Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10380001

State: Delaware Year: 1800
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Roger Adams, guardian of his orphan grandson, asks that he be permitted to bring a slave into Delaware from the state of Maryland. Adams explains that he had given his daughter, Mary Adams Eaton, a slave named Venus; however, "in consequence of the death of sd. Eaton & wife," the slave, as part of the estate, "has been sold by way of public Vendue." He further relates that he, "through a partiallity or regard for sd. Negroe, and as well to keep her from hands that might make an ungenerous trade of her, became the highest bidder and purchaser of her." Adams therefore prays that an act be passed permitting "your petitioner to bring the Said Negro out of the State of Maryland home to his farm and dwelling in Sussex County in the State of Delaware.”

PAR Number 10381806

State: Delaware Year: 1818
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: The Sussex County sheriff seeks reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses of $124 incurred from the apprehension of Eli Harris and Alexander Clarkson, two free men of color, who had been jailed "on the charge of Felony" and who later "made their escape." Sheriff Robinson reports that the two men "were again imprisoned in the said Jail" and were "Indicted tried and convicted" whereby they "were each adjudged by the Court to pay the restitution money and Costs of prosecution." The petitioner further states that, pursuant to an act of the General Assembly, Harris and Clarkson "should be disposed of by the sheriff of the County as Servants for a certain term of years." Robinson relates that Eli Harris sold for $301 and Alexander Clarkson sold for $315.50 at “public sale.”

PAR Number 10383101

State: Delaware Year: 1831
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Free man of color William Toast, alias William Collins, was convicted in the Court of Quarter Sessions of Sussex County in 1828 for stealing $5.50 and sentenced to a term of seven years in slavery. Purchased by Benjamin Potter Jr., Toast absconded to Philadelphia. Toast later returned, was again convicted of theft, and was sentenced to "be publickly w hipped with twenty one lashes on his bare back well laid on" and "that he be disposed of as a Servant to the highest and best bidder or bidders for the term of seven years." Potter seeks compensation for court costs and restitution.

PAR Number 10383501

State: Delaware Year: 1835
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Elijah Gordy states that he purchased Isaac Tyre, "an Excellent Black Smith," for $331 in 1832. He cites that the said Tyre had been convicted of kidnapping and had been sentenced "to be publickly whipped with sixty lashes on his bare back well laid on" after which he was then to be committed to three years solitary confinement in the public jail of Sussex County; "at the expiration of the time of his imprisonment he [was to] be disposed of as a Servant for the term of seven years." Gordy notes that the governor "remitted the imprisonment of three years." The petitioner charges the "said Isaac Tyre, made his escape from the Public Jail of this County of Sussex, within a few days after your petitioner purchased him and he has not been heard of since." Contending that "the weakness and insecurity of the Public Jail gave afforded the said Isaac the opportunity to escape,” Gordy prays "the passing a Law for his relief."

PAR Number 10383904

State: Delaware Year: 1839
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Former Kent County Sheriff Nehemiah Clark denies that he owes the state $136.04, as claimed in the state auditor's report. In 1828 Clark reports that Absalom Davis, a "negro man," was convicted of a crime and "sentenced by the said Court to be sold as a servant for a certain term of years, for the payment of the fine &c." Clark therefore "did proceed to dispose of said negro, by way of public sale" and sold Davis to a certain Abel Harris. When it was discovered that the Davis suffered from a life-threatening "disorder," Harris refused to pay. Supporting Harris's decision, he neither demanded the money nor took legal action, leaving a delinquency in the accounts. Clark asks the legislature for relief.

PAR Number 10384702

State: Delaware Year: 1847
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Nathaniel Wolfe laments that his "indented servant by the name of Elias Handy, negro," was indicted and convicted of rape and "was sentenced to be sold to highest bidder for a term of 14 years." Wolfe represents that "a certain O. Holmes of Florida" purchased said Handy for $158. Citing that he "has lost the services of said negro Boy," the petitioner prays that a law be passed "directing the state Treasurer to pay to him the balance of the said one hundred and fifty eight Dollars, after deducting all costs and expenses."

PAR Number 10384708

State: Delaware Year: 1847
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: James Wilds recounts that his "indented servant ... was convicted on an indictment for burglary" and was sold for $280. Averring that a balance of $125.78 remains "after the fine and costs were all paid," Wilds therefore asks that an act be passed “granting to him the aforesaid clear balance of $125.78 as some compensation for the loss of the services of said negro."

