Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11283001

State: North Carolina Year: 1830
Location: Wayne Location Type: County

Abstract: William Whitfield, Edmund Whitfield, and Allen Whitfield of Wayne County request that slave patrols from Lenoir County be permitted "to Patrol the Negro houses" in their neighborhood. They point out that "this little section of Wayne lies at some distance from the body of the Patrols generally appointed ... and has generally been neglected by them," whereby "the Negroes of Wayne Lenoir and Duplin Counties are in the habit of collecting at those houses to the injury of the owners of them and the neighbours."

PAR Number 11283004

State: North Carolina Year: 1830
Location: Sampson Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-eight "Sundry Inhabitants of the Counties of Sampson Bladen New Hanover and Duplin" complain that "our Slaves are become Almost Uncontrolable they go and come when and where they please and if an Attempt is made to correct them they fly to the Woods and there Continue for months and years commiting grievous depredations on Our Cattle hogs and Sheep and many other things." They therefore pray that the existing patrols be better organized and that said patrols be granted "the priviledge of Shooting and destroying all Runaway Slaves who may Refuse to Submit to Said authority." They also ask that slaveholders list "all the dogs their Negroes are allowed to Raise [or] Keep" so as to "pay a tax of five dollars on Each dog so given.” The petitioners aver that the dogs kept by slaves "do great Injury to our Stocks and if we kill there dogs they will then kill our dogs our horses or Our Cows."

PAR Number 11283103

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Mary Christian, Thomas Christian, and Duncan McRae Jr. represent "that they Did intirely at their own Expences, Furnish the Militia of your county of Mongomery, With Three Hundred and Sixty nine meals of victuals, dureing their Service when called out about the 24th of September last to Suppress an Exspected Insurrection of The Negroes of Said County." They therefore pray that they receive "Such allowance on your public Treasurer, as will Remunerate their Expences, for the porformance of that duty."

PAR Number 11283106

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Jesse H. Simmons, commander of the Roanoke Blues a light infantry company, reports that "information reached Halifax Town Stating that the Slaves of Southampton VA were in a state of open rebellion" and that he soon thereafter mobilized his men to march "to the assistence of our distressed neighbours in Southampton." He reports that, in his absence, his house became a "retreat not only for the militia actually called out but for a great number of women and children of Halifax Town & County," whereby he incurred expense in feeding them "for several days" and in caring for their horses. Admitting that "he was disposed and did do all in his power to serve his Country in this unfortunate affair," Simmons nevertheless asserts that "he is unable and unwilling to sustain a loss as heavy as this." The petitioner therefore prays that he receive remuneration, even though "he is unable himself to make any estimate of what he actually did suffer." Related documents reveal that during Simmons's absence, "all the male servants were taken up and put in Jail" during the "alarm."

PAR Number 11283107

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-six citizens of Craven County, who "reside upon Neuse river and the adjacent creeks above the town of New Bern," complain about "the large gangs of slaves, who come up from the Town of New Bern ... in boats, with papers from their owners ... to sell, buy, traffick, and fish" in their neighborhoods. The residents argue that by said practice they "are much injured and interrupted both in their vocations, and in the management of their farms and negroes." In addition, they assert that the self-hired blacks "corrupt the slaves of your Petitioners, induce them to run away, and when runaway employ them, in dragging skimming nets for the purpose of catching fish, and pilfering the farms of your Petitioners." They therefore ask that the acts of Assembly be nullified "with regard to Slaves hiring their own time, and likewise the subject of trading with Slaves, and also the indiscriminate permission given to them to fish at large upon the waters of this state."

PAR Number 11284003

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

Abstract: Eight residents of Orange County ask Governor Edward B. Dudley to overturn the court-martial conviction of Lieutenant William Benson of the 48th North Carolina Regiment; Dudley referred the petition to the legislature for consideration. The petitioners report that Benson refused to obey an order given by Captain John Griffis and was therefore fined for said refusal. They put forth that Griffis's father was "a Coloured man and was of very dark Complexion" and that Griffis himself is a "man of Colour within the fourth Degree." Arguing that said lieutenant is therefore not "Capable under the Constitution & laws of N. Carolina to hold a commission in the military Service of the State," they consequently avow that Benson "is not of right liable for the fine as Laid by the Court martial." They "therefore pray of your Excellancy to remit the Same."

