Race and Slavery Petitions Project

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PAR Number 11300005

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

Abstract: Forty-three wharf owners and merchants in Charleston ask the legislature to take action to halt the theft of cotton bales. They assert that “slaves and free persons of Colour, who being able to write, readily manufacture tickets in the name of the owner or employer or any other person, and frequently in the name of a fictitious person” and then sell said cotton and other goods to unscrupulous shopkeepers. They further lament that said trafficking is very difficult to stop and even when suspects are brought in it is difficult to prosecute as the bales have already been shipped out. The petitioners “confidently believe that in the article of Cotton alone, not less than Five Hundred Bales are purchased in illicit traffic by the Shops in Charleston from Slave and free persons of color.” They therefore ask for stricter laws and better enforcement.

PAR Number 11381601

State: South Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Orangeburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Eleven citizens of Amelia Township, Orangeburg District, seek the passage of a law prohibiting slave owners from allowing their slaves to raise their own livestock or cotton. They argue that "every measure that may lessen the dependance of a slave on his master ought to be opposed, as tending to dangerous consequences. The more priviledges a slave obtains the less depending he is on his master & the greater nuisance he is likely to be to the public." They further insist that "of all their privileges that of their making cotton is the most objectionable." The petitioners purport that "Cotton is subject to the depredations of the night-walking thief and when lost it would be the height of folly to attempt to find it among negroes who all have cotton of their own ... to authorise a slave to make cotton for himself is incouraging him to be a thief by putting him in the way of secreting what he steals." They declare that “a master may make what improvements he pleases in the lodging cloathing and food of his slave, in short there are many ways to encourage their industry without granting them privileges that would enable them to steal with impunity.” The petitioners therefore pray "that it is highly necessary a law should be enacted this Session prohibiting negroes making cotton for themselves."

PAR Number 11381608

State: South Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Orangeburgh Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Eleven citizens of Amelia Township, Orangeburg District, seek the passage of a law prohibiting slave owners from allowing their slaves to raise their own livestock or cotton. They argue that "every measure that may lessen the dependance of a slave on his master ought to be opposed, as tending to dangerous consequences. The more priviledges a slave obtains the less depending he is on his master & the greater nuisance he is likely to be to the public." They further insist that "of all their privileges that of their making cotton is the most objectionable." The petitioners purport that "Cotton is subject to the depredations of the night-walking thief and when lost it would be the height of folly to attempt to find it among negroes who all have cotton of their own ... to authorise a slave to make cotton for himself is incouraging him to be a thief by putting him in the way of secreting what he steals." They declare that “a master may make what improvements he pleases in the lodging cloathing and food of his slave, in short there are many ways to encourage their industry without granting them privileges that would enable them to steal with impunity.” The petitioners therefore pray "that it is highly necessary a law should be enacted this Session prohibiting negroes making cotton for themselves."

PAR Number 11382808

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

Abstract: Joseph Johnson, Intendant of the Charleston City Council, raises many concerns to the members of the House of Representatives, one such concern being "the number of Schools publickly kept for the instruction of persons of Colour in reading and writing." Johnson is of the opinion that instruction is "injurious to the Community." He purports that "to be able to read and to write is certainly not necessary to the performance of those duties which are usually required of our Slaves and on the contrary is incompatible with the public safety." Johnson further argues that "the knowledge of the art of writing will enable persons of this class to carry on illicit traffic, to communicate privately among themselves and to evade those regulations that are intended to prevent confederations among them," whereby it will be "impossible to distinguish between the free and the slave of our coloured population." He therefore knows "of no remedy so effectual and at the same time so little liable to objection as the absolute prohibition of all Schools for the instruction of Coloured persons." In addition, Johnson asks that the practice of owners and others in hiring slaves and free persons of color in their stores and shops be halted. In addition to denying employment to the white population, this situation introduces "the Coloured population and especially slaves into situations which are inconsistent with their Condition." The petitioner suggests "that the system of slavery is so interwoven with the constitution of our Society that even if our interests permitted it would be impossible to eradicate it." He believes, therefore, that "it becomes highly important that the regulations necessary for maintaining this state of things in peace and security should be permanently established and regularly maintained."

