Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Category: Petitions

The murder of one Dick Jones.

To His Excellency John M. Morehead, Governor of the State of North Carolina

The Petition of the undersigned respectfully shew unto your Excellency that at the Fall Term 1842 of the Superior Court of Law for the County of Green an Indictment was tried against Joseph Suggs, Bright Cannady and Edith Brown for the murder of one Dick Jones, alias – Jeffrey Mares, a free Negro – that upon the trial of said Indictment the said Bright Cannady and Edith Brown were acquitted and the said Joseph Suggs was convicted of the murder of the said Dick Jones, that the undersigned are some of them acquainted with the said Joseph Suggs and beleive that he is a very ignorant illiterate man and has not the ordinary sense belonging to person of his age and station, that they beleive a violent assault had been commited on the said Joseph Suggs by Dick Jones and his brother Jim Jones who were both free Negroes, and that the shooting took place very soon – not more then a half hour after the assault was committed upon him by the said free Negros, but the Jury under the charge of the Court considered that rather prolong a time had elapsed before the wound was inflicted of which Jones died and therefore felt bound under the said charge to find him guilty of murder

They therefore most respectfully pray your Excellency to grant a pardon to the said Joseph Suggs

Signed this 14th day of October 1842

Jurors names who Tried the crimnal

John Beeman
John Sutton
John F. Jones
Thos Wooten
Parrott M. Hardy
Edward Carmon
Henry H. Gibbons
B.F. Hazelton
James E. Exum
John T. Pridgen
Chas. Edwards

[Names of 151 petitioners omitted.]

Governors Papers, Gov. John M. Morehead, G.P. 102, Correspondence, Petitions, etc., Sept., 1842; Correspondence, Petitions, etc., Oct. 1842; North Carolina State Archives.

She has been delivered of a colored child.

To the Honorable the General Assembly of North Carolina Now in Session,

The Humble Petition of Jacob Johnson Sheweth, That my wife Hannah has violated the marriage Vow, distinguished herself as an abandoned woman in point of Morals and Chastity, by having been delivered of a coloured child on the 4th day of January 1822, Since which time our conjugal embraces have entirely ceased. The which base action causes me your humble petitioner to Solicit your kind interference in giving me a final discharge from said Hannah.

Your Humble Petitioner further Sheweth that misfortunes in life has rendered me Unable to Apply for a divorcement in the way heretofore prescribed by an act of the General Assembly – That Honorable body who now alone is able to give Me redress. And your Humble Petitioner will ever Pray &c 27th Nov’r 1823. /s/ Jacob Johnson

We the under signed believe the above Stated grievances to be Undisputed facts and from long acquaintance know your Petitioner to have Supported a good Moral character.  /s/ Oscar Alston, Elisha Siler, Joshua Adcock, R. Freeman, Jesse, Bray, Henry Dorsett, Duty Dorsett

[Granted.]

General Assembly Session Records, November 1823-January 1824, Box 1, North Carolina State Archives.

He ill-treated, whipped and abused her, then took up with a slave.

North Carolina, Guilford County    }   Superior Court of Law, To Fall Term, A.D. 1866.

To the Honorable, the Judges of the said Court:

Mary Hubbard, of said County, by her petitioner, respectfully showeth unto your Honor, that she was born free and was intermarried, about twelve years ago, with a free man of color of the name of John Hubbard; that they obtained a license from the Clerk of the County Court of Alamance County and the rites of matrimony were solemnized between them by a Justice of the peace in said county; that your petitioner and her said husband, John Hubbard, lived together agreeably, and as man and wife should, for about three years; that during this time she was treated affectionately and kindly; that for some cause, to your petitioner then unknown, the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, began to ill-treat, beat, whip and abuse your petitioner in such wise as to make her life oppressive and burthensome; that this abuse of your petitioner continued from that time, with short intervals when he was less cruel and unkind to her, now and then, up to about the first of September, A.D. 1865; that prior to that time and to your petitioner’s quitting her said husband’s house, her said husband, the aforesaid John Hubbard, became intimate with one Emily, a slave then and in property of one Tobias May, of Alamance, and, as your petitioner is advised and believes, her said husband had habitually illicit and adulterous intercourse with the said Emily; that for these reasons and for the further reasons that her life with him became intolerable and unendurable, she left him and hath not cohabited with him since that time; that she is advised and believes, that the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, hath since kept up his illicit, adulterous and criminal intercourse aforesaid, with the said Emily May, who is now free, and he is illegally and improperly cohabiting with the said Emily at this time, contrary to law and in despite of his vows of chastity and fidelity to your petitioner, made and entered into at the time of their marriage; that your petitioner hath resided in this county for the last twelve years and ever since she was married, and now resideth here; that the course of action hath existed ever since last September, which is about ten and a half months; that your petitioner hath kept her vows of chastity and fidelity to her said husband, both before and since this parting; that she is now leading a correct and chaste life:

Your petitioner, for the reasons aforesaid, most respectfully prays your Honor, that the bonds of matrimony, now existing between her and the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, may be dissolved, and that your petitioner may have such other and further relief as the nature of her case may require and to your Honor may see merit.  She further prayeth, that the said John Hubbard be served with a copy of this libel, and a subpoena, commanding the said John Hubbard to appear at the next term of this honorable Court, to be held for the County aforesaid, at the courthouse in Greensboro; on the Fourth Monday after the Fourth Monday of September next; then and there, to plead, or answer, to this libel, and to stand to, abide by and perform the order, claims and Judgments of this Court. And an in duty-bound she will ever pray.    Scott & Scott, Attos. for Petitioner.

Divorce Records, Guilford County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

He releases the brute creation from many complaints.

To the worshipfull Court of the County of Perq’s Now Siting Greeting &c.

Whereas I have a Certain Negro Man named Francis which Nergroe I purchased about five years past Since which Time he hath demeaned himself as a faithfull Servant and hath from his Infancy been of an orderly life his knowledge & skil in Releasing the Brute Creation from Many Complaints which they are Insident to and his readiness to Serve the Citisens of his Neighbourhood ll taken in Veiw I consider Maritorious and Therefore Implore your attention to this particular case – beleiving that you will consider him worthy of that right which the Laws of out State allow in certain cases (which is Liberation. – firmly beleiving that If he should meet with your Sanction in this case that he would be of material Servise in the Neighbourhod. I am desirous that you in your good wisdom may emancipate him the said Francis & that his name may be caled Francis N. Bundy and as in duty Bound Your Petitioner wil pray &c. May 13th 1806 /s/ Benjamin Bundy

We the Subscribers being wel acquainted with the within named Frank do believe that it would be Great Justice for him to be emancipated as he is a Servisable Negroe in the Neighbourhood who answers the description within mentioned.  /s/ Pha’s Nixon, Josiah Robinson, Thomas Church, Samuel Weekes Jr., Enoch Newby, Charles Overman, John Overman, Josiah Muncey

The above Petition is Granted by the Court.  /s/ Ch’s W. Blount

Perquimans County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The peculiar circumstances: the husband might become a slave of his children.

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina now in Session – The Petition of Lovedy Henderson a free woman of color, respectfully represents that your Petitioner intermarried some years since with a certain man of color by the name of Horace, then a slave, but with the consent of his owner. That since their marriage by care and industry, she has been enabled to purchase her said husband at the price of Eight Hundred & Seventy dollars of Hugh and John G. McLaurin Executors of Duncan McLaurin deceased.  That she has paid the purchase money & has a Bill of Sale duly executed by the said Executors. That your Petitioner now has two children by her said Husband & as by possibility her husband might become the slave of her children, your petitioner is induced to ask the interference of your honorable body, as the only tribunal authorized to grant the relief prayed for. Your Petitioner would not presume to ask this indulgence in her favour, in contravention to the policy of the Laws of the Land, but from the peculiar circumstances of her case & the belief that she will be enabled to establish for her Husband such a Character as to entitle him to the favourable notice of your honorable body. For this, she relied on the certificates of highly respectable gentlemen both in Fayetteville & the City of Raleigh, where they have lived since their intermarriage. Your Petitioner therefore prays the passage of an Act, emancipating her said husband Horace Henderson, and she in duty bound will ever pray &c. /s/ Lovdy Ann Henderson

We Hugh McLaurin & John C. McLaurin Executors of Duncan McLaurin dec’d unite in soliciting the passage of an Act for the emancipation of Horace Henderson as prayed for by his wife and we are free to say that we have long known said Horace who is a Barber and a boy of unexceptionable good character and of industrious & moral habits.   /s/ H. MacLaurin for himself and John C. MacLaurin

