Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11085908

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

Abstract: Warren County residents say that Green, a free man of color and a gin wright, is sober, industrious, and very useful as a planters' supply man. He has lived in the area nearly thirty years, and his wife also resides on the Harris plantation. They request that he be exempted from the bill pending in the Senate designed to drive free blacks from the state. The bill, they said, had passed the House.

PAR Number 11085909

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

Abstract: Fifteen Warren County residents say that Green, a free person of color, is a very useful ginwright whom the planters of the county would find very difficult to replace. Formerly the slave of the late Dr. Hartwell Harris, he had lived in the area nearly thirty years. They request that he be exempted from the bill, pending in the state Senate, designed to drive free blacks from the state. They wish to reassure the Legislators that their request is not to be construed as an objection to the pending law, but as an exception to its operation for a very special case.

PAR Number 11085910

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

Abstract: One hundred and fifty-six Hinds County residents support Edward Hill, a free man of color residing in the town of Raymond. Hill, a blacksmith, was temperate, honest, and industrious and managed an extensive and successful business. They request that he be exempted from the pending bill designed to drive free people of color from the state. The petitioners wish to reassure the Legislators that they "vindicate the soundness" of the pending policy "which prompted the enactment," but that they believe that an exception in this case "would not be violative of the spirit of the law or incompatable with" the welfare of the state.

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 11085920

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

Abstract: Free born William Webster asks for a special act allowing him to become the slave of a physician in the town of Charleston, Tallahatchie County. Webster is not only indebted to the physician, Dr. Atheral Ball, but he is attached to him and "does not wish to be removed from his possession."

PAR Number 11086601

State: Mississippi Year: 1866
Location: Simpson Location Type: County

Abstract: Citizens of Simpson County ask that Lewis Dixon be granted all the rights and privileges of white men. Dixon's mother was white; he was three generations removed from the "African race;" and he had never associated with "recently made Freedmen."

PAR Number 11280517

State: North Carolina Year: 1805
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanley, a free man of color and barber in New Bern, admits that "he is the father of three children ... born in slavery and out of the bonds of lawful wedlock and are therefore incapable of inheriting." The petitioner prays "your honorable body to pass an act legitimizing the said John [Stewart Stanley], Catharine [Green Stanley], and Unus [Stanley] enabling them to inherit in the same manner as if they had been born in lawful matrimony."

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 11281806

State: North Carolina Year: 1818
Location: Randolph Location Type: County

Abstract: George Sears, a free man of color, states that William Bell, as executor of the will of Richard Sears, emancipated him in 1809. He further represents that he took as his wife a slave named Tillah that he had purchased from the said Bell for the sum of $300. Sears, a blacksmith, acknowledges that he erroneously believed that his marriage to the said Tillah would free her as well as confer a free status to any children they might have. Sears now realizes that his said wife and their two children are still "considered slaves unless they are Emancipated by an act of your Honourable body." He therefore prays that an act be passed "to Emancipate & Set free his said Wife Tillah Sears and his two daughters Patsey Sears & Polly Sears and render them Competent in Law to inherit the Estate of your Petitioner."

PAR Number 11282403

State: North Carolina Year: 1824
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: Lewis Tombereau, a native of France, laments that he married a young woman named Nancy Jolly, "to whom he was determined to stick as close as wax." Tombereau confesses, however, that by his said marriage "he linked his fortune with and intrusted his happiness to one of the most frail, lewd, and depraved, daughters of Eve." The petitioner charges that said Nancy "forsoke both his board, and bed, to cohabit with a certain mulatto Barber named Roland Colanche." Tombereau, "with the most pungent and heart felt sorrow," reports that Nancy "has had a coloured child, and became, and continues to be, a public and notorious prostitute in the most unlimited sense of that word. She indulging in an unreserved, and promiscuous intercourse with men of every colour, age, class, and description she meets, sufficiently dissolute, licentious, and sensual, to gratify their passion, and her lust, and desire of variety." The petitioner therefore prays that he be released "from the unhallowed bonds he in an evil hour entered into."

PAR Number 11283003

State: North Carolina Year: 1830
Location: Caswell Location Type: County

Abstract: Sixty-eight citizens of the town of Milton ask that Aquilla Wilson, a free woman of color of Halifax, Virginia, be exempted from an 1826 North Carolina law "entitled 'An act to prevent free persons of Colour from migrating into this state, for the good government of such persons resident in the State, and for other purposes.'" They state that Aquilla married Thomas Day, a free man of color whom they describe as a "Cabinet maker by trade, a first rate workman, a remarkably sober, steady and industrious man--, a highminded, good and valuable Citizen." They therefore pray that an act be passed "giving said Aquilla, the priviledge of migrating to this state." In his affidavit, R. M. Saunders avers that said Day is "of very fair character -- an excellent mechanic, industrious, honest and sober in his habits and in the event of any disturbance amongst the blacks I should rely with confidence upon a disclosure from him as he is the owner of Slaves as well as of real estate."

PAR Number 11283105

State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Lenoir Location Type: County

Abstract: Eighty-seven residents of Lenoir County seek "to exclude all coloured retailers of Cakes, spirits &c from its limits," except those licensed by the county court. They are convinced that the "free negroes & slaves hiring their time, from the adjoining Counties ... have not only produced serious loss & inconvenience by the temptations which are thus held out to their slaves, to steal lambs, pigs, & poultry to barter with them," but also they firmly aver that said persons "do a far more serious & incalculable injury by the facilities thus afforded for the dissemination of seditious writings & notions," noting that "these black pedlars have it in their power to distribute, without suspicion, in every nook ... in the County, the pamphlets ... as well as communicate verbally the murderous plans of a Nat Turner." The petitioners therefore pray that "your Honourable Body ... will further legislate on this matter."

PAR Number 11283303

State: North Carolina Year: 1833
Location: Granville Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-seven residents of Granville County "beg leave to ask the favour of your aid" in providing relief for Admiral Dunston, a free man of color from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They offer, as "a Statement of Facts," that Dunston, a wheelwright and property owner in Virginia, recently "married in a respectable Family in this neighbourhood." The petitioners point out that "by the Laws of Virginia he is prevented from carrying his wife to that state, nor can he by our Laws remove to this" state. They therefore pray that a law be enacted "sanctioning his removal to this State."

PAR Number 11283808

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

Abstract: Henry Patterson, a free person of color, seeks to free his wife whom he has purchased. Patterson, "a bricklayer & Plasterer by trade," asserts that "he & his said wife have been brought up in the City of Raleigh and as to character for industry, quietness & good order in general he appeals for himself & his wife to all the respectable inhabitants of this City." Fearing "that if he were to die without a Will his Brothers & Sisters would become the owners of his wife & she might be sold a slave for life for their debts," he also submits that "if he were to make a will he cannot liberate her, nor make any other disposition of her according to law." Patterson therefore states that "to your Hon Body alone can he look for help & redress."

PAR Number 11284807

State: North Carolina Year: 1848
Location: Cumberland Location Type: County

Abstract: Seventy-two "citizens and mechanics of the town of Fayetteville" complain about the "consequence of the competition of free negro mechanics." They therefore pray that a law be passed "requiring every free negro in the State, to register his or her name, and the names of their children, in the county clerk's office, every year, under heavy penalties; and that besides the poll tax, a capitation tax be levied, for the purpose of aiding to emigrate to Liberia, such free negroes as are willing to go." The petitioners also request "your honorable body not to pass any more special acts emancipating slaves; and also to take into serious consideration the propriety of furnishing aid from the State treasury, to such free negroes as desire to emigrate to Liberia, or some other country, and have not the means to do so." In closing, they "suggest to your honorable body the propriety of levying a separate tax on all investments in merchandise the manufacture of such non-slaveholding States as refuse to comply with the provisions of the fugitive slave law."

PAR Number 11285003

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

Abstract: One hundred seventy-six citizens of Beaufort County complain that the "White Mechanics of our State are laboring under a serious injury, inflicted upon them by the competition they experience from negro mechanics." They believe that this is "not only an injury to them, but to every portion of the community, because it places a check against the advancement of Agriculture, and forbids genius and talent from entering its employment on account of degradation it may experience, by being brought down side by side with negro labor." They further declare that "the free negro population ... has increased to an alarming extent." The petitioners therefore pray "the General Assembly to pass an act, laying a tax upon free negroes which shall be applied for the purpose of colonizing them in Liberia, and if necessary, an additional sum from the State Treasury."

PAR Number 11285201

State: North Carolina Year: 1852
Location: Wayne Location Type: County

Abstract: Five residents of Wayne County join Hilary Croom, "who was born of a woman of respectable parentage though his father was reputed to have been a slave of Colour," in requesting that Croom's three children "be free at their arriving to the age of twenty one years" and that they all be allowed to remain in the state. The white petitioners boast that Croom, alias Coor, "is one of the best blacksmiths we have" and that he "sustains a fair industrious character." They further report that he was previously expelled from the state of Alabama and that now he faces yet another law requiring him to emigrate from his home state or pay a heavy fine. The petitioners therefore pray that "Hilary Croom be suffered to remain with us."

PAR Number 11285204

State: North Carolina Year: 1852
Location: Northampton Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-one Northampton County residents seek to exempt James Langford from a North Carolina law requiring emancipated slaves to leave the state. The petitioners purport that Langford "is a carpenter by trade and is industrious and frugal." Averring that "no one occupying his condition in society has a fairer character," they reveal that "his wife and children are slaves and he is desirous of remaining in N Carolina with them." They therefore pray that their petition be granted, whereby "you will do an act of Kindness for a deserving man, receive the thanks of your petitioners and to no wrong to the public interest."

