Faithful, humble and obedient.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

To the Hon.ble the Judge of the Superior Court of Law, for the County of Craven;

The petition of William Hollister respectfully sheweth unto your Honour that he is now the owner of two slaves by the name of Thomas, commonly called Tom Hollister, aged between forty six and fifty years, and another by the name of Mary aged about 28 (wife of Richard Smith a mulatto), that he is desirous of emancipating said slaves for their meritorious services and he shews unto your Honour that the said Thomas has served him faithfully in various capacities for near twenty years, that during that time he had made several voyages to the West Indies & New York where he might have easily obtained his freedom by absconding from his service – that he has been always obedient, humble & respectful in his deportment towards the whites. – that the slave Mary has been the property of your petitioner for fifteen or sixteen years, that she has been much trusted in the management of his household, and as nurse to his children, and has proved herself to be faithful, humble & obedient – She had now been living to herself for five or six years as free, and has maintained a good character for orderly & decent conduct, and industrious habits.

In consideration of the premises your Pet’r. prays your Honour that he may be permitted to emancipate said slaves agreeably to act of Assembly &c.

And your Pet’r. &c.     Jn. H. Bryan for Pet’r.

In the 1830 census of Craven County, Thomas Hollister is listed as a head of a household that included six free people of color and one slave.

Miscellaneous Records, Craven County, North Carolina State Archives.