Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11000005

State: Mississippi
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: William Smith requests emancipation of the slave Bill, who "without direction" protected and supported Smith following the death of his parents. Smith secured an education through the "laborious and unassuming exertions of this humble protector."

PAR Number 11082902

State: Mississippi Year: 1829
Location: Franklin Location Type: County

Abstract: A resident of West Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dempsey Cain is the guardian of his nephew, whose estate is located in Mississippi. He asks permission to bring "a Number of Valuable Slaves" belonging to his nephew, a minor, into Louisiana, where "he will be able so to manage and transact the business of said Ward as to make his Estate produce a greater profit." In the part of Louisiana where he lived the labor of slaves is, Dempsey claims, "more valuable and productive" than in Mississippi.

PAR Number 11681115

State: Virginia Year: 1811
Location: Richmond Location Type: City

Abstract: Free black Thomas Brewster acquired his freedom some time before the passage of 1806 law, but due to "causes which it was not in his power to prevent" he obtained his emancipation deed only recently. The law requires that he emigrate, but he hopes to remain in Virginia. Brewster modestly informs the court that it "does not become him to speak of his character; but he will beg leave to refer to the testimonies accompanying" his petition of "a number of the most respectable inhabitants of the city of Richmond." We learn from a related document that, as early as 1802, one William Austin had told of his intention to purchase Thomas Brewster, then known as Tom, for the purpose of emancipating him, but that he could not do so "untill some Orphan children come of age to whom the said Thos belonged."

PAR Number 11681406

State: Virginia Year: 1814
Location: Nansemond Location Type: County

Abstract: Freed by the will of his late owner, John Fowler, four-year-old Willis seeks to remain in the state protected by his "friends." In his will, not only did Fowler free Willis, his mother Bett, and his two siblings, but he also bequeathed to them his plantation and some money. However Bett and two of her children died before the provisions of the will could be executed. Willis is now an orphan.

PAR Number 11681511

State: Virginia Year: 1815
Location: New Kent Location Type: County

Abstract: Ben, age about sixty, had served the Vaughan family for more than fifty years, including his present owner, Bolling, who, together with his brother, was left an orphan at an early age. Bolling ascribes to Ben's "upright and faithful Conduct" the "pinciple advantages they now enjoy." Bolling Vaughan now seeks to free Ben. "His Services have amounted to ten times the Value of ordinary slaves," Vaughan explains. Ben, however, has a slave wife and seven slave children in the county, and leaving them would be "worse than Slavery." Vaughan asks that Ben be emancipated and allowed to remain in Virginia.

PAR Number 20184007

State: Alabama Year: 1840
Location: Talladega Location Type: County

Abstract: William Hawthorn petitions the court for the return of several slaves and compensation for the loss of their use. In 1811, the petitioner's grandfather, James, executed a deed of gift and delivered to his son, Benjamin, four slaves, with the understanding that upon his death, full possession of the slaves would descend to "my said son [Benjamin] his heirs assigns and legal representatives forever." Benjamin died without a will in 1818 or 1819, leaving four children. The petitioners charge that shortly thereafter, his grandfather was improperly influenced by another son, James Jr., to deed away slaves that were the rightful patrimony of Benjamin's heirs when they were minors and unable to defend themselves. One of the slaves, Dorcas, and her descendants are still in possession of other family members. William Hawthorn seeks to restore his patrimony and recover the slaves, which are valued at eleven hundred dollars, and requests that he be paid the value of their hire during this time. Information provided by the petitioners indicate that Dorcas's daughter, Hannah, and Hannah's five children are in the possession of the defendant William Morris; however, a related document indicates that only two of Hannah's children are in the possession of Morris. Hannah and one child are "conceled" from Morris, and one child has died.

PAR Number 20184008

State: Alabama Year: 1840
Location: Talladega Location Type: County

Abstract: William Hawthorn seeks to recover slaves that were devised by deed of gift to his late father, Benjamin Hawthorn, by James Hawthorn Sr., his late grandfather. This is William's second petition on the subject. In his first petition, he sought to recover Hannah, the daughter of Dorcas, one of the slaves devised by his grandfather, and Hannah's children. In this petition, he seeks to recover Dorcas and her son Jack, and Nell, another slave devised by James Hawthorn Sr. to Benjamin, and Nell's family. William Hawthorn alleges that his uncle, James Hawthorn Jr., and his aunt, Annis Hawthorn Cameron, procured through a fraudulent deed of gift slaves that rightfully belong to him and his siblings -- the grandchildren and heirs of James Hawthorn Sr. The petitioner claims that James Jr. and Annis "had full and perfect knowledge ... that said negro slaves Dorcas and Nell, of right would be the property of your Orator and his brother and sisters," but "notwithstanding that knowledge," they conspired "with a view to deprive fraudulently your Orator and his co-heirs that little pittance which a generous grandfather had given and a frugal father had preserved to them." The "generous grandfather" and the "frugal father" were both dead by 1824 and William asserts that the rightful heirs should have received the slaves at that time.

PAR Number 20184702

State: Alabama Year: 1847
Location: Mobile Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1843, Arnett W. Harrell placed five slaves in trust with Augustus Brooks for the children of the late John F. Everitt. The gift was made "in consideration of the friendship and kindness" Arnett "had experienced at the hands of" John Everitt during his lifetime. The trust also contained real estate and the trustee was instructed to "husband said property for the sole use and benefit" of the children, John Fannin Everitt and his siblings, Margaret, Helen, and Fanny. In 1844, his widow, Ann B. Everitt, died leaving a separate estate, including Slade's Plantation in Washington County and ten slaves. When Brooks resigned and John Rolston was appointed trustee. Now John Fannin Everitt explains that the estate "is not sufficient to maintain and educate him and his sisters in a proper and respectable Manner." He asks that Rolston be removed from his "office of guardian & trustee," that the estate be divided among the minor heirs, and that guardians be appointed for each of them. John Fannin Everitt points out that the slaves are badly managed and, as a result, are insubordinate, and addicted to running away and intemperance.

PAR Number 20185104

State: Alabama Year: 1851
Location: Perry Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1840, Mary A. Harris and Henry Trippe of Perry County, Alabama, signed a prenuptial agreement; the wife would keep as her "sole and separate property and estate" a large amount of property, including thirty-four slaves, mules, horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, plantation tools and wagons, household and kitchen furniture, and several tracts of land containing about 640 acres. In 1843, Mary A. Trippe deeded her slaves to William F. and Martha F. Trippe, minors, Henry's children by a previous marriage. The husband died in 1843, and Mary in 1845. When Joseph R. John, administrator of Mary's estate, refuses to give up the slaves, the children, by their next friend John D. Catlin of Marengo County, sue. In 1854, the slaves are divided into three lots among William and Martha Trippe, and Joseph R. John.

PAR Number 20283101

State: Arkansas Year: 1831
Location: Clark Location Type: County

Abstract: Charlotte Hemphill is seeking her rightful distribution from the estate of her late father, William Hemphill. Charlotte states that she is the minor "daughter, orphan, and heir at law" of Hemphill, who died intestate in 1825. The court originally appointed Andrew Hemphill and David Fish executors of the estate, which included a number of slaves. In the intervening years, she contends, they have repeatedly ignored the court-established settlement regarding provisions for her welfare and education. A related document reveals that the William Hemphill's estate contains at least one slave.

PAR Number 20484709

State: District of Columbia Year: 1847
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: John E. Ricard states that four or five years ago a Negro woman, Louisa Mason, placed her four-month-old son, Richard, under his care. Louisa has since died, and the Justices of the Peace for the Orphans Court bound Richard as an apprentice to Ricard "to learn the art trade and mystery of a Cook." Ricard complains that John Dandney and two other men seized the boy in the night and took him to "the Poor House Department of the Washington Asylum." Ricard seeks a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Richard Mason.

PAR Number 20486004

State: District of Columbia Year: 1860
Location: Washington Location Type: County

Abstract: The orphans of John and Virginia Randolph, deceased, state that in the last will and testament of Gabriella Brockenbrough, of Virginia, the testatrix bequeathed $8000 for the joint benefit of the petitioners in addition to two male slaves for the benefit of the petitioner, John. She named George Chapman and Lewis Harvie, both of Virginia, trustees for the petitioners. Chapman died before accepting the trust. The petitioners state that Harvie has now refused to execute the trust. They believe that since Harvie was never appointed by a court as trustee, they will have to "prosecute a long and tedious chancery suit in the state of Virginia." They seek a removal or transfer of the "trust effects" and the appointment of a new trustee.

PAR Number 20681213

State: Georgia Year: 1812
Location: Wilkes Location Type: County

Abstract: John Posse, guardian of Ann Wootan, claims that John Bradford and Samuel Landrum owe $100 to him. The debt was incurred for the hiring of a slave named Will during 1810. The hiring agreement stipulated that Bradford and Landrum should pay $70 for the hires and provide Will with two shirts, two pairs of overall, and one winter jacket. They also agreed to pay the slave tax on Will. Posse claims that the defendants have not paid their debt nor furnished the required articles of clothing. He sues for the amount due him.

PAR Number 20681701

State: Georgia Year: 1817
Location: Richmond Location Type: County

Abstract: Walter Leigh sues on behalf of Sarah Bugg, the orphan child of Jacob Bugg. George Adams and Holland McTyre are indebted to Bugg for $70, excluding interest "for the hire of a negro man named Stepney." The defendants, Leigh claims, have refused to settle their debts, and Leigh asks for $154 in damages.