PAR Number 11382809

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

Abstract: Joseph Johnson, Intendant of the Charleston City Council, raises many concerns to the members of the Senate, one such concern being "the number of Schools publickly kept for the instruction of persons of Colour in reading and writing." Johnson is of the opinion that instruction is "injurious to the Community." He purports that "to be able to read and to write is certainly not necessary to the performance of those duties which are usually required of our Slaves, and on the contrary is incompatible with the public safety." Johnson further argues that "the knowledge of the art of writing will enable persons of this class to carry on illicit traffic, to communicate privately among themselves and to evade those regulations that are intended to prevent confederations among them," whereby it will be "impossible to distinguish between the free and the slave of our coloured population." He therefore knows "of no remedy so effectual and at the same time so little liable to objection as the absolute prohibition of all shools for the instruction of coloured persons." In addition, Johnson asks that the practice of owners and others in hiring slaves and free persons of color in their stores and shops be halted. In addition to denying employment to the white population, this situation introduces "the coloured population and especially slaves, into situations which are inconsistent with their condition." The petitioner suggests "that the system of Slavery is so interwoven with the constitution of our Society that even if our interests permitted it would be impossible to eradicate it." He believes, therefore, that "it becomes highly important that the regulations necessary for maintaining this State of things in peace and security should be permanently established and regularly maintained."

PAR Number 11384302

State: South Carolina Year: 1843
Location: Barnwell Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Forty-two citizens of Barnwell District "are satisfied that an evil of great magnitude pervades to some extent the whole State, and one which strikes at the vitals of our domestic Institutions, which demands at the hands of the Legislature some effective measures for its suppression." The petitioners "allude to the illicit traffic with Slaves." They lament that "the owner of the property is defrauded of his just Gains, and the slave is made the vehicle through whose hands the stolen property is passed. Thus through the base and nefarious means used, the slave is made the fit instrument of crime, and being trained to every violence, he too often eventually becomes an assassin or incendiary. His mind corrupted, his body diseased, he either fills a premature grave by the effects of disease or through the administration of justice, expiates his crime on the gallows, while the promoter and partner of his guilt escapes with impunity and in defiance of the law." Noting that the dockets are crowded with indictments for trafficking, the petitioners seek a law imposing corporal punishment on whites for a second conviction for trafficking with slaves, either selling them liquor or purchasing corn, rice, or cotton, "the three great staples of the County."

PAR Number 11386301

State: South Carolina Year: 1863
Location: Fairfield Location Type: District/Parish

Abstract: Thirteen Fairfield District residents seek a limit on the number of "able Bodied Negro men" employed in the turpentine business; their employment there greatly reduces "the number of Hands, that ought, we think, be employed in raising such Provisions as the Salvation of our Cause depends upon." The petitioners further argue that since cotton is restricted, turpentine should also be limited. In addition, they contend that "those hands employed in the above business being mostly Hired, and Provisions so very high many of them will live by Committing depredations on the Neighbouring Cribs and Stock while there is not white men enough left in the County to do Patrol duty."

PAR Number 11586001

State: Texas Year: 1860
Location: Gonzales Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen-year-old John Blackwell petitions the legislature for the authority to control his own affairs. Blackwell, a farmer, "feels and believes that he is competant to attend to his own business, and to exercise all the rights, privilleges, and functions of a free man." He further explains that "he is the legal owner of property that is suffering and accumulating him nothing by reason of the opportunities being with-holden from him, of availing himself of higher wages a healthful location -- prudent care of his slaves and a higher rate of interest on money." He states that "some of his Slaves being old, and many of them little children that require the fostering hand of a good Master instead of the abuse and neglect to which a hired condition subjects them." Blackwell therefore prays that "your Honorable Body will enfranchise him, and confer on him the powers and privileges of a free man, to possess himself of the control of his estate."

PAR Number 11586701

State: Texas Year: 1867
Location: Wharton Location Type: County

Abstract: Nineteen residents of Wharton County propose the establishment of "an Orphans Assylum and manual laboring Institute, for the Education of Freed minors and orphans of the African race." They believe that the condition of "the Entire Black population [that] have been emancipated" as well as the condition of "the White Citizens Among whom they are destined to remain would be infinitely bettered by extending to them the advantage of an Education." They "believe such an institution can be organized upon a Plantation productive in Cotton, Corn, Potatoes and other vegetables that will not only afford the means of Education to 3 or 400 a year, and at the same time instruct them in sound morals, and industrial habits." Of the firm opinion that "the matter should be under the Control of Southern men," the petitioners pray that the legislature "grant unto them a Charter, whereby they may become a body Corporate for that purpose."