PAR Number 11082701

State: Mississippi Year: 1827
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Bryce claims that he purchased at a sheriff's auction in Wilkinson County a purported runaway slave named George for the sum of $301. When it was learned that George was in fact a free man of color named Harry Singer, also known as Henry, Bryce lost his purchase money. He presented a claim to the county but received only $187.03. He asks the legislature to make up the difference and pay him "the amount actually paid into the treasury of his county."

PAR Number 11086011

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

Abstract: Thirty citizens of Kemper County write on behalf of free man of color Will Reed, "a faithful and quiet negro" who has always been trustworthy and honest. They explain that his former "mistress" had wished to set him free, but was prevented to do so by the will of her late husband. Consequently, Will was sold at auction four years ago, but since then he has bought himself for the sum of $935. The petitioners ask that he be exempt from an act of the legislature that would force him to leave the state or be sold into slavery. They say that the act has been "lately passed and approved."

PAR Number 11086012

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

Abstract: Citizens of Kemper County write on behalf of free man of color Will Reed, "a faithful and quiet negro" who has always been trustworthy and honest. They explain that his former "mistress" had wished to set him free, but was prevented to do so by the will of her late husband. Consequently, Will was sold at auction four years ago, but since then he has bought himself for the sum of $935. The petitioners ask that he be exempt from an act of the legislature that would force him to leave the state or be sold into slavery. They say that the act has been "lately passed and approved."

PAR Number 11184604

State: Missouri Year: 1846
Location: St. Louis Location Type: County

Abstract: St. Louis County jailer explains that two runaway slaves--Edward Ellsey and William Anderson--were committed to his jail in 1843 and kept there for a considerable period until they were sold at auction. Anderson, for example, remained incarcerated 478 days. The jailer asks for reimbursement of expenses over and above the amount brought in when the two were sold.

PAR Number 11278401

State: North Carolina Year: 1784
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-four "Merchants, Traders & other Inhabitants of the Town of Edenton" represent that they "feel themselves much aggrieved, oppressed and Injured by the Imposition" of a recently passed act that taxes "all Lands, Slaves, Horses, Goods, Wares, & Merchandizes sold at Vendue." They assert that "a Duty of Two Pounds Ten Shillings on every Hundred Pounds Value" for articles sold at auction is "in Addition to, and over and above, the Taxes paid in common, with the rest of the State." The petitioners therefore "Pray that the before mentioned Act may be Repealed."

PAR Number 11280506

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

Abstract: Joseph White, administrator of Alexander Stafford, represents that by order of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for Perquimans County, February Term 1802, "Negro Woman Amy and her three children, Ruth, Dolley, and Mourning" were sold by the sheriff "as having been emancipated contrary to the provision of the several acts of the legislature"; Alexander Stafford "became the purchaser" of said family for the sum of £333. White explains that a certain John Saunders claimed said slaves and contested the sale and that the Superior Court of Edenton District in 1803 "determined the negroes aforesaid were the property of the claimant John Saunders." The petitioner therefore prays that the state treasurer be authorized "to repay" to him, as administrator, the aforesaid purchase price, with interest, since "the estate of your Petitioner's Intestate has not only paid the sum aforesaid but has lost the negroes."

PAR Number 11281004

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

Abstract: Bryan Lane charges that constable Nathan Holmes colluded with Benjamin Saules in the illegal purchase of two female slaves, seized "by virtue of an Execution which was in fact obtained ... to the amount of about Twenty Dollars against your memorialist." He further declares that "he had part of the money & beged [Holmes] to stay the Sale till your memorialist could to a neighbours house within a half mile where he had full assurance of geting the balance." Lane asserts, however, that Holmes, who "had an Interest in the Sale," refused and the slaves Comfort and Selah, "worth at least Five hundred Dollars," were knocked off “to a Certain Benjamin Saules ... at the reduced price of about Forty Shillings each." The petitioner therefore prays that a law be passed “fully & absolutely confirming the title of said negroes in him, or at least making void the said Sale.”

PAR Number 11282204

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

Abstract: Three hundred ninety-seven residents of Camden County charge that the 1820 and 1821 laws "directing the time, manner, and place of the Sales of lands and Slaves under Executions levied on by Sheriffs, Constables, and other Officers, are in many cases greatly oppressive and operates much to the injury of many persons particularly to Slave holders, by causing their Slaves to be Sold very often for half, and sometimes for a third or less of their real value." The petitioners maintain that this would not happen if said slaves "were not carried to the Court-house for sale." They further cite that sales conducted at the courthouse incur "an additional expence of prison fees, support of the Negroes, loss of time &c to be added, all of which has a tendency to make it more oppressive and injurious to the Owners." The petitioners therefore pray that said laws cited be repealed.

PAR Number 11378302

State: South Carolina Year: 1783

Abstract: Thomas Tims represents that he purchased two slaves, Jupiter and Fanny, at a public sale for "a large price in Cash" and that he "solemnly declares that he had not the most distant idea of their being confiscated property or he would by no means have purchased them." As a person of modest means, Tims asserts that "it would greatly distress himself and his family if he should be so unfortunate as to have them taken from him." He asks that he be granted "such relief as your Honours in your Wisdom shall think fit."

PAR Number 11378306

State: South Carolina Year: 1783
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Martha Miggins represents that she purchased a slave named Sara at public auction from the estate of Hopkin Price about 14 January 1782. She further states that at the time of said purchase, the confiscation act had not yet been passed. Miggins reports that she sold Sara to a man from Charleston named Spencer, who recently informed her that "he is under the necessity of delivering up the said Negro to the Commissioners of Confiscated Estates, and that he shall expect to be reimbursed." The petitioner therefore "humbly prays your honourable house to take her necessitous case into their consideration and grant her such relief as, in their wisdom, they shall see fit."

PAR Number 11378307

State: South Carolina Year: 1783
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Martha Miggins represents that she purchased a slave named Sara at public auction from the estate of Hopkin Price about 14 January 1782. She further states that at the time of said purchase, the confiscation act had not yet been passed. Miggins reports that she sold Sara to a man from Charleston named Spencer, who recently informed her that "he is under the necessity of delivering up the said Negro to the Commissioners of Confiscated Estates, and that he shall expect to be reimbursed." The petitioner therefore "humbly prays your honourable house to take her necessitous case into their consideration and grant her such relief as, in their wisdom, they shall see fit."

PAR Number 11379001

State: South Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Champneys recounts that his wife, "dangerously ill," purchased a mulatto slave, in 1785, "the property of her brother Alexander Harvey"; the said slave had been nursing his said wife and "was taken away from her bedside and threatened to be extremely ill used" by the person who had designs on purchasing her. Champneys explains that the said slave "being in tears and earnestly intreating him to be the Purchaser ... obliged him to be the highest bidder." The petitioner had hoped that the slave's status as "House Servant" would spare her from being taken up by "the Confiscation Law." Champneys prays that "the hardship of the Case may be taken into consideration," that he may be permitted to keep said slave, and that he "may be permitted to pay off the Bond in Indents or her full value in money with Interest from the day of Sale."

PAR Number 11379005

State: South Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Champneys recounts that his wife, "dangerously ill," purchased a mulatto slave, in 1785, "the property of her brother Alexander Harvey"; the said slave had been nursing his said wife and "was taken away from her bedside and threatened to be extremely ill used" by the person who had designs on purchasing her. Champneys explains that the said slave "being in tears and earnestly intreating him to be the Purchaser ... obliged him to be the highest bidder." The petitioner had hoped that the slave's status as "House Servant" would spare her from being taken up by "the Confiscation Law." Champneys prays that "the hardship of the Case may be taken into consideration," that he may be permitted to keep said slave, and that he "may be permitted to pay off the Bond in Indents or her full value in money with Interest from the day of Sale."

PAR Number 11379104

State: South Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Dr. James Clitherall seeks relief from three long overdue accounts. In 1782, the state sold Clitherall's slaves for specie at "very inferior" prices. The specie was paid to the state before the delivery of the slaves. The account was audited, delivered to the Board of Commissioners on Accounts, sent to the auditor, and reported to the treasury. Yet, the "same hath in no wise been satisfied, nor hath your Memorialist been allowed to discount it, as so much of the Specie part of his Amercicement." The second overdue account, arising from the sale of slaves by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1783, brought Clitherall bonds payable in specie on a credit of three and six months. The bonds remain in the treasury unpaid. Moreover, the bond signed by John Cox and another man, Clitherall states, is "totally bad." Despite these just claims, Clitherall is "obliged to pay part of his amercement in Specie, and the remainder in general and Special Indents to the Attorney General, without being allowed any discount whatever." The third account derives from articles confiscated at Clitherall's plantation in 1782 by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. Clitherall asks for payment in specie, including interest, for the first account; a general indent, with interest, for the second account; and "other relief" for the third account.

