Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 20882406

State: Louisiana Year: 1824
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Eulalie Simon and her husband, Michel Papillon, free people of color, petition to recover a debt from Charles Simon, also a free person of color. Charles borrowed $716.14 from Eulalie on 22 November 1822, providing a mortgage on a tract of land in the "Grand Prairie of Opelousas" as security. While Charles has paid one installment of the debt, he has "wholly refused to pay" the remaining $616.14. Therefore, Eulalie asks that Charles be condemned to repay the debt and that the mortgaged land be seized and sold to satisfy the debt.

PAR Number 20882514

State: Louisiana Year: 1825
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Rosalie, Annette, and Jean François Masse, free people of color, seek to obtain the property of their late sister, Magdeline Masse, a free woman of color and the widow of Etienne Seme. The petitioners aver that Magdeline died in September 1824 possessed of a large property, including developed land and slaves. They believe that, as the “nearest heirs and legal representatives,” they are entitled to the estate. However, five people of color named Pierre, Louis, Esope, Jean Louis, and Marie Louise have “wrongfully claimed possession” of the estate. The petitioners believe that Esope, Jean Louis, and Marie Louise “are really slaves for life, altho' they pretend to be free.” The petitioners pray that Pierre and Louis, free men of color, be compelled by the court to “deliver up” the estate to them, the rightful heirs, and to pay $500 damages. In addition, they pray that Pierre and Louis be “injoined and inhibited from committing any waste or damage or doing any injury whatever to the said tract of land.”

PAR Number 20882529

State: Louisiana Year: 1825
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Lise Prevost, a free woman of color also known as Eliza Prevost, seeks $2,000 in damages from a free man of color named François Birott. Prevost represents that Birott, a recently widowed man “induced by the feelings of nature not any longer to live without a helpmate,” promised to marry her “as soon as it would conform to the holy catholic religion.” Accordingly, Prevost and Birott sealed the promise with a binding agreement signed before a Justice of the Peace in New Orleans on the 23rd of June 1823. Birott promised that, until the time when they could be married before the church, he would treat Prevost as “a loving wife.” On the strength of such promise, Prevost remained unmarried, waiting for Birott. The latter, however, did not wait for Prevost; in 1824, he married a woman named Guillory. Prevost claims that Birott agreed to marry her “intending craftily and subtly to deceive and injure” her and she charges that the breach of promise has caused her to sustain $2,000 in damages. She seeks an order directing Birott to pay the damages.

PAR Number 20882606

State: Louisiana Year: 1826
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Zenon Victor, a free man of color, presents to the court that Eugène Ladner, also a free man of color, is indebted to him in the sum of $256. The debt arose from a thirty-day promissory note subscribed by Ladner to Victor in the amount of $100 and the purchase by Ladner of miscellaneous items worth $156. Victor claims that Ladner, who does not reside in Louisiana but owns property in the state, has consistently "refused and neglected" to pay the debt, and continues to do so. Victor therefore asks the court to issue a writ of attachment on the "moveable and unmoveable property, debts rights, and credits" belonging to Ladner in the jurisdiction of the court. He also asks that Ladner be condemned to pay the debt with interests and cost [Original in English and French].

PAR Number 20882708

State: Louisiana Year: 1827
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Baptiste Guillory, a free man of color, writes that François Simien, also a free man of color, owes him $82.77 that is past due. Guillory asks the court to compel payment with interest.

PAR Number 20882721

State: Louisiana Year: 1827
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Frisby Freeland, a free man of color, writes that he recently purchased a plot of land from Pulcherie Casson, a free woman of color. When the plot measured after the sale, it was found that the actual size was less than agreed upon with Casson. Freeland therefore prays for a reduction in the price of the land in the amount of $240.

PAR Number 20882803

State: Louisiana Year: 1828
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Pierre and Louis, free men of color, seek an injunction against a writ of possession executed against them by Rosalie and Jean François Masse, also free people of color. The petitioners claim that they are two of the legatees of the late Magdelaine Masse, a woman of color. By the terms of a judgment rendered in 1827, the Masses recovered "only two undivided third parts of the tracts of land and cattle given" to them "by the testament of Magdelaine Masse." The land remains undivided and the petitioners have been living on it for some time. The petitioners explain that "writ of possession has lately been issued" against them, "in & by which the sheriff of the parish of St. Landry has been ordered to put the said Rosalie and Jean François in possession of the property." The petitioners claim that they "run the danger of being compelled to depart from a tract of land of which a third part belongs to them." They pray that the writ be deemed "illegal and void" and that the defendants pay them $500 in damages. In addition, they pray that the defendants be enjoined from bringing further proceedings against them. A related document reveals that the late Magdelaine Masse was married to a man named Etienne Sem Fuselier, and that the couple had adopted Fuselier's "natural" son named Pierre Esope Sem. Pierre Esope Sem intervenes into the case, claiming to be the only legitimate heir.

