Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11081401

State: Mississippi Year: 1814

Abstract: Walter Irvin, executor of the estate of James McCarey, requests permission to emancipate the slaves Robert and Kitty. Irvin states that McCarey provided in his will for the freedom of the two "mulatto" children and bequeathed them the bulk of his property.

PAR Number 11081901

State: Mississippi Year: 1819
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: David Lawson, as executor of the will of Payton Sterne, seeks to emancipate three children--Washington, Walter, and Adeline--whose mother was "a colored woman called Milly." Lawson had emancipated Milly, and Sterne, who recently died, provided for the freedom of her children in his will. In his will, a related document attached to the petition, Sterne asked of his executors that "the best of care may be taken in educating" the children with the balance of his property after all debts are paid, and "if any remains after their education to divide it equally between" them.

PAR Number 11081902

State: Mississippi Year: 1819
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Benjamin Farar asks to emancipate Louisa and her daughter, Betsey, as requested by Abram Ellis in his will. "He is aware that it has been deemed inexpedient by some of our best legislators to extend too freely to this unfortunate race of beings the discretionary aid of the Legislature," Farar explained, "at the same time it has almost always been done in cases like the present, when the applicants had performed essential & faithful services to their master, and had uniformly borne an excellent character."

PAR Number 11082404

State: Mississippi Year: 1824
Location: Monroe Location Type: County

Abstract: John Smith and George Meaders, executors of the estate of the late Lawson Thompson, seek an act of emancipation for certain slaves named in Thompson's will. During the past year "some improper claims" were advanced by the heirs, they assert, but these should have no bearing on the emancipation of the slaves. Smith and Meaders explain to the court that, by asking for the slaves' emancipation, they are conforming to the wishes of the late Thompson, who not only couched his desire to free his slaves in his will but often expressed it during his lifetime. In his will, Thompson also directed that land be purchased for the freed slaves out of his estate.

PAR Number 11082502

State: Mississippi Year: 1825
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Gaspar Sinclair seeks to emancipate James and Franky, husband and wife, as "they have been to him the Kindest and best friends in his sickly and solatary course through this life." Sinclair also wishes to give them the use of land for life and "as much personal property as will be equal to all their wishes." He also proposes giving his property to a poor infant orphan "now in the care of your petitioner and these black friends, by the name of Ann Maria Eliza Stephens."

PAR Number 11083007

State: Mississippi Year: 1830
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: Eleven Jefferson County residents ask for the emancipation of Elizabeth, a sixty- or seventy-year-old slave. Elizabeth's owner, Isaac Corey, said on his death bed that he wished her to be freed and that after his debts were paid the residue of his estate should be paid to her. The citizens seek to carry out Corey's final wish. "What language can speak," the petitioners explain, "or logic point out more Cogent reasons for the liberation of a human being born, by Nature to enjoy the Vital air as free as it blows, what bosom Can feel an unfriendly sentiment to the unchaining of but a morsel of an Old age in bondage—Nature in a few years more will Claim & take her Own."

PAR Number 11083105

State: Mississippi Year: 1831
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Collins seeks to manumit a slave named Catharine and her child, Dulcinia, according the will of his late brother William B. Collins. A related document reveals that the will directed that Catharine and her daughter be hired for two years after William's death, after which period of time the two women should be freed and the money earned from their hires be given to Catharine after payment of the debts on the estate.

PAR Number 11083302

State: Mississippi Year: 1833
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: As executor of the late Mary H. Green's estate, James Railey asks to emancipate an elderly woman named Aggy, or Aggy Butler Green, on account of her "meritorious conduct and faithful services." As executor and trustee of the late James Green's estate, Railey seeks to "liberate and set free a negro man slave" named Grainger, or Grainger Butler Green, for his "faithful services and meritorious conduct." The will of Mary H. Green, a related document, reveals that James Green was Mary Green's son.

PAR Number 11086001

State: Mississippi Year: 1860
Location: Harrison Location Type: County

Abstract: Ninety-eight citizens of Pass Christian petition the legislature to exempt certain free persons of color named within from the pending bill to force free blacks to leave the state. The free people of color were mostly descendants of Charles Asmar, who was emancipated by Madam Asmar sometime before 1783. Members of the family are land owners and "well known to the Undersigned as good, peaceable, orderly, industrious, worthy and useful members of the Community."