PAR Number 20681706

State: Georgia Year: 1817
Location: Pulaski Location Type: County

Abstract: Robert Moreland is the guardian to the orphans of William Ingram. He contends that Thomas Mills is indebted to him for $50, excluding interest. The debt was incurred for the hiring of a slave named Aggy. However, Mills has failed to honor this financial obligation. Moreland asks the court to intervene on his behalf. He sues for $200 in damages.

PAR Number 20686216

State: Georgia Year: 1862
Location: Houston Location Type: County

Abstract: James D. and Thomas H. Harrison, heirs of Simmons Harrison, who died intestate, seek the appointment by the court of commissioners to see to the proper division of the slaves belonging to the estate. There are eleven slaves: Hall, Dave, Isham, Washington, Howard, Jane, Caroline, Ann, Frances, Mary, and Harriet. The petitioners also seek the appointment of guardians for two heirs, orphans of Simmons Harrison's deceased daughter, who are minor children.

PAR Number 20686218

State: Georgia Year: 1862
Location: Houston Location Type: County

Abstract: James H. C. Lane is a minor orphan of James Lane, deceased. His former guardian, Sanders Lane, recently died. He seeks the appointment of his brother, Rufus B. Lane, as his guardian and the trustee of his property, which includes "one Negro man and choses in action."

PAR Number 20686401

State: Georgia Year: 1864
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: James Burk is the guardian of Joseph R., Louiza E., and Archibald C. Crutchfield, the orphan children of the late George Crutchfield. Their estate consists of slaves, bonds, and Confederate seven thirty notes. "Owing to the high rate of State and Confederate taxes; and high prices of tuition, clothing and board,” the income of the estate is insufficient to support and educate the children. Burk asks permission to use $1500 of the estate's principal "for their Support, maintenance and education."

PAR Number 20686502

State: Georgia Year: 1865
Location: Coweta Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis Amis is guardian for Thomas P. and Coleman D. Gibbs, minor orphans of Coleman C. Gibbs, deceased. Arnis claims that on 29 March 1864 he deposited all of the money that he was holding for said orphans "according to act of Congress and received two certificates of thirteen hundred dollars each." He claims that the estate now only consists of slaves and that he does not have enough money to pay taxes, tuition and board for the year 1864. He seeks permission to sell the certificates.

PAR Number 20686515

State: Georgia Year: 1865
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Thomas Akins is the guardian of John, Jasper, and James Cook, orphans of Elisha Cook. Thomas asks to hire out three slaves belonging to the orphans "for their use and benefit."

PAR Number 20686517

State: Georgia Year: 1865
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: Philip Robinson, guardian of Betsy and Nancy Park, petitions for permission to sell "perishable property" belonging to the orphans. Henry Walker, their former guardian, had purchased a plantation, planning to employ the slaves the Parks owned at the time. Robinson claims that "said Orphans have not the means to employ laborers to carry on said farm, were it even legal & right for the same to be done." There has been "much plundering & stealing" in the area of the plantation; some hogs were stolen recently. Robinson asks for an order to sell the perishable property, including livestock and crops.

PAR Number 20686701

State: Georgia Year: 1867
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: Ned Mitchell, a freedman, claims that Fanny Johnston, "colored" and "about twelve years old," is without a parent or guardian. He "is desirous that the said Fanny may be bound to him as an apprentice to learn the Art of House Keeping, until she arrives at the age of eighteen years."

PAR Number 20686702

State: Georgia Year: 1867
Location: Hancock Location Type: County

Abstract: Ann Amoss, a freedwoman of color and wife of Jacob Amoss, claims that David Lawson, "a colored boy ... about twelve years old," is without a parent or guardian. She "is desirous that the said David Lawson may be bound to her as an apprentice to learn the business of a farm laborer until he arrives at the age of twenty one years. "

PAR Number 20781106

State: Kentucky Year: 1811
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: William Meriwether seeks to foreclose on a mortgage with John Booker. In 1809, Booker mortgaged a group of eight slaves (and their increase) to Meriwether, who was acting in the capacity of guardian to the orphans of John Meriwether. Booker has failed to satisfy his debt to Meriwether. Meriwether asks the court to foreclose on the mortgage and to prevent Booker from removing the slaves from the state.

PAR Number 20783910

State: Kentucky Year: 1839
Location: Fayette Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners, Horace, Mary, and John Fletcher, state that they were infants when their father Thomas Fletcher died, leaving them three slaves. There were judgments against Fletcher's estate, and a certain Milly Scott purchased the slaves. When Milly died, the slaves passed into the possession of the defendants, the children of said Milly and the uncles of the petitioners. Asserting that the Scotts have had the slaves for several years, the petitioners ask the uncles "to account for the hire of said slaves, and the surrender of the slaves to your orators and payment of any ballance that may be due them after paying the purchase money and interest out of the hire."

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