Sufficient meritorious-ness?

by Lisa Y. Henderson

To the Worshipful the County Court of Chowan now Sitting

The Petition of Zachariah Webb humbly sheweth That he your petitioner has A Negroe Man by the name of Jack who is now far advanced in years and has been a faithful and orderly Servant ever since your petitioner was first acquainted with him which has been upwards of thirty years being raised with him. It being the wish of the said Negroe Jack to obtain his freedom, and having paid me a valurable consideration for his subsequent time induces your petitioner to apply to your worships to set free the said Negroe Jack agreeable to the laws in that case made and provided. Altho your petitioner has it not in his power to point out any very meritorious Services yet he humbly conceives in submission to your superior Judgment that a servitude of upwards of sixty years being faithfully discharged without once being accused of any misdemeanor whatever to sully his character as A slave, may be deemed meritorious services sufficient for your worships to exercise your humanity and goodness in the manumission of said Slave.   Zachariah Webb


We the Subscribers believe the facts stated in the above petition to be Just & true, we have for a long time been acquainted with the said Negro Jack, & always understood that he demeaned himself as a faithfull, Sober, obedient, & orderly Servant. And we do most cheerfully Join the Petitioner in Petitioning your Worships, to set free the Said Negro Jack.

/s/ E. Norcom, [illegible] Hasell, William Webb, Geo. W. Akins, Joshua Perkins, Thos. Rea, John Simons sen’r, Frederick Creecy, Jonathan Haughton jnr., Job Pettijohn, Ann Blount, James Sutton, Frederick Norcom, Joseph Standin, John Beasley, James Beasley, John Haughton, Thomas [illegible], T. Vail

[On the reverse: Petition of Sundry persons for the Emancipation of Negroe Man Jack, March Term 1799 — Granted]

Slave Records, Miscellaneous Records, Chowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.