Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Search Results

Your subject search returned 187 total results.

Displaying 25 results per page.

PAR Number 20184716

State: Alabama Year: 1847
Location: Tallapoosa Location Type: County

Abstract: On 25 October 1844, Hardy Jones conveyed to his nephew, General Jackson Bryant, "a parcel of Negroes" for five hundred dollars. The conveyance was made "in consideration of services which the complainant had rendered" to his uncle by "ministering to his comforts and necessities in his sickness and in taking care of him when he seemed to be cast off by his own children." The slaves included thirty-year-old California, twenty-four-year-old July and her children, eighteen- or twenty-year-old Mary, a yellow complexioned woman, Harry, about twenty-eight, Griff, about twenty-three and yellow colored, and Anthony, twenty-five. Since Jones needed the slaves to "gather his crop and comply with the contract which he had made with his overseer," Bryant agreed to hire them back to him at twenty-five dollars per month. Shortly thereafter, Jones died and his heirs took possession of the slaves, including Mary, who was taken by Riley G. Ingraham, Jones's son-in-law. Bryant fears that Mary will be taken out of the state. He asks that Ingraham be subpoenaed, and that the sheriff seize Mary while the case is pending.

PAR Number 20184833

State: Alabama Year: 1848
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: On Christmas Day 1848, Albert G. Wray of Montgomery County, Alabama, sued his wife for divorce. Albert Wary had married Susan Mary Cox in 1833, in Georgia, and in 1842 they moved to Alabama. He continued to live with his wife until 15 October 1848, when he discovered that she was having a "carnal connection" with C. G. M. Prime, a portrait painter and physician. Albert asks the court to dissolve the marriage and issue a divorce decree. In her answer, Susan explains that she now lives in Oglethorp County, Georgia, with her mother. She had married Albert when she was "not exceeding sixteen years of age." She claims that, within six months of the marriage, his conduct became "cold, indifferent, distant, harsh and cruel ... better the relation of master and servant than husband & wife." He repeatedly "used violence ... shoving her down violently, boxing her jaws and face and committing other personal injuries on her body." A year after their marriage, she asserts, her husband began "a promiscuous illicit intercourse with his own negroe wenches and continued ... so long as complainant and defendant resided together, say for the space of fourteen years." Albert had in fact a special relationship with a female slave named Mary, a seamstress, who, Susan claims, bore him four "mulatto" children. In the summer and fall of 1843, Susan suffered mental breakdowns, and since then has "enjoyed but few lucid intervals." Her mental problems are a direct result of the cruel and inhuman treatment by her husband, she asserts. Now "ruined in mind, broken in Spirits," she is accused of adultery with C. G. M. Prime, "a drunken worthless vagabond" hired by her husband to "take advantage of defendant's mental imbecility." In her answer and counter-petitions, Susan reveals that her husband was the owner of eighty-five slaves, some of whom he had received upon his marriage to her. The related decree reveals that Susan was in fact in a mental institution by the time the court issued its decree in 1850.

PAR Number 20185004

State: Alabama Year: 1850
Location: Perry Location Type: County

Abstract: Rachael T. and Sherod Sanders were married in Franklin County, North Carolina, in late 1814 or early 1815. Now, thirty-five years later, she found her husband "guilty of the grossest and most disgraceful adultery" with a twenty-five-year-old woman, Carolina Manuel, who had two children by Sherod and one by a previous marriage. Rachael charges that not only did Sherod treat her with "personal violence," but on one occasion he threw her out of a door and on another threatened to shoot their thirty-three-year-old son William if he attempted to interfere. "I'll be damned, if I don't stand up to her," he told a neighbor, "if it cost me every negro, horse, hog or piece of property I have in the world." At the time of their marriage, Rachael explains, her father gave her in a separate trust "a small negro girl named Barbary" who subsequently had thirteen children. In addition, when her father died about 1829, he bequeathed her two young slaves, David and Henry, now adults in their early thirties. At the time of their marriage, Sherod possessed only fifty acres of land. Over the years, the couple has more slaves, as well as horses, mules, cows, sheep, hogs, and a two thousand-acre plantation. Rachael asks for a divorce and a "decree in reference to their property."

PAR Number 20185203

State: Alabama Year: 1852
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1838, George Hays, owner of several plantations and about 180 slaves, died leaving a wife and three small children. In his will he appointed William P. Gould and four other men as executors. In 1839, the other four men having declined the executorship, Gould qualified as such and took possession of the property as administrator of the estate. In 1844, Gould's administratorship was revoked but he continued to work the estate until January 1845. In 1852, when Gould tries to render a final account of his administratorship, the children and heirs, Charles, Mary, and George Ann, by their next friend Robert Leachman, sue. They charge Gould with waste and mismanagement, and specify a number of misdeeds committed by Gould during the years of his administratorship. They point out in particular that he hired an overseer who had a "cruel, brutish and inhuman disposition." The petitioners recount several examples of the overseer's abuse. He abused "a negro man by the name of George, by cruelly whipping him and putting out his right eye;" he abused "another negro man by the name of Claiborne by getting him down and jumping upon his back with the heels of his shoes;" and he beat a third slave so brutally that he later died. Moreover, Gould failed to provide slaves with "blankets or other bed clothing," pushed women to labor long hours in bad weather, and forced slaves to live in "miserable Hovels not fit for horse stables." Most of the "breeding women on said Plantations were rendered almost entirely barren, and worthless as such" and "are subject to continual miscarriages," the petitioners lament, while a large number of children have died. The heirs estimate that the maltreatment and malnourishment of the female slaves have cost them the loss of some forty children through either barrenness of the females or abortions. They also estimate that they lost another fifteen children due to neglect in their tender years. The Hays children, two of them still minors, seek an injunction to prevent Gould from settling the estate and to get compensation for the financial cost of his mismanagement.

PAR Number 20185212

State: Alabama Year: 1852
Location: Dallas Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1841, Jane M. Potter, daughter of a prosperous Wilcox County plantation owner, married William Bizzell, an overseer with little means. Jane's father gave the couple a "valuable negro Boy aged about Seven years," a horse, saddle, bedding and other items "Necessary for young persons beginning in life with but little property." During the next decade, Bizzell, described as a man of "great energy & unwearied industry," acquired a number land and a number of slaves. Among the slaves was "a negro woman of light complexion named Mary with whom he was keeping up a criminal connection." He became so infatuated with her and so "open in his intercourse" that in 1844 he vowed he would "never part with this woman." Bizzell and Mary had two mulatto children. Bizzell also had four children by his wife, four of whom had died by the time she filed her petition. In 1845, Jane left and filed for divorce. Fearful of losing some of his property, Bizzell sought to appease his wife by sending the slave Mary to Ohio and promising to reform. But after she dropped her suit and returned home in 1848, he grew increasingly violent and carried on an illicit relationship with another of his slaves named Polly. In order to avoid suspicion, Jane Claims, her husband selected Polly specifically because she had a husband. Jane again left him, and again filed for divorce and alimony. Bizzell, who had sold most of his property, except for eight slaves, fled from the state. He died before a decree was rendered in the case.

PAR Number 20185813

State: Alabama Year: 1858
Location: Mobile Location Type: County

Abstract: John H. Woodcock, physician, sues Peacham Alford and his wife E. H. Alford for payment of services and medicines rendered to them and to their slaves. Woodcock informs the court that Peacham is insolvent, but E. H. has her own separate estate which includes slaves and personal property. He asks the court to allow him to attach the debt to a mulatto woman named Noah or Naomie and a carriage valued at about $700. Woodcock prays that the court will allow him to seize this property to satisfy his debt.

PAR Number 20186434

State: Alabama Year: 1864
Location: Limestone Location Type: County

Abstract: William H. Walker, administrator of the estate of Tennessee resident William Brown, states that there is not enough personal property to satisfy the debts of the estate, and he asks the court's permission to sell real estate belonging to the estate. Brown died in 1862 possessed of one hundred forty-seven slaves, of which "65 or 70 [were] children not old enough to work -- There were 45 or 50 field hands," and considerable property, primarily agricultural products. However, most of the property was destroyed, run off, or consumed by either the Confederate forces which occupied the deceased's land and conscripted some of his slaves to be teamsters, or the Federal forces, accompanied by "contraband negroes," former slaves who followed the Union army, which occupied the lands for a period of time.

PAR Number 20282801

State: Arkansas Year: 1828
Location: Crawford Location Type: County

Abstract: Israel Dodge writes that in 1826 he purchased a slave girl named Darius for $400 from Mitchell Malone, acting overseer of Alexander Mitchell. He paid $109.50 up front and executed a note to Malone for the outstanding balance. Dodge claims that, since the purchase, he has discovered that the slave is diseased and unable to work. He "expressly charges that both Mitchell & Malone both well knew of the aforesaid defects in mind & body of said Negro at the time of the sale ... & at the time said false & fraudulent representations." Dodge therefore asks the court to declare the sale void and return his money.