PAR Number 11684308

State: Virginia Year: 1843
Location: Albemarle Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1833, George Rives, having inherited from his father about thirty slaves for whom he "felt all the peculiar ties of duty & attachment as is common under like circumstances," moved to Mississippi and acquired a cotton plantation. After two years, he discovered he had overestimated the potential profits and decided to bring his slaves back to Virginia. His creditors, however, initiated a suit, and he was delayed for a number of years. He has now settled with his creditors, and seeks permission to bring the "remnant" of his slaves, for whom he has great attachment, back to Virginia.

PAR Number 20183002

State: Alabama Year: 1830
Location: Bibb Location Type: County

Abstract: Harwood Goodwin states that in October 1823 he "did place in the possession of said [Benjamin] Camp a Certain negro man slave named Jim, of the age of sixteen years," as collateral for the one hundred dollars he owed Camp, who is his son-in-law. Goodwin states that Jim was worth six hundred dollars and, as part of the agreement, he stipulated that the first year Camp pay him $60, "at a hire of five dollars per month for the first year, and that the hire was to increase as the boy grew older & became more servisable," continuing until the debt was repaid. Goodwin also borrowed another $250 from Camp, offering a slave, Lucy, worth five hundred dollars, as collateral, with the same conditions of hiring out to repay the debt. Goodwin says that Camp "has been long since reimbursed," and that "during such time of hire & while in his possession or under his control, or by his Improper & cruel Treatment ... Lucy has been greatly injured & her value greatly decreased." The petitioner further states that Lucy has given birth to a child during this time. As Camp refuses to settle accounts, Goodwin asks the court to force Camp to return the three slaves; to pay "all monies with legal interest on the same for the services of said slaves over the amount due respondant from Orator;" and to pay for the injuries sustained by Lucy while in Camp's possession. Goodwin is also suing Camp "for the damages, or injuries sustained in his interest, by causing the death of the mare & colt" belonging to Goodwin as well as for compensation for his son's services while employed by Camp. In his answer, Camp contends that the property was placed and allowed to remain in his possession on his agreeing to financially bail out his father-in-law, whose property was levied on several times. He claims that there never was any talk of his paying hiring fees.

PAR Number 20184212

State: Alabama Year: 1842
Location: Sumter Location Type: County

Abstract: William H. Thompson seeks to settle business accounts with his former partner Lott Ballard. He states that, being possessed of slaves but no land, he agreed to buy one half of a tract of land from Ballard and to enter into a farming partnership with the latter. He claims that he and Ballard had verbally agreed that each partner "should furnish an equal number of negro slaves and that each should supply an equal portion of horses & mules, farming utensils and all other things." Each partner was to share equally in the plantation profits and both could "supply themselves from the product of said plantation so far as said product would answer the purposes of subsistence." The petitioner charges that "Ballard & Lott" raised 130 bags or 65,000 pounds of cotton in 1838 which netted the partners a $2000 profit. He cites that the plantation yielded 180 bags of cotton in 1839 and 140 bags of cotton in 1840. Thompson "expressly charges, that out of the proceeds of the cotton crops of the years 1838, 1839 and 1840 he has never received one dollar to his share." They agreed to dissolve the partnership in 1841, and he now asks that the court order Lott to settle accounts and "pay your Orator his share of said partnership profits."

PAR Number 20184301

State: Alabama Year: 1843
Location: Chambers Location Type: County

Abstract: The petitioners, Felix Stanley and William Blount, seek to settle a title dispute arising from a loan made by them to John Davis secured by "deed of trust or mortgage with power of sale on three negroes, slaves for life." The mortgage also covered a tract of land owned by Davis, who died before he could repay the note. The petitioners report that they are unable to receive a valid title to the land because John Freeman claimed title based on another deed of trust. Freeman has forcibly taken possession of the land, the dwelling house, and the crops and livestock. In addition, the petitioners fear Freeman "is committing waste on said land," resulting in "their security ... becoming more precarious." Stanley and Blount seek to "have the title to said land perfected" so that the mortgaged property, while it still has value, can be foreclosed and sold. Until such a decree, the petitioners ask that the land be leased and that Freeman account "for the rents and profits of said land" since it has been in his possession. The loan advanced by Stanley and Blount to John Davis was to pay a prior debt of $1875 to one Edward Bangle, for which debt Davis had mortgaged two of his slaves, Dilsey and Mahala. Stanley and Blount advanced the money to Davis in order to prevent the sale of the two slaves who had been seized and advertised for sale when Davis failed to pay the debt.

