Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: legislation

Finally passed.

Legislature of North Carolina. SENATE.

Monday, Dec. 12. — …

…The bill to emancipate Isaac, a slave, finally passed, 65-to-46, and was ordered to be engrossed.

North Carolina Sentinel, New Bern, 21 December 1836.

Unfavorable reports.


Mr. Courts, from the Committee on Propositions and Grievances, reported unfavorably in the bill to emancipate Jno. Good. On motion of Mr. Jones, of Orange, the bill was indefinitely postponed. Also, unfavorably, to the bill to authorize a free colored man of Wayne, to emancipate his wife and children. … Mr. Stanly said this was a case of great hardship, and he had heard the remarks of the gentleman from Wayne, not without being moved by the representation. … The bill was postponed – 56 to 53.

Mr. Courts also reported unfavorably to the bill authorizing Danl. Skein to emancipate his wife. On motion, it was indefinitely postponed.

Carolina Watchman, Salisbury, 18 January 1849.

[Sidenote: “A free colored man of Wayne County” was Hillary Croom. — LYH]

Concerning the emancipation of Chaney Moreman.

Whereas at the Autumn Term in 1833, of the Superior Court of Anson county, upon the petition of Benjamin Pratt, praying for the emancipation of Chaney Moreman, a slave, the property of said Benjamin Pratt, for meritorious services, such proceedings were had, that the said court, upon due proof of the matters stated in the said petition, did grant the prayer thereof, and did order, adjudge and declare the said Chaney to be emancipated, and entitled, by the name of Chaney Moreman, to all the privileges of a free born negro; and whereas the said petition and the memorial and record of the said proceedings have been lost or destroyed, and from the length of time since the said judgement was entered, doubts are entertained whether the said court can order the same to be now entered up as of the said term; and whereas, also, from the nature of the case, it is doubtful whether suit can be properly instituted for relief in a court of equity; and whereas the case is one of hardship and likely to result in injustice, without some provision by law in that behalf; for remedy whereof,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That it shall and may be lawful for the said Superior Court of Law, either at the next succeeding spring or autumn term, upon the application of the said Chaney Moreman, to receive evidence of the contents of the said petition and the proceedings and judgment hereupon, and of the loss or destruction of the papers or other memorial thereof; and upon satisfactory proof of such loss or destruction and of the contents of the said petition and other proceedings, to order and direct the said petition, proceedings and judgment to be enrolled in the said court, as a record of the term when the said proceedings were had and the said judgment rendered.

II. Be it further enacted, That upon sufficient proof being made, either by parol or record, that a decree of emancipation was ordered by the court agreeable to the petition of said Pratt, and that the clerk of the court shall have neglected to enter the same on record as ordered, that upon the said proof being made, the judge of the court shall order the decree to be entered nunc pro tunc as aforesaid.

Chapter X Page 157, Public and Private Laws of North Carolina 1833-34, North Carolina State Library.


He wishes to become a slave.

North Carolina State Convention.

The resolution to allow Elizabeth Chavis and child, free colored, to enslave themselves, was read the second time and referred to the committee on free negroes.

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 26 June 1861.




Mr. Davenport introduced a bill to authorize the voluntary enslavement of Wyatt, a free man of color. The bill was accompanied by a memorial, setting forth that said Wyatt wishes to become the slave of C.A. Featherstone, of Gaston county. Referred to the committee on propositions and grievances.

Weekly Standard, Raleigh, 3 December 1862.

An unfavorable report.

Mr. Montgomery, of Hertford, from the same committee [on propositions and grievances], to home was referred the petition of sundry citizens of Anson county, praying the passage of an act, to permit Ralph Freeman, a freeman of color of said county, to exercise the privileges and functions of a preacher of the Gospel, made an unfavorable report thereon, and asking to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, in which report the Senate concurred, and the committee was discharged accordingly.

Journals of the Senate and House of Commons of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at the Session of 1832-33 (Raleigh, 1833).

A grievance so oppressive.

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina.

