Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Search Results

Your subject search returned 868 total results.

Displaying 25 results per page.

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 10584301

State: Florida Year: 1843

Abstract: In 1808, John C. Mangham married Ann McKenzie in Glynn County, Georgia. His wife left him in 1827 "with the pretext" of suing for divorce and recovery "of certain property, then in the possession of your petitioner." Still married in 1831, Mangham gave his wife all his slaves by a deed of trust during her life, hoping this would resolve their difficulties. Shortly after receiving the slaves, however, Ann Mangham moved with the slaves to the Florida Territory to live with her daughter and son-in-law. Mangham wrote letters asking her to "return home," but she refused. He seeks a divorce.

PAR Number 11280401

State: North Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Rowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Dinah Seyers "begs leave to shew that after a long course of faithful service to her master the said Richard Seyers, he devised in his will that she might be set free." Fearing that "she is in danger by being interrupted in her person & property by ill disposed persons," the petitioner prays "the Legislature to pass an Act confirming her emancipation." She also reports that she has had three children since the death of the said Richard and that she desires "the name of Dinah Seyers be confirmed to your petitioner, & that of Samuel, David & Harry Seyers be confirmed to her said children."

PAR Number 11283403

State: North Carolina Year: 1834
Location: Hertford Location Type: County

Abstract: Richard Cowper, executor of the will of Dr. Thomas O'Dwyer, cites that O'Dwyer’s will directed that "the negroes which he might own at this death, should receive their freedom." Stating that his testator owned fifteen slaves "at the time of his death," Cowper "therefore, feeling it to be his duty to fulfill the ... will of his Testator now prays your Honorable Body, that by an act of emancipation, you set free from the bonds of Slavery, the negro Slaves which as aforesaid were 'owned' by this said testator 'at the time of his death.'" He admits that his petition does not rest "on the ground of Meritorious Services, in all or any of the slaves," as "he is not aware that all or either of them possess a greater share of merit, than is Commonly to be found among the slaves in this section of the Country." Instead, he "grounds his petition ... on the consideration of the Hope and desire which your Petitioner believes his testator always cherished during his life" that his slaves "should receive their freedom."

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 11584901

State: Texas Year: 1849
Location: Sabine Location Type: County

Abstract: David S. and Jane B. Richardson Kaufman, the parents of four-year-old Daniel Richardson Kaufman, petition the legislature to change the name of their son "permanently to Daniel Kaufman Richardson." They state that the reasons for changing the child’s name "will be found in the will of his deceased Grandfather," Daniel Long Richardson, who mandated that said child would not receive his one-twelfth share of the estate unless his “name is permanently changed by the Legislature.”

PAR Number 11584902

State: Texas Year: 1849
Location: Sabine Location Type: County

Abstract: The executors of Daniel L. Richardson's estate seek to emancipate twenty-year-old Marcellus and four-year-old Clara. Richardson provided for the emancipation of the slaves, children of the slave of Laura, in his will. The petitioners note that they are compelled to petition the legislature since "section 1st Article 8th of the Constitution" states that "Emancipation cannot take place without the consent of your Honorable Bodies." They therefore pray that "you may pass a Bill granting the requisite Relief."

PAR Number 11680506

State: Virginia Year: 1805
Location: Norfolk Location Type: County

Abstract: In March 1804, Norfolk County sheriff James Browne delivered a summons to Mathew Whiting, instructing him to appear in court and answer the charges of twenty-nine black people suing for "the establishment" of their freedom. When Whiting ignored the summons and refused to give bond, Browne took possession of twenty-six of the petitioners in accordance with the law that holds that people claiming to be free are to considered as such during the trial of the case and therefore cannot be kept enslaved. While the black people were in his possession, Whiting provided for them out of his own pocket because for a number of reasons he presents to the court his boarders could not be hired out to earn their keep. After a few months, Browne realized that "there was no certainty of what period the cause would have an end." In September, he submitted his account to the court and made an application for compensation of his expenses. Recognizing the justice of his claim, the court considered that the Commonwealth of Virginia "was chargable therewith" and "ordered to be certified to the auditor of public accounts for payment." The auditor rejected the court order "alledging that the case was not provided for by law." Browne went back to the court but to no avail; the court has directed the state to pay but will not itself assume the burden of compensating him. Browne pleads that he is "entirely without remedy unless by the aid of the Legislature;" he therefore prays that the "Honorable body will take his case into mature consideration and extend to him suitable relief."