PAR Number 20882808

State: Louisiana Year: 1828
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Victorine Ledeé, a free man of color, seeks a divorce from his wife, Honorine Matté, a free woman of color. Ledeé represents that he has been married to Honorine for five or six years and, during that time, he has "always conducted himself with property" and furnished his wife with "all those necessaties which his limited means would permit." However, in the past six months, Honorine has repeatedly committed adultery with "many different men and particularly with François Simien also a free man of color." On these grounds, Ledeé seeks a divorce and custody of the couple's two minor children.

PAR Number 20882813

State: Louisiana Year: 1828
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marianne Pijeaux, a free woman of color, and her husband, George Lecesne, a free man of color, seek to regain possession of a slave named Jemmia. Marianne claims that she inherited $1,576 from the estate of her late mother, Marianne Ducoudreaux, a free woman of color. In 1823, Lecesne used part of his wife's money to buy a slave named Jemmia, also known as Miami, from Abner Robinson of Richmond, Virginia. Since the purchase, Lecesne has become insolvent and in 1827 the court granted Marianne a separation of property. By this judgment, Jemmia was "tacitly mortgaged in favor of" Marianne "for the reimbursement of the sums." Now, Jemmia is in the illegal possession of Marie Louise Beard, a free woman of color, who refuses "to give up the said slave to be sold" so that Marianne can be "paid with the proceeds thereof." Marianne prays that Beard be ordered to return the slave "and that the same be sold at public auction" [Original in English and French; French version incomplete].

PAR Number 20882913

State: Louisiana Year: 1829
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Baptiste Guillory, a free man of color, seeks a divorce from his wife, Marguerite Carabaillo, a free woman of color. Guillory asserts that, though he has always been "a good and affectionate husband," Marguerite "has been guilty of repeated acts of adultery with different persons and particularly with a coloured & married man named George Simien." Jean Baptiste claims that Marguerite abandoned him and their five children about six months ago and has continued to commit adultery since then. Guillory prays for a divorce from Marguerite "& that he & she may be placed in the same situation as tho' no marriage had ever been contracted between them." In addition, he prays for custody of the children as his wife "has proven herself unworthy of Keeping & raising them."

PAR Number 20882915

State: Louisiana Year: 1829
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Hubau Ricard, authorized by her husband Agricole Ricard, presents to the court that, as one of the heirs of the late Françoise Bienville, she became the owner "in her own right" of a tract of land measuring "two arpents front on the river Mississippi river with the usual depth of forty." She claims that a certain Charles Hubeau has taken "illegal and forcible" possession of the land and has, for the last two years, occupied it, cultivated it, and reaped its "fruits" without paying any rent. The Ricards, Françoise Bienville, and Charles Hubeau are free people of color. Marie Ricard prays that the title and rights of property to the land be decreed vested in her and that Hubeau be directed to give up possession of it. In addition, she asks that Hubeau be condemned to pay her two years' worth of rent at the rate of $100 per annum.

PAR Number 20882922

State: Louisiana Year: 1829
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Isabella Hawkins, a free woman of color, seeks to collect a debt from Sarah Moore, a free woman of color. Hawkins asserts that Moore owes her $136.50. In payment of the debt, Moore gave Hawkins a slave named Polly, who has now been seized by the sheriff. Hawkins prays "that the slave Polly may be attached & detained by the aforesaid Sheriff-- together with such other goods & chattels & rights & crops as may be found in the parish of Point Coupee, belonging to said Sarah Moore, or so much thereof as will be sufficient to satisfy petitioners demand and costs of suit."

PAR Number 20882935

State: Louisiana Year: 1829
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Agricole Ricard, a free man of color, presents to the court that he is the "lawful owner and proprietor" of a tract of land, which is being "forcibly and illegally" held by Charles Hubeau, also a free man of color. He further presents that he purchased the land in 1824 and made a "verbal agreement" to sell it to Charles Hubeau in 1827 for $600. However, Hubeau has not paid him, although "amicably" asked to do so. Ricard therefore wants Hubeau to rescind the agreement and give up his possession of the land. Ricard asks the court to order that the agreement be dissolved and the land declared vested in him. He also prays for $150 in interest and damages from Hubeau.

