Petition #21485301


Mary Vance, a twenty-year-old "person of Colour," complains that she and her three-year-old son, Dock, are unjustly "held in Slavery by one Nathaniel Porter." Vance informs the court that her grandmother, Mary King, a white woman "not having any blood of the Affrican race," was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the state of Maryland "when she was a child only some 8 or ten years old." While held in slavery, King gave birth to Vance's mother, Rose, "who is also white," and was who held in slavery until her husband "purchased her from her master and set her free." Mary King is still enslaved, "though she is getting quite old." Vance reports that she and Dock are "now in the Common jail ... for safe keeping" until Porter can sell them. She asks the court to recognize their right to freedom and to issue writs of attachment and injunction to "secure their rights" while they await "further order of the court." In his answer, Nathaniel Porter attests that he owns Milly "by virtue of his marital rights." Porter married S. A. Porter in 1838. Other related documents provide details about Mary Vance's extended family, some slaves and some free people of color, whose genealogy spans four generations. A deposition from Rose Porter, the petitioner's free mother, is particularly rich in information about family births, marriages, and legal statuses.

Result: Dismissed; appealed; affirmed.

20 people are documented within petition 21485301

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Citation information

Repository: Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee