Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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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 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 11284602

State: North Carolina Year: 1846
Location: Wake Location Type: County

Abstract: John Malone, a fifty-six-year-old free black man living in Raleigh, "is anxious to emancipate and set free from Slavery his said wife & son Edmund before he dies." Malone represents that, "by hard work and close economy," he "has been able to lay by a little money and property and though a free negro he has done this without exciting the suspicion of white gentlemen against his honesty, but so that he may appeal to the whole community in favour of his claims to a good reputation." He further states that he applied "a part of his earnings ... to the purchase of his wife Cherry and more recently to the purchase of their son Edmond." The petitioner therefore "earnestly beseeches the General Assembly of North Carolina to set free his wife Cherry and Son Edmund by the respective names of Cherry Malone and Edmond Malone" and that they be allowed to remain in the state.

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 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 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.

PAR Number 11378901

State: South Carolina Year: 1789
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.

PAR Number 11378902

State: South Carolina Year: 1789
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 "a small personal property," the Coles state that Raper had "no issue of her own & 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 Expences." Susanna Raper was the widow of William Raper, a bricklayer of Charleston, and the brother of petitioner Ruth Cole.

PAR Number 11382109

State: South Carolina Year: 1821
Location: Laurens Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Allen Kelley, a free person of color and a blacksmith by trade, states that "he purchased in the year 1821 his son George a Slave for whom he paid the Sum of Six hundred and four dollars." Kelley prays that he be granted "permission to indulge in so humane and desireable an object in manumitting & setting free his said son George Kelley."

PAR Number 11382307

State: South Carolina Year: 1823
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Mitchell states that James Powell, "an old servant of your Petitioners family [who] had previously obtained him his manumission," died in 1820. He further represents that said Powell had executed his will wherein he stated that "it is my will & request that my son James immediately after my death shall be made free." Mitchell states that he "fully intended to act upon the said Will as soon as circumstances should render it expedient but that [his] retired habits of life in the country and his ignorance of the forms of business induced him to postpone his interference." Revealing that the elder Powell had purchased his son's freedom, Mitchell anxiously avers that the younger Powell “in consequence of the unforeseen difficulty arising from the recent legislative restrictions upon manumission is altogether unprotected at a time when the public excitement calls for vigilant supervision; That his character is a case omitted in Law he is the Slave of nobody and at the same time is not a freed negro.” The petitioner therefore prays that it be declared that "the said James the son of the aforesaid James Powell deceased [be] emancipated and made free."

PAR Number 11382705

State: South Carolina Year: 1827
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: William Lance represents that fifty-five-year-old Abigail Jones, a free woman of color, moved from Charleston to New York City in 1823 "with her daughter Ann Deas and two grandchildren Abigail Jones Lee and John Lee, also free persons of color and natives of Charleston ... taking with them a girl named Martha, a Slave, as a Servant." He further reports that Abigail's husband Jehu "has always continued to reside in Charleston." The petitioner states that "the said Jehu Jones is far advanced in years, being of the age of Fifty Eight Years, and is anxiously desirous of passing the remainder of his days in his native land, where he has always lived ... and is equally solicitous, as is she herself, that the said Wife with her said family should be allowed to return to this state." He attests that "the said Jehu and Abigail Jones ... are honest industrious and decent people, and have always sustained that reputation." Lance therefore prays "your honorable body ... to permit her, & her above named family and Servant, to return to her husband, her friends and the country of her birth."

PAR Number 11382801

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

Abstract: James Patterson, a free man of color born in Columbia, seeks to free his wife Sally, his son George, and his daughter Candice. Patterson, "a carpenter by trade," could "not raise a Sufficient Sum to affect that desirable and anxious object" of purchasing his family "until after the passage of the act prohibiting the freeing of slaves." The petitioner reports that he "made the purchase of his wife and Son in 1821 and paid for them One Thousand Dollars a Sum far beyond their value, his Son being at that time about Seven years old, and his wife not worth more than an ordinary female house Servant"; his daughter Candice was born after he had purchased his wife. "Anxious that they should be placed on a footing with himself," Patterson prays that "your Honorable Body ... will take the peculiar circumstances of his case into consideration and make his wife and children free."

