If any slave is deserving of freedom, he is.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

To the honorable the Judge of the Superior Court for the County of Wayne, the Petition of Benajah Herring of said County

Your petitioner sheweth that he is the owner of a negro slave Willis, and is desirous of being permitted to emancipate him. Your Petitioner sheweth that the said slave was raised by Michael Herring formerly of said County and after the death of said Michael belonged for many years to Ichabod Herring now of said County, that the said slave has been from his infancy up to this moment distinguished by his sobriety industry and faithfulness, that his services have uniformly been of the most meritorious kind, that he has been left in charge by his late master for months of his plantation and rural concerns and hath acquitted himself in the most exemplary manner, and that if any slave be deserving of freedom your Petiioner believes that the said Willis is. Your Petitioner saith that the said Willis hath by his industry and economy paid to his late master a considerable sum the price of his freedom and having secured the payment of the residue a conveyance of the said slave hath been made to this Petitoiner for the purpose of soliciting and endeavouring to effect his emancipation          /s/ Benajah Herring

Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Wayne County Miscellaneous Records, North Carolina State Archives.

The petition is undated, but Willis Herring is listed as a head of household in the 1840 census of Wayne County.