Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10379107

State: Delaware Year: 1791
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-nine petitioners seek the abolition of slavery. Motivated by their Christian duty, they purport that the "toleration of slavery is totally repugnant to the spirit of the American Revolution." They "therefore pray that the General Assembly will take the premises into consideration; and grant them leave to bring in a bill for extending the benefits of freedom to the posterity of such Africans or others who are now held in bondage when such posterity shall arrive to the age of Twenty one Years, or to such other age as the General Assembly in their Wisdom shall deem necessary."

PAR Number 10380702

State: Delaware Year: 1807

Abstract: William Morris, son of the late James Morris of Maryland, states that his father freed his slaves in his will "when they respectively arrived to the age of thirty years." He reports that when he moved to Delaware "he brought with him as his servant or slave, a mulatto boy, one of the slaves directed in the will of his father to be free at thirty years of age." Noting that "the said mulatto boy died a short time since," the petitioner asks that a law be passed "to authorize and empower him to bring into this State and retain as his servant or slave one of the boys belonging” to his father’s estate, “subject nevertheless to all the provisions contained in the will ... and on the express condition that the said boy shall be free when he arrives to the age of thirty years."

PAR Number 10380705

State: Delaware Year: 1807
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: One hundred and six inhabitants of Kent County seek the gradual emancipation of Delaware slaves, asking that a law be passed "fixing a period after which, all children born of slaves, shall be free at the age of 21, 28, or whatever age you, in your wisdom may deem best."

PAR Number 10380706

State: Delaware Year: 1807
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-three inhabitants of New Castle County petition for the gradual abolition of slavery. They state that "we ask not of your honourable body to put an end at once to slavery, but we desire, that a method may be fallen upon which shall make it gradually disappear." The petitioners also pray that a law be enacted “that no indented black servant within this state, shall by reason of his indentures be taken or carried out of this state, to any other state or place whatsoever, until the master of the said servant shall cause his said indentures to be recorded in the Recorder’s office of the county where he resides, and shall obtain the consent of such indented black servant” so as “to establish the right of such indented black servant, after the term of his service therein expressed is expired, to the full enjoyment of complete and perfect liberty and freedom.”

PAR Number 10381601

State: Delaware Year: 1816
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Seven "freemen" protest "An act respecting free Negroes and free Mullatoes" passed in 1811 that they "humbly conceive oppressive and Contrary to the spirit of The free Constitution and power of Government of This State." The Act permitted free people of color convicted of theft to be "disposed of by the sheriff of the County as a servant" for a term of two to seven years. The petitioners argue that this could easily result in free persons of color being sold "to a Southern Negro Trader or his agent for a theft by them committed to the amount of even one cent where the miserable culprits will be carried perhaps from five hundred to one thousand miles, separated from all their connections, and sold by the Trader no doubt for life." Once sold, the petitioners assert, it would be impossible for free blacks "to procure or obtain any evidence that will free them," rendering them slaves for life and their children subject to "the most Cruel Slavery for Many Generations." Citing this as cruel and unusual punishment and thus in contradiction to the state constitution, the petitioners ask that said law be repealed.

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 10381819

State: Delaware Year: 1818

Abstract: Roger Wright moved from Maryland into Delaware and "previous to his removal became possessed of" four slaves, "which by the Laws of Delaware he could not remove." "Wishing to remove them into the State of Delaware," Wright "humbly requests the Legislature to grant him authority, by a special Act, for that purpose."

PAR Number 10382108

State: Delaware Year: 1821
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Isaac Davis is the owner of eighteen-year-old Richard and sixteen-year-old James, who "are to serve until they respectively arive to the ages of thirty years." Davis asks that a law be passed "Authorising him to remove the said Richard and James, to his farm in ... State of Maryland and to hold them during their time of Service."

PAR Number 10382201

State: Delaware Year: 1822

Abstract: John Reed of Kent County, Delaware, bequeathed to his sons, George and William, a slave named Ruben who was to be freed at age 28. "Being desireous to remove the said Ruben to their place of residence in the State of Maryland," George and William Reed "pray your honourable boy to grant them a Law Authorizeing them to remove their said servant."

PAR Number 10382209

State: Delaware Year: 1822
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: John Thompson reveals that he owns a fourteen-year-old slave named Cyrus, who is "now in the State of Maryland." He further reports that "he was induced to take" said slave "in the payment of a debt (not otherwise to be obtained)." Being "desirous to bring said Boy into this State as a House servant," Thompson "craves of your Honourable Body to pass a Law authorising him to bring the aforesaid Negro into this State & hold him as a Servant untill he arive at the age of Thirty years."