PAR Number 11383013

State: South Carolina Year: 1830
Location: York Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Jeremiah Dickey, a free man of color who purchased his freedom, states that during his time as a slave, he had married a mulatto woman, the slave of Robert Manning. Before their marriage, his wife "was delivered of a female child--whose father was a white man." Dickey states that he purchased Jincey from her owner and now seeks to emancipate her. He therefore prays that he be permitted to free his sixteen-year-old step-daughter "under the name Jensey Dickey."

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 11383701

State: South Carolina Year: 1837
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Mary Douglas, a free woman of color, seeks compensation for her slave, William Irvine, who was "tried and convicted of Stabbing, Bruising and wounding a white man" named John Cramer “and was executed agreeable to Sentence on 17th Augt 1832." The petitioner therefore prays that she be granted "the amount usual on such occasions."

PAR Number 11383805

State: South Carolina Year: 1838
Location: Richland Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: "By a Long life of Care and industry," James Paterson, a free person of color, purchased his wife, Sarah, and his two children, George and Mary. Paterson seeks exemption from the law prohibiting the manumission of slaves and requests permission to free his family, "so that the honest industry, the unwearied pains and untiring efforts of a Father & Husband may not be lossed to him entirely."

PAR Number 11384504

State: South Carolina Year: 1845
Location: Abbeville Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Priscilla Jessup, a free woman of color, "has considerable property -- That she owns among other things, her husband John, a negro man," whom she purchased in 1834; since his purchase, John's condition, "in consequence of the love and affection which she bears to him has been that only of nominal servitude." Averring John to have always been "industrious, honest faithfull and obedient," the petitioner asks that he be emancipated. Jessup fears "in the event of her death, John ... will fall into other hands in the condition of a slave."

PAR Number 11385007

State: South Carolina Year: 1850
Location: Spartanburg Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Fifty-four-year-old free mulatto William Jackson, who had lived in the area his entire life, asks to free his wife Lucinda, "a slave though three degrees removed from the African race," and his six children: Susan, Martha, Mary, Berryman, Margaret, and Hosea.

PAR Number 11385702

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

Abstract: William F. Ervin, son of the late Robert Ervin, represents that his father manumitted a slave named Sye "in consideration of his fidelity and good conduct." He further reports that the said Sye, who assumed the name Sye Ervin after his manumission, "accumulated a small property; and with a part of it purchased a female slave with whom he had previously lived as a wife and a female grandchild named Clarissa." Ervin states that Sye died intestate in 1836 or 1837, leaving a small farm in St. John's Parish, where his said wife lived until her death. He notes that when Sye's granddaughter Clarissa died in 1851, she left six slave children, the eldest age eleven, the youngest an infant. The petitioner declares that he was called upon by his neighbors to attend to the family, who "were left wholly destitute and were in danger of starvation." Averring that he "has taken charge of and supported the said slaves ever since, and has been subjected to considerable expense," the petitioner prays "that all right and Title of the State to the said Property, real and personal, may be released to your petitioner."

PAR Number 11385705

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

Abstract: The heirs of the late Dr. Robert W. Ervin represent that he manumitted a slave named Sye in 1817 and that the said Sye later purchased his wife and his granddaughter named Clarissa. They further state that Clarissa died in 1851, leaving six children: Becky, Jane, Betsy, Leny, Sarah, and Isaac. They also report that Sye has died, seized and possessed of his granddaughter, six great grandchildren, a tract of land, and some cattle and hogs; the estate, however, had no legal heirs and escheated to the state. The heirs charge that William Ervin, another son of the said Robert, took possession of Sye's estate in 1850 or 1851, including the slaves, who until this time were "passing as free." The petitioners, "some being in very moderate circumstances, and others in embarrassing circumstances," reveal that they have frequently asked the said William to secure "the benefit of said slaves or their value" to Louisa Ervin, mother of William Ervin, and widow of Robert Ervin. Asserting that they are equally entitled to the slaves, they ask the legislature to vest the title of the slaves to Robert Ervin's heirs at law and that the sheriff sell the slaves to the highest bidder and divide the proceeds equally among said heirs.

