Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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Your subject search returned 20 total results.

PAR Number 11484204

State: Tennessee Year: 1842
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: Four citizens, "a portion of the citizens of Middle Tennessee," seek "an alteration & amendment of the law on patrol, to render it effective & operative, in the state, if not exemplary to other states; to guard & protect the liberties & rights of property, secured under the Constitution of the federal union, to the states; & preserve the power & weight of influence, of their representatives in the halls of the Congress of the United States."

PAR Number 20483702

State: District of Columbia Year: 1837
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: William Richardson, "a native of the British Province of New Brunswick," asserts that he is a free person of color illegally confined in the Washington County jail on the charge of being a runaway slave. He seeks a writ of habeas corpus.

PAR Number 20485105

State: District of Columbia Year: 1851
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Elizabeth Jennings, a resident of Canada, states that she is the only sister of Mary Jennings, also called Polly Jennings, a free person of color. The petitioner asserts that Mary is a "lunatic," incapable of managing herself or her property, and "is now confined in the County Jail . . . as a lunatic dangerous to the public peace." Elizabeth asks the court to appoint a committee and trustee, preferably Isaac Cary, and to make Mary's property available for sale so that the proceeds can be used for her support and medical treatment as the income generated from her property is insufficient to pay the costs of the needed care.

PAR Number 20485106

State: District of Columbia Year: 1851
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Petitioner Elizabeth Jennings shows the court that her sister, Mary [also called Polly] Jennings, a free person of color, has been committed as a "Lunatic," and is dangerous to the public. Elizabeth states that Mary has been committed frequently for the same reasons in the past. The petitioner asks that a committee be appointed to investigate Mary Jennings's sanity, or lack thereof, and issue a writ of lunatico inquirendo.

PAR Number 20486255

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Kate McConnell seeks a divorce from her husband, Dr. James McConnell, on the grounds of adultery. She avers that her husband confessed to committing adultery with a "person, or woman of bad repute." In addition, she was informed that he was "too intimate with one of the chambermaids, a negro woman." Mrs. McConnell states that after receiving this information, she concealed herself in a room adjoining her husband's room and overheard a conversation between Dr. McConnell and the chambermaid. "The Said Dr. James McConnell made propositions to her, saying he wanted to stay with her while his wife was absent and advanced towards her and caught hold of her; She told him his wife was in the adjoining room, and would hear him." The petitioner then revealed herself and rebuked her husband. Mrs. McConnell further states that following this incident, she went to visit some friends in Virginia. While she was there, she had an accident which caused her to give premature birth and become very ill. Her husband was notified, but Mrs. McConnell avers that he stayed only four or five days with her. Dr. McConnell traveled for some time before writing the petitioner and informing her that he was establishing a practice in Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. McConnell then received reports that Dr. McConnell "had commenced his 'old practices,' of living, and cohabiting with persons or women of notorious bad moral character." She prays for a divorce and the restoration of her maiden name.

PAR Number 20781403

State: Kentucky Year: 1814
Location: Harrison Location Type: County

Abstract: Harriet Night explains that when she married her husband, William Night, she brought to the marriage a young slave named Mark and other property. The two "lived together tho' not happily, (owing to the discontented and morose temper" of her husband, until eighteen months ago, when he "sold off the whole of his stock, furniture and other property," except the slave named Mark. Mr. Night also "took their son, and disposed of him, much to the grief of your Oratrix, and abandoned and left her with her little daughter." Harriet Night asks that the court grant an order restraining her husband from selling or disposing of the "Negroe Boy, bed & furniture," all that remains of the personal property after his departure, and that the court decree her "a separate maintenance" out of his estate. In an amended bill, Harriet Night claims that her husband's treatment of her was "so cruel, barbarous and inhuman as to actually endanger her life," and she asks for a divorce.

PAR Number 20782603

State: Kentucky Year: 1826
Location: Fayette Location Type: County

Abstract: John Steele is the guardian of Madison Lensy, son of the late Joseph Lensy. Madison Lensy holds no property except a slave named George, who is "a valuable fellow except that he is addicted to running away has run away frequently and is now in jail for safe keeping." Steele wishes to sell the slave and put the proceeds into some productive fund for the benefit of Madison and asks the court for authority to do so.

PAR Number 20783116

State: Kentucky Year: 1831
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Oldham claims that he hired out his slave Morton Blackburn to the firm of Wints & Rheinhard. The slave was "taken without the consent of Compt. or said Wirts & Reinhard on board the steam boat Versailes" and carried to Cincinnati. From there he escaped to Canada. Oldham asks the court to order the master and owners of the Versailes to compensate him for the value of the slave plus expenses in trying to recover him and that the steamboat be restrained from leaving the jurisdiction of the court until the case is settled.

PAR Number 20783314

State: Kentucky Year: 1833
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: William Pickett charges that three of his slaves, one of "ordinary complexion" and two of "yellow complexion," were taken on board the steamboat Charleston "as labourers or passengers without any legal authority whatever." He believes they have now fled to Canada, and he asks that the owners of the steamboat be compelled to reimburse him for their value plus damages.

