Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 20884903

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Adolphe Aymes presents to the court that Marie Louise Panis, a free woman of color, is "justly and truly indebted" to him in the sum of $900. In 1844, Aymes, "a mechanist or engineer," entered into a verbal contract with Charles Roussel, Panis's agent and her plantation overseer. Aymes agreed to "set up and repair" the steam engine in Panis's sugar house for $900, which included labor and materials. Aymes claims that the work was executed "in a workmanlike manner" and Marie Louise Panis has "availed herself of the work and used the same for the making of her crop." Notwithstanding these facts, Aymes alleges, she has refused to pay for the work "though amicable demand has been made." He therefore prays that Marie Louise Panis be cited to answer his claim and condemned to pay the debt of $900 plus $100 in damages [Original in English and French].

PAR Number 20884908

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: William C. Riley, of Iberville, represents that Robert, Andrew C., and Robert F. Woods, partners in the firm of Woods & Co., are “justly indebted” to him in the sum of $835. He explains that the partners hired him, for the year 1848, as overseer on their West Baton Rouge sugar plantation, and agreed to pay him $1,200. He claims, however, that he was discharged “without cause” from his post in October of that year and was only paid $365, even though he had “faithfully” fulfilled his duties up to that time. He therefore prays that Robert, Andrew, and Robert F. Woods be condemned to pay him $835. He also prays that, in the meantime, the sugar crop, on which he claims to have a legal privilege, be sequestered or at least the portion “thereof” sufficient to satisfy his claim. Related documents that two slaves under Riley's management died from severe punishment and that Riley was later indicted for murder.

PAR Number 20884912

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Juan Ygnacio de Egaña, acting “as Liquidator of the Commercial firm" of Wylie and Egaña, and on behalf of his two partners, Alexander H. Wylie and Manuel Julien de Lizardi, claims that Frame Alexander Woods, a sugar planter, is indebted to the firm in the sum of $4,665.95 plus interest, at 8% per annum. Egaña represents that, in March 1847, the firm of Wylie and Egaña promised to loan Woods certain sums of money, the total not to exceed $5,200. Woods bound himself, in return, to reimburse principal and interest in March of every year. In addition, Woods contracted to consign to the firm, for sale, his yearly production of sugar and molasses. The loans were secured by a mortgage on Woods’s plantation and his thirty slaves. Egaña now claims that Woods has failed to consign his 1848 production of sugar and molasses to the firm and has neglected to pay the balance of his account, “altho amicably requested.” Egaña therefore prays that Woods be condemned to pay the debt, which stands at $4,665.95, and that the plantation and slaves be sold to satisfy the claim.

PAR Number 20884930

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: East Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Isaac R. Jackson represents that he hired out to James C. Dawson and his wife, Mary, eight slaves to work on their sugar plantation for the year 1849. The agreed-upon price of the slaves’ hires was $650, payable in January 1850. To secure payment, the Dawsons gave Jackson a privilege on their sugar crop. Jackson has so far been paid $400 in “molasses & other things.” He claims, however, that the Dawsons have now sold the “greater part” of their sugar crop and he fears that the remainder will also be “sold disposed of & removed” before he receives the balance of $250. Jackson therefore asks that a writ of sequestration be issued on what’s left of the sugar crop. He also asks that the Dawsons be ordered to pay the debt once due in January 1850.

PAR Number 20884943

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Baptiste Leduff, a free man of color, presents to the court that the widow Augustin Porche and Louis Carmouche owe him the sum of $929. Leduff, a carpenter and workman, claims that Porche hired him to build a sugar house, cisterns room and "other out houses" for the sum of $500. Porche later hired him to build the wall to sustain the engine of the sugar house and to set the boilers for the sum of $250. After those tasks were completed, Leduff "made all the Carpenter's and Mason's work for the Kettles, and set up the Kettles of the said Sugar house and built the chimney of the said Sugar house" for an additional $250. Leduff claims to have only received $21 for his work. Leduff prays that the court will settle this dispute and order the defendants to compensate him for his work [Original in English and French; French version incomplete].

