Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11083008

State: Mississippi Year: 1830
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-three citizens of Natchez ask that a free woman of color named Esther Barland, the owner of a lot a ground and a house built by the fruits of her own industry, be permitted to remain in Mississippi. She should not be subject to the penalties of the 1822 act concerning "Slaves, free Negroes, and mulattoes," they contend, because of her industry. The governor's proclamation demanding rigid enforcement of the 80th and 81st sections of the 1822 act caused her much anxiety. She is "much grieved at the idea of being driven from the Land of her home and her friends to find shelter she Knows not where."

PAR Number 11085910

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Hinds Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred and fifty-six Hinds County residents support Edward Hill, a free man of color residing in the town of Raymond. Hill, a blacksmith, was temperate, honest, and industrious and managed an extensive and successful business. They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state. The petitioners wish to reassure the Legislators that they "vindicate the soundness" of the pending policy "which prompted the enactment," but that they believe that an exception in this case "would not be violative of the spirit of the law or incompatable with" the welfare of the state.

PAR Number 11085912

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners, who described themselves as legal voters of Adams County, observe that there are certainly "vicious and evil disposed" free people of color, but there are also those "who have spent a life here free from reproval, or even the suspicions of improper conduct." Furthermore, some free people of color have acquired property "by patient industry and are beyond doubt loyal & true to the Laws." The petitioners offer the legislature their advice that any law that may be passed to expel free black people should take this into account. The city's Board of Police should be given the authority to discriminate between the loyal and disloyal, and remove only the "unworthy."

PAR Number 11086001

State: Mississippi Year: 1860
Location: Harrison Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-eight citizens of Pass Christian petition the legislature to exempt certain free persons of color named within from the pending bill to force free blacks to leave the state. The free people of color were mostly descendants of Charles Asmar, who was emancipated by Madam Asmar sometime before 1783. Members of the family are land owners and "well known to the Undersigned as good, peaceable, orderly, industrious, worthy and useful members of the Community."

PAR Number 11086004

State: Mississippi Year: 1860
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen citizens of Wilkinson County write on behalf of free man of color Titus Hill, who had never been guilty of "a single mean, or dishonest act." He is about sixty years old, they say, and has acquired between four thousand and five thousand dollars worth of property. And they add: "We approve the policy of the general law prohibiting free negroes from remaining in this state, but think, that in consideration of Titus Hill's old age, his honesty and energy as a man and his good behavior as a citizen, a special act should be passed for his benefit."

PAR Number 11086005

State: Mississippi Year: 1860
Location: Clarke Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-six citizens of Clarke County write on behalf of Lewis, a free man of color, who by "honest industry has purchased his own freedom and that of his wife." They explain that since his freedom he has acted "with the same humbleness and propriety of deportment that made him a favorite while a slave, and "by industry he has accumulated property which he would be compelled to sacrifice if forced to emigrate suddenly." They ask the legislature to exempt him, at least for two years, from any law that might pass "requiring free negroes of this State to emigrate, or be sold into slavery."

PAR Number 11279002

State: North Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Gates Location Type: County

Abstract: William Lewis and Samuel Harrell ask that a law be passed validating the title to a tract of land acquired by a group of people descended from American Indians and blacks. They state that in 1724 the Chowan Indians received 11,360 acres of land from "the true and absolute Lords proprietors of North Carolina" lying in Chowan County, now Gates County. Noting that "the whole of the Said Chowan Indian Men is dead," they point out that that left "a parcel of Indian Women, which has mixed with Negroes, and now there is Several freemen and Women of Mixed blood as aforesaid which have descended from the Sd. Indians, who consider themselves "intitled to the Small Remnants of the aforesaid Tract of Land that was not sold nor conveyed by the aforesaid Indians in their Lifetime." Lewis and Harrell state that the said freemen “have for a valuable Consideration Conveyed the Said Remnants of Land to your Petitioners,” whereby they pray that a law may be passed “authorizing the said free men of mixed blood as aforesaid to sell and make titles” to the said land and that said titles “shall be good and valid in Law.” Supporters of Lewis and Harrell aver that “the freemen aluded to in the petition Did in the late Contest with Great Brittain behave themselves as good and faithful soldiers in behalf of this and the United States.”

PAR Number 11279207

State: North Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Moore, "a free negro man," seeks to liberate his children, "who are unfortunately illegitimate being born of a negro woman slave belonging to himself." Having worked for fifty years to accumulate a small amount of property, Moore laments that he "is informed that under their present disabilities they would not be intitled by Law to any property which he might have at his Death." He therefore prays that he be granted "Relief by passing an Act to liberate his children."

PAR Number 11279607

State: North Carolina Year: 1796
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: Nancy Handy, Princess Green, and John Carruthers Stanly, free people of color, represent that they "have been set free and emancipated" for "meritorious services." They assert, however, that they have been led "to a belief that their freedom is not made secured, & that the Title of property which they have or may acquire is not safe without being secured by some particular act of Assembly for that purpose." The petitioners therefore pray a law may be passed "which may compleatly set free and emancipate them and vest them with all powers, privileges and advantages which free people of color enjoy."

PAR Number 11279805

State: North Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanly, "a man of mixed blood," recounts that Alexander and Lydia Stewart, "in consideration of the long, faithful & meritorious services of your petitioner," sought and received a licence from the Craven County Court "to sett your petitioner free"; the said licence enabled them to execute a deed of manumission "whereby they [did] give, grant, & confirm unto your petitioner his freedom liberty & emancipation." Fearing "that some accident may deprive him of the evidence of his emancipation & thereby of the fruits of his honest industry," Stanly prays that a law be passed to "confirm, establish and Secure to your petitioner his Freedom."

PAR Number 11280108

State: North Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry Motley "is desirous of emancipating" a slave named Winney, who "has rendered not only to him but to his family in general" faithful service. Motley maintains that "were if not for the care assiduity and attention of this Slave, a numerous offspring of his father, who were left by his death without sufficient funds for their maintenance, must have considerably suffered." He further notes that Winney "thro her Industry and care and that of her husband, has accumulated some small Estate ... to become useful and necessary in her neighborhood." Revealing that Winney "has paid to your Petitioner sufficiently for her freedom," Motley asks that a law be passed "to sett free the said Winney by the name of Winney Guvenread."

PAR Number 11280205

State: North Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanly, a free man of color, submits that he purchased "a negro male of the age of two years, named John, whom he considers his child"; in 1801, he purchased "a mulatto child named John, who is the result of a matrimonial connection between your Petitioner and Kitty." Stanly, of the opinion that "it is inconsistent with nature, for the parent to wish his child in a state of vassalage, either to another or himself," asks that said children be manumitted. He requests that two-year-old John be "known in future by the name of James Florence" and that the other child "hereafter to be known & distinguished by the name of John Stewart Stanly."

PAR Number 11280401

State: North Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Rowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Dinah Seyers "begs leave to shew that after a long course of faithful service to her master the said Richard Seyers, he devised in his will that she might be set free." Fearing that "she is in danger by being interrupted in her person & property by ill disposed persons," the petitioner prays "the Legislature to pass an Act confirming her emancipation." She also reports that she has had three children since the death of the said Richard and that she desires "the name of Dinah Seyers be confirmed to your petitioner, & that of Samuel, David & Harry Seyers be confirmed to her said children."

PAR Number 11280513

State: North Carolina Year: 1805
Location: Robeson Location Type: County

Abstract: Maj. William Odom joins six other petitioners in stating that they were recently "try'd for a Riot, prosecuted by a Mullattoe by the name of Elisha Cumboe." He explains that the said Elisha is a part of "a family of these Mullattoes who are well known to be of Infamous Characters" and that they "are envious malicious & dangerous persons, having a Villanous Clan about them." Williams reports that said "riot" originated when William Townsend "prosecuted & Convicted a Brother of said Elisha Cumboe for Larceny" and the said Elisha, "out of revenge," went to Townsend's plantation and "shot & kill'd a valuable Horse of his." They admit that "for this Offence your petitioners proceeded to apprehend said Cumboe, perhaps without the Legal process of Law;" Cumboe brought suit and Maj. Odom was fined fifteen pounds and the other petitioners incurred a ten-pound fine. Asserting that "the whole of the conduct of your petitioners was Instigated by an ardent wish to procure order & good Neighborhood," the petitioners pray that they be released from the payment of said fines.

