Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10882001

State: Louisiana Year: 1820
Location: Concordia Location Type: Parish

Abstract: William Willis, sheriff of Concord Parish, states that the tax list on land and slaves for his parish was delivered to him on the 13th of November. It was due back by March 1st. This did not give him enough time to "make the necessary demands," especially when he was required by law to defer seizure ninety days in cases of default. He asks the legislature for an extension.

PAR Number 11278001

State: North Carolina Year: 1780
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-nine inhabitants of Edenton complain about an inequitable tax structure in which money and stock, not being assessed, were taxed higher than slaves, who were assessed but at considerably less than their market value. They request that money be taxed at the same rate as slaves.

PAR Number 11278102

State: North Carolina Year: 1781
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: On behalf of a committee representing Franklin County, John Robinson tells of the tax burdens of local residents. He laments that "Black Slave Children" are taxed high while still a charge to their owners and that "young grown Men of ₤100 value able to work for their Living at a less rate than a Black Suckling." Robinson seeks relief.

PAR Number 11278401

State: North Carolina Year: 1784
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-four "Merchants, Traders & other Inhabitants of the Town of Edenton" represent that they "feel themselves much aggrieved, oppressed and Injured by the Imposition" of a recently passed act that taxes "all Lands, Slaves, Horses, Goods, Wares, & Merchandizes sold at Vendue." They assert that "a Duty of Two Pounds Ten Shillings on every Hundred Pounds Value" for articles sold at auction is "in Addition to, and over and above, the Taxes paid in common, with the rest of the State." The petitioners therefore "Pray that the before mentioned Act may be Repealed."

PAR Number 11278702

State: North Carolina Year: 1787

Abstract: Henry Hill and Thomas Fitt represent that on 2 December 1785 they did "undertake and prosecute a voyage to the Coast of Africa for the purpose of importing Slaves into the States, at which time aforesaid they were not prohibited ... by any law in this State." In their absence, however, "a law took place laying a penalty of Five Pounds on each Slave imported into this State from the Coast of Africa." Arguing that "all penal Laws ought to afford a day before they should take effect, which day should be so remote that the parties liable to sustain damage thereby should have it in their power to provide against such penalty," the slave traders ask to be exonerated "from said penalty."

PAR Number 11280007

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-eight-year-old Joseph Rogers laments that he "has for many years past laboured upon a Complication of diseases, and for the Preservation of his life, has been Obliged to have both his legs amputated above the knees," whereupon he is "entirely incapacitated from following any Kind of business whatsoever." Rogers reports that his "Taxable property" consists of two elderly slaves, "Both of whom are rather a Burthen and incumbrance than a benefit to him," three female slaves, four slave children, and "390 acres of land of an inferior Quality." The petitioner therefore prays a law or resolve be passed to "exempt him from the Payment of Public Taxes during the remainder of his life."

PAR Number 11282006

State: North Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Rowan Location Type: County

Abstract: John Beard, sheriff of Rowan County, petitions the General Assembly for more than $370 to repay two out-of-state slaveholders who successfully argued in the Superior Court of Rowan County that Beard improperly collected taxes on their slaves as they passed through the county. Beard reports that, on 22 January 1819, he collected a tax of $190 from William H. Hanford on nineteen slaves that Hanford was transporting to Tennessee; on 19 January 1819 he taxed John Morton $180 on eighteen slaves that Morton was carrying to Georgia. He further recounts that he then forwarded the money collected to the state treasurer. Citing that Hanford and Morton sued him for unfair taxation, the petitioner states that the Rowan County Superior Court found in favor of the complainants, "the Court being of opinion that Negro slaves purchased in this State & taken to another state for Sale were not liable to the Tax imposed by the Laws of 1817 and 1818"; Hanford and Morton ordered Beard to repay them the collected tax plus interest. He therefore prays the General Assembly to "pass a law directing the Treasurer to pay to him the amount of the said Judgements rendered against him in Rowan Superior Court in favor of said William H. Hanford and John Morton for money collected from them as a Tax on Negro Slaves passing through this state."

PAR Number 11283803

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

Abstract: Christopher Vickrey represents that in 1824 "a free coloured boy was by the Said Court, bound to your memorialist." He further states that he was "under the belief" that said twelve-year-old "was taxable" whereby he "returned him on his list of taxables"; Vickrey annually listed and paid "a poll tax for the Said boy up to the year 1837." Having learned that he "was not required by the Laws of this State to list and pay poll tax for the Said boy during his term of Service or aprenticeship," the petitioner prays that he be reimbursed "the Sum of eight dollars which he had thus improperly paid as poll tax." The committee to which Vickrey's petition was referred denied said petition and noted that "if he paid the tax as set forth in his declaration only twenty cents each year amounting to one Dollar & Eighty cents was received in the Treasury of the State."

PAR Number 11380209

State: South Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Clements reminds the legislature that it passed a law in 1801 that required "the Commissioners of Roads in St. Thomas and St. Dennis Parish to assess a Tax upon the Male Slaves between Sixteen and Fifty years of age in the said Parishes, for the purpose of putting and keeping in repair the causeway leading to the ferry of William Clement." The petitioner charges that said act has not "in any respect [been] complied with" and that the "causeway (owing to that circumstance) remains in ... [an] almost impassable condition." Of the opinion that "it will not require more than half a dollar per head on the said Slaves to carry the same into execution," Clement "hopes that the above, or some other certain mode will be adapted to effect the intention aforesaid."