PAR Number 11279203

State: North Carolina Year: 1792
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: Forty-eight inhabitants of New Bern support the emancipation of Rose, "the property of" the late Mary Clear. The petitioners report that the said Clear manumitted Rose in her 1775 will; the said will also directed that Rose receive "a Lot of Land in the Town of Newbern and build thereon a Convenient House & furnish the same to the Amount of Two hundred pounds Proclamation Money." They declare, however, "that the Tenor of the said will has never been complied with but that the said Negro Woman Rose has ever since been kept in Slavery and without receiving the advantages accruing from her said Misstresses Will." They therefore pray "that your Honourable Body will be pleased to take the case of the said Negro Rose into your consideration and grant her such relief as you in your Judgment shall think meet."

PAR Number 11279502

State: North Carolina Year: 1795
Location: Rowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Nicholas Click explains that the late Michael Beam devised in his last will and testament "that a mullato girl named Mary the property of the said deceased should have her freedom"; he also bequeathed her "a legacy of one hundred pounds currency." Named as trustee in said will, Click "prays your honorable body to grant the last will and desire of the said deceased by passing an act to liberate the said Mary."

PAR Number 11280102

State: North Carolina Year: 1801
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighteen residents of Randolph County report that the late John Bagnel "left two Mulato [female] Children whose mother is also dead & left no will in writing altho possessed of some personal property." The petitioners aver that they are "fully satisfied that he own'd sd. children to be his & wish'd them to injoy the little property he was possessed of." They therefore pray that a law be passed "as may Entitle them to freedom & to inherite what little property may be found." They further "desire their Names to be Established Sarah Bagnell & Hannah Bagnell."

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 11280901

State: North Carolina Year: 1809
Location: Iredell Location Type: County

Abstract: Gen. Montford Stokes, the administrator Col. Alexander Worke's estate, seeks to comply with Worke's wishes to emancipate certain slaves. Stokes asserts that the said Worke provided in his will that nine slaves "be set free" and that he "has provided that they shall not become chargeable to the public in any respect, by appropriating a part of his Estate for their support, and by providing for the removal of some of them to Pennsylvania." Noting that one of the said slaves has died since Worke's death, the petitioner prays that an act be passed "for the emancipation of the said Surviving negroes." Stokes states that Worke died seized and possessed "of several tracts of land and upwards of seventy negro slaves."

PAR Number 11281602

State: North Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: Isaac Farlow and Lewis Jones, the executors of the will of Henry Justice, seek to carry into his effect his desire to "Bequeath unto his Negroe slave Jim his freedom together with seventy five Dollars." The executors attest that "the said Negroe Jim is an Honest, Industrious and Orderly Fellow" and that "in the opinion of your Petitioners no injury can result either to the Community or individuals by his being emancipated." They therefore pray "your Honorable body to pass an Act for the emancipation of the said Negro Jim entitling him to all the priviledges which other free men of Colour are entitled in this State."

PAR Number 11281704

State: North Carolina Year: 1817
Location: Iredell Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-nine-year-old Peter Mock seeks "to revive [his] drooping spirit" by manumitting his slave Weiney and her daughter Jean Ridgeway. Mock maintains that he purchased Weiney about 1794 and that she and her daughter have both "served me ever since with as much care & Industry as ever Slaves did." Feeling "it would be vary ungratefull of me to lieve them as bound Slaves," the petitioner therefore prays that an act be passed "for the freedom of sd Weiney & her daughter Jean Ridgeway: and that they be allowed to receive "part of my personal & real Estate left to them in my last Will & testament for there support."

PAR Number 11282203

State: North Carolina Year: 1822
Location: Moore Location Type: County

Abstract: Hannah Ducksworth, the widow and executrix of Joseph Ducksworth, states that her late husband "enjoined it on his Executor & Executrix to have" his slaves emancipated. She reports that she petitioned the superior court "praying the emancipation of said negroes, but the presiding Judge was of opinion that as no trust Estate Had been created in said negroes to any person that he could not grant the prayer of the petitioner but was of opinion that it is a proper subject for Legislative Interference." The petitioner therefore prays "that your honorable body pass a Law Emancipating Said negroes, and that they may in future be known By the following names (viz) Chainey Ducksworth, Peggy Ducksworth, Jerry Ducksworth, Daniel Ducksworth, Anderson Ducksworth and Essex Ducksworth."