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 10382303

State: Delaware Year: 1823

Abstract: Ennols Breeding requests permission to bring the slave Hannah from Sussex County, Delaware, into Caroline County, Maryland. Breeding married Elizabeth Stephens, daughter of the late John Stephens of Sussex County. Elizabeth's mother, administratrix of the estate, "not being able to pay your petitioners wifes dividend of her Fathers estate doth agree to let your petitioner have a negro woman named Hannah aged twenty six years ... to serve the term of seven years." Breeding therefore prays that an act be passed authorizing him "to remove the said negro woman Hannah from Sussex County State of Delaware to his place of Residence in Caroline County State of Maryland."

PAR Number 10382307

State: Delaware Year: 1823

Abstract: Ann Rothwell of New Castle County, Delaware, "did by her last Will and testament leave her Black people to be free the males when they arrived to the age of thirty years and the females when they should arrive to the age of twenty eight years." She bequeathed to her granddaughters one slave each: nine-year-old Rachel to Martha Eliza Pennington and five-year-old Susan to Phebe H. Pennington. Hyland Pennington of Maryland, father of Martha and Susan, purchased twenty-five-year-old Jeremiah, who was also part of the estate of Ann Rothwell. Being desirous to transport said slaves, the petitioner "prays your Honorable body to pass a Law authorising him to bring into the State of Maryland the aforesaid negroes for the use of his said daughters and himself."

PAR Number 10382404

State: Delaware Year: 1824
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Curtis Jacobs gave the slave Vicy to his daughter as a gift when she married "Doctr. Phelps of Dorcester County in the state of Maryland." Reporting that his daughter has died and "the Doctr. having declined Housekeeping," Jacobs "is desirous of bringing said negro back to his employ in this state, and remain a slave untill the Period of her manumission, being willing to purchase her unexpired time solely for the purpose of retaining her in his Family." Jacobs claims that he "has been in the Habit of emancipating his slaves at certain ages" and that Vicy is "to be free at the age of 34."

PAR Number 10382405

State: Delaware Year: 1824
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 10382407

State: Delaware Year: 1824

Abstract: Maryland resident Ennols Breeding requests permission to bring three-year-old John from Sussex County, Delaware, to his home in Caroline County, Maryland. Breeding states that he married Elizabeth Stephens, daughter of the late John Stephens of Sussex County. He further recounts that Elizabeth's mother is the administratrix of her late husband's estate and "being altogether unable to pay your petitioners wifes dividend of her fathers estate without parting with a negro boy named John." The petitioner asks for authorization "to remove from this state into the state of Maryland the affsd boy John and hold him as a slave untill he shall arive to the age of thirty four years."

PAR Number 10382424

State: Delaware Year: 1824
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Samuel Hyatt Jr., engaged "in the business of making and repairing pumps," lives in New Castle County, Delaware, and is "the owner of a certain manumitted Man Slave, named Jeremiah," who assists him in his business. Hyatt states that he "is often called on and employed by persons living out of this State to do work ... and that your petitioner is frequently put to great inconvenience for want of the services of the said Jeremiah to assist your petitioner when he has work out of the State." He therefore prays that a law be passed "authorizing him to take the said Jeremiah out of the State whenever your petitioner has occasion to do so."

PAR Number 10382508

State: Delaware Year: 1825
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Delaware resident Samuel Johnson states that he purchased twenty-two-year-old William from his son-in-law, a resident of Maryland. Johnson states that William is to be freed in five years and that he prefers to move William to Delaware rather than "sell said slave in Maryland for fear he might fall into hands which will deprive him of the freedom to which he will be entitled at the expiration of five years." He therefore asks that he be authorized "to bring said negro into this State and here to hold him as the slave of your petitioner ... until said negro shall arrive to the age of twenty seven years."

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 10382601

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Twenty-three Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

PAR Number 10382603

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Forty-nine Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

PAR Number 10382604

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Thirty-one Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

PAR Number 10382605

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Nineteen Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

PAR Number 10382606

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Twenty-nine Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

PAR Number 10382607

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Fifty-three Delaware citizens urge the legislature to enact a law providing for the gradual abolition of slavery in Delaware. The petitioners suggest that "the issue of all slaves born in this State after the Fourth day of July 1826, shall be free on attaining the age of twenty-one years, or such other period as shall be deemed more expedient and proper." They believe that "a law to this effect, it will not be doubted by any intelligent person, may be passed without any violation of the national compact or of our own constitution, or infringement of the rights of individuals, and without any danger to our interest, peace and harmony. What excuse then can be found for delaying to place Delaware in the list of free States?" Of the conviction that "a wrong has been inflicted upon Africa, for which it is our duty as Christians and Patriots to make every reparation in our power," the memorialists declare that adopting such measures "will afford you a subject of pleasing and consoling reflections, and give joy and gladness to the hearts of thousands."

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