Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 21385338

State: South Carolina Year: 1853
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: The heirs of the late James McLaren seek a settlement of his estate. They represent that the said McLaren and James Robb jointly purchased a "mill, machinery and stock and carried on the manufacture of Rice with great success." The petitioners assert that a "valuable portion of the capital consisted of slaves," all of whom were specially trained. In 1851, McLaren executed a last will and testament in which he "directed debts to be paid" through the sale of his personal property; McLaren died the next year, "leaving his widow Sarah Matilda McLaren and your Orators and Oratrixes him surviving." They now charge that Thomas Grange Simons Jr., as executor, "has determined upon a public sale ... of the whole property." The petitioners maintain that Simons has "no right to sell for partition, nor to join in a sale of the whole property." They further purport that it is in their interest "that the mill should be employed by the said Executors" and that the business will not "threaten the solvency of the Estate." The petitioners therefore pray that an account of the estate be taken and that sale of the estate's property be enjoined. They also ask that Simons be replaced by James McLaren, who "will be a Trustee of the will" as soon as he reaches majority.

PAR Number 21385949

State: South Carolina Year: 1859
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: Elizabeth Shaffer and Frederick J. Shaffer, executors of the late Frederick Shaffer, seek the sale of the decedent's plantation. They report that Shaffer's will directed that the 900 acres of land and the 105 slaves in his estate not be sold until his youngest child Decima, currently thirteen years old, attains her majority. Moreover, they assert that none of Shaffer's sons "has been brought up as a planter or is at all acquainted with that business," since the late Shaffer managed said plantation "wholly by himself ... with the assistance of an overseer." Shaffer's executors and heirs both fear that they would undertake such management "with much diffidence and great misgiving of success ... and would with still greater reluctance have its management in the hands of an overseer during the long period which must elapse before a division of the estate." Shaffer's will also directs the executors to pay each child $2000 from the proceeds of the estate, "as it can be spared;" currently, said proceeds amount to "considerably less than seven thousand dollars a year." The petitioners state that they have contracted with Charles Alston Sr. to purchase said plantation for $50,000. They therefore pray the court to confirm said offer and "furthermore to direct a sale at auction of the negroes on the plantation."

PAR Number 21386123

State: South Carolina Year: 1861
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: Georgiana Heriot, through her next friend William Whaley, asks that the court sanction an agreement between her and Elias Horlbeck, her trustee. In 1860 Georgiana and her husband Henry approached Horlbeck with a plan to sell several slaves bequeathed to her in 1838. Knowing that "the saleable value of negroes in the west was greater than" in South Carolina, the Heriots intended to sell the slaves in New Orleans; however, before he departed for New Orleans with the slaves, Henry executed a statement in which he exonerated “Dr. E. Horlbeck and his Estate from all liabilities in relation to the Trust Estate.” Upon arriving in New Orleans, the said slaves contracted measles, and Heriot "became alarmed and removed them to Canton Mississippi." While in Mississippi, one John Kyle approached Henry and offered to buy the slaves for $10,000, "a sum greatly below the market value." Kyle signed promissory notes, agreeing to pay the $10,000 and interest in five years, but he has failed to make the payments. Horlbeck's agent, sent to Mississippi to collect said debt, failed to secure the obligation, even though Kyle was "fully able to pay the whole." Horlbeck has since "proposed to assume the said debt” if the petitioner surrenders Kyle’s promissory notes to him. The petitioner seeks the court's approval to proceed if said agreement is deemed beneficial for her minor heirs.

PAR Number 21386315

State: South Carolina Year: 1863
Location: Richland Location Type: District

Abstract: Widow Harriet M. R. Montmollin asks the court's permission to sell eighty-one slaves bequeathed to her by her late husband, John Montmollin. As the administratrix of her late husband's estate, the petitioner has discovered that her husband died owing debts of more than $30,000. Since 1860 she has unsuccessfully tried to raise ample crops to pay off the debts or even the interest on the debts. The petitioner is certain that selling the slaves, the plantation, and its equipment is her only recourse. She requests that the court issue an order permitting her to sell all of the slaves and other plantation equipment in her husband's estate at public auction in Savannah, “which she believes to be as advantageous a market for the sale.” The subsequent account of the public auction reveals that the petitioner earned more than $88,000 from the sale of said slaves.