We the undersigned citizens of Fayetteville freely unite in soliciting the General Assembly to pass an Act emancipating the negro man Horace, that we have known said Horace as a Barber & a Boy of good character, industrious habits and as we believe of the strictest integrity.  /s/ J.H. Hooper, John MacRae, John Kelly, Thos. L. Hybart, [illegible] Cochran, John Lippitt, D.A. Saltmarsh, Chas. B. Jones, [illegible] Hawley, William S. Latta, Jas. Huske, Duncan Smith, Henry W. Ayer

We the undersigned citizens of Raleigh freely unite in soliciting the General Assembly to pas an Act emancipating the negro man Horace, that he has lived in the place for the last three or four years as a Barber, and has conducted himself with the utmost propriety, that in his deportment he is humble & polite, free as we believe from any improper intercourse with slaves, industrious & honest.  /s/ M. Stokes, R.M. Saunders, Jo. Gales, B.W. Daniel, Geo. Simpson, J. Brown, John Primrose, Hazlett Wyle, Richard Smith, S. Birdsall, Jno. G. Marshall, A. Williams, Fabius J. Haywood, Robert Staniroy

General Assembly Session Records, November 1832-January 1833, Box 5, North Carolina State Archives.

In the 1850 census of Greensboro, Guilford County: Horace H. Henderson, 40, barber, and wife Love, 39, both born in Fayetteville; children James, 18, farmer, Mary Ann, 17, and Timothy, 14, born in Raleigh; and Albert, 10, Sarah, 8, Thomas, 4, and Alexander, 3, born in Greensboro; all mulatto.

[Sidenote: Ninety years after this petition, a Horace Henderson was born into my extended family, but I know no connection between my Hendersons, originally of Onslow County, and Lovedy Ann Henderson. -- LYH]

Some evil-disposed person sold him.

State of North Carolina, Pasquotank County   } Decem’r Term 1793

To the Worshipful the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for the County of Pasquotank aforesaid.

The petition of Jeremiah Alias Jeremiah Burges Sheweth

That he was Born of the Body of Nancy Alias Nancy Burges a Free Woman of Colour late of the said County of Pasquotank that some evil disposed person during the Infancy of your Petitioner sold him as he hath been informed to Edward Everigain late of the said County of Pasquotank Esquire deceased as a Slave in who Service he has since remained and that David George administrator of the said Edward Everigain since his death continues to hold your Petitioner in Slavery all which Actings & doings are contrary to the Law of Land & of Equity & good conscience In tender consideration whereof may it please your worships to grant to your Pet’r a Writ or Writs or Subp. Commanding the said David George adm. as aforesaid to appear & answer & to grant to your Pet’r such other & further relief as under the Act of Assembly in such case made & provided & in Equity he is entitled to receive & your Pet’t as in duty bound shall ever pray &c    /s/ Will Blair Atty

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The liberty which free persons in a free country are entitled to.

To the worshipfull the Justices of Craven County Court  March Term 1785

The humble petition of Dorcas Brinson Sheweth That she is illegally held in Servitude by William Clark when she conceives she is entitled to her Freedom & the Liberty which Free persons in a Free Country are entitled to, and as her Complaint is returned to your Worships, she humbly hopes you will take her case into Consideration and Discharge her from Servitude.

And as in duty Bound she will ever pray &c   Dorcas Brinson

Records of Slaves and Free People of Color, Craven County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

They have always been a nuisance, and now become a great danger.

