Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10382002

State: Delaware Year: 1820
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-six-year-old Andrew Noel recounts that William Hammon brought him to the United States in 1793 from "the Island of St. Domingo" as a slave. He further states that Hammon "manumitted and set at liberty your petitioner" in 1799. Noel, now married with children, represents that he purchased a house and lot in Wilmington for which he "has paid the consideration money." Acknowledging that he "has never been naturalized under the laws of the United States," Noel realizes that "the said property in the event of his death, will not descend to his children, but go to the use of the State of Delaware." The petitioner therefore prays that a law be passed "confirming the title to the said House and lot in him, and authorizing him to sell or devise the same as effectually as he could do, if he were a citizen of the United States, and had been so at the time of the purchase aforesaid."

PAR Number 10382301

State: Delaware Year: 1823

Abstract: Twenty-five "Africans or the descendants of Africans, Citizens of the state of Delaware," represent that they "have associated themselves for the diffusion of knowledge and suppression of vice under the Title and name of 'African Benevolent Association.'" They now "do make application to your Honorable body to grant them an Act of Incorporation to enable" them "to purchase, receive, take and hold any lands, tenements, rents, goods and chattels, which may be given, granted, devised or conveyed to them for the purpose aforesaid and to sell, rent and dispose of the same in such manner as to them shall seem most beneficial for the said society." Noting that the association's goal is to provide "mutual relief and improvement of each other," members of the African Benevolent Association "beg leave to bring in a Bill for the purpose aforesaid to lay before your Honors, and request you will take the premises into consideration."

PAR Number 10383215

State: Delaware Year: 1832

Abstract: James Windsor, administrator of the estate of the late John G. Anderson, seeks permission to make a deed for a town lot purchased by Jacob Trader, a free man of color. Windsor states that Trader has made "full satisfaction for the said lot and that he is yet without any right to the same." He therefore asks that he be authorized "to make a deed of Bargain & sale unto the said Jacob."

PAR Number 10383301

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Thirteen free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383302

State: Delaware Year: 1833
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: Three free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383303

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Twenty-seven free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383304

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Twenty-eight free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383305

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Thirty-nine citizens of Delaware support the petition of the free people of color seeking "the repeal of the Act of the 10th February last [1832]" regarding the right to possess firearms and the right to assemble and hold worship services.

PAR Number 10383306

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Nine free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383307

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Nine free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10383308

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Two citizens of Delaware support the petition of the free people of color seeking "the repeal of the Act of the 10th February last [1832]" regarding the right to possess firearms and the right to assemble and hold worship services.

PAR Number 10383309

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Ninety-eight whites "cordially disapprove" of the efforts of free people of color to repeal the 1832 statute concerning the right of free blacks to possess firearms and to assemble for worship services. They "pray that the Law refered to may not be meddled with."

PAR Number 10383312

State: Delaware Year: 1833

Abstract: Five free people of color petition for the repeal of "An Act to prevent the use of fire Arms by free negroes and free mulattoes and for other purposes" that was passed by the Delaware legislature on 10 February 1832. The law, they argue, "has a demoralizing effect upon the free People of Colour, for by placing them under suspicion -- making them to feel that the eyes of the white people are continually over them, whether for good or ill" and it "interferes with their religious privileges, violates their rights of conscience -- and exposes them to all the horrors of perpetual slavery for the act of worshipping their Creator, according to the dictates of their consciences." They proclaim that they have always conducted themselves in a peaceable and quiet manner and that many among them have acquired land and other property. Flattering "themselves, that they had gained the confidence of their superiors" and that they have never done anything that "would, or ought to have forfeited the good opinion of white people," the petitioners "humbly pray a repeal of that act."

PAR Number 10384301

State: Delaware Year: 1843
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Two officers of the African School Society seek to amend its original act of incorporation to increase its property holdings beyond $5,000. They report that the Society had expended nearly $2,500 "in the purchase of lots and in the erection of two school houses thereon, capable of receiving about forty children each: one for boys and one for girls." They confess that the income from the remaining funds "is sufficient for the support of one school only, and hence they have been necessitated to discontinue their school for girls." The petitioners declare that "there are several hundreds of colored children in this City, who, being excluded from the benefit of our free schools, remain in a great measure dependent on charity for the means of obtaining the first rudiments of education, or they must otherwise grow up neglected and debased, forming a noxious mass in the midst of our population." They believe that "a property of about Fifteen thousand dollars would answer the purposes now suggested for supplying reasonable means for the education of most of the otherwise destitute colored children in this city." They therefore ask that their "act of incorporation may be so amended as to allow the said Society to hold property to the amount of Fifteen thousand dollars."

PAR Number 10384306

State: Delaware Year: 1843
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Butcher and John Dean, the illegitimate brothers of Jesse Dean, report that the said Dean died in 1842 possessed of a fifty-acre tract of land and a "personal estate, worth about sixty dollars." Dean, a mulatto, "died intestate and without leaving to survive him any issue, heirs or known kindred capable according to the laws of this state of inheriting and holding his said property real and personal by reason whereof the said property has escheated to and become vested in the State of Delaware." The petitioners therefore pray that a law be passed "vesting in and granting to your petitioners the right interest and title of the State in said property both personal and real."

