Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11284403

State: North Carolina Year: 1844
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventeen Halifax County residents complain that "it has become a common occurrence for runaway negroes to provide themselves with guns in this County, & to use them in providing themselves provisions, & by threats to intimidate and frighten the timid thereby rendering their apprehension extremely difficult." They cite one example of a farmer who "lost by them seventy five hogs" where the runaways alleged "as the reason they stole from him in particular that he hunted for them; they sent him word, that if he would not hunt for them again -- they would not kill any more of his hogs -- but if he did, they should kill him." Eager "to put a stop to such monstrous outrages of the well being and order of society," the petitioners "would respectfully suggest to your honorable body the passage of a law upon the subject, based on the following principles, to wit -- the negro to be hung, & the state pay the owner for him, & that no one to be held accountable for shooting him while in the woods." They understand that "your honorable body, may perhaps think that the above principles of a law, would be too strong, we dare say they are." They assert, however, "we think strong remedies ought to be used."

PAR Number 11284803

State: North Carolina Year: 1848
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-seven citizens of Pasquotank County assert "in this county there is a large slave population, and the morals of our slaves are corruptible by means of the facilities they have in finding a ready market with Retailers and the ease they find in getting ardent spirits." They complain that the "planters are sufferers to a very great extent from thefts committed by the slaves, which thefts they believe in great degree are brought about by the fact that the slave finds a ready market for his stolen produce in the person of the owners or keepers of said retail shops." The petitioners "beg leave humbly and respectfully to suggest to your Honorable Body the propriety of enacting a law for the County of Pasquotank requiring the Tax to be levied upon all Retailing license granted within said county shall hereafter be the sum of Twenty five dollars."

PAR Number 11285105

State: North Carolina Year: 1851
Location: Lincoln Location Type: County

Abstract: James Graham urges the General Assembly to enact legislation "to induce, if not compell, the free Negroes in North Carolina to emigrate to the Abolition and Free Soil States. It appears to me that Negrophobia, which is now raging and rousing up a large number of people in the non-Slaveholding states cannot be cured more effectually than by giving them some strong black medicine out of their own black Bottle." Graham proposes making landlords who rent land to free persons of color liable for all of their tenants' "taxes, contracts, damages, Penalties, fines and costs, and other legal liabilities which colored persons may contract or incur while living thereon: that is, I would make the actual possession of the free Negro, a lien, on the land on which he lived; and let that lien continue until his public and private liabilities were paid." Graham urges such action because "there is a numerous class of the worst sort of Abolitionist dwelling in our midst in the Southern States who clandestinely trade with Slaves and receive stolen goods in payment for ardent spirits and other articles, thereby corrupting and destroying the value of Servants." He proposes that white men convicted of trafficking with slaves be whipped as well as fined.

PAR Number 11285802

State: North Carolina Year: 1858
Location: Onslow Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-eight Onslow County residents represent "that some legislation is absolutely necessary to relieve the people of the State from the evils arising from numbers of free negroes in our midst." The petitioners decry that "the free negro is an indolent lazy & thievish drunken individual, working only when he cannot steal, or induce the slave to steal for him." They further assert that "the slave is induced to enter his owners barn and the free negro is the recipient of the stolen goods; paying for them in whiskey." This results, they declare, in the slave imbibing "untill he become intoxicated, when he is ready for a general fight, or any species of rascality that may present itself." The petitioners argue that "free negroes are a growing evil, and deserve as we have no doubt, it will receive, the attention of the present General Assembly."

PAR Number 11286001

State: North Carolina Year: 1860
Location: Mecklenburg Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred ninety-four Mecklenburg, Iredell, and Cabarrus county residents demand "a more stringent law, to meet the exigency of the times." They point to "the unpaid and inefficient system of Patrol" as the "causes in which crime and insubordination have their outbirth." The petitioners charge that, in addition to the "incendiaries from abroad," it is the "evil-disposed persons located in our midst who carry on an unlawful traffic with slaves" which induces them to commit murder, robbery, and arson. They further believe that punishments for said crimes are "totally inadequate."

PAR Number 11286108

State: North Carolina Year: 1861
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-nine citizens of the town of Rockingham ask that an act be passed prohibiting the sale of liquor within two miles of the Richmond County Court House, "provided that a majority of the free white male citizens of the Town of Rockingham shall so consent." They complain that "they have been most seriously annoy'd by the sale of intoxicating drinks sold in our midst that it is so corrupting in its tendencies and so grossly immoral in its effects, upon the white and black population, and particularly the latter." They report that they "find the servants frequently secreting and carying off their masters effect to give in exchange of ardent spirits to our great damage, as well as to the corruption of their morals." The petitioners firmly believe "that in times like the present, when the most watchful and strict discipline should be maintain'd between master and servant, that every thing the least calculated to produce an insubordinate spirit on their part should be removed as far as possible from them."

PAR Number 11300005

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

Abstract: Forty-three wharf owners and merchants in Charleston ask the legislature to take action to halt the theft of cotton bales. They assert that “slaves and free persons of Colour, who being able to write, readily manufacture tickets in the name of the owner or employer or any other person, and frequently in the name of a fictitious person” and then sell said cotton and other goods to unscrupulous shopkeepers. They further lament that said trafficking is very difficult to stop and even when suspects are brought in it is difficult to prosecute as the bales have already been shipped out. The petitioners “confidently believe that in the article of Cotton alone, not less than Five Hundred Bales are purchased in illicit traffic by the Shops in Charleston from Slave and free persons of color.” They therefore ask for stricter laws and better enforcement.

PAR Number 11378703

State: South Carolina Year: 1787

Abstract: John Dorsius and William Bellamy seek compensation for their slave, Anthony, who was convicted and executed for highway robbery in February 1784. The Court of Justices and Freeholders appraised Anthony's value at fifty pounds sterling.

PAR Number 11379203

State: South Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Beaufort Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Lightwood seeks compensation for his slave, Bacchus, "who had absonded from his Service" and who "was killed by a Patrole about twelve months ago." Reporting that he is "advised that he is entitled to some compensation for him," the petitioner submits an appraisal for said slave that values Bacchus at sixty pounds sterling at "the time he was killed." The document also claims that Bacchus was killed "for Robbing Benj Davis of his Fire Arm & Arming himself therewith, havg Davis's Gun in his Hand." Bacchus had "been a Runaway for upwards of Eighteen Months."

PAR Number 11379303

State: South Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: "In behalf of the Whole," eight members of "The Society of Master Coopers of Charleston" express frustration at the "inattention" given by authorities to the law passed 10 May 1740 and revived 12 March 1783 regarding the management of slaves within the state. "[A]t present as well as for considerable Time past," they observe, "the Slaves of Charleston have been privileged (although illegally) to sell traffick and barter, as well as to carry on different Trades and Occupations (free from the Direction or Superintendence of any white Person whatever." They further declare that the black mechanics and tradesmen work "to their own Emolument and the great and manifest Injury of the mechanical part of the Community, selling their Commodities and working at their Trades much lower and at much cheaper Rates, than those persons who are privileged by their Citizenship." The petitioners believe such "Privileges encourage Negroes in Stealing as well as destroy that Subordination which the Situation of this State requires from the Slave towards his master and all other Citizens." The white coopers ask for an act of incorporation, with "Privileges and Rights as are usually granted in such Cases."

PAR Number 11379309

State: South Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: "In behalf of the whole," eight members of "The Society of Master Coopers of Charleston" express frustration at the "inattention" given by authorities to the law passed 10 May 1740 and revived 12 March 1783 regarding the management of slaves within the state. "[A]t present as well as for considerable Time past," they observe, "the Slaves of Charleston have been privileged (although illegally) to sell traffick and barter, as well as to carry on different Trades and Occupations (free from the Direction or Superintendance of any white Person whatever." They further declare that the black mechanics and tradesmen work "to their own Emolument, and the great and manifest Injury of the mechanical Part of the Community, selling their commodities and working at their Trades much lower, and at much cheaper Rates, than those Persons who are privileged by their Citizenship." The petitioners believe such "privileges encourage Negroes in Stealing as well as destroy that Subordination which the Situation of this State requires from the Slave towards his master and all other Citizens." The white coopers ask for an act of incorporation, with "privileges and Rights as are usually granted in such Cases."

PAR Number 11379708

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

Abstract: Georgia residents James Hughlin and Elijah Clark seek compensation for their slaves, who were executed in Abbeville District, South Carolina, for burglary. The petitioners report that "said Negroes were appraised by the Justices and Jury who tried them, as follows: Negro Jim, the property of James Hughlin, at Three Hundred Dollars; and Negro Summer, the property of Elijah Clark, at One Hundred & fifty Dollars." Noting that they have "never received any compensation," they pray that their petition will be taken "into consideration" and that they will be granted relief.

PAR Number 11379906

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

Abstract: Joshua Canter represents that he purchased a slave named Cain from Thomas Coveney "some short time ago" for seventy-six pounds. He further discloses that "a court of Justices and freeholders passed Sentence of death upon the Said Negroe for committing burglary and larceny which Sentence was accordingly executed on the fifteenth day of November instant." Canter reports that "before passing the Said Sentence" Cain was appraised and valued at seventy pounds. The petitioner therefore prays that his circumstances be considered and that the treasurer of the state be directed "to pay unto him the value of the Said Slave."

PAR Number 11380006

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Sumter Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Richardson seeks compensation for his slave, a "very valuable Negro Fellow," who, absconded "immediately after he discovered that he was sold and to be removed to the Country." Richardson recounts that the slave, when found, was "taken and placed in the Gaol of Charleston, for which your Petitioner paid the sum of Fifty Dollars." He laments, however, that said slave was shortly thereafter "taken by the warrant of a Magistrate and tryed for Burglary, Convicted of the Charge, and was executed." The petitioner prays that he may be granted "such compensation as you in your wisdom should deem equitable and just."

PAR Number 11380020

State: South Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Mary Norton seeks compensation for her slave, Cuffy, who was "condemned to be executed for Larceny & attempting to cut the throat of Solomon Nathan." Norton, "a widow in indigent circumstances," claims that Cuffy "was in a considerable degree the source whence she drew her support." Noting that said slave was appraised at eighty pounds sterling," the petitioner prays the "Honble house to order the said sum of eighty pounds Sterling to be paid her or to afford her such relief as to your wisdom shall seem proper."

PAR Number 11380206

State: South Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Simmons seeks reimbursement for the materials he "furnished for the Execution of a Negro fellow named Davy found Guilty of & Sentenced to be burnt for Robbery & Murder." He also seeks payment for "attending the Execution of the negro Smart," wherein he was "armed to prevent a rescue." The receipts provided by Simmons show that he spent £7 6s. 10p for "Wood, tar, post & chains &cet:" for the execution of Davy and that he charged £3 the next day on 5 December 1800 to stand guard at the execution of Smart. Simmons did "Furnish the materials for the Execution of Davy above mentioned," one observer noted, and attended "armed under the apprehension of a rescue" the execution of Smart.

PAR Number 11380401

State: South Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Edgefield Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Cradock Burnell seeks compensation for his slave Adam, "who was convicted of Robbery from the Dwelling House in the day time and hath since been executed in pursuance of his sentence." Reporting that Adam’s appraised value was $250, the petitioner "prays your Honble House to grant him such compensation as your Honble House shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11380402

State: South Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Edgefield Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Cradock Burnell seeks compensation for his slave Adam, "who was convicted of Robbery from the Dwelling House in the day time and hath since been executed in pursuance of his sentence." Reporting that Adam’s appraised value was $250, the petitioner "prays your Honorable House to grant him such compensation as your Honble House shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11380901

State: South Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Colleton Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Charles C. Ashe seeks compensation for a twenty-two-year-old slave named Monday, who "hath been tried convicted and executed for Burglary in Sept 1804"; he was also convicted of "taking a gun and ammunition & swearing he would kill a Certain Negroe fellow" belonging to Mary Crofts. Avowing that Monday "was of great utility in aiding him in his planting interest," the petitioner hopes "that there will be some alleviation of his loss." He therefore prays that "such allowance be made unto your petitioner as to your honorable Body shall seem competent with propriety." The "Justices of the Quorum" assessed Monday's value to be $400.

PAR Number 11380902

State: South Carolina Year: 1809

Abstract: John Rose seeks compensation for his slave, Tybee, who was convicted and executed for burglary in 1806. Rose recounts that he previously petitioned the state senate in 1807 for relief and that he included an appraisal from the Court of Justices and Freeholders for $128 with said petition; however, when he inquired as to the outcome of his prayer, he was told that his request had been held up in committee because "The Record of the Trial is wanting." Believing that said appraisement "must be by some means lost or mislaid," the petitioner now submits an affidavit attesting "that a Record of the same accompanied with an appraisement did actually exist." Rose seeks "such relief as may be just & right."

PAR Number 11381001

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

Abstract: Capt. James Anderson seeks compensation for a sixteen-year-old slave named Wiley, who was "taken in the act" of burglary. Anderson reports that Wiley was "brought to him tied as a prisoner" and that he informed said slave that "he would be tried for his life"; if convicted of "the crime of which he was guilty," Wiley would be executed. The petitioner recounts that, "when the family rose from bed" the next morning, they discovered that "he the sd. Negroe boy had Hanged himself With the Rope he Was tied With When delivered to him." Anderson prays that he be granted "the same compensation as if he had been executed for the above offence." Wiley's appraised value was $400.

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 11381202

State: South Carolina Year: 1812
Location: Darlington Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Andrew Muldrow Sr. seeks compensation for "a negro fellow named Bristoe executed for the crime of Burglary" in 1810. He recalls that "he has heretofore petitioned your honorable body to obtain the compensation allowed by law when a negro is executed & has never as yet received any." The petitioner therefore prays that he be granted "such relief" as is deemed meet. The court found Bristol was worth "two hundred pounds current money" before "they ordered the execution of the said negro."

PAR Number 11381306

State: South Carolina Year: 1813
Location: Beaufort Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Johnson, of St. Helena Parish, attests that "a Negroe Fellow by the name of Abram belonging to your petitioner was by virtue of a Warrant" charged with "stealing Certain articles” from a shop on 27 July 1813. He argues that "upon testimony merely presumptive" the said Abram "was sentenced to receive 70 lashes, to remain one hour in the Stocks, 40 of which were inflicted on the 27th." Johnson recounts that Abram died "on the 28th during the infliction of the remaining 30 lashes." The petitioner "prays that compensation may be allowed for the death" of said slave as if "it was occasioned by the Execution of a Sentence under the Laws of the State."

PAR Number 11381404

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

Abstract: Robert Bradford seeks compensation in the amount of $18.50 for expenses incurred while apprehending "a certain negro man named Ned," who had been accused of assaulting and robbing Charles Newman of Charleston. Noting that "the Governor of this State Issued a proclamation offering one hundred Dollars" for Ned's capture, Bradford reports that he seized Ned in Sumter District and then transported him to Charleston, "in the month of September to the great hazzard of health & of his life." The petitioner also states that Ned "was tried, convicted, & executed for the offense above named."

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