Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Search Results

Your subject search returned 110 total results.

Displaying 25 results per page.

PAR Number 10383212

State: Delaware Year: 1832
Location: Sussex Location Type: County

Abstract: Francis Ludenum, "at the advanced age of near sixty years," laments that he "has to labour for the maintenance of an insane wife and seven children." Ludenum, a free black, states he was "held in slavery until he was near forty years old, was therefore deprived of all opportunity to accumulate any property whatsoever for advanced age." He cites that his wife "has been insane for more than four years" and has been "a continued and heavy expence, such an expence, that your petitioner with all the industry, frugallity and care that he can use, will not long be able to meet." Ludenum therefore prays that "your honours to take his case under your wise considerations, and grant him a divorce from his insane wife."

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 11083005

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

Abstract: Working and saving for many years, free man of color Jeremiah Gill purchased his wife, Amy, and daughter, Betsey, from one Caleb Reed. Now being "advanced in years," Jeremiah Gill asks the legislature for an act of emancipation for his family. He feared that if he were to die his wife and daughter might "through the tyranick grasp and relentless cupidity of some unfeeling wretch, be deprived of that portion of liberty, which the sweat of your petitioner's humble brow has purchased for them." In a related petition, filed the same year, one Theodore Richey presented Amy, whom he calls Ama, for emancipation, claiming her as his property. In this petition, Jeremiah Gill's prayer is granted; Amy and Betsey are set free and are given the last name of Gill. At the same time, the legislature also grants freedom to another slave named Rachel, whose emancipation was sought by one Lewis L. Glover.

PAR Number 11085913

State: Mississippi Year: 1859
Location: Warren Location Type: County

Abstract: Warren County whites ask that a sixty-year-old free black man who fought as a soldier in the War of 1812 be permitted to remain in the state.

PAR Number 11086002

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

Abstract: Seventy-nine citizens of Clark County write in behalf of "General" John Harkins, an elderly free man of color who had purchased his freedom. They ask "that the Legislature may exempt him from the operation of any law they may pass requiring the free negroes of this State to emigrate, or be sold into slavery." They assert that "no good can result to us, who are effected (if any body be effected) by his residence here, by his emigration or his sale into slavery, while much harm may be done the negro."

PAR Number 11086004

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

Abstract: Nineteen citizens of Wilkinson County write on behalf of free man of color Titus Hill, who had never been guilty of "a single mean, or dishonest act." He is about sixty years old, they say, and has acquired between four thousand and five thousand dollars worth of property. And they add: "We approve the policy of the general law prohibiting free negroes from remaining in this state, but think, that in consideration of Titus Hill's old age, his honesty and energy as a man and his good behavior as a citizen, a special act should be passed for his benefit."

PAR Number 11280805

State: North Carolina Year: 1808
Location: Brunswick Location Type: County

Abstract: Blackwell McAlester states that "he was manumitted & set free by his former owner for meritorious services" and "that by his own honest Industry He raised a sufficient Sum of money to purchase his Grandson." Noting that the child "is too young to have rendered meretorious services to his master," the petitioner "therefore humbly requests your honorable Body to grant to an old Man the Freedom of his Grand Child by passing a Law emancipating him by the name of Joseph Blackwell."

PAR Number 11281605

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

Abstract: Frederick James, "now advancing fast in the decline of Life," confesses that "he had the misfortune to be born of Parents tho' free of African descent" and he now "with humility and deference asks of your Honorable Body the full privileges of a Free man." James reveals that during the Revolutionary War he braved "the Dangers of Battle and as a prisoner of war passed unmoved thro the horrors of a tedious imprisonment." He further reports that "his age and infirmities have caused him for some years to seek a subsistence for himself and family by providing refreshments for those who attend the public meetings of the County." James relates, however, that his customers "sometimes do, after partaking of such refreshments as his House affords them instead of making to him a moderate compensation therefor, spurn at and abuse him." Acknowledging that "he has no redress," the petitioner prays that a more just policy be adopted.

PAR Number 11283202

State: North Carolina Year: 1832
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Manumitted by his master for meritorious service, John Dunn Scott acknowledges that he "purchased his wife & only son." He reports that he "has in consequence of her good behaviour obtained permission to liberate her, but was unable to obtain like permission as respects to the boy on account of his tender years." Scott therefore "beseeches your permission to give freedom to the only child of a parent now far advanced in the Journey of life & who at best can only hope for but a few years and who while a slave scrup[u]lously performed his duty to his master, & who, now a freeman bows with reverence to the laws of this country."

PAR Number 11284205

State: North Carolina Year: 1842
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Molly Horniblow, a seventy-five-year-old free woman of color who was manumitted "in consequence of long, faithful and meritorious services to her owners," asks that her forty-four-year-old son, Marcus Ramsey be freed. She states that she purchased her son and that he is "now and a long time past a Barber in Edenton." She further avows that said Ramsey has always been "honest, industrious and obedient, faithful and attentive to the interest of those who of right have had control of him." Noting that "there is no one to whom her property can descend," the petitioner therefore prays that "you will pass an Act liberating him to remain in the State."