PAR Number 20885034

State: Louisiana Year: 1850
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Christophe Strantz seeks to recover a debt from Felix Garcia. Strantz claims that he was employed as overseer on Garcia’s plantation, in the parish of St. Charles, from December 1848 until the 6th of February of the current year. He was to receive an annual salary of $1,200. In addition, he rented five male slaves to work on Garcia’s plantation for a year, at a cost of $600, and furnished “sundries,” worth $66 for use on the plantation. For payment, Garcia signed a draft in the sum of $1,866 to be drawn on P. Rotchford of New Orleans. Strantz presented the draft for payment, but was refused. He further claims that seventy-five hogsheads of sugar, on which he has a privilege as security on the debt, have now been loaded aboard the brig Detroit and are about to be shipped out of the state. Strantz therefore prays for a writ of sequestration of the seventy-five hogsheads of sugar. He seeks a judgment against Garcia in the sum of $1,866 and asks that his privilege on the shipment of sugar be recognized.

PAR Number 20885038

State: Louisiana Year: 1850
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Narcisse Carmouche seeks compensation for the death of his slave, John. Carmouche represents that John, a mulatto “boy,” was shot by Léon Bouis in front of his father's plantation. John died a few days later of his wounds. Carmouche contends that Léon was acting on the order of his father, François Bouis. The older Bouis has indeed accepted responsibility but refuses to compensate Carmouche. Carmouche therefore prays for an order condemning Léon and François Bouis to pay him $1,500, the value of his slave, plus interest "from judicial demand" [Original in English and French; French version incomplete].

PAR Number 20885144

State: Louisiana Year: 1851
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Pierre Aymé Becnel and Valsin Brou are joint owners and co-proprietors with Florestan Becnel of a sugar plantation, including twenty-three slaves, livestock, and other property. Pierre Becnel and Valsin Brou represent that they no longer wish to hold the property undivided and want to dispose of it in order to achieve a fair partition among the three owners. Therefore, they pray for an order directing that an inventory of the property be taken. They also pray that Florestan Becnel be cited to answer their suit and show cause as to why the property should not be sold at auction and the proceeds divided among the three partners.

PAR Number 20885246

State: Louisiana Year: 1852
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: George N. Rogers seeks to surrender his estate. Rogers represents that, due to three years of bad crops, the loss of seed cane, and the expenses required in order to establish a sugar plantation, he is unable to pay his debts, and his property is already under seizure “at the suit of some of his creditors.” He prays for an order calling for a meeting of all his creditors to ensure that his property is surrendered and disposed of “fairly and legally” to the common benefit of all his creditors. He also prays that, in the meantime, all individual suits pending against him be stayed.

PAR Number 20885304

State: Louisiana Year: 1853
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: The petitioners are the widow and children, and thus the heirs, of the late George Bossié. Joining them in this suit is a man named Cyprien Songy. They seek to recover the late Bossié’s property from its current possessor, a man named Octave Hymel. They represent that Hymel purchased the property, consisting of a sugar plantation and seven slaves, in July 1852 at a sheriff’s sale in the case of the Citizens Bank of Louisiana versus C. Songy and G. Bossié. The petitioners claim that the sale was illegal, due to procedural defects and the fact that the property was adjudicated to Hymel at less than half its real value. The petitioners therefore pray that Hymel and the Citizens Bank of Louisiana be cited to appear and answer the petition. They seek an order directing that the sale of the property to Hymel be set aside and decreeing Bossié’s heirs to be the true and lawful owners of the property. They also seek $2,000 in damages and payment of the costs of suit by the defendants.

