Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10185701

State: Alabama Year: 1857
Location: Coffee Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-seven white citizens of Coffee County seeks residency status for Narcissa Daniel, a "free colored girl about seventeen years of age," who had come to Alabama from Georgia with Allen Daniel, "a highly Respectable" citizen. Narcissa, the petitioners claim, was the "offspring of a white woman of high family." Mrs. Daniel was her best friend and Narcissa would prefer a "state of bondage to that of separation."

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 11000017

State: Mississippi

Abstract: John Baptiste Nicaisse purchased his two-year-old daughter, Izabella, in 1806 at the Bay of St. Louis, which was then under Spanish rule. The bill of sale stipulated that Nicaisse should legally emancipate the child "before the command't at mobile." Before Nicaisse could do so, however, the area became part of the United States. He now seeks to free her through the Mississippi legislature.

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 11082101

State: Mississippi Year: 1821
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: About 1818, John Morin purchased his eighteen-month-old slave daughter, described as a "quartroon" girl named Adele. Morin then went to the justice of the peace in Hancock County and procured an "act of emancipation." A short time later Morin died. His mother, Louise Favre, discovered that the act was not valid. She asks the legislature for an act of emancipation to free Adele. Favre states that she has six children by her former husband, Peter Morin, and that one of them is threatening to keep Adele in bondage. The mother laments that she is growing old and wants to respect her son's wish before she dies.

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 11085921

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

Abstract: The grandson of a white woman, free man of color Johan Perrot seeks a special act allowing him to become the slave of Reverend Charles Hailey. In 1844, he journeyed with Hailey, who whom he was apprenticed, from Anson County, North Carolina, where he was born, and settled with him in Kemper County, Mississippi. Perrot is now about twenty-three years old and views Hailey as "a Kind Master and friend." For the past two years Perrot has been an invalid. He would "vastly prefer going into Slavery, than to be compelled to leave."

PAR Number 11085928

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

Abstract: Kemper County citizens most respectfully pray that the petition of free man of color named Johan Perrot be granted as consistent with "good policy." Perrot explains in his petition that he is the grandson of a white woman, that he was born in North Carolina and apprenticed there, while still a small boy, to the Reverend Charles Hailey. He came to Mississippi in 1844 and has since resided in the state. As he is an invalid, he is unable to leave the state and would like to become the property of Reverend Hailey, who has been a kind master to him.

PAR Number 11086601

State: Mississippi Year: 1866
Location: Simpson Location Type: County

Abstract: Citizens of Simpson County ask that Lewis Dixon be granted all the rights and privileges of white men. Dixon's mother was white; he was three generations removed from the "African race;" and he had never associated with "recently made Freedmen."

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 11279208

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

Abstract: Jeremiah Symons represents that he is "in possession of three that are mixed blood David Joan & Abby and to me Slaves." He therefore prays, "from Contientious principles," that "an Act may be passed as may secure to them the Free injoyment of their Liberty."

PAR Number 11279303

State: North Carolina Year: 1793

Abstract: Darby Henagan seeks to emancipate "two molatto slaves almost white" named Penny and Ned whose mother and grandmother served him meritoriously for years. "Advanced in life," Henagan acknowledges his "abhorrence & detestation of seeing persons of mixed blood in slavery which are almost white." He therefore "most ardently prays your Honble body to pass a Law to liberate the aforesaid Molatto children."

PAR Number 11279308

State: North Carolina Year: 1793
Location: Bladen Location Type: County

Abstract: John Hall represents that he "is possessed in his own right of a certain female slave of mixed Blood about the age of five years called Judith." He further explains that said child "is the Offspring of a Gentleman who is lately deceased to which Gentleman on his Death bed, your petioner entered into a solemn promise" that he "would endeavour to procure the manumition and freedom of the said female slave." Hall, in pursuance of his "sacred promise," prays "that by an Act of this General Assembly the said female slave may be emancipated & set free by the name of Judith Phillips."

PAR Number 11279511

State: North Carolina Year: 1795

Abstract: Charles Johnson represents that "he has and holds a Certain boy of Colour of about four years of age as a slave, being born as such by the Laws of this Country." He further declares that the child's "white blood so far prevails, that it is almost impossible for any person to discern that he is of mix'd blood." The petitioner, from "principles both of policy and Humanity," therefore prays "that the said boy by the name of Gustavus Adolphus Johnson should be freed & Liberated, and that you will pass a Law for that purpose."

PAR Number 11280005

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Gurdon Deming represents that "he is the owner of a Certain woman named Lucy and her child Laura." Deming describes the history of Lucy as "a romantic one" in that she "is the daughter of a free white woman" and that "to conceal this circumstance, so as to protect the reputation of the real mother, Lucy at her birth was placed in charge of a woman a slave of one John Selph." He further avers that said Selph intended to manumit Lucy but his death "being sudden and his estate proving insolvent, his intentions were frustrated." As "Lucy in colour is perfectly White, and cannot be distinguished from the purest of the race," Deming prays that a law be passed "authorizing the Emancipation of the said Lucy, and her child Laura." The petitioner also adds that Lucy's "associations have been distinct from the coloured population and her whole demeanor that of the whites to which class she evidently belongs."

PAR Number 11280006

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-nine citizens of Cumberland County "cheerfully join in" the petition of Gurdon Deming to emancipate his slave Lucy and her daughter Laura. They avow that many "of your petitioners Who have known Lucy more recently have no hesitation in Saying that from her general appearance they verily believe that She is of pure White blood too White to be a slave and ought to be manumitted." The petitioners believe "that in doing so, you will do an act of Justice to an unfortunate woman illegally held in bondage, who for more than Eighteen Years has faithfully performed the Menial duties of a Servant without murmuring tho often importuned to assert her freedom."

