Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11283304

State: North Carolina Year: 1833
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-five residents of Fayetteville support the application of Daniel and Mary Sutherland to the General Assembly "for an act of emancipation" for Thomas, the property of said Sutherlands. The petitioners avow that said Thomas "justly maintains the reputation of an honest & faithful Servant" and that he has been "an exemplary member" of the Methodist Episcopal church of Fayetteville "for a number of years."

PAR Number 11283402

State: North Carolina Year: 1834
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: Abraham Hammer seeks to emancipate Edee, a slave who "has always sustained the character of a faithful trusty and meritorious Servant." Hammer, "a member of a religious Society whose doctrine forbids its members to own Slaves," reveals that "the father and mother and all the brothers and sisters of said slave reside in Randolph County on which account she is unwilling to go to another State or Country where slavery is not permitted." The petitioner, along with twenty-two other residents of Randolph County, therefore prays that Edee be emancipated and that she be permitted "to remain in this State."

PAR Number 11283405

State: North Carolina Year: 1834
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Considering it the duty of government to permit the education of every class of citizen, the Quakers petition the "General Assembly to repeal all those laws, enacted by preceding Legislatures of this State, against the literary instruction of Slaves, making it a finable offence for any to be found teaching them to read." They also request the repeal of a recently enacted law that prohibits "all coloured persons in this State, bond or free, upon the penalty of corporal punishment, from public preaching, exhorting, &c. in their Respective Congregations of Societies." The Quakers purport that if said laws are not repealed "the difficulties and danger they were intended to prevent" will increase.

PAR Number 11285405

State: North Carolina Year: 1854
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: John Cook represents that "he is the owner of certain Slaves named Handy, Polly, & Louisa, formerly the property of Archibald McLauchlin." He further states that the said Handy raised "a sufficient sum to purchase himself, his wife Polly & daughter Louisa with a view to their ... emancipation." Describing the family as "sober humble upright industrious & good persons & of consistent character," the petitioner therefore prays "that an act may be passed by your Honorable body emancipating said slaves Handy & his wife Polly & daughter Louisa."

PAR Number 11285412

State: North Carolina Year: 1854
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventeen residents of Cumberland County seek to emancipate Thomas Malett, a fifty-three-year-old slave; six of said residents are the joint owners of the said slave. The petitioners aver that Thomas is "an exemplary member of the Church--He is Carpenter by trade, strictly upright & honest in all his dealings--and has ever evinced fidelity towards his owners." They therefore pray "your Honorable body to extend to the said Thomas Malett, the high [privilege] of Emancipation."

PAR Number 11285706

State: North Carolina Year: 1857
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: The Raleigh Baptist Association seeks to halt the peddling of liquor at sales, musters, "tax gatherings," and elections. The petitioners assert that the legislation requiring a license for the sale of liquor is inadequate. They believe that "the evil cannot be reached by the usual methods of abating nuisances and grievances, for the visits of these offenders to any particular neighborhood are generally transient, consequently no person feels himself sufficiently aggrieved or called upon to present them to the Grand Jury, and in this way these itinerant venders of circulating poison, which they introduce into all the veins and arteries of society, stopping at every crossroad and every gathering, stopping man, boy and slave, selling them in every quantity from gallons to drams, enjoy an impunity from punishment which is inflicted upon licensed Retailers for violations of their license." The petitioners therefore pray that the legislature will take "the foregoing into consideration."

PAR Number 11285804

State: North Carolina Year: 1858
Location: Mecklenburg Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-three Mecklenburg County residents disclose that "they are greatly annoyed at our Churches in the Country with Dogs." Reporting that "a great many persons will bring their dogs with them to the House of worship,” the petitioners "think the House of God no place for dogs." They therefore "pray your honors to pass some act of law that we may be cleared of the annoyance." They suggest that "every white male or female" be fined five dollars for every offense and "colored free persons & slaves" receive "thirty nine lashes on their bare backs."

PAR Number 11286601

State: North Carolina Year: 1866
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Six representatives of the Colored Baptist Church of Raleigh, with its "membership of 300," seek permission to use state property to erect a church for freed people. They report that "for many years, we have been, as we are now, accustomed to worship in the basement of the Baptist Church, when not occupied by the white members, and we have long felt the necessity of a seperate house of Worship but the exceeding liberality and kindness of the white bretheren, in connection with our poverty, has induced us to adapt ourselves to the situation without complaint." However, "under the new order of Events, by which we have been freed from Slavery We feel satisfied that our religious enjoyment, and usefulness as a Church of Christ, would be greatly promoted, by having a separate organisation and distinct house of Worship."

PAR Number 11380108

State: South Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Seven members of "the Charleston Baptist Association" seek the revision of a recent law passed "for the better Governing of Negroes and other Persons of Colour." The petitioners argue that the law infringes on "the Religious Rights and Privileges of Churches and Citizens of this State ... by laying on them Restrictions, respecting the Time and Manner of giving religious Instruction to the Persons whose Situation is contemplated in the Act." They purport that "there is great Reason to fear, that by the aforesaid severe Restrictions, imposed in this Act, it will have a strong indirect Tendency to produce the Evil it was designed to prevent; by making that Class, of the religious Negroes, who value religious Privileges, feel unhappy, and consider themselves oppressed;” in addition, it may expose them “to the Danger of Seduction, from the Acts of those who plan Schemes of Mischief.” The petitioners wish to do nothing that might "destroy the Foundations of Peace and social Order," but they ask that the law be revised "to leave their religious liberties unimpaired."

PAR Number 11380201

State: South Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Twenty-nine "Members of the Charleston Baptist Association" seek the revision of a recent law passed "for the better governing of negroes and other persons of color." The petitioners argue that the law infringes "upon the religious rights and privileges of churches and citizens of this state ... by the restrictions it lays on them, respecting the time and manner of giving religious instruction, to the persons whose situation is contemplated in the act." They purport that "there is great reason to fear, that by the aforesaid severe restrictions imposed in this act, it will have a strong indirect tendency to produce the evil it was designed to prevent; by making that class of the negroes who value religious privileges, and are disposed to support good principles, feel unhappy, and consider themselves oppressed;” in addition, it may expose them “to the danger of seduction, from the acts of those who plan schemes of mischief.” The petitioners wish to do nothing that might "destroy the foundations of peace and social order," but they ask that the law be revised "to leave their religious liberties unimpaired."

PAR Number 11380204

State: South Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thirty "Members of the Charleston Baptist Association" seek the revision of a recent law passed "for the better governing of negroes and other persons of color." The petitioners argue that the law infringes "upon the religious rights and privileges of churches and citizens of this state ... by the restrictions it lays on them, respecting the time and manner of giving religious instruction, to the persons whose situation is contemplated in the act." They purport that "there is great reason to fear, that by the aforesaid severe restrictions imposed in this act, it will have a strong indirect tendency to produce the evil it was designed to prevent; by making that class of the negroes who value religious privileges, and are disposed to support good principles, feel unhappy, and consider themselves oppressed;” in addition, it may expose them “to the danger of seduction, from the acts of those who plan schemes of mischief.” The petitioners wish to do nothing that might "destroy the foundations of peace and social order," but they ask that the law be revised "to leave their religious liberties unimpaired."

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 11381206

State: South Carolina Year: 1812
Location: St. Bartholomew Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thirty-one "of the Vestry, Church Wardens, & Parishioners, of the Episcopal Church of the Parish of Saint Bartholomew" recall that, in 1761, "the Rector and Church Wardens, with the consent of the Vestry, sold the Glebe Land ... and with the monies arising therefrom purchased several negro slaves who with their increase were kept for the use of the Rector" or for hiring out. They report that, "in the year 1802, there then being no Rector or Parson of the Church," the church officials, "finding the negro slaves, to be inconvenient, unsuitable, and unproductive property" sold most of them at public auction. The petitioners therefore pray that the proceeds from said sale and the interest arising therefrom "be vested absolutely" in them "for the use of the said Church, and be subject in like manner with their other Funds, to their control."

PAR Number 11381729

State: South Carolina Year: 1817
Location: Charleston Location Type: District

Abstract: Twenty-six "free persons of color, attached to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, called Zion" are joined by thirty-four white supporters, including pastors of several Charleston congregations, in seeking permission to worship in their recently erected church. The petitioners declare that they are desirous "to open said building for the purposes of Divine worship, from the rising of the sun, until the going down of the same, under the following regulations." They propose that the church doors "shall always remain open, and that all white ministers of the Gospel of every denomination shall be respectfully invited to officiate in the said Church; ... that no minister of color, who does not reside in this State shall officiate for the said congregation nor shall any slave be admitted a member thereof without the approbation of his or her owner, nor shall any person, who is a member of any other religious Society be admitted into the same, without a recommendation from the minister of such Society, and (if a slave) the written permission of his or her owner." They further assert that "every exertion will be used by your Petitioners to preserve the utmost order and decorum in the said congregation, to inform against all evilly designed persons of color" and bring them to justice. The petitioners, avowing no "other wish or design, than to worship the omnipotent ruler of the Universe in spirit and in truth," therefore pray that "their Petition be granted."

PAR Number 11383401

State: South Carolina Year: 1834
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Eighteen ministers and church officials from St. Philip and St. Michael's Parishes seek revision of the 1800 and 1803 laws requiring "a majority" of whites to be present at religious services for people of color after sunset. For thirty years, the minister’s note, people of color have had the privilege of religious instruction after sunset, subject only to regulations by the Charleston City Council. Like other statutes passed during crises, the laws governing white attendance at worship gatherings at night are "virtually obsolete" in every part of the state. The petitioners ask that religious gatherings of people of color be governed by the City Council, "whose local knowledge, personal interest, and immediate responsibility, would seem to secure all desirable vigilance and efficiency in the execution of the laws on this subject."

PAR Number 11383603

State: South Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Moses Irvin, a seventy-five-year-old free person of color emancipated for his "faithful services" during the Revolutionary War, seeks to free his wife Harriet and the "two children, which she has born him." Representing that both he and Harriet, whom he purchased, "are far advanced in years," the petitioner "is rendered very unhappy by the situation of his children, who are the persons that he would leave what little he has to, but who are in danger of being seized after his death as vacant property - and confiscated for the use of the State." He therefore "humbly asks your attention to his appeal to your humanity" and "prays that you would be pleased to sanction his children's freedom by allowing them to follow the condition of their father."

PAR Number 11480903

State: Tennessee Year: 1808
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A memorial from the quarterly meeting of the Society of Friends in Jefferson County states that "the most prominent evil which at this time seems to claim our serious attention & consideration, is the subject of slavery" and that "to this subject we beg leave to call your particular attention, desiring that you would exercise your judgment on endeavouring to do away [with] some or all of that innumerable evils interwoven therewith." They further argue that "more effectual" means are needed to stop "the introduction of slaves into this state," not only by "negro traders, but also by those who may remove here," as they believe "that every instance of a slave being brought into the state is adding to the already enormous evil & that such penal laws might be passed as would effectually prevent any more being brought in under any pretext whatever."

PAR Number 11583810

State: Texas Year: 1838
Location: Red River Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-seven petitioners "do pray that the said Edmund J Carter may be entitled to the privilege of Citizen Ship the same being a free born man of Color for which we ever submit to your honorable Body."

PAR Number 11677806

State: Virginia Year: 1778
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Twelve members of the Anglican Church seek to control “some of the Dissenters from the Church by Law established” who minister to slave gatherings at night. The petitioners contend that these "meetings in the night of our slaves to receive the instructions of teachers without our Consent we apprehend could produce nothing but Deeds of darkness & which have already produced their proper fruits of disobedience & insolence to Masters." They therefore pray "that the Church may be maintained in all its legal rights" and that "some regulation may be adopted to make the Clergy of the established Church accountable for their conduct & be removed upon their misbehaviour."

PAR Number 11677901

State: Virginia Year: 1779
Location: Essex Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred sixty-five residents of Essex County oppose a bill for religious freedom, considering it "as very injurious to the Christian Religion." They therefore ask that "Licentious and Itinerant Preachers" be forbidden from holding meetings with slaves; that all ministers be required to have a place of worship; that "no Insults or interruptions be suffered to any Christian Congregation assembled at proper times for Worship"; and "that no doctrine be permited to be preached which may tend to subvert Government of disturb Civil Society."

PAR Number 11678004

State: Virginia Year: 1780

Abstract: James Ladd and "sundry Members of the Society of People called Quakers" avow that "Freedom was the natural Right of all mankind, and that they had no equitable Title to the Persons and Labour of their Fellow Creatures without any Consideration therefor" whereby they "prohibited their Members several years ago from purchasing any Slaves." Stating that it is difficult to emancipate slaves, Ladd argues against the estate executors detaining slaves that have been manumitted and selling estate slaves "without making application to the Assembly for an act to confirm their Freedom as expressly directed by the Will" of their testators.

PAR Number 11679503

State: Virginia Year: 1795
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Four hundred twenty-six inhabitants of Halifax County complain "that under an Act of Assembly passed in the Year 1784 a Sale was made of Glebe Lands of the Episcopal Church ... and the money arising therefrom most improperly and unjustly as we conceive was applied to the Purchase of another Glebe, sundry slaves &c." Charging that the Revolution should have ended the involuntary contributions by Christian sects to a single church, the petitioners ask that the money be used “for the general Benefit” of the county's inhabitants.

PAR Number 11679504

State: Virginia Year: 1795
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred inhabitants of Halifax County complain "that under an Act of Assembly passed in the Year 1784 a Sale was made of Glebe lands of the episcopal Church ... and the money arising therefrom most improperly and unjustly as we conceive was applied to the Purchase of another Glebe, sundry slaves &c." Charging that the Revolution should have ended the involuntary contributions by Christian sects to a single church, the petitioners ask that the money be used “for the general benefit” of the county's inhabitants.

PAR Number 11679505

State: Virginia Year: 1795
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-four inhabitants of Halifax County complain "that under an act of assembly passed in the Year 1784 a Sale was made of Glebe Lands of the episcopal church ... and the money arising therefrom most improperly and unjustly as we conceive was applied to the Purchase of another Glebe, sundry slaves &c." Charging that the Revolution should have ended the involuntary contributions by Christian sects to a single church, the petitioners ask that the money be used “for the general Benefit” of the county's inhabitants.

PAR Number 11679506

State: Virginia Year: 1795
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-nine inhabitants of Halifax County complain "that under an Act of Assembly passed in the Year 1784 a Sale was made of Glebe Lands of the Episcopal Church ... and the money arising therefrom most improperly and unjustly as we conceive was applied to the Purchase of another Glebe, sundry slaves &c." Charging that the Revolution should have ended the involuntary contributions by Christian sects to a single church, the petitioners ask that the money be used “for the general Benefit” of the county's inhabitants.

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