PAR Number 11681131

State: Virginia Year: 1811
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-five inhabitants of Sussex County urge the emancipation of a slave named Jacob, who was manumitted by the will of the late John Holt. They report that Holt's executor petitioned the legislature at the last term to free the said slave and "that a bill did pass the house of Delegates by a large majority, liberating the said Slave Jacob"; however, "the bill was rejected by a very small majority in the Senate." The petitioners, having "been acquainted with the said Slave Jacob for a Number of years," consider "him a very industrious, sober, honest, & careful Negro." They therefore pray that the "last and most solemn wishes of the said John Holt may be carried into effect, by the passage of a Law, by your honorable body fully and completely emancipating the said Slave Jacob."

PAR Number 11681209

State: Virginia Year: 1812
Location: Culpeper Location Type: County

Abstract: Armistead Long represents that he purchased a tract of land in 1800 "within the Jurisdiction of the State of Maryland; consisting partly of Main land on the Potomack River, and partly of an Island in the said River contigious to the Virginia Shore." Having placed certain slaves upon said land, the petitioner asserts that he has not added to said slaves "otherwise than by births" and that he is desirous to bring "again into this State, those Slaves which have always been the property of a Virginian and who were all born and raised in Virginia except those born on the said Island." Affirming that "it never was his intention that those Slaves should be the property of any other State," Long therefore "prays your honorable body to pass a Law authorizing him to bring the aforesaid Slaves into this State and to keep them therein notwithstanding any Law now existing." The petitioner states that there are twenty-two slaves and that he "considers himself under obligations of a peculiar delicacy to bestow them on a particular branch of his family."

PAR Number 11681307

State: Virginia Year: 1813
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Jacob, a free man of color, requests permission to remain in Virginia with his wife and children. Jacob was emancipated by the last will and testament of his late owner, John Holt, and the deed of emancipation was executed in 1813 by John Holt's executor, Nathaniel Holt. Jacob says that "he believes that no Member of your honorable Body will suspect that a Black Free Man cannot have the tender affection of a Husband & a Father, and that when your Petitioner has informed the Legislature that he stands in the situation of a Father & a Husband on whom Sentence of Banishment is pronounced, owning to the Circumstance of this his Situation not being made known to the Legislature who passed the Act authorizing his Emancipation, he humbly hopes that your honorably Body will pass an Act authorizing his Residence with this Family the few Years which Providence may allott to him of his future Life."

PAR Number 11681410

State: Virginia Year: 1814
Location: Buckingham Location Type: County

Abstract: Billy, a free man of color, represents that he was "by the last Will & Testament of his last master Robert Kincaid emancipated." He reveals, however, that he "has been informed that by an Act of Assembly of Virginia, he is [denied] the privilege of enjoying this blessing within the limits of his native state." Averring that he "is unwilling to leave his native home unless compelled so to do by the laws of the state," the petitioner "begs your honorable body to take his case into consideration & that you will in mercy pass a law by which he may be enabled to reside within the limits of this his native state."

PAR Number 11681803

State: Virginia Year: 1818
Location: Henrico Location Type: County

Abstract: The trustees appointed to oversee the fifty or so slaves freed in Capt. Izard Bacon's last will and testament ask that the Superior Court in Richmond City be granted authority to issue orders "in relation to the said slaves, as it may deem proper and to make a decree for their final emancipation & removal out of the Commonwealth as soon as a sufficient sum of money shall be raised for that purpose from the proceeds of their labor or at any time the said court may judge it expedient & right."

