Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10382608

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Thirty 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 10382609

State: Delaware Year: 1826
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Isaac Davis owns three "manumitted" slaves and holds the indenture on a free black apprentice; they work on his farm in Cecil County, Maryland. Davis also owns a farm in Kent County, Delaware, and is "extensively engaged in agricultural pursuits" in both states; he has three black indentured servants--Charles Carpenter, Mitchel Davis, and John Davis--working his land in Kent County. Davis seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves and asks permission for his slaves to plant and harvest his crops in both states. He attests that he is "no slaveholder except as he occasionally buys and manumits them by which their eventual freedom is secured, And that the sole object of this petition is to enable him to avail himself of the reasonable labour of said slaves (so called) and apprentices in his own employment."

PAR Number 10382611

State: Delaware Year: 1826
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Peregrine Hendrickson states that he is "possessed" of a fifty-three-year-old slave named Nelly and four "manumitted Negroes" who are "to be free at the age of 30 years agreeable to a deed of manumission recorded in ... Kent County Maryland." He therefore prays that a law be passed "to authorize him to bring said slave & manumitted Negroes into the state of Delaware."

PAR Number 10382612

State: Delaware Year: 1826
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Joel Clements owns the slave Jefferson, who resides in Maryland. He seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves and asks permission to bring Jefferson into Delaware. Clements promises to free Jefferson on 1 January 1833, "when your petitioner agrees that the said slave shall be free and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of free negroes and mulattoes of the State of Delaware, the said negro Jefferson being at present a slave for life."

PAR Number 10382613

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: Richard Lockwood of Cecil County, Maryland, having purchased seven-year-old Perry and thirteen-year-old Terry in Delaware, seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves. Lockwood therefore “prays your Honorable Body to pass an act granting him authority to remove the said negroes into the State of Maryland.” Thirteen-year-old Terry is a “manumitted servant” to be freed in the future.

PAR Number 10382616

State: Delaware Year: 1826

Abstract: O. Horsey informs the legislature that he resides two-thirds of the year in Maryland and one-third of the time in Delaware. He further states that "some of his domestic servants are slaves and some are the children of manumitted slaves, born before the term of service expired and the females and mails respectively under the ages of twenty one & twenty five." Horsey prays that an act be passed "to enable him to remove into and out of the state his domestic servants afsd for the better accommodation of himself and family and for no other purpose."

PAR Number 10382703

State: Delaware Year: 1827
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Moses Bradford "owns a manumitted negro girl, named Ann, about nine years of age, now living in Cecil County, and state of Maryland." Bradford, "being desirous of bringing her into the state of Delaware," prays "the General Assembly to grant him the power, that thus he may be enabled to have the advantage of her service in this state, during the period for which she is to serve."

PAR Number 10382704

State: Delaware Year: 1827
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Ann Bail of Wilmington, Delaware, states that she "is the owner of a Female Negro Girl named Rachel a Slave aged four years," who is currently in the state of Maryland. Bail "is desirous of bringing the said slave from the State of Maryland where she was born, into the state of Delaware for the purpose of raising her, and having the benefit of her services, untill she attains the age of Twenty Eight Years at which time it is the intention of Your Petitioner to provide that she shall be free." The petitioner therefore prays that she be authorized to bring Rachel into the state of Delaware and "to retain her as a slave untill she attains the age of Twenty Eight Years."

PAR Number 10382901

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Thirty-three memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10382902

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Eighty-one citizens, "thoroughly convinced of the impolicy as well as injustice of Negro slavery," note that "our neighbouring sister States, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York" have "passed laws for the gradual extinction of slavery." Of the opinion that such legislation was "wise," the petitioners "earnestly recommend, that a law be passed, fixing a period after which all children born of slaves, shall be free at age 21, 28, or whatever age you, in your wisdom, may deem best."

PAR Number 10382903

State: Delaware Year: 1829
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighteen citizens, "thoroughly convinced of the impolicy as well as injustice of Negro slavery," note that "our neighbouring sister States, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York" have "passed laws for the gradual extinction of slavery." Of the opinion that such legislation was "wise," the petitioners "earnestly recommend, that a law be passed, fixing a period after which all children born of slaves, shall be free at age 21, 28, or whatever age you, in your wisdom, may deem best."