PAR Number 11284006

State: North Carolina Year: 1840
Location: Lincoln Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-three citizens of Lincolnton seek a repeal of the laws passed in 1829 and 1830 concerning "the liability of certain hands in the town of Lincolnton to work on roads." They purport the exemption of "all slaves living in said town, but working a piece of land out of the limits of the Corporation" from doing said road work removes "the whole effective force in Said town, by which the numerous streets in said town should be kept in good order."

PAR Number 11284206

State: North Carolina Year: 1842
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Commissioners in Raleigh address the "many defects [that] exist in the statute laws of the State relating to slaves and free persons of colour" and propose amendments that will better promote "the peace of the community .. and the happiness of slaves." They declare that "it is well known that for years past a band of unscrupulous fanatics ... have been using every exertion to produce discontent and ultimately to engender rebellion amongst the slaves of the South." They cite that the statutes passed in 1830 and 1831 "forbidding slaves to teach each other, and prohibiting their being taught by white persons, to read or write, figure excepted -- forbidding slaves to go at large as freemen or to preach or exhort in public -- requiring emancipated slaves to leave the state within ninety days after their emancipation -- forbidding the migration of free negroes into this state -- and prohibiting their intermarriage with slaves" were designed not only "to protect the value of slaves as property, but to preserve that due subordination amongst them, and the free negroes which was likely to be disturbed by occurrences in other sections of the country and by the machinations of the reckless spirit of Abolitionism which was springing up in the north." Not presuming to dictate how the laws might be changed, the petitioners "beg that such provisions may be made as will protect the community in which they live from the many evils” that will occur if the existing statutes, which are easily bypassed or laxly enforced, are not amended.

PAR Number 11286001

State: North Carolina Year: 1860
Location: Mecklenburg Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred ninety-four Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Cabarrus county residents demand "a more stringent law, to meet the exigency of the times." They point to "the unpaid and inefficient system of Patrol" as the "causes in which crime and insubordination have their outbirth." The petitioners charge that, in addition to the "incendiaries from abroad," it is the "evil-disposed persons located in our midst who carry on an unlawful traffic with slaves" which induces them to commit murder, robbery, and arson. They further believe that punishments for said crimes are "totally inadequate."

PAR Number 11378402

State: South Carolina Year: 1784

Abstract: Elizabeth Clitherall asks that her husband be permitted to return to South Carolina. She explains that, "after the Surrender of Charleston to the British," her husband, Dr. John Clitherall, accepted "a Commission in the militia of Berkely County" in order "that it might enable him to grant Indulgences to his Neighbours"; however, he "immediately resigned the Commission without having done any duty whatever." She reports that he later accepted "the Office of Commissioner of Claims and whilst he held it acquitted himself with great Justice & Integrity" and "was very forward in promoting the Restitution of the Property of many now here." The petitioner asserts that "Since his Unfortunate Exile" he has earnestly endeavored "to render every service in his power to the Citizens of this State by effecting the Restitution of their negroes in East Florida." She therefore prays that "your Honble House will permit the Return of her Husband to his Country and a numerous Family."

PAR Number 11379203

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Beaufort Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Lightwood seeks compensation for his slave, Bacchus, "who had absonded from his Service" and who "was killed by a Patrole about twelve months ago." Reporting that he is "advised that he is entitled to some compensation for him," the petitioner submits an appraisal for said slave that values Bacchus at sixty pounds sterling at "the time he was killed." The document also claims that Bacchus was killed "for Robbing Benj Davis of his Fire Arm & Arming himself therewith, havg Davis's Gun in his Hand." Bacchus had "been a Runaway for upwards of Eighteen Months."

PAR Number 11379307

State: South Carolina Year: 1793

Abstract: Godin Guerard seeks compensation for four slaves killed by militia in 1787. He reports that in 1785 he "purchased a considerable number of Negroes then at Saint Augustine" and brought said slaves to South Carolina. He further relates that "four of the above negroes whose proportionable value was at least one hundred guineas each were killed by the militia of this State." Confiding that he and his family are "bordering on Indigence," he states that "no retribution has been as yet made for" the said slaves killed. Guerard therefore prays that his case be considered "with full assurance that the Plea of misfortune and Justice will be heard with Indulgence and granted with Humanity." An attached affidavit verifies the slaves, "the property of Godin Guerard Esquire were killed by the Militia of this State [Georgia] and by the Militia of the State of South Carolina, the said Negro men Slaves being in Rebellion against this State and the State of South Carolina at the time aforesaid."

