Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 20884332

State: Louisiana Year: 1843
Location: St. Landry Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Irene Lamorandier requests a separation of property from her husband, Celestin Morel de Guiramand. Irene intermarried with Morel de Guiramand in 1838, bringing with her a dowry of a sixteen-year-old slave named Marie Louise and $500. Since the marriage, Celestin de Guiramand has "appropriated" the $500 "to his own use" and he has "disposed of" it in order to satisfy his personal debts. Irene prays for a separation of property and asks to be "permitted to administer the same hereafter free from" her husband's control. In addition, she prays for $1,300 in damages.

PAR Number 20884412

State: Louisiana Year: 1844
Location: West Baton Rouge Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Elize Allet petitions for a separation in property from her husband, Jean Baptiste Tardy. Elize represents that, when she married Tardy in 1839, she brought to the marriage two large tracts of land, as well as other property purchased at the estate sale of her late mother, Marie Julienne Marionneau, including a slave named Jack priced at $1,760. Since her marriage, she has purchased additional property from the estate of her late father, Thomas Allet, including a slave named John priced at $1,625. Tardy has since sold Jack and converted the proceeds to his own use. Elize now claims that her husband is deeply in debt and some of their property has been seized for the benefit of one of his creditors. She contends that the situation is such that her “dotal and paraphernal” property is in jeopardy. She therefore prays for a separation in property from her husband. She wants to recover in nature what is left of her property, including her slave John, and asks to be compensated for what has already been sold, including her slave Jack. Furthermore, she prays for an order enjoining N. Benoit, one of the creditors, and V. Blanchard, the sheriff, from selling her husband’s property, on which she claims a mortgage and privilege to protect her “just rights and claims.”

PAR Number 20884413

State: Louisiana Year: 1844
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Louise Doralize Dupré, a free woman of color, seeks a separation in property from her husband, John Baptiste Dominique Metoyer. Marie Louise claims that, owing to her husband’s financial difficulties, she is in danger of losing her “dotal” property, which consists of $2,836, in cash and two slaves. She explains that her husband owes more than he can pay and his property is exposed to seizure and sale, thus jeopardizing her rights. Marie Louise therefore prays for a separation in property from John Baptiste and for the right to administer her own affairs.

PAR Number 20884605

State: Louisiana Year: 1846
Location: Natchitoches Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Marie Prudence Adlé seeks to recover control of all the lands, slaves, and property mentioned in her marriage contract and other acts. Marie Prudence claims that she had a dowry of $5,000 and received land and slaves on two other occasions from her father. Included in her property are nineteen slaves that she owns in common with her sister, Marie Artimise Walmsly, and her niece, Marie Emile Langlois Robinson. Her husband, Gervais Fontenot, has controlled her property until now. She states that “the affairs of her husband have fallen into ruin and decay," that he is in debt, and that, because of his "embarrassed condition," there is "great danger" that she will lose her "dotal and paraphernal" rights. Marie Prudence requests a judgment ordering a separation of property from her husband and granting her control of all her land, slaves, and other property.

PAR Number 20884611

State: Louisiana Year: 1846
Location: St. John the Baptist Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Pelagie Rodrigue seeks to regain control of her dotal and paraphernal property from her husband, Pierre Faucheux. Rodrigue asserts that, according to her marriage contract, she brought a slave woman named Yacinthe and $2,090 in promissory notes into her 1832 marriage to Faucheux. Since then, Yacinthe has given birth to a child named Felicité, whom Pelagie considers part of her dotal property. In addition, Pelagie inherited a slave woman named Janette from the estate of her mother, Marguerite Delatte. She informs the court that her husband is in a “habitual state of madness and insanity” and has been “interdicted on account of his sanity” from the administration of his person and property. Therefore, she asks the court to appoint a guardian for her husband and to order a separation of property.

