Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11378504

State: South Carolina Year: 1785
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Fifteen residents St. James Santee Parish "present as a Grievance, that Patroons of Schooners and other small Craft are allowed (as they pass and repass up down our Rivers) to Trade, Traffick, Barter, and Sell to, and with Negroes, to the great Prejudice of their Owners and a Manifest hurt to the fair Traders in our City." They "therefore wish that all Fines and forfeitures may be Recovered in a Summary way, and paid into the public Treasury of this State to be appropriated in such Manner as our Legislature may see fit."

PAR Number 11379703

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Nine "Inhabitants of St. James Parish Goose Creek" submit that, on the night of 6 March 1797, "a Certain Negro man slave Named Beny" set fire to the house and barn of George Keckely; the said slave was "the Property of Conrad Keckely, the Father of the said George." They further declare that, on 6 April 1797, the "Offender was duly Convicted and Hung But not before being valued and Appraised at one Hundred Pounds." The petitioners, "Neighbours of the Said George Keckely," state that they "are moved with Humanity and Pity" for the said George Keckely. They therefore pray that the said George be paid "the full amt of One Hundred pounds being the appraisement and value thereof [which] will encourage the Bringing Such wanton Criminallity to Examplary punishment."

PAR Number 11379705

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Williamsburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Robert Gamble seeks compensation for a thirty-six-year-old slave, by trade a blacksmith, convicted "of Houseburning" and sentenced to death. Reporting that the slave "broke custody before he was executed," Gamble considers "the fellow as officially lost to him as if the execution had really taken place." The petitioner, "in an advanced period of Life," therefore "submits his case to your Honorable Body not doubting but that you will do him justice." Gamble asserts that he relied on "the income arising from" the slave's trade, which he cites as providing a "considerable support."

PAR Number 11379709

State: South Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Nine "Inhabitants of St. James Parish Goose Creek" submit that, on the night of 6 March 1797, "a Certain Negro man Slave Named Beny" set fire to the house and barn of George Keckely; the said slave was "the property of Conrad Keckely, the Father of the Said George." They further declare that, on 6 April 1797, the "offender was duly Convicted, and Hung but not before being valued and Appraised at one Hundred pounds." The petitioners, "Neighbours of the Said George Keckely," state that they "are moved with Humanity and Pity" for the said George Keckely. They therefore pray that the said George be paid "the full Sum of one Hundred pounds being the appraisement and value thereof which will encurage the Bringing Such wanton Criminallity to Exemplary punishment."

PAR Number 11379805

State: South Carolina Year: 1798

Abstract: George Keckeley seeks compensation for the slave Ben, who "in the dead of Night Sett fire to his Dwelling house and Barn." He further asserts that, "from motives of making a public Example of so great a Crime," he delivered Ben to the authorities, whereupon Ben "was brought to his tryal, found Guilty, Convicted and Hung, but not untill he was valued, and agreed upon to be worth one hundred Pounds." The petitioner, in view of his "great loss of his Dwelling & other property," prays that the Treasurer pay to him "the full amount of the sd. appraisement."

PAR Number 11379806

State: South Carolina Year: 1798

Abstract: George Keckeley seeks compensation for the slave Ben, who "in the dead of Night Sett fire to his Dwelling house and Barn." He further asserts that, "from motives of making a public Example of so great a Crime," he delivered Ben to the authorities, whereupon Ben "was brought to his tryal, found Guilty, Convicted and Hung, but not untill he was valued, and agreed upon to be worth one hundred Pounds." The petitioner, in view of his "great loss of his Dwelling & other property," prays that the Treasurer pay to him "the full amount of the sd. appraisement."

PAR Number 11379901

State: South Carolina Year: 1799
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: George Keckeley seeks compensation for the slave Ben, who was charged, convicted, and hanged for setting fire to the petitioner's house and barn. In a joint resolution, Keckeley explains, the legislature awarded him $120.25. However, when he applied to the "Treasurer of Charleston," he found that no provision had been made for him to collect the money. He therefore prays that such provisions be made as “shall be Deemd Just & proper.”

PAR Number 11380109

State: South Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Amos Pilsbury, administrator of the estate of Edward Tash, seeks compensation for the slave Mary, who was convicted of arson by the Wardens of the City Council of Charleston in July 1798 and "executed shortly afterward." Mary, a slave belonging to said Tash, was worth three hundred dollars at the time of her death. Pilsbury represents that "neither the said Edward Tash in his life time, or your petitioner since the death of the said Edward Tash have received any payment, satisfaction or recompense for the said Negro Woman Mary."

PAR Number 11380304

State: South Carolina Year: 1803
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-two citizens of St. Luke and St. Peter parishes commend "the patriotic and highly meritorious conduct of a negro man of the name of Abram, the property of Mr William Kirk." They report that the said Abram detected a plan "by a number of blacks" to destroy "the lives of your petitioners, and of all the white people of the low Country" and that they "had appointed the time and place, and actually assembled for the direful purpose of commencing the work of general massacre and devastation." By Abram's actions, "those immediately concerned were easily and speedily apprehended and have undergone the punishment due to the enormity of their crimes." The petitioners recommend that "a suitable reward for his fidelity and services" be afforded Abram and, if "your honorable body should think proper to emancipate the said Abram," they aver the said Kirk should receive "an ample and handsome compensation," as he suffered "by having Three of the only five fellows which belonged to him, executed."

PAR Number 11380904

State: South Carolina Year: 1809

Abstract: William Smith seeks compensation for a slave, George, who was convicted and executed "for the Crime of Seting fire to a parcel of Rye a Cotton Machine." Smith "prays your Honorable body to grant him such Compensation as are by law directed."

PAR Number 11381002

State: South Carolina Year: 1810
Location: Georgetown Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: One hundred one residents of Georgetown submit that they "suffer seriously from the insufficiency of the provisions of the Law for the prevention of illicit traffic with negroes." They believe that "a considerable portion of the crops raised in the vicinity of the said town is sold by Negroes, without tickets; several hundred bushels of rough rice having been found, at different times in the possession of petty shopkeepers, who raised no rice and who could hardly, in any other way, have obtained such large quantities of produce." Purporting that "the love of plunder" has greatly increased, the petitioners point out that "these evil-disposed persons ... have several times attempted to set fire to the town." They therefore pray that their situation be taken into consideration and that they be granted "such pecuniary aid" as to enable "the Town Council of said town to hire a Guard for the protection of the said town."

PAR Number 11381402

State: South Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Newberry Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Nicholas Summer seeks compensation for his fifteen-year-old slave, Hannah, who "was charged with house Burning upon which Charge the said negro was tried, convicted and executed." He therefore prays that his case be taken into consideration and that he be granted "such relief in the premises as to you Shall Seem meet." The court "appraised and valued the said negro Woman Hannah at" $350 before "ordering the said sentence to be executed."

PAR Number 11381403

State: South Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Sumter Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Fifty-five residents of Sumter District seek a law prohibiting slaves from keeping dogs and making slave owners liable for "all depredations so committed on the property of Citizens of this State by such Slave or Slaves." The current statute governing the punishment of non-capital offenses by slaves -- corporal punishment as ordered by a trial before one justice of the peace and two freeholders -- is so "inadequate a barrier to the destruction of property by Negroes of an abandoned character, that in many instances the neat Cattle and other Stock of the industrious and peaceable inhabitants of this State have been shamefully destroyed."

PAR Number 11381406

State: South Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Sumter Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Fifty residents of Sumter District seek a law prohibiting slaves from keeping dogs and making slave owners liable for "all depredations so committed on the property of Citizens of this State by such Slave or Slaves." The current statute governing the punishment of non-capital offenses by slaves -- corporal punishment as ordered by a trial before one justice of the peace and two freeholders -- is so "inadequate a barrier to the destruction of property by Negroes of an abandoned character, that in many instances the neat Cattle and other Stock of the industrious and peaceable inhabitants of this State have been shamefully destroyed."

PAR Number 11381508

State: South Carolina Year: 1815

Abstract: Sixty citizens residing along the Ashepoo and Pon Pon rivers seek the repeal of a 1779 law that established a thirty-foot "cut" between the two rivers and required all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty to maintain the cut or pay an assessment or fine. They reveal that the cut "is now about two feet wide and in places not so deep and is seldom if ever used but by Runaways and Negroes unlawfully trading from River to River." Surrounded by "an immense Swamp of impregnable and uninhabited Marsh and Ti-Ti," they report this "harbour for Runaways" fed, during the War of 1812, a great number of "depredations on Plantations and Rivers [by] Runaways and Outlaws," forcing Governor D. R. Williams to call out the militia. They state that said militiamen captured and executed two of the leaders, Mowby and Dunmore, and hanged several of their associates. The petitioners complain that the cut "prevents the irrigation of a large extent of Land which must ever remain a loss to the State ... as it can never be reclaimed by Fresh water Irrigation and consequently become then the Residence of a white Population." They therefore pray that this law, "haveing become obsolete and a nuisance," be repealed.

PAR Number 11381509

State: South Carolina Year: 1815

Abstract: Sixty-four citizens residing along the Ashepoo and Pon Pon rivers seek the repeal of a 1779 law that established a thirty-foot "cut" between the two rivers and required all males between the ages of sixteen and sixty to maintain the cut or pay an assessment or fine. They reveal that the cut "is now about two feet wide and in places not so deep and is seldom if ever used but by Runaways and Negroes unlawfully trading from River to River." Surrounded by "an immense swamp of impregnable and uninhabited marsh and Ti Ti," they report this "Harbour for Runaways" fed, during the War of 1812, a great number of "depredations on Plantations and Rivers [by] Runaways and Outlaws," forcing Governor D. R. Williams to call out the militia. They state that said militiamen captured and executed two of the leaders, Mowby and Dunmore, and hanged several of their associates. The petitioners complain that the cut "prevents the irrigation of a large extent of Land which must ever remain a loss to the State ... as it can never be reclaimed by Fresh water Irrigation and consequently becomes then the Residence of a white Population." They therefore pray that this law, "haveing become obsolete and a nuisance," be repealed.

PAR Number 11381613

State: South Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Beaufort Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-one citizens of Beaufort District consider themselves "considerably aggrieved from the want of a Law by means of which the Slaves of this district could be restrained from the mischievous practice of killing up the stock and otherwise injuring the people and well disposed citizens of this district." The petitioners note that, between June and October, many planters and overseers in the region leave their plantations and journey to healthier climes; as a result, slaves kill livestock and steal staple crops with impunity, and "the greater part of the inhabitants especially on the Sea Coast are materially injured." Citing that an 1812 law imposes a penalty on planters with at least thirty slaves who leave them unsupervised, the residents purport that said law "is almost invariably disregarded." They therefore seek a law imposing severe penalties on slave owners who do not reside on their plantations or who do not "keep some white person" on their plantations throughout a given year.

PAR Number 11381801

State: South Carolina Year: 1818
Location: Richland Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Jacob Killingsworth, once "a publick soldier in the defence and protection of his country at Charleston," represents that "the only negro he possessed" was "taken, tried and sentenced to be hung for burning a barn." Killingsworth confides that "he is poor, infirm and weak in body and on him alone, depends a large, young and helpless family for their support, maintenance and education." He therefore prays that he may be allowed "a compensation in money equal in value to the negro Frank."

PAR Number 11382006

State: South Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Williamsburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: David Rodgers seeks compensation for "the untimely death" of his slave Pompey during the summer of 1819. Rodgers recounts that "a pretty large gang, to the number of seven Negroes had associated and imbodied themselves together, committing depredations of various kinds, on the property of the Inhabitants." He further reports that the militia was called out and "it was eventually thought to be, by the Colonel of the Regiment, indispensably necessary, that the People should turn out with Fire Arms and quell the Negroes in their nefarious acts"; as a result, Pompey "was shot dead." Rodgers states that Pompey at the time of his death was between forty and forty-five years old; was worth between nine hundred and one thousand dollars; and was "a good Boat hand, a very prime field hand; a good sawyer, And was quite handy in the use of Mechanical Tools." He also notes that Pompey "had sustained previous to being killed, uniformly, a good character, with the exception of running away once or twice." Rodgers therefore prays that he receive "remuneration for the loss which he has sustained."

PAR Number 11382007

State: South Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Williamsburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: David Rodgers seeks compensation for "the untimely death" of his slave Pompey during the summer of 1819. Rodgers recounts that "a pretty large gang, to the number of seven Negroes, had associated, and imbodied themselves together, committing depredations of various kinds, on the property of the Inhabitants." He further reports that the militia was called out and "it was eventually thought to be, by the Colonel of the Regiment, indispensably necessary, that the People should turn out with Fire Arms, and quell the Negroes in their nefarious acts"; as a result, Pompey "was shot dead." Rodgers states that Pompey at the time of his death was between forty and forty-five years old; was worth between nine hundred and one thousand dollars; and was "a good Boat hand, a very prime field hand; a good Sawyer, And was quite handy in the use of Mechanical Tools." He also notes that Pompey "had sustained previous to being killed, uniformly, a good character, with the exception of running away once or twice." Rodgers therefore prays that he receive "remuneration for the loss which he has sustained."

PAR Number 11382112

State: South Carolina Year: 1821
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Edward Brailsford seeks compensation for two runaway slaves who were shot down by a patrol pursuing "a body of run away negroes, ... who had enticed two of your Petitioner's primest fellows to join them." He avows that said gang was "becoming daily more and more offensive to all in the vicinity ... repeatedly committing depredations on their property." The petitioner declares a body of men was summoned "to patrole the Country, for the express purpose of pursuing, taking, or firing upon such as would not surrender"; in pursuance of said orders, "the property of your petitioner was shot, and killed." Describing said slaves as "young, and athletic, and truly valuable fellows," Brailsford prays that "your Honorable House will take into consideration the loss experienced on this occasion, in the death of these two prime young fellows for the good of the community, and that your petitioner may be amply remunerated for the loss of property thus sustained."

PAR Number 11382118

State: South Carolina Year: 1821
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Edward Brailsford seeks compensation for two runaway slaves who were shot down by a patrol pursuing "a body of run away negroes, ... who had enticed two of your Petitioner's primest fellows to join them." He avows that said gang was "becoming daily more and more offensive to all in the vicinity ... repeatedly committing depredations on their property." The petitioner declares a body of men was summoned "to patrole the Country, for the express purpose of pursuing, taking, or firing upon such as would not surrender"; in pursuance of said orders, "the property of your petitioner was shot, and killed." Describing said slaves as "young, and athletic, and truly valuable fellows," Brailsford prays that "your Honorable House will take into consideration the loss experienced on this occasion, in the death of these two prime young fellows for the good of the community, and that your petitioner may be amply remunerated for the loss of property thus sustained."

PAR Number 11382312

State: South Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: On behalf of the officers and members of the James Island Boat Company, John Girardeau seeks reimbursement for expenses incurred when Governor Thomas Bennett ordered them "to be called out and to be kept on duty from the 20th to 27th of November 1822 for the purpose of suppressing the depredations and quelling the insurrectionary spirit of a gang of Negroes." Submitting "that they ought not to be liable for the payment of said Expences so unavoidable and so necessary to the Correct discharge of their duties," the petitioners pray that "the said Expences may be ordered to be paid out of the Treasury of the said State."

PAR Number 11382317

State: South Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Edisto Island Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: The "officers of the Edisto Island Auxiliary Association" assert that "a sacred regard for the safety of their property, and the welfare of the State, have forcibly induced them to establish a Society, in aid of the constituted authorities, with respect to the regulation of the Coloured Population." They purport that "it is not necessary only that the civil authorities should display their customary alertness and devotion to the public weal, but that the zealous aid of every patriotic citizen should be freely offered" to avert a "serious calamity" and "forever crush the spirit of insubordination and revolt." The petitioners point out that "the white population of Edisto Island is to the Black, as 200 to 3000, or as 1 to 15." In addition, the petitioners argue, the "ties of consanguinity and interest are insufficient to prevent even our neighbours from publicly thundering their anathemas against the holders of Slaves; neither moral considerations or political motives can restrain their demagogues from infusing into the bosoms of our credulous and superstitious coloured people, the most dangerous and revolting doctrines." They therefore "respectfully beg" that the Edisto Island Auxiliary Association "may be incorporated as a Body Politic."

PAR Number 11382410

State: South Carolina Year: 1824
Location: Clarendon Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Eighty residents of Clarendon, Claremont, and Richland districts and St. John's and St. Steven's parishes seek a reward for a slave named Royal, who provided information about the location of the camp of a runaway gang leader named Joe, or Forest, which led to Joe's capture. During the administration of Governor Thomas Bennett (1820-1822), the executive branch offered a reward, as did the relatives of a white man named Ford who had been murdered by Joe; however, the runaway was "so cunning and artful as to elude pursuit." Emboldened by his success, he "plunged deeper and deeper into Crime, until neither fear nor danger could deter him first from threatening and then from executing a train of mischief we believe quite without a parrallel in this Country." They report that a number of "runaways flew to his Camp, and he soon became their head and their life." Joe inspired his followers with the "most Wild and dangerous enthusiasm" and he continued as leader of his band for four years, inculcating among his fellow slaves "the most dangerous notions" of "insubordination and insurrections." His activities kept whites in "a constant state of uneasiness and alarm." In October 1823, residents organized several infantry companies and scoured various sections along the Santee river and its tributaries, but the distances (sixty miles by land) and extremely hot weather wore them down. About to give up, they were surprised when a slave named Royal, belonging to Mrs. Perrin of Richland District, revealed the location of Joe's camp. The militia startled the runaways, who had a boat and muskets but failed to escape; Joe and three of his followers were shot and killed on the spot, and the others were dispersed. Most of them were either hunted down and killed, or captured and hanged. The petitioners therefore pray that "this slave on account of his good Conduct and faithfulness" be rewarded for the services he rendered.

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