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Granville County Slavery Petitions

Following are abstracts of petitions filed by Granville County citizens from the Digital Library on American Slavery Collection.  These records includes the names of slaves and can be very valuable for those researching their slave ancestors; they also give a bit of insight into the lives of the slaveowning families with details that may not have previously been known.

State: North Carolina Year: 1800
Location: Granville County

Thomas and Susanah Smith Hendley state that Israel Fuller, the "reputed" father of Susanah, conveyed land to Israel Smith, Fuller's "illegitimate child" and Susanah's "reputed" brother. They further report that the said Smith died "about fourteen years ago under age and Intestate without lawfull Heir whereby said Land escheated to the State of North Carolina." The petitioners pray "that by an act of your honorable body, said Land may be vested in said Susanna."
Result: committee recommends rejection
 

Slaves:
Dick - black male
Fill ([Phil]) -black male
Judah - black female
Tom - black male

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State: North Carolina Year: 1808
Location: Granville County

William Cosby charges that he hired two slaves named Abel and Usley from James Knott for a period of nine months. At the time of hire, Cosby was told that Usley, Abel's wife, was infirm and "Subject to fits of Sickness." The petitioner asked Knott if Usley was a "Sound Negroe," and Knott claimed she was. In February during the term of hire, Usley fell ill and was confined to the house. Because of Usley's illness, the petitioner charges that he suffered considerable loss to his crop. After the term of hire had expired, Knott filed suit in August 1807 against Cosby and his security William Marshall and won a judgment for seventy-five dollars. Cosby maintains that he lacked an adequate defense during that trial, so he asks the court to grant an injunction stopping Knott's suit and a subpoena for Knott to answer the charges of selling damaged goods and refusing to pay Usley's medical expenses.
Result: granted

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State: North Carolina Year: 1816
Location: Granville County

Lucy Satterwhite, widow of Mitchel Satterwhite, asks that the administrator of her husband's estate be permitted to sell four hundred twenty acres of land in order to relieve the "claims against the estate to the amount of near five thousand dollars." Reporting the Mitchel also "died possessed of thirteen negroes," Lucy believes that the ten slaves that remain "by the time your petitioner's children shall come of lawful age or marry will be considerably enhanced in value and probably increased in number." She therefore prays that "a special act authorizing and directing the Administrator to sell the above mentioned" land be passed, allowing the balance of "all the working hands belonging to the estate" to be employed advantageously.
Result: rejected

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State: North Carolina Year: 1820
Location: Granville County

Nathaniel Robards, the sheriff of Granville County, states "that he was allowed by the County Court of Granville at last November Term for one hundred and seventeen Insolvents comprising one hundred and eleven free polls and six slaves." He further asserts that "this allowance was not deducted from the List of Taxables returned by the Clerk of Court." Having "fully accounted with the public Treasurer for the amount of the List of Taxable property furnished by the Clerk of said Court to the Comptroller," the petitioner prays that the "public Treasurer" be directed "to refund to him the amount of his allowance for the said Insolvents."
Result: committee approved

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State: North Carolina Year: 1825
Location: Granville County

Sarah Chandler seeks a divorce and division of property from her husband Thomas Chandler who, she charges, is a man "of violent & fiery passions & unfortunately, addicted to excessive intemperance." When she married him in 1809, her father, William Yarbrough, of Person County, was "a man of respectable character & of substantial independence in point of property." Now she is penniless, living with a brother, although her husband owns a one-hundred-acre "plantation," five slaves, horses, sheep, and cattle.
Result: granted

 

Slaves:
Caroline - black female
Jacob - black male
Jeff - black male
Mary - black female
Nutty - black male
Sall - black female
Sam - black male
Vine - black female

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State: North Carolina Year: 1826
Location: Granville County

