State of North Carolina, Pasquotank County } June Term 1797
To the Worshipful the County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions for Pasquotank County The Petition of Thomas Sylvester a Freeman of Colour Humbly Sheweth That he some years agoe took to wife a Negroe Woman Slave by the Name of Joan the property of a certain Jeremiah Symons who hath borne him four Children, to wit Abba, Nancy, Jerry and Annaretta. That by the Assistance, Industry economy & prudence of his said Wife Joan he hath been enabled to raise a sufficient Sum to purchase her and her Children from their said Master.
May it therefore please your worships taking your Petitioners Case under your consideration to prepare Order for the liberation & emancipation of the said Joan, Abba, Nancey, Jerry and Annaretta by the names of Joan Sylvester, Abba Sylvester, Nancey Sylvester, Jerry Sylvester and Annaretta Sylvester agreeable to the Power of Authority in your Worships Vested by the Act of the General Assembly in such Cases made and provided and Your Petitioner as in Duty bound shall ever pray & Will Blair for the Petitioner
In the 1790 census of Pasquotank County, Thomas Sylvester is listed as the head of a household of four “other free” people.
Records of Slaves and Free Persons of Color, Pasquotank County Records, North Carolina State Archives. US Federal Population Schedule.