PAR Number 20885309

State: Louisiana Year: 1853
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Louis Cadoré, a free man of color, seeks to recover a debt from Henry Demouy, administrator and former business partner of the late Samuel A. Jones. Cadoré represents that Demouy and the late Jones, former partners in the manufacture of “hogsheads and sugar barrils,” employed him, a carpenter, to build a large “shed” or “house” to be used as a cooper’s shop. Cadoré claims that the shed was completed in three months, from December 1852 to March 1853, to the two partners’ satisfaction. The charge for his labor was $50 per month, for a total sum of $150. Demouy, however, refuses to pay the debt, either for himself or as administrator of his late partner’s estate. Cadoré therefore seeks an order of the court directing Demouy to pay the debt. He also asks that his privilege on the shed be recognized and that the building be seized and sold to satisfy his claim.

PAR Number 20885702

State: Louisiana Year: 1857
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Lucy Stewart and her husband, John A. Dougherty, seek a division of an estate to which they are heirs. The late Nolan Stewart died after having published two official wills, one in October 1853 and one in 1854, both of which have been probated. In the wills, the petitioners along with Alfred A. Williams and his wife, Catharine Stewart, were named heirs to "the whole of his estate both real and personal." By the second will, Williams was named "sole testamentary executor." Catharine has since died, leaving three minor heirs, who should now inherit her interest in the estate. The petitioners pray that the court order a division of the Stewart estate.

PAR Number 20885724

State: Louisiana Year: 1857
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Henry M. Summers petitions the court for assistance in collecting insurance money for the loss of his slave. On 25 November 1852, Summers “made a policy of insurance” with the United States Insurance Annuity and Trust Company of Philadelphia, in which he insured five slaves "for the term of twelve months." On or about 1 November 1853, one of the slaves named Townley Johnson died, "having been lost overboard, from the Steamboat 'Emperor' in the Mississippi River." Summers complains that the insurance company refuses to pay him $800, the amount for which he insured Johnson. The insurance company argues that Henry Summers insured the five slaves as tobacco warehouse laborers, but employed them on a sugar plantation, a more hazardous occupation in violation of the insurance agreement. The company instructed him to file a suit against the owners of the boat, but that cause was dismissed. Summers prays that the court order the United States Insurance Annuity and Trust Company to pay him the sum of $800 with interest.

PAR Number 21380905

State: South Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: George Allen Aylwin of London seeks the return of "his proper goods and chattels" that are currently held by John S. Adams, the administrator of the late John Campbell. He recounts that he employed the said Campbell "as a Supercargo" for his slave trading ventures to Africa, Havana, and Charleston. Aylwin details how Campbell attended to the business of "the african trade" by bartering for Slaves in Goree and then sailing "to the Havanna where he disposed of the said Slaves and received great part of the proceeds thereof, with part of which he loaded the said Ship with a cargo of Sugars ... and destined the same for England." He asserts that Campbell remained in Havana, attending to Aylwin's affairs, until another ship, "laden with Slaves the property of your orator," arrived; this required Campbell to take 89 female slaves, "they being unsaleable in the Havanna," to Charleston, where he "disposed of them." Aylwin submits that Campbell "met with an accident" on a voyage from South America to Charleston. He avows that Campbell "was largely indebted to your orator on account of the various transactions hereinbefore detailed and others." He charges that John Adams has taken possession of "the said Goods & specie though wholly belonging to your orator, being shipped in the name of the said John Campbell" and that he refuses "to deliver them unto your Orator as his proper goods and chattels." Aylwin seeks the court's assistance in regaining his property. [The petition is missing the last page/pages.]