Absalom Yancey petitions the court to compel Thomas Bram to provide security for the safekeeping of a young slave named Phebe. Yancey contends that he purchased Phebe from Hinton Bram & Co., Thomas's brother, in 1825. According to Yancey, Hinton had himself purchased Phebe from Thomas, his brother, but allowed her to remain with Thomas "for the purpose of assisting his family the said Thomas being in indigent circumstances." Phebe is still in Thomas's possession and the latter refuses to return her. Moreover, he "has made repeated threats that he would run the said negro Phebe off, so as to be out of the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court." The court ordered the sheriff of the county to take the slave into his custody unless Thomas paid $700 in security for the safekeeping of the slave.
Result: granted
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1826
Location: Granville County

In 1814, Elizabeth Young signed a prenuptial agreement with her future husband Joel Strong, placing her land and slaves in trust for her benefit and that of her husband during "their joint lives" and, after their death, to that of their children. In 1815, her husband expressed "much dissatisfaction" about the agreement, and sought to destroy the agreement, treating her "most cruelly, by threats and abuse of different kinds." For example, he threatened to tie her up and give her thirty-nine lashes. Responding to threats from her husband and fearing for her life, she burned their prenuptial agreement. Later, she left home, although her husband still controlled twenty-four slaves which were part of the marriage contract. Joel has already disposed of the slaves in her marriage contract, and Elizabeth believes that he is about the sell the others to the lower south. On behalf of Elizabeth and her children, James Young of Alabama asks that a subpoena be issued commanding Joel to appear in court, and that the sheriff "sequester the said slaves and make such disposition of them as shall seem proper."
Result: agreement
 

Related Documents: Answer, Joel Strong, 8 September 18[3]6; Lists of Negroes, ca. 1826; Agreement, Elizabeth Strong and Joel Strong, 4 April 1827; Order, March Term 1841
 

Petitioners:
Hume R. Field - lawyer
Elizabeth Ann Young Strong
Elizabeth Young Strong - dead by 1836
Eunice Strong
Joella Strong
Rachael Strong
Dr. James Young - physician
Slaves:
Benjamin ([Ben]) -black male 6 years of age in 1814
Crecy ([Cretia]) - black female 22 years of age in 1814
Daniel - black male 5 years of age in 1836
Davy - black male
Dinah - black female 45 years of age in 1814
Edmund ([Edmond]) - black male 10 years of age in 1814
Essex - black male 25 years of age
Essex - black male 6 years of age in 1836
Fanny - black female 5 years of age in 1814
Flora - black female 12 years of age in 1814
Frederick - black male 3 years of age in 1814
Harry ([Harvy]) - black male 22 years of age in 1814
Jack - black male 8 years of age in 1814
James ([Jim]) - black male 12 years of age in 1814
Jane - black female 14 years of age in 1836
Jenny ([Jinny]) - black female 10 years of age in 1814
Jim Lucas - black male 5 years of age in 1814
Joe - black male 45 years of age in 1814
John - black male 10 years of age in 1836
Joice ([Joicy]) - black female 15 years of age in 1836
Joshua - black male 24 years of age in 1814
Juda - black female 30 years of age in 1814
Lana - black female 8 years of age in 1814
Loda - black female 1 years of age in 1814
Lodiusco - black male
Lucinda - black female
Lucy - black female 2 years of age in 1836
Mary - black female 8 years of age in 1836
Meshack ([Shack]) - black male 4 years of age in 1814
Nelly - black female 18 years of age in 1814 before 1836
Ora ([Orah]) - black female
Polly - black female 1 years of age in 1814
Rose - black female 80 years of age in 1814
Rosetta - black female
Sally - black female
Siphax - black male 8 years of age in 1836
Syphax ([Cyfax]) - black male 35 years of age in 1814
William - black male
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1827
Location: Granville County

In 1820, Absalom and Jackson M. Yancy established a slave-trading firm. According to Absalom, they bought "a great many slaves either for cash or on credit," spending a total of "twenty thousand Dollars or some other large sum," all of this using his money. He claims that Jackson took the  blacks to South Carolina and Georgia, and sold many of them. He charges that Jackson gambled away the profits, and turned over eight thousand dollars ofthe company's money to one Dr. Thomas Hunt  to deprive him of his share.
Result: No recorded result
 

