Fourth Generation Inclusive

Historical Documents of Genealogical Interest to Researchers of North Carolina's Free People of Color

Tag: petition

Her complexion is an act of the Almighty, not her crime.

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.

Petition to free a dutyful wife.

State of North Carolina, Northampton County court, June term 1801.

To the worshipful the Justices of said court, the humble petition Len Kenchen free Negroe humbly complaining Shewing that he the said Len, upwards to ten years ago, purchased of a Mr. Robert Armstead, of Scotland Neck, a negroe woman called Rebecca for the sum of £45 Virg Curcy, and which said negroe, your petr. Len, had as wife, upwards of 15 years previous to said purchase, and until the present day.  And your petr. further shews that he the said Len and the said Rebecca previous to said purchase and until this date has always behaved herself as a dutyful wife and as a faithful servant.  Your petitioner therefore prays your worships will agreeable to the spirit and meaning of the act of assembly in such case Made, liberate and set free the said Rebecca, and your petitioner as in duty bound will pray   /s/ J.H. Keys

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

Your petitioners feels themselves Americans.

A petition from William Smith & others – free person of colour, praying to be colonized in some of the territory of the United States

Jan 14th 1851 — To the Honourable Assembly of the State of North Carolina.

The time has come where a portion of your people deem it necessary and prudent to cast themselves at your feet.  This portion is the free coloured people in the State of North Carolina.  Who in judging the future by the past do Humbly unite in praying and in petitioning this Honourable Assembly to [illegible] Congress in their behalf, to grant them a portion of the western Territory as a colony.  Your petitioners feel themselves much at a loss for proper words and language to express their feelings and apprehensions.  But their motive being pure they hope to find favor and clemency in your honourable wisdom.

Your petitioners are well aware of the importance of this petition, But the point they are activated by is reciprocal.  Many of your petitioners are the off springs of those who yielded their all in the revolutionary struggle But the blessings of which from political policy are withheld from them.

Your petitioners feels themselves Americans knowing no other clime nor soil and that pride has made it difficult for them to Beg abroad when they can ask at home.  While it is equilly hard to alienate their feelings.  Altho state policy may induce them to ask for a separation.  Should this meet your favor your petitioners hope to carry in their Bosoms parental and filial regard.

The law requires that your petitioners shall live alone praise the punish. But when success ennurns labour the public feelings pays, that the pressing influence has an injurious and gives a false stimulus to an other class.  Under this sense of fear, your petitioners have been constrained to be very vigilant in inactivity until that virtue has become a vice and now a source of public complaint.  Thus your petitioners find themselves in the condition of duress and punished for not labouring.  Your petitioners are no Aggressors on states rights nor policy.  Yet they regreat to see that they used as the whip in hand to flush the offenders into [illegible]; still the knel is constant on the public Ear – that your petitioners are the Eating cancers and the morbid incubus on the public purce. Your petitioners feel and behold with regreat the strong and painfull effort now making which  [illegible] them in the spirit of peace to ask for a Separation in the name and meaning of a colony.

Your petitioners are some what aware of the magnitude of the subject but fully persuaded of the good resulting will compensate for the hardships they may encounter.  Were your petitioners strangers they would hesitate to express a choice in this matter.  But being children of the American soil and traind to mechanical and farming arts they would dare that choice and if this should meet with favor in your wisdom they pray that your kindness will urge a salubrious clime and a productive soil, that the milk flowing there from may redound to the glory of the giver.  Like the infant sucking at its mothers Breast which every suction it makes draws from the springs of affection.

Your petitioners think they feel and see in this their prayer much Balm to heal the growing malidy and a spirit that may give peace and happiness to themselves and country.  The free people of this state numbers about 35,000 — some of the southern states more and some less.  Should your Wisdom decide in favor of a state or a general colony.  Your petitioners disdains to mention any theory but facts known better by your honours than themselves On presenting this petition they deem is unnecessary to say that they are proscribed.  This fact is known to your honours.  They now affix their names to this prayer in the presence of Each other and by proxy for many But all in the presence of God.

/s/ William Smith, James Dunn, Oscar Halston, Marcus L. Gervis, Branch Hughes, Thomas Roe, Henry J. Patterson, John Malone, Wyatt Copland, A. Payne, Lewis S. Leary, Lewis S. Chester, John E. Patterson, M. N. Leary 

Legislative Papers for 1851-1852, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.

Tax them and send them to Liberia.


JUNE 29th, 1850.

We, the undersigned citizens of the county of Beaufort, and of the State of North Carolina, do respectfully represent to the General Assembly of the State, that the White Mechanics of our State are laboring under a serious injury, inflicted upon them by the competition they experience from negro mechanics, which is not only an injury to them, but to every portion of the community, because it places a check against the advancement of Architecture, and forbids genius and talent from entering its employment on account of the degradation it may experience, by being brought down side by side with negro labor, or the small pittance it may receive for its industry from such a competition.  We therefore beg the General Assembly to take into consideration the propriety of laying a tax upon all colored Mechanics in the State, so as to guard more effectually against its increase.

There is another grievance to which we would call your attention, the free negro population which has increased to an alarming extent.

The law lately enacted by the Legislature of the State of Virginia, for the purpose of colonizing them in Africa, has made this grievance insupportable, because it drives large numbers of her free negroes into our borders, which is not only a burden on the white population of our State, but an injury to the slave interest itself.

Therefore we pray the General Assembly to pass an act, laying a tax upon free negroes which shall be applied for the purpose of colonizing them in Liberia, and if necessary, an additional sum from the State Treasury.

And your petitioners will ever pray, &c.

/s/ Arthur Morgan, John B. Ross and 40 others.