Laws of this State to list and pay poll tax for the Said boy during his term of Service or aprenticeship," the petitioner prays that he be reimbursed "the Sum of eight dollars which he had thus improperly paid as poll tax." The committee to which Vickrey's petition was referred denied said petition and noted that "if he paid the tax as set forth in his declaration only twenty cents each year amounting to one Dollar & Eighty cents was received in the Treasury of the State."

PAR Number 11286103

State: North Carolina Year: 1861
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-three-year-old Kissiah Trueblood, a free woman of color borne of free parents, represents that "after mature deliberation, upon her part, uninfluenced by any person, it being of her own free will and accord, she desires to become the slave of the said Dr Ritter," for whom she has worked the past two years "in the capacity of servant, receiving wages for services rendered." Trueblood confesses that "in her present condition she is destitute and without protection, and in the condition of a slave, she would be cared for and have the protection of her Master and to that end she prays your Honorable body to enact such law as to enable said Dr Ritter to hold for all time to come both your petitioner and children should she have any."

PAR Number 11381905

State: South Carolina Year: 1819
Location: Richland Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Seventy-one white working men in Columbia seek legislation that prohibits slave owners from allowing skilled slaves to hire their own time. They suggest several "inconveniences & injuries arising from the aforesaid practice": that when slaves hire their time from their owners "to contract to do a job for any person, there is no remedy for his failing to do it"; a skilled slave, due to his "greater cheapness in his living ... is able to work cheaper & still make his wages than it is possible for white Journeymen to do & maintain their families"; and the wages of skilled slaves "in most cases" are "spent in the indulgence of vicious habits." The petitioners also request that "your Honourable Body see the necessity of prohibiting by Law such negro mechanics from taking apprentices to learn their respective Trades."

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