Also Named in Petition: Charles Shannon
Slaves:
Alca ([Alea]) - black female (owned by Charles Shannon)
Augusta - black female
Charlotte - black female
Coatney - black female
Gilbert - black male
Henry - black male
Judea - black female
Judea - black female
Mahala - black female
Mama - black female
Maria - black female
Mary - black female
Paul - black male
Ritter - black male
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1827
Location: Granville County

During the early 1820s, Jackson Yancy journeyed to South Carolina and Georgia, and sold "a quantity of negroes." Upon his return, he deposited several thousand dollars in a Raleigh bank. His partner, Absalom Yancy, withdrew one thousand dollars from the bank. Now Jackson is suing the bank and Absalom is defending his withdrawal saying that Jackson is indebted to him between three and five thousand dollars. In this petition, Absalom seeks to enjoin Jackson from proceeding against the bank.
Result: No recorded result
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1829
Location: Granville County
 

Married in 1820, Elizabeth Wheeler complains that her husband Moses, "without any provocation," abandoned her and their son. She accused him adulterous connections with a "young woman of pleasure in the neighbourhood." Elizabeth and her child moved in with her father, Thomas Jenkins, until he died, when she inherited a number of slaves. Elizabeth now seeks a divorce.
Result: granted
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Granville County
 

In 1823, after six years of marriage, Charles Mitchell discovered that his wife Susan was "engaged in a shameful and adulterous intercourse with one Jo Proctor a freeman of color." Mitchell left his wife, and moved to Milton, North Carolina. Later, he learned that she and Proctor began a journey to Georgia, but for some reason abandoned their plans. She then followed him to Milton, took up residence "in the suburbs," and, for two years, "engaged in a course of shameless prostitution." He seeks a divorce.
Result: No recorded result

Defendant: Susan B. Abanathy Mitchell
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1831
Location: Granville County
 

In 1823, after eighteen years of marriage, William Hickman began to suspect that the children born during their union were not his. Even after he became convinced that this was the case, he did not file for divorce, hoping to avoid humiliating members of his wife's family "who were numerous & respectable." Finally, in 1827, however, Hickman discovered that "a mulatto slave, living in the neighborhood" had fathered his children.
Hickman seeks a divorce.
Result: No recorded result
Defendant -Wife: Nancy Floyd Hickman

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1833
Location: Granville County

 

Thirty-seven residents of Granville County "beg leave to ask the favour of your aid" in providing relief for Admiral Dunston, a free man of color from Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They offer, as "a Statement of Facts," that Dunston, a wheelwright and property owner in Virginia, recently "married in a respectable Family in this neighbourhood." The petitioners point out that "by the Laws of Virginia he is prevented from carrying his wife to that state, nor can he by our Laws remove to this" state. They therefore pray that a law be enacted "sanctioning his removal to this State."
Result: No recorded result

10 Petitioners named:
Robert Anderson
Alexander Hamilton
A. E. Henderson
John L. Henderson
Jeremy Hilliard
James H. Hunt
Charles Lewis
George L. McIntosh
Thomas Newton
Horace H. Rowland
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Granville County
 

In 1827, after eight years of marriage, Christopher J. Strother abandoned his wife Margaret, who has now, nine years later, inherited one-fourth interest in a family of slaves from her deceased mother's estate. Margaret files a petition for divorce and alimony, and seeks to prevent her husband from acquiring the property she has inherited.
Result: granted
 

Petitioner: Margaret Lemay Strother
Also Listed: John P. Lemay
 
Slaves owned by the Estate of Lucy Lemay from 1835 to 1837:
Emely - black female 13 years of age in 1837
Jane - black female 9 years of age in 1837
Oney - black female 18 years of age in 1837
Sohia - black female 36 years of age in 1837
Winney - black female 7 years of age in 1837
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1836
Location: Granville County
 