PAR Number 20783701

State: Kentucky Year: 1837
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Ambrose Mann sues a steamboat company for $1,500, the amount he lost when his mulatto slave Lemuel escaped to Canada. Mann had hired Lemuel out to work aboard the steamboat Paul Jones. Mann claims that Lemuel had been a "faithful & excellent & capable servant until he was seduced by the hope of freedom."

PAR Number 20785106

State: Kentucky Year: 1851
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A. J. Ballard states that he hired out Jerry to the owners of the steamboat Bunker Hill for $25 a month. Ballard charges that the owners deviated from their regular route to New Orleans by going north to Illinois, enabling Jerry to escape "to parts unknown most probably to Canada." He asserts that “under the Laws of Illinois the owners of Said Boat by coming into that State manumitted him.” Ballard says Jerry was "about twenty four years old was Stout healthy and intelligent and was of the reasonable value of $1000." He seeks monetary damages for the loss of Jerry.

PAR Number 20785134

State: Kentucky Year: 1851
Location: Woodford Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Bullock owned Jack McAfee and other slaves to whom he granted manumission in his will. All slaves who were twenty-one and unmarried had the opportunity of "going to Liberia or some other place of freedom out of the bounds of these United States." McAfee charges that Eleanor Bullock, Thomas's widow, refuses to allow him to emigrate, keeps him in servitude, and is keeping the proceeds from his hire. McAfee is suing Bullock for freedom, back wages, and seeks a restraining order to prevent his removal from the state.

PAR Number 20785137

State: Kentucky Year: 1851
Location: Woodford Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Bullock owned Jane Williams and other slaves to whom he granted manumission. All slaves who were twenty-one and unmarried had the opportunity of "going to Liberia or some other place of freedom out of the bounds of these United States." Williams charges that Eleanor Bullock, Thomas's widow, refuses to allow her and her three children to emigrate, keeps her in servitude, and is keeping the proceeds from her hire. Williams is suing Bullock for freedom, back wages, and seeks a restraining order to prevent her removal from the state.

PAR Number 20785201

State: Kentucky Year: 1852
Location: Woodford Location Type: County

Abstract: William Bullock, the administrator of Thomas Bullock's estate, states that his father owned Martha and other slaves to whom he granted manumission. All slaves who were twenty-one and unmarried had the opportunity of "going to Liberia or some other place of freedom out of the bounds of these United States." The petitioner reveals that Martha elected to refuse the manumission offer for herself and her three-year-old-son, John. Bullock seeks to have Martha brought before the court and to have her refusal recorded as a matter of public record. This being been done, Martha elects to go to Canada whereupon the court rules that she is to be paid $67.01 in wages and appoints a commissioner "to carry said Martha & John to Canada."

PAR Number 21184006

State: Missouri Year: 1840
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Pierre, a man of color, represents that his mother Rose was born in 1768 in Canada. In 1791 John Stork took Rose to Prairie du Chien in the Northwest Territory, where she remained, "rendering service to him and his family," until Stork's death three years later. In 1795 Andrew Todd brought Rose to St. Louis and sold her to Pierre Joseph Didier, who later sold her and her two young sons to Auguste Chouteau. Rose gave birth to Pierre and several other children while owned by Chouteau. After Chouteau's death, Edward Chouteau bought Pierre, later selling him to Therese Cerre Chouteau. Pierre declares that he is a free man, "first because his mother was born free, being a native of a British Province in which slavery was not tolerated, and secondly, because if his mother were born a slave, she became by her residence at Prairie du Chien a free person under the Ordinance of 1787." Pierre prays that he may be permitted to sue as a poor person against Therese Chouteau to recover his freedom. He also asks for reasonable liberty to attend court and counsel and protection from severe treatment or removal from the court's jurisdiction.

PAR Number 21184114

State: Missouri Year: 1841
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Armistead Lawless, a free person of color, owned real and personal estate in St. Louis, including three slaves. A mob attacked Lawless on 15 May 1832, destroying his property. Lawless fled to Illinois accompanied by Clayton Tiffin and Tiffin's attorney, George Strother, now deceased. They went to a justice of the peace and had papers drawn up, which gave Tiffin control of Lawless's property. Lawless, being illiterate and under mental stress, also signed a second unexplained document when instructed to do so. Tiffin convinced Lawless that his life was in danger and persuaded him to move to Canada, giving him a carriage and pistols. En route, Lawless decided not to leave Illinois and turned back. Tiffin and Samuel Merry took over Lawless's property in St. Louis, hiring out or selling the slaves and renting the property, from which they are now receiving proceeds. Lawless and his two tenants in common, John W. Paulding and Hugh Lackey, ask the court to appoint a receiver to manage the disputed property until the case is settled and to require Merry and Tiffin to account for their handling of Lawless's property since 1832. They also request that the court nullify the second document signed by Lawless, which the defendants claim is a deed of conveyance giving them full title to the property. Lawless, Paulding, and Lackey ask the court to order Tiffin and Merry "to deliver up possession and to execute a deed of conveyance and quit claim to your orators of said lots, tenements and property in said deed."

PAR Number 21184204

State: Missouri Year: 1842
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Rose, a woman of color, was born in Montreal around 1768. John Stock took Rose as a slave to Prairie du Chien in the Northwest Territory of the United States, where she remained with Stock until his death in 1794. In 1798, Auguste Chouteau purchased Rose and her two children, Benoist and Tuissaint. While Rose was in Chouteau's possession, she gave birth to several more children, including Pierre, the petitioner. Upon Chouteau's death, Pierre became the property of Chouteau's wife and then the property of Gabriel L. Chouteau. He petitions the court for permission to sue for his freedom because his mother was born free and "secondly because if his mother was born a slave, she became by her residence at Prarie Du Chein ... a free person."

PAR Number 21184302

State: Missouri Year: 1843
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Mary Charlotte, a woman of color, petitions on behalf of herself and her four children, Antoine, Augusta, Victorine and Euphrasia. She asserts that she is "entitled to freedom by being born of a Negresse named Rose, who herself was born at Montreal in Canada." She further avers that John Stork, an "Indian Trader," took Rose to Prairie du Chien in the Northwest Territory about 1791; two years later upon Stork's death, a trader named Andrew [Andre] Todd brought Rose to St. Louis and sold her to a priest named Didier. The petitioner submits that Didier later sold Rose to Auguste Chouteau, who has since died, and that Therese Chouteau, widow and executrix of Auguste Chouteau, held Rose and Rose's four children until her death a few months ago. Gabriel S. Chouteau, administrator of Therese Chouteau's estate, now claims them as slaves. Mary Charlotte asks to sue as a poor person for her and her children's freedom. She also asks the court to pass an order that she "have reasonable liberty to attend her Counsel and the Court and that she shall not be subjected to any severity on account of her application for freedom, nor be removed out of the jurisdiction of the Court." When the jury found for the defendant, Mary Charlotte's attorneys filed a motion for a new trial. The court overruled the motion, so Mary Charlotte appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. In 1848, the Supreme Court reversed the verdict and remanded the case for further proceedings. [A set of documents covering the proceedings in the second phase of the case (1853--1855) is attached to this petition. The circuit court transcript includes copies of this original 1843 petition, the judge's order, the subpoena for Gabriel Chouteau, sheriff's returns, and Chouteau's plea. The rest of the transcript documents the circuit court proceedings through the 1855 judgment of nonsuit. Mary Charlotte appealed the judgment, and the case went to the Missouri Supreme Court for the second time.]

PAR Number 21184310

State: Missouri Year: 1843
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Louis Chouteau, a man of color, represents that his mother Rose was born in Montreal, Canada. About 1791, "a certain John Storke, an Indian Trader," took Rose to his trading Post at Prairie du Chien in the Northwest Territory. Following Storke's death in 1793 or 1794, Andrew Todd brought Rose to St. Louis and sold her to Mr. Didier, a priest and curate of St. Louis. Didier eventually sold Rose to Auguste Chouteau. After Chouteau's death, his personal estate was sold, and Gabriel S. Chouteau bought Louis, whom he continues to hold as a slave. Louis Chouteau therefore prays "that he may be permitted to Sue as a poor person for the obtaining of his freedom, and that Your Honor will make an order that he have reasonable liberty to attend his Counsel and the Court, and that he shall not be subjected to any Severity on account of his application for freedom, nor be removed out of the Jurisdiction of the court."

PAR Number 21585808

State: Texas Year: 1858
Location: San Augustine Location Type: County

Abstract: Daniel, "a free person of African descent" facing expulsion from the state of Texas and "compelled therefore to choose between banishment and Slavery," asks to become the slave of B. M. Watson, a man he conceives "in every way fit to receive this gift of my freedom." Daniel explains that he has "compared as well as I could the probable condition of a free negro in any of the American States, with his condition in a State of Slavery- the result of that comparison has led me to prefer the latter alternative." He attests that his "condition has not been in any respect better, in many matters it has been worse" than the slaves with whom he lives and works. He asserts that "they for the most part have kind and indulgent masters, who take care of them in old age & in sickness ... and allow them to make crops for themselves; Of all these advantages I am deprived ... The object of life is happiness - Freedom is only useful when it tends to secure it. For my part I can only say that it has great terror for me as it robs me of my family & forces me from the spot to which I am so much attached If I only share the lot of other slaves around me I feel that I not only have not relinquished, but have gained an advantage by changing my condition." He adds that he does not wish "to bring ruin & misery to myself by going to the Northern states, where the laboring classes are equally Indigent & infinately more selfish & exclusive than the slaves here- I should be starved out or driven off to the Canadas."