Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10382412

State: Delaware Year: 1824

Abstract: John Price bought three slaves at his mother-in-law's estate sale in Maryland. He seeks exemption from the Delaware law designed to prevent the importation and exportation of slaves and asks permission to bring the slaves from Maryland into Delaware. Price states that the slaves belonged to his wife's family for many years and, if he had "consulted his own interest, he would never have purchased negros of their age and in the state of Maryland too where it is well Known the price of slav[e]s is much greater than it is in Delaware." He further notes that his purchase was prompted by a desire "to prevent them being Transported to a southern Market."

PAR Number 10382610

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

Abstract: Curtis Beswick represents that "he is the owner of a female slave named Gastura" and that he acquired said slave "by virtue of his intermarriage with Sarah S Purnell," a resident of Maryland before her marriage. He further states that his wife "is much attached [to Gastura] and is desirous of removing her from the said state of Maryland into the State of Delaware." Beswick therefore prays that a law be passed "authorizing him to remove said slave from the state of Maryland into this State and here to hold her as a slave."

PAR Number 11000005

State: Mississippi
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: William Smith requests emancipation of the slave Bill, who "without direction" protected and supported Smith following the death of his parents. Smith secured an education through the "laborious and unassuming exertions of this humble protector."

PAR Number 11000019

State: Mississippi
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Nicholas P. Carr asks the legislature to emancipate the slave named Betsey, who was freed in the will of deceased Adams County resident Timothy Gifford. The testator was much attached to Betsey because of "her fidelity & attention to him." The petitioner, who is the executor of Gifford's will and his sole "legatee," is in full agreement with the testator's wishes.

PAR Number 11184603

State: Missouri Year: 1846

Abstract: The Hanson family--James, John, and Martha--ask to bring inherited term slaves from Maryland into Missouri despite the law that permits importation only of slaves for life. The six slaves, ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-eight, were to be free when they reached age thirty-five. Being currently hired out by an agent, the slaves and their children did not receive the attention "that they would naturally receive from those who would feel an interest in and for them."

PAR Number 11283801

State: North Carolina Year: 1838
Location: Halifax Location Type: County

Abstract: Gideon P. Harvey and P. P. Harvey, "old and advanced in years," are desirous "of having the said slaves viz Elizabeth, Preston, Denton, and Mary Emancipated." They represent that they "are fully satisfied and believes that the said slaves ... are entitled and ought to enjoy those privileges from merit and good behavior towards the petitioners," one of whom "has been for many years subject to Colick, Rheumatism & other diseases that is common to the human family." They therefore pray "that your honorable body will pass a Law to emancipate" thirty-seven-year-old Elizabeth, thirty-two-year-old Preston, thirty-year-old Denton, and twenty-year-old Mary.

PAR Number 11284007

State: North Carolina Year: 1840
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: Joab Harman, the owner of thirty-four-year-old Abram and thirty-three-year-old Elick, states that he "is very desirous to have the said Slaves emancipated with the priviledge of remaining in the State." Harman recounts that he inherited said slaves from John Fruit, his father-in-law, who "did on his death bed request & desire that the Said Slaves should be emancipated." He further discloses that "he has raised the Said Slaves and brought them up to habits of industry & Sobriety & has taught them the art & trade of blacksmiths." Revealing that "he has no children to give them to," the petitioner "believes that neither his wife or himself could die in peace, knowing that the Sd Slaves would pass into the hands of Strangers." Harman therefore prays that an act be passed "emancipating the Said Slaves Abram & Elick."

PAR Number 11382120

State: South Carolina Year: 1821
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Auguste Genty, a native of France, represents that he "is the proprietor of a female Slave named Sophia, to whom he has become greatly attached on account of her faithful and affectionate conduct towards him." Genty acknowledges that he "incautiously postponed" emancipating said slave "from day to day, and from year to year, until he understood, that an act was passed at the last session of the Legislature which prevents his performance of an act that would be so grateful to his feelings, and which the said Sophia has been anxiously expecting." He therefore prays that his application be taken "into serious consideration" and that it be answered "by adopting such means as may effect the emancipation of the said Sophia." Genty attests that Sophia "is a person of good moral character and capable of maintaining herself by her own personal labour."

PAR Number 11383601

State: South Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Clarendon Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Martha Benbow, the widow and executrix of Col. Evan Benbow, seeks to emancipate a thirty-five-year-old enslaved woman named Duley and her seven-year-old son, Rufus. The petitioner avows that Duley is of "unexceptionable moral character" and is able to obtain a livelihood in "an honest & virtuous manner." Benbow therefore prays "that you will permit her to emancipate them." The decedent directed that "if either of them through misfortune become unable to support themselves that they shall be supported themselves out of my estate."