PAR Number 20184409

State: Alabama Year: 1844
Location: Sumter Location Type: County

Abstract: James Hair, administrator of the estate of Sarah Boyett, charges that Missouri Boyett claims wrongful title to slaves belonging to the estate. Hair notes that Sarah's will, dated 25 November 1841, clearly bequeaths her ten slaves to several of her children. However, on 23 May 1842, Sarah Boyett conveyed the same slaves to Jesse Gibbs who in turn assigned his interest in these slaves to Missouri Boyett. Hair asserts that the conveyance to Gibbs was "nothing more, and nothing else than mortgages of the property ... to secure him in the payment of a large sum of money," which Hair claims was repaid in large part by Boyett before her death. He contends that Sarah Boyett thought that Missouri, her daughter, was acting as her agent in helping her regain ownership of her slaves. But Hair accuses Missouri of "intending, designing and contriving to cheat and defraud the heirs and legatees" and believes that she is planning to carry off said slaves "in a secret and clandestine manner." The petitioner asks that Missouri Boyett be restrained from leaving the state and that the sheriff take the slaves into his possession until the estate is settled.

PAR Number 20184503

State: Alabama Year: 1845
Location: Lowndes Location Type: County

Abstract: In February 1840, Peter Williamson and Arthur F. Williamson became farming partners, renting a plantation from Edmund Tatum on the Alabama River in Lowndes County. They agreed to divide the profits in proportion to the number of slaves each provided (Peter nine and Arthur five) and that Peter's overseer Richard Clanton would work the hands. Before the crop was harvested, Arthur complained that Peter was indulging "a negro woman in a state of pregnancy ... although the said negro was employed in the service of the family during the time she was withdrawn from the labours of the plantation." To satisfy his partner, Peter agreed to split that year's cotton profits of $1,178.19 down the middle. The two had another dispute over Peter's purchase of "a negro boy named Dick." The partnership continued, however, but in 1845 Peter filed suit, charging, among other things, that Arthur failed to produce an account of profits from the 1843 cotton crop, and refused to pay his share of the bills. The dispute also involved a debt due by Arthur for the hire, in the year 1839, of a slave belonging to William Tatum, a minor, who was Peter's stepson and for whom Peter was guardian.

PAR Number 20184507

State: Alabama Year: 1845
Location: Sumter Location Type: County

Abstract: Following the death of her parents, Missouri Boyett was left "without any other white person" on their plantation. She was the owner of ten slaves who came from her father's estate and whom she had purchased from her mother. With little knowledge of business, and "being scarcely able to read & to write her name," she hired Andrew Edwards as an overseer and manager. According to Missouri, she soon discovered that he was seeking to deprive her of her property. She claims that he virtually stole one of her slaves and later hired him out. He then tricked her into signing a bill of sale for five slaves--Abram, Isham, Bailus, Joe, and Moses--and signing a promissory note for twenty-five hundred dollars. The bill of sale was executed as a mortgage to secure the payment on the promissory note. Edwards then transferred the bill of sale and mortgage note to James W. Alford. She never "obtained any thing of the smallest value" for either the bill or the note, she asserts, and now is "absolutely penniless & stripped of her property." If nothing is done, she will be "totally ruined & rendered bankrupt." She charges fraud and seeks relief. A related document reveals that one of the slaves, Abram, had been sent to Mississippi to shield him from the law, as he had been charged with a crime. The same document also reveals that Missouri may have had plans to send Abram to Ohio to be freed. A related petition gives the name of Missouri's mother as Sarah Boyett.

PAR Number 20184622

State: Alabama Year: 1846
Location: Barbour Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1805, Martha Walton of Prince Edward County, Virginia, conveyed in trust to her granddaughter Martha Williams and her children, a nine-year-old slave child named Nancy Dean and her future increase; in 1806, Thomas Scott conveyed to Martha and her children a ten-year-old child named Cloe, and their future increase. In 1807, General Thomas Glasscock of Richmond County, Georgia, conveyed to Martha and her children nine slaves, including Rose and her children Ben, Lizza, and Bob, and Jim and his wife Jenny and her children George, Anny, and Jim; and in 1807, James Gresham of Wilkes County, Georgia, conveyed to the same three more slaves. Martha and Zachariah had three children: Robert, Blanche, and Mary, who stood to inherit the slaves at Martha's death, but many years after Martha had died and Zachariah had remarried, the father maintained control over the slaves. In 1827, the children--Robert W. Williams, Blanche Gibson, and Mary W. Evans--conveyed to their father all of the slaves with their increase they had inherited from their mother. By then the slaves numbered "upwards of thirty." In 1837, Zachariah Williams moved from Richmond County, Georgia, to Barbour County, Alabama, where he died in 1840, leaving as heirs children from his first marriage and also children from his second marriage. Now Mary W. Williams Evans and her husband are suing Zachariah's widow, Sarah, and the children from the second marriage, including Zachariah, Evelina W. Dobbins, and Gazaway D. Williams. Mary Evans seeks a portion of the slave property, and compensation equal to the hire of slaves purchased by Zechariah "out of the trust funds in his hands."