PAR Number 11280517

State: North Carolina Year: 1805
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanley, a free man of color and barber in New Bern, admits that "he is the father of three children ... born in slavery and out of the bonds of lawful wedlock and are therefore incapable of inheriting." The petitioner prays "your honorable body to pass an act legitimizing the said John [Stewart Stanley], Catharine [Green Stanley], and Unus [Stanley] enabling them to inherit in the same manner as if they had been born in lawful matrimony."

PAR Number 11281103

State: North Carolina Year: 1810
Location: Stokes Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-one citizens of Stokes County represent that "Richard a black man formerly the property of Mr. Noble Ladd of said County has totally purchased his freedom" and that “he has a free woman to his wife and several Children which they indeavor to bring up in an orderly manner together with some property that they have acquired by their Labor." The petitioners therefore "humbly solicit your Honorable body that you will Liberate & set free the sd Richard."

PAR Number 11281608

State: North Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Bertie Location Type: County

Abstract: Willis, "formerly the property of William T. Thompson," recounts that he "has belonged to the family of the Thompsons from his infancy until the year 1814." He proudly asserts that during such time "he hath performed many & important services for his respective masters, having for a great part of the time served them as Superintendant or Overseer." Willis acknowledges that the said William T. directed that, at his death, "your Petr. should be sold with a view ... that he your Petr. might purchase his own freedom." He states that the executor of Thomas's estate sold him to one William Carnal from whom he purchased his freedom and that the court was "pleased to order adjudge & decree your Petr. on complying with the provisions of an act of assembly ... should be set free." Having complied with said provisions, Willis discloses, however, that "the Court did not give your Petr. a name or stile by which he can purchase or transfer property, sue or be sued, plead or be impleaded or otherwise enjoy many of the rights and privileges of a free person of Colour." The petitioner therefore prays that an act be passed "emancipating your Petr. by the name of Willis Thompson."

PAR Number 11281708

State: North Carolina Year: 1817
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: David Sills and William Wheless, the executors John Hoof's will, explain that Hoof left "a Will which directs all his Slaves to be Liberated by the General Assembly." Being appointed to carry said will into effect, the petitioners beg "that your Honorable Body may View The Said Will and give them such relief as you may think proper." They further pray that "if your Honorable Body shall not think fit to liberate the whole of the Slaves named in the Will & the Children which has been born Since -- That you will take this part under your Humane Consideration, and enact Such Laws as shall Emancipate" a portion of said slaves, i.e., Sylvia, "admitted by the Said Hoof to be his child," her six children, and her three grandchildren. The petitioners note that some eighteen years ago Hoof gave Sylvia "away in Marriage to Drewry Owen," a free man of color, and that he "has had this woman with him at his own house this 15 or 16 years, and by their Industry have raised all these Children as free people, and at a great expence to him the said Drewry, without any aid, or controul of the said John Hoof."

PAR Number 11281806

State: North Carolina Year: 1818
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: George Sears, a free man of color, states that William Bell, as executor of the will of Richard Sears, emancipated him in 1809. He further represents that he took as his wife a slave named Tillah that he had purchased from the said Bell for the sum of $300. Sears, a blacksmith, acknowledges that he erroneously believed that his marriage to the said Tillah would free her as well as confer a free status to any children they might have. Sears now realizes that his said wife and their two children are still "considered slaves unless they are Emancipated by an act of your Honourable body." He therefore prays that an act be passed "to Emancipate & Set free his said Wife Tillah Sears and his two daughters Patsey Sears & Polly Sears and render them Competent in Law to inherit the Estate of your Petitioner."

PAR Number 11282003

State: North Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Burke Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel Love, a free man of color, represents that he "hath by the blessing of divine providence and his honest industry and care, acquired some property both real and personal." He further confides that it is his wish "to be authorized by law to dispose of his said property by last Will and Testament or otherwise as the case may be, and that his Samuel may be legitimated by an act of your honourable body."

PAR Number 11283003

State: North Carolina Year: 1830
Location: Caswell Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-eight citizens of the town of Milton ask that Aquilla Wilson, a free woman of color of Halifax, Virginia, be exempted from an 1826 North Carolina law "entitled 'An act to prevent free persons of Colour from migrating into this state, for the good government of such persons resident in the State, and for other purposes.'" They state that Aquilla married Thomas Day, a free man of color whom they describe as a "Cabinet maker by trade, a first rate workman, a remarkably sober, steady and industrious man--, a highminded, good and valuable Citizen." They therefore pray that an act be passed "giving said Aquilla, the priviledge of migrating to this state." In his affidavit, R. M. Saunders avers that said Day is "of very fair character -- an excellent mechanic, industrious, honest and sober in his habits and in the event of any disturbance amongst the blacks I should rely with confidence upon a disclosure from him as he is the owner of Slaves as well as of real estate."

PAR Number 11283108

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred sixty-four residents of New Bern complain that "many of the free negroes residing in the Town of Newbern, claim the right of voting" and "that fifty or more actually exercise that right" to send a representative to the House of Commons. They point out that the state constitution permits those who possess a freehold, who have lived in the town twelve months, and who have paid taxes to cast their ballots as freemen. But, the petitions argue, free blacks are not freemen: they "are forbidden to contract marriage except with their own class"; they cannot sit on juries or testify in court except in certain cases; and they can be sentenced death on the testimony of a slave. "Can these disabilities," the petitioners ask, "belong to a Freeman?" They ask the legislature “to ascertain and determine the true construction of the Constitution upon the subject matter of this their Memorial."

PAR Number 11283303

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

Abstract: Thirty-seven residents of Granville County "beg leave to ask the favour of your aid" in providing relief for Admiral Dunston, a free man of color from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They offer, as "a Statement of Facts," that Dunston, a wheelwright and property owner in Virginia, recently "married in a respectable Family in this neighbourhood." The petitioners point out that "by the Laws of Virginia he is prevented from carrying his wife to that state, nor can he by our Laws remove to this" state. They therefore pray that a law be enacted "sanctioning his removal to this State."

PAR Number 11283305

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

Abstract: Ned Hyman, the former slave of the late Samuel Hyman, represents that "by his faithfulness and extraordinary attention to his masters business and interest secured his esteem and favor and obtained his sincere wishes that your petitioner should be freed." Hyman recounts, however, that "the nearest your petitioner has been able to approach an end so disirable to his decd master is, to have had the title to your petitioner vested in your petitioners wife," Elizabeth Hagans, a free woman of color. The petitioner avers that he "has had the good fortune to accumulate an estate worth from five to six thousand dollars; consisting of Lands chiefly Live stock negroes and money the right & title to all which except the money is vested" in his wife Elizabeth. The father of three children, Hyman "together with his wife Elizabeth" therefore pray that an act be passed "for his benefit and relief."

PAR Number 11283306

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

Abstract: One-hundred-fifty-three residents of Williamston ask that the petition of Ned Hyman "for an act of manumission ... be passed by your Honorable Body in his favor and for his benefit." They further state, "that altho they know of no extraordinary meritorious services performed by Ned in saving the life of his owners in imminent peril," they "believe from what they know of Ned that no slave or free man would scarcely go further to deserve the good opinion of the public in any act that he could do than your petitioner Ned." They strongly insist that "Ned has been, and still is, a very uncommon and extraordinary Negro," in addition to being "remarkably industrious, frugal and prudent."

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