PAR Number 20884910

State: Louisiana Year: 1849
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Delphine Decuir, a free woman of color, represents that, upon her marriage to Antoine Pollard, a free man of color, her dowry consisted of one female slave named Mary and Mary’s child. It also consists of hereditary rights to one seventh of her mother’s estate and to any other property acquired during the marriage, either by inheritance or donation. She claims that this dowry, which over the years has grown to a total value of $14,056, including money, land, and slaves, is now endangered by the state of confusion of her husband’s affairs. Her husband has sold, among other property, two other of her dowry slaves. She therefore seeks a judgment against her husband for separation of property, the right to exercise the legal mortgage she holds on his estate, and restitution of her slave Mary and Mary’s family of four children. She also wants the freedom to administer her own estate.

PAR Number 20885008

State: Louisiana Year: 1850
Location: St. James Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Carmélite Constant seeks to be separated in property from her husband, Benjamin Winchester. Carmélite represents that, when she married Winchester in 1820, she brought a dowry of $26,447 in cash and a female slave named Louise. The money came from the estates of her late parents, Auguste Constant and Jeannette Landry Constant of Ascension parish, and of her grandfather, Joseph Landry, also of Ascension parish. The property was turned over to Benjamin Winchester in 1821, and he has enjoyed its benefits uninterruptedly since that time. Carmélite contends that her husband is now heavily in debt and that his property is not sufficient to meet his liabilities. She believes that she is in danger of losing her separate property. Already, the slaves Jim and Martin, sons of her deceased slave Louise, have been mortgaged. They have been seized by the sheriff in a suit initiated by the Consolidated Bank and they are about to be sold. Carmélite therefore seeks a separation in property from her husband. She wants to recover her $26,747 plus $2,000, the estimated value of her two slaves. Finally, she asks for a mortgage on all her husband’s property to secure her claims.

PAR Number 20885043

State: Louisiana Year: 1850
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Liza, a woman of color, petitions for her freedom and that of her children. Liza claims that, some thirty years ago, a man named Hardi Boisblanc took her, along with some of his relatives, to France, a country where slavery is not "tolerated." She stayed in France for a few months, or at least a few “days,” and thus became free, according to her, by virtue of having put “her foot” on French soil. Since that time, Liza has become the slave of one of Boisblanc's relatives, Felicie Norbert Fortier, the wife of Dr. Puisant. Since that time, Liza has also given birth to seven children. She prays that Dr. and Mrs. Puisant be cited to answer her suit and that she and her children be declared free. She also claims compensation for her services and those of her children, at the rate of $30 per month for the whole family, from the time that she notified the Puisants of her intent to be recognized free.

PAR Number 20885310

State: Louisiana Year: 1853
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Virginie Marguerite Mourain seeks a separation of property from her husband, Alexander René Porche. Virginie represents that, upon her 1852 marriage to Porche, she brought in dowry a female slave and her four children, valued at $2,000, "moveables" and apparel valued at $500, and $4,000 in cash. She now contends that her husband has mismanaged his affairs and is indebted to many persons. She fears that his personal estate will not be sufficient to meet the demand of his creditors and her dowry is in jeopardy. She therefore seeks an order of separation of property from her husband and dissolution of the community property. She prays for a judgment against her husband in the sum of $4,500 and seeks to recover the “full possession, enjoyment, and administration” of her property, including her slaves and their “increase.” She also seeks a mortgage on her husband’s property to secure her claims.

PAR Number 20885404

State: Louisiana Year: 1854
Location: Pointe Coupee Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Louise Vialès seeks to be separated in property from her husband Dorsino Lejeune. Louise represents that, upon her 1836 marriage to Dorsino, she brought $340 and three slaves in dowry. She now contends that the said dowry is in danger due to the disorder of her husband’s affairs and that his estate is insufficient to meet her rights and claims. She therefore prays to be separated in property from her husband and to regain the administration of her property. She also seeks to recover her $340 and the control of her two surviving slaves. Furthermore, she seeks a mortgage on Dorsino’s immoveable property and a privilege on his moveable property to secure her claim.