PAR Number 10382906

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: One hundred and thirty-three memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10382907

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Thirty-seven memorialists, believing "that negro slavery originated in the worst species of piracy, and that no lapse of time, or succession of generations, can purge the system from the guilt of its first institution; that neither patriotism nor the higher obligations of christianity can tolerate its existence," do "seriously and earnestly solicit the Legislature to enact a law prescribing that all children who may be born of slaves within this State, at any time hereafter, shall be free, at such ages as the Legislature may judge expedient."

PAR Number 10382909

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Louis M. Lane states that in 1812 he came into possession "in right of his wife of a number of negro slaves, many of whom he then and has since manumitted as they attained a suitable age and were in a situation to be benefited by their freedom." Lane still owns some slaves, whom he plans to free, but in the meantime he owns a farm along the Bohemia River in Cecil County, Maryland, and wishes to work the slaves on the farm. Lane seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves and asks permission for his slaves to travel to Maryland to work on his farm.

PAR Number 10382911

State: Delaware Year: 1829
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Joseph Dutton of Sussex County, Delaware, recounts that he "recently became possessed of a certain female slave named Rachel, late the property of General William Potter of Caroline County State of Maryland." He therefore prays that a pass be passed "authorising him to bring the said negro woman Rachel from the State of Maryland into this State and to hold her as a Slave for the term of ten years from the passing of such act."

PAR Number 10382912

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: William Cooch states that he inherited "a certain negro Boy, named Levi aged between Seventeen and Eighteen, to Serve your petitioner twelve years" from the estate of Theodore Thomas in Cecil County, Maryland. He therefore prays that a law be passed "as will enable your Petitioner to bring the aforesaid Levi into the State of Delaware."

PAR Number 10382914

State: Delaware Year: 1829
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Manlove Jester of New Castle County, Delaware, purchased a slave named Mary, who is currently in Cecil County, Maryland, "for the term of six years from the fourteenth of January next, at the expiration of that time said negro Mary is manumitted." Jester therefore prays that a law be passed "authorizing him to bring into the State of Delaware from the State of Maryland the said negro Mary, and hold her as Slave for the term of six years from the said fourteenth day of January next."

PAR Number 10382916

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: William Cooch states that he inherited "a certain negro Girl named Sophia to Serve your Petitioner for the term of fourteen years or untill She is thirty years of age" from the estate of Theodore Thomas in Cecil County, Maryland. He therefore prays that a law be passed "as will Authorise your petitioner to bring into this State the negro Girl Sophia above named."

PAR Number 10382922

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: Benjamin Wattson states that he is now the owner "of a Female Slave called Rachel and her Child called William in Cecil County Maryland." He further declares that he "is desirous to remove the said Rachel and her Child into this state for the purpose of keeping them as Domestics in his own Family." Wattson therefore prays that a law be passed "granting him the priviledge of removing the said Rachel and her child William into this State." He notes that twenty-two-year-old Rachel is "to serve until she is thirty years of age" and that two-month-old William is "to serve untill he is Twenty eight.

PAR Number 10382924

State: Delaware Year: 1829

Abstract: One hundred and thirty citizens, "thoroughly convinced of the impolicy as well as injustice of Negro slavery," note that "our neighbouring sister States, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York" have "passed laws for the gradual extinction of slavery." Of the opinion that such legislation was "wise," the petitioners "earnestly recommend, that a law be passed, fixing a period after which all children born of slaves, shall be free at age 21, 28, or whatever age you, in your wisdom, may deem best."

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 10383311

State: Delaware Year: 1833
Location: Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Robert Palmatary of Kent County, Delaware, contracted with a Maryland slave owner to purchase twenty-two-year-old James Thompson, "a slave for life." He states that it is his wish "to bring the said slave into this state immediately, and it [is] his intention to manumit him to be free at the expiration of six years." Palmatary therefore prays that an act be passed "granting him permission to import the said slave upon his executing such manumission as aforesaid."

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 10383705

State: Delaware Year: 1837
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: John Ginn represents "that he is about to decline farming and is the owner of a black boy named George Johnson, who has between 3 & 4 years to serve." Ginn further states that he is "desirous to sell the time of said boy" to a Maryland resident. He therefore prays that a law be passed enabling "him to dispose of the time of said boy" to the prospective buyer in Maryland.

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.

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