PAR Number 11280102

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

Abstract: Eighteen residents of Randolph County report that the late John Bagnel "left two Mulato [female] Children whose mother is also dead & left no will in writing altho possessed of some personal property." The petitioners aver that they are "fully satisfied that he own'd sd. children to be his & wish'd them to injoy the little property he was possessed of." They therefore pray that a law be passed "as may Entitle them to freedom & to inherite what little property may be found." They further "desire their Names to be Established Sarah Bagnell & Hannah Bagnell."

PAR Number 11280515

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

Abstract: Christian Limbaugh seeks a divorce from his wife, the former Catharina Hess. He asserts that Catharina, whom he left in 1799, had an "ungovernable temper" and her "immoral & indecent turn of mind led her to be connected with other men." Citing his short marriage as "a state of the most poignant misery," Limbaugh reveals that his wife was later "delivered of one or more mulatto children." He further avers that, in 1804, "at March term of the Salisbury Supr court, the said Catharina was convicted of having barbarously murdered her infant child, which was generally believed in the neighbourhood to have been a mulatto"; the governor, however, pardoned her as she stood "under the gallows." Limbaugh therefore "submits his unhappy situation to be acted upon as you in your wisdom may think fit, firmly believing that a bill of divorce will be passed in his favour."

PAR Number 11280516

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

Abstract: Winny Manning confesses that her husband Eli "is absolutely impotent & by nature rendered a useless man as a husband." She admits that as "unpleasant as that may appear to a young & healthy woman" it is "but trifling" compared to his suspicions of her entertaining "illicit connection with every man, both white & black that may have seen her," which at times has resulted in a "certain danger of her life." Winny therefore asks that an act be passed divorcing her "from the said Eli Manning." Eli Manning, "on his part," states that "the happy ends for which matrimony was ordained has been frustrated & rendered a fruitfull sorce of the most unpleasant reflections and that reconciliation will never take place." He therefore "begs leave most freely & sincerely to join his sd Wife Winny in praying your honorable body to relieve your truly suffering Petitioners by granting them a divorce."

PAR Number 11280902

State: North Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Ashe Location Type: County

Abstract: Alexander Smith seeks a divorce from his wife Sarah Dickson Smith. He states that he married Sarah in 1784 and that they lived together for many years "in domestic peace and pleasure," raising a family of five girls. Smith confides, however, that Sarah "became base in her conduct" and in 1808 "she went off with a Mullatoe man nearly as Black as an Negro and has lived without the Bounds of this State with said man of mixt collur ever since." The petitioner prays that he be divorced from his wife Sarah and that she be forever prevented “in Law or in Equity to Claim any right Title or interest to any part of your Petitioner's Estate or property real or personal."

PAR Number 11280905

State: North Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Wilkes Location Type: County

Abstract: John P. Waters, "a very poor man," admits that he "became attached" to Elisabeth Culms, a woman of color, who moved into his house in 1795; fourteen years later, he and the said Elisabeth have "six fine children." He further relates that he "did Intend to make her his lawfull wife but being informed that such a connection would be Illegal it was from time to time defered to the present day." Waters states, however, that "envy and Malice has at last siezed on the heart of a neighbor who gave our Solisitor Information of my unfortunate Situation and manner of living," whereby he and Elisabeth were indicted and fined twenty-five pounds apiece "for living together in an unlawfull manner." The petitioner prays that the said fines may be remitted or that he be granted "other relief as you in your wisdom may think fit."

PAR Number 11281005

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

Abstract: Isaac Bracewell states that he married Nancy Low "some years ago" and that he enjoyed "that happiness and content, which he had anticipated." He reveals, however, that the said Nancy abandoned him "without just cause, or provocation" about 1803 and that she "has ever since lived, and continues to live in open and notorious Adultery, extending her favors, if such they can be called, to all, without distinction of color." The petitioner therefore prays that an act be passed "whereby he may be separated from the said Nancy."

PAR Number 11281010

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

Abstract: Young Utley seeks a divorce from his wife Mary Woodward Utley, whom he married "about three years ago." Utley reveals that "some time after intermarriage the said Mary was delivered of a black child." He further reports that she is currently living in Tennessee where "she cohabits with a man of Colour, (the supposed author of her shame) in the character of a wife." At twenty-five, Utley considers himself to have "sustained an upright character" but he "is now oppressed with a burthen which none but a sufferer can feel." The petitioner therefore prays that "your Honorable body will pass a law divorcing him from his said wife."

PAR Number 11281303

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

Abstract: James Hoffler admits that his "Situation in Life is disagreeable." He reveals that he married his wife Deborah Duttons in September 1802 and that three months later she "deserted my bed and board without Cause on the part of your petitioner." Hoffler reports that his wife give birth to a child while at her father's house and then she "did take up with a man by the name of John Lowance, a person of Collow, by whom she the said Deborah had a child"; Lowance left her and Deborah moved to Charleston, South Carolina. He further discloses that the legislature favored him a few years ago "by passing a Law divesting her the Said Deborah of all right of Dower in my property." Hoffler now prays that a law be passed "Divorcing him ... from the said Deborah."

PAR Number 11281304

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

Abstract: Joseph Hancock seeks a divorce from his wife, the former Tabitha Askew. Hancock confides that "he is utterly at a loss in attempting to enumerate the Base Crimes which the said Tabitha has perpetuated ... crimes repugnant to the intentions of the marriage institution -- derogatory to the dignity of her sex." He discloses that the said Tabitha has "Abandoned herself to the most vile prostitution and debauchery" and has given birth to children "of various colours and complexions and nearly effected the ruin of your petitioner!" Hancock therefore prays that "his marriage with the said Tabitha may be entirely abrogated."

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