PAR Number 11481301

State: Tennessee Year: 1813
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Blackney requests to emancipate Harriette and her three children -- twelve-year-old Frederick, seven-year-old John, and five-year-old Tobias. Blackney relates that "it was the earnest request of your Petitioners father in his lifetime that your petitioner should not treat the said Harriett as a Slave but raise her as one of the family and when she arive at full age to give her, her freedom which is now the wish of your Petitioner more especially as it was the last request of your Petitioners Deceas'd father."

PAR Number 11483206

State: Tennessee Year: 1832
Location: Carter Location Type: County

Abstract: Mary Humphreys requests that "a Family of yellow Slaves" be emancipated in accordance with the wishes of her late husband's last will and testament. She recounts that her husband Jesse "had raised up from their Infancy" the three children of Lucy and that the family had attended him for over ten years "most affectionately" in while in his "afflicted situation” and that they have run the farm and dairy with "Judgement and Economy" when, due to old age and infirmities, she has not been "able to help herself." The petitioner therefore prays "your Honorable body in your wisdom to pass a Law allowing said slaves ... at the death of your memorialist to be Emancipated." Humphreys also requests that Lucy and her family be allowed to remain in the state.

PAR Number 11483312

State: Tennessee Year: 1833
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty citizens of Greene County represent that "a certain negroe man named Hiram,” who “is now, and for some years past has been, in the possession of one John Weems," did "by Contract with the said John Weems" purchase his freedom and that "Said Weems is now willing & anxious to set said negroe free." They point out, however, "that said negroe is unwilling to leave his relatives and former owners, to whom he is much attached." The petitioners therefore pray "that your Honorable body will by an act of assembly authorize said negroe to be set free, with permission to remain in this state should he choose so to do."

PAR Number 11485802

State: Tennessee Year: 1858
Location: Anderson Location Type: County

Abstract: S. B. and William T. Tate represent that their “much beloved brother Milton Tate departed this life” in 1856, “leaving no Widow or Children” and owning three slaves to whom he bore “a deep attachment.” The petitioners point out that “for many years before his death he had resolved to so arrange his matters that after his death Said Slaves would not be forced to Serve another.” They report, however, that Milton died before he had “time to make a formal will & testament by which to effect his desire in relation to Said Slaves.” They further state that their brother did make a nuncupative will but they have “doubts as to [its] legal validity.” The petitioners therefore “most humbly beg your Honorable Body to pass an act making valid to all intents & purposes the will of Milton Tate.”

PAR Number 11583902

State: Texas Year: 1839
Location: San Augustine Location Type: County

Abstract: Edward Teal recounts that "many years since whilst his children were yet infants he was left a widower, and that the nourishment of his children devolved on his negro woman Fanny, who deported herself more in the character of a Mother than that of a Servant." He points out that Fanny "inspired his children with such affection for her that it is the desire of all of them that said slave Fanny should be emancipated." He reveals that Fanny's freedom was the particular request of his only son, who "perished" in the defense of his country. Teal prays that "the Hon Congress pass an act permitting your petitioner to set his said slave Fanny free by will under such restrictions” as you "may deem just and equitable."

PAR Number 11584102

State: Texas Year: 1841
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighty-six-year-old Peggy Rankin seeks permission to emancipate her mulatto slave, Siney, and Siney's three children. Having owned Siney's mother, Rankin recounts that Siney "has been taught such labor as are generally performed by free white females" and that she "has ever been a faithful and obedient Servant and has been remarkably kind and attentive to your Memorialist in her infirm old age." The petitioner, "anxious to reward her kindness and obedience," states that her late husband, Robert Rankin, "intended that the said Mulatto woman should remain in Servitude only during the lifetime of your memorialist." With Rankin's heirs in agreement and the estate without debt, the widow Rankin prays "your honorable body to emancipate the said Mulatto woman Siney."

PAR Number 11585106

State: Texas Year: 1851
Location: Cherokee Location Type: County

Abstract: The heirs of George Doherty of Nacogdoches County seek to emancipate Greenbury Taylor, "aged about 35 years, of yellow complexion" and "the favorite and body servant of the said George Doherty." They recount that "through his exertions, the lives of two of your petitioners were preserved; by reason of which petitioners feel under a lasting debt of gratitude to said slave." Urgently "soliciting the aid of your honorable body to carry into effect the dying wish of their beloved father," the heirs "most humbly pray that an act be passed freeing said slave."

PAR Number 11585601

State: Texas Year: 1856

Abstract: Louisiana resident Henry Michel Thibodaux seeks to bring thirty-five slaves and five free persons of color into Texas. He explains that his wife, "on her dying bed," requested that he emancipate his slave Marguerite and her two children, along with two other slave children. He further recounts that "the said emancipated servants have remained in his family, and serve him and he wishes to take them with him to Texas." Thibodaux states, however, that he "is informed that the introduction of free colored people is contrary to the laws of Texas." He therefore "respectfully prays that an Act of the Legislature may be passed, permitting him to take his said five emancipated servants to the State of Texas, and allowing them to remain in the State."

