Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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Your subject search returned 13 total results.

PAR Number 11082401

State: Mississippi Year: 1824
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Andrew Barland, the son of a white man by a woman of mixed race, was given a good education by his father as well as some property. He states, that, having married into "a respectable white family," he has always been received and treated as a white man. Furthermore, he has served as a juror, given testimony in court, voted, and "enjoyed all the privileges of a free white Citizen." Recently, howerver, a controversy has arisen in a court case when one Joseph Hawk called into question whether Barland, a man of color, should be allowed to testify. Barland writes to the legislature that "his education, his habits, his principles, and his society are all identified with your views." Barland notes that he owns slaves and therefore "can know no other interest than that which is common to the white population." He asks, therefore, that the state "extend to your petitioner such privileges as his countrymen may think him worthy to possess."

PAR Number 11683519

State: Virginia Year: 1835
Location: Prince William Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1834, deputy sheriff Basil Brawner sold William Hyden, who had been jailed as a runaway slave, to one Robert Lipscomb acting as the agent of an unnamed slave trader. When the unnamed trader finally came to town to take a look at Hdyden, he refused to pay. Brawner then asked Colonel James Fewell, a slave trader on his way to Fredericksburg and Richmond, to sell Hyden. Fewell offered Hyden for sale in both locations but to no avail, all interested buyers refusing "to purchase him at any price, on account of his colour all alledging that he was too white." Hyden was returned to Brawner, who later tried to sell him on a court day in Brentsville, but again the several traders present refused "to make any offer for him, alledging that his colour was too light and that he could by reason thereof too easily escape from slavery and pass himself for a free man." As it happened, Hyden did escape, and Brawner now seeks compensation for the "expense that arose from aprehension, confinement, advertising &c." Robert Lipscomb is unable to pay the $452 he bid for Hyden, Brawner argues, and former sheriff Michael Cleary "now stands charged on the books of the Auditor of Public accounts with a large sum of Money which your petitioner will be compelled to pay unless your Honorable body will release him from it, although he has not received nor has he any hope of receiving one cent of the same." Several related documents offer the opinions of individuals who express their conviction that, from what they had learned of Hyden's background and from what they saw and heard of him, he was a native of New York, born of a white woman, and an educated man.

PAR Number 20382302

State: Delaware Year: 1823
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Ezekiel Anderson seeks permission to export and sell his slave, Titus Anderson, alias Titus Clifton, who ran away in 1806 but has recently been discovered "lurking amongst his relatives (free negroes)" in the lower part of Kent County. The petitioner learned that Titus "has been a considerable part of the time confined to hard labour as a convict" in Pennsylvania. Ezekiel asserts that Titus "will not acknowledge that he is his master, but under a feigned name is making every effort to pass as a free man and defeat the title of your petitioner to his property."

PAR Number 20382306

State: Delaware Year: 1823
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Residents of Kent County ask that James Whitaker Sr. be permitted to sell his slave Luke, an outrageous fellow who has "run his said Master to more than one hundred Dollars Cost and is stealing and trading away his said Masters Property."

PAR Number 20682112

State: Georgia Year: 1821
Location: Scriven Location Type: County

Abstract: Luke H. Smith sues Alexander Douglass for slander and $2,000 in damages. He claims to have maintained a good reputation in his community and among his peers until August 1820, when Douglass, within the presence of others, alleged that the petitioner is "a damned negro." Because of these accusations, Smith contends, he "is very much prejudiced, hurt, & damnified in his good name, fame, credit & reputation." He sues for damages.

PAR Number 20682115

State: Georgia Year: 1821
Location: Screven Location Type: County

Abstract: Luke H. Smith sues Doughlass Black for $2,000 in damages. Smith claims to have maintained a solid reputation in the community and enjoyed the esteem of his neighbors until Black, within "the presence and hearing of" others, accused him of being a "damned negro." Smith claims that this accusation has severely damaged his reputation and standing in the community, and in his business affairs. He sues for damages. In his answer, a related document, Black contends that "the words if spoken" by him were "at a time when he was an infant and under the age of twenty one, and not liable to be sued in this Court in his own name."

PAR Number 20882415

State: Louisiana Year: 1824
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: The petitioner is Maria Townes, a minor, who claims that she is a free white woman held as a slave and daily put up for sale in New Orleans by a man named Reed [Reves]. She prays the court that "she may be adjudged to be free" and that Reed be condemned to pay $1,000 in damages for "unjustly" keeping her in detention, plus costs of suit. She also prays the court to order her sequestration by the sheriff until termination of the suit. As a destitute minor, assisted by a curator ad litem, she is asking to be allowed to sue "in forma pauperis." A related document suggests that Maria's mother was a mulatto woman and a slave in Virginia, where Reed had purchased Maria [Original in English and French].

PAR Number 20883931

State: Louisiana Year: 1839
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: James Thompson represents that, on the 6th of April 1839, his “quatroon” slave, Mary Jane, boarded the ship Orleans and was carried away to New York City. According to Thompson, the captain of the ship, S. Sears, permitted Mary Jane "to eat at table with white people” and in other respects treated her “as an equal of white people." In addition, while in New York City, Sears allowed Mary Jane to associate with abolitionists. Thompson contends that Mary Jane used to be a "good faithful and trusty house servant;" she is now "entirely and totally unfit for such a trust or for any useful purpose." Furthermore, Mary Jane had with her $100 and several articles of clothing belonging to him when she boarded the ship. Thompson therefore seeks $1,000 in damages from S. Sears and the owners of the ship Orleans. In addition, claiming a privilege on the ship to secure his demand, he asks the court to sequester the ship.

PAR Number 20884301

State: Louisiana Year: 1843
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Durham Spalding sues Captain George Taylor and the owners of the Steamer Missouri for the loss of a twenty-three-year-old slave named Felix. Felix was carried out of the state on the Steamer Missouri and "has never, since, been in your petitioner's possession." Spalding argues that "the property, to him was very valuable, and that he has frequently been offered for it the Sum of Fifteen hundred Dollars." Spalding prays for compensation. Related testimonies reveal that Felix was thought to be a white man by all those who met him, and that he was allowed to hire himself out, travel up and down the Mississippi river on steamboats, and to collect his own wages.

PAR Number 20984302

State: Maryland Year: 1843
Location: Baltimore Location Type: County

Abstract: Elizabeth Tinges married her husband, William Tinges, twelve or thirteen years ago. She claims that "in order to induce her to enter in to the said contract of Marriage She was basely and wickedly imposed upon, and made the victim of a most outrageous fraud." After being married she learned that her husband, "instead of being a white man is a mulatto and in reality had been born a slave." She says that all her acquaintances have shunned her, believing that she knew he was a mulatto all along and did not care. When she approached William Tinges with her discovery, she was met with "brutal invective and evasion." She claims that he treats her cruelly, frequently becomes inebriated, and is "a visitor of houses of ill fame and other places of infamy and disgrace." Elizabeth Tinges asks the court to subpoena William Tinges and to issue a divorce decree. In his answer, William Tinges counters that his wife knew he was a mulatto and that, in fact, she told him before their marriage that he was "White enough for her."

PAR Number 21185902

State: Missouri Year: 1859
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: Louisa Lewis seeks permission to sue as a poor person to establish "the right of herself, and of her minor son George to freedom." Louisa claims that seventeen years ago her mother Lizzie, alias Elizabeth Dickson, a free person of color, purchased Louisa "for the purpose, and on the condition that she should be free." Louisa argues that, inasmuch as it is illegal for free persons of color to own slaves in Missouri, the "purchase of petitioner by her mother operated as a deed of manumission." Fourteen-year-old George was born three years after "the emancipation of your petitioner" and has lived as a free person his entire life. Henry W. Hart, the administrator of Elizabeth Dickson's estate, now holds Louisa and George as slaves. Louisa asks the court to recognize her status as a free woman. Depositions in the court record reveal that George, whose color is "nearly white," attended "common school with white children." Before her mother's death, Louisa spent time in Chicago with her husband, a former slave manumitted by St. Louis mayor, John How. A deposition from Martha Brown intimates that Louisa passed for white while in Chicago.

PAR Number 21485723

State: Tennessee Year: 1857
Location: Giles Location Type: County

Abstract: Margaret J. Mason, administratrix of her late husband's estate, prays for permission to sell a slave. She informs the court that her husband, William T. Mason, died in 1855, leaving an estate that includes slaves, stock in the Richland Manufactory Company, cash, and other assets. Mason asserts that "most of said slaves are very valuable, & productively employed in the Richland Cotton Mills." She is concerned, however, about a slave named Green, "who is white & could easily pass himself for a white man anywhere." She confides that she "has good reason to believe that said slave is restless & dissatisfied with the condition of slavery, and contemplates an escape." Admitting that should Green try to run away, he would probably succeed, "both from his color and general appearance as from his intelligence & shrewdness." Requesting that the slave be sold, Mason maintains that she would receive a better price for Green if she could take him to Nashville and put him "in the hands of a trader" rather than sell him "at public outcry in this market."

PAR Number 21685309

State: Virginia Year: 1853
Location: Petersburg Location Type: City

Abstract: Edward Hugh Caperton asks permission to sell his two slaves. He informs the court that his mother, Martha J. Caperton, left him property that included a slave named Cary and that his father, George W. Caperton, left him a slave named Queen Ann. Averring "that both of the said negroes have very bad characters," Edward complains that Cary "is almost white and has made attempts to run away & indeed at one time got far from home before he was arrested," thus instilling a fear that Cary will flee to a free state. He also asserts that Queen Ann is a "notorious thief having been before the mayor & whipped at the whipping post and besides your complt has reason to suspect that she has destroyed one or more of her illegitimate children at their birth." Based on these reasons and the fact that "negroes now command very high prices," Caperton surmises "that his interest would be promoted by a sale of said negroes." He accordingly prays that the court will order his guardian "to sell the said slaves."