PAR Number 21485924

State: Tennessee Year: 1859
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Mathew Johnson seeks "a settlement of his guardianship" and a reimbursement of $2500, which he spent on a "lot in West Nashville ... on which is situated, a neat & comfortable little dwelling house." He represents that he is the guardian of his thirty-seven-year-old son-in-law, Thomas B. Craighead Jr., "who had been previously found & declared to be a lunatic or person of unsound mind." He further reports that Thomas's wife, Tennessee, and his twelve-year-old daughter, Virginia, "are the only persons entitled to the estate of the said Thomas B. Craighead, which estate is quite large consisting chiefly of a large sugar plantation & negroes in the state of Louisiana," which has an annual income of $10,000 or more. Purporting that his daughter and granddaughter had "no suitable house or residence & no good position in which the child could properly be educated," the petitioner "deemed it best to purchase a house for them." Johnson cites that he "paid for the property out of his own means, intending to have the same allowed in his settlements as guardian," but he reveals that "said Court has no power ... to allow said purchase money ... & give him credit therefor in his settlements." He prays that "he be allowed as guardian ... $2500 & interest & credited in his settlements with the same & he be allowed to retain that sum out of said estate to re-imburse him."

PAR Number 21585806

State: Texas Year: 1858
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: John Adriance, administrator of the estate of the late C. R. Patton, submits a partial accounting of the claims, expenses, and debts of the estate. He reports that the heirs of Christopher Dart have sued the estate for the recovery of eight slaves, who are in his possession and inventoried as part of Patton's estate. He also explains that he is now "engaged in gathering the crops" raised on the plantation and estimating the plantation's yield of sugar and cotton. Adriance asks the court to "indulge" him by granting an extension until the next term of court when he can submit a more thorough accounting. In a supplemental petition, he asks for permission to sell a tract of land belonging to the estate.

PAR Number 21585807

State: Texas Year: 1858
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: John Adriance, administrator of the estate of the late Charles R. Patton, submits an account of all estate expenditures and receipts to the court. Explaining that the estate encompasses a cotton plantation and slaves, the petitioner points out that there is no gin house on said plantation and proposes erecting one to enable cotton processing on-site. He also reports the successful distribution of several slaves according to the wishes of Patton's purported will. The slaves involved include Rachel, who is not only allowed to choose her own living arrangements, but also receives a yearly allowance of $100, and Jacob and Solomon, who "were to have control of their own time & to live where they chose." Adriance requests that the court approve these arrangements and also authorize the rehiring of slaves from Charles F. Patton to work the crop in the ensuing year.

PAR Number 21586004

State: Texas Year: 1860
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: John Adriance, the administrator of the estate of C. R. Patton, asks the court to review and approve the receipts and expenditures of the estate. Adriance reports that, despite drought and loss of livestock, he has made "a good amount of valuable improvements" to the estate. The estate did, however, suffer "some loss of small negroes," and he was compelled to facilitate the removal of the slave Rachel to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he will continue to send her annual allowance. Adriance explains that "her presence near the plantation and slaves belonging to said estate was believed to have become exceedingly injurious to the interests of said estate and perhaps dangerous." He is quick to make the distinction that "in relation to this matter your Petitioner rather permitted it to be done, than procured it to be done."

PAR Number 21586210

State: Texas Year: 1862
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: John Adriance presents his annual administrative account of the estate of C. R. Patton and asks that the court approve the same. Patton's estate includes cotton and sugar crops and the slaves, who cultivate them. Adriance explains that his slave labor is hired from one of Patton's heirs, C. F. Patton, and is supplemented by the slaves belonging to him as the guardian of Mary Hester Aldridge. He asks for permission to continue hiring labor in this manner and also requests that the estate remain open "for a more full & satisfactory settlement of the same."

PAR Number 21586702

State: Texas Year: 1867
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: John Adriance, administrator of the estate of C. R. Patton, petitions the court for permission to sell "some property to pay the debts of said Estate." The land, situated in the town of Bryan, "will sell to better advantage now than at any other time," as the town of Bryan is "now growing." Adriance's voucher between the estates of C. R. Patton and Mary Hester Aldridge itemizes hire values for slaves from Aldridge's estate used to cultivate Patton's land. An attached newspaper article advertising the sale of the plantation notes that "the purchaser will be required to carry out the contract with the Freedmen, (twenty-six in number) who are engaged for wages, payable one-half monthly, and the balance at the end of the year."