PAR Number 11379105

State: South Carolina Year: 1791
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Dr. James Clitherall seeks relief from three long overdue accounts. In 1782, the state sold Clitherall's slaves for specie at "very inferior" prices. The specie was paid to the state before the delivery of the slaves. The account was audited, delivered to the Board of Commissioners on Accounts, sent to the auditor, and reported to the treasury. Yet, the "same hath in no wise been satisfied, nor hath your Memorialist been allowed to discount it, as so much of the Specie part of his Amercicement." The second overdue account, arising from the sale of slaves by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1783, brought Clitherall bonds payable in specie on a credit of three and six months. The bonds remain in the treasury unpaid. Moreover, the bond signed by John Cox and another man, Clitherall states, is "totally bad." Despite these just claims, Clitherall is "obliged to pay part of his amercement in Specie, and the remainder in general and Special Indents to the Attorney General, without being allowed any discount whatever." The third account derives from articles confiscated at Clitherall's plantation in 1782 by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. Clitherall asks for payment in specie, including interest, for the first account; a general indent, with interest, for the second account; and "other relief" for the third account.

PAR Number 11379211

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

Abstract: Dr. James Clitherall seeks relief from three long overdue accounts. In 1782, the state sold Clitherall's slaves for specie at "very inferior" prices. The specie was paid to the state before the delivery of the slaves. The account was audited, delivered to the Board of Commissioners on Accounts, sent to the auditor, and reported to the treasury. Yet, the "same hath in no wise been satisfied, nor hath your Memorialist been allowed to discount it, as so much of the Specie part of his Amercicement." The second overdue account, arising from the sale of slaves by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1783, brought Clitherall bonds payable in specie on a credit of three and six months. The bonds remain in the treasury unpaid. Moreover, the bond signed by John Cox and another man, Clitherall states, is "totally bad." Despite these just claims, Clitherall is "obliged to pay part of his amercement in Specie, and the remainder in general and Special Indents to the Attorney General, without being allowed any discount whatever." The third account derives from articles confiscated at Clitherall's plantation in 1782 by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. Clitherall asks for payment in specie, including interest, for the first account; a general indent, with interest, for the second account; and "other relief" for the third account.

PAR Number 11379312

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

Abstract: Dr. James Clitherall seeks relief from three long overdue accounts. In 1782, the state sold Clitherall's slaves for specie at "very inferior" prices. The specie was paid to the state before the delivery of the slaves. The account was audited, delivered to the Board of Commissioners on Accounts, sent to the auditor, and reported to the treasury. Yet, the "same hath in no wise been satisfied, nor hath your Memorialist been allowed to discount it, as so much of the Specie part of his Amercicement." The second overdue account, arising from the sale of slaves by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates in 1783, brought Clitherall bonds payable in specie on a credit of three and six months. The bonds remain in the treasury unpaid. Moreover, the bond signed by John Cox and another man, Clitherall states, is "totally bad." Despite these just claims, Clitherall is "obliged to pay part of his amercement in Specie, and the remainder in general and Special Indents to the Attorney General, without being allowed any discount whatever." The third account derives from articles confiscated at Clitherall's plantation in 1782 by the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. Clitherall asks for payment in specie, including interest, for the first account; a general indent, with interest, for the second account; and "other relief" for the third account.

PAR Number 11381505

State: South Carolina Year: 1815
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: James Thomson recounts that "his Mollato Man Sam absconded himself" in 1811 "after which he was taken and lodged in Newbury Gaol." Thomson, unable to retrieve said slave in a timely fashion, reports that said slave "was by the Sheriff or Jailor of said Gaol ... sold at public or otherwise made sale of." He further states that "after Deducting expences of Confinement Commissions & costs Mr R. Boyce [sheriff] paid over the Balance into the Treasury of the state." Thomson therefore "Humbly prays that he may have the said ballance paid unto him."

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