PAR Number 11682705

State: Virginia Year: 1827
Location: Prince George Location Type: County

Abstract: Billy, a free man of color, joins nine other free people of color, in representing that "by the will of Jane Barr ... they were all emancipated." They further declare that "it was made the duty of the Executor of the said will, if your Petitioners could lawfully remain in the state to purchase a piece of land for each of your Petitioners equal in value to one hundred dollars each"; if it were now lawful to remain in Virginia, the executor "should remove them to some other state where they might be free and purchase" said land for them there. The petitioners report "that Mrs. Barr's will was admitted to record in the year 1823" and that said Executor "has failed to give them the lands devised to them." Lamenting that "they are mere tenants at will of liberty and may be deprived of it at any moment by the Overseers of the Poor," the petitioners assert that, "should the General Assembly in its mercy think proper to permit them to remain in this State" after receiving their due legacy from said executor, "they will be able to reach the settlement on the coast of Africa of Free people of Color where they will most assuredly go if that settlement should continue to prosper & increase as it has heretofore." They therefore pray that they be permitted "to remain in this State as free persons until they can accomplish this."

PAR Number 20183203

State: Alabama Year: 1832
Location: Talladega Location Type: County

Abstract: Drusilla McMeans and her children claim ownership of a female slave and her six children. Becky was bequeathed to Drusilla by her father Rheuben Allen as a life estate. In his will, dated 5 March 1812, Allen gave "one negro woman with her increase named Becky which negro has heretofore been loaned to my daughter Drusilla to be hers during her natural life and after her death to be equally divided between her children the heirs of her body." Because Drusilla "was at the time of the said bequeath covert of Isaac McMeans," her husband took possession of the slaves when Allen died. The McMeans family moved to Alabama, taking with them Becky and children. The petitioners state that at present Isaac McMeans is "much involved in debt and that he is probably wholly insolvent." They point out that his creditors have obtained judgments against him, and "have levied an execution on all the said Negroes slaves and will proceed to sell the same unless restrained by the injunction of Your Honor." The petitioners insist that "the said Negroes are the seperate property of your Oratrix Drusilla and after her death of your other Orators jointly," yet the defendants pretend that the terms of the will stipulate that Isaac McMeans has a vested interest in the slaves. The petitioners therefore seek an injunction to prevent a sale of the slaves and ask that Hubbell Pierce be appointed as trustee. They also pray that the court will award a writ of subpoena directing the defendants to answer the bill of complaint. In her amended petition, Drusilla McMeans informs the court that she and her husband had in fact made a gift of the slaves to their children before the husband got involved in debt.

PAR Number 20183501

State: Alabama Year: 1835
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Camilla Bunkley, widow of William Bunkley, asserts that her husband's considerable estate, which includes a large number of slaves, will be more profitable to the estate's distributees, "your petitioner & her two children the eldest of which is nine years old," if it remains intact. She believes "that more money could be realised for the said distributees by cultivating the lands and by retaining the property together than by selling the lands & lending the money or by a lease of the land & letting the negroes to hire." Since "the negroes & land could not be divided in such a manner as to convey in three separate plantations," and because "her children will be incapable for the next ten years of exercising an effectual or legitimate control over the estate to which they are entitled," she asks the court to exempt the estate from partition. Related documents reveal that the estate was finally partitioned in 1847 among Camilla Bunkley, now Mrs. Gerald, her son Gordon S. Bunkley, and the estate of her late son, William J. Bunkley.

PAR Number 20183808

State: Alabama Year: 1838
Location: Bibb Location Type: County

Abstract: Richard Wood seeks his share of the estate bequeathed to him by his maternal grandfather, William Davis. In his 1821 will, Davis devised to the children of his daughter, Sally Wood, "the following named property to wit one negro fellow named Bob and one girl named Hannah together with the increase of the Said Hannah." After Sally died, the petitioner's father, Joseph Wood, obtained possession of the slaves bequeathed to her children. Since Davis's death, Hannah has had three little boys, the oldest of whom is eight. Wood estimates the annual hiring proceeds of these slaves to be between three and four hundred dollars. And he charges that his father has used funds from the estate to buy another slave named Hannah and her two children, Bill and Milly. He has also traded Bob for another slave named Joe. Since her purchase, Milly "has had three children the oldest being as he believes some five years old." Richard sought a settlement share of $3,116 from Wood and the estate executors, but they countered with $500, a sum he deems unacceptable. Thus he petitions the court to divide up the estate, selling the slaves if necessary, so that he may have his rightful portion.

PAR Number 20183903

State: Alabama Year: 1839
Location: Lauderdale Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis and Oscar Roffee, executors of Allen Burton's estate, note that Burton's will directs them to emancipate the slaves belonging to the estate. The court, however, ruled that instead of manumission, the slaves "by late decree of his honor the Chancellor have been declared subject to distribution among the heirs." The petitioners assert "that from the number and ages of the slaves and the great number of shares into which they are required to be divided, that distribution cannot be made of them in any kind, fairly equally & beneficially among the parties entitled thereto." The petitioners instead propose "that your Honor will grant them an order to make sale of said slaves," enabling them to divide the proceeds from the sale.

PAR Number 20183911

State: Alabama Year: 1839
Location: Mobile Location Type: County

Abstract: Sarah Welsh asks the court to arrest her husband, Dennis Welsh, and "that he be detained in custody until he gives bond with security not to molest your Orator or the property in her custody" until the court rules on her pending divorce suit. Prior to her marriage, Sarah drew up a prenuptial agreement to ensure that her separate property remains "in her full sole and exclusive use and employment," and Dennis signed the contract. Shortly after their marriage, says Sarah, her husband "was guilty of such cruel & barbarous conduct towards her that she found it impossible to live with him," and she filed for divorce. Meanwhile, "with the rents and profits of the lands and of the hire of the slaves" from her separate estate, she was able to purchase new six slaves, noting that "the purchase money strictly derived from the sources aforesaid and that no part thereof was contributed by the said Dennis." Sarah explains that her husband, "sometimes pretends that the marital right of the defendant attaches to them and that they are the property of the defendant and that he is entitled to them." In this vein, she reports, Dennis has repeatedly threatened to deprive her of her personal property, going so far as to sell one of the six slaves, Sam, who was worth six hundred dollars.

PAR Number 20184214

State: Alabama Year: 1842
Location: Lowndes Location Type: County

Abstract: Alfred V. Scott and William M. Marks, representatives of a trust set up by Thomas B. Scott for his wife Martha, sue several people to protect the property contained in the trust from Thomas Scott's creditors. They report that the trust, including thirty-one slaves, consists of assets given in March of the current year 1842 to Martha by her father, Nicholas Marks, with the intention that they be for her "sole and separate use, free from the controls and liability for the debts of the said Thomas." Six days after the deed's execution, Thomas became the object of several monetary judgments which "levied the executions on the negro slaves herein before mentioned." The petitioners ask that "the said sheriff may be restrained and prevented from enforcing" the executions on the "said mentioned negro slaves and all other property conveyed in the said deed of trust."

PAR Number 20184216

State: Alabama Year: 1842
Location: Lowndes Location Type: County

Abstract: Margaret Selina Oliver seeks to divorce her husband, Creed T. Oliver, and petitions for her dower's portion out of the estate of her late first husband, John McGill. During her widowhood, Margaret was the co-administrator of John McGill's "large real and personal estate consisting of lands and slaves and other personal property to a large amount." She reports that when she married Creed Oliver, he took over administration of McGill's estate and that he has made no accounting of the estate since that time. She further claims that Creed "became cruel and barbarous in his treatment to your Oratrix withdrawing all protection and affection from her...that he has with great force and violence thrown at your Oratrix open knives and Table forks that he has loaded his pistol with the intent as he said to shoot your Oratrix." For these reasons, she asks the court for a divorce and her share of her first husband's estate, maintaining that "she is entitled to her dower in all his real estate and to the one fifth part of all the personalty which remain over and above the payment of all his just debts."

PAR Number 20184221

State: Alabama Year: 1842
Location: Russell Location Type: County

Abstract: Arthur B. Davis claims that in 1839 Stephen M. Ingersoll "executed and delivered, under his hand and seal" a deed of trust to James Watson which conveyed to him certain property in order to secure payment of a variety of notes of "indebtment including one for four thousand dollars." Davis contends that he purchased two of the notes from one of the debtors, Seaborn Jones. He also contends that he has obtained judgments on the notes and reports that executions "have been issued, and are now in the hands of the Sheriff ... still open and unsatisfied." Ingersoll meanwhile conveyed the same property, including slaves, to others in separate deeds of trust, jeopardizing Davis's claim and ability to collect on his judgments. Davis pleads that the defendants be "enjoined from selling said property so levied" and "from all other proceedings in execution of the trusts in said deeds."

Next 25 Results