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Ryland: Petition, Prince Edward County

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To the Speakers & other Honorable members of the Virginia assembly. The petition of Ryland a free man of colour - That his master (Thomas Ford) in the year 1821, made & published his last will & testament by which he freed your petitioner, and made a provision for him and others to remove to some free state. But before the death of his said Master, he disposed of the funds given by his will, to defray the necessary expense of removing: in addition to the above facts, the next of kin to the said Thomas, contested the validity of said will and kept your petitioner & the other slave liberated, at law for many years, when your applicant succeeded in recovering their freedom, but were left without the means of migrating to a free state. Your petitioner is the father of six children whoes [whose] mother is a slave, to all of whom he is strongly attached, and wishes not in his old age to be seperated [separated] from them. He therefore humbly prays your Honorable body will pass a law allowing him to remain with his family in this state & he will every pray &c. Dec. 15th 1834. Ryland We have been long acquainted with the above petitioner (Ryland) and general good character and deportment induces us to recommend him to the favourable consideration of the General Assembly of Virginia. Robert Venable Saml Allen Henry Thweath R Booker Edwd. A Carter John Morton James H [illegible] William H Rice John N Vautes John B Baker