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The Slave Experience: Responses to Enslavement
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Original Documents Responses to Enslavement

Petition of Dr. Allen Thomas in the FUGITIVE SLAVE PETITION BOOK
Courtesy of National Archives, Mid-Atlantic Region
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Photo of the text of Petition of Dr. Allen Thomas in the FUGITIVE SLAVE PETITION BOOK
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Document Description
Although running away was one of the more common ways to rebel against slavery, it was not an easy route to freedom. If fleeing slaves did manage to escape the reaches of slavery, they faced numerous obstacles as they attempted to start new lives. According to this petition, Dr. Thomas' slave, Nicholas, fled slavery only to be convicted of robbery and imprisoned for two years.

Record 23.

In the matter of
The Petition of
Dr. Allen Thomas

The United States of America
District of Maryland Court
Be it remembered that on this third day of May in the
year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and fifty-
two Dr. Allen Thomas filed in the Clerk's Office
Of the District Court of the United States in and
for the Maryland district a Petition in writing, in the words and of the tenor following, to wit

To the Honorable

John Glenn Judge of the District Court of the United States in and for the Maryland District.

The Petition of Dr. Allen Thomas of Howard County in the State and District of Maryland respectfully shows.

That he is the owner of a negro man named Nicholas Dudley a slave for life. That said Slave is of black color about five feet nine or ten inches in height well formed, with full eye and when excited shews much of the white of the eye and is now about twenty six years of age, That the Mother of said Nicholas Dudley belonged to this Petitioner as his Slave for life and said Nicholas was born while she was so owned by this Petitioner, and that said Slave Nicholas from the time of his birth until his escape hereinafter mentioned was in the possession of yon Petitioner as his Slave for life, That his said Slave Nicholas Dudley escaped from his service on or about the first Sunday after Easter in the year Eighteen hundred and forty nine. That your Petitioner then resided in Howard County in District of Anne Arundel now Howard County and that said Slave Nicholas Dudley at the said time of his escape was held to service and labor in the said State of Maryland and escaped therefrom as above mentioned. He further says that in the spring of 1850 he saw and conversed with his said Slave Nicholas who was then confined in the Tombs of the City of New York, under the name of James Snowder (as he now believes and remembers) on a charge of robbing Captain Rowland of which offence he was convicted on or about the 15th of May 1850 and sentenced to Sing Sing prison for two years.

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