PAR Number 20184710

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

Abstract: By 1836, Clarke County slave owner William Matheson had acquired a sizable estate: a saw and grist mill on the Alabama River, a "great quantity" of wood to supply steamboats, bank bills from various states, bank stock in the Planters and Merchants Bank of Mobile, and "many slaves." In his 1836 will, he bequeathed a slave girl Phillis to his daughter Mariah, and a legacy of thirty thousand dollars to Mariah and his two other daughters, Flora McCaskey Matheson and Caladonia Matheson. He directed that beginning in 1832 Mariah should receive one thousand dollars a year for ten years when she would reach age twenty-one. This was to be paid out of his estate by his executors who were directed to keep the mills and plantation in operation. Following Matheson's death, John Murphy and John Darrington became administrators. But Mariah, a minor, did not receive her bequests. In 1847, she and her husband seek damages from Darrington (Murphy had died), including the original bequests from her father and profits from wood sales and cotton production during the 1830s and early 1840s.

PAR Number 20185006

State: Alabama Year: 1850
Location: Coosa Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1843, Milley David married Henry P. David in Autauga County, Alabama. The bride owned twenty-two slaves, eight mules, a stock of cattle, hogs, a piano, household goods, and about six hundred acres of land. She estimated the value of her property at $20,000. Henry David, a recent migrant from Georgia, owned two slaves and a small amount of land. In 1844, the couple moved to Coosa County. It was then, Milley contends, that her husband began to abuse her. He whipped her with a cowhide, inflicting ten lashes; "the blows were so severe," she said, "as to cut the skin." On another occasion, he put her head between his legs, "striped up the clothes," and "inflicted about a dozen lashes upon the bare person of your Oratrix with a whip which was commonly Called a negroe whip." In August 1847, Milley abandoned their farmhouse. She now asks for a divorce, and that all property acquired by her husband through his marriage to her and acquired "since the said marriage by & with the profits or proceeds of the property the said Defendant acquired by his said Marriage, be vested in your Oratrix to her sole and separate use free from the control, management, debts & liabilities of said Defendant." Henry P. David denied that he whipped or struck his wife, claimed she drank to excess, and when drinking was "of a very high and bad temper." His defense was eventually successful. In 1855, Milley's divorce suit was dismissed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

PAR Number 20185107

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

Abstract: When Mary Wellborn's husband, Isaac Wellborn Sr., died about 1839, she received his entire estate for her use during her lifetime, including four hundred acres of cotton land, horses, mules, cattle, hogs, sheep, farming utensils, corn, fodder, oats, household and kitchen furniture, and thirty slaves. Mary was, however, "very feeble in mind and body," and "wholly incompetent to manage her affairs." As the years passed, she became childish and imbecilic. Between the death of her husband and Mary's own death in 1850, Elias Wellborn moved on her plantation and ran it, working the slaves on her land as well as on his. In 1842, he harvested sixty-one bales of cotton, averaging four hundred pounds. He shipped the cotton to New Orleans, and netted about $732 in profits. Between 1843 and 1850, he harvested between 45 and 80 bales each year. By 1850, the date of Mary's death, the number of slaves in her life estate had risen to thirty-seven, including twenty-five children under age ten. Following Mary's death the Probate Court appointed James Thomas, Madison County Sheriff, as the administrator of her estate. Thomas seeks a full account of Elias Wellborn's profits during the eight years he managed the plantation.