PAR Number 11680002

State: Virginia Year: 1800
Location: Fauquier Location Type: County

Abstract: Maryland slaveholder Dekar Thompson seeks permission to bring his slaves into Virginia. Recently land located in Fauquier County has been purchased for him by the executors of the estate of a relative with the same name. He states that he could sell his Maryland slaves and purchase new ones in Virginia, but he claims that as a person who has "raised and brought them up," he is "attached" to his slaves "and they to him."

PAR Number 11680701

State: Virginia Year: 1807
Location: Culpeper Location Type: County

Abstract: John Cooke asks the legislature for an exemption from the law prohibiting the transportation of slaves into Virginia. He informs the court that he was formerly a resident of the state of Maryland where he and his wife were married, but that he has lived in the state of Virginia for twenty-two years. He explains that his wife's father recently departed this life and that his wife has inherited from him "certain Negroes" to whom she is "much attached" and does "not wish" sold "if she can enjoy them otherwise." Cooke asks the legislature to pass a law authorizing him to bring the "negroes bequeathed to his Wife into this State."

PAR Number 11680808

State: Virginia Year: 1808
Location: Nansemond Location Type: County

Abstract: Having recently purchased "a very valuable estate" in Nansemond County, Dr. Arthur Woolford, a Maryland slaveholder, seeks permission to bring his slaves into Virginia. His sole objective, he assures the legislature, is to have the slaves work on his farm and that "traffick and speculation are by no means intended." Dr. Woolford adds that "in this country, partialities and attachment must necessarily arise towards such slaves as have been reared and brought up by their owners. That a separation from servants who have long been accustomed to the habits and disposition of their masters and family, would produce mutual distress, inconvenience, and loss."

PAR Number 11680902

State: Virginia Year: 1809
Location: Stafford Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Fristoe owns a slave who is currently in the state of Kentucky. Fristoe acquired the slave through his wife, to whom it was "devised" by her father. The latter had removed to Kentucky "some years since." Fristoe claims to have "a particular regard & affection" for the "negroe Boy named Lewis," and he seeks permission to bring him into Virginia.

PAR Number 11680907

State: Virginia Year: 1809
Location: Pittsylvania Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1790, John Abston's uncle, Stephen Clements, died in Wilkes County, Georgia, leaving him a slave named Nutty and half her increase, an inheritance to which he would become entitled following the death of his aunt. In 1805, the aunt died and that summer Abston went to Georgia to claim his inheritance, but he found the slave Nutty in an advanced state of pregnancy and decided he could not move her. He returned to Virginia with Nutty's oldest boy, leaving the mother and two younger children behind, and intending to return for them in the fall or summer. But in 1806, Virginia passed a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state, thus subjecting Abston to "Hardships & Difficulties." He represents that he is a native of Virginia, that he has "ever continued to reside therein and with a numerous Family has always intended to continue a Citizen of the State." He further represents that his uncle "selected him as an object of his Bounty," but that having "only a residuary Interest" he could not exercise his right until his aunt's death and therefore could not get his slaves before the passage of the law. Abston writes that he remains "attached particularly to the whole of the Slaves," who were born & raised in his uncle's family, and "values greatly the mother's fidelity, honesty, and integrity." He is unwilling to part with them and therefore asks permission to bring to Virginia Nutty and the younger children as well as any other child of whom she may have been delivered.

PAR Number 11680908

State: Virginia Year: 1809
Location: Prince William Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1809, Thomas Stone of Charles County, Maryland, died, having bequeathed to his daughter, Mary Duffy, , a "Certain Negro girl slave named Jenny about ten years of age." Moses Duffy is Mary Stone Duffy's husband, and he the legislature permission to bring Jenny into Virginia. He explains that Jenny was the only legacy left to his wife by her father and she is the only slave owned by the Duffys.

PAR Number 11680916

State: Virginia Year: 1809
Location: Culpeper Location Type: County

Abstract: John Smoot informs the court that eight or ten years ago his father, a resident of Maryland, died, having bequeathed him "nine or ten slaves," whom he has been unable to bring to Virginia "in consequence of a law passed some years since, prohibiting the introduction of slaves into this state." He explains to the legislative body that he is "permanently established & engaged in agricultural pursuits" in Virginia, having emigrated from Maryland several years prior to the filing of his suit, and that owning slaves in another state is not to his advantage. The slaves are not in his immediate service and they have to be managed at a great distance, Smoot claims. Furthermore, he contends, he is attached to them and they are to him. If he sold them the money would not be as useful to him as the slaves. He seeks permission to bring the slaves into Virginia.

PAR Number 11681103

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

Abstract: Following the death of their father, James and Thomas Spencer, slaveholders in North Carolina, inherited a "very considerable Landed & personal Estate" in Amherst and Nelson counties. They ask to bring seventeen slaves into Virginia. The slaves are loyal, faithful, and attached to the Spencer family, and purchasing new hands would involve great risk, "trouble & expence."

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