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Solomon Porter Petition

 Collection
Identifier: MS-3330

This petition to the County Court of Shelby County, Tennessee was prepared by an unknown lawyer on behalf of a free man of color named Solomon Porter. Porter, a native of Tennessee, assures the court that he desires to seek employment in Shelby County in order to adequately support his family. He hopes to remain in the area so that his numerous acquaintances may assist him in finding employment, aided by his industry, sobriety, and honesty. The document is signed by Porter and a notation on the verso indicates that the Court agreed to allow him to reside in Shelby County for three years.

Dates

  • circa 1844

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.1 Linear Feet

Abstract

This petition to the County Court of Shelby County, Tennessee was prepared by an unknown lawyer on behalf of a free man of color named Solomon Porter. Porter, a native of Tennessee, assures the court that he desires to seek employment in Shelby County in order to adequately support his family. He hopes to remain in the area so that his numerous acquaintances may assist him in finding employment, aided by his industry, sobriety, and honesty. The document is signed by Porter and a notation on the verso indicates that the Court agreed to allow him to reside in Shelby County for three years.

Biographical/Historical Note

Solomon Porter was a free man of color and a native of Tennessee who petitioned to reside in Shelby County around 1844.

This petition was written in response to an Act that the Tennessee General Assembly passed on 1842 February 4 requiring free persons of color to petition for residency in their respective counties. It stated that "no negro or person of color shall obtain the benefit of this act [to temporarily reside in Tennessee], except such as are natives to this State, and such as were in this State before the 1st day of January, 1836; and hereafter, in emancipating slaves, it shall be upon the conditions of their leaving and removing from the Stateā€¦" The Act was designed to address the concerns of pro-slavery legislators, who feared that although free blacks formed a tiny minority of Tennessee's population, a surplus of freemen could foment sedition among slaves. Indeed, some organizations (for example the Tennessee Colonization Society) were paid ten dollars a person to export freemen to Liberia and so reduce their numbers in Tennessee. Later legislation gradually reduced the legal status of freemen to near-slavery by the outbreak of the Civil War.

Arrangement

This collection consists of a single folder.

Acquisition Note

Special Collections purchased this manuscript.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480