Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 20184722

State: Alabama Year: 1847
Location: Mobile Location Type: County

Abstract: Margaret Collins, a free woman of color in her eighties, claims that her son, Joseph Collins, had an illegitimate child with his slave, Milly. Joseph gave the boy, named Edward, to Margaret, who in turn entrusted him to her daughter Louisa, wife of Benjamin Laurendine, and referred to as Madam Benjamin. Margaret and other family members treated Edward as a relative, but Louisa hired him out as a slave. After twenty years, Margaret Collins, complaining that she never intended the boy to be a slave, asks that Edward be returned to her and that an accounting of the money made from his hiring out be provided. Louisa Collins Laurendine, who has a sister named Isabel, is referred to as Isabella in parts of the documents.

PAR Number 20485202

State: District of Columbia Year: 1852
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Andrew Davis, a free man of color, seeks the resolution of a property dispute. Davis states that in October 1850, he was very ill and feared that he would die. His sister, Elizabeth Davis, persuaded him to execute a deed conveying the title of his property to her. Andrew Davis argues that the deed was executed with a verbal agreement that in the event of his recovery, the land would be conveyed back to him, or in the event of his death, the title would be given to his wife and heirs. The petitioner charges that Elizabeth Davis never paid any money for the property. However, she now claims ownership and refuses to restore his title to the land now that he has recovered. Andrew Davis seeks an injunction preventing his sister from selling the property and asks that the deed be canceled.

PAR Number 20486311

State: District of Columbia Year: 1863
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Keley Fisher, an elderly and infirm woman of color, states that her husband, Abram Fisher, deceased, bequeathed to her all of his real estate, which included a "Frame house and lot." The petitioner complains that her son, Thomas Fisher, fraudulently convinced her to convey the house and lot to Zephaniah Jones for $400. In return, Thomas Fisher promised to support the petitioner. Jones later conveyed the house and lot to John Harkness, who now rents it out. Fisher asserts that her son has neglected to provide any support for her and has refused to give her a share of the proceeds from the sale of the property. The petitioner requests that the deed of conveyance be canceled.

PAR Number 20486320

State: District of Columbia Year: 1863
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: Hannah Baltimore, a free woman of color, states that her husband, Thomas Baltimore, a free man of color, "is a man of violent habits, uncontrollable passions and dangerous to live with." The petitioner fears for her life. Hannah states that, in January 1863, Thomas "inflicted a severe wound on your Petitioner by cutting her head." She asks for a divorce "from the bed and board of the said Thomas Baltimore" as well as the custody and guardianship of her two children, Jeremiah and Charles.

PAR Number 20585717

State: Florida Year: 1857
Location: Escambia Location Type: County

Abstract: Catherine Llopis, a free person of color, seeks a divorce from her husband, Francis Llopis, because he "has wilfully, obstinately and continuously deserted your petitioner, furnishing no means of support for herself and children." She therefore "prays this Honorable Court to make a decree divorcing your petitioner from her said husband."

PAR Number 20783624

State: Kentucky Year: 1836
Location: Fayette Location Type: County

Abstract: William Tucker, a free man of color, claims that George Tucker, also a free man of color, owes him $1500. William allowed George three months in which no interest would accrue on said debt, provided George would mortgage all his property in Lexington to William. George did so, but neglected to date it "with the fraudulent intent that the said deed should be rendered invalid as against the creditors & subsequent purchases of the said deft." George has left Kentucky, and William asks the court to uphold the mortgage and to consider George's property in Lexington subject to his debt to William.

PAR Number 20783812

State: Kentucky Year: 1838
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: About 1830, Milly Stafford, a free black widow, married Israel Boston, a free man of color. They lived together for six years and had five children, two of whom survived. Milly claims that two years ago Israel left "with the intention of abandonment," making no provision for her or their children. Boston owned a small lot and house in Louisville, and he sold the front part of the lot before he left. Milly Boston asks the court to grant her a divorce and custody of the children, to restrain Israel from interfering with her or them, and to prevent Israel from selling the rest of the lot or the house, allowing her to enjoy it "as a means by which to rear and educate her children."

PAR Number 20784019

State: Kentucky Year: 1840
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Elizabeth Drummond, a free woman of color, states that Jeremiah Drummond, her late husband, desired that she “be free from the claims ... of all the world” and thereby emancipated her in his will. She further represents that said will stipulated that she be given several hundred dollars during her widowhood. Elizabeth claims that James Overstreet, the executor of her husband's will, has taken money from her and refuses to pay her the said legacy. She asks that the terms of the will be enforced.

PAR Number 20784713

State: Kentucky Year: 1847
Location: Boyle Location Type: County

Abstract: Permelia Russell, free woman of color, seeks a divorce from Willis, a former slave who was freed after the death of his owner, Robert Craddock. Permelia states Willis behaves towards her in a cruel and inhuman manner. After a two-week visit with her mother in Louisville, "she returned home, and to her great surprise found that the Deft had rented out their residence to a white family," and he "left [their furniture and clothing] in charge of the family." Permelia charges that the family refused to let her collect her possessions. She states Willis holds "about five thousand dollars worth of property," consisting of a house and lot in Danville, KY, worth $1,500; land in Casey, KY, worth $2,000; and other property worth $1,500. Permelia seeks alimony and support from Willis. [Five people gave depositions wherein they testified that they had lived with the Russells, were neighbors of the Russells, or had known one or both of them for a long period time. For these reasons, it was presumed that these individuals were free people of color.]

PAR Number 20785506

State: Kentucky Year: 1855
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Nancy Hitt, a free woman of color, states that she holds four notes against another free woman of color, Flora Dupuy. Citing that the first note is now past due, Hitt asks that the mortgages be foreclosed and the property be sold to pay the debt.

PAR Number 20880801

State: Louisiana Year: 1808
Location: Iberville Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Peter Belly presents to the court that, in 1804, he allowed Antoine de Buclois, also known as Debukeley or Dubuclet or Debucley, to become tenant of his plantation and to have possession of four of his slaves, James, Catherine, Emone, and Isabelle. He now wants de Buclois to leave the plantation and return the slaves. He claims that he has made frequent demands to that effect, but de Buclois has so far refused to comply. Belly therefore asks the court to direct de Buclois to deliver the plantation and the slaves to him and to pay the costs of suit [Related petitions indicate that Peter Belly and Antoine de Buclois, under the name Antoine Dubuclet, were free people of color].

PAR Number 20881214

State: Louisiana Year: 1812
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jims Rapelier, a free mulatto, has loaned Julien Bienville, also a free mulatto, the sum of $280. Rapelier now asks the court to compel Bienville to pay back the debt, plus interest due since March 1812 [Original in French].

PAR Number 20881413

State: Louisiana Year: 1814
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: The Attorney General, F. X. Martin, petitions on behalf of the State of Louisiana to detain and sell a slave named Harry. According to Martin, Harry was "unlawfully imported into this State ... on board the Schooner Constance." Martin "prays that a writ may issue directing the Sheriff to seize and detain said negro slave."

PAR Number 20881414

State: Louisiana Year: 1814
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Louis Astier, a free man of color, seeks to collect a debt from Louis Dussuau. According to Astier, Jacques Le Duf executed a promissory note promising “to pay to the order of Mr Louis Dussuau the sum of five hundred dollars for value received." Dussuau endorsed the note to one Louis Simon, who "before the said note became due," endorsed it to Astier. According to Astier, "Dussuau although often & amicably thereto required hath not paid ... the said five hundred dollars." Astier therefore asks the court to order the defendant to answer to the charges and pay the debt with interest.

PAR Number 20881458

State: Louisiana Year: 1814
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Foustin, a free woman of color, petitions the court for the return of her slave, Louise. Louise "was imported in this State at the time of the Emigration of the French from Cuba in the year eighteen hundred and nine" by Foustin and was never "in any way alienated and transferred." For over a year Louisa has been "in the possession of one Lucille a free negro woman who fraudulently pretends to keep her from your Petitioner." Although often requested to return the slave, Lucille refuses, "under false, fraudulent and frivolous pretences." Foustin asks the court Marie Adelaide Toustin, a free woman of color, petitions the court for the return of her sixteen-year-old slave named Louise. According to Toustin, she imported Louise "in this State at the time of the Emigration of the French from Cuba in the year eighteen hundred and nine" and never "in any way alienated and transferred" her. She claims that, for over a year, Louise has been "in the possession of one Lucille a free negro woman who fraudulently pretends to keep her from your Petitioner." Although often requested to return the slave, Lucille refuses, "under false, fraudulent and frivolous pretences." Toustin asks the court to order Lucille to return Louise and pay $200 in damages "for the fraud above mentioned." Related documents in the French language reveal that Toustin, while still in Cuba, may have sold Louise to a white woman named Suzanne Maurin [Morin], in order to pay for her passage to the United States. Several people claim to have witnessed the sale and report that Marie Adelaide (whom they refer to as Sanite or Sanitte) expressed on several occasions her satisfaction with the sale. A statement of facts also reveals that Maurin has recently sold Louise to Lucille. to order Lucille to return Louisa and pay $200 in damages "for the fraud above mentioned."

PAR Number 20881602

State: Louisiana Year: 1816
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marguerite Ové, a free woman of color of the island of St. Domingue, petitions to recover possession of her slaves. In 1803, Ové hired out a slave named Fanchine to Louis Gourgis at the rate of $6 per month. Gourgis brought Fanchine to Pointe Coupée Parish and "retained her in his employ" until his death, twelve years later. Ové claims that Fanchine and her five children are now being held by Arnaud Lartigue, Gourgis's executor, and by Catherine Raffé, a free woman of color. She contents that Lartigue and Raffé refuse to return the slaves to her. Therefore, Ové prays that her title to the slaves be recognized and that the defendants be made to pay $3,000 in damages plus costs of the suit.

PAR Number 20881807

State: Louisiana Year: 1818
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Julien, a free man of color, petitions to recover damages for property wrongfully taken from him. According to the petitioner, he was emancipated on the 26th of October 1816 under the condition that he would pay his master, Peter L'English, $20 per month and perform services when called upon. In the past year, L'English sued to "annul" Julien's emancipation. Julien received a verdict in his favor on appeal to the Supreme Court. Julien now states that a number of articles of property were "forcibly and violently" seized from him by two men of color named Dorestan and Valcour, and by another man named Lewis Rieux. Julien prays that the court hold these men liable for the value of the seized property, estimated at $700.

PAR Number 20881808

State: Louisiana Year: 1818
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Julien, a free man of color, petitions the court to have his emancipation recognized. Julien claims that he was emancipated on the 26th of October 1816 under the condition that he would pay his master, Peter L'English, $20 per month and perform services when called upon. Julien contends that he fulfilled his obligations until the 23rd of April 1818, when "he was forcibly put into the jail” and “inhumanely whipped." According to the jailer, a man named Valcour, claiming to be a relative of Peter L'English, had committed Julien. Julien prays that the court investigate the situation and recognize his right to freedom. He also asks that, until such time as judgment is rendered, he be placed in the protective custody of the Sheriff.

PAR Number 20881933

State: Louisiana Year: 1819
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Genevieve Sabal, a free woman of color, contends that the "ill treatments and bodly sufferings" she has received from her husband, a free man of color named Lion Menard, have rendered "their living together insupportable." She explains that Lion even "did repair" to the house of "Miss Emetile Gilbart" where she had taken refuge and "in violation of all rights" assaulted her and beat her. Genevieve Sabal Menard therefore prays for a separation of bed and board from her husband. She asks that Lion Menard "be enjoined from disturbing or troubling" her and that he be made to pay $15 per month in alimony to support her and her 13-month-old daughter during the "pendency" of the trial. She also asks the court's assistance in getting possession of her "wearing apparel," bed and bedding, and six chairs and a table.

PAR Number 20882018

State: Louisiana Year: 1820
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Beauregard, wife of Charles Barré, and Marie Therese Beauregard, both free women of color and the daughters of the late Antoine Conway, also a free person of color, pray the court for an account of the administration of their late father’s estate. They represent that, by his late will and testament, the late Conway instituted his two free daughters and a third daughter named Nannah, who is still a slave, as his heirs. Conway appointed John B. Mayorquin and Nicholas Mandeville as his daughters' tutor and the testamentary executors of his estate. Mayorquin and Mandeville took control of the estate and administered it “to a very large amount,” but “never rendered any account” of their administration. Marie and Marie Therese therefore pray that Mayorquin and Mandeville be cited to answer their suit and be required to render an account of their administration [A related petition reveals that Nicholas Mandeville and John B. Mayorquin were also free people of color].

PAR Number 20882021

State: Louisiana Year: 1820
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Agathe Dussuau, a free woman of color, petitions for a separation in property from her husband, Philipe Auguste Chavanne, a free man of color. Agathe Dussuau brought into the marriage a female mulatto slave named Louise and her two children, a boy named Souris and a girl named Francilette. At the time of the marriage, Souris was thirteen and Francilette was nine. After the marriage, Louise and her children were sold for $3,000 and a portion of the proceeds, namely $390, used to purchase another slave, a female named Fanny. Philipe Auguste Chavanne’s affairs are now in a state of “disorder” and he has been sued by a number of people. Fanny has been seized by the sheriff and advertised for sale to satisfy two of his creditors, Adelaide and Emelite Dussuau. Agathe fears that her husband’s estate will not be sufficient to satisfy her rights and claims. She therefore prays to be separated in property from him. She also asks that Adelaide and Emelite Dussuau be made party to the suit and that an injunction be issued “inhibiting” Fanny’s sale until her rights have been “established.”

PAR Number 20882129

State: Louisiana Year: 1821
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Lesassier, a free man of color, states that Louis Chaperon, also a free man of color, is justly indebted to him for $1,150. In 1819, Chaperon purchased a tract of land from Lesassier for $1,200, providing two promissory notes as payment. Since then, Chaperon has paid $50, leaving a balance of $1,150. Lesassier prays that Chaperon be adjudged to repay the debt with interest and that the tract of land "be seized & sold to satisfy the Judgment rendered herein.”

PAR Number 20882231

State: Louisiana Year: 1822
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Simien, a free woman of color, represents that Jacques Nicholas, also a free person of color, is indebted to her in the sum of $119 for "articles furnished" from 5 March 1818 through the end of the year 1821. The said articles include the hiring out, on several occasions, of Simien's slaves. She claims that she has "often and amicably demanded" payment of the said Nicholas, but he has consistently refused and continues to refuse to pay. Marie Simien prays that Nicholas be cited to appear before the court and condemned to pay the $119 he owes her, plus costs of suits, and "such other and further relief" to which she may be entitled.

PAR Number 20882307

State: Louisiana Year: 1823
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Josephe, a free woman of color, contends that François Grappe sold her four minor children “as his slaves” to one Magdelaine, the daughter of a free woman of color named Pelagie. Marie Josephe notes that, at the time of her birth, her mother had been enjoying “her freedom from ten consecutive years in presence” of Grappe. In addition, Marie Josephe has “enjoyed her freedom in good faith believing she was free” since the “day of her maturity.” Therefore, she claims that her children were “all born free.” To further support her case, Marie Josephe informs the court that Grappe “never considered” her children “as his slaves” and “never paid taxes for them.” Marie Josephe asks the court to cancel the sale and to reaffirm her children’s free status.

PAR Number 20882308

State: Louisiana Year: 1823
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Celeste, a free woman of color, writes that François Grappe illegally sold her son Louis as a slave to a free woman of color named Amelie. She argues that she and her son are free, and she that, at the time of her birth, her mother had been enjoying “her freedom in good faith more than ten consecutive years in presence” of Grappe. To further support her claim, Celeste informs the court that Grappe “never paid taxes” for her son. Celeste prays for the sale of Louis to be canceled and for the court to recognize that Louis is “free as in fact he is.”

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