PAR Number 10384307

State: Delaware Year: 1843
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Luther Swiggett and Benaiah Tharp represent that Mitchell Anderson, a free man of color, died intestate, leaving a lot and small house in Kent County that "has escheated to the State of Delaware." Noting that "considerable expense has been incurred and the property will not in seven years keep up repairs and pay the expenses already incurred," Swiggett asks that the "title claim and interest of the State" be granted to him, upon his paying "all the costs and expenses incurred by the escheator in making the Inquisition and returning the same."

PAR Number 10384701

State: Delaware Year: 1847
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-one petitioners state that the African School Society has existed as an association since 1809 until it was incorporated by an act of the General Assembly in 1824. They represent that the Society's goal has been "to establish and support a school in Wilmington exclusively for the benefit and instruction of children of color." They assert that “the Society are still pursuing upon their original principles the same purpose: they believe, that the effect has been to elevate and meliorate the mental and moral character, and the social condition of those to whom the benefits of instruction provided, have been extended." They thus pray "the General Assembly to pass an Act to enlarge the amount of property which the corporation aforesaid may hold to the sum of fifteen thousand dollars."

PAR Number 10384710

State: Delaware Year: 1847
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-one memorialists believe "that the education afforded by the African School Society of Wilmington to colored children has been useful not only to them in raising and bettering their own character and condition, but to the community, increasing industry and promoting good order." They further affirm "that a fund of fifteen thousand dollars could be employed for the general benefit in providing good schools for the colored children in this city." They therefore "can see no possible danger from enlarging the limit of property which this Society may hold to that sum and they desire to commend the favor of the General Assembly the annexed petition of the Society."

PAR Number 10384901

State: Delaware Year: 1849

Abstract: Twenty-nine free black inhabitants of Delaware seek to repeal the law requiring them to produce passes or freedom papers when traveling from one area to another. They affirm that they are civil citizens who have "no intent to hurt or Injure any of the human family but wish well to all yet we are liable to be arrested when Traveling on our lawful buisness to be put in prison pervided we do not exhibit a certificate or Pass signed by a white man which appears to be sufficient thogh his charecter be mutch blacker then our Skins." They also oppose other laws "equilly oppressive to us as freeman" that forbid them "to own or have a gunn in our possession Without a permit from a Justice of The peace" and prohibit them from assembling "togather for Religious worship in our own churches and remain There beyound the Hours of ten oclock at night with out having the presence of three white men amongst us." They therefore "pray you will take into consideration and expung these laws from your books so as to give us right to Travel as men and not as bruts."

PAR Number 10384904

State: Delaware Year: 1849
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Benjamin Holt, a free person of color, contracted with Edward Wilson in 1827 to purchase forty acres of land and that said Wilson "executed a bond ... reciting the said agreement and obligating himself upon payment of the said sum of money to make your petitioner a sufficient deed in fee simple." Holt represent that Wilson "after the making of the said contract became and still continues to be a person of unsound mind and is thereby disabled from performing his said contract." Having "discharged the greater part of the money secured by his obligation," Holt prays that an act be passed to authorize Wilson's trustee "to execute and deliver to your petitioner a deed for the said premises."

PAR Number 11000008

State: Mississippi

Abstract: William Parker, a free man of color, asks permission to remain in Mississippi. Parker states that he arrived before the enactment of the law "prohibiting the emigration of Free negroes and Mulattoes into this State." He avers that he has accumulated property and remains married to a slave in the state.

PAR Number 11000016

State: Mississippi
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A free man of color named Malachi Hagins states that he is descended from several generations of free ancestors. His grandmother was a white woman, and his father died in the American Revolution fighting on behalf of the "Revolted Colonies." Hagins notes that he moved to Mississippi twenty-two years ago, married a white woman, fathered nine children, and acquired land, cattle, and nine slaves. He is now subject to being driven from his country and having his property confiscated and his life put in jeopardy "for want of the guardian protection of the Laws of the Land." He asks for an act to give him "security & protection, such rights and liberties" as the legislature might deem "humane, politick and right."

PAR Number 11000024

State: Mississippi
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A dozen residents of Jefferson County verify that Malachi Hagins, a widower, was married to a white woman. The couple had ten children. On all occasions Hagins conducted himself "with great propriety" as an "honest and upright man." He had long been a member of the Baptist church. The petitioners ask the legislature to extend to Hagins and his children the right to sue and be sued and "all the rights privileges and immunities of a free white persons of this state." A related petition reveals that Malachi Hagins was born of free parents and that his grandmother was a white woman.

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 11082904

State: Mississippi Year: 1829
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: Natchez barber William Hayden, a man of color, says that the Mississippi Act passed in 1822 concerning slaves and free people of color might well "produce absolute ruin to his prospects." He states that he has a good business, a good reputation, and owns property. In constant danger "of being driven from his home," he asks for "a special act exempting him from that part of the said act which requires his removal from the state."

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