Her complexion is an act of the Almighty, not her crime.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
Pasquotank County } To the Worshipfull the Justices of the Inferior Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of the County of Pasquotank County now in Court sitting. The humble Petition of Ruth Jillet a free born, coloured Woman, Humbly sheweth unto Your Worships, that she was born of a Free woman named Ann Jillet, The daughter of the Wife of one [blank space] Jillet of Powel’s Point, supposed by a Black Man; That your Petitioner’s mother moved from Currituck to a Neighborhood on Little River, and was delivered of your Petitioner at the House of one Timothy Mead, where she remained until the Death of her Mother and the said Timothy, at whose [illegible] she was sold to one Blackstock who she verily believes was not ignorant of her Condition and Rights to Liberty, and sold her to a distant Merchant called Barny Coffoo of Newbern. At which place, she had eight, Several Masters, each getting rid of her, as soon as thgey could, on hearing of her Story, and her Resolution to regain her Liberty. That in the lifetime of her last Master John Bishop, she made her escape, and came to her native County, to which Place the said Bishop followed her and sold her to one Zachariah Jordon, (and he, as she has been informed gave no Purchase Money for her, and that the said Bishop enjoin’d the said Zachariah to inquire into her Rights and if true, to let her enjoy them, and if otherwise to send him payment, which was like the common Honest behaviour of his Life) who she believes, noways ignorant of the Premisses, still detains her in Slavery and Duress. Your Petitioner humbly begs to inform Your Worships, That she has been so happy to find reputable and honest Evidence alive, although at the Distance of forty Years, of her Birth and of her Civil and Social Rights.
Whereupon your Poor and Distressed Petitioner humbly prays (Altho’ her Complection, which is an Act of the Almighty Not her Crime) Your Worships will, of your Mercy, take her Case under your Guidance and Consideration, and to render her such Redress as to Your Worships in your great Wisdom and Justice you shall seem Meet. And Your Poor Petitioner as in Duty bound and ever Pray &c, Ruth Jillet by Will Cumming her Att’y
Ruth Jillet vs Zachariah Jordon} Petition
Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives.