Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11285603

State: North Carolina Year: 1856
Location: Alamance Location Type: County

Abstract: James Newlin of Alamance County represents that "his slave Sam, commonly called Sam Morphis, desires to be emancipated by the General Assembly with the privilege of remaining in North Carolina." Newlin reports that "Sam has been for several years engaged as a hack-driver and waiter at the University" and that Sam "has made himself acceptable to all who have employed him." The petitioner therefore asks "a favorable consideration for this prayer for freedom."

PAR Number 11381613

State: South Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Beaufort Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Ninety-one citizens of Beaufort District consider themselves "considerably aggrieved from the want of a Law by means of which the Slaves of this district could be restrained from the mischievous practice of killing up the stock and otherwise injuring the people and well disposed citizens of this district." The petitioners note that, between June and October, many planters and overseers in the region leave their plantations and journey to healthier climes; as a result, slaves kill livestock and steal staple crops with impunity, and "the greater part of the inhabitants especially on the Sea Coast are materially injured." Citing that an 1812 law imposes a penalty on planters with at least thirty slaves who leave them unsupervised, the residents purport that said law "is almost invariably disregarded." They therefore seek a law imposing severe penalties on slave owners who do not reside on their plantations or who do not "keep some white person" on their plantations throughout a given year.

PAR Number 11483505

State: Tennessee Year: 1835
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-nine petitioners represent that Benjamin McFarland is "the owner of two Slaves Named Solomon, and Abby his Wife." They disclose that McFarland is "desirous that Said Solomon & Abby may be emmansipated, on account of the faithful Services rendered by said Solomon and his Wife in Raising him, and his fathers family." Noting that McFarland has moved to Missouri, they point out that he "left a power of Attorney authorising application to be made to the Court of pleas &c of said County" to order that the sixty-year-old slaves be set free. The petitioners further report that Solomon and Abby "desire to remain in Said County after they are free." They therefore pray "that your Honorable body will pass a law Authorising them to live in Said State after they are set free for and during the remainder of their lives."

PAR Number 11682511

State: Virginia Year: 1825
Location: Preston Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners, residents of Preston County, represent that when Thomas Butler moved to Ohio he left behind a slave named Jack, whom he settled on a farm to live wit his free wife and children. A number of years have passed since that time, and Thomas Butler has died. By his last will and testament, Butler requested his executors to send Jack to Ohio "to receive his freedom." The petitioners intercede on Jack's behalf and ask the legislature to pass an act authorizing Jack, after he has become a free man, to return to Virginia to "the place where he now lives."

PAR Number 11684501

State: Virginia Year: 1845
Location: Nelson Location Type: County

Abstract: Nelson Tinsley represents that, "with a view to a permanent settlement, he sent to the State of Missouri, sometime in the fall of 1839 in charge of his son William H. Tinsley sundry slaves." The petitioner discloses that his son has died and that, due to "the unhealthiness of the climate and other causes," he has "abandoned all idea of removing himself to the state of Missouri." Tinsley states that said slaves "were either given to him by his father or raised by himself and for whom he has a more than ordinary attachment" and that "he is desirous to bring them back to Virginia." Aware that "the existing laws of the Commonwealth" prevent his ability to do so, the petitioner prays "of your honourable body the passage of such a law ... as will enable him to bring back from the state of Missouri to the state of Virginia the slaves."

PAR Number 11684707

State: Virginia Year: 1847
Location: Albemarle Location Type: County

Abstract: Emancipated in 1847 by Erasmus T. and Maria L. Rose, who reside in Shelby County, Tennessee, James Monroe asks to remain "within the Commonwealth of Virginia and reside in the County of Albemarle." Monroe works as a servant in the dining room of a hotel and for professors at the University of Virginia. He has been in Charlottesville for fifteen years. He has conducted himself well, and lives with his slave wife and four slave children. If forced to leave he would be "separated from them forever."

PAR Number 20184632

State: Alabama Year: 1846
Location: Limestone Location Type: County

Abstract: Polly Smith seeks permission to remove eight slaves from the state of Virginia to Limestone County, Alabama. The six children and two adults constitute a life estate for Polly, set up by her father and her husband, with the stipulation that said slaves "should remain in possession of her said father, for the benefit of the said Polly, during her life, and at her death, to go to her children." Now that her father has died, and there is no longer a trustee to oversee the property, Polly seeks to take advantage of "a late Act of the Legislature of Virginia [which] provides for the removal of property in the Situation of this, to other States of the Union there being first a trustee duly appointed and qualified in the State to which it is proposed to remove it." Polly requests the appointment of a new trustee "qualified to remove said property to this County and State and to hold the same in trust as aforesaid."

PAR Number 20185309

State: Alabama Year: 1853
Location: Lauderdale Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Binford seeks to sell the land of the defendants, his minor wards, who are between ages nine and fifteen. As their guardian, Binford argues, it would be to their great advantage to sell the land (a two-hundred-acre tract) and "invest the money in personal Estate" since all of the wards live out of state. In addition, one of them, Benjamin Ingram Binford, age nine, owns a "certain negro Man named Peter about 37 Years of age." Peter has a wife and children living in Lauderdale County. Binford does not have authority to purchase Peter's family, and therefore recommends that Peter be sold to someone in the vicinity, and that the money be invested in "a younger and more serviceable Negro."

PAR Number 20185506

State: Alabama Year: 1855
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: Benjamin B. Rodgers, guardian of the four minor children of William Parker, deceased, asks to sell a slave belonging to the estate. The children were granted undivided interest in thirteen slaves belonging to the estate of their late father at the time of his death in Mississippi. Rodgers informs the court that he has "incurred debts for the maintenance & Education of his said wards which exceed three hundred dollars," and requests authorization to sell the slave Harry, forty-five years of age, in order to satisfy debts of the estate. Harry's wife and children live in Noxubee County, Mississippi, and are under the control of one David Young, who has agreed to pay one thousand dollars so that Harry may remain with his family. Rodgers does not specify whether Young is the owner of Harry's family or merely administering on another person's property. Rodgers states that the sale price is "the full market value of said slave & in fact a very high price for him."

PAR Number 20185509

State: Alabama Year: 1855
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1846, William Weeden died possessed of a large and valuable plantation and a number of slaves. In his 1845 will, Weeden bequeathed sums of money to his children by a first marriage, among whom is the petitioner, Frederick A. Weeden. He left the rest of his estate, real and personal, to his second wife and their children. Frederick Weeden asserts that, according to his father's will, he is entitled to a three-thousand-dollar bequest that has never been paid by either the former administrator of the estate, Alexander Ewing, or by the current administrator de bonis non, William Read. Furthermore, Frederick Weeden takes issue with Read's insistence "that it requires & has taken the proceeds arising from the property belonging to the estate of the said Weeden dec to pay the debts and expenses incurred in supporting the family and improving the plantation." This is contrary to the terms of the will. He especially takes issue with the use of funds due him for the purpose of supporting his father's last child, a girl born after his death and therefore not provided for in the will. He prays that the court will require the administrator to pay him his due including interest.

PAR Number 20185511

State: Alabama Year: 1855
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: South Carolina resident James Chestnut Jr., trustee of the slave property of Martha Moore and her minor children, requests that a resident of Alabama be appointed in his place. Moore and her children "own and are entitled to a perfect equity title in and to certain negro slaves" granted by a deed of trust from William C. Moore to James Chestnut Jr.

PAR Number 20380027

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

Abstract: Hannah, Sarah, Minta, and Nathan Hurt, people of color, state that they are illegally held as slaves by Lemuel Sappington, acting as agent and attorney for Thomas Sappington of Jefferson County, Virginia. They ask the court to recognize their freedom and summon the defendants.