PAR Number 20284905

State: Arkansas Year: 1849
Location: Sevier Location Type: County

Abstract: Five of the seven children of the late William Cook of Bedford County, Virginia, sue one of their siblings for the possession of two slave children, Jim and Bett, who had belonged to their father during his lifetime. They contend that their sister Mildred Hopkins and her husband, Francis, illegally retain the slaves from their father's estate. All debts have been paid, they assert, and the property, including "divers" slaves, has been divided up and disposed of, except for twelve-year-old Jim, "a mulatto boy," and ten-year-old Bett, a "black" girl, both the children of a woman named Eliza. At issue is whether the two slaves had been delivered to Mildred and Francis Hopkins as a gift from William Cook or whether they had only been placed under their control on William's Arkansas plantation where Hopkins was the overseer. The petitioners ask that the court "take said slaves into possession, and hold them under the order and direction of the Court." In a related document, corroborated by other deponents, Mildred and Francis Hopkins assert that the two children were a gift from Cook. In fact, they explain, Edwin Cook, representing his siblings, had come to Arkansas sometime in 1848 to settle the estate and had agreed to let them claim title to Jim and Bett provided they return another slave named Nice to the estate for division among the heirs.

PAR Number 20285604

State: Arkansas Year: 1856
Location: Phillips Location Type: County

Abstract: Sarah W. Grant, administratrix of the late Henry Grant's estate, asks that the slaves be kept together rather than hired out separately, because some of them are still quite young. Toward this end, she asks the court that she have full control over the slaves, rather than hiring them out per the commissioners' suggestion.

PAR Number 20381402

State: Delaware Year: 1814
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel Brown charges that Francis Hall, "his pretended master," detains him as a slave. Apprehending that "he is entitled to his freedom," Brown asks that Hall be summoned "to answer the complaint of your petitioner."

PAR Number 20482302

State: District of Columbia Year: 1823
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: James Tench and others ask for a retrial of the case in which their former slaves, Hezekiah, Dolly, Mary, Arey and Mary Humphreys, received their freedom. The Humphreys testified that since "they were the descendents in the direct female line of a free white woman," they deserved their freedom. The petitioners state that at the time they "were not properly prepared to rebut or disprove" the Humphreys' claims, but now they have new witnesses. They also refer to a 1795 case in which a Harry Humphreys sued for, and was denied, his freedom based upon his descent from a former slave named Arey, who is the "mother and person from whom the said petitioners lineally descended." The petitioners claim that "they are the true and lawful owners" of the defendants, who "hitherto have been wandering up and down through various parts of the Land as of their own will under no restraint from Your Orators and Oratrixes." They ask that the Humphreys family answer their allegations, that the court serve them with subpoenas, and that the case be retried.

PAR Number 20583601

State: Florida Year: 1836
Location: Leon Location Type: County

Abstract: Stephen W. Snell asks the court to issue an injunction preventing John Shuler, his overseer, from transferring or redeeming promissory notes given to Shuler by the petitioner. Snell hired his brother-in-law as overseer on his plantation and executed notes in the amount of five hundred dollars to cover the cost of hiring Shuler’s four slaves for the year 1835. Snell informs the court, however, that Shuler “left your Orators employment and within two days afterwards also took away his said negroes from your orators service and hath ever since and still continues to neglect & refuse to return to said employment and detains said negroes and horses from your orators service.” The petitioner therefore prays that the notes be cancelled “on account of the failure of the consideration thereof and the violation of his contract and agreement” and that an injunction issue to restrain Shuler from transferring said notes.

PAR Number 20586004

State: Florida Year: 1860
Location: Marion Location Type: County

Abstract: William B. Watkins petitions that his business partner Robert H. Tate be restrained from selling or removing from the county any assets or property belonging to the partnership. Watkins also asks that Tate be subpoenaed to answer charges of failure to abide by the indenture of the partnership. He maintains that Tate did not "feed his hands and horses as provided and stipulated in said indenture." He further charges that Tate "failed utterly" in his job as overseer and the crop that he was responsible for failed.

PAR Number 20680005

State: Georgia Year: 1800
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: John Powers presents that, by a special agreement in writing dated February of the current year 1800, Robert Greensmith faithfully promised to "overlook" his slaves to the best advantage of his plantation. Powers alleges that Greensmith neglected his business and "undertaking," thus causing him damages "to the amount of three hundred dollars." Powers asks for relief.

PAR Number 20680402

State: Georgia Year: 1804
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Hasting Jones contends that he has "sustained damage" of $200 from Joseph Catchings. Jones's brother Thomas and Catchings entered into a contract calling for Thomas to be Catchings's overseer to manage his crop and four slaves. Thomas Jones was unable to fulfill the contract and Hasting took his brother's place. He charges however that Catchings violated the contract by closing up "the house which was appropriated for your petitioner without any cause." Jones contends that Catchings intended to cheat him, and he asks that Catchings be compelled to maintain his end of the original agreement.

