Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10379002

State: Delaware Year: 1790
Location: New Castle Location Type: County

Abstract: Sluyter Bouchell represents that "he was altogether ignorant of any Law whatever forbidding the bringing Slaves in the State under any circumstances." Dr. Bouchell admits that, while administrating the estate of Thomas Witherspoon, "he found it necessary to purchase some additional Slaves whom he brought over about the time of his removal into this State from the State of Maryland." Noting that Abraham, Edward, William, and Rainy have "since instituted their actions for their Freedom," the petitioner asserts "that the Slaves all came willingly into the service of your Petitioner and as he believes are still content to serve him but as they have been instigated by some officious persons to apply for there Freedoms." Bouchell asks the legislature to assist him in preventing “the loss of said Slaves.”

PAR Number 10384707

State: Delaware Year: 1847

Abstract: Jacob Nicholson, a land owner in both Maryland and Delaware, attests that "in order to attend to the management of the same most advantageously and with the least inconvenience, it becomes necessary that your petitioner divide at least the slave part of his family, and to work them interchangeably in the States aforesaid." He therefore asks that he be permitted to employ the fourteen slaves he holds "in the States of Maryland and Delaware as the business and interests of your petitioner may require."

PAR Number 11000018

State: Mississippi
Location: Wilkinson Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-five citizens of Woodville write on behalf of Charles and Eve, elderly slaves previously owned by the late Colonel Hugh Davis. The petitioners ask for the slaves' emancipation, believing them to be "worthy and deserving their Freedom".

PAR Number 11082304

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

Abstract: As executor of Rebecca Franklin's estate, White Turpin asks to emancipate Sylvia, "an old & Very harmless woman." The late Franklin stipulated in her will that Sylvia should be freed.

PAR Number 11082305

State: Mississippi Year: 1823
Location: Pike Location Type: County

Abstract: J. Y. McNabb seeks to "manumit a certain very aged negro woman named Lucy" in accordance with the will of Michael Morris. For many years she had been a "faithful servant," though the petitioner states that he did not know if she had performed "meritorious service." In his will, Michael Morris bequeathed Lucy to McNabb on the condition that the latter would manumit her.

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 11085927

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

Abstract: Eighty-one citizens of Jasper and Clarke counties write on behalf of Dick Dale, a free man of color who was the body servant of General Samuel Dale in the "Indians Wars." Dale performed meritorious service attending to his wounded master. Dale is now in his early sixties and in ill health; he has a family, all members of which are slaves. The residents ask the legislature to pass a bill exempting him "from the penalties of the Act requiring free persons to leave the state & that he be authorized to remain in this state as a free man of Color."

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 11279806

State: North Carolina Year: 1798
Location: Person Location Type: County

Abstract: Osborn Jeffreys represents that he "is desirous to have emancipated and set free" an "aged negro man called Buffaloe Sam." Jeffreys acknowledges that the said slave has "been an honest and faithful servant and by his honest Industry raised and paid to his master forty five pounds Virginia Currency as a consideration for his freedom." The petitioner therefore prays "that the said Sam may be set free by the name of Buffalow Sam."

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 11280808

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

Abstract: Barnett Beasley relates that he purchased two elderly slaves, Sam and Abby, in 1807 from the estate of William Baugh in Virginia, the said Baugh being his wife's uncle. Beasley asserts that "in making the purchase he was actuated more from motives of humanity than by any Considerations of emolument," noting that said slaves "had long been in the family and who were desirous of being owned by your memorialist." Confessing his ignorance of the laws prohibiting the importation of slaves into the state, the petitioner prays that an act be passed "authorising him to bring the said negroes into this state."

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 11283606

State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Buncombe Location Type: County

Abstract: Four citizens of Buncombe County seek to emancipate a mulatto slave named Ned in accordance with Benjamin Davidson's will. Noting that Ned "is geting advanced in years," the petitioners aver that Ned "has been a faithfull Servent" and that "he has been hired out about four years." They further state that "previous to the death of his mistress he lived with her and was an Obedient Servent and provided for her Comfort faithfully." A related petition reveals that Benjamin Davidson "made a will on the 14th of June 1824 and died shortly after."

PAR Number 11283607

State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Buncombe Location Type: County

Abstract: Eight legatees and eight "respectable neighbours" of the late Benjamin Davidson ask that Ned, "once the property" of the said decedent, be manumitted. They point out that Davidson died twelve years ago and that Ned faithfully "managed all his Master's business home and abroad for a good number of years before he died and then for seven or eight years he took great care of his mistress, done all the business on the farm, went to market and done all the trading, that was necessary, and since her death he has been hired out untill the demand of the $300 is satisfied." As "friends of humanity and freedom," the petitioners "sincerely entreat you to grant our request as we verily believe Ned has Merited his freedom."

PAR Number 11285002

State: North Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: David Kendall seeks to free his sixty-year-old slave Daniel, who has "bin a faith ful slave and has performed wonderfully his [duties]." Kendall reports that Daniel's father, an old "Colerd man who was liberated about 40 years agoe by the general Assembly" and is called Daniel Shad, "ever supported a good honest character." He also represents that "Daniel the servant to whom I now [petition] your honerable boddy to grant manumition is a slave of good moral and [honest] character."

PAR Number 11285008

State: North Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Sophia Smith, Eliza Matthews, and C. J. Williams, "having an interest or being owners of a colored man named Lewis Williams aged about sixty five years," are "anxious and desirous that the said Lewis Williams should be emancipated." The petitioners believe that the "old and faithful servant" is entitled to his freedom. They further "recommend him to be a man of unblemished character, honest and industrious, and in every respect a suitable person for emancipation." The petitioners therefore pray “that the General Assembly may look favorably on his case, and enfranchise the said Lewis as we have no doubt he will make an upright and good citizen.”

PAR Number 11285009

State: North Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Fifty-five residents of Fayetteville praise sixty-five-year-old Lewis Williams as a man "of good moral character, peaceable and quiet, and very much respected in the community where he resides." Believing "Lewis to be a suitable person to be enfranchised," they ask the General Assembly to "look favorably on his case" and provide for his liberation, "as we think and believe he will make an honest and upright citizen."

PAR Number 11285402

State: North Carolina Year: 1854

Abstract: Seventeen women ask that Malinda Carmon's slave Betty, "aged about Sixty years or upwards," be emancipated. They represent that "said slave has from her childhood been in the family of Mrs Carmon, and has been of good character, faithful, obedient, and submissive & she has rendered meritorious and praiseworthy service." Noting that Betty "is the mother of Seventeen children," the petitioners pray "that your Hon body will pass an act emancipating said Betty."

PAR Number 11285403

State: North Carolina Year: 1854

Abstract: Joshua Carmon seeks to free his "slave named Betty aged now upwards of Sixty years." He represents that Betty "has from her childhood been in the family of your Petitioner, and has rendered faithful and willing service and obedience, and likewise meritorious service." Stating that "she is the mother of Seventeen children," Carmon describes said Betty as having a "uniform good and submissive deportment." He therefore prays "that said Betty may be emancipated by your Honorable Body."

PAR Number 11285404

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

Abstract: The four owners of Peter Turner, a slave about sixty years of age, "desire his Emancipation from slavery" due to "his fidelity & other good traits of character." In an attached deposition, John Shaw praises Peter Turner and Abel Payne as being instrumental in saving his warehouse from a raging fire.

PAR Number 11285405

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

Abstract: John Cook represents that "he is the owner of certain Slaves named Handy, Polly, & Louisa, formerly the property of Archibald McLauchlin." He further states that the said Handy raised "a sufficient sum to purchase himself, his wife Polly & daughter Louisa with a view to their ... emancipation." Describing the family as "sober humble upright industrious & good persons & of consistent character," the petitioner therefore prays "that an act may be passed by your Honorable body emancipating said slaves Handy & his wife Polly & daughter Louisa."

PAR Number 11285407

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

Abstract: Thirty-eight Duplin County residents "cheerfully Join in the petition" of Jacob Smith to free his slave Abraam Smith. They represent that they "have been for a long time acquainted with Abraam Smith" and that "they have known him to be a faithful and obedient Servant and has ever demeaned himself in an humble and obedient manner to his owner and to all white persons." The petitioners further believe that the said Abraam "should form an exception to the rule" that mandates emancipated slaves leave the state, pointing to his "character, faithful services, obedient demeanor and his advanced age, which cannot increase this species of population in our midst." Noting that Abraam “is desirous of remaining in our midst,” the residents “shall be gratified for this, in addition to reasons above set forth, to see him emancipated.”

PAR Number 11285601

State: North Carolina Year: 1856

Abstract: Seventy-six residents of North Carolina represent that "Robert a slave aged about Sixty five years, now the property of Nathan B Hill, has been well known to us for many years, that he has always born the name and character of being a faithful, honest, and meritorious servant; and that anything that may be done for him towards freeing and granting him the rights of a freeman will not injure the public." Hill adds that the said Robert "has a wife and family here with whom it is his desire to remain."

PAR Number 11285606

State: North Carolina Year: 1856
Location: Wayne Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-eight residents of Wayne County join the two owners of Sam and Sookey, "two aged persons of color," in requesting that the said slaves be freed. They aver that the enslaved couple "paid full prices for their freedom and by an honest, humble, sober, peaceable inoffensive and correct deportment through a long life gained the respect and confidence of those among whom they have lived." The petitioners avow that they "are now far advanced in life, Sam being above seventy years old and Sookey about sixty-eight" and that they are thus "too old to attempt to emigrate to a free country." They further note that Sam and Sookey "desire to spend the short remnant of their days in the County of their nativity, the home of their affection and the land of their birth."

PAR Number 11380207

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

Abstract: Zacharia Nance of Union District inherited a slave named Julius from his father, William Nance, late of Halifax County, Virginia. As the trustee of his father's estate, Nance states that he is also responsible for distributing two other slaves, one to his brother and one to his daughter. The petitioner prays "for an Indemnification, or adopt some mode so as your Petitioner may possess the said Slaves without Violating the Laws of his Country." He further reveals that "a Superanuated negro woman" freed in his father's wishes, "by natural Instinct," to be near "some of her Children I now possess." He therefore asks that she be permitted to enter South Carolina “to be near her relatives."

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