Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 21683309

State: Virginia Year: 1833
Location: Princess Anne Location Type: County

Abstract: Susan Sorey seeks a "reasonable alimony" from her estranged husband, Nathaniel Sorey, whom she charges with domestic violence and assault. She testifies that on one occasion Nathaniel "commenced stripping her clothes from her person, ripping them off with a knife, and exposing her to the observation of his slaves and the family." She endeavored to overlook his behavior at first, attributing it to "the intemperate use of ardent spirits." He soon, however, "commenced to starve her, by depriving her of common sustenance, maintaining this stand by suspicious vigilance" and finally drove her "with the lash" from their plantation, a 400-acre tract of land that she derived from her father and on which Nathaniel cuts timber for their support. In his answer Nathaniel alleges that Susan has abandoned him without reason and declares that he did not marry her "for the sake of her property."

PAR Number 21684312

State: Virginia Year: 1843
Location: Lynchburg Location Type: City

Abstract: Eliza and Armistead Long aver that, in 1840, Eliza, then a widow, was possessed of a carpentry business, with a shop, tools, and a skilled slave named Jack. She explains that her late husband had been in the carpentry business and that, desirous of continuing in the business, she entered into a co-partnership with her brother, George G. Curle. While the business operated, Curle "had the entire and exclusive management of the business." In late 1841, Eliza inquired about the finances and Curle informed her that he was indebted to her for $1200. When the partnership was dissolved in 1842, Eliza and Armistead reached a settlement of accounts with Curle. Eliza asserts that "by a comparrison of said statement since made, with the Books of the concern she has discovered that by mistake or design a number of debts appearing upon the Books to be due to the concern and ... of which she is justly entitled were not brought into said statement on which said settlement was founded." Curle refused to renegotiate the settlement, averring that it only covered the year 1842 because the earlier debts were settled when Eliza asked about the finances in 1841. However, Eliza believes her brother is purposely defrauding her. She further represents that upon her second marriage, she entered into a marriage contract by which "the whole of her property and rights ... were conveyed to her father Richardson Curle," thus giving him interest in this suit. Therefore, the petitioners pray that George and Richardson Curle be made parties to this suit and that the court order a renegotiation of the resettlement of the business accounts "and decree to her such balance as may be found upon such settlement to be justly due to her."

PAR Number 21684334

State: Virginia Year: 1843
Location: York Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1841, William Roberts signed an agreement with Harold Goodwin to cut pine wood on Goodwin's land for steamboats. Roberts agreed to pay Goodwin fifty cents per cord, to "hire diverse negroes," to provide horses, mules, oxen, carts, wagons, and other "necessary implements," and to supervise some of Goodwin's slaves. The partnership lasted more than a year until Goodwin abruptly broke it off, refusing to allow Roberts to continue cutting wood, or even remove the cords already cut. Goodwin has now instituted a suit, in the name of himself and William B. Gray, against Roberts concerning the original partnership agreement, although "the said judgment was & is entirely for the benefit of the said Goodwin, and the said Gray has no interest therein." Because of that suit, "Roberts was compelled to give a forthcoming bond, with your orator William Dobson as security ... Goodwin intends to issue execution against your orators on the forthcoming bond immediately, and to enforce payment thereof." The petitioners believe that Goodwin is nearly bankrupt and plans to use the bond money to aid his financial recovery. Therefore, Roberts and Dobson pray that Goodwin and Gray be made parties to this bill and that they be enjoined from further pursuing their suit.

PAR Number 21684713

State: Virginia Year: 1847
Location: Lancaster Location Type: County

Abstract: Milly Hill seeks permission to cut wood on the land of her late husband, Thomas P. Hill. The widow cites that the said Thomas died intestate and possessed of slaves and land. She further represents that her two sons, Warren and Hugh, "should go to school being some 12 or 15 years of age, but there has been no division of their fathers estate, and they have no income." Hill notes that there are several slaves in the estate "which will belong to the said two children, but they are not profitable and produce a very small income which is not sufficient for the purpose of educating her said children." She also attests that the estate contains some land upon which "there is a considerable quantity of cord wood." Hill therefore prays for the court's authorization "to cut and sell so much wood annually from the land for five or six years" as to enable her "to send her children to school and educate them without incurring debt."

PAR Number 21684725

State: Virginia Year: 1847
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: Marshal Ayres seeks an injunction against parties currently "committing great waste & destruction" on land of which his wife Rebecca "was seized in fee simple at the time of her marriage to your orator." Ayres reports that previous to their marriage, the said Rebecca was possessed of about 140 acres of land and three slaves. He avers that Giles Callicote and others contest Ayres's right to the land, alleging that Rebecca conveyed the land to them in 1837, "a short time before her intermarriage" with the petitioner. Ayres believes that his wife was fraudulently led into signing the conveyance and into allowing it to be "post dated so as to make it appear to have been" signed previous to the marriage. He further charges that Callicote has now taken possession of part of the land "and has cut down and procured others to cut the timber on the said Land and committed great waste upon" it. Fearing the value of the land "will be greatly impaired if not totally ruined" by such acts, Ayers prays the court "to injoin Giles H. Callicote his agents attorneys servants and all others concerned from cutting deadening or in any wise comitting waste upon or molesting or removing the fences & enclosures of the said Land" and to determine the validity of the conveyance. If it is found to be fraudulent, Ayers prays that his wife's land be returned to their joint possession.

PAR Number 21686217

State: Virginia Year: 1862
Location: Scott Location Type: County

Abstract: Rebecca Dykes represents that she received a divorce from James H. Dykes in 1858 and that "a commissioner was appointed for the purpose of ascertaining the property owned by the said Jas H. Dykes in this county after the payment of his debts, which property the court intended to decree your oratrix for alimony." She recounts that Dykes had been in debt "whereby a great deal of his personal estate and nearly all of the negroes which were owned by him" were sold. She notes that the commissioner returned his report, whereupon the court "absolutely" awarded her two tracts of land "during her life." The petitioner insists, however, that the said Dykes owned "an additional tract of 18 acres or thereabouts," which adjoins the two other tracts mentioned in the said report. She states "that the said 18 acre tract is the only one of the said three tracts which has any growing timber upon it and hence it becomes so valuable in connexion with the enjoyment of the other two tracts." The petitioner therefore prays that "a decree be rendered giving your oratrix for alimony the said 18 acre tract during her life that it may help support her and her helpless family."