PAR Number 20681015

State: Georgia Year: 1810
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: William Haschell, an innkeeper, was previously an overseer on the plantation of Archibald Beal located in "montgomery." Haschell explains that, while working on the plantation, he "had thereon all his provisions to wit his corn fodder pease potatoes & many other articles which are absolutely nessasary." In January 1810, Edward Bynam "did unlawfully take possession of the aforesaid articles & prevent your petitioner from free use & Exercise of his own personal Good & chattles." He cites Bynam for $1,000 in damages.

PAR Number 20681102

State: Georgia Year: 1811
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Charles Goolsby was the overseer of Thomas L. Jones's plantation hands. In exchange for this service, Goolsby claims that he was to receive "one fourth part of all the corn, wheat, oats, Cotton & Brandy that your petitioner with the hands so to be put under him ... Should make." However, in August, Jones "without any Just Cause or provocation" removed Goolsby from his employment; Jones refused "to pay your petitioner the reasonable value" for his work, which Goolsby estimates at $200. Goolsby sues for $400 in damages.

PAR Number 20681109

State: Georgia Year: 1811
Location: Wilkes Location Type: County

Abstract: Daniel Best contends that Thompson [Thomson] Coleman is indebted to him for $190, without interest. The two agreed that Best would work for Coleman as overseer for one year, and "work with his the said Thomsons' hands," in exchange for $150, plus $40 worth of corn, pork and wheat. Best fulfilled all his duties as overseer. Coleman, however, has not honored his part of the agreement, and Best sues for $300 in damages.

PAR Number 20681803

State: Georgia Year: 1818
Location: Elbert Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis W. Saxon claims that he was hired for the year 1817 in the capacity of overseer for Christopher Clark. Clark promised one eighth of all the crops made by Saxon and the plantation hands. Before the cotton crop was picked, however, Clark asked Saxon to leave his "employ," still promising to pay him one-eighth of the crop. Clark now refuses to honor his part of the arrangement. Saxon sues Clark for $200 in damages.

PAR Number 20681912

State: Georgia Year: 1819
Location: Oglethorpe Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1818, Joshua Bunch and Robert Myrick entered into an agreement whereby Myrick would provide six hands and four horses and Bunch would provide one hand and oversee "the plantation business." Bunch would be entitled to one-fifth of the crops of seed cotton, oats, corn and fodder produced on the plantation. He estimates that he is entitled to $670, but Myrick has refused to pay him. Bunch now sues for $1500 damages. In two related answers, Myrick represents that a subsequent verbal agreement changed the terms of the contract. He agreed to provide Bunch with two additional hands for labor and Bunch's claim to his share of the crop would be reduced to one sixth.

PAR Number 20681919

State: Georgia Year: 1819
Location: Scriven Location Type: County

Abstract: William Gibbons charges that "he hath sustained damage by Thomas Roberts "to the amount of two thousand dollars." Gibbons alleges that Roberts broke into his plantation "with force and arms" and "drove off the negro slaves belonging to your petitioner & who had placed on the said tract of land for the purpose of clearing, and cultivating the same," preventing the slaves from pursuing the business and employment of your petitioner. Roberts also had Gibbons's overseer arrested and "caused him to be kept and detained in custody for a long time to wit, for the space of two hours." Roberts "then and there kept possession of said tract of land & still keeps possession thereof." Gibbons sues for $2,000 damages.

PAR Number 20682003

State: Georgia Year: 1820
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: William H. Clay presents that, in October 1819, he agreed to pay Bricey M. Owen $75 for superintending his plantation and slaves until the end of the year. Clay alleges that Bricey's deportment and behavior was such that it "became necessary for the preservation" of the slaves and "the proper exercise of humanity" to let him go. Although Owen agreed to go, he remained on the plantation assaulting, "beating and whipping the Slaves." Clay sues for $1,000 in damages.

PAR Number 20682103

State: Georgia Year: 1821
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: Thornton Holeman alleges that George W. Evans owes him $980. Holeman claims that he was hired to manage Evans's plantation and receive $380, various provisions for his family and for his horse, the use of a young male slave in the house, and, occasionally, the use of a female slave. He contends that he performed his duties as overseer as understood and agreed upon. For this, he was to receive additional compensation as might be deemed reasonable. Holeman estimates this amount at $600. However, Evans has not honored these financial obligations. Holeman asks the court to award him $980 for his work.

PAR Number 20682215

State: Georgia Year: 1822
Location: Scriven Location Type: County

Abstract: Joshua Hudson alleges that James Hudson, as estate administrator for the late James Hudson, owes him $1,200 for work done as an overseer. The work had been contracted with Joshua by the late James Hudson, who never settled the account during his lifetime. Nor was Joshua paid for his work, after James's death, by the first administrator of the estate, Robert M. Hudson. He still remains unpaid for his work. He sues for $2,000 in damages.

Next 25 Results