PAR Number 20883116

State: Louisiana Year: 1831
Location: Iberville Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Antoine Lacour, a free man of color, charges that Valery Landry shot his two horses, killing one and disabling the other. He represents that, since his horses were "employed and occupied" in the operation of his cotton gin, he is now deprived of his ability to gather his cotton and is therefore entitled to $500 in damages.

PAR Number 20883119

State: Louisiana Year: 1831
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Fanchonette, a free woman of color, presents to the court that Isabella Hawkins, also a free woman of color, has illegally taken possession of her two calves, had them branded with the letter "IH," and marked with "crosses and slits" in the right ear, all of which "under the pretense of laying claim" to the said calves. Fanchonette, who alleges that she is the "true and only legal owner & proprietor" of the two eighteen-month-old black and white calves, assesses the value of her loss at $55 and is seeking the court's help in recovering damages in that amount from Isabella Hawkins.

PAR Number 20883205

State: Louisiana Year: 1832
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Claire Décuir, a free woman of color, represents that, upon marrying Louis Severin in 1820, she entered into a marriage contract that stipulated that all her property, “present & future,” should be considered “dotal.” She claims that, at the time of the marriage, she was possessed of fifteen slaves, a plantation, cattle, and personal property, altogether valued at $4,868. She has, since that time, inherited another $38,200 from Joseph Décuir. Claire Décuir Severin now contends that her husband has sold her plantation, and the state of his affairs is such that her entire dowry is in jeopardy. She therefore prays for a judgment against her husband to recover the full value of her dowry, which amounts to $43,068, and for a separation of property from her husband.

PAR Number 20883208

State: Louisiana Year: 1832
Location: Iberville Location Type: Parish

Abstract: The petitioner is a free woman of color named Telcide Ricard, a minor over the age of puberty. She is assisted in her suit by her curators and by the tutrix of her two minor siblings, all free people of color. The petitioners present to the court that, prior to her death, Telcide's mother, Marie Louise Cléotilde Ricard, and Augustin Borie, one of her curators, became the "common" owners of four slaves, whom they purchased with a promissory note and secured with a mortgage on three of the slaves. The petitioners further present that, on the 6th of April 1831, one Sebastien Hiriart obtained a judgment against Augustin Borie, claiming that he was the owner of the promissory note and entitled to the "privilege of mortgage on the three slaves." As a result of this proceeding, a levy was issued and the sheriff has seized the slaves and is making ready to sell them. The petitioners allege that the note held by Hiriart is fraudulent and that the initial promissory note has long been "fully paid settled & extinguished." They claim that, as heirs of the late Marie Louise Cléotilde Ricard, Telcide, Paul, and Marie Louise Ricard are the owners of the slaves together with Augustin Borie. The petitioners therefore ask the court to stay all further proceedings and issue a perpetual injunction, and to declare that the note has been "extinguished."

PAR Number 20883215

State: Louisiana Year: 1832
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Clarice Rillieux seeks to be separated in property from her husband, François St. Fort Dussuau. Clarice represents that, at the time of her marriage to St. Fort Dussuau, she owned a female slave named Adelaïde, who has since given birth to six children. She has also received, since her marriage, a share in her late father’s plantation. She now claims that her husband’s affairs are in the “greatest disorder” and he has applied for a court-ordered “surrender of his property,” all of which has “induced her to believe that his estate may not be sufficient to meet her rights and claims.” She therefore prays for an order condemning her husband to put her in possession of her slaves and to pay her “by privilege” the sum of $21,200, plus costs of suit [Related petitions indicate that Clarice Rillieux and St. Fort Dussuau were free people of color].

PAR Number 20883305

State: Louisiana Year: 1833
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Everiste Lemaitre, a free man of color, represents that Philippe Ross and Marie Louise Genty, free people of color, illegally detain a quantity of household furniture and other moveable property that belong to him. Everiste seeks restoration of the property or its monetary value. He also requests $100 in damages and sequestration of the property in dispute “during the pendency” of the suit.

PAR Number 20883313

State: Louisiana Year: 1833
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Cyrille Chevalier, a free man of color, presents to the court that Joseph Fondale, also a free man of color, is "justly & truly endebted" to him in the sum of $107.91, which he has "neglected & refused" to pay, although "frequently & amicably" asked to do so. Chevalier asks the court to order Fondale to pay his debt plus interest [Original in French and English].

PAR Number 20883513

State: Louisiana Year: 1835
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Siméon Trichel, a free man of color, petitions to recover a portion of land illegally claimed by Honoré Grappe. According to Trichel, he purchased a tract of land containing over 159 acres from the United States. However, Grappe has “taken and retains possession of a part of said tract” upon which he has erected a fence to Trichel's injury. Trichel prays for a judgment ordering Grappe to “deliver to him possession of the land” and pay $500 for damages. A related document reveals that Grappe was also a free man of color.

PAR Number 20883605

State: Louisiana Year: 1836
Location: East Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Ann Mather, a free woman of color, seeks a separation of bed and board from her husband, St. Luke Bienville. Ann represents that, since her 1822 marriage to Bienville, she has conducted herself as “a faithful dutiful and affectionate wife” and has gained the good opinion of her “friends & neighbors.” Yet, her husband has treated her cruelly, beating her and refusing to feed her and their four children, Eliza, Hannah, Josephine, and Armand. According to Ann, St. Luke Bienville has been guilty of such excesses that, in spite of her “patience & forbearance,” their living together has become “impossible & insupportable,” and she has sought refuge at the house of her sister, Christine Mather. Ann therefore prays for a “separation from bed and board” from her husband, for custody of her children, and for alimony during the duration of the suit. She also seeks a separation of property in order to recover two lots of ground, one of which she received as a gift from her mother and the other she paid for out of her “paraphernal & separate property."

PAR Number 20883729

State: Louisiana Year: 1837
Location: West Feliciana Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Mary Ann Brittion, a free woman of color, petitions to recover $800 from George Brittion, also a free person of color. Mary Ann represents that, in 1836, she appointed George as her “agent & attorney in fact” and authorized him to sell her twenty-two-year-old slave named Priscilla for the sum of $800. According to Mary Ann, George executed the sale at the agreed-upon price and pocketed the money, failing to turn it over even though “amicably & repeatedly requested so to do.” In addition, Mary Ann claims that George has left the state, “never again to return.” She therefore asks for a writ of seizure and sale of George’s property and for an order commanding him to pay her the debt of $800 plus “interest from Judicial demand,” and costs of suit.

PAR Number 20883811

State: Louisiana Year: 1838
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: François Jean, a free man of color also known as François Jean Florentin, petitions to recover a debt from Henri Giron, also a free man of color. François Jean represents that, on the 13th of November 1837, Giron executed an obligation in the amount of “seventy dollars & seven bits & an half" in payment of a debt. François Jean contends that, although the debt has long been due and payment has been amicably demanded, Giron “refuses & neglects” to pay. François Jean therefore asks the court to condemn Giron to pay the debt with interest from “judicial” demand.

PAR Number 20883818

State: Louisiana Year: 1838
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Jean Baptiste Cécile, a free man of color, seeks to cancel the sale of his two slaves to a free woman of color named Augustine Saint Denis. Cécile represents that Saint Denis, aided and abetted by her slave named Cyprienne [Cyprien], a "statu libri" believed to be her husband, had cheated him out of his two slaves. He charges that, while he was intoxicated on the night of the 4th of April 1838, Saint Denis induced him to sell his two slaves to her, Henry and Mary, by representing to him that he could thus avoid seizure of the slaves by his creditors. According to Cécile, Saint Denis led him to believe that, after the sale, he could retain possession of the slaves and, to seal the deal, a lease was signed by which he agreed to pay Saint Denis a monthly fee for the services of the two slaves and Saint Denis gave him a will whereby she bequeathed the two slaves to him in case of her death. The day after the sale, Cécile became “sensible of his error” and tried to cancel the sale. Saint Denis agreed to do so, but asked that the matter be allowed to stand a few days. However, Saint Denis never cancelled the sale. Instead, she took possession of the slaves for whom she had never paid Cécile the purchase price of $1,100. Cécile therefore seeks an order declaring the sale null and void and decreeing him the owner of the slaves. A number of related documents reveal that Cécile was indeed near insolvency and that he and Saint Denis had concocted a plan to avoid seizure of his property by creditors, but that Saint Denis had then carried the plan one step further by defrauding her own accomplice.

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