PAR Number 20380040

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

Abstract: Henry Rees, Betsey Rees, and Sally Hurt, people of color, seek to amend their petition filed "on the fifteenth day of February instant." They explain that they mistakenly named one Lambert Sappington as a defendant to their said petition. They now assert "that the real name of the person in said Petition named and called Lambert Sappington is not Lambert Sappington, but Lemuel Sappington." They ask that the correct name be inserted. The petitioners reiterate their contention that Lemuel Sappington, as agent and attorney of Thomas Sappington, holds and claims them as slaves. They still maintain that "your Petitioners have always been considered as free, have so always hitherto been treated, and they do apprehend that they are entitled to their freedom." They therefore pray that the Sappingtons be summoned and that the court "may adjudge and decree, that your Petitioners are and shall be free." [The Race and Slavery Petitions Project does not have the earlier suit referenced by the petitioners.]

PAR Number 20380051

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

Abstract: Henny Warner, a woman of color, states that she and her children--Susanna, Sophia, Rachel, Samuel, Polly, Mariah, Goldsborough, Emaline--and her grandchildren--Sarah, Basil, Hariott, Emory, Jonathan, John--are unjustly held as slaves by William Moss, Hewitt Smith, James Britton, Frederic Armington and Elizabeth Moss, "of the State of Maryland." Apprehending that she and her kin are "entitled to their liberty by the Laws of the land," Warner asks that the defendants be summoned "to shew cause of any they have, why your Petitioner, her Children and grand-Children afsd. should not be declared free."

PAR Number 20483505

State: District of Columbia Year: 1835
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: John Thornton states that he was brought from King William County, Virginia to the District of Columbia and sold to Orrin Davis. Thornton has a petition for his freedom pending in the courts. He seeks an injunction to prevent Davis from removing him from the District of Columbia.

PAR Number 20486203

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted absentee or minor owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Elizabeth Gilter, a "brown" woman, twenty-eight years of age, states that she is owned by Elizabeth Gunnel, of Fairfax Court House, Virginia. She seeks her freedom.

PAR Number 20486209

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Henry Bailey, a male of "dark complexion," twenty-nine years of age, states that he is owned by Martha A. Scott, of Bladensburg, Maryland. He seeks his freedom.

PAR Number 20486217

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Fatima Milton, a "dark brown" female, forty-six years of age, states that she is owned by Jesse D. Bright of Indiana. She seeks her freedom.

PAR Number 20486218

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Sarah Ann Beckett, a "Mulatto" female, twenty years of age, states that she is owned by Benjamin Lownds, of Prince George's County, Maryland. She seeks her freedom.

PAR Number 20486221

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Martha E. Bailey, a "Black" female, thirty years of age, states that she is owned by James Gregg, of Alexandria, Virginia. She seeks her freedom.

PAR Number 20486227

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Celia King, a "Black" female, about thirty years of age, Henry King, a "Black" male, about twelve years of age, and Lewis Williams, a "Black" male about fifteen years of age, state that they are owned by Julia Ten Eyck, of New Jersey. They seek their freedom.

PAR Number 20486231

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Ann Kee, a "Black" female, about fifty-five years of age, states that she is owned by Thompson D. Haden, of St. Mary's County, Maryland. She seeks her freedom.

PAR Number 20486234

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Ananias Page, a "Light Mulatto" male, thirty-one years of age, states that he is owned by Lucy J. Tidball, of Winchester, Virginia. He seeks his freedom.

PAR Number 20486241

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. Harriet Liveless, a female of "Dark Color," about thirty-two years of age, and George Liveless, a male of "Dark Color," about six years of age, state that they are owned by Amelia Gray, of Prince George's County, Maryland. They seek their freedom.

PAR Number 20486248

State: District of Columbia Year: 1862
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: On 16 April 1862, Congress passed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia. Owners were required to file a schedule of slaves with the court, which issued certificates of freedom. On 12 July 1862, another act permitted minor or absentee owners and slaves themselves to file for certificates of freedom. John F. Chin, a forty-year-old "Dark Mulatto" states that he is owned by Frances Gibson, of Prince William County. He seeks his freedom.

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