North Carolina. To the Senate & House of Commons, Your memorialists, citizens of Currituck County, respectfully petition your honorable bodies to take immediate steps to relieve the people of this State of the free negro population, which has always been a nuisance, and now become an element of great danger. Scattered over the State, having at all times free communication with the slaves, the free negroes furnish a ready and safe medium for the diffusion of incendiary doctrines which we have abundant reason to believe have, especially of late, been instilled into the minds of the slaves, and they thereby rendered insubordinate and ripe for any wicked enterprise to which they may be instigated by Northern Emissaries. The minds of our people have for several years past been directed to this source of danger, but recent events have produced a deep and settled conviction of the necessity of guarding against it, either by expelling the free negroes, or reducing them all to the condition of slavery. Your memorialists are [page torn] with us qualms as to the right of the Legislature either to expel them from the State, or to reduce them to a condition of slavery. Disfranchised in this State by the convention of 1835, the Supreme Court of the United States, the highest judicial tribunal in our country, by a late decision has decided that they are not citizens under the Constitution; and it must be admitted that here, the only rights to which they are entitled are strictly & solely legal, and therefore subject to revision or change by act of the Gen’l Assembly. Whatever diversity of opinion, however, may be Entertained in reference to this question, it strikes your Petitioners that there is one view of the subject that cannot fail to impress the mind of Every good citizen; all must admit that the present is a time of great danger; such in fact as never before Endangered the peace & safety of the Southern States, and threatened the institution of slavery; it is unnecessary to enter into any statement of facts to prove the truth of this declaration, what is the first duty of the people of North Carolina? Surely, to provide all necessary means to ward off the threatened danger – your Memorialists, firmly believing the removal of the free Negroes from the State, or their reduction to the same condition of the slave population, one of the necessary means, hold that the plain right of self defense would justify such action on their part through their Legislature, and that such legislation at this time would meet the approving voice of the whole body of the Southern people & challenge the approbation of all others throughout the country who properly appreciate our position & respect our rights. But your Memorialists do not design submitting any argument upon the subject to your honorable bodies, either as to the right or the expediency of the policy they recommend; nor do they propose to advise any particular plan for the accomplishment of the object in view, being content to leave the matter to your own good judgement, guided as they believe it will be by sound patriotism and a just sense of your representative duties. They cannot refrain, however, from suggesting that according to their own judgements the wisest and most judicious policy would be to provide for the removal of all such as might choose to go to the Northern States within a certain fixed time, and to authorise the several county courts to sell as slaves all such as remained after the Expiration of the time named in the act and believing that sound policy requires that all proper means should be resorted to to strengthen the institution of slavery by increasing the number of slave holding citizens and otherwise, your Memorialists would recommend, in case the above policy be adopted, that the right of purchase should be confined to these citizens of the state who are not already owners of slaves; that no one person should be allowed to become the purchaser of more than one, except in the case of mothers and small children, that all negroes so purchased shall be exempt from execution for debt, and not transferable by sale and purchase for a term of years. Trusting that your honorable bodies will give this subject that serious attention which its importance entitles it to, your petitioners will ever pray &c

General Assembly Session Records, November 1860-February 1861, Petitions Box 8, North Carolina State Archives.

He has accumulated $6000 in livestock, negroes and money, and he petitions for freedom.

