||Reece Family Petitions
||Clark, Indiana, United States
Petitions Regarding Slavery
In Support of Gradual Abolition
"Slavery Petitions and Papers", by Jacob Piatt Dunn. In Indiana Historical Society Publications. Vol. II, No. 12. owen-Merril Company, Indianapolis. 1894 (available in the Indiana Historical Society, HIS F521.141).
p. 455 - Petition of 1 October 1800 (from Senate Files)
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States from the inhabitants of Randolf and St. Clair counties, Indiana Territory
The petitioners "and their forefathers, Inhabitants of the Illinois country prior to the ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States north-west of the River Ohio, possessed a number of Slaves, with whose assistance in the Cultivation of the Earth, together with the Indian Trade, which was then considerable, they lived in affluence;" . . . .
On the arrival of Governor St. Clair, in 1799, they learned of the Ordinance made by Congress "which, in effect, tended to deprive them of their most valuable property, and which in its Consequence, as was then easily forseen, has reduced them to the most abject state of Poverty and distress, the most wealthy of the Inhabitants [p. 456] having immediately removed with their families and Effects into the Spanish Domains;" . . . .
The Petitioners "venerate the philantrophy which caused the prohibition", but suggest gradual abolition. Those entering the Territory as Slaves to remain so, their children to serve until age 31 for males, age 28 for females
p. 457 - "And your Petitioners further shew that they experience all the Inconvenience arising, as well from a want of a sufficiency of Lands open to a settlement to admit of a population adequate to the Support of ordinary County Establishments as from want of publick roads and houses of Entertainment to the seat of Government."
Therefore, please purchase lands of Kaskaskia Tribe. Also provide land for houses of Entertainment [i.e., Taverns] and provide Garrisons for protection from Indians.
Opposed To Slavery
Territorial Papers of the United States. The Territory of Indiana 1800-1810. Volume VII
pp. 705-707 - Petition to the president and Senate by Citizens of Clark County 
“We Your Petitioners of Clark county, and Indiana Territory, beg leave to represent, that whereas sundry petitions are in Circulation throughout this Territory, the tendency of which are to deceive the General Government, by induceing a belief that his Excellency William Henry Harrison has in his Official conduct, acted in such a manner as to deserve the Confidence of the People of this Territory—We think it a duty we owe Our Country, to declare, that we disapprove the sentiments contained in those petitions before-mentioned, as we believe that his excellency has evinced by his conduct, that his principles are repugnant to the Spirit of Republicanism—of the several charges against him, which our delegate has been instructed to lay before you & on which our opinions are founded: We need Only mention his sanctioning of a law for the Introduction of Negroes &c notwithstanding his Oat of Office, and the known wishes of a large majority of the People of this Territory—We therefore pray that your Honorable body would appoint us a Governor whose Sentiments are more Congenial with those of the People, and with those principles of Liberty which are the greatest Security of our rights; and as in duty bound we your Petitioners will ever pray &c”
Signers include. Bala Johnson, John Johnson [together]
p. 706 – Charles Johnson, George Johnson, John Reese, Joseph Reese, Isaac Sturme, Benjamin Reese [together]
p. 705 – ftnt 64 – There is no endorsement, and no entry has been found in the Senate Journal respecting the reception of the petition.
[note: James N. Wood signed with the added comment: “I am aposed to the introduction of slavery”]
Petitions Regarding Elections
The Territory of Indiana 1810-1816. Volume VIII
p. 142-144 - Petition to Congress by citizens of the Territory 
“the petition of the undersigned citizens of the Indiana Territory most respectfully Sheweth that we your Petitioners, with a vew to preserve our rights unsullied as they were when handed to us by the patriots of Seventy Six approach your honourable Boody, to represent our wishes that you will aid us in Supporting the freedom of our elections. That your Petitioners conceve it to be the duty of every freeman to use every exertion to preserve the elective franchise, unbiased, by the hand of either wealth or Power—that whenever the sacred previlege of elections, shall be suffered to be violated by the hand of Executive influence, with impunity, publick virtue will soon be at an end and political debasement established on its ruins—that your petitioners have viewed with much concern the rapid strides that have been made by our Territorial Executive, to prostrate the only privilege which we enjoy, viz, that of electing our legislators, by his unexampled interference in our late Congressional election, by haranguing the electors at the Polls by riding through the country, and by writing and Sending into maney, if not all the Counties in the Territory violent electioneering letters, which your Petitioners concive to be in direct opposition to the principles of a Republican Government, and distructive of their rights as freemen.” We pray that you will remedy this situation.