PAR Number 11381906

State: South Carolina Year: 1819
Location: Sumter Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Vaughn explains that he "removed with Twelve of his Negroes to the Alabama Territory, on the 2nd Decr 1818; his minor son remained in South Carolina where he served "as his agent." Vaughn states that his said son "neglected to make a return to the Tax Collector, in the time prescribed by Law, in consequence of which failure, he was double Taxed on his Negroes remaining in this state & on his Land & treble taxed on the Twelve Negroes removed to the Western Country." Citing that he paid taxes on said slaves in Alabama, the petitioner asks that he be credited $17.35, "the usual tax on said property."

PAR Number 11381907

State: South Carolina Year: 1819
Location: Sumter Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Vaughn explains that he "removed with Twelve of his Negroes to the Alabama Territory, on the 2nd Decr 1818; his minor son remained in South Carolina where he served "as his agent." Vaughn states that his said son "neglected to make a return to the Tax Collector, in the time prescribed by Law, in consequence of which failure, he was double Taxed on his Negroes remaining in this state & on his Land & treble taxed on the Twelve Negroes removed to the Western Country." Citing that he paid taxes on said slaves in Alabama, the petitioner asks that he be credited $17.35, "the usual tax on said property."

PAR Number 11385201

State: South Carolina Year: 1852
Location: Barnwell Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Failing to file a tax return, Joseph Allen was issued a writ of fieri facias by the Barnwell District tax office and was forced to pay $207.52 in taxes, double the amount he claims to owe. Allen argues that he failed to file his return "in consequence of the sickness of the Tax Collector. In addition, he asserts that the 1851 assessment “was governed by the last return of your Petitioner and did include in his assessment one hundred and two negroes at fifty-six (56) cents per head making the sum of fifty seven dollars and twelve cents ($57.12) which said one hundred and two negroes had been removed from this State [to Louisiana] prior to the 30th Sept 1851.” He seeks reimbursement.

PAR Number 11481928

State: Tennessee Year: 1819

Abstract: Twenty-seven citizens ask the legislature "to destroy the unjust advantage which hawkers and pedlars now, by law, enjoy over the merchants of the state." They point out that the merchant, "in addition to the state and county tax, paid for the priviledges of selling goods, contributes to the revenues of the state, by the tax assessed upon his person, his lands and negroes." They therefore pray "that you would be pleased to levy a tax upon pedlars and hawkers equal, at least, to that now paid by merchants."

PAR Number 11482515

State: Tennessee Year: 1825

Abstract: Robert Miller and Burrel G. White "humbly represent that we wish that the free people of colour be restricted in this way That is, that we wish that they be not subject to military duty at all and that they be taxed as high as Slaves and that they be prohibited from voting in any election whatever and that they ought to have a guardian to direct their conduct."

PAR Number 11483109

State: Tennessee Year: 1831
Location: Maury Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-seven citizens of Maury County ask for more efficient laws concerning slave patrols. They propose that persons be appointed to "serve as Patroles for one year and take an oath of office" and be "allowed a reasonable compensation for their services to be paid by a Tax on slaves levied for that purpose." They further suggest that said patroller "receive the sum of fifty cents for every slave they shall lawfully correct or carry ... to the owner to be paid by the owner of said slave.” The petitioners believe this plan "would secure the tranquility of the Country and promote the welfare both of masters and servants." They further urge, "in consequence of the late disturbances in Virginia and North Carolina," that laws be immediately passed "to prevent slaves from being brought into [Tennessee] from any place where an insurrectionary spirit has prevailed."

PAR Number 11484301

State: Tennessee Year: 1843
Location: Haywood Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighty-one citizens of Haywood County urge "the necessity of passing some Bill making provisions for the payment of all slaves that are executed within this state for capital crimes and misdemeanors, and would suggest the assessment of a small tax upon all slaves of certain ages for the purpose of raising the aforesaid funds so to be applied so as that no owner should receive more than two thirds of his value."

PAR Number 11484704

State: Tennessee Year: 1847
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Six residents of Clarksville, located at the junction of the Red and Cumberland rivers, seek to build two free bridges to replace two toll bridges. They suggest that new corporate taxes be levied to finance their venture. Among other taxes, they request "a further tax upon hired negroes not exceeding one-half of one per cent upon the amount of the hire."

PAR Number 11484802

State: Tennessee Year: 1848
Location: Fayette Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-four “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484901

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Bradley Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-four citizens of Bradley County voice concerns about the section of the state constitution "which exempts Slaves under 12 and over 50 years of age from taxation." They propose that said clause be amended "so as to make Slaves taxable from the time they become Slaves as Long as they are Slaves according to their value." They purport that "the Poorman has but little to protect but he under the present Law has to pay taxes for every Acre of Land he owns ... while the Rich Slaveholder is Raiseing young Negros and Speculating on his old ones free of taxation." They therefore "Submit the mater to your Consideration hopeing in your legislative Cappasity you will Considder your Selves the Representives of the poor as well as the Rich."

PAR Number 11484903

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Haywood Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-eight “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484905

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Maury Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-three “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484908

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Dekalb Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484909

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Wilson Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-one “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484910

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Wilson Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-four “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

PAR Number 11484911

State: Tennessee Year: 1849
Location: Williamson Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-seven “Merchants and others” complain about excessive taxation. On sales of $200,000 worth of merchandise, they point out that wholesalers pay the enormous sum of $2,000, not including corporation or city taxes. The petitioners decry that "if this tax is persisted in, it will destroy the Wholesale business, which it has already seriously crippled"; in addition, another $2,000 in taxes is imposed at the retail level. Complaining that land owners and slave owners pay only one-tenth this amount, the petitioners “humbly pray that the equitable principle of the Constitution, that ‘no species of property, from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value’ shall be extended to Merchandise as well as to other kinds of property.”

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