Your petitioners coloured persons citizens of this State would approach your Honorable Body with all the defference & respect due to the Character of representatives of the People

They beg leave to state that some of them whose names are assigned to this petition bore an honorable part in the seven years War which established the Liberties of their Common Country: That during that eventful period they were taught to believe that all men are by nature free & equal, and that the enjoyment of life, liberty and property aught to be secured alike to every Citizen without exception & without distinction.

With these views they need not attempt to express to your Honorable Body the deep concern with which they learned of the passage of A Law at the last Session of the Legislature by which their lives & liberties are virtually placed at the mercy of Slaves. They would ask of your Honorable Body whether their situation even before the Revolution was not preferable to one in which their dearest rights are held by so slight a tenure as the favour of Slaves and the will & caprice of their vindictive masters: for it cannot escape the notice of your Honorable Body that persons of this description are bound to a blind obedience, and know no Law, but the will of their masters:

Your petitioners will not believe that your Honorable Body will hesitate to lend a compassionate ear to their well-grounded complaints, and to redress a grievance so oppressive to them, and so wholly incongenial with the spirit of our republican government

They therefore humbly pray your Honorable Body that the Act of the last Session of the Legislature making Slaves competent witnesses against them in Criminal Cases may be repealed.

/s/ Alien Brown, John X Rutniel, William Brown Senr, William Smith, James Smith, John Stafford, Willis W. Leer, William Weaver, Wiley Cotton, Larrance Weaver, Richd Cotton, Elias X Weaver, John X Flood, Whitmill Cavers, Dannel Copland, William Weaver, Micaiah Cotton, Reubin Trumbil, James Runeals, Phillip X Jones, John Manley, Jerra Reed, Thomas Weaver, Benjamon Copeland, Samuel X Flood, David X Boon, William Known Jnr., John Weaver, Isaac C. Hall, David Milton, Deanel Garner, Moses Manly, Dempsy X Flood, John Sears, Briton X Read, Jesse Weaver, James Reynolds, John Bizzell, Alien Hall, Orren Wyott, Kinston Robbins, William Manly, Malichia Neckins, Bryant Manley, William Hirass, William Weaver, John Weaver, Natthanuel Dolby, Jesse Flood, Shadrack Reed, Charles Weaver, Harvy Washington Hall.

[At left edge: Petition of Coloured persons to Legislature]

Appended to this petition is a supporting petition signed by 84 white citizens of Hertford County.

General Assembly Session Records, November-December 1822, Box 4, North Carolina State Archives.

To enforce payment of taxes.

The General Assembly of this State adjourned sine die on Saturday last. The following is a list of the Public Acts passed during the Session.

3. More effectually, to enforce the payment of taxes from free Negroes and Mulattoes. [Provides, that the owners of land, on which free negroes and mulattoes reside, with their permission, shall be liable for the public county and parish taxes of said negroes and mulattoes; and for refusal or neglect to give them in as free polls, in their list of taxables, to be liable to the same penalty as for a neglect or refusal to give in their own list.]

North Carolina Sentinel, New Bern, 17 January 1829.

A reward for apprehending a slave.


We take Monday’s proceedings from the Standard. Our Reporters’ letters annexed furnish those of Tuesday and Wednesday.

… Wednesday, Jan’y 30th.

Mr Peebles, a bill to pay to Evans Ferguson and Ben Smith, free persons of color, of Northampton County, $400, the reward by the Governor for the apprehension of Ephraim, a slave, for the murder of his master, Mr. Woodruff. Passed and sent to the Senate.

Carolina Observer, 4 February 1861.

A list of acts.


A list of some of the acts passed during the last session of the General Assembly.

To prevent the importation and bringing of slaves and servants of colour into this state.

To prevent the owners of slaves from hiring them their time; to make compensation for patroles, and to restrain the abuses committed by free negroes and mulattoes.

To emancipate Jack, alias Jack Small, a person of colour.

North Carolina Gazette, New Bern, 14 February 1795.

No tax, no teaching.

29. No county court shall tax any free person of color for the support and maintenance of common schools; and no person descended from negro ancestors to the fourth generation inclusive, shall be taught in said schools.

From Chapter 27, Public and Private Laws of North Carolina Passed by the General Assembly 1854-55, State Library of North Carolina.