PAR Number 11285401

State: North Carolina Year: 1854
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-six Richmond County residents ask that the son of James Dunn, "an honest & industrious man," be emancipated. They state that Dunn "was formerly a slave but by his energy he bought himself and then his Mother & wife and afterward his son Louis." Noting that Dunn is now "old & desires to leave his Son Free," the petitioners pray that it may "be the pleasure of the Legislature to Set him Free."

PAR Number 11382321

State: South Carolina Year: 1823

Abstract: Suffering from wounds inflicted during the American Revolution, free black John Chavis seeks a soldier's pension. Chavis asserts that he enlisted in 1780 and served until "near the close of the war when he was discharged on account of the many wounds he received." Confiding that he "is now old and by reason of the said wounds is unable to support himself by his Labour," the petitioner prays that he be placed "on the pension list."

PAR Number 11382501

State: South Carolina Year: 1825

Abstract: Joseph Streable states that John Chavis, a free man of color, petitioned in 1823 to secure a pension for his service during the Revolutionary War; said petition was denied "in consequence of his not having appointed a Guardian (which law he was ignorant of) previously to such application." Streable, confident that the next session would grant said Chavis his pension, became "security for the aforesaid poor old veteran to save him from starving." He declares, however, that "in order to save the poor old man," he "has nearly become bankrupt himself." Reporting that Chavis "was killed by the fall of a tree," the petitioner prays your Honble body to remunerate him for his charity to one so deserving your support as the aforesaid John Chavis -- particularly when the sum requisite is so small as one hundred and ten Dollars."

PAR Number 11382808

State: South Carolina Year: 1828
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Joseph Johnson, Intendant of the Charleston City Council, raises many concerns to the members of the House of Representatives, one such concern being "the number of Schools publickly kept for the instruction of persons of Colour in reading and writing." Johnson is of the opinion that instruction is "injurious to the Community." He purports that "to be able to read and to write is certainly not necessary to the performance of those duties which are usually required of our Slaves and on the contrary is incompatible with the public safety." Johnson further argues that "the knowledge of the art of writing will enable persons of this class to carry on illicit traffic, to communicate privately among themselves and to evade those regulations that are intended to prevent confederations among them," whereby it will be "impossible to distinguish between the free and the slave of our coloured population." He therefore knows "of no remedy so effectual and at the same time so little liable to objection as the absolute prohibition of all Schools for the instruction of Coloured persons." In addition, Johnson asks that the practice of owners and others in hiring slaves and free persons of color in their stores and shops be halted. In addition to denying employment to the white population, this situation introduces "the Coloured population and especially slaves into situations which are inconsistent with their Condition." The petitioner suggests "that the system of slavery is so interwoven with the constitution of our Society that even if our interests permitted it would be impossible to eradicate it." He believes, therefore, that "it becomes highly important that the regulations necessary for maintaining this state of things in peace and security should be permanently established and regularly maintained."

PAR Number 11382903

State: South Carolina Year: 1829
Location: Barnwell Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Busby, a free man of color, proudly proclaims that "he entered the army of the Revolution in the Militia of this State in the early part of the year 1777." Busby states that "although he was a regular enlisted soldier, it so happened that the discharge of his other duties [protecting the provisions of his company] prevented his taking a part in any important engagement." The petitioner, now nearly eighty years old and infirm, reports that "for his services which he flatters himself were important to his country he never received any compensation whatever." Confiding that he is "no longer able to work for his support," Busby prays "that he may be placed on the pension list and thereby kept free from absolute want for the short period he has to live."

PAR Number 11382905

State: South Carolina Year: 1829
Location: Barnwell Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: John Busby, a free man of color, proudly proclaims that "he entered the army of the Revolution in the Militia of this State in the early part of the year 1777." Busby states that "although he was a regular enlisted soldier, it so happened that the discharge of his other duties [protecting the provisions of his company] prevented his taking a part in any important engagement." The petitioner, now nearly eighty years old and infirm, reports that "for his services which he flatters himself were important to his country he never received any compensation whatever." Confiding that he is "no longer able to work for his support," Busby prays "that he may be placed on the pension list and thereby kept free from absolute want for the short period he has to live."

PAR Number 11383603

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

Abstract: Moses Irvin, a seventy-five-year-old free person of color emancipated for his "faithful services" during the Revolutionary War, seeks to free his wife Harriet and the "two children, which she has born him." Representing that both he and Harriet, whom he purchased, "are far advanced in years," the petitioner "is rendered very unhappy by the situation of his children, who are the persons that he would leave what little he has to, but who are in danger of being seized after his death as vacant property - and confiscated for the use of the State." He therefore "humbly asks your attention to his appeal to your humanity" and "prays that you would be pleased to sanction his children's freedom by allowing them to follow the condition of their father."