In 1836, after eight years of marriage, Susan F. Lemay Phillips is driven out of her house by her husband who refuses to provide for her or their two children. Having inherited a one-fourth interest in six slaves worth $2,400 from the estate of her deceased mother, Susan seeks an injunction to prevent her husband from disturbing her inheritance. She also
charges abandonment and seeks alimony.
Result: granted
 

Defendants:
John P. Lemay
Nelson Phillips
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1842
Location: Granville County
 

Prior to mid-1840, James A. Gregory, and Robert Overby ran a general store in Granville County. They extended credit to Lawson Harris, son of Robert Harris, a defendant, in excess of eight hundred dollars. Robert Harris repeatedly assured the partners that his son was solvent and had property sufficient to back up the debts. To secure the debt, however, the merchants demanded that Lawson execute a deed of trust first to one David J. Wilkerson, then to Robert T. Gregory, for several slaves that had been given to him by his father. When James Gregory moved to have the slaves seized and sold to satisfy the unpaid and mounting debt, Robert Harris reclaimed the slaves as his own, and denied ever having transferred title to his son. By 1842, the firm has dissolved, and Lawson Harris has died intestate and in debt. The Gregorys sue Lawson's father and Wilkerson, claiming that Robert Harris's assurances that his son was solvent, assurances that encouraged the merchants to give him more credit, was fraudulent.
Result: granted; appealed; affirmed and bill dismissed
 

Slaves:
Alexander - black male
George - black male
Milly - black female
Ned - black male
Sampson - black male
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1845
Location: Granville County
 

In 1811, sixteen- or seventeen-year-old Eliza Cooke married Thomas Y. Cooke, a circuit riding Methodist preacher in Georgia. In 1813, they moved to North Carolina, and "though, before the world, seemingly kind," he was always mean and abusive. In 1843, Thomas began to drink heavily, flying into fits of anger and rage, and forcing her to flee from the house. On one occasion he threatened to kill her with a knife, and she escaped harm only when a black woman and several of her children intervened. She asks for a divorce and alimony.
Result: No recorded result

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1846
Location: Granville County
 

Sarah Ware seeks a divorce more than a decade after her husband deserted her and squandered her fortune.
Result: No recorded result
 

Defendant:
Henry F. ([T.]) Ware
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1847
Location: Granville County
 

William Wilson petitions for divorce, accusing his wife of adultery and permitting "the embraces of coloured persons."
Result: No recorded result
 

Defendant:
Elizabeth Franklin Wilson
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1847
Location: Granville County
 

Amanda Walker accuses her husband of living "in constant unlawful intercourse with a certain negro woman belonging to his grand Father." She also accuses him of running off with the black woman and one or two other of his grandfather's slaves. He is also guilty of forgery. She asks for a divorce and alimony.
Result: No recorded result
 

Defendant:
William A. Walker

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1849
Location: Granville County
 

Before his death in 1827, Bryant Cavender bequeathed a female slave, Piety, and her increase, to his wife Fanny during her life, and after her death, to his brothers and sisters. Following Fanny's death, Allen Bridges, a man who had purchased an interest in the estate from Lunsford A. Paschall who, along with two others, had purchased it from John Cavender, one of the brothers, asks for permission to sell Piety and her three sons--Ben, Eaton, and Gabriel--and divide the profits.
Result: granted
 

Defendants:
Edward Cavender
Hicksy Cavender
Jarratt Cavender
John Cavender
Needham Cavender
Thomas Cavender
Crafford Fuller
Elizabeth Cavender Fuller
Henry Fuller
Nancy Cavender Morris
 
Slaves:
Ben - black male - purchased by Hinton A. Winston in 1849
Eaton - black male - purchased by Lewis M. Jiggetts in 1849
Gabriel - black male - purchased by James M. Mangum in 1849
Piety - black female - purchased by Hinton A. Winston in 1849
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1850
 

Abraham Rencher asks for compensation for his slave Emeline, who escaped to the "free states of the North" in July 1846 with her husband Mike and her two-year-old daughter. Hired out in Chapel Hill, the black family traveled to Henderson, met a white man named Nelson, "a northern interloper" who posed as their owner, and boarded a passenger car of the Raleigh and Gaston Rail Road and rode to freedom. The petitioners assert that the agents of the railroad company should have demanded "proper indemnity for the true owners" and that the railroad was therefore legally responsible for the slaves. Mike's owner took the case to the Board of Commissioners in 1847, but it was dismissed on the grounds that the Board did not have the authority to pay the claim. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, one of the owners and an authorized agent for the other journeyed to the North to recapture the slaves but failed. As a last resort, the owners
seek assistance from the General Assembly
Result: rejection of the resolution with investigation
 

Petitioners:
Charles Manley
Abraham Rencher
 
Slaves:
Emeline - black female
Mike - black male (owned by the Estate of Thomas Thompson)

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1851
Location: Granville County
 

Nancy Hunt seeks a divorce on the grounds of abuse, alcoholism, adultery, and abandonment. After beating her severely, she testifies, he threatened to take their children. She fears he will liquidate his estate in order to keep her from receiving alimony. She notes that he owns one hundred and fifty acres of land and two slaves.
Result: No recorded result
 

Defendant:
James M. Hunt
 
Slaves:
Jim - black male
Lucy - black female
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1853
Location: Granville County
 

Eliza Ellis says that for more than twelve months her husband Philemon has been living with a slave woman named Effie in adultery. She seeks a divorce.
Result: No recorded result

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1857
Location: Granville County
 

The joint owners of thirteen slaves ask that the slaves be appraised and divided into three lots of equal value.
Result: granted
 

Petitioners:
Mary T. Blalock
Millington Blalock
Rebecca Hobgood
Samuel C. Hobgood
John Sherman
 
Slaves:
Granderson - black male
Harriett - black female
Haywood - black male
Isaac - black male
Isaiah - black male
Jacob - black male
John - black male
Lewis - black male
Martha - black female
Newton - black male
Osburn ([Osborn]) - black male
Rose - black female
Tracy - black female
 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1857
Location: Granville County
 

R. O. Britton seeks compensation for a runaway slave named Marina, who absconded in 1845. Britton states that, prior to his marriage, his wife, Mariah P. Kennon Britton, owned the said nineteen-year-old "healthy & intelligent" Marina. He further relates that the said slave "escaped from her mistress ... in the night, in a disguised & clandestine manner," assisted by a free man of color named John Smith. The petitioner surmises that the said Smith "passed the said negro woman as his wife or sister" and obtained from the railroad ticket agent "tickets for his own & for the passage of the said Marina over the said Road to the Town of Gaston," thus enabling Marina "to make her escape to the free states." Britton therefore asks the legislature to "indemnify him for the loss which he has sustained, in right of his wife, & for which by the laws of the State, the proprietors of Said Raleigh & Gaston Rail Road are liable."
Result: House: referred to judiciary committee

 

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State: North Carolina Year: 1858
Location: Granville County
 

William Gilliam represents that he hired his slave named Jacob "to the President of the Raleigh & Gaston Rail Road then the property of the State & under its control, to work on the Shop in the City of Raleigh which had been partly destroyed by fire." Gilliam charges that, while on board the train and en route to Raleigh, his slave "was put by the President of the Road ... to the business of putting wood on ... at the various stations"; when the train lurched, Jacob "was thrown on the track, and the wheels of one of Cars ran over his ankle & foot mashing them very badly." Gilliam reports that Jacob "never recovered" and that "he was rendered for a long time useless to your memorialist, and his death was caused ultimately by said injury." The petitioner therefore prays that he be compensated for the loss of Jacob, since "the death of the said slave was a heavy loss to your memorialist--He was an excellent carpenter- & was worth at least $2,000."
Result: No recorded result

 

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2011 by   Deloris Williams for the NCGenWeb Project and/or individual contributors.  No portion of  any document appearing on this site is to be used for other than personal research.  Any republication or reposting is expressly forbidden without the written consent of the owner. Last updated 11/29/2011

 

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