Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10381902

State: Delaware Year: 1819
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: James Lackey seeks relief from fines assessed after he and two other men were convicted of assault and battery with intent to kidnap. The charges were brought by Preston Moore, a free man of color, and Lackey's indented servant. Lackey argues that the fines are excessive, that Moore's character is questionable, and that the governor had already remitted the "odious part of the Sentence whereby your petitioner, and the other two Defendants were subject to stand in the Pillory for the space of half an hour." Lackey reveals that he purchased Moore, “with a view to have his Labour on the Farm,” from the New Castle jail, where Moore was imprisoned "for his evil Deeds."

PAR Number 10382905

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Constable William Warnock and John Engles seek the reward posted by the Governor of Delaware "for the apprehension of a certain Samuel Ogg a black man who has escaped from jail in Dover ... where he was confined for robbery and an attempt to murder." The petitioners avow that they "were the only persons concerned in the actual apprehension taking and securing of the Said negro who was a powerful man and had a loaded pistol in his hat at the time of said taking." They therefore pray "that an appropriation of the amount stipulated [$200] to be paid for the apprehension of said fugitive may now be made in favour of your Petitioners the only persons justly and legally entitled to the Same."

PAR Number 10384507

State: Delaware Year: 1845
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1842, John Anderson was shot in the neck by his servant, Thomas Brown, who was tried and convicted of attempted murder. Brown was sentenced to seven years of servitude and was sold to Elijah McDowell of Maryland for $200. After paying costs, the sheriff of Kent County still had $130.19, which he turned over to the State Treasury. Anderson asks the legislature to pass an act authorizing the state to pay him the surplus.

PAR Number 11083004

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

Abstract: Elizabeth Fort seeks remuneration from the state after her slave Henry was executed for stabbing a white man with intent to kill. She is fifty-two years old and owns only two other slaves, a man and a woman, "capable of serving her, & providing a support for her declining years."

PAR Number 11083308

State: Mississippi Year: 1833
Location: Simpson Location Type: County

Abstract: William Tolar and Rolin Williams seek compensation for expenses incurred apprehending three escaped prisoners from the Simpson County jail. The three included Samuel Pool, charged with larceny, and two slaves held as runaways. The pursuers "ran great risk & peril of their lives." Tolar was severely cut by one of the slaves and unable to do "any Kind of labour for near two months."

PAR Number 11085919

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

Abstract: Billard Filmore, a free man of color, seeks a special act making him a slave for life to James J. Lindsey, a lawyer in the town of Fulton. At a recent court session, Filmore was charged with the attempted murder of a slave. He was desirous of procuring counsel in his defense and was "looking to the law recently passed by your Honorable body respecting free Mulattos in Said State."

PAR Number 11277901

State: North Carolina Year: 1779
Location: Bladen Location Type: County

Abstract: In behalf of "the inhabitants in the Upper part of Bladen County," Jacob Alford confides that "your petitioners are in Constant dread & Fear of Being Robbed and Murdered by A Set of Robbers and Horse Thiefs, which have been among us this week to the number of About Forty, who have Commited A Great deal of Mischief Already." He reveals that they, along with residents of Anson County, have "had their House Broke and All Their Cloathes Taken from Them ... Many had all Their Cattle taken Away from them & their Corn Robbd out of Their Cribs, by which many of Them are entirely undone & Ruined." Alford suggests that "the most part of the Robbers are Molattoes, and Chiefly Came from the South province when the Vagrant Act Came among Them." They therefore "lay our distresses and our unhappy Case before your Honourable Assembly" in hopes that “youl take our unfortunate situation unto you humain Consideration."

PAR Number 11278202

State: North Carolina Year: 1782
Location: Hertford Location Type: County

Abstract: Joseph Benthall, guardian of Susanna Benthall, requests that Joseph Wood, a justice of the peace in Northampton County, be removed from office. Benthall explains that his ward's "Negro Wench named Hagar had been secretly conveyed out of the County near four years ago" and that he searched and found her, now with a child, in Edgecomb County and took her to Northampton. He charges that "James Knight with a general Warrant Signed by Joseph Wood ... did by Violence sieze & carry the said Negroes away, barbarously wounding" Benthall's brother in the process. The petitioner recounts that he questioned Wood's authority, whereupon “Wood ordered your Petitioner to be confined in Hallifax Jail ... to be tryed as he said for Negro Stealing." Benthall, "on behalf of the good Citizens of this State," prays that the legislature may "direct the said Wood to be removed from his Magisterial Seat & be forever disabled from holding a Commission as a Justice of the Peace in future."

PAR Number 11278703

State: North Carolina Year: 1787
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: William Parham relates that he and his father journeyed to the residence of a certain Widow Cox in Halifax County for the purpose of retrieving a slave in which his father had "an indubitable right to." The petitioner states that his father took the slave into his possession, whereby he was charged with trespass and, for which offence, the petitioner posted a two-hundred-pound bond. Parham states that he believed there was "no absolute necessity for his appearance at said court" and that he forfeited said bond when he failed to appear. "Being a poor man with a large increasing family," the petitioner prays for relief.

PAR Number 11279107

State: North Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Duplin Location Type: County

Abstract: John Housman laments the loss of his slave Sampson, who was hanged for various felonies, including robbery and assault. Housman claims that he was entirely ignorant of his slave's behavior and did not know that Sampson had bludgeoned a white man with a hatchet head. Housman, now "far advanced in life" and the head of a large family, asks for relief.

PAR Number 11279513

State: North Carolina Year: 1795
Location: New Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry Taylor requests compensation for being shot in the shoulder while hunting runaway slaves. Taylor recounts that he endeavored "to put a stop" to the depredations committed by "a number of outlying runaway [that] had collected themselves together" to rob and to kill and destroy the stock of "the Inhabitants of the counties of Brunswick and New Hanover." While on such duty, he explains, a fellow patroller, being suddenly awakened by him, "shot your memorialist through the Shoulder." Unable to pay the surgeon's fee of £60, Taylor asks "your Honorable body to take his case into consideration and grant him such releif as you shall think meet and proper."

PAR Number 11281001

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

Abstract: James Wallis, "a minister of Religion," represents that he went to the widow's house "to apportion off some of the negro property of the late Doct. William Morrison," in his capacity as Morrison’s executor. He relates that, following "the business ordered by the court," several intoxicated men began quarreling. Noting that the widow requested that he "have them put of the house," Wallis intervened and thereby was charged and convicted of assault and fined fifty pounds. The petitioner denies any wrongdoing and argues that two persons, "who were considered as most deeply implicated were brought to trial and acquitted." He therefore "hopes to obtain from the Legislature of the State that relief which it alone is competent to afford."

PAR Number 11281202

State: North Carolina Year: 1812
Location: Perquimans Location Type: County

Abstract: Rhoda Wynns states that she was left "in affluent circumstances, possessed of Lands, Houses, Negroes, and Stock" upon the death of her husband eight years ago. She laments, however, that four years ago she married a certain Benjamin Wynns, whose "deceptive tongue induced your petitioner to believe she had married a Gentleman and a man of fortune." Rhoda reveals that her husband has beaten her so much that she "was obliged to bind him to the peace to protect my life from his cruel hands." Noting that said Benjamin has disposed of or sold her property and has "returned to the County from whence he came," Rhoda prays that she be granted "such relief in the premises as will enable her to possess quietly such property as she may obtain by donation, industry, or otherwise." Affidavits disclose that Rhoda took refuge "at a Negro man's house by the name of Dick" when she fled from her husband's assaults.

PAR Number 11281302

State: North Carolina Year: 1813
Location: Camden Location Type: County

Abstract: Sarah Bell, a widow "far advanced in years and mother of Ten Children," seeks a divorce from Samuel Bell. Sarah states that, at the time of her marriage to Samuel, "she was possessed of a handsome property in Lands, negroes, Stock &c" and that she "had experienced a life of ease and affluence in the life time of her former husband." The petitioner confesses, however, that the said Samuel has "not only wasted her personal property by selling her negroes Stock &c but treated her person in a very harsh unmanly and Cruel manner, descending to Blows with Cruel and Barbarous Weapons on the Body of your Orator." Having taken refuge at the house of her married daughter, Sarah prays that a law be passed to divorce her from the said Samuel.

PAR Number 11281401

State: North Carolina Year: 1814
Location: Gates Location Type: County

Abstract: Love Brady laments that her husband Mills "did beat and Iltreat" her and that he "Spent and Wasted the whole of the property," which included "Negroes and other things" that she owned prior to her marriage. The petitioner further confides that her husband has abandoned her "without any thing to Subsist on, other than the Charity of Friends and took up with a Certain Selah Eure with whom he lives." She therefore prays that a law be passed "Vesting any property in your Memorialist that She may hereafter acquire by Industry, Gift ... or otherwise and barring Said Brady from any Claim on property so acquired by your Memorialist."

PAR Number 11282205

State: North Carolina Year: 1822
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Janet Corn laments that her son Henry "was cruelly, barbarously and inhumanely murdered in the western part of Wake County" and that she has been informed that the murder was committed "by a certain negro man slave named prince the property of a certain George Herndon." Corn charges that delays in the "papers and proceedings of the said Inquest on the said murder" openly violate the law and aid in "the perversion and prevention of Justice." She argues, in fact, that the said Herndon has had ample time “to run the said slave prince out of the state; and to take measures to circumvent or prevent any proceedings being had against himself for any share or participation in the guilt of the said Prince.” She further notes that she is a poor widow "while those she has to contend with in seeking for Justice being done on the murderer, and all implicated, are rich and powerful." Believing "her chance of having Justice done except through the interposition of the legislature is slender indeed," the petitioner prays that the justices of the peace be "impeached or removed for malfeasance."

PAR Number 11282712

State: North Carolina Year: 1827
Location: New Hanover Location Type: County

Abstract: Jonathan Bryan seeks a divorce from his wife Ann Jane Anders, who not only attempted to kill him but also incited "an Insurrection" among his slaves. Bryan reports that the said Ann Jane attempted to poison him more than once; that she failed to nurse him when he “was Confined with the Billious fever So that his life was despaired of"; that she "has laid voiolent hands on his person twice;" that she has "treated with Cruelty the Seven Children he has had by a decent and former wife"; that she "took medicine" to induce a miscarriage when she returned from being absent "for the Space of eleven months dureing which time She got herself with Child;" and that he "has not seen the Said Ann Jane and has been for Som time past and at this time She is aliveing in a Negro house With Negros." He therefore prays that the legislature will "interpose and pass a Law Divorcing him from this wife Ann Jane."

PAR Number 11282902

State: North Carolina Year: 1829
Location: Gates Location Type: County

Abstract: Clement Hill was indicted and convicted in 1828 for "an assault and battery on the body of one Jesse Reed, a man of Color." Fined $200, Hill prays that this sum be refunded to him on the grounds that Reed insulted and abused Hill's sister, "heaping upon her various epithets of abuse indignity & profanity too opprobious to be mentioned to your honorable body." The petitioner attests that "Reed is a mulatto of notoriously bad character & known to be so by all the people in the vicinity of his place of residence" and that "Reed is much in the habit of using insolence to white people cursing & abusing them, without cause or first provocation." Hill also submits that Reed “now stands indicted for Petit Larceny in Gates County Court.”

PAR Number 11380016

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

Abstract: Robert Murphy, "a guard" under Constable William Moore, represents that he was called upon to apprehend "a certain negro man named Joe, the property of a Robert Ash." He states that said Joe had been charged with "an Assault & Battery with an Intent of Ravishment" on a white woman in the neighborhood. Murphy recounts that he pursued Joe and "found him at the Negro House of a Certain Mrs. Cally" and that Joe "did not surrender himself" and instead "fled & was killed." Murphy, having been sued by Ash and fined $124 in damages, prays the legislature to grant "such relief as to your wisdom shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11380019

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

Abstract: Robert Murphy, "a guard" under Constable William Moore, represents that he was called upon to apprehend "a certain negro man named Joe, the property of a Robert Ash." He states that said Joe had been charged with "an Assault & Battery with an Intent of Ravishment" on a white woman in the neighborhood. Murphy recounts that he pursued Joe and "found him at the Negro House of a Certain Mrs. Cally" and that Joe "did not surrender himself" and instead "fled & was killed." Murphy, having been sued by Ash and fined $124 in damages, prays the legislature to grant "such relief as to your wisdom shall seem meet."

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 11380801

State: South Carolina Year: 1808
Location: Orangeburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Fairy recalls that he attempted to apprehend a runaway slave named Jack on 23 May 1807; in the process, "Jack wounded your Petitioner in several places, for which offence he was tried found guilty and executed." Fairy confides that he "is poor and entirely dependent on his own labour for his support and that in consequence of the wounds which he received (from the effect of which he has not yet recovered) he was for a long time confined to his bed, at a time of the year when it was absolutely necessary for him to work his crop." The petitioner prays that his case be taken into consideration and that he be granted "such relief as you may judge proper."

PAR Number 11380903

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

Abstract: Timothy Barton seeks compensation for his slave named Jack, who "was arrested for wounding and maiming a white man by the name of William Fairey, and by a Court of Justices and freeholders was tried for his life and was sentenced to be executed for the same." Citing that Jack was valued at $400 before his death, the petitioner "prays your Honorable body to make such provision for his indemnity as you may think him entitled to." The court sentenced Jack “to be hanged by the neck for ten minutes and afterwards that his Body should be burnt.”

PAR Number 11380905

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

Abstract: Timothy Barton seeks compensation for his slave named Jack, who "was arrested for wounding and maiming a white man by the name of William Fairey, and by a Court of Justices and freeholders was tried for his life and was sentenced to be executed for the Same." Citing that Jack was valued at $400 before his death, the petitioner "prays your Honorable body to make such provision for his Indemnity as you may think him entitled to."

PAR Number 11381301

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

Abstract: William B. Villard recounts that he was "returning from his Field in the Swamp of Savannah River" on May 8th when he "met a Strange negro Man, who on being spoken to attempted to make off and your Petitioner pursued to apprehend him as a Runaway." Villard avers that he received "a severe contusion on his forehead and several of his Ribs" were broken by the hatchet-wielding man; with help, "this atrocious out Law, who had been infesting the neighbouring Country for a length of time" was bound and "delivered to Justice." He further states that his large family has been deprived at length of "his labours and exertion, which are necessary for their support" and that he "has not Recovered his Health ... from the severe Injury he sustained in the apprehension of this desperate out Law, who through his means was brought to Justice." Believing that he "is entitled to some Reward and Remuneration from the Legislature" for the capture of Sampson, Villard seeks relief.

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