To the Honorable The General Assembly – of North Carolina –

The petition of Ned Hyman (a slave) humbly complaining sheweth unto The Honorable The General Assembly aforesaid, that your petitioner now residing in the Town Williamston in the County of Martin & state aforesd, and by occupation a farmer — was born some fifty four or five years ago the property & slave of one Jno. Hyman of Bertie County, that sd Master Saml., that after sd Master Saml., in whose possession and under whose control and management your petitioner lived and served from the time up to the death of sd Master Saml — which happened some time in the year 1828 — Since that time your petitioner with little exception has been under the control of the Executor of his sd decd. Master. Your petitioner would further state, that during his long period and through every change of Master or service your petitioner has been a faithful and an honest servant to the interest of him or her whom it was his duty to serve — and of this he hopes he can give the most satisfactory testimonials. Your petitioner would further state that some time about his Twenty-seventh year he intermarried with one Elizabeth Hagans a free woman of Colour with whom he has lived in friendship and harmony with little or no exception ever since; (and although your petitioner has been informed that the sd union or marriage did not constitute your petitioner & sd Elizabeth “husband & wife” in the Legal acceptation of that phrase — yet your humble petitioner would ask the indulgence of your Honorable body and hope that it will not be considered at all presuming, to use these words, through out the remainder of this petition and the other writings accompanying it, when ever there may be necessity for them or either of them, instead of words — of like import –) Your petitioner would further state, that through the indulgence and advantages which his kind & benevolent master extended to him, aided by his industry prudence and frugality and seconded by the virtues and exertions on the part of your petitioners wife — Elizabeth, (not less profitable,) your petitioner 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 your petitioners wife Elizabeth — Your petitioner would further state that it was the wish of his decd Master Saml. Hyman expressed to his family often times during his last illness that your petitioner after his death should do service as a slave to no person — but that as far as was consistent with the Laws of the State he wished him to be free — alleging as the reasons, that your petitioner had been a trusty faithful and obedient servant to him through a long period of years; that your petitioner would further state that in furtherance of this kind and benevolent wish of your petitioners decd Master for your petitioners future freedom and happiness, his Executor Jno. S. Bryan has (At your petitioners request) sold your petitioner to your petitioners sd wife Elizabeth. — that your petitioner by his sd. wife Elizabeth has three children Penny, Sarah, and Ned — the two daughters are of full age, the son nearly so — that your petitioner has been informed that by, either the death of his sd wife Elizabeth or a change in her feelings or disposition towards your petitioner, your petitioner might not only lose his whole estate but even that portion of freedom and happiness, which by the kindness of his wife he is now permitted to enjoy. But your petitioner in justice to his kind and affectionate wife Elizabeth would further state, that she is not disposed at all to abridge in the least degree the liberty or happiness of your petitioner but wishes and desires (if consistent with the will of the Honorable The Genl. Assembly aforsd) that the same may be inlarged & increased — that she is therefore perfectly willing and anxiously desires to give up her sd title to your petitioner to the Honorable Genl. Assembly aforesaid that they may confer the same (by an act of manumission) to gether with such other liberties and privileges & immunities as other free persons of Colour now by law enjoys, — upon your petitioner — that to this end & for this purpose the sd Elizabeth the wife of your petitioner will unite with your petitioner in praying The Honorable Genl. Assembly aforesad — that they would take his case into consideration and to pass such an act in favor of your petitioners manumission they as they in their wisdom may deem meet and proper — that in Confirmation of the sd Elizabeths sincerity in this prayer and request she will most willingly Sign this petition with your petitioner — Your petitioner considers that further enlarging might be trespassing too much upon the time of The Honorable the Gen. Assembly aforesaid — But in conclusion however your petitioner would further stat that from this facts already stated it must be apparent in what an unpleasant and grievous situation your petitioner is placed — He has by laboring of in the nights and as such other spare times as his master would give him and by his prudence and frugality acquired an estate which (Say nothing of the uncertainties of life) he has not the assurance of enjoying even for a day — that he in a single hour might be placed in a worse condition than the day he began his life — that your petitioner has 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 — & the nearest your petitioner has been able to approach an end so desirable to his decd Master, is, to have your petitioner vested in your petitioners sd wife Elizabeth — that it must be evident to the Honorable The Genl. Assemble from these facts in what a precarious condition, stand the property, the liberty and [e]ven the happiness itself of your petitioner — Your petitioner together with his wife Elizabeth therefore pray the Genl. Assembly aforsd in tender consideration of his unhappy and grievous condition to pass such an act for his benefit and relief, as in their wisdom may seem meet & in their justice may seem right & proper & your humble petitioners is in duty bound will ever pray &c   Ned X Hyman, Elizabeth X Hagans

Test Wm. B. Bennett, E.S. Smithwick

 

 

The poor fellow is an orderly and honest seaman.

To the Worshipfull the Justices of Perq’s County Court Now Siting

The Petition of the Subscribers in Behalf of a Certain Negro Man Named James formerly the Property of Thomas Newby of the County Aforesaid Humbly Sheweth That some time in the Year 1776 the said Thomas Newby Manumited the said Negro Man James, that since that the Greater Part of his time he has been Employed as a Seaman, and has made Several Voyages from this State & Virginia in the time of the Last War, and that he has Twice, or more been made Prisoner by the British, That he Embraced the Earliest Opportunity in Making his Escape to Return to this Country being the place of his Nativity, where he has a Wife & Children, That once during the War between America & Great Britain he Entered himself onboard of one of the American armed Vessels, That during the Time of his Servitude with his said Master, he behaved himself as a faithfull Servant, and Rendered his Master great Services as a Seaman, and that since his freedom we have reasons to Believe he has Continued to behave Orderly and Honest. We are therefore willing to hope that on your Worships Maturely considering and Weighing every particular, you will be of opinion that the Poor fellow is Intitled to some small share of Merrit, If that should be your worships Opinion. We earnestly Solicit (in the poor fellow behalf) that you Will permit an Entry to be made on the Minutes of your Court allowing the Fellow to have done Something Meritorious, and for that Reason you will give a Sanction to his freedom, that he may with Safety Visit his Wife and Children, when It will be in his Power to Render further Services to this State, as an able Seaman, & Your Petitioners Shall ever pray &c   /s/ Thos. Newby [and nine others]

[Granted.]

Slave Records, Perquimans County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

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