PAR Number 11379508

State: South Carolina Year: 1795

Abstract: John Adams recounts that in 1792 he "had the misfortune of having a valuable Negroe man (which was appraised at Eighty pounds ...) shot by a Party of Militia in pursuit of some runaways." He reports that he sent "the papers respecting the Same to the Legislature" but that his request was "rejected, as his demand came not under the Sanction of the Law." Adams requests "that your honorable house will reconsider his Case."

PAR Number 11379509

State: South Carolina Year: 1795

Abstract: John Adams recounts that in 1792 he "had the misfortune of having a valuable Negroe man (who was appraised at Eighty pounds ...) shot by a party of militia in pursuit of some runaways." He reports that he sent "the papers respecting the same to the Legislature" but that “his prayer was rejected on the belief that his demand came not under the sanction of the Law." Adams requests "that your honorable house will reconsider” his case.

PAR Number 11379704

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-eight inhabitants of Charleston express concern about the "dangerous designs and machinations of certain french West India negroes." They propose several modifications to the laws prohibiting the importation of slaves and to the system of patrols. They are in favor of "the Captains or Mates of all Vessels coming from the West Indies, to report on Oath to some proper officer to be appointed, whether any negroes or other people of color, are imported in said Vessels, and also to make the said Vessels liable to be searched." In addition, they "recommend that all free french negroes and all free french people of Color who have come into this State since 1st January 1790 be required to depart therefrom within a limited time never to return." The petitioners also believe that "the establishing and stationing in the City a permanent and well regulated Guard consisting of fifty Infantry and twenty four Horsemen would be of great public utility."

PAR Number 11379706

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-seven inhabitants of Charleston express concern about the "dangerous designs and machinations of certain french West India negroes." They propose several modifications to the laws prohibiting the importation of slaves and to the system of patrols. They are in favor of "the Captains or Mates of all Vessells coming from the West Indies, to report on Oath to some proper Officer to be appointed, whether any negroes or other people of color, are imported in said Vessels, & also to make the said Vessels liable to be searched." In addition, they "recommend that all free french Negroes & all free french people of Color who have come into this State since 1st January 1790 be required to depart therefrom, within a limited time, never to return." The petitioners also believe that "the establishing and stationing in the City a permanent and well regulated Guard consisting of 50 Infantry and Twenty four horsemen, would be of great public utility."

PAR Number 11380016

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: York Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Robert Murphy, "a guard" under Constable William Moore, represents that he was called upon to apprehend "a certain negro man named Joe, the property of a Robert Ash." He states that said Joe had been charged with "an Assault & Battery with an Intent of Ravishment" on a white woman in the neighborhood. Murphy recounts that he pursued Joe and "found him at the Negro House of a Certain Mrs. Cally" and that Joe "did not surrender himself" and instead "fled & was killed." Murphy, having been sued by Ash and fined $124 in damages, prays the legislature to grant "such relief as to your wisdom shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11380017

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: St. Paul Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ava Culliatt, widow of Adam Culliatt, represents that her husband, a blacksmith, was "a trooper in the Jacksonborough troop of horses" and that he "was ordered out in a detachment of the said troop ... in pursuit of a party of negro slaves, who had recently committed a murder in the neighbourhood." Culliatt laments that her "said husband was unfortunately, while on that service, killed by his horse, whereby your petitioner and her infant child are deprived of their only support." The petitioner, "confiding in the legallity of her claim, as sanctioned by the eighth paragraph of the Act for the better ordering and governing Negroes, but, yet more in the justice and humanity of this Honorable House," prays for relief.

PAR Number 11380018

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: St. Paul Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ava Culliatt, widow of Adam Culliatt, represents that her husband, a blacksmith, was "a trooper in the Jacksonborough troop of horse" and that he was "ordered out in a detachment of the said troop ... in pursuit of a party of Negro Slaves, who had infested that neighbourhood and had recently committed a murder there." Culliatt laments that her "said husband was while on that service unfortunately killed by his horse, whereby your petitioner and her infant child are deprived of their only support." The petitioner, "confiding in the legallity of her claim, as sanctioned by the eighth paragraph of the Act for the better ordering and governing negroes, but, yet more in the justice and humanity of this Honorable House," prays for relief.