PAR Number 20885415

State: Louisiana Year: 1854
Location: Orleans Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Ophelia Forstall seeks to be separated in property from her husband, Theophile Pinéguy. Ophelia represents that, upon her marriage in 1847, she brought a dowry valued at $3,500, consisting of two slaves, eight shares of stock in the Mechanics and Traders Bank of New Orleans, apparel, jewelry and furniture. She now contends that her husband’s affairs are so “embarrassed” that she is in danger of losing her dowry and Theophile’s property is insufficient to meet her rights and claims. She therefore prays for an order of separation of property and dissolution of the community property. She seeks to recover the value of her dowry.

PAR Number 20885903

State: Louisiana Year: 1859
Location: West Feliciana Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Mary E. Baines, with the authorization and assistance of her husband, Isaac N. Maynard, claims that her ten slaves have been illegally seized by the sheriff to satisfy her husband’s debts. Mary acquired two of the slaves, whom she describes as her “separate paraphernal property,” prior to her marriage to Maynard: she purchased a man named Jim from a “dealer in slaves” and received a woman named Caroline as a gift from her grandmother, Emily Bridges. Since her marriage, Caroline has had two daughters, and, as a related document reveals, one of her daughter now has an infant child. Mary received the seven other slaves as "dotal property" from her husband’s brother, Jacob B. Maynard. Mary admits to being “induced” to mortgage her property to secure a debt that was “entirely and exclusively” her husband’s and to confessing judgment in favor of J.W. Burbridge & Co., but she claims “utter ignorance of her rights.” She now maintains that her dotal property “is not liable for” the said debt and that, legally, she could not “alienate or encumber" it. She asks for $1,000 in damages for “contract fees, for loss of time and services of said slaves, for trouble and annoyance of attending to these proceedings, and the annoyance of having her said property advertised for sale.” She also asks for an injunction to terminate the proposed sale of her slaves by the defendants. Two differing ages are provided for two of the slaves. Jane is said to be eighteen years of age in the original petition, and twenty-eight in a supplemental petition. Esther is said to be twenty-eight in the original petition and thirty-four in the supplemental petition.

PAR Number 20885937

State: Louisiana Year: 1859
Location: St. James Location Type: Parish

Abstract: Françoise Zilia Roman, wife of Edmond Trépagnier, presents to the court that, "owing to the disorder" of her husband's affairs, she is in danger of losing her "paraphernal" property," i.e., property in her own rights, including a number of slaves. She fears that her husband's estate will not be sufficient to meet "her rights & claims" and therefore seeks a separation of property from her husband. She explains that, when she married Edmond in 1829, she received a dowry of two female slaves. In 1838, her husband bought, on her account, another female slave and her two daughters from her father's estate, for the sum of $1750, but did not pay for them; the amount was thus "imputed on her share" of her father's estate. Since then, one slave has died and several children and grandchildren have been born. Françoise Trépagnier claims the slaves and their offspring as her "paraphernal property." Françoise's parents' succession has now been settled and, because of the unpaid slave purchases and other borrowed monies, she owes and must refund $3,679.31 to the estate. She therefore prays to be authorized to sue her husband for separation of property and to be allowed to recover her slaves and $1,7765.76 in cash, plus "legal interest." Related documents reveal that the court ruled that the slaves belonged to her husband and thus could be seized and sold for debts. Zilia however purchased the slaves at the sheriff sale.

PAR Number 21584402

State: Texas Year: 1844
Location: Brazoria Location Type: County

Abstract: Gabriel Martin gave his daughter Margaret a female slave named Phebe and a tract of land in Louisiana valued at $1000 as a dowry for her marriage to James Brown in 1802. The couple resides in Brazoria County. In 1808 James sold the land and kept the money for his own use. In addition, James now owns Phebe's 6 children and 13 grandchildren, who have been borne during the 42-year-marriage. He also received two large sums of money through Margaret's inheritance from her parents, both of whom had died by 1820. Citing laws "in force" in Louisiana at the time of her marriage, Brown represents that she is entitled to "restitution of her dowry" as well as replacement of "her dotal effects ... which were alienated by her husband" since their marriage. She asks that her husband be summoned and that the slaves, land, and money she received as her dowry and from her parents' estates be declared her "sole separate property." She further asks that she be paid interest at five percent on the value of the money.