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 11284401

State: North Carolina Year: 1844

Abstract: Jacob, Mary, Patsey, Meriwether, and Matilda, free blacks in Halifax County, Virginia, ask to settle in North Carolina. They explain that they were freed by the will of their late master, Phillip E. Vass [the younger]; said will directed that $2,000 be used to purchase at least 250 acres of land in North Carolina where the manumitted slaves would settle. The petitioners avow that "they are very poor and entirely destitute of the means to remove to any of the United States or to any other Country in which the laws would suffer them to reside and unless they can have the benefit of the provision made for them in the will aforesaid they are at all times liable by the laws of Virginia to be sold as slaves." They "therefore cast themselves on the indulgence of your Honourable body and humbly entreat that the benevolent intentions of their former master towards them may be suffered to be carried into execution by removing the restrictions which now prevent their availing themselves of all the benefits of the provision made for them by his will."

PAR Number 11285705

State: North Carolina Year: 1857
Location: Jackson Location Type: County

Abstract: John Gibbs petitions "your honorable body to pass an act emancipating his slaves Lucy a molatto woman and her daughter Roxanna to take effect after the death of your petitioner and his wife." Gibbs "guarantees to leave them a sufficient legacy to keep them from want or from ever becoming a burden to the public."

PAR Number 11300002

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

Abstract: Claude Rame "is exceeding solicitous to recompense" a female slave named Aurora for her "faithful services, and meritorious character" during "the ten years she has served him." He therefore prays that he may "be allowed by an act of your Honorable body" to manumit the said Aurora and her four children, Achilles, Eugenia, William and Adelle, "the oldest of whom is about seven years of age."

PAR Number 11382119

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

Abstract: Henry Ravenel, executor of the will of Paul D. St. Julian Ravenel, seeks to emancipate a family of slaves that belonged to the testator before his death in January 1820. The petitioner asserts that said slaves "are by the said will left to the Executors thereof, in special confidence, that they should be by them emancipated." Ravenel admits that he is "now greatly embarrassed by the act passed at the last Session of your Honble Body indirectly restraining or prohibiting future emancipations, by requiring all slaves thereafter sett free to remove beyond the limits of the State." Having "now no remedy but to apply to your Honble body for authority to execute a valid Deed of emancipation for the aforesaid seven slaves, with their future intermediate increase, without regard to their individual capacity for obtaining a livelihood," the petitioner prays "in their behalf that they may be permitted to reside within the State lines in the same manner as tho the Deed had been completed previous to the passing of the act of the last Session."

PAR Number 11382225

State: South Carolina Year: 1822
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: The children of Samuel Venning represent that he died in 1821, having executed his will in 1818, "prior to the act passed by your Honorable Body at its last Session" that prohibit the manumission of slaves. They point out that said will directed the executors "to manumit and set free" several slaves and declared "that in the event of your Petitioners, his Executors, neglecting to do the Same, that they should incur a forfeiture of Such portion of the Testators Estate as he had bequeathed to them." The petitioners therefore pray that an act of assembly be passed "declaring the aforesaid Slaves and the issue of the Females to be forever free and emancipated." The Vennings also request that "a Slave of the Name of Luke, a Child of the Same Family, whose name your Petitioners have reason to believe was omitted by the Testator ... through inadvertence" be included "in this Act of emancipation." The petitioners further "would beg leave to State that an adequate Fund was provided by the Testator for the Support of Sue and her children during her Old age and their minority."

PAR Number 11382307

State: South Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Mitchell states that James Powell, "an old servant of your Petitioners family [who] had previously obtained him his manumission," died in 1820. He further represents that said Powell had executed his will wherein he stated that "it is my will & request that my son James immediately after my death shall be made free." Mitchell states that he "fully intended to act upon the said Will as soon as circumstances should render it expedient but that [his] retired habits of life in the country and his ignorance of the forms of business induced him to postpone his interference." Revealing that the elder Powell had purchased his son's freedom, Mitchell anxiously avers that the younger Powell “in consequence of the unforeseen difficulty arising from the recent legislative restrictions upon manumission is altogether unprotected at a time when the public excitement calls for vigilant supervision; That his character is a case omitted in Law he is the Slave of nobody and at the same time is not a freed negro.” The petitioner therefore prays that it be declared that "the said James the son of the aforesaid James Powell deceased [be] emancipated and made free."

PAR Number 11382702

State: South Carolina Year: 1827

Abstract: John McFaddin, executor of the estate of Thomas Cubbage, requests the manumission of Amelia. McFaddin states that his testator "did bequeath to his aged & faithful servant Amelia not only her freedom but also sundry goods & chattels particularly for her kind & unwearied care & attention to him during a distressing & protracted illness which terminated in his death." The petitioner therefore prays that an act be passed "manumitting the said negro Woman Amelia & invest her with the goods & chattels bequeathed her."

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