PAR Number 11380019

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: York Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Robert Murphy, "a guard" under Constable William Moore, represents that he was called upon to apprehend "a certain negro man named Joe, the property of a Robert Ash." He states that said Joe had been charged with "an Assault & Battery with an Intent of Ravishment" on a white woman in the neighborhood. Murphy recounts that he pursued Joe and "found him at the Negro House of a Certain Mrs. Cally" and that Joe "did not surrender himself" and instead "fled & was killed." Murphy, having been sued by Ash and fined $124 in damages, prays the legislature to grant "such relief as to your wisdom shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11380603

State: South Carolina Year: 1806
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John C. Mikell represents that he rented "a certain tract of Land from the Trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Edisto Island on which there was neither dwelling House, Negro House, or any building whatever." He further declares that he "did use every endeavor in his power to have the necessary buildings there, but was unable to effect his purpose, being but a young and a small Planter." Reporting that "the Tax collector thought your petitioner liable to the fine of One Hundred Dollars," Mikell "does now think it an extreme hard case" as he did everything "to comply with the law respecting settled Plantations." The petitioner therefore prays that "the Comptroller may be directed to refund the said fine of One Hundred Dollars."

PAR Number 11381002

State: South Carolina Year: 1810
Location: Georgetown Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: One hundred one residents of Georgetown submit that they "suffer seriously from the insufficiency of the provisions of the Law for the prevention of illicit traffic with negroes." They believe that "a considerable portion of the crops raised in the vicinity of the said town is sold by Negroes, without tickets; several hundred bushels of rough rice having been found, at different times in the possession of petty shopkeepers, who raised no rice and who could hardly, in any other way, have obtained such large quantities of produce." Purporting that "the love of plunder" has greatly increased, the petitioners point out that "these evil-disposed persons ... have several times attempted to set fire to the town." They therefore pray that their situation be taken into consideration and that they be granted "such pecuniary aid" as to enable "the Town Council of said town to hire a Guard for the protection of the said town."

PAR Number 11381401

State: South Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Colleton Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Matthew O'Driscoll represents that "two very valuable slaves the property of your Petitioner were shot dead, by an armed Party" while he was attending a committee meeting of the South Carolina House of Representatives convened to investigate "charges of [his] misconduct in Office as Clerk, Ordinary and Register of Colleton District." He further reports that the militia justified its actions by virtue of the 1804 Militia Act Law, which "specifies that such party has the legal right to kill any slave 'that shall have absented himself from the services of his Owner and shall flee from pursuit'." He notes that his slaves were in the company of a runaway slave named April, who has since been "taken, tried convicted and executed for crimes of which he was then guilty" and that April's owner "is now intitled to the usual remuneration from your Honorable House." In contrast, O'Driscoll avows that his "slaves were not accused of having committed any overt act or injured any person during their absence from him, and that he alone was thereby a Sufferer." The petitioner, having been deprived of his property, therefore feels justified in seeking the passage "of a law" that "will reimburse him to the full amount of the loss which he has sustained."

PAR Number 11381408

State: South Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Fairfield Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Cook of Georgia states that his wife, Mary Ellen Hampton Cook, "became entitled to a certain negroe man, by name Ellis" as a legatee in the will of her maternal grandfather, George Dawkins. Cook reveals that his father-in-law, Colonel Edward Hampton, was killed during the American Revolution and that the said Ellis was accidentally shot and killed by militia in pursuit "of certain persons known to be inimical to the cause of this country." Noting that his wife has never received any kind of remuneration "for this accidental misfortune," the petitioner prays "for some indemnification in right of his wife."

PAR Number 11381508

State: South Carolina Year: 1815

Abstract: Sixty citizens residing along the Ashepoo and Pon Pon rivers seek the repeal of a 1779 law that established a thirty-foot "cut" between the two rivers and required all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty to maintain the cut or pay an assessment or fine. They reveal that the cut "is now about two feet wide and in places not so deep and is seldom if ever used but by Runaways and Negroes unlawfully trading from River to River." Surrounded by "an immense Swamp of impregnable and uninhabited Marsh and Ti-Ti," they report this "harbour for Runaways" fed, during the War of 1812, a great number of "depredations on Plantations and Rivers [by] Runaways and Outlaws," forcing Governor D. R. Williams to call out the militia. They state that said militiamen captured and executed two of the leaders, Mowby and Dunmore, and hanged several of their associates. The petitioners complain that the cut "prevents the irrigation of a large extent of Land which must ever remain a loss to the State ... as it can never be reclaimed by Fresh water Irrigation and consequently become then the Residence of a white Population." They therefore pray that this law, "haveing become obsolete and a nuisance," be repealed.

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