PAR Number 20185203

State: Alabama Year: 1852
Location: Greene Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1838, George Hays, owner of several plantations and about 180 slaves, died leaving a wife and three small children. In his will he appointed William P. Gould and four other men as executors. In 1839, the other four men having declined the executorship, Gould qualified as such and took possession of the property as administrator of the estate. In 1844, Gould's administratorship was revoked but he continued to work the estate until January 1845. In 1852, when Gould tries to render a final account of his administratorship, the children and heirs, Charles, Mary, and George Ann, by their next friend Robert Leachman, sue. They charge Gould with waste and mismanagement, and specify a number of misdeeds committed by Gould during the years of his administratorship. They point out in particular that he hired an overseer who had a "cruel, brutish and inhuman disposition." The petitioners recount several examples of the overseer's abuse. He abused "a negro man by the name of George, by cruelly whipping him and putting out his right eye;" he abused "another negro man by the name of Claiborne by getting him down and jumping upon his back with the heels of his shoes;" and he beat a third slave so brutally that he later died. Moreover, Gould failed to provide slaves with "blankets or other bed clothing," pushed women to labor long hours in bad weather, and forced slaves to live in "miserable Hovels not fit for horse stables." Most of the "breeding women on said Plantations were rendered almost entirely barren, and worthless as such" and "are subject to continual miscarriages," the petitioners lament, while a large number of children have died. The heirs estimate that the maltreatment and malnourishment of the female slaves have cost them the loss of some forty children through either barrenness of the females or abortions. They also estimate that they lost another fifteen children due to neglect in their tender years. The Hays children, two of them still minors, seek an injunction to prevent Gould from settling the estate and to get compensation for the financial cost of his mismanagement.

PAR Number 20185204

State: Alabama Year: 1852
Location: Madison Location Type: County

Abstract: Emily Cornelius states that she had fled from her home with her three-month-old son, for fear of the violence inflicted on her by her husband, William Cornelius, a "habitual drunkard." She contends that William treated her in a most "cruel barbarous & inhuman" manner; he inflicted "violent blows with his fists & feet;" and he menaced her with threats of "the most dreadful character" including death. On one occasion, in a drunken rage, he even struck his own mother, who lived on the plantation. Emily seeks a divorce, custody of the child, and alimony as the court "may deem meet." Cornelius is a man of considerable wealth and property, Emily explains, worth between thirty-five and forty thousand dollars. He owns more than eight hundred acres of plantation land and "about thirty five" slaves. In addition, he "has a valuable crop of Corn & Cotton growing on his said plantation & a considerable Amount of good debts due to him." In response, Cornelius admitted that he occasionally drank to excess, but denied that he ever physically abused his wife. In any event, she knew he drank from the beginning. On their wedding day in 1845 he could barely stand and suffered from one of the "worst of his paroxysms of intoxication" during his life.

PAR Number 20185301

State: Alabama Year: 1853
Location: Lowndes Location Type: County

Abstract: In 1850, Catharine Ferguson, owner of "a very likely negro girl slave" named Emaline or Puss, and five other slaves, married William Whittle Sr. On Christmas Day 1852, William "secretly abandoned his house" and "carried off the said negro slave Emaline or Puss-- and has fled to parts unknown." The wife sues for the return of her slave, or payment, and asks that William be removed as her trustee and that she be declared a free dealer with the authority to possess, control, and manage her separate estate. The court grants her petition; Catharine is allowed to manage her property, together with "the rents, issues, proceeds, and profits thereof." She also regains possession of Emaline.

PAR Number 20185308

State: Alabama Year: 1853
Location: Autauga Location Type: County

Abstract: In the mid-1840s, Eliza, a slaveholding widow, married Barnabas Strickland, a migrant from Georgia, described as charming, intelligent, "a man of Specious manners & respectable appearance & a Minister of the Gospel." The couple signed a prenuptial agreement giving Eliza control over her land and slaves. She soon discovered that Barnabas was not only heavily in debt (although he owned a slave woman and her children), but was inept in managing the plantation. She invited her son-in-law, George C. Burns, to come and help her but he left after conflicts with Strickland. Sometime around the year 1848, Barnabas agreed to turn over her slaves to his wife in payment for money owed her; the slaves were nevertheless taken from her possession. Shortly thereafter, Barnabas arranged to purchase slaves in his wife's name, but later sought to make this property his own. Eliza "resisted," and asked her son, William Boswell, to come and take over the plantation. The husband said he would "deliver up control" only if his wife turned the title of her slaves over to him. Fearing he might cause trouble and embarrassment, and after consulting with a lawyer, she agreed. He then mortgaged the slaves, took the cash, and fled from the county. At midnight, on New Year's Eve 1852, creditors sneaked on to her plantation, rounded up the slaves, and took them away. She filed suit against the creditors as well as her husband but the sheriff reported that they were "not found in my County."

PAR Number 20185332

State: Alabama Year: 1853
Location: Montgomery Location Type: County

Abstract: The administrator of the estate of Joseph P. Saffold, deceased, asks to sell "all of the personalty shown & particularly set forth by him in his inventory" to pay debts of the estate. He purposely excludes "the negroes & private library of the deceased."

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