PAR Number 11385912

State: South Carolina Year: 1859
Location: Charleston Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: The mulatto children of the late Philip Stanislas Noisette, a white botanist who died in 1835, ask to remain in South Carolina as free persons of color. They state that their father freed them in his will and that "the provisions of this will are perfectly legal, and that there is no question about their freedom, but that they might be required to emigrate." Citing that they were born in the state, the petitioners assert that they "are very unwilling to remove." They further point out that "those who have the public interest most at heart would recognize the propriety of an exception in their behalf that would permit them to remain where they are." The petitioners therefore pray that "they and their issue may be permitted to remain in the State in the condition of free persons of color."

PAR Number 11483205

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

Abstract: Thomas Rockhold requests permission to emancipate a slave family and legislative approval for them to remain in the state. He reports that he agreed in 1828 to manumit Emley after her husband, free man of color named Edward Cook, paid him $250 as her purchase price. Noting that Emley now has two children, Rockhold seeks permission to present an emancipation petition to the county court to "cause the said Emley and said two Children Thomas & William to be emancipated"; he also asks that he not be "Bound for them to leave the state" and he avows that they are "honest and industrious and respectable." Rockhold further represents that "he is the owner of severel slaves that he is desirous should have ther freedom and that his will has been long since that his slaves should be free at his Decease."

PAR Number 11483319

State: Tennessee Year: 1833
Location: Hardeman Location Type: County

Abstract: Joshua Thurman represents that "in the year of 1831 he purchased his sister Harriett a Slave from Washington Edgings who then owned her" and that "when he made the purchase it was with the express promise and understanding that he your petitioner would give the said Harriett her freedom, That M Edings refused to sell her upon any other condition." Thurman relates, however, "that before it was in his power to do so, the Honorable General assembly of this State passed a law prohibiting the emancipation of Slaves." He further avows that "the said Harriett is a discreet and industrious girl and has greatly assisted your petitioner in paying for her; for which reason as well as the ties of brotherly love," he is still "desirous to discharge this moral obligation of seting her free." The petitioner therefore "with great deference would Humbly pray your Honorable Body to pass a law to authorise your petitioner to emancipate the said Harriett."

PAR Number 11483320

State: Tennessee Year: 1833
Location: Davidson Location Type: County

Abstract: Free man of color Stephen Lytle requests permission for himself and for his family to remain in Tennessee. Lytle purchased himself for four hundred dollars from his owner, William Lytle of Nashville; he then purchased his wife, Charity. The couple had a daughter, Mary Shepherd Lytle, and acquired two city lots. On 17 April 1832, Stephen Lytle discovered that he was not by law a free man and that his wife and child were slaves of his master. "He is informed that the second section of the act of 1831, Session acts, page 121.2 prohibits his emancipation & that of his wife & child, 'except on the express Condition,' that he & they shall immediately remove from the state of Tennessee, and unless his master & the master of his wife & child, shall before their 'emancipation enter into bond with good and sufficient security, in a sum equal to their respective values, Conditioned that they' ... shall forthwith remove from the State of Tennessee." Having enough money to post bond for himself but not enough for his wife and four-year-old daughter, Lytle states that he faces the dilemma of leaving them behind or remaining in Tennessee and facing possible re-enslavement. He asks for relief.

PAR Number 11485303

State: Tennessee Year: 1853
Location: Talladega Location Type: County

Abstract: Henry McKenzie represents that he purchased a town lot in Nashville in 1849 from Delilah Sumner, a free woman of color. He states that said lot "was devised from the estate of William B. Downs decd, who died in the town of Nashville in March 1846 intestate;" Downs, a free man of color, "left no children or issue" and "his nearest relatives were slaves, & of course incapable of inheriting." McKenzie reports that Sumner claimed to be entitled to said lot since she was Downs's "nearest of kin capable of inheriting" and that she traded said lot for her husband whom he held as a slave for life. Fearing said property will escheat to the state, the petitioner "asks your Hon. body to pass a law, relinquishing on the part of the state all claim to the property above mentioned."

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