Franklin County Slavery Petitions

Following are abstracts of petitions filed by Franklin County Citizens from the Digital Library on American Slavery Collection.
These records includes the names of many slaves and can be very valuable for those researching their slave ancestors.
I've included the outcome of the petition if it was indicated in the record.

Franklin County -1781

On behalf of a committee representing Franklin County, John Robinson tells of the tax burdens of local residents. He laments that "Black Slave Children" are taxed high while still a charge to their owners and that "young grown Men of ?100 value able to work for their Living at a less rate than a Black Suckling." Robinson seeks relief.

Result: referred to committee




Franklin County - 1791

Presly Nelms states that "he furnished the Southern Continental army Commanded by General [Horatio] Gates with a New Waggon a four Horse Team complete, and a Negroe driver of his own property." Nelms recounts that "said waggon Team and driver were lost at the defeat of General Gates near Camden in South Carolina." Having received only "Twenty Six Thousand pounds depreciated Currency" for his loss of property, the petitioner seeks "a more Equitable allowance." He therefore prays that "your Honorable body will admit his Case to a fair Investigation and Grant such redress as to you Shall Seem Meet."

Result: referred to committee



Franklin County - 1792

Nine Franklin County Justices of the Peace represent that John Webb, the "at present and acting Justice of the peace ... Stands charged with vices and crimes So immoral and unbecoming the Dignity of a Magistrate, that they cannot with a Suitable Degree of Respect for themselves and the office they hold continue to act in concert with him." They accuse Webb of "Seducing & Trading with Slaves prevailing with them to plunder their Masters and turning this to his own advantage." They therefore pray that the said Webb be prevented "from acting in his Said Capacity of Justice of the Peace until time is given for him either to acquit himself of this charge or that he may be convicted thereof."

Petitioners: Jenkins Devaney, William Green, Durham Hale, Jordan Hill, Daniel Jones, William Lancaster, Joseph Norriss, John Norwood Jr., Henry Yarborough



Franklin County - 1817

David Sills and William Wheless, the executors John Hoof's will, explain that Hoof left "a Will which directs all his Slaves to be Liberated by the General Assembly." Being appointed to carry said will into effect, the petitioners beg "that your Honorable Body may View The Said Will and give them such relief as you may think proper." They further pray that "if your Honorable Body shall not think fit to liberate the whole of the Slaves named in the Will & the Children which has been born Since -- That you will take this part under your Humane Consideration, and enact Such Laws as shall Emancipate" a portion of said slaves, i.e., Sylvia, "admitted by the Said Hoof to be his child," her six children, and her three grandchildren. The petitioners note that some eighteen years ago Hoof gave Sylvia "away in Marriage to Drewry Owen," a free man of color, and that he "has had this woman with him at his own house this 15 or 16 years, and by their Industry have raised all these Children as free people, and at a great expence to him the said Drewry, without any aid, or controul of the said John Hoof."

Result: rejected

Berry mulatto male  - grandson of Hoof
Betty mulatto female - daughter of Hoof
Billy mulatto male  - grandson of Hoof
Dolphin mulatto male - grandson of Hoof
James mulatto male - son of Hoof
John mulatto male - son of Hoof
Nancy mulatto female - daughter of Hoof
Polly mulatto female - daughter of Hoof
Sally mulatto female  - daughter of Hoof
Sylvia mulatto female (daughter of John Hoof)




Franklin County - 1817

In 1799, Collier Hill died, bequeathing his slaves to four men "to keep or dispose of as they shall judge most for the Glory of God and good of said slaves." In 1817, a group of relatives argues that they should receive profits from the slaves because "a trust in the negroes resulted for their benefit as next of kin." John and Mary Huckaby along with John and Polly Haywood and Sally Adams sue Edmund Jones, executor of the estate, and others, for their share.

Result: demurrer; removed to Supreme Court; demurrer overruled

Petitioners: Sally Adams, John Haywood, Polly Haywood, John Huckaby, Mary Huckaby

Defendants: Collen Gant, Robert Hill, Edmond Jones, Hill Jones, Mariah Norwood, Washington Norwood

Charity - black female
Daniel  - black male
Dicey  -  black female 
Dick    - black male
Oliver  - black male
Patty   - black female
Sam    - black male
Sophia - black female




Franklin County - 1820

James Houze petitions to emancipate his slave Thomas who is "strictly honest," and in every respect exemplary. His former owner, William Blacknall, deceased, often said he wanted him to be freed. Moreover, House says, Thomas managed a blacksmith shop, including its accounts, for many years.

: granted

(Note: Former slave, Thomas Blacknall, became a successful owner of a blacksmith shop, earning enough to free all of his family members; by 1840, he was head of household of 12 Free People of Color)



Franklin County - 1822

Jesse Person seeks to free sixty-year-old Mingo, formerly owned by Captain William Green, deceased. Mingo "served his late master in such a faithful manner and performed so many good noble & meritorious acts" as to warrant his manumission. In addition, for many years, Mingo preached the gospel to whites and blacks in and around Louisburg. He gave entire satisfaction to "all the owners of Slaves who visit his meetings as well as others." In fact, Jesse Person informs the court, some of his Baptist congregation helped pay for his freedom.

Result: granted



Franklin County -1825

John Mitchell, a free man of color and a blacksmith, purchased his slave wife Polly but fears that following his death some of his many relatives in the area would "claim the right of property by kinship and endeavour to sell his wife." Mitchell says that Polly is "not only among the best of Slaves but among the best of wives," and asks that she be manumitted according to law.




Wake County - 1840

 In 1840, Ephraim Conyers of Franklin County conveyed five slaves in trust to John Conyers for the "sole and separate use" of his daughter, Nancy Hicks of Wake County, during her lifetime, and after Nancy's death to the "proper use and behoof" of John Conyers. The slaves have been in the possession of Nancy's husband since their marriage four or five years prior to the making of the deed of trust. One of the conditions of the deed of trust was that John Conyers, as trustee, had the right to take the slaves back from James Hicks, "at his discretion," and hire them out for Nancy's use and benefit. John Conyers has now discovered that Nancy's husband, James Hicks, having sold his land, is planning on moving to Missouri, or some other western state. He seeks to prevent Hicks, a man "addicted to intemperance" and financially imprudent, from taking the slaves, and asks that he be ordered to post "security in double the value of the said slaves conditioned for the delivery of the same to your orator."

Anderson - black male
Julia - black female
Louisa - black female
Lucy - black female




Franklin County - 1848

Amey Moore and "sundry other citizens of the county of Franklin" ask that David Moore, "a man of colour," be emancipated. They report that Amey sold the slave to Alexander McKnight for "the sum of one thousand dollars paid by the said Alexander McKinley, but which was in fact paid by the said David Moore with a view to the purchase of freedom." Having saved the life of the said Amey, the petitioners are "fully persuaded that David Moore is all respects a proper object for the favorable consideration of your honorable body." They therefore pray "you to confer on him (one of the highest gifts you have to bestow) his freedom."

Petitioners: Alexander McKnight, Alexander Moore, Amey[Amy] Moore, Jacob J. Moore, Lucius Moore




Franklin County - 1851

The members of the Neal family -- Leonidas, Elizabeth, and John, the latter a minor -- are joint owners of fifty-eight slaves, and they ask for a division of their human property. The slaves are divided into two groups, one group is owned by Leonidas, Elizabeth and John. The second group is owned by Elizabeth and John. They ask that the slaves in the first group be divided into "three equal lots," and the slaves in the second group into "two equal lots."

Result: granted

Petitioners: Elizabeth T. Neal, John Neal, Leonidas W. Neal, Willie Perry

Alfred - black male
Anderson - black male
Andrew - black male
Arch - black male
Ben - black male -son of Eliza
Ben - black male -son of Ben
Betsey - black female -dau/of Ben
Bill - black male
Bob - black male
Calvin - black male
Caroline - black female
Cressy ([Creacy]) - black female
Daniel - black male
Dudley - black male -son of Ben
Elbert - black male
Elick ([Ellick]) - black male
Eliza - black female
Ellen - black female
Emily - black female
George - black male
Green - black male
Helen - black female
Henry - black male
Jack - black male
Jacob ([Big Jacob]) - black male
Jacob ([Little Jacob]) - black male
Jim - black male
Job - black male
Joe - black male
Joe - black male
Julyann - black female -dau/of Ellen
Lewis ([Sawes]) - black male
Lewis - black male
Lizzy - black female
Mary - black female
Mary Jane - black female
Mary Jane - black female- child in 1851
Milly - black female
Mingo - black male
Minor - black male
Nat - black male
Nathan - black male - child in 1851
Ned - black male - son of Peggy
Peggy - black female - dau/of Silvey
Peter - black male
Pleasant - black male
Rhoda - black female
Rose - black female -infant in 1851
Sarah - black female
Silvey - black female
Sim - black male -son of Caroline
Sim - black male
Sol - black male
Sydney - black male
Violet - black female -dau/of Ben
Wash - black male
Winny - black female
Wright - black male




Franklin County - 1854

In 1843, Stephen Sparks gave his fourteen-year-old niece Mary Ann White two slaves, Candis and Minerva, as a gift. Following the death of Sparks in 1846, and his wife in 1848, the slaves eventually fell into the hands of the administrator of Sparks's estate, William F. Hilliard, who refuses to give them up. During the interim, both black women gave birth to a boy. In 1854, Mary Ann and her husband James Levister file suit to secure the slaves.

Result: granted

Others in Petition: Shemuel Kearney [Kearney], Trust Estate of Mary Ann White Levister, Elizabeth White Sparks[Sparkes] in 1848, Stephen Sparks [Sparkes] in 1846.

Albert - black male
Candis ([Candice]) - black female
Minerva -black female
Sam - black male



Franklin County - 1856

Married for more than two decades, Mary Ann Williams accuses her husband of drunkenness, violence, and adultery. Aside from his violent nature, she claims that he is having an extramarital affair with a free woman of color named Martha Fogg, who has given birth to a "white child."
Compelled to leave her home, Mary Ann explains that her father recently died, leaving her property. She seeks to obtain custody of her father's estate, as well as a divorce and alimony.

Defendant: Lunsford Williams

Others in Petition:
Joseph Fogg -  FPOC black male
Martha Fogg - FPOC black female




Franklin County - 1860

William D. Harris informs the court that he recently lost a case against James Collins Jr. to gain legal title to three slaves. He claims that he lost the case because he failed to appear in court due to an illness. He now brings his suit to the Superior Court. He argues that he acquired title to the slaves through a deed of conveyance executed by the late Thomas Cope, who "was perfectly capable of transacting business."
Harris asks for a new trial.

Alfred -black male
Mary - black female
Sidney - black male