Citizens: Petition, Pendleton County
To the honorable the General Asembly of Virginia Your petitioners respectfully sheweth that a woman of color named Judith, and who was a slave belonging to Isaac Gum now deceased was emancipated by him for her good conduct and faithful service from the time he became her owner when she was five years of age until her his death a period of upwards of twenty five years And that by the last will and testament of the said Isaac Gum decd. which is of record in the county court office of Pendleton, her freedom was consumated in the month of May last. That she the said woman is now about thirty-four years of age, has two children, to whom she is tenderly attached, and who are still slaves in the state of Virginia, and that she is averse to leaving the state whilst they remain behind her in slavery. Your petitioner deem it a hard case, where the mother is compelled to leave her children - her early friends - the place of her nativity, and those scenes which time has endeared - where her whole past life has been spent - and seek a distant home amongst strangers and in a strange land: and that they could not regard emancipation under such circumstances as a blessing. They do not conceive that the public good requires her removal, and that religion and humanity would seem to forbid it, where the strongest of ties - the ties of maternal affection must be broken. We your petitioners would further represent that the said woman bears a good moral character, is of sober, steady industrious habits, and a peaceable disposition and is calculated to become a good, if not a useful citizen. We therefore pray that an act may be passed to permit the said women to remain in the commonwealth of Virginia without forfeiting her freedom.