Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10379002

State: Delaware Year: 1790
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Sluyter Bouchell represents that "he was altogether ignorant of any Law whatever forbidding the bringing Slaves in the State under any circumstances." Dr. Bouchell admits that, while administrating the estate of Thomas Witherspoon, "he found it necessary to purchase some additional Slaves whom he brought over about the time of his removal into this State from the State of Maryland." Noting that Abraham, Edward, William, and Rainy have "since instituted their actions for their Freedom," the petitioner asserts "that the Slaves all came willingly into the service of your Petitioner and as he believes are still content to serve him but as they have been instigated by some officious persons to apply for there Freedoms." Bouchell asks the legislature to assist him in preventing “the loss of said Slaves.”

PAR Number 10382302

State: Delaware Year: 1823
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Free man of color Martin Dehorty was convicted of a felony and sold by the sheriff of Kent County for a term of three years. The money from the sale went to the state treasury. Before his arrest and trial, Dehorty owed Thomas Simpson debts totaling $46. Simpson seeks repayment of the debt.

PAR Number 10382511

State: Delaware Year: 1825
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1823 the Court of Quarter Sessions in Kent County sentenced free man of color Thomas Sykes, who "was convicted of a Felony," to three years of servitude. He was sold to Charles Kimmey of Dover, who then sold him to William Dulaney of Kent County. In 1824 Thomas Sykes was convicted of another felony and sentenced to be sold at auction for seven years of servitude. Dulaney seeks compensation for being "deprived of his property in said negro." He therefore prays that a law be passed “authorizing and requiring the State Treasurer to pay over to your petitioner the said sum of Forty two dollars and one cent … being the nett balance of the sale of the said Thomas Sykes after paying the costs of prosecution and restitution.”

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 10383702

State: Delaware Year: 1837

Abstract: In 1809, Delaware resident John Cooper manumitted several slaves, including a woman named Lydia. By 1826, Lydia had married John Hawkins, a free man of color, and the couple had three children (Charity, Sally, and John) and were living in Caroline County, Maryland. However, John Cooper's son-in-law, John Willoughby, convinced Cooper that the Delaware manumissions were not valid in Maryland and that Cooper faced prosecution for allowing his former slaves to move there. Willoughby thus "seduced" Cooper to sign a deed conveying Lydia and her children to Willoughby, to Cooper's son, Richard, and to other relatives. Soon after, Willoughby and Richard Cooper took Lydia and her children to the Sussex County jail with "the intention to selling them to southern traders." John Cooper and another of his sons learned of this and demanded the former slaves be released, which they were. The freed slaves were never bothered again during John Cooper's life, the petitioner states. In April 1836, however, Willoughby and a gang of armed men kidnapped Hawkins' three children and the children of others freed by John Cooper and carried them to the jail in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Willoughby's objective was to sell them to "foreign traders, or carry them to the south himself." The case of their freedom is still pending in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Hawkins seeks an act that would affirm the legality of the manumission of his wife and children.

PAR Number 10383901

State: Delaware Year: 1839
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1822, Delaware free man of color John Hutson was indicted and convicted on four counts of larceny. He was sentenced to pay $118.45 restitution or spend seven years as a term slave. Unable to pay, he was sold for $265 to Benjamin F. Barstow, a resident of Georgia. When his term expired Hutson returned to Delaware and asked David C. Wilson, sheriff of New Castle County, to refund to him the difference between the amount of restitution required by the court and his sale price. The sheriff informed him that he had turned the surplus over to the State Treasury. Hutson asks the legislature for the money.

PAR Number 10384303

State: Delaware Year: 1843
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: William Comegys states that he is one of the four persons from whom Isaac Longfellow, "a free mulatto," stole money. He further reports that said Longfellow "was arraigned on an indictment" and was later found guilty of four counts of larceny. Longfellow "was ordered and adjudged" to repay the money and "in default thereof that the said Isaac should be sold" for a term of years. The petitioner states that Longfellow "was struck off to one Samuel Shaw" for $206 for the term of fifteen years. Comegys notes that "after the payment of all costs in the three last mentioned cases there will still remain a considerable balance." He therefore prays that said money "may be divided pro rata in payment of the restitution money awarded in the three last mentioned sentences."

PAR Number 10384506

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

Abstract: Thomas Jacobs asks the Delaware legislature to authorize his purchase of the slave Saulsbury from Roger Wright. He explains that in 1818, Maryland resident Roger Wright received permission from the Delaware legislature to bring six slaves into the state; Wright was required, however, to register the bill of sale for the slaves in the deeds office of Sussex County. Jacobs states that when he attempted to purchase the slave Saulsbury for $125 he "searched the records in the office ... but has not been able to find the record aforesaid required by said act to be made by the said Roger Wright." The petitioner speculates that Wright did not know he had to register Saulsbury at his birth. Jacobs therefore asks the legislature to "revive" the 1818 act so he can enter the bill of sale for the slave on the record and consummate his transaction with Wright.

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 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 11000014

State: Mississippi Year: 9999
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: William Moreton and his wife, Violet, were emancipated by Jesse Carter in Louisiana about 1814. The Moretons left their daughter, Charlotte, in the possession of Carter, as a slave for life. After Carter's death, the couple bought Charlotte for $352. Moreton now petitions to free his daughter. He writes, "Your Petitioner although' a colored man is not devoid of feelings of humanity and nature & considers it against the laws of nature to hold his own offspring in a state of servitude."

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 11080601

State: Mississippi Year: 1806
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1804 Israel Leonard purchased a slave named Samuel for $600. A few months later, however, Samuel sued for his freedom. The sheriff took the slave into custody, but Samuel escaped. Leonard sued the sheriff but the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the sheriff, alleging that the poor conditions of the jail for safekeeping were not the responsibility of the sheriff but the county. They advised that Leonard should seek compensation from the county. Leonard asks the legislature to force the county to pay him for the loss of his slave.

PAR Number 11082306

State: Mississippi Year: 1823
Location: Monroe Location Type: County

Abstract: John Smith and George Meaders, executors of the estate of Lawson Thompson, seek an act of emancipation for slaves named in Thompson's will. They say that Thompson "removed to the western Country for the express purpose of securing to them [his slaves] their freedom."

PAR Number 11082601

State: Mississippi Year: 1826
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1818, a slave named John was stolen from Samuel Martin by Philo Andrews, a resident in the town of Washington. Andrews was arrested, put up a $2,000 bond, and then fled prosecution. The bond went into the State Treasury. Martin estimated his loss at $900 plus an estimated $504 in interest (8 percent for eight years), and $100 in expenses, including travel to court and to present the petition to the legislature. In all, he sought a total of $1,500 in compensation.

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 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 11278501

State: North Carolina Year: 1785
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Elizabeth Miller, the widow of Andrew Miller, laments that she "had the misfortune to lose her husband ... and to be left with a very numerous Family of children in a condition embarrassing and distressing to the greatest degree." Noting that her late husband was "one of the Persons whose Estate has been confiscated by an act of the General Assembly," the petitioner prays that said General Assembly "will have the goodness to restore to her such part of the property of her late Husband in this State as hath not been already disposed of." Several tracts of land and five slaves once belonging to Andrew Miller and Company have already been sold.

PAR Number 11278701

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

Abstract: Fanny McNeill, widow of James McNeill of Halifax County, states that his property "was confiscated and sold by the Commissioner of Halifax district which said property your said Petitioner claimed the third part of." McNeill reports that she "has since drawn the money out of the hands of Commissioner," except for ₤270 "in the hands of Joseph Clinch of Nash County, it being the amount of the Sales of three negroes, for which the said Clinch as not yet paid." The petitioner therefore prays that "she may be permitted to receive her proportion."

PAR Number 11278705

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

Abstract: Thomas Harvey recounts that his slave Toney "was charged with having committed a Robery for which he was tried by a Special Court, and the said negroe man Toney was adjudged guilty by the said Court & sentenced to be Hanged which Sentence was executed on the 13th day of Jany 1787." Harvey claims that his agent had sold Toney "at the time the Negroe was taken into custody" and that the purchaser, James Powell, refused to pay part of the purchase price. Left to "Arbitration," Harvey states that his agent was forced "to refund the money by him Received and that the Loss should be his." Harvey therefore prays that he be granted "such sum for the said Slave as you in your Wisdom shall think Just."

PAR Number 11278901

State: North Carolina Year: 1789

Abstract: Robert Rayford represents that he "had a Mullato Servant called Parker Rogers in the service of the United States who acted as a Piper as will appear by the muster Rolls." Rayford admits that he has since sold "his absolute property" but he "conceived himself entitled" to the pay that Rogers was allowed. The petitioner therefore prays "that he be allowed to draw the pay aforementioned, having run the risque of loosing the said servant and the labour of said servant having been applied to the public benefit."

PAR Number 11279001

State: North Carolina Year: 1790
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Edmund Blount recounts that his sister Elizabeth married Halifax County merchant Andrew Miller, who fled to Bermuda in 1776 "in a State of Distress." Blount further states that he purchased "five Negro men" held by Miller "for the Sum of Sixteen hundred Pounds the then Currency of this State." He states that he hired three of said slaves "to Gentlemen in Hallifax where they were employed in the Boating Business Being used to it & Prefered it to farming." Blount reveals that, despite his right to the three slaves, a commissioner of confiscated property "took them into his Possession and sold them." Blount "humbly prays that he may Receive such Relief in Regard of the Premises as to the wisdom & Justice of the Legislature shall seem meet."

PAR Number 11279105

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

Abstract: Edmund Blount recounts that his sister Elizabeth married Halifax County merchant Andrew Miller, who fled to Bermuda in 1776 "in a State of Distress." Blount further states that he purchased "five Negro men" held by Miller "for the sum of Sixteen hundred pounds." He asserts that he hired three of said slaves "to Gentlemen in Hallifax, where your Commissioner of Confiscated Property for the District of Hallifax took into his Possession" the said slaves "and sold them notwithstanding your Petitioner ... Claim to said Negroes." Blount "now Prays that he may Receive such Relief in Regard of the Premises as to the wisdom & Justice of the Legislature shall seem mete."

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