PAR Number 11385103

State: South Carolina Year: 1851
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Seventy-two-year-old Ephraim Wilson, a free person of color, seeks title to a house and lot on Henrietta Street in Charleston. He had previously entrusted his marriage certificate and other valuable documents to his guardian, Oliver M. Smith, a lawyer now deceased, but Smith had lost or misplaced them. The documents proved that the last persons who owned the Henrietta Street property were Wilson’s wife, Maria E. Wilson, and his stepson, Felix Bradshaw, both deceased and leaving no heirs at law. Wilson asks that the law concerning escheats "may be remitted and the Title to the lot vested in him."

PAR Number 11385701

State: South Carolina Year: 1857
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Peter Desverneys, a free person of color "now very much advanced in years" and "enfeebled by the failure of health combined with the decrepitude of age," seeks an increase in his "annuity of Fifty Dollars," which he received as remuneration for his part in the betrayal of the insurrection plotted by Denmark Vesey in 1822. With a large family to support and "now no longer able to work for their support," the petitioner "ventures to appeal to the generosity of the State to increase in his old age that bounty, which they voluntarily and of their own accord tendered to him in his youth."

PAR Number 11386601

State: South Carolina Year: 1866
Location: Barnwell Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Seventy-two-year-old former slave George Daniel seeks assistance in his old age. Relating that he served on a privateer in the War of 1812, he avers that "he was faithful and loyal to his ... master and his family, that he has been polite and respectful to all." Daniel declares that "no resident of the state, more deeply deplores the disastrous termination of the war to both White and Black than does your Petitioner." He therefore "respectfully prays that its Representatives of his beloved state will do something to help the old man in his declining years."

PAR Number 11483103

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

Abstract: Eighty-eight residents of Washington County represent that seventy-seven-year-old Elias Jones, a free man of color, is a "peaceable Industrious and Honest" man known for his honesty and integrity. They therefore "pray your honorable body to pass a law Enabling him to prove his accounts as Other Citizens of this State by his Own Oath."

PAR Number 11483210

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

Abstract: Twenty-nine Smith County residents support residency for John and Linsey Pinchum, free people of color who purchased their freedom from Dr. J. M. Luckey. They note that the Pinchums "are now old, and will never have any more children having had a number of them who are mostly living in Smith County, and from whom they dislike to be separated in their old age as will be the case, if they are emancipated under the regulations & restrictions of the act of 1831-2." The petitioners suggest that "if relief can be afforded to them so that they may be emancipated under the former laws or under any others, that would allow them to remain in this state, in reach of their children, it will be meteing to this unfortunate race such mercy and justice as will enliven the remnant of their days, and enable them to go down to the grave in peace."

PAR Number 11483703

State: Tennessee Year: 1837
Location: Sullivan Location Type: County

Abstract: Rebecca, a free woman of color, represents that Joseph Wallace directed in his last will and testament that she "be emancipated after his decease"; Wallace died in February 1835. She acknowledges, however, the "operation of the late law by which emancipated slaves are compelled to leave the state in a given time." Rebecca admits that "she is now far advanced in life" and laments that "all her children with the exception of one were sold into other states shortly after her master's decease." Living "in the neighborhood of that remaining child and of her aged husband with whom she earnestly desires to pass the remnant of her days," the petitioner prays that a law be passed "permitting her, on sufficiently indemnifying the county, to remain in the State during her life."

PAR Number 11483903

State: Tennessee Year: 1839
Location: Sumner Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-nine citizens of Sumner County request that James Tuppence, a free man of color, be allowed to remain in the state. They report that the said Tuppence "was bound during his minority to a citizen of Granville County North Carolina" and that "his parents with the balance of the family removed to this State" from North Carolina and have resided in Sumner County "for upwards of Thirty years." The petitioners further reveal that Tuppence, "being actuated by a pious desire of being near to his aged Father, and Kindred," removed to Tennessee in 1837 "having no knowledge that there were any legal restrictions" to his spending "here the remnant of his days." Averring that he and his family have "irreproachable character," they pray that "by special act of the Legislature [James Tuppence] be permitted to reside within the State of Tennessee."

PAR Number 11484102

State: Tennessee Year: 1841
Location: Claiborne Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis, "a man of Color," represents that "he was the property of William Graham Esquire ... and was by him (amongst others of his slave property) [directed] in his will to be emancipated." Noting that Graham's executors "have performed the trust confided to them," Lewis laments that "the act of assembly require for them to leave the State." He further submits that "he is now getting old" and that "he has a wife & several children, from whom he feels a great hardship to be separated." The petitioner therefore "prays that your Honorable body would ... so modify the Law, that he might be permitted to remain in this State."

Next 25 Results