Petition #11683309


Free man of color Henry Lewis is a "mechanick" who seeks permission to remain in Virginia for another eighteen months. Lewis explains that his father, Daniel Lewis, was a free man of color who had been allowed under the laws then in existence in Virginia to remain in Virginia and who had married a slave. Henry was born while his mother was still a slave. Daniel Lewis was eventually able to free his wife and, some time later, all his children, including Henry. All emancipations took place after the year 1806, when the residency law concerning emancipated slaves had become more restrictive. After their emancipation, most of Henry's siblings left the state. Henry, however, continued to live in Virginia where he has earned the reputation as being "one of the most orderly, correct, and industrious colored persons in the County," and he has thus been able to "accumulate a small sum of money." But, as the sum was insufficient to purchase the "lovely female of his own Color" with whom he had fallen in love and married, and who "happened to be a slave," he borrowed money from local "gentleman" for that purpose. He purchased his wife, and then "liberated and legally married her," as well as the two children born of their union. The debt for the purchase, however, remains, unpaid. Lewis contends that with another eighteen months of "his greatest industry and oeconomy" he will be able to pay off the debt at which time he and his family will leave the state "in conformity with the existing laws."

Result: Rejected.

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Citation information

Repository: Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia