Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 10182605

State: Alabama Year: 1826
Location: Limestone Location Type: County

Abstract: Free person of color Francis Hamlin purchased his daughter, Susan Locklear, from James Sims of Limestone County. Hamlin seeks to emancipate his daughter, who is married to Thomas Locklear, a free man of color.

PAR Number 11000013

State: Mississippi
Location: Claiborne Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners ask for the emancipation of Samuel Martin's family. Three years before Martin, a free man of color, purchased his wife and three children. A related petition reveals that Samuel Martin had been freed a number of years earlier by his owner, J. W. Thomson.

PAR Number 11000014

State: Mississippi Year: 9999
Location: Unknown Location Type: County

Abstract: William Moreton and his wife, Violet, were emancipated by Jesse Carter in Louisiana about 1814. The Moretons left their daughter, Charlotte, in the possession of Carter, as a slave for life. After Carter's death, the couple bought Charlotte for $352. Moreton now petitions to free his daughter. He writes, "Your Petitioner although' a colored man is not devoid of feelings of humanity and nature & considers it against the laws of nature to hold his own offspring in a state of servitude."

PAR Number 11000016

State: Mississippi
Location: Jefferson Location Type: County

Abstract: A free man of color named Malachi Hagins states that he is descended from several generations of free ancestors. His grandmother was a white woman, and his father died in the American Revolution fighting on behalf of the "Revolted Colonies." Hagins notes that he moved to Mississippi twenty-two years ago, married a white woman, fathered nine children, and acquired land, cattle, and nine slaves. He is now subject to being driven from his country and having his property confiscated and his life put in jeopardy "for want of the guardian protection of the Laws of the Land." He asks for an act to give him "security & protection, such rights and liberties" as the legislature might deem "humane, politick and right."

PAR Number 11081601

State: Mississippi Year: 1816
Location: Adams Location Type: County

Abstract: Adams County residents ask the legislature to pass acts of emancipation for the family of Ben Vousdan, who died in 1816 without providing for their freedom. The petitioners note that Ben Vousdan was a former slave, freed in 1802 by the will of his late owner, William Vousdan. Ben married a slave named Mary, whom he purchased from Stephen Minor, and the couple had five children: Louisa or Lucy, Rachel, Sandy, Mary Anne, and Benjamin. Ben and his wife lived "as free persons, separate and apart, to themselves," but when Ben died in 1816 his family remained legally in bondage. The petitioners argue that Ben intended to free them and was attempting to have a will drawn up to that effect when he died.

PAR Number 11082401

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

Abstract: Andrew Barland, the son of a white man by a woman of mixed race, was given a good education by his father as well as some property. He states, that, having married into "a respectable white family," he has always been received and treated as a white man. Furthermore, he has served as a juror, given testimony in court, voted, and "enjoyed all the privileges of a free white Citizen." Recently, howerver, a controversy has arisen in a court case when one Joseph Hawk called into question whether Barland, a man of color, should be allowed to testify. Barland writes to the legislature that "his education, his habits, his principles, and his society are all identified with your views." Barland notes that he owns slaves and therefore "can know no other interest than that which is common to the white population." He asks, therefore, that the state "extend to your petitioner such privileges as his countrymen may think him worthy to possess."

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 11279207

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

Abstract: John Moore, "a free negro man," seeks to liberate his children, "who are unfortunately illegitimate being born of a negro woman slave belonging to himself." Having worked for fifty years to accumulate a small amount of property, Moore laments that he "is informed that under their present disabilities they would not be intitled by Law to any property which he might have at his Death." He therefore prays that he be granted "Relief by passing an Act to liberate his children."

PAR Number 11279504

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

Abstract: Abraham Jones, a free person of color, discloses that he "labours under the unhappy disadvantage of having Seven children by a woman Slave formerly the property of one Westerfield, with whom he has intermarried, and who he has since bought and purchased as his own property." Jones is fearful that his said children "are in danger of being continued in bondage or may be after your petitioner's death without some legal provision made in their favour by the General Assembly." He therefore prays that his seven children "to wit; Isaac Jones, Jacob Jones, Susanna Jones, John Jones, Abraham Jones, Thomas Jones, and Lewis Jones may be emancipated and from henceforth enjoy the protection and benefits of the laws and constitution of this State, in the same manner as others of their colour who were born free."

PAR Number 11279605

State: North Carolina Year: 1796

Abstract: William Brown, a free man of color, submits that "with care and Industry he has been able to purchase from Mr. Reading Blount a Wench by the name of Phillis with whom by the consent of Mr. Blount he had previous intermarried." Realizing that "his children will be Slaves contrary to his wish without the interposition of the General Assembly," the petitioner is "imbolden'd" to ask that a law be passed "to emancipate his said wife Phillis." Twenty-six subscribers avow that "William Brown & wife ... have always conducted themselves orderly & honestly."

PAR Number 11279701

State: North Carolina Year: 1797
Location: Anson Location Type: County

Abstract: Abraham Jones, a free "mixt Blooded man," avows that "about forty years past he purchased a Certain Woman of Coller by the name of Lydia of one John Westerfield & paid honestly for her & hath Since had Six Children by said Woman." Jones expresses "very great uneasyness" concerning the possibility that "when your Petitioner dyed his Wife & Children woud be Slave." He therefore prays that "your Honourable Body Will take my Case into your Consideration & give your Petitioner Such Relief as in your Wisdom shall seam meet." Twenty-nine subscribers attest that Jones "hath always behaved himself as a man of Choler ought to do & further supports the carrecter of an honest Industrous man & think his case to be [heard] and ought to be Redrest by passing a law of Liberation."

PAR Number 11279805

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

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanly, "a man of mixed blood," recounts that Alexander and Lydia Stewart, "in consideration of the long, faithful & meritorious services of your petitioner," sought and received a licence from the Craven County Court "to sett your petitioner free"; the said licence enabled them to execute a deed of manumission "whereby they [did] give, grant, & confirm unto your petitioner his freedom liberty & emancipation." Fearing "that some accident may deprive him of the evidence of his emancipation & thereby of the fruits of his honest industry," Stanly prays that a law be passed to "confirm, establish and Secure to your petitioner his Freedom."

PAR Number 11279812

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

Abstract: Lemuel Overnton, "of mix'd Blood but free Born," acknowledges that he "did faithfully Serve in the Last American Warr with Great Britain." He further reveals that, "by Consent," he was able to marry a slave woman named Rose and "had my Eldest Son John by her." Overton states that he was able to purchase said Rose and John and that he has a second son named Burdock. The petitioner prays that his case be taken into consideration and that his wife and two sons be emancipated and called "after his own name Overnton."

PAR Number 11280004

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: Thirty-two citizens of Montgomery County support the petition of Daniel Shad, a free person of color, who seeks to emancipate his family. They report that Shad, "since his emancipation in the year 1798," purchased his wife Betty and that "since that time she has had one child by the name of Winny." They therefore "humbly prayeth your Honourable Body to take this case into your wise consideration and emancipate his wife, and child, by the name of Betty Shad & her Child by the name of Winny Shad."

PAR Number 11280104

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

Abstract: Madelene St. Risque, a free woman of color of Edenton, represents that "she was sometime past intermarried with a negro man named Major, then the slave of Henry Eelbeck" and that in September last she "purchased all right and title which said Henry had in the said Major." St. Risque now "humbly prays that your Honorable body would condescend to take the premises into consideration and pass such Act as may appear, to your Honorable body most fit to emancipate the said Major, your humble Petitioners husband."

PAR Number 11280205

State: North Carolina Year: 1802
Location: Craven Location Type: County

Abstract: John Carruthers Stanly, a free man of color, submits that he purchased "a negro male of the age of two years, named John, whom he considers his child"; in 1801, he purchased "a mulatto child named John, who is the result of a matrimonial connection between your Petitioner and Kitty." Stanly, of the opinion that "it is inconsistent with nature, for the parent to wish his child in a state of vassalage, either to another or himself," asks that said children be manumitted. He requests that two-year-old John be "known in future by the name of James Florence" and that the other child "hereafter to be known & distinguished by the name of John Stewart Stanly."

PAR Number 11280404

State: North Carolina Year: 1804
Location: Guilford Location Type: County

Abstract: Harry Ash, “a freeman of Colour," represents that he purchased his wife America from Milla Clarke in 1802; in 1803 "his Wife the said America was delivered of a daughter named Jemima." Desirous that his wife and child "should be entitled to the privileges of free persons of Colour," the petitioner prays that the Legislature "Liberate them by the names of America and Jemima Ash."

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 11280801

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

Abstract: Rose, a free woman of color, recounts that August Cabarrus emancipated her for "meritorious services" in 1808. She further discloses that "shortly after her liberation aforesaid, her late master ... had the goodness to make her a gift of her two children Charlotte and Leon." Rose frets that "if she should die her said children (the eldest of whom is only eight years of age) might be taken up and sold, and thereby not only reduced to slavery, but probably separated from each other (a calamity upon which a mother could not reflect without terror)." She therefore prays "your Honorable Body to pass an act for the liberation of her said children Charlotte and Leon."

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 11281708

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

Abstract: David Sills and William Wheless, the executors John Hoof's will, explain that Hoof left "a Will which directs all his Slaves to be Liberated by the General Assembly." Being appointed to carry said will into effect, the petitioners beg "that your Honorable Body may View The Said Will and give them such relief as you may think proper." They further pray that "if your Honorable Body shall not think fit to liberate the whole of the Slaves named in the Will & the Children which has been born Since -- That you will take this part under your Humane Consideration, and enact Such Laws as shall Emancipate" a portion of said slaves, i.e., Sylvia, "admitted by the Said Hoof to be his child," her six children, and her three grandchildren. The petitioners note that some eighteen years ago Hoof gave Sylvia "away in Marriage to Drewry Owen," a free man of color, and that he "has had this woman with him at his own house this 15 or 16 years, and by their Industry have raised all these Children as free people, and at a great expence to him the said Drewry, without any aid, or controul of the said John Hoof."

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 11282502

State: North Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Chowan Location Type: County

Abstract: Twenty-five citizen of Chowan County ask that fourteen-year-old Peggy and seven-year-old Nancy, the daughters of Christopher and Charity Burkitt, be freed. They represent that the said Christopher, a free man of color, purchased Charity and Peggy in 1812 and that this past fall "the said Christopher procured the emancipation of his wife but the presiding Judge declined decreeing the emancipation of the children -- deeming them on account of their tender years not within the meaning of the Act of Assembly." The petitioners therefore pray "that the case of said Christopher may be taken into consideration and that his said two children may be emancipated." The citizens attest that "the characters of said Christopher & his wife are good and that his children are of docile dispositions."

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 11283305

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

Abstract: Ned Hyman, the former slave of the late Samuel Hyman, represents that "by his faithfulness and extraordinary attention to his masters business and interest secured his esteem and favor and obtained his sincere wishes that your petitioner should be freed." Hyman recounts, however, that "the nearest your petitioner has been able to approach an end so disirable to his decd master is, to have had the title to your petitioner vested in your petitioners wife," Elizabeth Hagans, a free woman of color. The petitioner avers that he "has had the good fortune to accumulate an estate worth from five to six thousand dollars; consisting of Lands chiefly Live stock negroes and money the right & title to all which except the money is vested" in his wife Elizabeth. The father of three children, Hyman "together with his wife Elizabeth" therefore pray that an act be passed "for his benefit and relief."

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