PAR Number 11285609

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

Abstract: Fifty-eight citizens of Smithville, in the County of Brunswick, and "some of us Mechanics," consider "the great injury done us by Colored persons in taking contracts at a lower rate than we can afford, thereby depriving us of the means of supporting our families." They therefore pray "your Honorable bodies to pass an act to prevent free colored persons from becoming contractors for any mechanical work such as building houses vessel &c. And especially to pass more stringent laws against slaves hiring their own time." The petitioners purport that "the evil has become a serious one, and we most earnestly believe that sound policy no less than our own interest requires that white mechanics should be protected against the competition of colored persons whether free or slave."

PAR Number 11285610

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

Abstract: Sixty-nine Northampton County residents ask that Anthony Copeland, Warren Boon, and Joshua Small, "all free persons of color," be allowed to remain in the state. They assert that the three men of color are "industrious, honest and law abiding people" and that Copeland, a brick mason by trade, and Boon moved from Virginia to North Carolina during the 1840s; Small, a North Carolina native, moved to Virginia and then returned to his home state with his wife after 1844. Avowing that the free men of color "did not know they were violating the laws of the State," the petitioners pray "your body to enact a law authorising and empowering Joshua Small & wife Polly, Robert & Elizabeth Small their children, Anthony Copeland and Warren Boon to have and enjoy a residence in your state."

PAR Number 11285701

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

Abstract: One hundred twenty-six mechanics and others in Rowan County seek legislation to end unfair competition from free black mechanics who should be bound to white masters and required to secure a license each year "upon proof of good moral character only."

PAR Number 11286103

State: North Carolina Year: 1861
Location: Pasquotank Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-three-year-old Kissiah Trueblood, a free woman of color borne of free parents, represents that "after mature deliberation, upon her part, uninfluenced by any person, it being of her own free will and accord, she desires to become the slave of the said Dr Ritter," for whom she has worked the past two years "in the capacity of servant, receiving wages for services rendered." Trueblood confesses that "in her present condition she is destitute and without protection, and in the condition of a slave, she would be cared for and have the protection of her Master and to that end she prays your Honorable body to enact such law as to enable said Dr Ritter to hold for all time to come both your petitioner and children should she have any."

PAR Number 11378304

State: South Carolina Year: 1783
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thirty-six "House Carpenters and Bricklayers of Charlestown" seek to curtail "Jobbing Negroe Tradesmen, who undervalue Work, by undertaking it for very little more than the Materials would cost, by which it is evident the Stuff they work with cannot be honestly acquired." The petitioners declare that this "Honourable House will be sensible that this Practice must be prejudicial, not only to the Proprietors of Materials for building, but highly detrimental to your Petitioners, Who are thereby deprived of the Means of gaining a Livelihood by their Industry." They therefore pray that a law be enacted "as may prohibit Negroes from undertaking Work on their own Account."

PAR Number 11378305

State: South Carolina Year: 1783
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thirty-six "House Carpenters and Bricklayers of Charlestown" seek to curtail "Jobbing Negroe Tradesmen, who undervalue Work, by undertaking it for very little more than the Materials would cost, by which it is evident the Stuff they work with cannot be honestly acquired." The petitioners declare that this "Honourable House will be sensible that this Practice must be prejudicial, not only to the Proprietors of Materials for building, but highly detrimental to your Petitioners, Who are thereby deprived of the Means of gaining a Livelihood by their Industry." They therefore pray that a law be enacted "as may prohibit Negroes from undertaking Work on their own Account."

PAR Number 11378801

State: South Carolina Year: 1788
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Charleston residents Ruth and Barbara Cole, mother and daughter, seek an inheritance from the estate of Susanna Raper, "a free Mullatto Woman lately died and very Suddenly and Intestate." Explaining that Raper died possessed of one slave and "other small personal property," the Coles state that Raper had "no issue of her own and not being a person to whom any other Person coud Inherit as next of kin her Estate and Effects are by operation of Law become Escheated and Vested in the State." The petitioners declare that they cared for Raper, who was subject to "many attacks of a Violent Complaint," during her last illness and that Raper "had fixed intentions of giving to the Petitioners ... all she possessed as a Small return for their long and unremitted Services." They therefore pray that an act be passed "Granting to and Vesting in your Petitioners ... all the residue of the Estate and Effects that were of the said Susanna Raper after payment of her Just debts and funeral expenses." Susanna Raper was the widow of William Raper, a bricklayer of Charleston, and the brother of petitioner Ruth Cole.

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