p. 144 – signers inc. Baley Johnson
144-147 - Petition to Congress by Citizens of the Territory [11 Dec 1811]
“the Petition of the Subscribers, Citizens of the Indianna Territory most Respectfully Sheweth, that we your Petitioners, Deeply Impressed with a Sense of the necessity of Guarding with Vigilance against any encroachments, upon our rights as American Citizens, and among the most Sacred of which, we conceive that the freedom of Elections Should Rank the first, so long as the freedom of Elections and virtue of the People Shall constitute the pillars of a Republican government—That whenever this Right is Infringed upon and Injured by the rude hand of power, a door is at once Opened for Curruption, Sycophancy and every Species of political debasement. That we have witnessed with much concern and indignation the unexampled interferance of our Teritorial Executive in our late Congressional Election, by haranguing the Electors at the Polls, and by writeing and Sending into many, if not all the Counties in the Territory, violent electioneering letters, which your petitioners Consider, when transacted, by an Executive officer, to be hostile to the very principles of the American government and derogatoary of our rights as fre men.” We pray that you will pass a law prohibiteing [sic] all officers of the United States from interfering in the elections of our Territory,
p. 146 – Signers include on Section 2 of Subscribers:
Charles Johnson, Bala Johnson, John ashbay, George Jhnson, Joseph Reese [all together], . . . John Rees, Benjaman Rees [together]
Petition to Extend Time of Payment
The Territory of Indiana 1810-1816. Volume VIII
pp. 221-223 - Petition to Congress by Inhabitants of the Territory [8 December 1812]
“That in consequence, of the disturbed and, unhappy state of the Territory, the purchasers of lands from the United states, find, it impossible to make payment as the law requires, and they are therefore in danger, of loosing their land,s—We pray that Congress, would interfere, and grant, a prolongation of time, for payment—to purchasers since the first of April. 1808—but more especially to those, who, purchase,d betwixt, the 1st of April 1808. & the first of April 1809—”
p. 222 – signers inc. John Tilford . . . William Anderson . . . Robert Bowers . . . Jacob Storm, Daniel Bower, Adam Bower, . . . Charles Johnston, John Johnston, Bealy Johnston, John Reese, Joseph Reese, Bengiman Reese [all together], . .
Petition to Support Manufactures
Territorial Papers of the United States. The Territory of Indiana 1800-1810. Volume VIII
pp. 265-267 - Petition to Congress by Citizens of Clark and Jefferson Counties (7 July 1813)
“. . . we your petitioners Conceive tht at the present period very considerable advantage would result to the Territory from a Liberal encouragment of Manufactures in general—That more especially in this part the citizens labour under great disadvantage for want of the following branches viz. Grist and Saw Mills, Fulling Mills, Carding Machines &c. that there is sets for all the above branches of Manufactures on fraction of the first Section in town one North of the base line Range eight east of the second Maredion on fraction of the thirty sixth section in town two North of the base line Range eight East of the second Maredion, & on a Lot of one hundred acres in the Illenois Grant the Property of William Provine Esquire, a dam on which Materially injures the above named Fractions & these being the only advantageous seats for improvement in the neighbourhood, Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your Honorable body will take the same into consideration & if Consistent grant a pre-emption right at two dollars per acres (with indulgence to discharge the Amount in yearly payment of one hundred dollars each) to William Provine and Company, who will bind themselves to erect the above named Mills & Machines, & keep them in repair so long as Your Honorable Body shall think proper to grant indulgence for the payment thereof: and at the expiration of said term, on condition the said Provine and Company fulfill their obligation, to issue a general Patent for the same.”
p. 266 – signed Wm Anderson . . . John Telford
p. 267 – Benjamin Reese, Peter Storm, Jacob Storm [together], . . . James Arbuckell, Charles Johnson
p. 267 – petition rejected
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